October 2009 Archives

Julius Cesar weighs in on President Obama

This just in from Iowahawk:
Obama Like Me? Roman, Please
Yo mortal, how you livin'? It's your old pal JC, a/k/a Juicy Julius, a/k/a Flavius Flav. What's it been -- two, three millenniums? Yeah, longtimes. After that Forum dagger driveby by that punkass bitch Brutus and his crew, The Juice has been keepin' his shit on the downlow. Much respect to my homeboy Octavius for the deification. Being a straightup gangsta immortal up here at the Pantheon is great and all, but believe the Juice when he tells you that clubbin' with the gods ain't all it's cracked up to be. Yeah, there's some fineass goddess cooch everywhere like Minerva and Diana and Venus, but they're all like, "talk to the hand, demi-god. We the bottom bitches for Janus and Jupiter." And then there's my man Bacchus. Player knows how to get his crunk on, but lemme tell you cuz, player got a stank on him like an Etruscan catacomb after diarrhea season. And don't get me started on Mercury and Saturn. Them polesmokers think they're all that, just 'cause they got a couple shitty cars and planets named after them. Always up in my grille, like, "Yo Lil' Caesar! We got a $2 coupon for a medium pepperoni and mushroom." Then I'm like, "fuck your ghetto planets holmes, the Juice got a casino in Vegas."

Anyhow, every since we got wifi at the Pantheon, I've been spending a lot more time online checkin' out the dillyo back in the mortal 'hood. That when I read about this choad praetor Rocco Landesman, saying that your new imperator Obamacus is "the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar." At first I was LMFAO because, let's face it, the Juice didn't waste his prime warrior time word processing a bunch of papyrus scrolls. Word cuz, where I come from that kind of bullshit is for light-in-the-sandals scribefags like Livy and Plutarch. So I guess it was like hearing "Obama is the greatest chariot mechanic since Julius Erving." But then I think about it, and I'm like, WTF? Obama's palace asslick is comparing him to me? Srsly?

Agrippa, please -- act like you know. Skinny fool stages his own tribute in front of some brokeass styrofoam Roman columns, lines up some chump posse of media hagiographers and art school twats, and now y'all are like he's some OG mac daddy Julio-Claudian baller. Well, the Juice is here to say there ain't no half steppin' in the SPQR. And before Obamacus starts wearin' the old school coliseum laurel bling, punk needs to stop frontin' and step his emperor game the fuck up.

I mean, shit son, let's look at foreign policy. Back when the Juice was doin' his thang, them gutta thugs up in Gaul and Iberia knew better than disrespect Rome. 'Cause they knew the Juice had him a strong pimp hand, and he was liable to dial up his legions to go pop a pilium in their ass. This Obamacus clown? No time to talk to his own centurion general, that fool too busy ridin' his chariot all over Europa oratin' laments about his own damn empire. Sorry this, sorry that, open hand, please accept this reset button. Yeah, like that kind of bullshit is gonna calm those Parthians and Vandals and Barbarians the fuck down. And what exactly does he get for it? A couple 10 denarius "peace" medallions from the Goths and Gauls. Back in the day those Gauls had some straightup warrior badasses like Vercingetorix and Ambiorix, but apparently somewhere over the last 2000 years they turned into the biggest bunch of Eurohomos since the Athenians. Yo, you Gauls think Obama is sorry? The Juice is sorry he ever introduced you assholes to public baths.


A very nice astronomy and planetarium program. Open source with lots of add-ons and libraries. Fully scriptable so you can do your own shows. Check out Celestia Here is the source for all of the add-ons: Motherlode

About those green jobs

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From the Wall Street Journal:
Chinese-Made Turbines to Fill U.S. Wind Farm
A Chinese wind-turbine company, with financing help from Beijing, has struck a deal to be the exclusive supplier to one of the largest wind-farm developments in the U.S., a sign of how Chinese firms are aggressively capitalizing on America's clean-energy push.

The 36,000-acre development in West Texas would receive $1.5 billion in financing through Export-Import Bank of China. Shenyang Power Group, a five-month-old alliance, would supply the project with 240 of its 2.5-megawatt wind turbines, among the biggest made in the world.
A bit more:
Mr. McGarr said the project should create 2,800 jobs -- of which 15% would be in the U.S.
Meanwhile, China is planning on future investments in the U.S. renewable industry as a way of creating a market for Chinese wind and solar equipment manufacturers.
So not only are the jobs going overseas, the foreign money is coming into the USA and when profits are made, these profits leave the USA economy. Hope and Change -- yeah... right...

If so, Kerry Mullis may be doing just this. Excerpted from MedGaget:

The next person to keep the morning excitement going was Kary Mullis, who won the Noble prize in chemistry for developing PCR.
He discussed updates to his latest project (that was previously highlighted at TED; see video below) that involves taking randomly generated 30 base pair DNA oligonucleotide aptamers, or more simply, random lengths of DNA that have binding affinity to a variety of molecular substrates.
The idea is that it is relatively easy to create a massive library of aptamers that bind to almost anything at a highly selective level. So, if you've got a microbe you want to kill, you figure out which unique surface proteins it's got that you'd like to target and select an aptamer that binds to it.
Then, you take this aptamer and attach it to something that the body has a strong innate immune response to. This combination means that the aptamer binds to the microbe but is attached to a giant flag that tells your immune system to come over and eat up whatever the aptamer is bound to. The technology has been proven to completely eliminate anthrax in animal models and we're quite excited to see where it goes over the coming years.

Dr. Mullis' home page here and the page for his Altermune Project Talk about next generation...

Morons in the zoning department

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Talk about micromanaging something out of existance... From the Denver Post:
Sledmaker on slippery slope with Silverton city hall
The handmade wooden sleds gliding around the streets and hillsides of Silverton in winter give this remote mountain town an innocent resemblance to a Norman Rockwell painting.

Now a feud between a few town officials and the sledmaker has cast tension over the snow-packed streets and threatened to put the skids on one of the town's few winter businesses.

Mountain Boy Sledworks has been turning out hand-crafted sleds in Silverton for seven years and winning national attention for the old-fashioned products. But a building inspector posted a "stop work" order on its door this month.

That order has to do with disagreements over complicated 25-year-old zoning rules. At its core, the problem comes down to one question: Is a handmade wooden sled a craft item or a manufactured product?

Style maven Martha Stewart, one of the celebrities who have ordered sleds, would probably come down on the craft side. Silverton building inspector Dee Jaramillo, however, argues that the sleds constitute manufactured, assembly-line products. As such, their creation in a shop behind Smedley's Ice Cream Parlor in Silverton's commercial core is a zoning violation. So Jaramillo posted the order on the door of Mountain Boy � an operation that provides seven of the town's 100 or so wintertime jobs.
Fortunately, clearer heads are prevailing:
Town planner Adam Sickmiller said while Hoskin is putting that appeal together, he has no plans to shut down Mountain Boy. The business is continuing to operate despite the order to stop.

Paul Zimmerman, who owns the Smedley's building and rents to Mountain Boy, said he will be happy when the sled war ends in this town of 500, where encounters with enemies are tough to avoid and jobs are even tougher to attract.

"It seems kind of crazy in these economic times to be fighting with a business," Zimmerman said. "We're a small town, and we should be able to adapt. It's not like we are in Denver."
And I wonder what Jaramillo will do with all her spare time... Silverton looks like a sweet | little town and the Mountain Boy Sledworks products look awesome

Heh - Al Gore's blog has been hacked

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Talk about loosing the battle against comment spam. Someone has hacked Al Gore's 2008 Presidential Campaign blog and it is now a festering nest of spam. Here is a screen-grab in case they clean it up sometime:
Click to embiggen...
Nice to know that he cares enough about us poor minions to provide such helpful links to foreign exchange trading opportunities and online pharmacies...

Global Warming roundup

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A couple of links on the (manufactured) Global Warming crisis: From Rockford, IL. station WIFR:
Biggest October Snow in Denver in 12 Years
And it moves East -- from Richmond, VA station WTVR:
Snow shifts east, paralyzing plains
For those people that buy into the hotter climate = more tropical storms theory here is Ryan N. Maue's Seasonal Tropical Cyclone Activity Update from the University of Florida:
Global and Northern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone Activity remains near 30-year historical lows -- three years in a row now of considerably below-average activity globally.
A word of caution from the London Times:
Exaggerated claims undermine drive to cut emissions, scientists warn
Exaggerated and inaccurate claims about the threat from global warming risk undermining efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and contain climate change, senior scientists have told The Times.

Environmental lobbyists, politicians, researchers and journalists who distort climate science to support an agenda erode public understanding and play into the hands of sceptics, according to experts including a former government chief scientist.

Excessive statements about the decline of Arctic sea ice, severe weather events and the probability of extreme warming in the next century detract from the credibility of robust findings about climate change, they said.
Quick -- someone run and tell Big Al -- from American Thinker:
Gore Gone Wild: Predicts 220 Foot Sea Level Rise in 10 years
The scariest story told this Halloween week had nothing to do with ghosts, goblins, or zombies, though it was certainly dripping with huge gobs of Gore. In fact -- the most terrifying words screeched in the past seven days came from the master of environmental horror himself.

According to Arab Internet services company Maktoob.com, our favorite greenhouse gasbag spent Tuesday afternoon outlining the reasons why attendees of the Leaders in Dubai Business Forum must change their wicked gas-guzzling ways:
�The North Pole ice cap is 40 percent gone already and could be completely and totally gone in the winter months in the next 5 to 10 years.�
Such thaw, cautioned Gore, �could increase sea levels by 67 metres� and that �each one metre of sea level rise (SLR) is associated with 100 million climate refugees in the world.� That�s up a full 47 meters from the already horrifying predictions he�s made previously.

Incidentally, a climate refugee (or �environmentally induced migrant� as the UN would prefer we refer to them) is a person forced to move to a new country by global warming related environmental disasters. Where the whacky climate refugees per meter SLR figure came from is anybody�s guess.

Anyway, if my math is correct, the 2007 Nobel laureate effectively predicted that by 2020, the oceans could rise 220 feet and 6,700,000,000 people will be forced to wander the planet in search of a less soggy domicile.
Anthropogenic Global Warming is a political scam -- there is no scientific proof behind it...

The Stimulus - not so much it turns out

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Everyone was hyperventilating when the Dow Jones index hit 10K a week ago. It then lost over 250 points. The rise was artificial caused by the falling value of the dollar and the reverberations from the Cash for Clunkers program which cost about $27K taxpayer dollars per transaction. Peter Coy has a good analysis over at Business Week:
Stimulus: The Good News, and the Bad
New figures released by the White House on Oct. 30 add to evidence that the federal economic stimulus package is working to create and save jobs. Unfortunately, that's not altogether good news.

Why not? Think about it: If the stimulus is working, and the job market is extremely weak in spite of it, what will happen when the stimulus begins to fade sometime next year? Many economists are increasingly worried that the U.S. recovery will be agonizingly gradual, especially if it doesn't get another jolt of help. "I think it makes sense to look at more aid from the federal government, whether they call it stimulus or not," says Gus Faucher, director of macroeconomics at Moody's Economy.com, a West Chester (Pa.) consultant.

The White House report said $160 billion worth of the stimulus funds spent so far�out of the $787 billion total in the stimulus plan�have "created or saved 640,329 direct jobs" through the end of September. The almost comically precise number is based on reports by recipients of stimulus funds. The White House says the actual number of jobs saved or created is greater than that�probably more than 1 million�because the $160 billion measured represented only about half the money spent so far, and because people who are hired with stimulus funds tend to spend their pay and create secondary employment.
Those are the numbers from the White House. Now let's look at the big picture:
A million or so jobs sounds good until you remember that U.S. employment has fallen by more than 7 million since the recession began in December 2007. Economists estimate that the economy lost roughly 200,000 more jobs in October alone.

On Oct. 29 news reports greeted the 3.5% estimated growth rate of the economy in the third quarter as evidence that the deep recession was finally over. However, much of that growth came from stimulus programs such as cash for clunkers and the tax credit for first-time home buyers. Without those, President Obama's chief economic adviser, Christina Romer, said on Oct. 29: "Real GDP would have risen little, if at all."
Why these people don't lower taxes and shrink the government is beyond me. This is the only thing that has worked in the past and it would work again now if people did it. The appearance of careful government management is actually a careful governmental management of appearances.

Marketing genius

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A very simple addition to an online store that makes things a lot easier. An email from Frank and Pete Brownell at Brownells (they do gunsmithing supplies):
Dear Folks
We have just added a super new "filing & saving" system to the web site. It's called the "Saved Cart", and its whole purpose is to make running your shop a whole lot easier for you.

What this neat program does is allows you save orders electronically in the absolutely best and most perfect filing system for you because you set it up to fit the way you look at your world. You quite literally can now save your shopping cart to any folder you want to and can put any name on that cart you want to. This makes the possibilities limitless!

For instance, if you're working on a 1911 for a customer named Bill Jones, you can establish a folder named "1911 Projects". Within this folder create a saved cart for "Bill Jones". As Bill's project continues to grow you just add them to "Bill Jones" saved cart until you are ready to place the order. It makes project management and tracking very easy.

Or, if Bill Jones is a customer who has a lot of guns you make an entire folder for Bill Jones. Then you'd label this particular project, ".45 1911" and so on as additional items are purchased for Bill Jones's. If his next project is mounting a scope, you can put the items you bought for that project into the Bill Jones folder, but label this cart "Scope mount on Rem. 700, .243 cal". Thus keeping all of Bill Jones projects together. Another really great feature of this system is that you can write yourself notes on the project you're working on and save them for future reference. A fantastic way to keep track of your various jobs and projects.

Because of the complete flexibility of the new system, you can literally set it up any way you like. By the kind of project (rebarrel .45); by the name of the customer (Bill Jones); by the day date, or month date (October 2009); by the items you've ordered (Leupold Rings/Bases); etc., etc., etc. It doesn't matter if you're left brained or right brained, since you're doing the labeling and you've put the carts into the folders, they are going to be where you think they should be. You just don't have to conform to any body else's ideas on filing!
Sure, most online stores allow you to put items into your cart for future checkout and then to review previously purchased items but this simple application takes the shopping cart into the next millennium. Imagine that someone drops off an item for an estimate. You create the folder and then add the items as you see that they are needed. When the person approves your estimate, you click and the items are all purchased. If this item comes back a couple years later, you can call up what parts were ordered. What a wonderful idea -- a mash-up between project management and an online shopping cart... Some screenshots here.

A health care plan I can get behind

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From The Angry Pharmacist:
The Angry Pharmacist Socalized Health Plan Solution
Here is my outline as to what could be the perfect socalized will-fail-less government subsidized medicine plan. Since obviously this is going to be passed riding on the coattails of the H1N1 fear and panic machine, I could at least throw in my $0.02 as to how this is to be laid out.

Now before you read this, remember years past when WalMart came into town? How they used their huge might to pretty much crush any competition in the area with �low low prices� all while shitting on their employees and being an all-around shitty store with poor service. Now considering this government plan has the financial backing of every taxpaying man and woman in the nation (regardless if they want to or not); think of Walmart as your cushy retirement insurance plan goes bankrupt and you�re forced to enroll into a government ran plan.

The Angry Pharmacist Socialized Health Plan Solution
By: The Angry Pharmacist

Here are some nice and easy (and unrealistic) points that this new government funded (with freshly printed money/stolen from the working class) health plan should have:
  • No trade name drugs are covered. No exceptions. Prilosec/Protonix doesn�t work for you? Tough shit. Cough with ARB? Too bad. None of the trade name medications would be covered. The government needs to eat its own dogfood (or practice what it preaches) and only does business with companies that drive down the cost of medication (ie: generic companies). That expensive chemo drug not covered? Then let the government use taxpayer dollars to buy out Amgen so they can give it out for free (why not, everyone else got bailed out).

  • The plan is voluntary. If you wish to be a part of Obamacare, then you get the premiums deducted out of your gross-pay. If you wish to have private health care, then you won�t be dinged a dime for Obamacare. I�m not paying for all of your PacifiCare and Blue Cross plans (and your insurance premium dollars dont pay for my private insurance) so why should I have to pay for someones Obamacare? The chances of this happening are as likely as you buying the nice bridge I have for sale.

  • You get 4 doctors visits a year with no/low copay (say, $10). Every doctors visit after that has a $25-50 copay. Yeah, it sucks for the people with chronic conditions like diabetes and stuff, but its better than nothing. Don�t get the unlimited text messaging plan and you can afford your doctors visits. Don�t order a large pizza and you can afford another doctors visit. Wait, actually becoming an active part in my health? What is this witchcraft you speak of!

  • You get 1 $0 copay ER room a year. Every ER visit after that is $100 minimum. I�d like to see this figure raised to $250 or higher since ER is for��. EMERGENCIES! You know why the ER rooms are so packed? People view them as �Free�.

  • Since all Rx�s will be billed to the government, if you are on a maintenance medication and you are non-compliant, guess what, your premiums just went up unless YOU (not your doctor, not your pharmacy) can submit documentation showing that you were taken off of that drug, or switched to another one due to intolerance. Whats the point of the government dumping all this cash into your doctors visits and medications if YOU are TOO LAZY to do anything about YOUR CONDITION. Not taking your medication is just pissing away money. No matter how many times I bitch, your doctor bitches if you don�t want to take your medicine then you can get dinged in the pocketbook. True this can be thwarted by people just picking up their regular drugs and not taking them, but it might make a few people think twice before asking for medication they have no intention of taking. Cue the �Waah, we don�t want the government poking its nose into our lives� as they happily promote Obamacare. Wait, are you confused?

  • If your doctor kept up to the standard of care, then unless his peers can show an act of negligence, you cannot sue him/her for 1.4 zillion dollars in a huge malpractice suit. Lets face it, without your doctors care, you would have died a long time ago. We don�t need your doctor running up the bill with 400 lab tests every damn office visit out of fear of getting sued if he/she happened to miss something weird.
He goes on for a bit more -- this actually sounds really good. Knocking off the malpractice and the 'brand names' would drop the costs down by 90% easy. Cutting the traffic in the ER would allow for better service for thost poor souls who really needed it.

Embedded in the Health Care bill

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Pages 1,431--1,433 of the 1,900 some pages. From Big Government:
Pelosi Health Care Bill Blows a Kiss to Trial Lawyers
The health care bill recently unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi is over 1,900 pages for a reason. It is much easier to dispense goodies to favored interest groups if they are surrounded by a lot of legislative legalese. For example, check out this juicy morsel to the trial lawyers (page 1431-1433 of the bill):
Section 2531, entitled �Medical Liability Alternatives,� establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]�� a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys� fees or imposes caps on damages.
So, you can�t try to seek alternatives to lawsuits if you�ve actually done something to implement alternatives to lawsuits. Brilliant! The trial lawyers must be very happy today!
People are starting to read this monster and the things that are coming out are very very bad indeed... Gutting Medicare Advantage (which my Dad is on), playing footsie with the actual costs -- this is major spending folks... The thing that really worries me is that if it does get put into place, disbanding it will be next to impossible -- once an agency is created, it takes on a life of its own and can be very nasty when cornered and fighting for its life.

Winter in the Pacific Northwest

One element of winter is Earth Movement and it has started in Oregon. From Eugene station KVAL:
Rockslide on 101: 'The whole Oregon Coast is a slide'
A rockslide came down across Highway 101 Wednesday afternoon, blocking several lanes and slowing traffic.
A bit more and a DOH!-worthy observation from an Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman:
Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Jared Castle says slides and sinks along the coastal highway are routine, although one of this size is unusual.

�U.S. 101 is built in an area where you would never build a highway,� Castle says, talking about the precarious location of the roadway. �The whole Oregon Coast is a slide.�
One commenter noted that the road was freshly paved. We have been getting a lot of roadwork up here too -- stimulus money. The only problem is that the various projects have to be completed within a specific time. The only projects that can be done are band-aid ones -- repaving a road. The time required to do serious engineering (stopping a rock slide, rebuilding a bridge, etc...) precludes the use of stimulus funding.

The launch of the Ares I-X

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NASA's replacement for the Space Shuttle is going back to their roots -- a big honkin' rocket. The Boston Globe's Big Picture has photos of its inaugural launch. Here are three of them:


25 more at the Big Picture website. Very cool technology -- nice to see a return to simple(er) systems...

A look at things very very small

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A wonderful demonstration of relative size. Go here and play with the slider at the bottom. Hat tip to Geek Press.

Halloween Math Video

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A rant in progress

I have not been posting as much as I would like. There is an epic rant brewing and I want to get it right. I have posted things critical of islam (small "i") and a number of people have commented that I simply do not understand... No. These poor people are being held in the dark by their teachers, imams and the false prophet. I have known the Light and the Love of Islam. Allah is in my prayers alongside God. The minders of the people who are complaining are furthering a false islam designed to propagate fear, hate, shame and control. It all boils down to control; you can do it through politics, religion or doctrine. Two rules to live by: #1) - Submit yourself to Allah or God (same spirit, different multi-culti ya-yaas) #2) - The rest of the world will not submit to you. Do not incorporate this into your business plan... This is another example of resource | extraction writ large...

Light posting tonight

Working on some other stuff in the DaveCave(tm) (and I got the emails whacked down from 1,700 to about 300 -- should polish those off tonight)

Wonderful story at Hot Air (Hat tip to Glen for the link)
Kerry wants Law Library report on Honduras retracted
A month ago, the Law Library of Congress reviewed the removal of Manuel Zelaya from his post as President of Honduras, an act that the Obama administration called a 'coup' and demanded reversed for its illegality. To the embarrassment of the White House and State Department, the Congressional body determined that Honduras acted lawfully in removing Zelaya for his crimes against their constitution, although they determined that his exile broke Honduran law. Now John Kerry wants the Law Library to retract its findings, apparently trying to rewrite history to hide the facts of the case:
The chairmen of the House and Senate foreign relations committees are asking the Law Library of Congress to retract a report on the military-backed coup in Honduras that they charge is flawed and "has contributed to the political crisis that still wracks" the country.

The request, by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., has sparked cries of censorship from Republicans who say the Democrats don't like what the August report said: that the government of Honduras had the authority to remove President Manuel Zelaya from office.

Zelaya has been holed up at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa for several weeks, and high-ranking U.S. officials arrived Wednesday to try to broker a resolution.

Critics of the Obama administration -- which condemned Zelaya's removal in June -- have pointed to the report as evidence that the White House was wrong when it sided with most Latin American countries in calling for Zelaya to be returned.
Lots more at Hot Air -- Obama and his administration screwed this one up when he called it a coup and sided with Chavez. One of the comments refreshes my memory -- seared! SEARED! into my memory:
Kerry went to Nicaragua back in the 80's to support the communist Sandinistas, so this is no surprise.
A bit more on that story can be found here:
Kerry's Nicaragua vision
Sen. John Kerry wants to be president of the United States so he can promote a brand of multi-nationalism as the solution to the world's problems.

In fact, his views on that subject haven't changed that much since he came back from Vietnam in 1970, urging the United Nations take over command of the U.S. military forces.

In April 1985, Kerry, along with Sen. Tom Harkin, ventured to Nicaragua to meet with President Daniel Ortega, a Marxist revolutionary who idolized Fidel Castro and received aid from the Soviet Union.

Kerry saw another Vietnam in the making because then-President Reagan was aiding freedom fighters in Nicaragua trying to overthrow Ortega's Sandinista regime.

"If you look back at the Gulf of Tonkin resolution," Kerry told the Washington Post on April 23, 1985, "if you look back at the troops that were in Cambodia, this history of the body count and the misinterpretation of the history of Vietnam itself, and look at how we are interpreting the struggle in Central America and examine the CIA involvement, the mining of the harbors, the effort to fund the contras, there is a direct and unavoidable parallel between these two periods of our history."

Kerry, in office only a few months and with no consultation with the administration or the State Department, decided to negotiate with Ortega. He and Harkin walked away from Nicaragua with an agreement for direct talks with Washington. President Reagan flatly rejected it.

"Do we want to see the body bags coming back again?" asked Kerry. "I don't think Congress would let it happen. I think there is a very strong sensitivity just ingrained in people like me, Harkin and [Al] Gore by virtue of the Vietnam experience that sounds alarm bells. I think all across the Hill there is a generational feeling, even with those that didn't go. I don't think it's isolationist. I'm not. I think it's pragmatic and cautious about what we can achieve."
The utter hubris of that horse's ass to think that he can walk into a country and negotiate as though he had the support of the President and Congress. Good on him that he was shut down. Now he is playing the same game again...

Great advertisement

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From an email list:

That's it for the night

Off to the DaveCave(tm) to whack down some email.

I am on a couple high-volume lists (CNC machining, alt.energy, electronic music and synthesizers, blacksmithing and home brewing beer and cider) and had over 1,700 emails waiting for me yesterday night.

Whacked the personal ones down about 200 so going out to work on the remaining 1,500.

Started the wood stove before dinner so it will be nice and toasty now -- temps outside are close to freezing.

Dirty job but someone has to do it.

From Watts Up With That:
The Sun Defines the Climate � an essay from Russia
Habibullo Abdussamatov, Dr. Sc. � Head of Space research laboratory of the Pulkovo Observatory, Head of the Russian/Ukrainian joint project Astrometria � has a few things to say about solar activity and climate.

Key Excerpts:
Observations of the Sun show that as for the increase in temperature, carbon dioxide is �not guilty� and as for what lies ahead in the upcoming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged, temperature drop.

[...] Over the past decade, global temperature on the Earth has not increased; global warming has ceased, and already there are signs of the future deep temperature drop.

[...] It follows that warming had a natural origin, the contribution of CO2 to it was insignificant, anthropogenic increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide does not serve as an explanation for it, and in the foreseeable future CO2 will not be able to cause catastrophic warming. The so-called greenhouse effect will not avert the onset of the next deep temperature drop, the 19th in the last 7500 years, which without fail follows after natural warming.

[...] We should fear a deep temperature drop � not catastrophic global warming. Humanity must survive the serious economic, social, demographic and political consequences of a global temperature drop, which will directly affect the national interests of almost all countries and more than 80% of the population of the Earth. A deep temperature drop is a considerably greater threat to humanity than warming. However, a reliable forecast of the time of the onset and of the depth of the global temperature drop will make it possible to adjust in advance the economic activity of humanity, to considerably weaken the crisis.
Full Study is here. (PDF patience, takes a bit to load)
The paper is 15 pages and well worth reading. I wonder if the Russians are buying into the whole Anthropogenic Global Warming hype as much as Europe and the USA?
Talk about having more money than brains. From Newsweek:
Converting the Preachers
George Soros launches a $50 million effort to purge economics of its free-market zeal.

"Large swaths of economics are going to have to be rethought on the basis of what's happened." So said Larry Summers, President Obama's chief economic adviser, in an interview in the weeks after the markets crashed a year ago. Yet to a remarkable degree, economic thinking hasn't changed very much at all.

Now financier George Soros is announcing a $50 million effort to speed things along. This week Soros is gathering some of the leading practitioners of the market-skeptic school, who were marginalized during the era of "free-market fundamentalism," among them Nobelists Joseph Stiglitz, George Akerlof, Michael Spence, and Sir James Mirrlees. He's also creating an "Institute for New Economic Thinking" to make research grants, convene symposiums, and establish a journal, all in an effort to take back the economics profession from the champions of free-market zealotry who have dominated it for decades, and to correct the failures of decades of market deregulation. Soros hopes matching funds will bring the total endowment up to $200 million. "Economics has failed not only to predict and explain what happened but has also failed to protect society," says Robert Johnson, a former managing director at Soros Fund Management, who will direct the new institute. "That's what the crisis revealed. The paradigm has failed. There is no guidance."

It might be tempting to dismiss all this as a war of words among brainiacs. It's not. The critical issues being discussed in Washington about the future regulation and control of the financial industry�the very nature of Wall Street and the health of the economy�depend on this battle of ideas. What led to wholesale deregulation in the '90s and '00s wasn't just Wall Street lobbying money. It was also that key legislators and policymakers, among them Larry Summers, persuaded themselves that deregulation was sound economics and good policy, and that markets and Wall Street institutions could take care of themselves. Many of those views have been discredited by the crisis. But in the absence of a new paradigm of economics, confusion still reigns in Washington. With no new concept of the proper role of government and regulation in the economy, of the proper balance between the markets and their minders, the old school still dominates.
Emphasis mine -- phrases like: "the markets and their minders" make me reach for my revolver. These people are trying to coerce the United States of America into trans-Nationalism and that will be a cess-pit from which we will never return. This meddling has already been tried before on large scale and on small and it... has... never... ever... worked... Look at China, look at Russia, look at California and Massachusetts. Look all around and see the failure of governmental meddling. Our current financial woes were not a result of deregulation, they were the result of failed Clinton policies that should have been corrected but Bush didn't have enough muscle in Congress to make those corrections. People warned loudly and often but our employees in Congress sat back and worked on getting re-elected and not working for us.

Rock climbing

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From XKCD:
Click to embiggen...

Follow the money - FEMA edition

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Why am I not surprised -- from the Washington Examiner:
FEMA says it can't show return on $29 billion in spending
Federal Emergency Management Agency deputy administrator Timothy Manning told a congressional panel today that his organization had spent $5 million during the last 18 months reviewing how it spent $29 billion since 2002, but still doesn't know what it got for the money.

Testifying before the House Homeland Security Emergency Communications subcommittee, Manning said he is confident the $29 billion was well-spent but "existing data tells us very little about the return on investment."

In response, subcommittee chairman Rep. Henry Ceullar, D-TX said: "Free advice: For $5 million, I think we can do better," according to Congress Daily's Terry Kivlan.
All Bush's fault of course...

Two quotes

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Two quotes:
"The transition from democracy to tyranny, Plato says, is most easily brought about by a popular leader who knows how to exploit the class antagonism between the rich and the poor within the democratic state, and who succeeds in building up a bodyguard of a private army of his own. The people who have hailed him first as the champion of freedom are soon enslaved."
-- Karl R. Popper: The Open Society and Its Enemies, Page 43
As an American I am not so shocked that Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize without any accomplishments to his name, but that America gave him the White House based on the same credentials."
-- Newt Gingrich
Hat tip to Theo for these...

Time to send an email to Costco

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They actually printed this cover of their monthly magazine:
Do not have my copy yet so do not know what the story is but anything with Al Gore has got to be wandering through an unscientific wonderland...

A Colonel visits the United Nations - photo op

PWND!!! From The National Post:
KFC 'colonel' dupes UN security
Red-faced United Nations officials on Monday admitted to a major security lapse after a UN guard helped Kentucky Fried Chicken's "Colonel Sanders" gain access to restricted areas.

The guard escorted the white-suited intruder past security barriers, where he got a handshake from the UN General Assembly president, Dr. Ali A. Treki of Libya.

The faux fast food chain founder also posed for a picture beneath the assembly's giant UN logo, which overlooks the spot where world leaders address their international counterparts.

"It should not have happened -- that I will stress, and very strongly," said Michele Montas, spokeswoman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Heh -- nothing like being seriously punk'd to show your relavence...

Six years ago today

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And 9,953 posts later. Happy blog-day to me...

Escape from New York

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Color me surprised (NOT!) From the New York Post by way of Breitbart's Big Government:
Tax refugees staging escape from New York
New Yorkers are fleeing the state and city in alarming numbers -- and costing a fortune in lost tax dollars, a new study shows.

More than 1.5 million state residents left for other parts of the United States from 2000 to 2008, according to the report from the Empire Center for New York State Policy. It was the biggest out-of-state migration in the country.

The vast majority of the migrants, 1.1 million, were former residents of New York City -- meaning one out of seven city taxpayers moved out.

"The Empire State is being drained of an invaluable resource -- people," the report said.

What's worse is that the families fleeing New York are being replaced by lower-income newcomers, who consequently pay less in taxes.

Overall, the ex-New Yorkers earn about 13 percent more than those who moved into the state, the study found.

And it should be no surprise that the city -- and Manhattan in particular -- suffered the biggest loss in terms of taxable income.

The average Manhattan taxpayer who left the state earned $93,264 a year. The average newcomer to Manhattan earned only $72,726.

That's a difference of $20,538, the highest for any county in the state. Staten Island was second, with a $20,066 difference.

It all adds up to staggering loss in taxable income. During 2006-2007, the "migration flow" out of New York to other states amounted to a loss of $4.3 billion.
This sort of basic algebra should be perfectly clear to the legislators -- cause and effect -- but no, they are so out of touch with their bosses (we the taxpayers) that the taxpayers are voting with their feet rather than waiting for the New York "machine" to come to its senses and to stop biting the hand that feeds it. Other parts of this great nation have incredible housing deals available and although you will not get first-run Broadway plays in Peoria, Ill, you will get a lot of music and film festivals and places like this are a lot of fun. Even a town as small as Bellingham has stuff going on every day of the week.

Back in town finally

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Sitting at my desk with my own laptop (not the netbook). The flight coming from San Francisco had to deal with a 200MPH headwind so we were about an hour late in arrival. Had dinner at a favorite brewpub in Mt. Vernon on the way home and just got in 30 minutes ago. Had about forty comment spam attempts -- all of which failed; three legitimate comments -- all of which were passed through with zero need for moderation. Looks like this script is working pretty well... This was my first real use of the netbook and no real problems -- battery life is about three hours max. I really need to get an external mouse as the touchpad is not good at all and I have used some decent touchpads. I would have liked to have seen a way to shut off the bluetooth as having that extra circuitry will shorten the battery life -- probably in a menu somewhere but haven't seen it. Bookmarked a couple interesting posts and will put these up tomorrow -- went from the balmy 60's down to just above freezing and the DaveCave(tm) takes about an hour to get warm. I'll be checking email tonight with a couple sweaters on and an early bedtime...

Last night

Spending the night in San Francisco before flying out tomorrow.

Fun trip but it will be fantastic to get home again...

Went to see the new California Academy of Sciences Museum.

Wonderful exhibits -- they cherry-picked the best of a couple of older "traditional" museums (the Academy is 155 years old) and are presenting them together under one (living) roof. The rainforest was a delight. The planetarium was awesome -- it is the largest digital planetarium in the world and the image quality is stunning. The Aquarium was small but of gemlike quality; presenting little slices of various environmental niches.

The only real disappointment was the "Climate Change" exhibit -- the data was cherry-picked to show warming and to ignore the Medieval Warm and Cool periods. The statements about the oceans warming up were downright false (Project Argo anyone?), the statements about the increased warming causing more storm damage to structures ignores the fact that people didn't use to build near the storm-ridden coastlines and now they do. They grossly overstated the effects of CO2 on global temperature -- data that has now been removed from Al Gore's presentation and is now no longer supported by the IPCC.

Each exhibit there is funded by an individual or an organization and each exhibit has been labeled as to who contributed the funding. I asked about the Climate Change exhibit and it was funded but the person I asked didn't know who the funding agency was (granted, I was asking a guide right at closing time). I plan to dig a bit deeper when I am back home as perpetuating this drivel is an insult to Science...

Coming to the end of the trip and spending the night in Half Moon Bay prior to getting a hotel for the night in San Francisco and flying out Tuesday. We looked at one Italian place but the menu was waaay to fru-fru. Walked a block up the street to Pasta Moon and was completely blown away by the quality of the food, the thoughtfulness of the menu, the presentation and the overall ambiance. Jen had some Gnoschi that were perfect and I had a Bolognese sauce that was absolutely old-school Bolognese, none of these "interpretations". Very simple list of ingredients and when it comes together, it is perfection. This was perfection... If you are ever near San Francisco at the coast, make an effort to stop in to Pasta Moon -- the place is not cheap (dinner with an appetizer, a good bottle of wine and two desserts was in the $150 range) but it is worth every penny...

Down in California

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At Jen's Mom and Dad's place. We flew into San Francisco -- the flight was $49 from Seattle so splurged a little on the rental car. Got a nice red 2009 Dodge Camaro. A Cop Magnet. So far, we have been careful to use the cruise control and so no speeding tickets but we have been shadowed a couple time. Fun to drive and a very nice user interface... There was no owners manual in the car but all of the functions were well thought out and they fixed a couple of bugbears of mine. The cruise control stays turned on when you stop the engine (for gas or whatever). The dash indicator shows red or green for when it is suspended or active. The radio console also handles a lot of the vehicle setup and tuning. Heading out to the coast tomorrow, scored a pair of tickets to see the Tutankhamen exhibit in San Francisco so we will hit that on our way home. Gave his life for tourism to quote the old Steve Martin song.
Long drive down -- had an unfortunate meal at an otherwise excellent restaurant. It is Tuesday so they probably had a bunch of new people in the kitchen. Sitting over a Rum and Ginger-ale at the hotel bar surfing...

Packing up and heading out

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Off to Seattle tonight to catch an early flight tomorrow. Rent a car in San Francisco and then drive to Jen's Mom and Dad's place. Should be a fun week. Back late on Tuesday the 27th. Like I said, I'll be bringing the netbook but I don't know what is available for WiFi
Do not store the salmon in the airplane, keep it in a separate container far from the campsite until you are ready for takeoff. Especially in Grizzly country:
Hat tip to Neptunus Lex for the image. Be sure to check out the image of the aircraft 'repaired'

James Cameron interview

His film Avatar is coming out soon - The New Yorker has a nice interview/biography:

Man of Extremes
The Return of James Cameron
by Dana Goodyear

The director James Cameron is six feet two and fair, with paper-white hair and turbid blue-green eyes. He is a screamer - righteous, withering, aggrieved. "Do you want Paul Verhoeven to finish this motherfucker?" he shouted, an inch from Arnold Schwarzenegger's face, after the actor went AWOL from the set of True Lies, a James Bond spoof that Cameron was shooting in Washington, D.C. (Schwarzenegger had been giving the other actors a tour of the Capitol.) Cameron has mastered every job on set, and has even been known to grab a brush out of a makeup artist's hand. "I always do makeup touch-ups myself, especially for blood, wounds, and dirt," he says. "It saves so much time." His evaluations of others' abilities are colorful riddles. "Hiring you is like firing two good men," he says, or "Watching him light is like watching two monkeys fuck a football." A small, loyal band of cast and crew works with him repeatedly; they call the dark side of his personality Mij - Jim backward.

The pressures on Cameron are extreme, never mind that he has brought them on himself. His movies are among the most expensive ever made. Terminator 2 was the first film to cost a hundred million dollars, Titanic the first to exceed two hundred million. But victory is sweeter after a close brush with defeat. Terminator 2 earned five hundred and nineteen million around the world, and Titanic, which came out in 1997, still holds the record for global box-office: $1.8 billion.

Cameron is fifty-five. It has been twelve years since he has made a feature film; Avatar, his new movie, comes out on December 18th and will have cost more than two hundred and thirty million dollars by the time it's done. He started working on it full time four years ago, from a script he wrote in 1994. Avatar will be the first big-budget action blockbuster in 3-D; Cameron shot it using camera systems that he developed himself. He is a pioneer of special effects: the undulating water column of The Abyss and the liquid-silver man of Terminator 2 helped to inspire the digital revolution that has transformed moviemaking in the past two decades. The digital elements of Avatar, he claims, are so believable that, even when they exist alongside human actors, the audience will lose track of what is real and what is not. "This film integrates my life's achievements," he told me. "It's the most complicated stuff anyone's ever done." Another time, he said, "If you set your goals ridiculously high and it's a failure, you will fail above everyone else's success."

A long and wonderful read. Looking forward to this movie -- The Abyss is one of my favorites.

A noted Virologist on the H1N1

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From United Press International:
Farrakhan suspicious of H1N1 vaccine
Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan told an audience in Memphis he believes the H1N1 flu vaccine was developed to kill people, a witness said.

Farrakhan, 76, spoke for nearly three hours Sunday at a gathering to observe the religious group's Holy Day of Atonement, which also marked the 14th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington, the (Memphis) Commercial Appeal reported, citing a source who attended the speech.

"The Earth can't take 6.5 billion people. We just can't feed that many. So what are you going to do? Kill as many as you can. We have to develop a science that kills them and makes it look as though they died from some disease," Farrakhan said, adding that many wise people won't take the vaccine.

"The black community has become toxic and must cleanse and restore peace from within," Farrakhan said.

Farrakhan told listeners not to become complacent as a result of Barack Obama's election as the United States' first black president, the newspaper said.

"You have to understand that he was voted in to take on the affairs of a nation, not yours and mine. He is the American president, not the black president," he said.
Nice little segue into the Race Card there at the end. We can feed 6.5 million just fine. We can feed ten million just fine if we stop being idiots about it. Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of Africa -- exporting food. Mexico used to export Corn, now it imports. The USA could export a lot more food if we weren't growing it (with our tax dollars subsidizing this) for "bio-fuel" production. And as for that Million Man March thing -- National Park Service numbers put it at 400,000. Compare to the Taxpayer March last September 12th at 600,000 to 800,000 There is so much willful stupidity in this world and to keep promulgating it even when people must be telling you that you are wrong is heinous. Screwie Lewie needs to either get his facts straight or just shut up. His preaching borders on Malthusianism and we all know just how much I luuuve Malthusians...

Presto! Change-O!

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If you don't want to call it one thing, move it into another category. From Politico:
Dems look to debt for 'doc fix'
When President Barack Obama promised that health care reform would be fully paid for, many wondered how Democrats would fund a key provision whose cost is almost a third of the reform�s $900 billion price tag: protecting doctors from annual cuts to their Medicare reimbursement rates.

The Senate�s answer? Leave it out of the health care bill, rename it a �budgetary problem� and fix it separately � but without paying for it � by lumping it into the national debt. Voil�, promise kept.
Good Lord -- these idiots need to be kicked out of office. It's all spend spend spend with zero consideration of who is going to pay for all of their poor planning. These are people who are so out of touch with their constituency that they have no concept of what it means to work for a living...

Very interesting

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People that have read this blog will know that I am no big fan of the current incarnation of the Anglican Church. It has lost its backbone and has become a variation on the Universal Church of Christ. Nothing wrong with the U.C.C. but if you start out strong, you should remain strong and not morph into something that accepts everyone regardless... I have been encouraged by those Churches that have returned to the roots but there are none in this area. The Bellingham Church is about as liberal as they come and don't get me started about the Seattle Churches... I have been curious about Catholicism but have an issue with Papal Infallibility and a few such issues. Much to my surprise, I found this -- from the New Liturgical Movement:
Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans Entering the Catholic Church
This was released today by the Holy See:

With the preparation of an Apostolic Constitution, the Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion.

In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, pastoral oversight and guidance will be provided for groups of former Anglicans through a Personal Ordinariate, whose Ordinary will usually be appointed from among former Anglican clergy.

The forthcoming Apostolic Constitution provides a reasonable and even necessary response to a world-wide phenomenon, by offering a single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application. It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy. Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop. The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony. In this way, the Apostolic Constitution seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be integrated into the Catholic Church.
A bit more here -- from the New York Times:
Pope Sets Plan for Disaffected Anglicans to Join Catholics
In an extraordinary bid to lure traditionalist Anglicans en masse, the Vatican on Tuesday announced that it would make it easier for Anglicans who are uncomfortable with their church�s acceptance of women priests and openly gay bishops to join the Roman Catholic Church.

A new canonical entity will allow groups of Anglicans �to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony,� Cardinal William Levada, the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said at a news conference here.

Though both Catholic and Anglican leaders sought on Tuesday to present the move as a more coherent, unified response to those seeking conversion, the Vatican appeared to have announced the move to the Anglican Communion only in recent weeks and as a fait accompli. And many Anglican and Catholic leaders expressed surprise, even shock, at something they said would undermine efforts at ecumenical dialogue and capitalize on deep divisions within the Anglican Church over issues like the ordination of gay bishops and blessing same-sex unions.

The move could have wide impact in England, where large numbers of traditionalist Anglicans have protested the Church of England�s embrace in recent years of liberal theological reforms like ordaining women. These Anglicans, and others in places like Australia, might be attracted to the Roman Catholic fold because they have had nowhere else to go. If entire parishes or even dioceses leave the Church of England for the Catholic church, it will probably set off battles over ownership of church buildings and land.
Emphasis mine -- talk about unintended consequences... And as for the Ordination of Women and Gays, etc. etc. etc... It was not about that, these are the outward and visible signs of a weakness of spirit that had been festering for a long long time. I will have to follow this...


From The Hill:

Poll: Only 34 percent of Californians approve of Pelosi's performance
A poll released over the weekend shows that only 34 percent of Californians approve of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) job performance, down 14 points from March.

The study, conducted by the Field Research Corporation, also showed that 44 percent of respondents disapproved of her job performance while 22 percent held no opinion. In the organization's last poll in March, 48 percent of respondents approved of Pelosi's job performance while 35 percent disapproved.

Democrats approved of Pelosi's performance as leader by a count of 51-23, with 26 percent expressing no opinion. Republicans overwhelmingly disapproved of her performance: 7 percent approved, 79 percent disapproved and 14 percent said they held no opinion.

That woman is getting worse day by day. A true definition of a harridan. Glad to see her constituents seeing her with clear eyes.

Very high geekdom

This application will download videos in your choice of formats or resolutions from YouTube and save them on your hard disk.

You can batch any number of videos as well as get the videos from a user or specific folder.

Check out DVD VideoSoft

Wanted to put the Lord Monkton video onto a DVD and pass it around for people to watch. It is that compelling...

On the road again

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We are leaving tomorrow to drive down to Seattle and take an early flight to San Francisco for a family event. Returning back on the 27th. I'll have a netbook with me but I don't know about wifi availability. I'll leave comments on but posting will be light. Nearing two milestones -- my first post was at 1:14 on October 27th And, we are approaching another milestone:
62 posts short of an even 10,000 -- would have been fun to reach it but oh well...

Ramping up the rhetoric to Copenhagen

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More bloviation from the politicians who know not what of they speak. From the London Times:
Brown warns of 'catastrophe' without Copenhagen climate deal
Gordon Brown warned today of a catastrophe for the planet if action to tackle climate change is not agreed at forthcoming UN talks and said that global warming could be more costly than two world wars and the Great Depression.

The Prime Minister delivered the analysis in a speech to representatives from 17 countries at the Major Economies Forum (MEF), convened as part of efforts to secure a deal at the UN summit in Copenhagen in December.

Mr Brown examined the economic, human and ecological impact of a failure to cut the emissions blamed for driving up temperatures.

He also told the forum, which is gathered in London for a second day of talks, that he believes a deal in Copenhagen is possible, but with fewer than 50 days to go governments were not making progress quickly enough.
Hey Gordon -- don't let the door hit 'ya where the good Lord split 'ya. Have fun in private life because, according to the polls, your political life doesn't have that long to run...
These people should be shunned for what they did. From the Australian news.com.au website:
Wheelchair-bound man left halfway up Mount Snowdon
A WHEELCHAIR-bound man suffered mild exposure after being abandoned halfway up a mountain by a group of charity climbers who gave up carrying him.

The 31-year-old man was left sitting on the steep and rocky Llanberis Path by the rest of his party of six, who were martial artists on a charity climb of Mount Snowdon in North Wales, the TimesOnline reports.

�The poor bloke was sitting there in his wheelchair for quite a while,� climber Dave Morrell, who witnessed the incident, told the TimesOnline.

�It was a bit mean of them to leave him there while they carried on to the top. But other climbers went over to talk to him. He was just getting very cold.�

The man was met by his party during their descent but they pleaded exhaustion and called out a rescue team to carry him down.

Fifteen members of the Llanberis mountain rescue team ferried the man to the mountain railway where a train brought him back to ground level.

�This party were poorly prepared and felt it was OK to carry on to the summit rather than turn around and get him down the mountain,� Ian Henderson of Llanberis mountain rescue team said.

Mr Henderson described the rescue team callout as �cheeky�.

�At what point did they think �it�s OK we�ll get the rescue team to push him down?��
Words... Fail... Leaving the guy to go on and summit is unconscionable. To refuse to help him and calling search and rescue on the way down is criminal.
From Anthony at Watts Up With That:
Video of Monckton�s Speech on Obama Poised to Cede US Sovereignty in Copenhagen
Now the full video of the speech is available of Lord Christopher Monckton speaking on October 14th, 2009 at a climate skeptic event sponsored by the Minnesota Free Market Institute. As an added bonus, we have the Powerpoint presentation used. Unlike Al Gore�s presentations, Monckton�s presentations are not �secret� and are available to the public.
The speech is ninety minutes long -- the Powerpoint presentation is as a PDF and is 17MB. Well worth getting and viewing. Monkton knows his stuff and is very adroit at poking holes in the IPCC and Al Gore's bloviations. Anthropogenic Global Warming is a political agenda, not a scientific one.
An interesting loophole using our tax dollars to subsidize electric cars. From the Wall Street Journal:
Cash for Clubbers
Congress's fabulous golf cart stimulus.

We thought cash for clunkers was the ultimate waste of taxpayer money, but as usual we were too optimistic. Thanks to the federal tax credit to buy high-mileage cars that was part of President Obama's stimulus plan, Uncle Sam is now paying Americans to buy that great necessity of modern life, the golf cart.

The federal credit provides from $4,200 to $5,500 for the purchase of an electric vehicle, and when it is combined with similar incentive plans in many states the tax credits can pay for nearly the entire cost of a golf cart. Even in states that don't have their own tax rebate plans, the federal credit is generous enough to pay for half or even two-thirds of the average sticker price of a cart, which is typically in the range of $8,000 to $10,000. "The purchase of some models could be absolutely free," Roger Gaddis of Ada Electric Cars in Oklahoma said earlier this year. "Is that about the coolest thing you've ever heard?"

The golf-cart boom has followed an IRS ruling that golf carts qualify for the electric-car credit as long as they are also road worthy. These qualifying golf carts are essentially the same as normal golf carts save for adding some safety features, such as side and rearview mirrors and three-point seat belts. They typically can go 15 to 25 miles per hour.

In South Carolina, sales of these carts have been soaring as dealerships alert customers to Uncle Sam's giveaway. "The Golf Cart Man" in the Villages of Lady Lake, Florida is running a banner online ad that declares: "GET A FREE GOLF CART. Or make $2,000 doing absolutely nothing!"

Golf Cart Man is referring to his offer in which you can buy the cart for $8,000, get a $5,300 tax credit off your 2009 income tax, lease it back for $100 a month for 27 months, at which point Golf Cart Man will buy back the cart for $2,000. "This means you own a free Golf Cart or made $2,000 cash doing absolutely nothing!!!" You can't blame a guy for exploiting loopholes that Congress offers.

The IRS has also ruled that there's no limit to how many electric cars an individual can buy, so some enterprising profiteers are stocking up on multiple carts while the federal credit lasts, in order to resell them at a profit later. We should note that some states, such as Oklahoma, have caught on to the giveaway and are debating whether to cancel or limit their state credits. But in Congress they're still on the driving range.

This golf-cart fiasco perfectly illustrates tax policy in the age of Obama, when politicians dole out credits and loopholes for everything from plug-in cars to fuel efficient appliances, home insulation and vitamins. Democrats then insist that to pay for these absurdities they have no choice but to raise tax rates on other things�like work and investment�that aren't politically in vogue. If this keeps up, it'll soon make more sense to retire and play golf than work for living.
Unreal. Out of touch and hopefully, soon out of work...

Duct Tape

Red Green visits the worlds largest Duct Tape factory:
Duct Tape rocks...

I Bring What I Love

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Just WOW! It is playing in smaller art houses through the end of this year. If you have the chance to see it, do. This movie will be with both of us for a long long time. I trust that sometime after the end of this year it will be released to DVD -- I will be looking for this and will post (as well as buying a copy for the store's video collection) when it is. Hung out in a local coffeehouse before the film and went out for some really good Indian food after so this has been a very pleasant multi-culti kind of day.

A couple of questions

Phyllis Schlafly has some pointed questions about Obama's first three hundred days in office:

If Obama Had Told Us Before His Election
If Barack Obama had campaigned on what he has actually done in his first 300 days in office, would he have been elected? That's the question so many are asking today.

If Obama had told us he would appoint 34 Czars, reporting only to himself and not vetted or confirmed in the constitutional way, building a powerful unitary executive branch of government, would he have been elected? What if he had told us that his Green Jobs Czar had been a Communist, that the Science Czar wrote in a college textbook that compulsory "green abortions" are an acceptable way to control population growth, and that the Diversity Czar has spoken publicly of getting white media executives to "step down" in favor of minorities?

If Obama had told us he would take over the automobile industry faster than any socialist dictator ever nationalized an industry, fire the CEO of General Motors and replace him with a Democratic Party campaign contributor, would Obama have been elected? If Obama had campaigned on closing down thousands of profitable car dealers, nearly all Republicans, would we have believed that this vindictive financial retaliation against those who didn't vote for Obama could happen in America?

If Hugo Chavez, the Communist who nationalized most of Venezuela's industries, had said before the election that "Comrade Obama" would nationalize the U.S. automobile industry and "end up to his right," would anybody have believed it? If talk shows had warned against such a socialist takeover, would the Obama-loving media have accused them of McCarthyism?

If Obama had told us he would spend $3 billion in a Cash for Clunkers program that would use taxpayers' funds to buy mostly foreign cars and grind up the used American cars traded in to make them unusable, would he have been elected?

If Obama had told us that his Stimulus package is a sham because it does not create private-sector jobs (as a tax cut would do), so that the unemployment rate has risen to nearly 10 percent, with 15 million Americans unemployed plus another 11 million underemployed, could he have been elected?

And she is just getting warmed up. Some good questions to be thinking about...

Health care in Brittan

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The level of health care over in England is so good that everyone is enrolled in the program right? Not so much -- from the UK Guardian:
NHS sends thousands of its own staff private
The number of hospital staff who are receiving private healthcare treatment paid for by the NHS has prompted accusations that the health service is paying for its staff to queue-jump and raised questions about its ability to provide adequate treatment.

Freedom of information requests sent out to all NHS trusts and hospitals in England reveal that over the past three years 3,337 employees were treated, at a cost to the taxpayer of �1,578,607. The figures � obtained by the Liberal Democrats � show the practice is becoming increasingly common.

In 2006-07, 708 staff received private treatment at a cost of �279,335. The following year, 988 staff received private treatment at a cost of �470,859. Last year, the number jumped to 1,641 staff at a cost of �828,413.

"If the NHS thinks it necessary to pay for private treatment for its staff to jump waiting lists, then it raises serious questions about whether the current system is working as it should," said Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman.
One size fits all -- right? I love the number that I heard that the NHS is the third largest employer in the world behind the Chinese army and the Indian railroad system.

Heading into town for a movie

There are a lot of false Islamists out there, those poor children that follow the false prophet Mohamed. These people are trapped in a culture of hate, fear and shame -- they have no love in their hearts.

These are the people you read about in the news -- terrorists, the seething mobs that show up at a heartbeat to protest some inequity.

We are heading into town today for a screening of I Bring What I Love -- a profile of Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour who is a Sufi. The website is entirely done in Flash so it is impossible to copy an excerpt of the 'About' page -- go there and read. The film looks amazing.


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Great song from Ed Montana:
A Theo two-fer today.

What we are up against in Afghanistan

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Couldn't have put it better myself:
Click to embiggen...
Hat tip to Theo Spark

A spot of rain

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I mentioned earlier that it was raining buckets this afternoon. Turns out that a station eight miles to our East recorded over three inches! Time to think about building an ark. Now how big is a cubit anyway... That's it for the night -- off to the DaveCave(tm) to check email and then to bed. Dream about towering stacks of firewood...
Have to laugh -- I know that I am picking low-hanging fruit and I have a particular antipathy toward the East-coast elite liberal universities but still... From Bloomburg:
Harvard�s Bet on Interest Rate Rise Cost $500 Million to Exit
Harvard University�s failed bet that interest rates would rise cost the world�s richest school at least $500 million in payments to escape derivatives that backfired.

Harvard paid $497.6 million to investment banks during the fiscal year ended June 30 to get out of $1.1 billion of interest-rate swaps intended to hedge variable-rate debt for capital projects, the school�s annual report said. The university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said it also agreed to pay $425 million over 30 to 40 years to offset an additional $764 million in swaps.
A bit more:
�Substantial losses� in Harvard�s General Operating Account, a pool of cash from which bills are paid, further put pressure on the school, the report said. The net asset value of the account fell to $3.7 billion from $6.6 billion during the fiscal year, according to the report.

Harvard has typically invested a large portion of this operating account alongside the endowment, generating �significant positive investment results,� the report said. This year, the endowment�s losses hurt Harvard�s cash, according to the report.
And a lot of the money that would come in from alumni donations has slowed to a trickle. A lot of these intelligentsia had their money with Bernie. How people could miss that this recession was going to be a long and brutal haul amazes me. Interest rates will not rise until people start spending more and people will not be spending more until taxes go down and money frees up. Don't these idiots read Roubini?

A debate between these two would be a delight to see. From Google News/Associated Press:

Sharpton threatens to sue Rush over op-ed remarks
The Rev. Al Sharpton is threatening to sue Rush Limbaugh for writing that the civil rights leader played a role in two New York race riots.

Limbaugh wrote that Sharpton played "a leading role in the 1991 Crown Heights riot" and the "1995 Freddie's Fashion Mart riot" in a Wall Street Journal column published Saturday. Sharpton called both allegations false.

Wiki on Crown Heights and Al Sharpton (has entries for the two riots plus much much more)

From the Seattle Times:
State's 'Pirates' ship too dirty for Calif.
Washington's official state ship, the venerable Lady Washington, is no longer welcome in California.

The 112-foot square-rigger, perhaps best-known as the ship hijacked by Jack Sparrow in the Disney film "Pirates of the Caribbean," normally spends its winters in California waters. Last winter, it hosted more than 70,000 visitors and took more than 7,000 California school kids sailing from California ports.

But not this year. Despite its 4,442 square feet of ever-so-green sail power, the Lady W also employs a 60-year-old diesel engine that fails to meet California's air-pollution standards.

"If they didn't run that engine, there wouldn't be a problem," explained Cherie Rainforth, a staffer at the California Air Resources Board.

Canceling the California voyages means no school trips, no tourist excursions and no ticket revenue for the nonprofit Grays Harbor Historic Seaport Authority, which depends on that income to keep the ship running.
What a pusillanimous little idiot -- sure, keeping a lid on air pollution is a good thing to do but for something as special as The Lady Washington, you issue a variance and get on with life. 70,000 visitors last year with 7,000 school kids having the adventure of their lives. You are tossing that out just because of some diesel exhaust.

A good pain

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Got two cords of firewood in this afternoon. The guy dropped it off his truck and it was my job to stack. Of course, there was the cord and a half from last year that had to be moved, I got about a cord of the new stuff stacked and under cover plus filling up the firewood bins in the DaveCave(tm) and the main house. Then, it started raining buckets with thunder and lightning. I pulled a tarp over the remaining wood, downed a handful of ibuprofen and am sitting here waiting for them to kick in. The good news is that we are now set for the winter. Considering that it will be a very cold one, this is a good thing. Monday is supposed to be nice so I'll finish stacking the wood then...

20 years ago today

Twenty years ago this evening, the 6.9 Magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake ripped through the San Francisco Bay area. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Loma Prieta survivors' transforming moments
Seldom have 15 seconds wrought so much for so many. By the time the 6.9-magnitude shaking ended at 5:04 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake had transformed the lives of thousands of people throughout the Bay Area.

Some became heroes. Some were damaged deep in their psyches, while others were spurred to make the world safer for next time. Here are some of their stories.
I was living in Seattle at that time and had been out for ten days on my sailboat. I had just tied up at my pier, taken a shower and walked over to a local bar that had good food planning to eat a nice dinner. The place was very narrow -- door was in one corner of the building and the television set was to one side of the door facing into the bar. As I walked in, I saw that everyone's face was glued to the screen. I knew the World Series was on and was wondering why everyone was so intent on the game. I turned and watched, with everyone else, the footage of the freeway taken from some helicopter. Wow...

Rush and the Media

Say what you may about the man, he is whip smart and knows how to work the media. You may have heard that he was a member of a team that is looking to purchase the St. Louis Rams football team and that all manner of hand-wringing and uproar came from the liberals about how someone so divisive and prejudiced should never be allowed to own something like a professional athletics team. Here is his reply to that -- from the Wall Street Journal:
The Race Card, Football and Me
My critics would have you believe no conservative meets NFL 'standards.'

David Checketts, an investor and owner of sports teams, approached me in late May about investing in the St. Louis Rams football franchise. As a football fan, I was intrigued. I invited him to my home where we discussed it further. Even after informing him that some people might try to make an issue of my participation, Mr. Checketts said he didn't much care. I accepted his offer.

It didn't take long before my name was selectively leaked to the media as part of the Checketts investment group. Shortly thereafter, the media elicited comments from the likes of Al Sharpton. In 1998 Mr. Sharpton was found guilty of defamation and ordered to pay $65,000 for falsely accusing a New York prosecutor of rape in the 1987 Tawana Brawley case. He also played a leading role in the 1991 Crown Heights riot (he called neighborhood Jews "diamond merchants") and 1995 Freddie's Fashion Mart riot.

Not to be outdone, Jesse Jackson, whose history includes anti-Semitic speech (in 1984 he referred to Jews as "Hymies" and to New York City as "Hymietown" in a Washington Post interview) chimed in. He found me unfit to be associated with the NFL. I was too divisive and worse. I was accused of once supporting slavery and having praised Martin Luther King Jr.'s murderer, James Earl Ray.

Next came writers in the sports world, like the Washington Post's Michael Wilbon. He wrote this gem earlier this week: "I'm not going to try and give specific examples of things Limbaugh has said over the years because I screwed up already doing that, repeating a quote attributed to Limbaugh (about slavery) which he has told me he simply did not say and does not reflect his feelings. I take him at his word. . . . "

Mr. Wilbon wasn't alone. Numerous sportswriters, CNN, MSNBC, among others, falsely attributed to me statements I had never made. Their sources, as best I can tell, were Wikipedia and each other. But the Wikipedia post was based on a fabrication printed in a book that also lacked any citation to an actual source.
An interesting look at our cancerous society and the way the liberals operate. Limbaugh's conclusion is worth reading as he had done nothing wrong, the quotes had zero basis in fact but he was still forced from the investment group by public opinion.

A bit of time traveling

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From the Nairobi, Kenya Sunday Standard, June 27, 2004:
Click to embiggen...

Drill here, Drill now

A couple of trenchant observations from Sarah Palin:
Petroleum is a major part of America�s energy picture. Shall we get it here or abroad?
By Sarah Palin

Given that we�re spending billions of stimulus dollars to rebuild our highways, it makes sense to think about what we�ll be driving on them. For years to come, most of what we drive will be powered, at least in part, by diesel fuel or gasoline. To fuel that driving, we need access to oil. The less use we make of our own reserves, the more we will have to import, which leads to a number of harmful consequences. That means we need to drill here and drill now.

We rely on petroleum for much more than just powering our vehicles: It is essential in everything from jet fuel to petrochemicals, plastics to fertilizers, pesticides to pharmaceuticals. Ac�cord�ing to the Energy Information Ad�min�is�tra�tion, our total domestic petroleum consumption last year was 19.5 million barrels per day (bpd). Motor gasoline and diesel fuel accounted for less than 13 million bpd of that. Meanwhile, we produced only 4.95 million bpd of domestic crude. In other words, even if we ran all our vehicles on something else (which won�t happen anytime soon), we would still have to depend on imported oil. And we�ll continue that dependence until we develop our own oil resources to their fullest extent.

Those who oppose domestic drilling are motivated primarily by environmental considerations, but many of the countries we�re forced to import from have few if any environmental-protection laws, and those that do exist often go unenforced. In effect, American environmentalists are preventing responsible development here at home while supporting irresponsible development overseas.

My home state of Alaska shows how it�s possible to be both pro-environment and pro-resource-development. Alaskans would never support anything that endangered our pristine air, clean water, and abundant wildlife (which, among other things, provides many of us with our livelihood). The state�s government has made safeguarding resources a priority; when I was governor, for instance, we created a petroleum-systems-integrity office to monitor our oil and gas infrastructure for any potential environmental risks.

Alaska also shows how oil drilling is thoroughly compatible with energy conservation and renewable-energy development. Over 20 percent of Alas�ka�s electricity currently comes from renewable sources, and as governor I put forward a long-term plan to increase that figure to 50 percent by 2025. Alaska�s comprehensive plan identifies renewable options across the state that can help rural villages transition away from expensive diesel-generated electricity � allowing each community to choose the solution that best fits its needs. That�s important in any energy plan: Tempting as they may be to central planners, top-down, one-size-fits-all solutions are recipes for failure.
The full editorial is available at The National Review On Sarah's FaceBook page, commenter Patrick shines a light on the mindset of those people trying to hold us back:
None of the above. I believe we should decrease fossil fuel usage incrementally. All while offering more funding to worthwhile, carbon-neutral renewable energy entrepreneurs.
To those of his ilk, I would remind them of the following facts. We get about 2% of our energy needs from "alternative" sources which are greatly more expensive than conventional sources. There is no way that a crash program would move this number much beyond 10% in 20 years and the cost would be staggering. Alternative energy has never taken off because it is so much more expensive than the conventional sources. Nuclear -- we have well over 500 years of known reserves of domestic nuclear fuel. Thorium is a very common element in our crust. Natural Gas -- we have about 300 years of known reserves with more being discovered every month. Coal -- we are not even close to tapping our coal reserves. The alternatives: Photo-Voltaic -- manufactured with the same nasty chemicals as used for computer chips and only has a 30 year lifespan. That plus, at the very optimum, you can only get 1,000 watts per square meter of land, at high noon, near the equator. I don't run my welder all the time (or my water pump) but each requires about 6K watts and I live in the Pacific Northwest -- latitude 40 and dark and rainy. I am lucky to get 300 watts/sq. meter on a good day. Hydrogen -- see: Joke; an energy transport mechanism, not a fuel. Ethanol -- propped up by our tax dollars thanks to the Government Lobbyists at Archer Daniels Midland and other large grain growers. It takes about 110 parts of energy to produce sufficient Ethanol to yield 100 parts of energy. see: Joke Wind -- fine in some places although these places are too far from the established grid -- see: Pickens, T. Boone; no good for baseload and too intermittent for peak. The real answer to the energy question: Drill here, drill now and build nukes...

Honey -- we are going shopping

Be still my beating heart! From The Irish Times:

Where Santa stocks up on stockings
With 62,000 stalls, the Yiwu market is the wholesale face of China's massive factories, selling everything under the sun to the West, Muslim immigrants - and Santa Claus, writes CLIFFORD COONAN in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, China

TO YOUR left, esteemed customers - artificial flowers, cuddly toys, fashion jewellery, hair accessories, jewellery fittings, and arts and crafts items. To your right, moving down this endless row of stalls: photograph frames, crystal, and buckets and spades in lurid reds and yellows.

Go up a floor and you've got bags, wallets, hardware, kitchenware, bikes, watches clocks, locks, scooters and home appliances. Not far from here you can see the factories where large percentages of the world's zips, buttons, packaging materials and accessories are made.

Here in Yiwu, the world's biggest wholesale market, crazy-eyed leprechauns, Tom and Jerry, the Pink Panther and Yosemite Sam beam out from one of 62,000 stalls. This busy city in eastern China is the factory outlet for the planet's manufacturing epicentre.

This where Santa Claus comes to shop, particularly in a recession when money is tight and the generous old gent has to tighten that already straining belt across his red-clad girth.

"You need to come up with different products, to make sure they are popular in all kinds of difficult markets," says stallholder Jin Fang, cheerfully embracing a huge World Cup teddy bear.

The Yiwu wholesale market is the public face of the greatest experiment in mass production ever seen, selling the produce from the world's five biggest sock manufacturers and the largest zip factory. This market has, quite literally, everything. It is the kind of place that makes you fear for the world's dwindling resources because so much iron ore, copper and plastic seem to have ended up here, transformed into knick-knacks.

Standing guard at one stall is an enormous World Cup South Africa 2010 mascot. It's not just Santa Claus who shops here - you can bet that the marketing gurus who trail in his wake will be sourcing green-jerseyed mascots here to beat the band if Ireland ever qualify for South Africa. They also make the funny big hands here. And the comical Viking hats. And whistles. Rattles. Giant bananas. Sometimes it feels like everything is made in Yiwu. Maybe Robbie Keane was made here.

There are 320,000 different commodities on sale, in more than 1,500 categories, within 34 industries. These are spread throughout the city, but are concentrated in four vast wholesale markets, with four million-plus square metres of selling space, shipping to more than 200 countries. City mayor Li Xuhang has pointed out that if you gave each supplier three minutes during an average eight hours of doing business, you would need more than a year to get around the market.

The hell with the Yiwu market, I want to go to Shenzhen for the 75th China Electronics Fair this coming April. Not a market; an entire city... With incredible food... And a couple hours from Hong Kong with even better food... Come back penniless and fat -- with the dark winter skies and constant rain these days, I can't think of a better way to blow my savings.

Interesting tech if it pans out

There are a lot of xyzzy+air battery chemistries. How about sand+air -- ?? -- read here: The Jerusalem Post:
New Israeli battery provides thousands of hours of power
A new kind of portable electrochemical battery that can produce thousands of hours of power - and soon replace the expensive regular or rechargeable batteries in hearing aids and sensors and eventually in cellphones, laptop computers and even electric cars - has been developed at Haifa's Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

The unique battery is based on silicon as a fuel that reverts to its original sand. The battery can also be left on the shelf for years and inserted into a device to provide immediate power.

It was developed over the last two-and-a-half years by Prof. Yair Ein-Eli of the Technion's materials engineering department, with collaboration by Prof. Digby Macdonald of Pennsylvania State University in the US and Prof. Rika Hagiwara of Kyoto University in Japan.

The work was conducted with a grant from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, and an article on the battery was just published in the journal Electrochemistry Communications.

Ein-Eli told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that he has spent the last eight years investigating silicon in all aspects and the possibility of its serving as the major component of a highly efficient and environmentally friendly battery.
Electron mobility is not going to be great so don't look for something to power a vehicle but, for constant, low current electrical requirements, this will be awesome -- think remote monitoring stations, beacon lighthouses, low power PDAs, etc... Fun time to be alive!

The truth about the Honduras "coup"

Finally, word is getting out about what actually happened in Honduras. Here is Greta Van Sustern Interviewing Democratic Leader Roberto Micheletti of Honduras:
That Obama thinks that Zelaya should remain in office beyond his two legal terms shows a lot about who we elected as President... Hat tip to Firehand for the link.

San Francisco of all places...

From SF Television station KGO-TV:
Thousands protest during Obama visit
Hundreds of supporters donating millions of dollars came to hear President Barack Obama speak in San Francisco on Thursday night, but not everyone came to cheer. A huge crowd of protesters also turned out to deliver messages of their own.

People started lining up a few hours before President Obama was scheduled to arrive at the Westin St. Frances Hotel. Protestors had a lot to say about health care and the war in Afghanistan. They argued with each other and held signs with strong messages for the president.

"People in this country had a lot of trust to vote for him to make a change and they really didn't know what kind of change," said Pleasanton resident Karla Bruen.
Encouraging to say the least that several thousand people could rally in San Francisco. And, you have to love the bias present in the reporting: From the lede: supporters donating millions of dollars Later on in the body of the text: The Democratic Party estimates it raised $3 million Sure, three million does qualify as being in the "millions" but...

A cautionary tale

Words to meditate on:

When more = less...............from Rico
Zimbabwe (remembered by fossils like yours truly as Rhodesia, the wealthiest country in Africa...also known as Africa's breadbasket).

In 1980 the Z$ was worth MORE than the US$.
The Z$ of May 2008 had lost 99.99% of its purchasing power by November 2008.

What happened?
- Politics (Marxist Socialism under Bobby Mugabe).
- Printing bales of paper money to fill the gaping hole socialist politics made in the economy.

Does anything sound familiar or resonate here? But-but-but it can't happen HERE you say.
- Sin loi...it has already started.

Let's see now...since March 2009 US stocks have risen 60%, but the US$ has fallen 15% (and it's not nearly done dropping yet). Earning more of a devalued currency. Such a deal!

Kudos to Team Obama...and a reminder: November approaches!

What he said -- hat tip to Theo

Something didn't ring quite right and I put some numbers to paper. The Falcon Heene story is Abject Bullshit. From FOX News:
Balloon Family's Stab at Video Fame Included Father's 'Fake or Real' Rants
Richard Heene, in addition to attaining a level of reality TV fame on ABC's "Wife Swap," has his own amateur video series on YouTube in which he sizes up various pop culture phenomena.

For each topic, from the Loch Ness monster to Britney Spears' chest, he asks the question "fake or real?"

But on Thursday, Heene's family was caught up in a real-life drama that raised the same question, as Colorado authorities feared his son was trapped in a runaway flying balloon only to discover after the balloon crashed that the boy had been hiding, safe at home the whole time.

A reporter even asked Heene afterward if the whole thing was a big publicity stunt, which he adamantly denied.

"That's horrible after the crap we just went through. No," he said.
A Liter of Air weighs about 1.2 Grams at STP. A Liter of He weighs about 0.1785 Grams at STP. Translating into the units that we understand, a balloon with about 15 Cubic Feet will lift about One Pound. Here is a thumbnail image of the balloon at its crash site:
So that is maybe... 10-15 feet in diameter and a little over three or four feet thick. I will be kind and assume a cross-section of a cylinder and not the odd shape that it is. A 15' diameter has a radius of 7.5' Volume of a cylinder is v = h * pi * r squared Working backwards: 7.5 * 7.5 (r sq.) * 3.141 (pi) * 4 (h) = 706.725 cu. ft. 706.725 cu. ft. / 15 = 47.115 maximum pounds of lift.
  • Obviously, the balloon is not 700 cu. ft. in size, the edges are tapered and I am giving them the benefit of the doubt on each dimension.
  • Obviously the 47 pounds is not the payload capacity -- the balloon has an electronics package and it has its own structure to account for.
  • Finally, we are not dealing with STP (Standard Temperature and Pressure -- sea level and 68 degrees F), we are dealing with the atmospheric pressure at their elevation in Colorado -- some 5,000 feet. The lift will be less.
I remember hearing on the radio as I was driving back home that the family was not going to be charged for the cost of the Search and Rescue. I hope that they are -- this was an egregious publicity stunt. The laws of Physics bar the child from ever being in the balloon as it flew; let alone his being able to survive in an envelope full of helium -- didn't see a crew capsule. Once again, Bullshit and an incredibly stupid stunt to try...

Not a Czar this time

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How about Obama's White House communications director. From 2.0: blogmocracy:
Anita Dunn Admires Mao Tse-Tung
Radical Totalitarian Progressive Anita Dunn who is White House communications director is an admirer of Mao. She has declared war on Fox News because they don�t support the Progressive agenda. Glenn Beck, who is an expert on using the tactics of Saul Alinsky against the Left has exposed her. In June of this year, she praised Mao as one of her idols.
5:36 minutes of curious YouTube video follows:
The wonderful thing is like Van Jones, et. al., these morons are hanging themselves out in the open. It is just a matter of finding the right video of them speaking. Mao only killed how many people? 70 Million?

An interesting item in our Constitution

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Have you read Article I, Section 9 recently? In light of Obama's Nobel Prize, it might be worth a quick review... Ronald D. Rotunda and J. Peter Pham do at the Washington Post:
An Unconstitutional Nobel
People can, and undoubtedly will, argue for some time about whether President Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, though, there's a simpler and more immediate question: Does the Constitution allow him to accept the award?

Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, the emolument clause, clearly stipulates: "And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State."

The award of the peace prize to a sitting president is not unprecedented. But Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson received the honor for their past actions: Roosevelt's efforts to end the Russo-Japanese War, and Wilson's work in establishing the League of Nations. Obama's award is different. It is intended to affect future action. As a member of the Nobel Committee explained, the prize should encourage Obama to meet his goal of nuclear disarmament. It raises important legal questions for the second time in less than 10 months -- questions not discussed, much less adequately addressed anywhere else.

The five-member Nobel commission is elected by the Storting, the parliament of Norway. Thus the award of the peace prize is made by a body representing the legislature of a sovereign foreign state. There is no doubt that the Nobel Peace Prize is an "emolument" ("gain from employment or position," according to Webster).

An opinion of the U.S. attorney general advised, in 1902, that "a simple remembrance," even "if merely a photograph, falls under the inclusion of 'any present of any kind whatever.' " President Clinton's Office of Legal Counsel, in 1993, reaffirmed the 1902 opinion, and explained that the text of the clause does not limit "its application solely to foreign governments acting as sovereigns." This opinion went on to say that the emolument clause applies even when the foreign government acts through instrumentalities. Thus the Nobel Prize is an emolument, and a foreign one to boot.

Second, the president has indicated that he will give the prize money to charity, but that does not solve his legal problem. Giving that $1.4 million to a charity could give him a deduction that would reduce his income taxes by $500,000 -- not a nominal amount. Moreover, the money is not his to give away. It belongs to the United States: A federal statute provides that if the president accepts a "tangible or intangible present" for more than a minimal value from any foreign government, the gift "shall become the property of the United States."
The article goes on to state that this is not the first issue with the whole emolument concept. Of course, you can always claim that the two authors are just journalists but no:
Ronald D. Rotunda is distinguished professor of jurisprudence at Chapman University Law School. J. Peter Pham is senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Listen to the North

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A fascinating editorial from our neighbors to the North. We live about four miles as the crow flies from the Canadian border but for us, it is one vast conurbation from Vancouver stretching hundreds of miles East along the border to the Okanogans. What we experience of Canada is not influenced that much by the Culture of the Arctic. It seems that the Culture of the Arctic is being managed by the bureaucrats of the South and people are not happy... From the Literary Review of Canada:
Listen to the North
Cramming northerners� needs into a southern model just isn�t working.

Sometimes we understand events in our lives immediately. Sometimes it takes decades. I have gradually realized over the last year that my view of Canada, indeed my view of how my own life could or should be lived, was radically transformed late in the winter of 1976 on my first trip to the Arctic. I was 29, fresh from seven years in France, first writing my PhD, then running a small investment firm in Paris. Those are experiences that produce a southern, urban, European-oriented self-confidence, which could also be described as the attitude of a classic colonial Canadian.

I travelled north with Maurice Strong, the founding chair and CEO of Petro-Canada. It had begun operations on the first of January that year. Maurice was its first employee. As his assistant, I was the second and so doubled the size of the national oil company. It was a Crown corporation and had inherited the shares the government held in some of the private companies exploring for oil and gas in the High Arctic islands. The government had financed some of these risky ventures or rescued them. And so we were going north to look over our property; that is, the people�s property.

On our way to the High Arctic islands, we flew into Inuvik�then an oil and gas boom town�on the delta of the Mackenzie River where it flowed into the Arctic Ocean. The first meeting Maurice had organized was with the local hunters and trappers associations. I believe they represented the Inuit, the Dene and the Gwich�in. I went into the room filled with goodwill, thanks to my urban, southern, western views�in other words, I was out to lunch. An hour and a half later I walked out in a state of deep confusion. It seemed that there was another way of looking at society, another way of looking at the land, at human relationships, at the relationship between society and the land.

This other view was not necessarily to the left or the right, for or against oil exploration or other forms of development. This was a different philosophy, a Canadian philosophy, not derivative of the South or the West. It existed outside of those rational structures of thought that aim to separate humans from everything else in order to raise us to a privileged position in which our interests trump those of the place in which we exist. Whatever the advantages of this approach, we are now faced with unintended outcomes such as climate change. This other philosophy, when I first heard it applied in Inuvik, is just as interested in human well-being, but sees it in a context integrated with the place. And so these hunters were asking tough questions about the broader, longer-term impacts of each narrow southern-style proposal for what we thought of as progress.
Some wonderful and thoughtful writing -- I am putting the Literary Review of Canada on my favorites as a possible addition to the blogroll.
An interesting look at my least-favorite President. From Stormbringer:
America must never forget those who hate us for what we are, those who spread ill-will and discontent about what we stand for.

According to writer Ronald Kessler, Jimmy Carter was the "least likeable" president. Ronald Kessler reveals this in his new book "In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect", about the Secret Service that chronicles the agency�s activities guarding every president from Kennedy to Obama.
A bit more:
"For three and a half years, agent John Piasecky was on Carter's detail � including seven months of driving him in the presidential limousine � and Carter never spoke to him, he says.

"At the same time, Carter tried to project an image of himself as man of the people by carrying his own luggage when traveling. But that was often for show. When he was a candidate in 1976, Carter would carry his own bags when the press was around but ask the Secret Service to carry them the rest of the time."
And more:
Early in his presidency, Carter proclaimed that the White House would be "dry," and only wine, but no liquor, would be served at state dinners.

The word was passed to get rid of all the booze on Air Force One, at Camp David, and in the White House. But on the first Sunday the Carters were in the White House, they ordered up Bloody Marys before going to church.

Kessler discloses that Carter "would regularly make a show of going to the Oval Office at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. to call attention to how hard he was working for the American people."

In fact, "he would work for half an hour, then close the curtains and take a nap," Robert B. Sulliman Jr., who was on Carter's detail, told Kessler.

"His staff would tell the press he was working."
Carter carefully positions himself on the highest of the moral high grounds. Somehow I am not surprised to find that he is just as human as the rest of us. Only good thing that came of his administration was the two terms of Ronald Regan.
Thanks Morgan! From CNS News/Associated Press:
Morgan Freeman on Mississippi: �Base Stock of This State is a Mule-Headed Bunch of Farmers�
Clarksdale, Miss. - Academy-Award winner Morgan Freeman says Mississippi is "starving" for the right leadership, so the actor is using his celebrity status to help his friend run for governor in 2011.

Freeman has written a fundraising letter and is one of the hosts for a cocktail party in Los Angeles next week for Bill Luckett, an attorney seeking the Democratic nomination. Term limits prevent Republican Gov. Haley Barbour from seeking a third term.

�Reform in Mississippi is hard because the base stock of this state is a mule-headed bunch of farmers,� Freeman told The Associated Press on Sunday. �Those farmers have ruled the roost for so long because this is an agricultural state.�
And then, it gets interesting:
Freeman lives in Charleston, a small town in the Mississippi Delta where farming is the main economic engine. The area has been plagued by poverty, illiteracy and racial tensions.
So, Morgan. What are you doing to help alleviate the problems you see. Showing up at fundraising parties in Los Angeles? When was the last time you gave a motivational talk at a local high school. Tutored a kid in reading. Funded a scholarship to a local college. And next time you call a farmer "Mule-Headed", follow one of them around for a couple days -- you would be amazed at the level of management skills and intelligence required to successfully run even a small farm, let alone anything over a couple hundred acres. Asshat...

From CNN:

Make Drew Carey give away $1 million
It's a good thing he didn't go with "@andrew."

Drew Olanoff, cancer-fighter and blogger, is auctioning off his enviable Twitter username "@drew" to benefit the LiveStrong foundation. Its value has already been raised to $1 million, thanks to that other Drew -- last name Carey.

"I thought we would find a Drew who would bid $10,000 on the last day and that was it," Olanoff said. "I certainly didn't think Drew Carey would get wind of it."

Get wind he did. After watching his favorite soccer team, the Seattle Sounders, win on October 3, the Cleveland comedian turned to Twitter to share his elation and saw that Olanoff was auctioning off his "@drew" moniker. Full of good vibes, Carey immediately put in a bid.

"I thought it was so much fun, that I bid $25,000," Carey told CNN. "I was in such a good mood that I raised it to $100,000."

Olanoff was taken back by Carey's generosity at the time -- especially considering they'd never "met" until Tuesday, when he sat down with Carey via Skype on CNN.com -- but Carey wasn't done bidding just yet.

In the middle of an interview last week with CBS (the corporation writing Carey's checks, as he's the host of the network's "The Price is Right"), he upped the ante from $100,000 to a cool $1 million if he gets the same amount of followers by midnight on December 31.

Yes, you read that correctly -- Drew Carey plans to give away a million dollars to LiveStrong, if he gets a million Twitter followers by the end of the year.

"It was just one of those things that you felt compelled in the moment to do something," Carey, who said that he's had loved ones go through cancer treatments, explained. "I didn't talk to my agents about it or my account or anything. I thought, well, I could afford it, and it's a really good cause. I was really intrigued with all these people all over the Twitterverse to retweet things and follow, and raise a million bucks."

Judging by how quickly the follower count increases every time his @DrewFromTV Twitter page is refreshed -- on Tuesday evening, he had over 76,000 followers -- Carey is well on his way to doing so. Of course, if he doesn't reach a million followers, the donation will be prorated: If there are 500,000 followers when the clock strikes midnight, then $500,000 will be given to LiveStrong.

Very cool -- click here to sign up. You do need to set up a Twitter account first.

I don't follow Carey that much -- I am quite decoupled from commercial entertainment business but I always liked his work and he seems like a really regular guy. Fun to have a beer with. An awesome contribution to an awesome cause. Thanks Drew (both of you!)

Clever Pig

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Cute video about some very smart pigs:

I'm shocked I tell you - shocked!

From Bloomberg:

Geithner Aides Reaped Millions Working for Banks, Hedge Funds
Some of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's closest aides, none of whom faced Senate confirmation, earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other Wall Street firms, according to financial disclosure forms.

The advisers include Gene Sperling, who last year took in $887,727 from Goldman Sachs and $158,000 for speeches mostly to financial companies, including the firm run by accused Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford. Another top aide, Lee Sachs, reported more than $3 million in salary and partnership income from Mariner Investment Group, a New York hedge fund.

As part of Geithner's kitchen cabinet, Sperling and Sachs wield influence behind the scenes at the Treasury Department, where they help oversee the $700 billion banking rescue and craft executive pay rules and the revamp of financial regulations. Yet they haven't faced the public scrutiny given to Senate-confirmed appointees, nor are they compelled to testify in Congress to defend or explain the Treasury's policies.

"These people are incredibly smart, they're incredibly talented and they bring knowledge," said Bill Brown, a visiting professor at Duke University School of Law and former managing director at Morgan Stanley. "The risk is they will further exacerbate the problem of our regulators identifying with Wall Street."

I have zero problem with someone being paid well for their work but when they were invited to join the other side of the fence and work with the US Treasury, they should have immediately recused themselves. There is a serious ethics question here but considering it's TurboTax Geithner, I am not at all surprised...

The rise of panhandling

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Been noticing a lot more panhandling in Bellingham these days and it is increasingly the single person sitting near an intersection holding a sign with a few variations on the text. Looks like it is not just a local phenom -- from City Journal:
The Professional Panhandling Plague
A new generation of shakedown artists hampers America�s urban revival.

Barbara Bradley, an editor with the Memphis Commercial Appeal, moved into the River City�s reviving downtown about a year and a half ago, loving its �energy and enthusiasm.� But a horde of invading panhandlers has cooled her enjoyment of city life. Earlier this year, she recalled in a recent column, as she showed some visitors around the neighborhood, �a big panhandler blocked the entrance to our parking area and demanded his toll.� Now a nervous Bradley avoids certain downtown areas, locks her car when fueling up at local gas stations, and parks strategically, so that she can see beggars coming before getting out of her car. �When I hear someone call out �ma�am, ma�am� anywhere in downtown or midtown, I run.�

She�s not alone. Cities have overcome myriad obstacles in revitalizing their downtowns, from lousy transportation systems to tough competition from suburban shopping malls. But nearly 15 years after New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani and his police chief, William Bratton, vanquished Gotham�s notorious squeegee men and brought aggressive panhandling under control, other cities are facing a new wave of �spangers� (that is, spare-change artists) who threaten their newfound prosperity by harassing residents, tourists, and businesses. Unlike their predecessors in the seventies and eighties, many of these new beggars aren�t helpless victims or even homeless. Rather, they belong to a diverse and swelling community of street people who have made panhandling their calling.
The article talks about how New York City dealt with the problem (brilliantly):
The city then extended the anti-panhandling campaign to other parts of the city, including beggar-dominated Times Square. Central to the crackdown was the Midtown Community Court, an experimental judicial body to which police could drag quality-of-life arrestees the very day they issued citations. Working with social-services providers who offered help to those needing it, the court acted with lightning speed, usually giving community-service sentences to those willing to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges, so that someone arrested for panhandling in the morning could be cleaning the neighborhood by the afternoon. The immediate results gave police a strong incentive to enforce the city�s long-moribund quality-of-life statutes; previously, if an officer issued a quality-of-life citation, the panhandler had a month or longer to respond to the summons and often didn�t show up in court on the appointed day. As with the subways and the squeegee men, the campaign was a huge success.
And the sad problem is that the people who panhandle for a source of tax-free income are diluting the resources available to the truly indigent and needy.

Vermont brewery v/s Monster Energy Drink, Inc.

Rock Art Brewery is a small craft brewery in Morrisville, VT To celebrate their tenth anniversary, they came out with the Vermonster barleywine. They got a Cease and Desist letter from Monster Energy Drink, Inc.
There has been a huge outpouring of support. Let's hope the corporate asshats at Monster Energy Drink, Inc. see the light...

The 1918 Influenza pandemic

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An interesting look at a potential killer during the 1918 Flu pandemic. From the New York Times:
In 1918 Pandemic, Another Possible Killer: Aspirin
The 1918 flu epidemic was probably the deadliest plague in human history, killing more than 50 million people worldwide. Now it appears that a small number of the deaths may have been caused not by the virus, but by a drug used to treat it: aspirin.

Dr. Karen M. Starko, author of one of the earliest papers connecting aspirin use with Reye�s syndrome, has published an article suggesting that overdoses of the relatively new �wonder drug� could have been deadly.

What raised Dr. Starko�s suspicions is that high doses of aspirin, amounts considered unsafe today, were commonly used to treat the illness, and the symptoms of aspirin overdose may have been difficult to distinguish from those of the flu, especially among those who died soon after they became ill.

Some doubts were raised even at the time. At least one contemporary pathologist working for the Public Health Service thought that the amount of lung damage seen during autopsies in early deaths was too little to attribute to viral pneumonia, and that the large amounts of bloody, watery liquid in the lungs must have had some other cause.
A bit on the dosage:
Aspirin packages were produced containing no warnings about toxicity and few instructions about use. In the fall of 1918, facing a widespread deadly disease with no known cure, the surgeon general and the United States Navy recommended aspirin as a symptomatic treatment, and the military bought large quantities of the drug.

The Journal of the American Medical Association suggested a dose of 1,000 milligrams every three hours, the equivalent of almost 25 standard 325-milligram aspirin tablets in 24 hours. This is about twice the daily dosage generally considered safe today.
A gram every three hours -- that is huge. I would be oozing blood from my pores at that level. Considering that this dosage would continue until the influenza symptoms abated, that is a dangerously high level in your body. More on Reye's Syndrome Hat tip to the puppy blender for the link.

What can be more American than

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a Pie Fight:
"This pie fight was held the day before my sister's wedding to celebrate the occasion. In all, 78 pies (54 Lemon Meringue and 24 Boston Cream Pies) were disposed of in approximately 78 seconds!"
From Vanderleun
When Obama appoints someone as a Czar (and thereby bypassing the vetting process), that person is looked at very carefully. Van Jones resigned after a few months due to videos he made. The safe schools Czar is under attack for his associations with the National Man Boy Love organization. Now, meet Cass Sunstien -- from World Net Daily:
Sunstein: Take organs from 'helpless patients'
President Obama's newly confirmed regulatory czar defended the possibility of removing organs from terminally ill patients without their permission.

Cass Sunstein also has strongly pushed for the removal of organs from deceased individuals who did not explicitly consent to becoming organ donors.

In his 2008 book, "Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness," Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler discussed multiple legal scenarios regarding organ donation. One possibility presented in the book, termed by Sunstein as "routine removal," posits that "the state owns the rights to body parts of people who are dead or in certain hopeless conditions, and it can remove their organs without asking anyone's permission."
Emphasis mine -- what fscking elitist gall. A bit more:
Writes Sunstein: "A policy that can pass libertarian muster by our standards is called presumed consent."

"Presumed consent preserves freedom of choice, but it is different from explicit consent because it shifts the default rule. Under this policy, all citizens would be presumed to be consenting donors, but they would have the opportunity to register their unwillingness to donate, and they could do so easily. We want to underline the word easily, because the harder it is to register your unwillingness to participate, the less libertarian the policy becomes."

Sunstein continues: "Although presumed consent is an extremely effective way to increase the supply of organs available for transplant, it may not be an easy sell politically. Some will object to the idea of 'presuming' anything when it comes to such a sensitive matter. We are not sure that these objections are convincing, but this is surely a domain in which forced choosing, or what is referred to in this domain as mandated choice, has considerable appeal."

Sunstein advocates making it mandatory for all citizens to register either as an organ donor or as unwilling to donate their organs.
These people are so removed from normal society that they are operating in a world of their own, passing judgment on how we should live our lives. Guess what you turds -- we elected you and we can unelect you. 2010 and 2012 will be interesting to see...

Where's my horse?

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From the Billings Gazette:
Cowboy cited after horse wanders away from bar
WORLAND, Wyo. - A northwestern Wyoming man received a citation for letting his horse wander in Worland, but not before he complained to town law enforcement officials about the absence of a hitching post in front of the local saloon.

William Schellinger was cited by Washakie County law enforcement officers for allowing his horse to run at large in this city along the Big Horn River.

Schellinger was apparently in a bar early Sunday when his horse wandered away, prompting police to follow it to make sure it didn't cause an accident with a car.
Worland, Wy sounds like a nice size of town. Big enough to have a police department but small enough that you can ride your horse up to the bar for a beer (but only if they put in a hitching post)...

Another nationalization in Venezuela

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I cannot imagine any business wanting to invest in Venezuela these days. From Breitbart/AFP:
Venezuela seizes a landmark Hilton Hotel
President Hugo Chavez has ordered the "acquisition by force" of a landmark Hilton Hotel on Venezuela's Margarita island, the government's Official Gazette announced Tuesday.

The facility, on the Caribbean resort island of Margarita in Nueva Esparta state, was targeted for state takeover less than a month after it was used to host the Africa-South America Summit.

"The acquisition by force of the real estate, furnishings, and related assets (...) of the Margarita Hilton & Suites Hotel Complex, along with the Marina owned by Inversiones Pueblamar y Desarrollos MBK, have been ordered," a presidential decree in the official register read.

The sprawling complex includes 280 rooms, 210 suites, a casino, stores, restaurants, offices and meeting areas, as well as the adjoining marina.

The assets will be held by the state tourism corporation Venetur, which reports to the Tourism Ministry, as part of an "urgent" effort to boost "the social development side of the tourism and hotel industries in Nueva Esparta state," the Gazette said.

It is not the first time Chavez's government has checked into a Hilton and stayed for good.

Caracas has already seized the Hotel Hilton in Caracas, rechristening it the Hotel Alba, a reference to the Venezuelan-led leftist regional alliance Alianza Bolivariana para las Americas (ALBA).

In the past four years, Venezuela has implemented the nationalization of industries it sees as strategic including electrical utilities, cement, steel, oil services and banking.
That idiot is running this country into the ground and people are being bought off with bread and circuses. Once the oil runs out, Venezuela is going to be just another 3rd world hell-hole.

There is a family out here that are -- to be charitable -- "interesting"

They used to own a local restaurant and bar that burned down under suspicious circumstances (the Chandelier in Glacier), they are always running various scams (everyone knows to stay away from them), they are trying to start up an RV park on their old Restaurant property and they once owned a Restaurant and Bar called the Holy Smoke near where we live.

They sold the Smoke and yesterday, I read the following -- from the Bellingham Herald:

Holy Smoke Tavern property at heart of legal battle
North County Christ the King Church is proceeding with plans to convert a church-turned-tavern back into a church again, despite a legal tangle with the tavern's former owners.

The church filed a lawsuit against Steven and Starr Hovander on May 1, asking the court to order them off the Holy Smoke Tavern property at 8794 Kendall Road. The lawsuit noted that the church had obtained the tavern property from the Hovanders' creditors for $232,000 in an April foreclosure sale. The Hovanders continued to live on the property and operate the tavern even after the foreclosure, according to the lawsuit.

But on May 22, the Hovanders filed their own lawsuit against the church. The Hovanders contended that church representatives had agreed to buy the property from them for $400,000 in the days before the foreclosure sale, allowing the Hovanders to pay off their debts on the property and come out of the deal with some money.

Steven Hovander said he relied on that assurance and took no steps to delay the foreclosure sale. In a sworn declaration, he said he could have delayed the sale with a bankruptcy filing or negotiations with his creditors.

But after the church got the property in the foreclosure sale, Hovander contended that the church dropped the $400,000 offer and offered him and his wife $15,000 to get off the property.

Doug Robertson, the church's attorney, said his client won the first round of the battle Sept. 11, when the Hovanders and their attorney, Tom Mumford, conceded that the foreclosure sale to the church was legally valid, and the Hovanders had no right to remain there.

The 50+ comments to the news article make for fun reading in a trainwreck sort of way. What prompts the "Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves in Three Generations" observation is that these people are the direct descendent's of the people who built this farm: Hovander Homestead Park Sad to see someone falling so far from such heights...

Is YouTube down for you?

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I cannot connect to YouTube for the last ten minutes or so. Anyone else?

Hillary at work

If she pulls this off, she wins my respect. So far, there is only this report from Breitbart/AFP but...

Clinton leads high-drama cellphone diplomacy from black BMW
In a black BMW outside a chalet-style hotel in the foothills of the Swiss Alps, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used high-drama cellphone diplomacy to clinch a historic Armenian-Turkish deal.

"There were several times when I said to all of the parties involved that 'this is too important, this has to be seen through, you have come too far,'" the chief US diplomat recalled afterward on the plane from Zurich to London.

A last-minute hitch had raised doubts over whether Armenia and Turkey would follow through on two years of roller-coaster negotiations to finally sign documents in Zurich on Saturday to normalise ties and open their shared border.

Shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday evening, everything seemed in place for the two sides to mark a first step to reconciliation after a century of hostility over World War I-era massacres.

With her traveling press corps in tow, Clinton's motorcade arrived at the University of Zurich for the ceremony where foreign ministers Edouard Nalbandian and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu would sign the deal.

No corroboration from other media and no announcement as yet but still, this will be amazing if it comes to pass. A good example for a lot of other nations.

An interesting demographic

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2010 should see an interesting change -- while urban poor tend to vote Democratic, there are a lot of people who have lifted themselves out of that white-run plantation and, because they do not want to see their efforts taxed to support those who choose to remain a resource, tend towards Conservatism. From FOX News:
Black Republicans Say 2010 Will Be Their Year
When former President Jimmy Carter said racism was an underlying factor in attacks on President Obama, it's safe to say he had no intention of boosting Allen West's campaign for Congress in Florida's Broward County.

But according to West, a retired Army colonel who is running for the second time against Democratic Rep. Ron Klein in Florida's 22nd congressional district, that is exactly what has happened.

"Since (Democrats) have thrown out the race card, it has made me more appealing," says West, one of a small but determined group of black Republicans running for seats in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives in 2010.

Eager to overturn the "conventional wisdom" that the GOP is mainly a white bread party that offers few opportunities for minorities, these black Republicans believe they can attract increasingly agitated conservatives, as well as independents, to make 2010 their year.

They also conceded in interviews that the injection of race -- a familiar theme since Obama's election last year -- has given them a certain edge and authority when they speak out against the president's agenda. Because they're black, they say, they can lead the charge against Democratic policies without being called "racist." In fact, they say, their skin color may make them more attractive candidates.

"A lot of people who don't want to be part of Obama's policies are being called racist," West said. "Then they say, 'Hey, this guy, Colonel West -- he's black and I support him.'"

"It's made me more appealing," West told FOXNews.com, "because it shows the contrast of our principles -- how different we are even though we both have permanent tans."
Playing the Race Card works both ways...
Taking a page from their playbook:
Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. �You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.�
And yes, I know that Rules for Radicals is under copyright protection. I liberated them for the people's struggle...

Global Warming links

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A nice collection of links about current thought in Anthropogenic Global Warming from The Anchoress:
Global Warming Fakery & Gore
Lots of people talking about this admission by the BBC that the earth has been cooling, not warming) for over a decade.

Longtime readers know my thoughts on this hooey; I am glad to see this.

There is lots of new information coming out indicating that the whole AGW boondoggle was, always, a boondoggle, (�yeah, that earth shaking data? We lost it! and those hockey sticks? Um, kinda�never mind about that!�

That makes me glad, all this boondoggle-unveiling.
Lots more links at the site -- worth printing out for your AGW consensus friends...
I had blogged on October First about the unused Jail in Hardin, MT being taken over by a company whose president was a convicted felon. Now it seems that the company is backing out of the deal. From the Spokane, WA Spokesman-Review:
Company run by ex-con drops Montana jail plan
An obscure California company run by an ex-convict with a history of fraud has dropped its effort to take over a beleaguered Montana jail, days after state officials launched an investigation and several key participants backed away from the proposal.

The project has been dogged by a series of damaging revelations about the company, American Police Force, ever since officials in the rural town of Hardin announced with great fanfare last month that they had secured a $2.6 million deal to fill the jail.

An Associated Press investigation of American Police Force, including the criminal background of its founder, cast serious doubts about the legitimacy of the company, and its jail management proposal quickly spiraled toward its death.

American Police Force had faced a Monday deadline from the Montana attorney general�s office to reveal its financial backers. A spokesman for Attorney General Steve Bullock said the demand for information was still pending.

Becky Shay, a spokeswoman for the company, said Friday the deal with Hardin had �gone sour� after media revelations about the founder, Michael Hilton. But she insisted the company�s intentions had been honest.
Dodged that one! What a strange way to operate a business...

Our interesting return trip

When I posted that I was back yesterday, I said:
and some fun getting back (more later)
Here is what happened to the route we were planning to take:
More from the WA State DOT Flickr pool:
With the hillside continuing to move, WSDOT officials say it is too soon to tell, the next steps will be for a closed section of SR 410 west of Naches.

�The hillside simply came down and landed on SR 410. Close to 1/2 mile of highway was demolished and that area is now covered with 25 to 30 feet of rock and other debris,� said Don Whitehouse, WSDOT�s Yakima-area Regional Administrator. �This morning the hillside is still unstable. We are working with the Washington State Patrol and local emergency officials to make sure those in the area are safe.�

WSDOT closed SR 410 at 6 a.m. Sunday when the highway section was uplifted and pushed into the Naches River. As the hillside continued to move, emergency officials evacuated close to 80 nearby residents. Due to the continuous movement of the hillside and the redirection of the Naches River channel, local officials closed Nile Road as it also suffered landslide damage and flooded.
To add to the confusion, the DOT was working on Cayuse Pass highway and had closed it, expecting people to detour using SR 410. Oops...

An inconvenient question

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Al Gore speaks at a Convention of The Society of Environmental Journalists in Madison, Wisconsin and for the first time in four years, invites questions from the audience. One such card-carrying Journalist asked a question and got his microphone cut off. From NotEvilJustWrong:
Al Gore & The Death of Journalism
The Society of Environmental Journalists spent much of their conference in Madison, Wisconsin questioning why mainstream journalism was dying.

Then they answered their own question when they decided it was their role to protect Al Gore from An Inconvenient Question.

Phelim McAleer, the director of Not Evil Just Wrong, asked Al Gore about the British Court Case which found his documentary An Inconvenient Truth had nine significant errors.

McAleer said that given his documentary is being shown in schools - does he accept the errors and has he done anything to correct them?
Obligatory YouTube at the website (they do not support embedding) Why am I not supprised...

Feeling a little bit depressed

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Awwww... Poor widdle Roman Polanski -- from Yahoo News/Reuters:
Director Polanski feels depressed in jail: lawyer
Director Roman Polanski is feeling depressed two weeks after his arrest in Switzerland to face U.S. extradition for a 1977 case involving the rape of a 13-year-old girl, his lawyer was quoted as saying on Sunday.

"I found him to be tired and depressed," Herve Temime told the Sonntag newspaper, one of two newspapers he talked to after visiting the Oscar-winning director in a Zurich prison.

"Roman Polanski, who is 76, seemed very dejected when I visited him," Temime told another newspaper, NZZ am Sonntag.

"Polanski was in an unsettled state of mind."

Polanski pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977 and spent 42 days in prison undergoing psychiatric tests.

However, he fled before the case was concluded because he believed a judge would sentence him to up to 50 years behind bars despite a plea agreement for time already served.
And how did the 13-year-old girl feel. What it must have been like growing up under the shadow of being 'that' girl. She has since forgiven him but she was about 35 at the time. Let him be sentenced for the crime to which he plead guilty. And for those asshats (cough)Woody Allen(cough) and their ilk; a drop in revenues would be very appropriate. They live off the largess of the general public, let us show them that we do not like this sort of 'progressive' moronic behaviour...

Back in town

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A fun trip but six hours to get there and some fun getting back (more later) Overnight temps were in the single digits so just took a nice long hot shower and fixing some dinner. I'll be blogging more in 30 minutes.

That is it for a couple days

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Heading about six hours South of here for a campout -- I am bringing five gallons of hard cider along with everything else so it should be a fun get-together. Incriminating photos will be taken and posted. Back sometime Sunday evening... I am getting a lot of comment trolls and spam attempts so I am shutting the comments down for the duration. Back up on Sunday.
This will have some interesting repercussions -- from The Register:
US court says software is owned, not licensed
Software company Autodesk has failed in its bid to prevent the second-hand sale of its software. After a long-running legal battle, it has not been able to convince a court that its software is merely licensed and not sold.

Like many software publishers, Autodesk claims that it sells only licences to use its software and that those who pay for it do not necessarily have the right to sell it on. It sued Timothy Vernor, who was selling legitimate copies of Autodesk software on eBay, for copyright infringement.

The US District Court for the Western District of Washington has backed Vernor, though, in his claim that he owned the software and had the right to sell it on.
What makes this interesting is that if I upgrade my copy of Xyzzy, I can now sell the older version as I own it. The software companies claim that I own the license and that the license is transferred with the upgrade. I am willing to bet that AutoDesk is not going to let this ruling sit and they are going to pursue it in a higher Court until they get their way...

An Obama two-fer

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Two news articles that show why I feel what I do about President Obama. From the UK Telegraph:
Barack Obama adviser says Sharia Law is misunderstood
Miss Mogahed, appointed to the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, said the Western view of Sharia was "oversimplified" and the majority of women around the world associate it with "gender justice".

The White House adviser made the remarks on a London-based TV discussion programme hosted by Ibtihal Bsis, a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir party.

The group believes in the non-violent destruction of Western democracy and the creation of an Islamic state under Sharia Law across the world.

Miss Mogahed appeared alongside Hizb ut Tahrir's national women's officer, Nazreen Nawaz.

During the 45-minute discussion, on the Islam Channel programme Muslimah Dilemma earlier this week, the two members of the group made repeated attacks on secular "man-made law" and the West's "lethal cocktail of liberty and capitalism".

They called for Sharia Law to be "the source of legislation" and said that women should not be "permitted to hold a position of leadership in government".
And also from the Telegraph:
Barack Obama 'sees role for Taliban in Afghanistan's future'
As he assesses a request from his top commander in Afghanistan to dispatch another 40,000 troops to fight the Taliban, he is also "inclined" to send only as many as needed to keep al-Qaeda at bay.

The assessment was given to the Associated Press by a senior official involved in Mr Obama's discussions with his top national security and military advisors about Afghanistan strategy.

There is believed to be a growing favour in his war council for differentiating between native Afghan Taliban factions and the foreign extremists of al-Qaeda. Several of the president's advisors are arguing that the Taliban are predominantly fighting against what is perceived as Nato "occupation" while it is al Qaeda that poses a threat to US defence.

Aides have made clear that Mr Obama is unlikely to reach a final decision on strategy and troop numbers before the end of October.

But it seems increasingly unlikely that he will grant the request from Gen Stanley McChrystal, the commander he appointed only this summer, for an extra 40,000 US troops to join the 68,000 who will already be in Afghanistan by the end of the year.

Gen McChrystal's recommendations have not been made public, but he is widely reported to have warned that the US faces "failure" in Afghanistan without his requested troop surge.
This is not the person the United States needs as President at this time. Jimmy Carter must be feeling quite good as he is now no longer the worst President this Nation has ever had. And furthermore, why do I have to read media from other Nations to get these stories -- why weren't these stories at the New York Times?

WTF - Obama wins the Peace Prize

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The "hard" Nobel Prizes are awarded by Sweden and represent people who have done great work in their field. The Peace Prize is awarded by Norway and recently, has been a big finger in the eye to thinking people all over the world. Yasser Arafat? Jimmy Carter? Al Gore? Mohamed ElBaradei? Kofi Annan? Now Barack Hussein Obama has won. Need I say more? Back in the 1960's and 70's the prize really used to mean something. We had winners like: 1971 - Willy Brandt 1970 - Norman Borlaug 1969 - International Labour Organization 1964 - Martin Luther King Jr. 1963 - International Committee of the Red Cross, League of Red Cross Societies 1962 - Linus Pauling 1961 - Dag Hammarskj�ld We also had years when the Prize was not awarded. Now, they seem to pick the most egregious Marxist out there and give them the Golden Ticket to Stockholm. What is even more amazing is that the deadline for nomination is in February. He was in office for less than one month at that time...

Back online - SQL server problems...

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Back in the real world. I will be out of town this weekend (last big campout of the season) More posting to follow...
Who has more integrity... From FOX News:
Let McChrystal Testify
Prior to the implementation of the surge by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress demanded that General Petraeus appear before them and testify about his plans and strategy for Iraq.

The Bush administration complied with Congress�s demands because they believed in the surge and knew that General Petraeus was a man of integrity and professionalism who could testify with authority. But, most importantly, they believed in the change in strategy that was being advanced by him and supported by the president.

The Democratic plan was to demonize and discredit the general before the cameras and reduce him to a warmonger and a liar in the eyes of the American people. The left-wing activist group MoveOn.org took out a full-page ad in The New York Times labeling the commanding general of our war efforts in Iraq, �General Betray-us�. Then there was Senator Hillary Clinton who eyeballed the general during the hearing and told him in effect, I find what you are telling us incapable of belief.

Needless to say, their efforts backfired. The general came across as a man of integrity who could not and would not be bullied. He came across to the American people as a credible military leader and Democrats in Congress came across as disrespectful and unpatriotic.
So why this editorial? From Yahoo/Congressional Quarterly:
McCain Rebuffed in Bid To Compel Afghanistan Testimony From Military
The Senate on Thursday defeated along party lines an attempt by President Obama's vanquished Republican opponent to require the commander of military forces in Afghanistan and other officials to testify before Congress by Nov. 15.

By 40-59, the Senate rejected the amendment by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, which he offered to the fiscal 2010 Defense appropriations bill (HR 3326).

The chamber already had adopted an alternative amendment by Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., that would require senior officials to testify only after Obama has decided on his strategy in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The tally on Levin's amendment was 60-39, with Republican George V. Voinovich of Ohio crossing party lines to vote for the measure.

"We need to be clear on our strategy first," Levin said, "and then address the question of the resources needed."
These amoral idiots -- so out of touch with the realities and so unwilling to learn. Playing games with the lives of our citizens and with the lives of a potential friendly nation. Afghanistan grows the majority of the worlds opium. The Taliban steals it from the farmers and sells it to raise money. There is a shortage of pharmaceutical opiates -- we could #1) - pay the farmers a fair price, #2) - eliminate the shortage, #3) - dry up the supply of illegal heroin and #4) - defund the worlds largest terrorist organization. Why isn't our Congress in favor of this? Who is being bought out?

Light posting tonight

Had a good acupuncture session today, going to check the DaveCave(tm) for email and then for bed...

Ring of fire heats up

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Yet another quake in the South Pacific -- 8.1 near Vanuatu From Thaindian News:
Massive earthquake rocks the Pacific Ocean
A massive earthquake rocked the Pacific Ocean on Thursday morning, according to seismologists.

The earthquake, which struck about 232 miles north-northwest of Vanuatu�s Santo, had a preliminary magnitude of 8.1, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Tsunami warnings have been issued for Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Kiribati, Kosrae, wallis-Futuna and Howland-Baker.

A tsunami watch is in effect for the Marshall Islands, Tokelau, the Kermadec Islands, Pohnpei, New Zealand, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Australia, Niue, Cook Islands, Chuuk, Indonesia, Wake Island, Jarvis Island, Palmyra Island, Guam, North Marianas, Johnston Island, Yap, Marcus Island and Belau.

It is not yet known if a tsunami was created. The earthquake struck about 15 miles deep, making it an extremely shallow earthquake. Shallow earthquakes often tend to cause more damage, and increase the risk of a tsunami.
These poor people are in my prayers -- to have so many quakes happen right after the typhoon is just rotten luck.

Flogging Molly

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Just got turned on to them:
Good music, dark dark lyrics.
A fun little article at The Register about how the enviros are hyperventilating because ships are now starting to use the Northeast Passage to get from Europe to Asia without having to go through the Mediterranian, Suez Canal, Horn of India route. The fly in the ointment with that claim is that this route has been in steady operation for the last seventy years.
Media 're-open' North Eastern Passage
Thermageddon fever disappears 70 year trade route

One of Russia's commercial maritime trade routes for the past 70 years has been "re-opened" by a press hungry for dramatic Global Warming scare stories - but who failed to check the most basic facts.

I've traced this fascinating example of "eco-churnalism" - peddled by both BBC Radio and its website, the Daily Mail, The Independent, Reuters and many others - back to its origins, with a press release from a German shipping group. But first of all - what on Earth is the Northern Passage?

Also called the Northeast Passage or North Sea Passage, it's a trade route that in summer months links the North European and Siberian ports to Asia, around the Arctic Circle. Orient-bound traffic heads east, then South via the Bering Strait. The route offers significant gains over the alternatives via Suez or the Cape, it's shorter, quicker and cheaper. But until technological advances in the early 20th Century it was considered too hazardous for commercial operation.

Since the 1930s the route has seen major ports spring up, carrying over 200,000 tons of freight passing through each year, although this declined with the fall of the Soviet Union.

But none of this ever happened, we learned on Saturday. The Independent reported that the journey had been traversed for the very first time, proclaiming that two German ships had completed "the first commercial navigation of the fabled North-east Passage", proclaiming it "a triumph for man, a disaster for mankind". BBC Radio followed suit.
And for the Northwest Passage, don't forget the St. Roch which sailed it regularly in the 1930's Pesky facts...

Winning in Afghanistan

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Sarah Palin has this to say:
We Must Win in Afghanistan
For two years as a candidate, Senator Obama called for more resources for the war in Afghanistan and warned about the consequences of failure. As President, he announced a comprehensive new counterinsurgency strategy and handpicked the right general to execute it. Now General McChrystal is asking for additional troops to implement the strategy announced by President Obama in March. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers in harm's way in Afghanistan right now. We owe it to all those brave Americans serving in uniform to give them the tools they need to complete their mission.

We can win in Afghanistan by helping the Afghans build a stable representative state able to defend itself. And we must do what it takes to prevail. The stakes are very high. The 9/11 attacks were planned in Afghanistan, and if we are not successful there, al Qaeda will once again find a safe haven, the Taliban will impose its cruelty on the Afghan people, and Pakistan will be less stable.

Our allies and our adversaries are watching to see if we have the staying power to protect our interests in Afghanistan. I recently joined a group of Americans in urging President Obama to devote the resources necessary in Afghanistan and pledged to support him if he made the right decision. Now is not the time for cold feet, second thoughts, or indecision -- it is the time to act as commander-in-chief and approve the troops so clearly needed in Afghanistan.
-- Sarah Palin
General David H Petraeus is said to be thinking about a run for the Presidential Office -- he would be a good one and Sarah Palin would be an excellent VP. We have had this precedent before, Dwight Eisenhower was a wonderful President -- small G libertarian, he was the one who warned about the Military-Industrial complex.

Such a deal - "free" lightbulbs

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From Cleveland, Ohio television station WEWS:

FirstEnergy Bulb Giveaway To Cost Customers
Power Company Handing Out 4 Million Low-Energy Bulbs

FirstEnergy Corp. plans to provide nearly 4 million low-energy light bulbs to its residential electricity customers in Ohio.

Akron-based FirstEnergy said Monday that distribution will begin in mid-October. Two compact fluorescent light bulbs will be mailed or hand-delivered to residential customers of Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. and Toledo Edison.

And the "free" part?

The cost of the program will be underwritten by customers, who FirstEnergy said can recover three times the cost through projected energy savings. Reports indicate that there will be a 60 cent charge on customers' bills for the next three years.

OK - I can buy these bulbs at Costco for about $3 each - the customer gets two of them and pays 60¢/month for three years. $0.60*12 = $7.20 * 3 = $21.60 - $6.00 = $15.60 Sure you will save some money but not much for only two bulbs. Your stove, refrigerator, air conditioner, television, computers, etc... consume a lot more so these two bulbs will have an effect of only a percent or two on your overall electrical bill. And to be charged Fifteen Bucks for the pleasure of using a bulb that only works in specific locations...

No thanks! We use a mix of Incandescent, CFL and LED bulbs. Places where color rendition are not important and where the light gets turned on and off again frequently (closets and bathrooms) get LED lamps. Reading and task lights get Incandescent (generally Halogen PARs) and everywhere else (and outside lighting) gets CFL. LED lamps will be the way to go but they have a long way to come before they will replace the other technologies.

Things are ratcheting up a bit

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From Breitbart/AFP:
Israel intercepts plane overflying nuclear reactor
The Israeli air force scrambled fighter jets on Tuesday after a light aircraft flew into restricted air space over its nuclear reactor in the southern Negev desert, the military said. The warplanes intercepted the aircraft and forced it to land at a nearby airstrip, where the two pilots were handed over to civilian authorities for investigation, an army spokeswoman said.

Police had no immediate comment but Israeli media reported that the two men, from central Israel, claimed to have lost their way.

Aircraft are forbidden from flying over the reactor near the desert town of Dimona.
Lost their way -- and I have some ocean-front property to sell you. It's in Montana. No word in any other media outlet -- if this drops off the face of the earth it will be because the pilot was more than he initially seemed. Curious that anyone would risk messing with the Israeli military...

Thank you Switzerland!

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Good news from the New York Daily News:
Swiss court rejects Roman Polanski's bid for prison release
Roman Polanski lost his first bid to win his freedom Tuesday as the Swiss Justice Ministry rejected an appeal by the 76-year-old to be immediately released from prison, an official said.

"We continue to be of the opinion that there is a high risk of flight," said ministry spokesman Folco Galli, explaining the decision.

Galli told The Associated Press that the risk was too great for the government to accept bail or other security measures in exchange for the release of the filmmaker who is wanted by U.S. authorities for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl.
Way to go -- Polanski fled when he was going to be sentenced. He needs to serve the time for the crime he committed. It wasn't just "having sex" as the article says, he drugged and raped the girl against her wishes.

A copyright matter

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Now this is droll... From the Seattle Times:
Newspaper trademark bid challenged by U.S. Olympic Committee
The U.S. Olympic Committee is protesting an effort by the parent company of The Olympian to trademark the newspaper's name.

The McClatchy Co. submitted its application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in October 2006, shortly after it bought Knight-Ridder, the newspaper's former owner.

Lawyers representing the committee argue that the similarity in appearance and sound of its trademarks to The Olympian "tends to cause confusion or mistake, to deceive, and to falsely suggest a connection."

Such a similarity threatens the committee's "relationships with its licensees, its partners and its sponsors, and thereby, its main source of revenue to support U.S. athletes," according to the 12-page notice of opposition filed with the federal agency's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
The Olympian is published in the State capital, Olympia, WA Talk about a bunch of lawyered-up morons...

Follow the money - Obamacare

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Wonderful - from Bloomberg:
Deficit May Prove Stumbling Block for U.S. Senate Health Plan
Concerns about the budget deficit may thwart efforts by Senate Democrats to pass legislation this month calling for the biggest expansion of the U.S. health-care system since the creation of Medicare in 1965.

The Senate Finance Committee, which had planned to approve its version as early as today, scrapped a vote to give the Congressional Budget Office time to complete a cost assessment. The delay threatens to dash plans by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to start debate in the full Senate next week after combining the measure with one from the health committee.

�CBO has a lot of work to do,� said West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller, one of the finance panel�s 13 Democrats. He said the panel�s vote may be delayed for at least a week. Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, said he�s still �hopeful� the CBO will deliver an estimate tomorrow.
The Congressional Budget Office is the only thing stopping our slide into socialism. People may not understand the political implications but they do understand a Dollar.
Turns out it wasn't One Million Dollars, it was Five Million Dollars that ACORN co-founder Dale Rathke embezzled from ACORN -- our tax dollars at work. The full scoop at NOLA:
ACORN embezzlement was $5 million, La. attorney general says
Louisiana's attorney general has broadened the scope of an investigation of ACORN to include a possible embezzlement of $5 million a decade ago within the community organization, five times more than previously reported.

ACORN Chief Executive Officer Bertha Lewis said the new reported amount is "completely false."

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has been conducting an investigation of ACORN since June. He issued subpoenas in August seeking documents related to former ACORN International President Wade Rathke and his brother Dale Rathke, who kept the group's books. Those subpoenas were focused on possible ACORN violations for non-payment of employee withholding taxes, obstructing justice and violating the Employee Retirement Security Act. No charges have been made.

The attorney general had inquired in June into an alleged embezzlement within ACORN that happened 10 years ago. The group last year dealt with an internal dispute and a lawsuit involving accusations that Dale Rathke made nearly $1 million in improper credit card charges in 1999 and 2000. The brother and a donor repaid the money.
And not to forget that in addition to forming ACORN, the Rathke's also founded SEIU. The whole organization is a bunch of shell games designed to skim taxpayer dollars while looking like they are helping the urban black poor. Their appearance of careful management is more like a careful management of appearances. Resource extraction writ large... Hat tip to Big Government for the link.

Our Beta Male President

Something that has been rattling around my brain-pan is that Obama is not an Alpha male. You see this when he interacts with Bo -- notice that the leash is always tight and Bo is always pulling. If Obama were Alpha, Bo would be obeying him, it is Bo that is setting the agenda in these photos:
Now comes this article from Greg Lewis at American Thinker:
Did We Elect a Beta Male As President?
We're all somewhat familiar with the body language dogs display when they greet each other. The dominant alpha male approaches directly, asserting his authority, while the beta male genuflects, crouches, tucks his tail, and may even end up on his back, exposing his neck in acquiescence, making sure the alpha male knows he has no intention of challenging him. With his "we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" opening to the world's dictators, the President is exhibiting classic beta male behavior, in essence rolling over on his back and exposing his throat to them to make sure they know he has no intention of challenging their authority.

Of course, the problem is that he's not simply exposing his throat, he's exposing America's collective throat, sending the message that he's a typical beta male intent on submitting to all the alpha male leaders around the world, and damn the consequences. His response to the discovery of Iran's newest, and heretofore "secret," nuclear facility was, as Daniel Henninger (Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2009) points out, to have our State Department offer to start a direct dialogue with the tyrannical Burmese regime.

The Obama administration has also offered conciliatory gestures to the genocidal Sudanese leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and it has dispatched none other than John Kerry to meet with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. This, of course, is not to mention his somewhat more visible overtures to the world's alpha male thugs: Obama has consorted jovially with Hugo Chavez and his counterpart Daniel Ortega, he's bowed down to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, he's agreed to halt plans to install a missile defense system in eastern Europe to placate Vladimir Putin, and he's offered the aforementioned hand to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, despite the latter's expressed unwillingness to even agree to acknowledge the truly important issue of Iran's nuclear weapons in our talks, all quintessential beta male behaviors.

While we've all been seeking a political rationale for the president's actions, his behavior goes beyond the political to something deeper and more personal: like all beta males, Barack Obama simply does not have the temperament to confront tyrannical alpha males around the globe. In this light, even his inability to work with American allies Gordon Brown and Nikolas Sarkozy is a function of his being incapable of facing down the world's tyrants: to cooperate with our allies would require Obama to display alpha male behaviors, including demonstrating courage, something he's simply not capable of doing. The president's beta-male proclivities are arguably putting the safety of his constituents, the citizens of our country, in serious jeopardy.
An interesting analysis. The 130+ comments are a fun read as well... A big tip of the hat to Maggie's Farm for this wonderful link.

Caving in to China

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Are we Chinese or are we Americans. From the UK Telegraph:
Barack Obama cancels meeting with Dalai Lama 'to keep China happy'
The decision came after China stepped up a campaign urging nations to shun the Tibetan spiritual leader.

It means Mr Obama will become the first president not to welcome the Nobel peace prize winner to the White House since the Dalai Lama began visiting Washington in 1991.

The Buddhist monk arrived in Washington on Monday for a week of meetings with Congressional leaders, celebrity supporters and interest groups, but the president will not see him until after he has made his first visit to China next month.

Samdhong Rinpoche, the Tibetan prime minister-in-exile, has accused the United States and other Western nations of "appeasement" toward China as its economic weight grows.
Someone from Human Rights Watch sums it up perfectly:
Sophie Richardson, Asia advocate for Human Rights Watch, said: "Presidents always meets the Dalai Lama and what happens? Absolutely nothing.

"This idea that if you are nice to the Chinese Communist Party up front you can cash in later is just wrong. If you lower the bar on human rights they will just move it lower and lower."
Appeasement does not generate respect -- quite the opposite. It is going to be an interesting three years...

Looking for a snack

A ship was in the high arctic and one of the residents caught a whiff of something delicious and decided to check it out.

From the London Daily Mail:

What's for tea? Amazing pictures of the polar bear who took an interest in the menu on Arctic ship
A group of wildlife enthusiasts were looking forward to their lunch during an expedition to the Arctic island of Svalbard.

But they soon discovered a hungry polar bear was also rather keen to try their cauliflower soup.

The giant predator poked his head through the open porthole into the kitchen of the ship, which had weighed anchor so the passengers could enjoy the fabulous icy landscape.

Two of the photos:



Two errors in the article. When you weigh anchor, you are hoisting it to prepare for departure.

The second error is that they are buying into the polar bear population decline rubbish that is being promoted by the Global Warming crowd:

There are around 20,000 polar bears in the wild. However, scientists predict that, if current warming trends continue in the Arctic, two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear by 2050.

For more information see here and here.

The bears are actually doing quite well -- population numbers are up substantially from 1950's levels.

Obama is not handling this well. He picked General Stanley McChrystal to run the operation in Afghanistan, met with him once and then, seventy days later, McChrystal was still unable to talk with him or to get a response to any email or memo. Frustrated, McChrystal gave a speech outlining his problems and his ideas on how the war against the jihadis and the Taliban should be prosecuted. Obama flew him up to Copenhagen (where he was lobbying for the Chicago Olympics) for a 20 minute meeting and now, Obama is pissed. From the UK Telegraph:
Barack Obama angry at General Stanley McChrystal speech on Afghanistan
According to sources close to the administration, Gen McChrystal shocked and angered presidential advisers with the bluntness of a speech given in London last week.

The next day he was summoned to an awkward 25-minute face-to-face meeting on board Air Force One on the tarmac in Copenhagen, where the president had arrived to tout Chicago's unsuccessful Olympic bid.

When asked on CNN about the commander's public lobbying for more troops, Gen Jim Jones, national security adviser, said:
�Ideally, it's better for military advice to come up through the chain of command.�
Asked if the president had told the general to tone down his remarks, he told CBS: "I wasn't there so I can't answer that question. But it was an opportunity for them to get to know each other a little bit better. I am sure they exchanged direct views."

An adviser to the administration said: "People aren't sure whether McChrystal is being na�ve or an upstart. To my mind he doesn't seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly."

In London, Gen McChrystal, who heads the 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan as well as the 100,000 Nato forces, flatly rejected proposals to switch to a strategy more reliant on drone missile strikes and special forces operations against al-Qaeda.

He told the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that the formula, which is favoured by Vice-President Joe Biden, would lead to "Chaos-istan".

When asked whether he would support it, he said: "The short answer is: No."

He went on to say: "Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support."

The remarks have been seen by some in the Obama administration as a barbed reference to the slow pace of debate within the White House.
Obama picked McChrystal for this post and now he doesn't listen to him? McChrystal led the effort that found Saddam hiding in the septic tank and has feet-on-the-ground experience with what is needed. How out of touch are these idiots...

Now this is going to go well

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I cannot believe that these people are serious. Talk about being completely out of touch with reality... From Forbes:
A Poisonous Cocktail - Expanding the Community Reinvestment Act
As we try to shake off the financial crisis, here's a bright idea. Take a law that has led to the writing of an enormous amount of bad mortgages and expand it. Then take enforcement away from bank examiners and give it to housing activists.

Sound like a poisonous cocktail? Well, it is what the Obama administration and Democrats are currently stirring up on Capitol Hill.

The White House and Congress want to expand a 30-year-old law--the Community Reinvestment Act--that helped to fuel the mortgage meltdown. What the CRA does, in effect, is compel banks to seek the permission of community activists to get regulatory approval for bank expansions and mergers. Often this means striking a deal with activist groups such as ACORN or unions like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and agreeing to allocate credit to poor and minority areas that are underserved.

In short, the CRA encourages banks to make loans they would not ordinarily make. What's more, these agreements often require that banks offer no-money-down mortgages and remove caps on how much debt a borrower can take on. All of this is done in the name of "financial democracy."
A bit more and now it becomes really really scary:
Now comes Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, and 50 other co-sponsors (all Democrats) of H.R. 1479 the "Community Reinvestment Modernization Act of 2009," who want to expand the CRA to include not just banks but also credit unions, insurance companies and mortgage lenders. Congressman Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has supported the idea in the past. The SEIU and ACORN, along with a host of other activist groups, are also behind the effort.

President Obama has been a staunch supporter of the CRA throughout his public life. And his recently announced financial reforms would make the law even more onerous and guarantee an explosion in irresponsible lending. Obama wants to take enforcement of the CRA away from the Federal Reserve, the FDIC and other financial regulators who at least try to weigh bank safety and soundness when enforcing the law, and turn it over to a newly created Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). This agency's core concerns would not be safety and soundness but, in the words of the Obama administration, "promoting access to financial services," which is really code for forcing banks to lend to those who would not ordinarily qualify. Compliance would no longer be done by bank examiners but by what the administration calls "a group of examiners specially trained and certified in community development" (otherwise called community activists). The administration says, in its literature about the reforms, that "rigorous application of the Community Reinvestment should be a core function of the CFPA."
Something like this should be a perfect example of observing the cause and effect that brought about our current financial problems and not doing it again. This is insane...

What the @#$% was he thinking

From the Canadian National Post:
Tiger attack at the Calgary zoo
A man who broke into the Calgary Zoo overnight was significantly injured when attacked by a tiger.

Zoo officials said that two men gained �unauthorized entry� to the zoo around 1 a.m. Monday and entered the tiger enclosure.

One of the men then scaled the safety fence surrounding the exhibit, approaching the exhibit�s inner fence.

Although he did not enter the animals� enclosure, he came in contact with one of the tigers and sustained �significant injuries� to his arms, zoo officials said in a statement:
"At this point our information is that they went to the tiger enclosure and one of the men climbed over the outer perimeter safety fence and approached the exhibit fence. He did not enter the exhibit, but did come into contact with one of the tigers and sustained significant injuries to his arms."
Both men were taken by security personnel to a nearby office where the injured man received first aid treatment. He was taken to hospital for further treatment.

Calgary Police are still investigating. The men "may have been intoxicated," Detective Inspector Steve Ellefson said this morning.
What an idiot. This may have been one of the mellowest cats in the world but when someone who is not their person, breaks into their home in the dark of the night, of course the reaction is going to be defensive. Siberians can get up to 600 pounds -- they are the largest cats in the world... Here is a photo of one of the other tigers at Calgary - Khasam:
Someone needs a good hug and a scritch between the ears...

Where's the Beef?

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The first part of this article is bad enough but the second? From BoingBoing:
Report: Woman paralyzed by E. coli-tainted hamburger
American megacorp Cargill, which brought in $116.6 billion in revenue last year, is in the spotlight this week around the story of Stephanie Smith: the 22 year old children's dance instructor was paralyzed from the waist down after eating E. coli-tainted hamburger traced back to the meat supplier.

She was in a coma for nine weeks and can now no longer walk. "Ground beef is not a completely safe product," one food safety expert in the article is quoted. Well, no shit. Snip from an extensive investigative report in Sunday's New York Times:
The frozen hamburgers that the Smiths ate, which were made by the food giant Cargill, were labeled "American Chef's Selection Angus Beef Patties." Yet confidential grinding logs and other Cargill records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria.

Using a combination of sources -- a practice followed by most large producers of fresh and packaged hamburger -- allowed Cargill to spend about 25 percent less than it would have for cuts of whole meat.
This is why we eat locally grown and grass fed beef. We have about 10% of a cow remaining in our chest freezer and there is a great local source for grass-fed beef about 12 miles away from us. For Cargill to label this as "Angus Beef" violates the whole Angus brand. Maybe they forgot to take the "g" out when they labeled it... The New York Times article is a long (six pages) and sobering read.

Amusing Real Estate listings

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A website devoted to "interesting" Real Estate listings. Check out Lovely Listing A tip of the old Fedora to Neatorama for the link.
From the Press Trust of India:
North Korean ship detained off Kerala coast
A North Korean ship, sailing from Colombo to a Pakistani port, has been detained by the Coast Guard and the Navy after it was found anchored in Indian territorial waters off Vatakara coast without mandatory permission.

The ship, 'Hyang Ro', was detained on Friday after it was found anchored in suspicious circumstances about 35 kms off Vatakara coast, a Coastguard Commandant at Beypore, near here, said.

All its 44 crew, who were North Koreans, are being questioned, Commandant Sri Kumar said.

Navy PRO in Kochi, Commander Roy Francis, said, "The vessel had entered Indian waters without mandatory clearances from the authorities. They (crew members) stated that they had anchored there because of an internal leak in a tank. We are investigating".

A senior Coastguard official in Kozhikode told PTI, "The ship has been surrounded and detained by two Coastguard ships and a Navy vessel.
Wonder what is in that cargo hold...

Not so fast now - the recovery process

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I was a bit suspicious of the current rally in the stock market. A little bit too soon and too fast. It seems that I keep excellent company -- Dr. Nouriel Roubini is saying the same thing. From Bloomberg:
Roubini Says Stocks Have Risen �Too Much, Too Soon, Too Fast�
New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the financial crisis, said stock and commodity markets may drop in coming months as the gradual pace of the economic recovery disappoints investors.

�Markets have gone up too much, too soon, too fast,� Roubini said in an interview in Istanbul on Oct. 3. �I see the risk of a correction, especially when the markets now realize that the recovery is not rapid and V-shaped, but more like U- shaped. That might be in the fourth quarter or the first quarter of next year.�

Stocks have surged around the world in the past six months as evidence mounts that the economy is emerging from its deepest recession since the 1930s. The Standard & Poor�s 500 Index has soared 51 percent from a 12-year low in March while Europe�s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 is up 48 percent. The euphoria contrasts with the cautious tone of Group of Seven policy makers, who said after meeting in Istanbul over the weekend that prospects for growth �remain fragile.�

�The real economy is barely recovering while markets are going this way,� Roubini said. If growth doesn�t rebound rapidly, �eventually markets are going to flatten out and correct to valuations that are justified. I see a growing gap between what markets are doing and the weaker real economic activities.�
Baby steps -- gotta take baby steps now. It's not going to get better for a few years at the very least.

Back again

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Just copied the outlook data over and forced it to read. Works great now... I'll work on the crucial apps tomorrow.

Light posting tonight

Upgrading Jen's computer. Microsoft has a nifty transfer application but it didn't work completely with her system (she is running Win2K and is moving to Vista). Got to do the email and some applications manually -- no big deal but this should have been done by the Migration wizard. I performed the same upgrade a few weeks ago going from XP to Vista and it went flawlessly.
Swiped from American Digest:

Good news for Polywell Fusion

The folks at EMC2 just got more Navy funding. From Classical Values:

WB-8 Contract Progress
The US Navy has just published a Justification and Award for EMC2's Polywell Fusion Reactor experiment.

The highlights:

* The award is for $10 million
* WB-8.0 report to be delivered 30 March 2010
* WB-8.1 report to be delivered 30 March 2012

The WB-8.1 effort is contingent on success with WB-8.0 experiments.

What does all this mean? It is possible that there has been much more progress than was expected. You can read about the expected progress at: We Will Know In Two Years. That was published in May of 2009. The minimum time expected for results when that was published was 18 months which would have been November of 2010. Actual time from the prediction to the end of the WB-8.0 contract is 10 months. Of course this is speculative. It may be that we won't know until March of 2012. Which would make the actual time line almost three years and not two.

Very cool -- the Navy doesn't throw money at stupid ideas.

The fusion reactor works as is, it just is not generating more energy than it takes to run. To do that requires that they scale up the size of the reactor.

They now have the money to do so... Very good news!

Fun times in Phoenix, AZ

I love the smell of a lawsuit in the morning...

From the Courthouse News Service:

Family Says 911 Tape Caught Cops Planning Cover-Up After Shooting
A homeowner says a Phoenix police officer shot him six times in the back during a 911 home-invasion call, and the 911 tape recorded the officer's partner saying, "That's all right. Don't worry about it. I got your back. ... We clear?" The family says the officers were not aware that the 911 call was still recording as they spoke about covering up the shooting.

In their complaint in Maricopa County Court, Anthony and Lesley Arambula say an armed intruder "crashed through the front window" of their home on Sept. 17, 2008 and ran into one of their son's bedrooms.

Anthony, worried about his son who was still in his bedroom, says he "held the intruder calmly at gunpoint" and called 911.

Phoenix Police officers already in the neighborhood heard the crash of the Arambulas' window. When they approached the house, Lesley says, she told Sgt. Sean Coutts that her husband was inside holding the intruder at gunpoint. Lesley says Coutts failed to pass on that information to the two other officers.

Inside the house, the Arambulas say, Officer Brian Lilly shot Anthony six times in the back while he was still on the phone with the 911 operator - twice when he was on the ground.

The officers ran into the bedroom after Anthony told them, "You just killed ... you just killed the homeowner. The bad guy is in there."

The complaint states that Officer Lilly "admitted that it was only after Tony was laying, bullet-ridden, on the ground that he assessed the situation. The 911 tape continued to record what happened even after Officer Lilly unloaded his weapon into Tony, including Officer Lilly's post-shooting, one-word 'assessment': 'Fuck.'

Officer Lilly will need to rehearse the following words as he is going to be saying them at his new job for the rest of his life: "Would you like fries with that?"

To not assess the situation until you had fired six rounds into a guy and further, to be firing six rounds into a guys back and to not hit anything vital.

Arambula survived.

Alaskan Justice

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A fun article on how things used to be done in Alaska. From the Alaska Dispatch:
Pilots to cut fingers off thieves stealing from planes
From the March 17, 1951 edition of The Mukluk Telegraph. "The Arctic's Greatest Newspaper."

Pilots to cut fingers off thieves stealing from planes

The local bush pilots recently agreed to work together and chop the fingers off anyone caught stealing emergency equipment from any of their airplanes. One pilot has been putting poison in some of his emergency food in an effort to kill off the thieves but to date has met with no success.

Marshal Neily says he is incompetent to deal with so difficult a situation, but told the pilots after they had made numerous protests to him that if they would bring in the thieves he would talk to them. The pilots, realizing emergency equipment may mean life or death to themselves and their passengers, have decided on more direct and effective action.
Makes a lot of sense -- stealing food or disabling an aircraft (even unintentionally) would be the difference between life and death.

The Bellingham power outage

The two news sources have posts up on today's power outage. From radio station KGMI:

Downed Tree Cuts Power To 4,800 In Bellingham
Wind toppled a tree Saturday afternoon in Bellingham's Sunnyland neighborhood, knocking down high-voltage power lines and cutting power to thousands of city residents.

Over 4,800 Puget Sound Energy customers were without electricity when the outage began at about 2:45 p.m., said company spokeswoman Gretchen Aliabadi.

A tree crew and a power line crew responded to the problem near Grant and Carolina Streets, and about 1,800 customers were later brought back on line, said Aliabadi.

As of 7:00 p.m. Saturday, about 3,000 customers were still in the dark, she said.

She was unable to say when power would be restored to all customers, but said crews were continuing to work on the problem.

The outage forced the cancellation of a Whatcom Symphony Orchestra concert at the Mount Baker Theatre.

The performance had been planned for 7:30 p.m., but at 7:00, the theater was still in the dark, said executive director Brad Burdick.

The concert is rescheduled for Sunday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m., said Burdick.

The Bellingham Herald also covers the story.

That's mostly it for the night

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Working on some stuff in the DaveCave(TM) and need to get an early start on stuff tomorrow. If the email fairies bring anything interesting, I'll post it but otherwise, that is it for today...

A much needed reality check

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From David St. Lawrence writing at Ripples:
Time for another reality check
It seems like our political class is comfortably divorced from reality. Congress voted itself another raise this year, increased their expense budgets and are working hard to pull off a trifecta of bills that will raise taxes and energy costs while the economy crumbles around us.

Government is preoccupied with saving the world from computer model "disasters" like "poisonous" CO2 and Anthropogenic Global Warming, while ignoring the rising tide of real disasters like massive unemployment, a real recession, and an indecisively managed war in Afghanistan.
He concludes with the following observation:
No company I have ever known has improved their operating basis during a crisis by adding more levels of management, yet our current administration is adding Czars and new government organizations every day.

I don't see that as a winning strategy.
What he said -- an excellent read.

An interesting trip into Bellingham

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Had to run into town today and just as I got there, the power went out. A tree branch hit a high-voltage line causing multiple transformers to fail catastrophically. Bellingham Herald photographer Dan Anderson took this photo:
No story online yet. One place I went to were selling individually priced items but anything sold by weight was offline. This place is one of our major produce vendors. Plan B and drove down to Joe's Garden
It's almost a year since Obama got elected and people are still bashing President Bush. From Andrew Breitbart's Big Government:
Sen. Burris: Bush Cost Us The Olympics
Big Government Contributor Dana Loesch has this gem from Sen. Roland Burris (D-Blagojevich):
Senator Rowland Burris of Illinois, the Senator who was appointed to fill President Barack Obama�s vacant Senate seat, blames George Bush for Chicago not getting the Olympics in 2016. Burris stated in an interview, shortly after the announcement, that the image of the U. S. has been so tarnished in the last 8 years that, even Barack Obama making an unprecedented pitch for the games could not overcome the hatred the world has for us as a result of George Bush.
Of course, it should be noted that Chicago was selected as a finalist in June, 2008. You know, when the guy the whole world is supposed to hate was President. Oh, those crafty foreigners. Consider this an Open Thread.
I guess that it is a lot easier to blame someone than to look at your own shortcomings...

That is it for the evening

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Long day and still need to check email in the DaveCave(tm). Started a batch of hard cider tonight -- got the yeast proofing and will pitch tomorrow morning. Ten gallons of booze -- woohoo!!!
As you may know, where I park my car is a little bit under 14 miles to the nearest border crossing with Canada. I have gone up there frequently to shop at Ikea and at the Huntingdon Costco (they stock different items than the US stores). I have also been buying the occasional scientific fetish piece from the British Columbia online surplus auction house. Bringing those back into the USA has proven "interesting" at times. (Here, here and here -- there have been other adventures but these weren't sufficiently traumatic to warrant a post of their own) Today, I went up with the specific intent of getting a couple more more of the cable management racks from Ikea and some bread and some candy from Costco that is not available in the USA. I drove up to the booth, told the agent that I was up for one day shopping at Ikea and Costco. She scanned my passport, looked at the screen and said: "Oh... It's you" and then handed me a slip of paper, kept my Passport and told me to park my truck. I went into the office and stood at the counter. Who should walk up to me but the guy who gave me the hard time for the fully automated blood culture and mycobacteria testing system. He proceeded to ask me if I was bringing in anything weird this time. I assured him that I was not and he asked for a description of what I was bringing in. He put my Passport down on the counter and told me that I was free to go.

A bit on Lagniappe and last nights post

Jen ran into a wonderful Mark Twain quote regarding the word Lagniappe:
We picked up one excellent word--a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get; a nice limber, expressive, handy word--'lagniappe.' They pronounce it lanny-yap. It is Spanish--so they said. We discovered it at the head of a column of odds and ends in the Picayune, the first day; heard twenty people use it the second; inquired what it meant the third; adopted it and got facility in swinging it the fourth. It has a restricted meaning, but I think the people spread it out a little when they choose. It is the equivalent of the thirteenth roll in a 'baker's dozen.' It is something thrown in, gratis, for good measure. The custom originated in the Spanish quarter of the city. ... If the waiter in the restaurant stumbles and spills a gill of coffee down the back of your neck, he says 'For lagniappe, sah,' and gets you another cup without extra charge.
-- Life on the Mississippi
And also, the concept of Resource Extraction is not something that is new to this century or to the current crop of Democrats. I direct you to this WikiPedia entry for Tammany Hall:
Tammany Hall
Tammany Hall (Founded May 12, 1789 as the Tammany Society, and also known as the Society of St. Tammany, the Sons of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order), was the Democratic Party political machine that played a major role in controlling New York City politics and helping immigrants (most notably the Irish) rise up in American politics from the 1790s to the 1960s. It usually controlled Democratic Party nominations and patronage in Manhattan from the mayoral victory of Fernando Wood in 1854 through the election of John P. O'Brien in 1932. Tammany Hall was permanently weakened by the election of Fiorello La Guardia on a "fusion" ticket of Republicans, reform-minded Democrats, and independents in 1934, and despite a brief resurgence in the 1950s, it ceased to exist in the 1960s.

The Tammany Society was named for Tamanend, a Native American leader of the Lenape, and emerged as the center for Democratic-Republican Party politics in the City in the early 19th Century. The "Hall" serving as the Society's headquarters was built in 1830 on East 14th Street, marking an era when Tammany Hall became the city affiliate of the Democratic Party, controlling most of the New York City elections afterwards.

The Society expanded its political control even further by earning the loyalty of the city's ever-expanding immigrant community, which functioned as a base of political capital. The Tammany Hall "ward boss" ("wards" were the city's smallest political units from 1686�1938) served as the local vote gatherer and provider of patronage. Beginning in late 1845, Tammany power surged with the influx of millions of Irish immigrants to New York. From 1872, Tammany had an Irish "boss," and in 1928 a Tammany hero, New York Governor Al Smith won the Democratic presidential nomination. However, Tammany Hall also served as an engine for graft and political corruption, perhaps most infamously under William M. "Boss" Tweed in the mid-1800s. The term "Tammany Hall" is now used to refer to a corrupt system of buying or controlling votes.

Tammany Hall's influence waned in the 20th Century; in 1932, Mayor Jimmy Walker was forced from office, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stripped Tammany of federal patronage. Republican Fiorello La Guardia was elected Mayor on a Fusion ticket and became the first anti-Tammany Mayor to be re-elected. A brief resurgence in Tammany power in the 1950s was met with Democratic Party opposition led by Eleanor Roosevelt, Herbert Lehman, and the New York Committee for Democratic Voters. By the mid-1960s Tammany Hall ceased to exist.
From 1789 to 1960 -- 170 years -- quite the run... These people were not keeping blacks confined to a ghetto and confined to a life of ignorance and dependency on the government teat but they were, in their own way, just as corrupt. Say hello to the ghosts of Tammany when you think of the Kennedy's and Sen. Kerry and the rest of those ilk.

Resource Extraction

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I live in an area where a lot of the economy comes from Resource Extraction. Timber growing and harvesting, there is an active Gold mine about 30 miles away, I visit the tailings of an old coal mine ten miles away to get coal for my blacksmith forge. A major part of the city of Bellingham has a coal mine underneath it. Commercial Fishing is another example of Resource Extraction; Bellingham and Seattle are the hubs for the Alaskan fishing fleet. What got me to thinking about this is that groups like ACORN, the Chicago political machine and the Unions are making a lot of money with Resource Extraction and the Resource that they are extracting is the urban poor black man. The money is not coming from the poor -- by default they have none. The money is being harvested from the US Government entitlement programs and is being skimmed off the top while the urban poor blacks are purposefully being kept in their condition of being urban (dense urban population) poor (no jobs and no incentive for either working or education) and black (playing the race card to win Government largess). An example: ACORN We have seen the videos from Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe that have caused so much consternation among the ACORN elite. These videos are just scratching the surface as the corruption has gone on a lot longer than most people realize. From Newsbusters and FOX News:
Former Employee on Fox: ACORN 'Most Corrupt Group in the Country'
Gregory Hall, a former employee of scandal-plagued ACORN, labeled the organization �the most corrupt group in the country� on Wednesday�s Fox and Friends on FNC. Hall placed the blame squarely on the national leaders of the left-wing group: �They�re the ones that are constantly giving the orders that say- make the money, no matter what- lie, steal, cheat- and I�ve got the witnesses to prove it� [audio clips from the segment are available here].
Some more at the website RottenAcorn:
ACORN Is A Bad Seed
Something�s rotten in the state of New Mexico, and Ohio, and Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and Florida, and�

ACORN calls itself a community group, but it is really a multi-million-dollar, multi-national conglomerate. Its political agenda is driven by a relative handful of political thugs for hire. ACORN spends millions promoting economic policies (like raising the minimum wage), but doesn't always want to abide by them.

In fact, ACORN sued the state of California to get out of paying its own employees the minimum wage, and even fought their efforts to create a union.

Before �subprime� became a household word, ACORN waded into the mortgage market, supporting policies that helped lay the groundwork for the catastrophic lending collapse of 2008. Working with another activist group, the Center for Responsible Lending, ACORN lobbied legislators and banks to ensure that any person, regardless of credit history, income, or assets, would qualify for a mortgage. They mastered the art of pressuring banks � often through radical and controversial methods � to provide subprime loans to all comers. It was many of these �toxic� loans that defaulted and sparked the subprime mortgage crisis.

ACORN's influence extends to the political sphere as well. The group is perhaps best known for its widely-reported role in voter fraud across the country.
Anyway, what got me thinking about Resource Extraction was the post today from Michelle Malkin on the Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics. I linked to it earlier today but that post stayed with me and kept me thinking about the dynamics involved and why things never seem to get better for the urban poor. They never get worse but they never get better. Let's take a look at a couple of scenarios: #1) - You are in the Real Estate business. Your core competency is building low income housing in urban areas. It would be in your own self-interest to have those buildings have as short a lifetime as possible so that you can demolish them and build something new. The city inspectors are in the same game so getting a building permit approved and getting the finished building signed off for occupancy is not an issue. This frees you to use as cheap materials as possible knowing that they only have to last five or ten years until you build a new structure. You, of course, bill the government for higher quality materials and pocket the difference minus the mordita to pay off the inspectors and the occasional contractor or three. #2) - You are a 'community organizer' and you are shocked SHOCKED at the conditions in the slum. The people (never your people) don't have adequate housing, the housing they have is falling apart. You enumerate a long shopping list of inequities both physical and societal that 'the people' have to suffer with. You have worshiped at the feet of Saul Alinsky but you don't directly involve yourself with the lives of the wealthy or the lives of the poor. You are an actor on a stage pointing out the travails of the poor and demonizing the rich but you don't really do anything. You cannot do anything because if you did, you would upset the balance and you would no longer have a function in life. #3) - You are poor. Not as poor as you think though, you probably have a cell phone and a flat-screen television. Your education is minimal as the schools aren't worth anything -- you do not see any reason to knuckle down 30 hours/week and learn a trade. After all, the government keeps you housed and fed. It also allows you to steal a little lagniappe every so often. You aren't going to be the squeaky wheel as if you were, the government might notice the lagniappe and take it away. You stay where you are, don't bother to do anything to improve your lot (after all, I got extra food stamps -- let's get some beer!) and sit back and grumble. This last pool of people is the Resource. The Extraction is done by the first group of people and they are legitimized by the second group of people -- the community organizers. Here is one story: From American Thinker:
Obama 's Friends and Chicago's New Slums
"Mayor Daley's always talking about fair housing and decent housing, and he's got Allison Davis, who he appointed on the planning commission," says Smith, who heads the tenants association that represents Evergreen/Sedgwick residents. "We still live in a slum." (From the article "We still live in a slum," Mark Konkol.
A bit more:
At Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland, Allison Davis was Obama's boss and tutor in the legalities of government subsidized housing.

A generation older than Obama, Davis grew up in Hyde Park, home of the University of Chicago, where his father was the school's first African-American professor.
And one last bit more (the punchline if you will):
So how much taxpayer money have Davis and his partners gleaned over the years for their government housing projects? Sit down before you read the answer. According to the Sun Times (November 11, 2007):
"Davis and his partners - including sons Jared and Cullen - have gotten more than $100 million in taxpayer subsidies to build and rehabilitate more than 1,500 apartments and homes, primarily for the poor. His deals include a massive redevelopment of the Chicago Housing Authority's Stateway Gardens, across the Dan Ryan Expy from Sox Park. It is a lucrative business. Davis and his partners have made at least $4 million in development fees over the last decade."
And, Davis has generously shared his winnings.
"He has donated more than $400,000 to dozens of political campaign funds. His top beneficiaries include Daley, [Illinois Gov.] Blagojevich and Sen. Barack Obama, who worked for several years as an attorney in Davis' law firm." (Sun Times, Nov. 11, 2007)
And the quality of construction -- from Doug Ross' blog:
The Illustrated Results of Obama's "Community Organizing"
If I didn't know better, I'd think this was Beirut in the nineteen seventies. But, in reality, it's the current state of the housing for which Barack Obama claims responsibility as a "community organizer." It turns out the developers enriched by his government-funded subsidies did a heck of a lot better than the folks who once lived here.
A bit more:
About 99 of the units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage. Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale - a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.

Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered...
Go and read the article to see the pictures -- it is amazing that anyone would live here. I could go on all night -- the number of examples of corruption and power politics are that numerous. There are people who will consider what I say to be racist but here is what I see... A bunch of politically well-connected businessmen are engaged in the act of Resource Extraction using the urban slums as the ground on which to grow their resources. Through the political machinery of the cities and states, they are guaranteed minimal hassles when they erect substandard housing and provide substandard infrastructure (schools, grocery stores, health care, etc...). These people (businessmen and politicians alike) have no desire to see the poor elevate themselves, they have no desire to see the poor educate themselves as this would break the cycle that is so profitable for them. Another group, the community organizers act as the go-betweens and the Judas Goats for the poor. The community organizers set people up with risky business ventures, they get them housing that they cannot afford, they steer them to follow churches and "community leaders" that do not lead, they just teach them how to shake down the government and the big businesses for a little lagniappe every so often. This group also has an academic counterpart that lives in a world detached from reality and whose job is to inculcate the minds of the youth. Any class with the name "studies" in it is sheer politicization and propaganda. The final group is the poor themselves. They are not allowed to have any motivation for self improvement. They are economically confined to their ghetto, denied an effective education, denied effective leadership. Their only job is to suck off the government teat and to vote pro-union and Democratic even though those are the very people keeping them imprisoned. This rant formed over the course of a few hours today. There is a lot that is not expressed as clearly as I would like but I wanted to get it out there. This is what I see when I read the news...
This has been circulating for a while but it deserves telling:
Conservative vs Liberal
If a conservative doesn�t like guns, he doesn`t buy one.
If a liberal doesn�t like guns, he feels that no one should have one.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn`t eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants to ban all meat products for everyone.

If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat his enemy.
A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.

If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he loudly demands legislated respect.

If a black man or Hispanic is conservative, they see themselves as independently successful.
Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn�t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don�t like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn�t go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God or religion silenced.

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.
Some generalizations but pretty close to the truth from what I see these days...

The upside to bad penmanship

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From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Bank robbery foiled by penmanship
Police say a bank robbery attempt in Hillsboro failed after a teller told the woman who handed her a threatening note that she couldn't read the handwriting.

According to police, a 30-year-old woman walked into a Wells Fargo bank branch Wednesday and handed a teller a note that said, "Need $300 or I'll kill you. I'm serious."

The teller told the woman she couldn't read the writing. While the woman stepped away to rewrite her note on a bank slip, the teller hit a silent alarm and the bank manager intervened, asking the woman how he could help her.

Police and FBI agents soon arrived and arrested the woman; police say she was under the influence of drugs.
Talk about stupid. Staying around to re-write the note and saying that they would kill someone if they didn't comply. Hope the perp has a nice long vacation in the pokey...
Just remembered a line from a Mimi Fari�a concert in Boston a number of years ago. She was talking about the Hollywood types and had this to say:
These people are Vogue on the outside but vague on the inside.
That about sums it up for the whole crowd -- true in the 1980's and true now...

Strange going's on in Hardin, Montana

Very odd happenings in a small town in Montana. Hardin is about 70 miles due East of Billings and is in the South East corner of the state. From CBS/Associated Press:
American Police Force Corporation Takes Over Small Town Police Force and Prisoner-Less Jail
This is the strange story of how American Police Force, a little known company which claims to specialize in training military and security forces overseas, has seemingly taken control of a $27 million, never-used jail, and a rural Montana town's nonexistent police force.

After arriving in this tiny city with three Mercedes SUVs marked with the logo of a police department that has never existed, representatives of the obscure California security company said preparations were under way to take over Hardin's jail, which has no prisoners.

Significant obstacles remain - including a lack of any contracts to acquire prisoners from other jails or other states.

And on Friday came the revelation the company's operating agreement for the facility has yet to be validated - two weeks after city leaders first unveiled what they said was a signed agreement.

Still, some Hardin leaders said the deal to turn over the 464-bed jail remained on track.

The agreement with American Police Force has been heavily promoted by members of the city's economic development branch, the Two Rivers Authority. Authority Vice President Albert Peterson on Friday repeated his claim to be �100 percent� confident in the company.

The lead public figure for American Police Force, Michael Hilton, said more than 200 employees would be sought for the jail and a proposed military and law enforcement training center.

That would be a significant boost to Hardin, a struggling town of 3,500 located about 45 miles east of Billings. An earlier announcement that a job fair would be held during the last week never came to fruition.

The bonds used to pay for the jail have been in default since May, 2008.

Hilton also said he planned a helicopter tour of the region in coming days to look at real estate for a planned tactical military training ground. He said 5,000 to 10,000 acres were needed to complement the training center, a $17 million project.

But the company's flashy arrival this week stirred new questions. The logo on the black Mercedes SUVs said �City of Hardin Police Department.�

Yet the city has not had a police force of its own for 30 years.

�Pretty looking police car, ain't it?� Hardin resident Leroy Frickle, 67, said as he eyed one of the vehicles parked in front of a bed and breakfast where Hilton and other company representatives were staying. �The things you hear about this American Police, I don't know what to think.�
The article says 45 miles, the map looks more like 70. And it seems that the president of American Police Force knows jails from the inside. From the Billings Gazette:
APF head Hilton has criminal past
Michael Hilton of American Police Force arrived in Hardin with promises of Mercedes police cars and expertise in operating prisons. He delivered the cars last week, but may have learned about prisons following a 1993 conviction for grand theft.

Public records from police and state and federal courts in California show that Michael Anthony Hilton, using that name and more than a dozen aliases over several years, is cited in multiple criminal, civil and bankruptcy cases, and was sentenced in 1993 to two years in state prison in California.

Hilton pleaded guilty in March 1993 to 14 felonies, including 10 counts of grand theft, one count of attempted grand theft and three counts of diversion of construction funds, according to Orange County court records. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but it is unclear how much time he served.

Court records in that case list his real name as Michael Hilton, but they also include the aliases Midrag Ilia Dokovitch, Midrag Ilia Dokovich and Michael Miodrag.

Hilton, who speaks heavily accented English, has told reporters that he is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Montenegro, a country bordering Serbia, and once part of the former Republic of Yugoslavia.

The same aliases and other similar ones, all with slightly different spellings, show up in many other court documents citing Hilton, including a May 2003 Orange County case in which Hilton pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.
And the hits just keep coming -- a bit more from the same article:
Court documents in that case allege that Hilton and others solicited investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the plaintiff for the creation of collectible Super Bowl commemorative coins.

The complaint alleges that Hilton and others falsely told the plaintiff that the money would be used for the design and manufacture of the coins, and to pay for a National Football League license to produce them.

In fact, the complaint states, no such license was ever issued by the NFL.
Hilton also declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy twice during a 15-month period.

He filed under his real name, citing the alias Miodrag A. Dokovich, in November 2002, listing a Stanton, Calif., home address and a Fountain Valley, Calif., business address tied to the Belgrade Market Liquor and Deli.

In February 2004, Hilton filed under his real name, citing the alias Miodrag Dokovich, and listing a Santa Ana, Calif., home address. He estimated his assets at less than $50,000, and listed as creditors only a credit union and his landlord.

Both bankruptcy filings appear to have been intended to delay eviction proceedings against him. Under federal bankruptcy law, tenants are generally protected from eviction while they reorganize their finances.
There is an article linked in the sidebar with this wonderful quote:
"The guy's brilliant. If he had been able to do honest work, he probably would have been a gazillionaire," Carella said.
Carella was scammed by Hilton in a California Real Estate "deal". Let's hope that the fine Citizens of Hardin send this troglodyte back to whatever hole he came from.
Michelle Malkin has done an excellent job ferreting out just who will benefit from Chicago getting the nod for the 2016 Olympic Games:
An illustrated guide: All the president�s Olympic cronies
When government officials play the Olympic lottery, taxpayers lose. That has been the disastrous experience of host cities around the world (Forbes magazine even dubbed the post-Olympic financial burden the �Host City Curse�). So, why are President Obama and his White House entourage headed to Copenhagen, Denmark this week to push a fiscally doomed Chicago 2016 bid? Political payback.

Bringing the games to the Windy City is Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley�s �vision.� The entrenched Democratic power-broker � in office since 1989 � would like to cap off his graft-tainted career with a glorious, $4 billion bread and circuses production. The influential Daley machine backed Barack Obama for the presidential primary. Obama lavished praise on Daley�s stewardship of the city. Longtime Daley cronies helped pave Obama�s path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Now, they�re returning the favor for their hometown boss.

Senior White House adviser and Obama consigliere Valerie Jarrett is a Daley loyalist who worked as his deputy chief of staff, deputy corporation counsel, and planning commissioner. She hired the future First Lady of the United States, then-Michelle Robinson, as a mayoral assistant. Jarrett went on to serve as president and CEO of The Habitat Company, a real estate firm with a massive stake in federally-funded Chicago public housing projects.

One of those public-private partnerships, the Grove Parc Plaza Apartments, was run into the ground under Jarrett�s watch. Federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex a bottom-of-the-barrel 11 on a 100-point scale. �They are rapidly displacing poor people, and these companies are profiting from this displacement,� Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle of Southside Together Organizing for Power, a community group that seeks to help tenants stay in the same neighborhoods, told the Boston Globe last year. �The same exact people who ran these places into the ground,� the private companies paid to build and manage the city�s affordable housing, �now are profiting by redeveloping them.�

Coincidentally enough, Grove Parc � now targeted for demolition as a result of years of neglect by Obama�s developer friends�sits in the shadows of the proposed site of the city�s 2016 Olympics Stadium.
Michelle is just getting started. Go to her page and read the entire thing. The preamble is wonderful too. Be sure to check out the comments -- a lot of fed up Chicagoans out there...

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