November 2009 Archives

Tuber melanosporum in the news

Tuber melanosporum? Black P�rigords Truffles -- $600/pound truffles. And some guy in Tennessee has figured out how to grow them. A fun long article at Gentleman's Quarterly:
Hillbilly Truffle
Were you to visualize an ideal existence, this might be it: Awaken a mile from Davy Crockett's birthplace, the sun rising over the Blue Ridge Mountains, handily visible from your back porch. Phone for a rare Lagotto Romagnolo truffle-hunting dog to be brought around in an ever available Lexus SUV. Stroll your backyard hazelnut orchard with the happy hound bounding beside you, him sniffing the soft earth for precious Tuber melanosporum, you gathering them up�hardly stressful, since they conveniently grow only inches beneath the ground. Rinse, put in Ziplocs, add rice to absorb moisture, and establish the price you'll charge, about $600 a pound, sometimes more. Try not to fret about the overhead. After all, we're talking bags and rice.

Of course, you must find somebody to buy your harvest, but that's no problem. "I thought the real hard part was going to be the selling," says Tom Michaels, thought to be the only man in America who earns a living selling black P�rigord truffles that he's cultivated himself. "They sell themselves."

His personal life isn't bad, either. Michaels's house, that of a divorced man devoid of domestic skills, looks at best like a college dorm room. "Besides being a slob, I'm not organized," he concedes, when I mention that most everything he owns is teetering in piles. On the occasions that his girlfriend, Vicki Blizzard, drives over from Knoxville, Tennessee, she finds it all just fine. "Tom's house is wonderful. He's got that backyard, that view. So what if it's not as pristine as mine. I'm comfortable there."

That's two treasures, a tolerant woman as well as a ready crop of black truffles, one of the most expensive edibles on earth. Long considered a mainstay of French haute cuisine, Tuber melanosporum, a.k.a. the black P�rigord truffle, has not always been rare, but it has always been prized.
A fun read -- his website is here: Tennessee Truffle

A season of light posting

It sure seems like that anyway... RL intrudes. I am on the local Water Board and we had a meeting tonight.

Hey - remember this guy's mugshot?

He is in the news again -- from PhillyBurbs:
W.Va. man sues over use of mugshot
A McMechen man whose mugshot won a measure of Internet fame is planning to sue companies he says are profiting from the image.

Patrick Tribett was arrested in Bellaire, Ohio, in 2005. Police say he had been huffing the fumes from gold spraypaint, and the lower half of his face was golden in his mugshot.

New Martinsville lawyer H. John Rogers says the image has appeared on T-shirts, coffee mugs and even a billboard in Europe.

Rogers says he's preparing lawsuits against four companies for using Tribett's image for financial gain.
Paging Mr. Darwin, Mr. Charles Darwin to the white courtesy phone...

A few words

Considering Climategate, these words ring home:
In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation�s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present � and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
Spoken 48 years ago on 17 January 1961 by outgoing President Dwight Delano Eisenhower. This is the same speech that has the warning against the military-industrial complex although to read it in context, it is a warning against crony capitalism and not against open-market capitalism -- there is a big big difference... UPDATE: Thanks to a comment from Dazed but Unfazed, his name at birth was David Dwight Eisenhower but he reversed the order when he entered West Point so it is Dwight David Eisenhower, not Delano. I was confusing him with his son Grandson David...

Climategate roundup

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Anthony is hosting a canonical list of links to various posts on Climategate including the observation that a Google search for Global Warming nets 10.5 Million hits whereas a search for Climategate nets 13.5 Million hits.

Time to put a sock in Copenhagen...

Light posting today - into town, stuff to do

Went into town to catch a showing of The Men Who Stare at Goats Funny funny movie -- not a rolling in the aisles funny but more a Coen Brothers funny. Lots of inside jokes and little throw-away scenes that are great. Good acting from George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey. If you don't manage to catch it on the big screen, be sure to rent it when it comes out. A lot of fun.

Break out the whitewash...

It's CYA time at U Penn - from Anthony:
Mann to be investigated by Penn State University review
This statement was released by Penn State here. Oddly, while mentioning the NAS report, there is no mention of the Congressional commissioned Wegman report, which you can see here full report (PDF). Or for a quick read the fact-sheet (PDF).
University Reviewing Recent Reports on Climate Information
Professor Michael Mann is a highly regarded member of the Penn State faculty conducting research on climate change. Professor Mann�s research papers have been published in well respected peer-reviewed scientific journals.

In November 2005, Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) requested that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) convene a panel of independent experts to investigate Professor Mann�s seminal 1999 reconstruction of the global surface temperature over the past 1,000 years. The resulting 2006 report of the NAS panel ( concluded that Mann�s results were sound and has been subsequently supported by an array of evidence that includes additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions.

In recent days a lengthy file of emails has been made public. Some of the questions raised through those emails may have been addressed already by the NAS investigation but others may not have been considered. The University is looking into this matter further, following a well defined policy used in such cases. No public discussion of the matter will occur while the University is reviewing the concerns that have been raised.
You know that when they start saying things like: "Professor Michael Mann is a highly regarded member of the Penn State faculty" -- any hope for some investigatory reporting is gone and U Penn is just interested in damage control and protecting whatever remaining shreds of credibility it has.

Fifty interesting WikiPedia articles

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From copybot:
The 50 most interesting articles on Wikipedia
Deep in the bowels of the internet, I came across an exhaustive list of interesting Wikipedia articles by Ray Cadaster. It�s brilliant reading when you�re bored, so I got his permission to post the top 50 here.

Bookmark it, start reading, and become that person who�s always full of fascinating stuff you never knew about.
And of course, the response was so good that there are fifty more... OBLIGATORY BLOG DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for the time wasted enjoyed perusing these links. You clicked. I did not force you.

Another view of the CRU code leak

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Michael Williams writing at Master of None has a fun observation of the Climatic Research Unit code leak:
Anthropogenic Global Warming Will Lose Geeks Thanks To Bad Code
I'd venture that most software geeks are fairly leftist and generally support the theory that human activity is causing global warming. In that light, the biggest revelation from the recently hacked global warming emails might be the awfulness of the climate simulation code.

I've examined two files in some depth and found (OK so Harry found some of this)
Inappropriate programming language usage
Totally nuts shell tricks
Hard coded constant files
Incoherent file naming conventions
Use of program libray subroutines that appear to be:
far from ideal in how they do things when they work
do not produce an answer consistent with other way to calculate the same thing
but which fail at undefined times
and where when the function fails the the program silently continues without reporting the error

More code analysis.

I'm pretty proficient at writing simulation software: it's how I earned my PhD and how I earn a living. I've also worked closely with self-trained programmers who only write code to advance their research in other fields, and I can tell you that their code is almost always terrible. Writing good software is extremely difficult, and it doesn't surprise me at all that the climate modeling software is so bad as to be useless. It is always wise to be skeptical about the outputs of simulations, especially if you cannot see the source code for yourself.
And today, Michael wrote the following in part two:
Up to this point, it was difficult to challenge the conclusions of AGW-believing climate scientists because most geeks don't have much expertise in climatology. We tend to consider ourselves scientists and to give other scientists in other areas of expertise the benefit of the doubt. Without a great deal of experience in climatology, it's hard for a geek to justify spending much time questioning the modes and methods of professional climate researchers.

However, the email leak has changed all this. Along with a hoard of emails, some source code for the computer climate models was also hacked and released to the public -- and the source code is an unusable mess. It doesn't take expertise in climatology to look at source code and determine that the code is garbage. There are many more geeks with software expertise than with climate expertise, and the geek community will go through every line of code and likely conclude that the computer models are so flawed that any conclusions drawn on them are without merit.

Despite the liberal tendencies of many geeks, I believe that the source code evidence will be insurmountable for most. Some will continue to cling to AGW because of a devotion to left-wing politics, but the majority of geeks will abandon their belief, and that abandonment by geeks will truly spell the end for AGW.
Hat tip to Paul Hsieh at GeekPress for the link.

Real World experience

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An interesting chart showing the percent of the cabinet with Private Sector Experience before appointment. From The Enterprise Blog:
Help Wanted, No Private Sector Experience Required
A friend sends along the following chart from a J.P. Morgan research report. It examines the prior private sector experience of the cabinet officials since 1900 that one might expect a president to turn to in seeking advice about helping the economy. It includes secretaries of State, Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Energy, and Housing & Urban Development, and excludes Postmaster General, Navy, War, Health, Education & Welfare, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security�432 cabinet members in all.
Click to embiggen...
Hat tip to Coyote Blog for the link.

Wayne Green on the truth behind Thanksgiving

True story as told by Wayne Green:
Thanksgiving II
The story of the first Thanksgiving we were taught in school or via TV is just another fairy story. Yeah, the pilgrims came over on the Mayflower in 1620, they had a lousy harvest, and half of them died that winter. And then it happened again in 1622.

Their experiment wasn�t working out. The system where everything they grew, animals they hunted and fish they caught were put into a common building for all to share had resulted in most of them waiting for others to do the planting, hunting and fishing. So they starved, stealing what they could from the Indians.

In 1623 the governor of the colony, William Bradford, gave each of the surviving families their own piece of land and let them keep what they grew or caught for themselves. This resulted in a bumper crop that year, and by 1624, they were growing so much they were able to start exporting corn.

Socialism has failed in every country it�s been tried. And here in America, too.

They had the same disastrous result with the Jamestown, where less than half survived their first year.

So, Thanksgiving is mainly a celebration of the success of free enterprise, something I wish Obama and the congress would recognize. Our socialist health care system, like our socialist public school system, is the most expensive per capita of the developed countries, and is giving us piss-poor results.

Oh, by the way, I�m a descendant of John Alden and Priscilla, as I discovered in a hundred-year old genealogy I inherited.
Wayne is an interesting character. He founded Byte magazine and had it taken away from him. Has led an interesting life... The real story in Bradford's Words Modern History Sourcebook:
William Bradford: from History of Plymouth Plantation, c. 1650
from Fordham University.
First harvest (1621)
They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was a great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.

Private and communal farming (1623)
All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other thing to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato's and other ancients applauded by some of later times; and that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors and victuals, clothes etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men's wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men's corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.
What he said -- true then and true now...
Hat tip Anthony

Let's hope not

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From Reuters:
Momentum grows for Copenhagen climate deal
World leaders on Friday rallied to a diplomatic offensive to forge a U.N. climate deal in Copenhagen next month and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said an agreement was "within reach".

Ban, and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen who will host the December 7-18 U.N. climate talks, hailed what they portrayed as a growing international momentum toward a pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming.

"Our common goal is to achieve a firm foundation for a legally binding climate treaty as early as possible in 2010. I am confident that we are on track to do this," Ban told a summit of Commonwealth leaders in Trinidad and Tobago.

"Each week brings new commitments and pledges -- from industrialized countries, emerging economies and developing countries alike," he added.

"An agreement is within reach ... We must seal a deal in Copenhagen," Ban said. He, Rasmussen and French President Nicloas Sarkozy attended the summit of the 53-nation Commonwealth as special guests to lobby on Friday for international consensus on a climate pact.
These people consider themselves to be our betters and they are not. They are just mooching off our tax dollars -- they have no clue as to how to lead and the idea that a central body can effectively manage a nation has been proven time and time again to be completely impossible. The competition of the marketplace keeps everyone honest and serves to minimize corruption.

Ring the bell

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From AFP:
Success for Large Hadron Collider as first atom smashed
Two circulating beams on Monday produced the first particle collisions in the world's biggest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), three days after its restart, scientists announced.

In a statement, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said two beams circulating simultaneously led to collisions at all four detection points during the afternoon and evening.

"It?s a great achievement to have come this far in so short a time," said CERN director general Rolf Heuer. "But we need to keep a sense of perspective. There's still much to do before we can start the LHC physics programme."

CERN had declared earlier Monday the relaunch of the 3.9 billion euro (five billion dollar) collider "an enormous success," after it was out of action for 14 months due to a serious electrical fault.

Scientists are looking to the collider -- inside a 27-kilometre (16.8-mile) tunnel straddling the Franco-Swiss border -- to mimic the conditions that followed the Big Bang and help explain the origins of the universe.

"Today the LHC circulated two beams simultaneously for the first time, allowing the operators to test the synchronization of the beams and giving the experiments their first chance to look for proton-proton collisions," CERN said in its statement.
The headline is technically incorrect as "atom smashing" refers to events involving the nucleus of an atom and what was happening was two proton beams were intersecting and doing low-level collisions. Still, a wonderful event -- the real work is months and years ahead but this is a wonderful and momentous start.
Keeps getting better and better. Dr. Timothy Ball:
Hard to argue with facts... The comment on the peer review process is damning as well -- you think about all the people that Al Gore is stirring up but in reality, the feet on the ground for this supposed science are less than fifty people. They all reviewed each others papers. It's in the emails. If you didn't toe the line with the Anthropogenic Global Warming doctrine, you got kicked out of the cabal and lost your (very substantial) grant monies. The links that Dr. Ball mentions are on the Environment and Climate Change section of the blogroll. Regardless of where you stand on human-powered global warming, it is well worth to keep an open mind and look at both sides of the issue. If the "climate skeptics" are right after all, how many tens of billions of dollars will be wasted, how much damage will be done to every economy on this planet; all for nothing. That being said, consider this: if you raised the temperature of the planet two degrees, you would open up vast tracts for settlement. More people die from the cold than from heat. If you raised the CO2, agriculture would see a Renascence as CO2 is -- at its most basic form -- plant food.

The Mountain Weather Forecast

We are tied to the weather here -- not only for our own farm and simply getting around, but also for the tourons -- campers, fishermen, hikers and backpackers in the spring and summer and hunters, skiers and boarders in the fall and winter. Here is the forecast as posted for November 26th, 2009:

Weather Synopsis for Thursday and Friday
As we merrily head into an El Nino season,
Recent snows have arrived for a very good reason.
They've given smiles and delight amid global warming,
Thinking ahead to the next epic storming.
But the Nino's just resting & getting ready for winter,
Giving us rain so our snow grains can sinter.
As recent slabs and powder fade into the past,
We really didn't expect this gift to last.
Though the models ahead show split flows and ridges,
This should keep rivers below most of our bridges.
We will have more snow-have no doubt,
But less than normal with a snowpack less stout.
Just watch out for flows that bring clearing and cold,
And form facets and hoarfrost that glitter like gold.
Know that each winter's unique and needs your attention, And this is always worthy of mention.
Happy Thanksgiving All!

A moderate frontal boundary lay stalled over the Olympics and northern WA Cascades overnight and early Thursday as significant development occurred in the base of the associated offshore trough and several waves rippled along its back edge. Combined with relatively high freezing levels and some increase in ridgetop winds, this produced heavy rain in the Olympics and northern Cascades overnight with quite warm temperatures and little precipitation elsewhere south of the front. As yet another wave moved northward along the front Thursday morning, and the offshore trough nudged southeastward, the front has slowly sagged southward during the morning and mid-day, with moderate rain or snow now reaching as far south as a Portland to Mt St Helens line. This also resulted in a significant decrease in precipitation in locations north of the sagging front along with some partial clearing, slowly lowering freezing levels and generally decreased and more northwesterly winds. By later Thursday afternoon, moderate to occasionally heavy rain or snow should reach the northern Oregon Cascades with a further slow decrease in precipitation spreading southward in the central Cascades.

While a final wave rounding the base of the trough early Thursday afternoon may either stall or briefly lift the front northward later Thursday afternoon and early evening, it is still expected to move mostly south and east of the region late Thursday night and early Friday. This should allow moderate rain or snow in the south and central Cascades and Mt Hood area to become more showery and mostly snow overnight, with light to moderate snow showers gradually decreasing in the north. As the splitting upper trough moves over and then east of the area Friday morning, light to moderate showers should diminish with some partial clearing likely late morning and mid-day. Weak upper ridging should quickly move over and east of the areas Friday afternoon, helping to maintain a few sun breaks. However, the ridge should quickly weaken and move east of the Cascades by later Friday afternoon. This should allow the next and perhaps final disturbance in the current series to move over the top of gradually building offshore ridging and spread increasing clouds and some light rain or snow into the Olympics and northern Cascades Friday night, with light rain or snow reaching the central Cascades Saturday morning.

Nice to see that people can still have fun at work...

A Thanksgiving meditation

A wonderful essay on giving thanks over at Founding Bloggers:

Thankful For The Internet
Tis the season to be thankful, and this year one thing stands out as something to be particularly grateful for -- the Internet.

Thanks to the Internet, and the Army of Davids it has empowered, the mainstream media no longer possess a strangle hold on information. They no longer get to decide what we know about the people and organizations that effect our daily lives.

In direct terms, this means that when SEIU thugs beat up a black conservative at a health care town hall meeting, the whole world gets to see it via the internet.

And when those thugs are outed as Health Care for America (HCAN) coordinated responders to criticism of Obamacare, the whole world can take it upon themselves to learn about HCAN, using Google and other fabulous tools of the internet.

And when the world learns that HCAN is primarily a function of a group called USAction, they can investigate who USAction is using the same fabulous tools of the Internet.

And when the world learns that USAction was founded by DSA-Marxist 60�s radicals named Heather and Paul Booth, they can take it upon themselves to learn more about USAction, like that their president and spiritual leader, William McNary, is a BIG TIME communist sympathizer. And that valuable information can be spread far and wide for all to see, complete with video documentation of the facts, all without the lamestream media being able to sweep it under the rug on behalf of their favored candidates.

Lots more links and video clips at the site. I have been following the CRU whistleblower leak over the last two weeks but the SEIU corruption is another issue that needs to have the rocks turned over and the light shined in. These people are nasty and need to be exposed for what they are trying to do to our nation.


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Done for the evening. We ate around 3:00. The person we have on that shift recently had back surgery so Jen went down to help her stock beer &c. This was a good thing as we were slammed -- our daily CID was about three times what a normal slow season cash in drawer would be for a Thursday. (It is unseasonably warm the last few days so the ski area is operating with minimal services.) One thing that always surprises us is the number of people who cannot cook -- they can follow a recipe but if we are out of one ingredient (canned sweet potatoes in this case) they do not know how to get a real sweet potato, nuke it, slide the skin off and use it in the recipe just like the canned version. Probably tastes a lot better too... The store was open until 6:00 so after I did a load of dishes and drove my Dad back to his condo and gave him his evening medications, I headed back and helped Jen for the last hour or so. The turkey was amazing -- not as tender as a butterball but this was a "real" bird that got to peck bugs and run around in the grass with its fellow critters. Her muscles got used a lot more than a bird that spends its life cooped up in a 3X3 pen for 90% of its life. The flavor of the pan drippin's and the gravy was pure ambrosia. We raise chickens and eat them -- will have to try a turkey one of these days... Got a fire going in the DaveCave(tm) so it will be nice and toasty in an hour so I'll surf for a bit and then check email and work on some stuff (rearranging the music equipment and commissioning another computer for doing video editing).

Turkey in the oven - madly cleaning house

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Jen is working at the store for another few hours and I am at home getting the bird into the oven (done!) making the cranberry sauce (on stove) and clearing off the dining-room table (a work in progress). Pick up my Dad in three hours and then we sit down to a turkey overload. Blogging will be sporadic at best...

Getting ready for turkey day

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Got a 16 pound bird brining in a cooler and got most of the sides prepared. My Dad is coming out in the afternoon. The bird was a present from a local farmer -- we give him all of the "off" produce that we cannot sell at the store and he uses it to feed his critters -- every so often we get a package of some wonderful pork. Yesterday, he brought by a bird.. Looking forward to a wonderful dinner and a major triptophan overload...

The other shoe drops - the CRU code

A. W. Montford writing at Bishop Hill has been doing an excellent job of monitoring and compiling the work that people are doing with the thousands of lines of FORTRAN code contained in the CRU whistleblower "leak".

This post in particular points out a few of the more eggregious snippets: The Code

The code
This is a new thread for updates on the analyses of the data and code freed from CRU.
Everybody, I'm sinking under weight of things to do here. I need you to post one or two line analyses of what you are finding in which bits of code. I'll transfer these to the main post as they come in. It needs to be in layman's language and to have a link to your work.

CRU code
  • Francis at L'Ombre De L'Olivier says the coding language is inappropriate. Also inappropriate use of hard coding, incoherent file naming conventions, subroutines that fail without telling the user, etc etc.
  • AJStrata discovered a file with two runs of CRU land temp data which show no global warming per the data laid out by country, and another CRU file showing their sampling error to be +/- 1°C or worse for most of the globe. Both CRU files show there has been no significant warming post 1960 era
  • A commenter notes the following comment in some of the code:"***** APPLIES A VERY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION FOR DECLINE*********"
  • Good layman's summary of some of the coding issues with a file called "Harry". This appears to be the records of some poor soul trying to make sense of how the code for producing the CRU temperature records works. (rude words though, if you're a sensitive type)
  • Some of annotations of the Harry code are priceless - "OH **** THIS. It's Sunday evening, I've worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I'm hitting yet another problem that's based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform data integrity, it's just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they're found."

And this is just the first five links -- eight more to go through. Amazing stuff -- seriously amazing...

Just need a bit of work on something

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Boy do I know the feeling in this email exchange. The first incoming email:
From: Simon Edhouse
Date: Monday 16 November 2009 2.19pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Logo Design

Hello David,

I would like to catch up as I am working on a really exciting project at the moment and need a logo designed. Basically something representing peer to peer networking. I have to have something to show prospective clients this week so would you be able to pull something together in the next few days? I will also need a couple of pie charts done for a 1 page website. If deal goes ahead there will be some good money in it for you.

The reply and the thread that follows) is a hoot. I do not bill myself as a graphic artist but I have done a bunch of it and so many times, people will want you to do "just a little project" with no chance of remuneration. Harlan Ellison says it best:


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But I wanted to believe... Turns out the wonderful airplane I posted about yesterday was from the 2005 movie Stealth. Dang...

That is it for the night (again)

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Long day today and with Thanksgiving (two days from now) and Jen's Birthday (tomorrow), things have been a couple orders of magnitude busier than the dull roar that passes for "reality".

My favorite aircraft just got bumped

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I always had a major soft spot for the SR-71 Blackbird. The design is over forty years old and I remember a TV show when they interviewed some of the original engineers and when asked if they would do anything different, now with 30 years of advances, their reply was a simple no. They would build it just the way they did then. That was my all-time favorite airplane and today, it just got bumped... Check out this gorgeous creature:
More photos, a fun story and another really cool story (hint: dump your Airbus stock and buy Boeing) over at Sean Linnane's Stormbringer And yes, the Boeing 797 is still in very early stages of development -- sufficiently early that preliminary news releases have their own page at Snopes. Looking at 2015 for a rollout from what I have read.

ACORN leaks

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The San Diego dumpster was just the start. They closed down an office in Oklahoma -- abandoned it actually. They left behind "piles of documents, as well as a computer" From Publius writing at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government:
ACORN OKLAHOMA Document Dump: The Oklahoma Power Plan
ACORN�s San Diego office isn�t the only place its been careless with sensitive documents. Late last year, ACORN abandoned an office in Oklahoma. In its haste to vacate the office�and skip out on the landlord�s claim of back-rent�ACORN abandoned piles of documents, as well as a computer. Below is a copy of ACORN�s �Oklahoma Power Plan,� a long-term political plan to reshape politics in the Sooner State.
How stupid are these people? Leaving a computer (and check the link to see some of the files) without wiping the hard disk is just plain lunacy. And these people think that they can gain the upper hand in local politics? Says a lot about the state of local politicians...

Bohemian Rhapsody / Muppets

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Nothing more needs to be said:
Pure awesomeness -- hat tip to Neatorama

Awwww - cute!

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The Adventures of Lil Cthulhu:
Swiped from Van DerLeun

Great tee shirt

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From here Link from Xeni BoingBoing

Fun times in Brooklyn, NY

With the unseasonably high rains, the sewerage system is overflowing. From the New York Times:

As Sewers Fill, Waste Poisons Waterways
It was drizzling lightly in late October when the midnight shift started at the Owls Head Water Pollution Control Plant, where much of Brooklyn's sewage is treated.

A few miles away, people were walking home without umbrellas from late dinners. But at Owls Head, a swimming pool's worth of sewage and wastewater was soon rushing in every second. Warning horns began to blare. A little after 1 a.m., with a harder rain falling, Owls Head reached its capacity and workers started shutting the intake gates.

That caused a rising tide throughout Brooklyn's sewers, and untreated feces and industrial waste started spilling from emergency relief valves into the Upper New York Bay and Gowanus Canal.

"It happens anytime you get a hard rainfall," said Bob Connaughton, one the plant's engineers. "Sometimes all it takes is 20 minutes of rain, and you've got overflows across Brooklyn."

One goal of the Clean Water Act of 1972 was to upgrade the nation's sewer systems, many of them built more than a century ago, to handle growing populations and increasing runoff of rainwater and waste. During the 1970s and 1980s, Congress distributed more than $60 billion to cities to make sure that what goes into toilets, industrial drains and street grates would not endanger human health.

But despite those upgrades, many sewer systems are still frequently overwhelmed, according to a New York Times analysis of environmental data. As a result, sewage is spilling into waterways.

The Clean Water Act of 1972 is a classic example of big government taking control over the states and mucking things up. From the link above:

While each subsequent act was more stringent than the previous ones, they all contained the philosophy that water quality was primarily the responsibility of the states. It was the role of the federal government to assist the states financially, to conduct basic water research, and to maintain water quality in interstate waters. But the creation and enforcement of quality standards for most of the waters in the United States - intrastate lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands , and ponds - were left to state and local governments.

The 1972 Clean Water Act abandoned the approach that state and local governments were primarily responsible for ensuring water quality. In the midst of a national environmental movement, whose leaders claimed that virtually nothing had been achieved by relying on state action to reduce water pollution, the 92nd Congress embarked upon a bold new course. Although the 1972 act incorporated some elements contained in previous legislation, such as generous financial assistance to state, tribal, and local governments to construct wastewater treatment facilities, it also charted new waters in federal regulatory policy, and in relations between the federal government and the states.

And who signed off on this? That would be Tricky Dickey followed by Jimmah Carter in '76. Figures...

Fun times at ACORN San Diego

ACORN does not seem to have the best brains in the business. From Derrick Roach at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government:
BREAKING: San Diego ACORN Document Dump Scandal
On October 1st, 2009 California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced that an investigation had been opened into ACORN�s activities in California, resulting from undercover videos showing employees seemingly offering to assist the undercover film makers with human smuggling, child prostitution and even tax advice to boot.

Although ACORN has denied any wrongdoing, some of the employees involved were terminated, and ACORN has publicly stated that they would fully cooperate with any investigations that followed.

Interestingly, the local head ACORN organizer in California, David Lagstein was caught on tape earlier this month speaking to an East County Democratic Club.

Mr. Lagstein stated: ��the attorney general is a political animal, but certainly every bit of the communication we have had with them has suggested that the fault will be found with the people that did the video and not the people with ACORN.�

Continuing, Mr. Lagstein stated: ��we are fully cooperating, some of the investigators visited our office this morning and I think they really understand what�s going on.�

Shockingly, we now learn that the ACORN office in National City (San Diego County) engaged in a massive document dump on the evening of October 9th, containing thousands upon thousands of sensitive documents, just days prior to the Attorney General�s visit. has learned that not only did this document dump occur, but the documents in question were irresponsibly and brazenly dumped in a public dumpster, without considering laws and regulations as to how sensitive information should be treated.

I am a local licensed private investigator. I took it upon myself to keep an eye on what the local ACORN office was up to, in light of the release of the undercover videos. I retrieved these documents from the public dumpster.

They have a few scanned documents at the post -- ACORN tossed out pieces of paper with people's names addresses and Social Security Numbers on them. Also documents where people kept track of votors. This will take a couple weeks to sift through but is certainly damning to ACORN. As Derrick says:
Over the weeks and months ahead, will continue to release information from this shocking document dump by ACORN, slowly revealing the ugly truth of ACORN: the fact that their stated mission of helping the poor and downtrodden is just a ruse and a cover for an organization that is highly partisan and highly political, and thus rotten to the core.
Could not happen to a nicer bunch of people...

Ravens - a touching story

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A touching story from Alaska -- from the Anchorage Daily News:
Ravens form a wake-like gathering after 2 electrocuted
Ravens have feelings, too, at least judging from an eerie scene Tuesday morning on Minnie Street in east Fairbanks.

After two ravens roosting on top of a power transformer were electrocuted, hundreds of ravens showed up within a minute or two and started silently circling overhead and perching in nearby trees.

Rod Stephens, owner of Rod's Saw Shop across the street, saw the scene play out before his eyes after a man pulled into the shop and reported seeing sparks flying on top of the transformer.

"I walked out there and there were all these birds just circling. There were ravens in all the trees," he said. "It was weird."

Stephens estimated the number of ravens at "a couple hundred."

"It was like that movie, 'The Birds,' " he said. "I walked out and wasn't sure if they were going to start dive-bombing me."

One of the electrocuted ravens had fallen to the ground and the other was still caught in the wires and transformer, Stephens said.

Ben Brees, a computer technician at Geek City across the street from Stephens' shop, was driving to work when he saw what he described as "a vortex of ravens circling" next to the computer store.

"I could see them a half-mile away," Brees said. "It was a funnel of black birds. I pulled up to the building right as they were circling."

The birds only hung around for a few minutes before flying off, Stephens said.

"They said their respects and moved on," he said.
I like ravens -- we have them up here and they watch us and we watch them and we don't bother each other. There is a pair that lives near the farm and whenever I cut the fields, they always hang out looking for field mice and other critters. A lot of fun to see them hunting.

One brief comment

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From an email. Someone was wondering what Al Gore thought about the email leak from CRU Someone else said that Al is probably regretting the day that he invented the Internet...

Probably no posting beyond this today

Working on some stuff. Updated the blogroll to your right -- added a new category of things that, once seen, cannot be unseen. View at your own discression... Cans of Brain Bleach are available for sale in the lobby.

The gift that keeps on giving...

Just for grins, I searched for "Holdren".

As in John Holdren. Obama's Science Czar. The guy who said the following:

  • Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;
  • The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation's drinking water or in food;
  • Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
  • People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" -- in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
  • A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives -- using an armed international police force.

Full documentation here. Scroll down, keep reading and remove sharp objects and liquids from around your computer -- this stuff is real... I got six hits. The first one (1066337021 if you don't have the originals) is from Thu, 16 Oct 2003 and deals with the Soon / Baliunas paper. This email is part of a back and forth thread bit here is a juicy bit or two -- everything from Holdren:

I append here an e-mail correspondence I have engaged in over the past few days trying to educate a Soon/Baliunas supporter who originally wrote to me asking how I could think that Soon and Baliunas are wrong and Mann et al. are right (a view attributed to me, correctly, in the Harvard Crimson). This individual apparently runs a web site on which he had been touting the Soon/Baliunas position.

While it is sometimes a mistake to get into these exchanges (because one's interlocutor turns out to be ineducable and/or just looking for a quote to reproduce out of context in an attempt to embarrass you), there was something about this guy's formulations that made me think, at each round, that it might be worth responding. In the end, a couple of colleagues with whom I have shared this exchange already have suggested that its content would be of interest to others, and so I am sending it to our "environmental science and policy breakfast" list for your entertainment and, possibly, future breakfast discussion.

Emphasis mine: WTF: "ineducable" Soon and Baliunas are not lightweights by any means. They, in 2003, were raising the question that since our Sun is a variable star, might its variations contribute to the periodic warming and cooling that our planet (and Venus, Mars & Saturn) have observed. More here. The remaining five emails are from a burst starting 03 January 2009. An excerpt from 1231166089 (scroll down a bit):

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike MacCracken [mailto:mmaccrac@xxxx]
Sent: 03 January 2009 16:44
To: Phil Jones; Folland, Chris
Cc: John Holdren; Rosina Bierbaum
Subject: Temperatures in 2009

Dear Phil and Chris--

Your prediction for 2009 is very interesting (see note below for notice that went around to email list for a lot of US Congressional staff)--and I would expect the analysis you have done is correct. But, I have one nagging question, and that is how much SO2/sulfate is being generated by the rising emissions from China and India (I know that at least some plants are using desulfurization--but that antidotes are not an inventory). I worry that what the western nations did in the mid 20th century is going to be what the eastern nations do in the next few decades--go to tall stacks so that, for the near-term, "dilution is the solution to pollution". While I understand there are efforts to get much better inventories of CO2 emissions from these nations, when I asked a US EPA representative if their efforts were going to also inventory SO2 emissions (amount and height of emission), I was told they were not. So, it seems, the scientific uncertainty generated by not having good data from the mid-20th century is going to be repeated in the early 21st century (satellites may help on optical depth, but it would really help to know what is being emitted).

That there is a large potential for a cooling influence is sort of evident in the IPCC figure about the present sulfate distribution--most is right over China, for example, suggesting that the emissions are near the surface--something also that is, so to speak, 'clear' from the very poor visibility and air quality in China and India. So, the quick, fast, cheap fix is to put the SO2 out through tall stacks. The cooling potential also seems quite large as the plume would go out over the ocean with its low albedo--and right where a lot of water vapor is evaporated, so maybe one pulls down the water vapor feedback a little and this amplifies the sulfate cooling influence.

Now, I am not at all sure that having more tropospheric sulfate would be a bad idea as it would limit warming--I even have started suggesting that the least expensive and quickest geoengineering approach to limit global warming would be to enhance the sulfate loading--or at the very least we need to maintain the current sulfate cooling offset while we reduce CO2 emissions (and presumably therefore, SO2 emissions, unless we manage things) or we will get an extra bump of warming. Sure, a bit more acid deposition, but it is not harmful over the ocean (so we only/mainly emit for trajectories heading out over the ocean) and the impacts of deposition may well be less that for global warming (will be a tough comparison, but likely worth looking at). Indeed, rather than go to stratospheric sulfate injections, I am leaning toward tropospheric, but only during periods when trajectories are heading over ocean and material won't get rained out for 10 days or so.

Would be an interesting issue to do research on--see what could be done.

In any case, if the sulfate hypothesis is right, then your prediction of warming might end up being wrong. I think we have been too readily explaining the slow changes over past decade as a result of variability--that explanation is wearing thin. I would just suggest, as a backup to your prediction, that you also do some checking on the sulfate issue, just so you might have a quantified explanation in case the prediction is wrong. Otherwise, the Skeptics will be all over us--the world is really cooling, the models are no good, etc. And all this just as the US is about ready to get serious on the issue.

We all, and you all in particular, need to be prepared.

Best, Mike MacCracken

Emphases mine -- so our models (why is it always PLURAL?) do not work but we need to keep this quiet until we can figure out how to spin this... The rest of these five emails only cc: John Holdren, he does not contribute to the discussion. I am thinking that there were some other emails that were not released where he plays a pertinent part.

Still, there are some wonderful bon mots: Excerpted from 1231254297:

-----Original Message-----
From: Phil Jones []
Sent: 05 January 2009 16:18
To: Johns, Tim; Folland, Chris
Cc: Smith, Doug; Johns, Tim
Subject: Re: FW: Temperatures in 2009

Tim, Chris,
I hope you're not right about the lack of warming lasting till about 2020. I'd rather hoped to see the earlier Met Office press release with Doug's paper that said something like - half the years to 2014 would exceed the warmest year currently on record, 1998!
Still a way to go before 2014.

I seem to be getting an email a week from skeptics saying where's the warming gone. I know the warming is on the decadal scale, but it would be nice to wear their smug grins away.

Chris - I presume the Met Office continually monitor the weather forecasts. Maybe because I'm in my 50s, but the language used in the forecasts seems a bit over the top re the cold. Where I've been for the last 20 days (in Norfolk) it doesn't seem to have been as cold as the forecasts.

You should ferret out the remaining emails as there is a fascinating link between a pro-AGW blog and some of the Climate papers. Who gets to publish and who does not... On the scale of one to ten, I would rate these as a Marvin the Martian Earth Shattering Kaboom! Fun times. Schadenfreude at its best...

Got somebody's attention

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Yesterday's post about Andrew Breitbart promising to release more ACORN tapes unless Attorney General Eric Holder does his job and investigate them seems to have hit a nerve. From Columbia Journalism Review:
Well, It May Deserve an Award in Something
Memo to Sean Hannity, who is calling for James O�Keefe, Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart to get a �journalism award� for their video sting of ACORN: Generally, when in possession of what one believes to be newsworthy information, the journalistic thing to do is get it out to the public�not attempt to blackmail the attorney general.
Andrew writes at Big Government:
Thanks for Paying Attention Big Journalism
In response to the Columbia Journalism Review�s accusing me of �blackmailing� the Attorney General of the United States, I must take notice that the mainstream media as a journalistic establishment IS paying attention to the ongoing ACORN scandal. Good. I thought so.

What the Columbia Journalism Review is doing is very similar to what Media Matters is doing: protecting the Democrat-Media Complex, the natural alliance of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media. This ACORN investigation has been going on for two months and Hannah, James, and I have proven to be truth-tellers every step of the way, while the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now has been proven time and again to be liars.

The CRU emails online

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The folks over at Elegant Chaos have placed the 1,073 emails online in a searchable format. Type in key words and it will respond with a list of the emails to read. Nicely done!

A list of the more outrageous emails

A. W. Montford posts a great list of 33 of the more outrageous emails from the Climatic Research Institute over at Bishop Hill Blog. Here are the first ten:
Climate cuttings 33
Welcome Instapundit readers! Hope this is useful for you. If you are interested in more on global warming material, check out Caspar and the Jesus Paper and The Yamal Implosion, or check out the forthcoming book.

General reaction seems to be that the CRUgate emails are genuine, but with the caveat that there could be some less reliable stuff slipped in.

In the circumstances, here are some summaries of the CRUgate files. I'll update these as and when I can. The refs are the email number.

  • Phil Jones writes to University of Hull to try to stop sceptic Sonia Boehmer Christiansen using her Hull affiliation. Graham F Haughton of Hull University says its easier to push greenery there now SB-C has retired.(1256765544)
  • Michael Mann discusses how to destroy a journal that has published sceptic papers.(1047388489)
  • Tim Osborn discusses how data are truncated to stop an apparent cooling trend showing up in the results (0939154709). Analysis of impact here. Wow!
  • Phil Jones describes the death of sceptic, John Daly, as "cheering news".
  • Phil Jones encourages colleagues to delete information subject to FoI request.(1212063122)
  • Phil Jones says he has use Mann's "Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series" hide the decline". Real Climate says "hiding" was an unfortunate turn of phrase.(0942777075)
  • Letter to The Times from climate scientists was drafted with the help of Greenpeace.(0872202064)
  • Mann thinks he will contact BBC's Richard Black to find out why another BBC journalist was allowed to publish a vaguely sceptical article.(1255352257)
  • Kevin Trenberth says they can't account for the lack of recent warming and that it is a travesty that they can't.(1255352257)
  • Tom Wigley says that Lindzen and Choi's paper is crap.(1257532857)
23 more at the website -- the numbers represent the individual file names of the emails and are chronological (higher numbers -- more recent) This is going to make for some interesting fallout once the data included in the archive gets analysed. I know that a few people have shoved everything else off their plates for the next couple weeks. The two links posted above:
Caspar and the Jesus Paper and The Yamal Implosion
are really worth checking out. Caspar is the history of the (in)famous Hockey Stick graph from Mann, et. al. that was torn to shreds. Yamal is a story about using tree rings as a temperature proxy (good) and cherry picking and misrepresenting data (bad)

Al Gore in the news

He endorsed Bill Bradbury in his governor's run for Oregon and a little bit on what Bill wants to do -- from Daily Kos:
Al Gore Endorses Bill Bradbury For Governor of Oregon
Today in front of over 400 of my enthusiastic supporters Al Gore endorsed my candidacy for Governor.

In doing so Al Gore said,
"I�m proud to endorse Bill Bradbury as the next Governor of this state... I am here to speak for Bill Bradbury and to tell you what I know about this man and what he has meant to me personally as a friend of extremely strong character, commitment and leadership."
Bill Bradbury's diary :: ::
I am incredibly honored to have received this endorsement from someone who has done so much to highlight the issue of Global Climate Change and really help define it as one of the challenges of our generation. It is truly an honor to receive such an endorsement from the former Vice President in a Democratic primary.
"400 of my enthusiastic supporters" - here are the 500 people who came out to protest:
"Al Gore's a Liar" pretty much sums it up nicely. The video is from Minnesotans for Global Warming:
500 Protestors Chant 'Al Gore's A Liar!' in Portland
There were 200 protesters at Gore's Boca Raton appearance a few days ago, and around 500 at this one (in Portland Oregon) i.e. about 400 around the stage at the American's for Prosperity Hot Air Tour event, and at least another 100 walking around on the sidewalks on the perimeter of the park carrying anti-Gore/anti-cap and trade signs. The Greenpeace activists seemed a bit surprised/perturbed that they had vocal opposition in their presence.
Anyway, back to Bill Bradbury and his platform (again from Kos):
  1. I will not be an absentee parent when it comes to the Business Energy Tax Credit. I will work closely with the Legislature to ensure that the sustainable industries that need the credits get them and it is tailored to maximize it�s effectiveness.
  2. I will implement tough and innovative energy efficiency standards, like the television standard adopted yesterday in California. I believe we could implement that standard in my first year in office.
  3. I will end the practice of using energy in this state from coal-fired power plants. It is our dirty secret. We think we�re a hydro state � but 40% of our energy comes from coal, much of it from an antiquated coal-fired plant in Boardman. That must end.
  4. I will fight tooth and nail, as I have already done, to not allow Liqufied Natural Gas facilities in the Columbia River or anywhere in Oregon. I will chain my Segway to a LNG tanker if I have to. It makes no sense to make a 30 year commitment to a fossil fuel source when we should be investing in renewable energy technology instead.
What a fscking moron -- of course, the enviroweenies will eat this shit up and call it ice cream. Good plan for killing a state. The word you will be looking for in a few years is "bankruptcy"...

Healthcare opinions poll and H. Reid's reply

Two interesting articles -- the first from David S. Broder at the Washington Post:
A budget-buster in the making
It's simply not true that America is ambivalent about everything when it comes to the Obama health plan.

The day after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) gave its qualified blessing to the version of health reform produced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Quinnipiac University poll of a national cross section of voters reported its latest results.

This poll may not be as famous as some others, but I know the care and professionalism of the people who run it, and one question was particularly interesting to me.

It read: "President Obama has pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our federal budget deficit over the next decade. Do you think that President Obama will be able to keep his promise or do you think that any health care plan that Congress passes and President Obama signs will add to the federal budget deficit?"

The answer: Less than one-fifth of the voters -- 19 percent of the sample -- think he will keep his word. Nine of 10 Republicans and eight of 10 independents said that whatever passes will add to the torrent of red ink. By a margin of four to three, even Democrats agreed this is likely.

That fear contributed directly to the fact that, by a 16-point margin, the majority in this poll said they oppose the legislation moving through Congress.
And Senator Reid's reaction - from Talking Points Memo:
Reid Slams Broder As A Retiree Who 'Writes A Column Once In A While'
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may have just endeared himself to liberal bloggers across the land. This morning, he took some heat from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who cited a Washington Post column to attack health care reform:

"In tomorrow's Washington Post, David Broder, their distinguished senior columnist, certainly not a political conservative, expresses his reservation as a citizen about the steps that we could be about to take," McConnell said.

Reid couldn't have been less impressed. "To focus on a man who has been retired for many years and writes a column once in a while is not where we should be."

No doubt the most hilarious moment of the day. But...sour grapes?
Broders words must have stung a bit to provoke that kind of a reply.

Healthcare numbers

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I applaud the Congressional Budget Office for their work in revealing what exactly, the various bills will cost us taxpayers. The Senate version of Obamacare is a doozy. From CNS News:
CBO: By 2019, Taxpayers Will Pay $196 Billion A Year for Obamacare, But 24 Million People Will Remain Uninsured
Under the health care bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday, by 2019 taxpayers will be paying $196 billion per year to subsidize other people�s health insurance coverage, but there still will be 24 million uninsured people in America, according to the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Reid�s proposal mandates that all individuals legally resident in the United States purchase health insurance and offers subsidies to people making up to 400 percent of the poverty level ($88,200 for a family of four) to purchase insurance as long as they buy a federally regulated and approved plan sold in a federally regulated insurance exchange.

According to an analysis published Wednesday by the CBO and JCT, this subsidy will cost taxpayers $196 billion per year by 2019 but will still leave 24 million people uninsured in America, about 8 million of whom will be illegal aliens. The estimate assumes that there would otherwise be about 55 million uninsured people in the United States.
Hope? Change? All we did was bring Chicago politics to Washington...

A bit of opposition for parts of Obamacare

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Now things are getting interesting -- good timing considering Saturday's vote. From FOX News:
Bishops Press Obama to Strike Senate Provision Allowing Federal Abortion Funding
A coalition of Christian leaders -- including the country's Catholic bishops -- put President Obama on notice Friday that it would vigorously fight any health care reform legislation that allows federal funding for abortions.

A coalition of Christian leaders -- including the country's Catholic bishops -- put President Obama on notice Friday that it would vigorously fight any health care reform legislation that allows federal funding for abortions.

"A health care bill can be a great, great blessing to our country," Philadelphia Archbishop Justin Rigali said during a press conference Friday on Capitol Hill. "But we make a distinction between health care and killing."

More than 150 Christian leaders, most of them conservative evangelicals and traditionalist Roman Catholics, issued a joint declaration reaffirming their opposition to abortion and gay marriage and pledging to protect religious freedoms.
The full text of the Declaration can be found here: Manhattan Declaration And it is not just Abortion and Gay Marriage, there is a full third on Religious Freedom as well. Some interesting people among the 150+ signers...

Still reading emails

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The CRU emails are a hoot -- this is not a smoking gun, this is a mushroom cloud over the smoking hole of what used to be Anthropogenic Global Warming. And it is not just the emails, there are still the over 3,500 data files (over 140MB) to be reviewed. This work is going on now and it will probably be a week or more before the final tally is out. The warmers are trying to spin this as though these are just a few (1,073!) emails and things are being taken out of context. What I see from this end is that this is a pre-meditated mendacious plan to hide scientific evidence, to change existing data and to turn Science into a blunt instrument of Politics. The last item is what sickens me the most. They have corrupted Science for personal and political gain. Whomever gathered these files together and uploaded them to the ftp site deserves to get the Nobel Prize.

ACORN in the news again

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A few months ago, there was a big scandal as two people playing the role of pimp and prostitute went into five different ACORN offices and tried to get them to help with their plan of buying a house, setting up a brothel staffed with underage women from El Salvador and not paying taxes. In every case, the ACORN officials bent over backwards offering help. ACORN lost its Federal funding, lost its connection with the US Census and generally got a bit black eye. What did not happen was an investigation. Since they were receiving Federal funding, the Attorney General should have stepped in and done a thorough ream job. He didn't. So, yesterday, Andrew Breitbart released yet another tape -- same scenario and same outcome and he then had this to say. From Big Government:
Breitbart to AG Holder: Investigate ACORN or We�ll Release More Tapes Just Before 2010 Election
Earlier tonight Andrew Breitbart, James O�Keefe and Hannah Giles discussed the final chapter of the ACORN L.A. saga on �Hannity,� but more interestingly, Breitbart disclosed where the story goes from here. Transcript (below) starts from 3:50 into the clip:

Breitbart: There�s a lot of hypocrisy and the dust has settled for ACORN and at the end of the day they�ve recognized that Eric Holder, the Attorney General, has not initiated an investigation into ACORN after we now have seven tapes. There were five initially that came out, ACORN was defunded by the Senate, was defunded by the House, lost it�s link to the Census; while all that damage occurred, Congress didn�t come in to investigate them, obviously not the Attorney General�s office, and they�ve now realized let�s get back into business because they realized that the dust settled and they were not being investigated, it was Hannah, James, and me who were being investigated, that�s why we�ve been forced to offer this latest tape.

Hannity: Are you saying, Andrew, that there are more tapes?

Breitbart: Oh my goodness there are! Not only are there more tapes, it�s not just ACORN. And this message is to Attorney General Holder: I want you to know that we have more tapes, it�s not just ACORN, and we�re going to hold out until the next election cycle, or else if you want to do a clean investigation, we will give you the rest of what we have, we will comply with you, we will give you the documentation we have from countless ACORN whistleblowers who want to come forward but are fearful of this organization and the retribution that they fear that this is a dangerous organization. So if you get into an investigation, we will give you the tapes; if you don�t give us the tapes, we will revisit these tapes come election time.
Mr. Holder, would you like a nice big glass of PWND? I love what the internet has done for journalism...

Time to start buying Organic Beef

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Or at least know where it comes from. From Farm and Dairy:
Opportunities exist for beef, dairy producers to utilize damaged corn
The moldy corn that is coming out of some Indiana fields presents challenges to growers and livestock producers, but cattlemen may be able to take advantage of this unfortunate opportunity, according Purdue University beef and dairy specialists.

The rumen is an organ that allows beef and dairy cattle to detoxify anything they might eat, said Ron Lemenager, Purdue Extension beef management specialist.

Be cautious

However, he said growers should be cautious because the rumen does have its limitations.

�The concern that I have, as a nutritionist, in feeding moldy corn is for the replacement heifer,� Lemenager said. �It�s in those diets that we feed a little more corn to help them reach the target 65 percent of mature weight by the time they enter the breeding season next year.

�We know the toxin zearalenone has the potential to cause negative effects on conception rates and fertility in these breeding females.�
Grass fed from a local producer please...

Damage Control

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Lots of scurrying in the background -- here is a screenshot of the home page for the Climatic Research Unit:
I would love to be a fly on the walls there -- learn some new cuss-words at the least. I love the part about:
This website is currently being served from the CRU Emergency Webserver.
Some pages may be out of date.
Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.
Heh -- did they never consider that this data would, at some time, see the light of day? What was their plan? Some people are going over the FORTRAN code in the package, it compiles and looks legit.

Heh - coming before Congress

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Yesterday's little leak of data has reached Climate Skeptic Senator James Inhofe's ear. From Tulsa World:
Inhofe declares victory in speech on global warming
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, perhaps Congress� most vocal skeptic of man-made global warming, essentially declared victory Wednesday in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor.

�I proudly declare 2009 as the �Year of the Skeptic,� the year in which scientists who question the so-called global warming consensus are being heard," the Oklahoma Republican said.

�Until this year, any scientist, reporter or politician who dared raise even the slightest suspicion about the science behind global warming was dismissed and repeatedly mocked."

Inhofe recalled his own 2003 remarks in which he said much of the debate over global warming was predicated on fear rather than science.

Alarmists warned of a future plagued by catastrophic flooding, economic dislocations, droughts and mosquito-borne diseases, he said.

Inhofe also recalled his most famous comment in which he suggested that man-made global warming would turn out to be �the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.�

�Today, I have been vindicated," he said.
And so it goes -- it will be fascinating to see how long the myth is perpetuated...

Niagra Falls

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A blast from the past -- hat tip to Miss Celania for the link...

Climate Cat is back out of the bag again

Turns out the Fort Hood scum and islamofascist was part of Obama's Homeland Security Transition Team. Get this PDF report from here: Thinking Anew � Security Priorities for the Next Administration Page 32:
Irony's a bitch sometimes...

Freedom of speech - EPA style

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From FOX News:
EPA Employees Silenced for Criticizing Cap and Trade
When Zabel and Williams released a video on the Internet expressing their concerns over the Obama administration�s plans to use a cap and trade program to fight climate change, they were told to keep it to themselves.

Laurie Williams and husband Alan Zabel worked as lawyers for the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, in its San Francisco office for more than 20 years, and they know more about climate change than most politicians. But when the couple released a video on the Internet expressing their concerns over the Obama administration�s plans to use cap-and-trade legislation to fight climate change, they were told to keep it to themselves.

Williams and Zabel oppose cap and trade -- a controversial government allowance program in which companies are issued emissions limits, or caps, which they can then trade -- as a means to fight climate change.
And of course:
Their bosses in San Francisco approved the effort by Williams and Zabel to release the tape, but after an editorial they wrote appeared in the Washington Post, EPA Director Lisa Jackson ordered the pair to remove the video or face disciplinary action.

Specifically, the administration's chief environmental official did not want Williams or Zabel mentioning their four decades with the EPA -- time spent studying cap and trade.
And of course, this is the same EPA that wants to regulate CO2 and consider it to be an environmental toxin (ie: plant food). The Washington Post editorial mentioned can be found here. Williams and Zabel's own website is here: Carbon Fees

Being cared for by our betters

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Great -- now we will have to go in and bail out Europe a third time... From the London Times:
Herman Van Rompuy, front-runner for presidency, wants EU-wide tax
The man tipped to be Europe�s first president is already considering new EU taxes to fund the rising cost of Brussels and the welfare state.

Herman Van Rompuy, the Belgian Prime Minister, broke his silence before Thursday�s summit to choose the president � but only at a meeting of the secretive Bilderberg group of top politicians, bankers and businessmen.

Mr Van Rompuy�s contentious remarks were aired privately amid the grand surroundings of the Castle of the Valley of the Duchess near Brussels. The ch�teau hosted the talks on the Treaty of Rome in 1957 that launched the European Union.

His office released parts of his speech in which he talked of funding social welfare from new green taxes and went on to discuss �financing levies at European level�, which his spokesman said later was similar to Gordon Brown�s call for an international tax on financial transactions.
The Bilderberg group? Aren't the "progressives" against anything like the Bilderberg group? Didn't they excoriate Bush for attending a meeting? And this guy is the progressives wet dream -- tax the hell out of the rich and give to the poor. And then the rich start to move their bases off to Dubai and the tax revenue's decline. So they raise the taxes some more. The not-quite-that rich move to India or China and the tax revenue's decline even further. And they simply do not see the reason for this. Blindsided.

Now that didn't take long

The ftp site hosting the climate whistle-blower's data is down. The parent website is up but the ftp and directory structure is gone. It should be up on torrent soon enough -- it is very difficult to stuff the cat back into the bag...

Reading the emails - 1255352257.txt

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Excerpted from 1255352257.txt posted Mon, 12 Oct 2009:
The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
Schadenfreude From the same email (scroll down to the bottom)
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: xxxx
To: xxxx
Sent: Sunday, October 11, 2009 10:25:53 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: BBC U-turn on climate
You may be aware of this already. Paul Hudson, BBC's reporter on climate change, on Friday wrote that there's been no warming since 1998, and that pacific oscillations will force cooling for the next 20-30 years. It is not outrageously biased in presentation as are other skeptics' views.

BBC has significant influence on public opinion outside the US.

Do you think this merits an op-ed response in the BBC from a scientist?
There were two embedded links in that email. The first is to this article at BBC News:
What happened to global warming?
This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.

But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.

And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.

So what on Earth is going on?

Climate change sceptics, who passionately and consistently argue that man's influence on our climate is overstated, say they saw it coming.
The second link is to this post from Damian Thompson at The Telegraph:
The BBC's amazing U-turn on climate change
I think the BBC wanted to slip this one out quietly, but a Matt Drudge link put paid to that. The climate change correspondent of BBC News has admitted that global warming stopped in 1998 � and he reports that leading scientists believe that the earth�s cooling-off may last for decades.

�Whatever happened to global warming?� is the title of an article by Paul Hudson that represents a clear departure from the BBC�s fanatical espousal of climate change orthodoxy. The climate change campaigners will go nuts, particularly in the run-up to Copenhagen. So, I suspect, will devout believers inside the BBC. Hudson�s story was not placed very prominently by his colleagues � but a link right at the top of Drudge will have delivered at least a million page views, possibly many more.

Hudson�s piece is a U-turn � not because he has joined the ranks of sceptics who reject the theory of man-made global warming, but because at last he has written a story about the well-established fact that the earth�s temperature has not risen since 1998, and reports seriously the theories of climatologists (themselves not sceptics) who believe that we are in for 30 years of cooling caused by the falling temperatures of the oceans.
The next few weeks will be very interesting to say the least...

Reading through 1,073 emails

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I posted earlier about the massive file available for download. Contained is a directory of 1,073 emails from all of the Anthropogenic Global Warming hotshots. Here is an excerpt from 0826209667.txt posted March 6, 1996:
That is why it is important for us to get money from additional sources, in particular from the ADVANCE and INTAS ones. Also, it is important for us if you can transfer the ADVANCE money on the personal accounts which we gave you earlier and the sum for one occasion transfer (for example, during one day) will not be more than 10,000 USD. Only in this case we can avoid big taxes and use money for our work as much as possible.
ClimateGate anyone? There, of course, is the question of validity but the sheer effort of fabricating over 60GB of data, over 1,000 emails and keeping everyone's voices consistent and separate would be overwhelming to anyone but a well-funded team. The leak was first posted at The Air Vent -- scroll down to Comment #10.

Climate Cat out of the Bag

Just WOW!

One of the primary centers for the advancement of Global Warming has just been hacked and the 60mb file is available for FTP download.

The emails are going to cause quite the ripple... (grinning)

Anthony Watts has the story:

Breaking News Story: Hadley CRU has apparently been hacked -- hundreds of files released
The details on this are still sketchy, we'll probably never know what went on. But it appears that Hadley Climate Research Unit has been hacked and many many files have been released by the hacker or person unknown.

I'm currently traveling and writing this from an aiprort, but here is what I know so far:

An unknown person put postings on some climate skeptic websites that advertsied an FTP file on a Russian FTP server, here is the message that was placed on the Air Vent today:
We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps.

We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents
The file was large, about 61 megabytes, containing hundreds of files.

It contained data, code, and emails from Phil Jones at CRU to and from many people.

I've seen the file, it appears to be genuine and from CRU. Others who have seen it concur- it appears genuine. There are so many files it appears unlikely that it is a hoax. The effort would be too great.

Here is just a taste:

From: Phil Jones
To: ray bradley ,,
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
Cc: k.briffa@xxx.xx.xx,

Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
Once Tim's got a diagram here we'll send that either later today or
first thing tomorrow.
I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps
to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
1961 for Keith's to hide the decline. Mike's series got the annual
land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999
for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with
data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.
Thanks for the comments, Ray.


Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) xxxxx
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) xxxx
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email

Mann is Michael Mann who invented the hockey stick temperature chart that was so thoroughly debunked and busted. "Mike's Nature trick" is the data that Mann presented in a paper at the journal Nature. "to hide the decline" refers to the continuous decline in average temperature that we have seen since 1998. Heh... Talk about perfect timing too -- Copenhagen and all. I have the file and will be looking at it over the next couple of days.

From the Prometheus Radio Project:
Local Community Radio Act: One Step Closer to the Finish Line
This morning, the Local Community Radio Act (S592) passed unanimously out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation with a voice vote. Both the Senate and House versions of the bill are on their way to full floor votes.

By repealing restrictions placed on the FCC in 2000, the Local Community Radio Act would allow hundreds of new licenses for low power FM stations.
Looking to set up a station here in our community. There was a much-loved pirate station but the owner passed unexpectedly and it hasn't been broadcasting since.

Fight Club

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Og hits it out of the park. Go and read Fight Club:
The first rule of fight club
is you do not talk about fight club.

James Burnette has a good post here about that very subject, ignoring the first (and second) rules.

Look: Violence and death are an integral part of life. Humans have known this for ages, and that knowledge, I believe, is the reason we play games, and hunt, and race cars, and etc.

Men, by their nature, want to test themselves. Against themselves, against other individuals, other counties, other states, other nations. They do so peacibly by playing games, they do so un-peacibly by going to war. It is an integral part of masculinity, and to attempt to separate masculinity from the contest is probably bad, possibly very bad. Everywhere guys get together for a pick-up game of baseball, or hockey, or go hunting in a group, or shoot in a competition, they are testing themselves and one another, measuring themselves against each other and against themselves. Am I better at this than he is? Am I cleverer? Am I stronger? Have I improved? Am I better than I was last week? Can I kick his ass? Can I shoot more hoops? Can I hit the X ring more often?

Tyler Durdin attributes the �Lostness� of the generation. And in the main, he�s right. No, I am not anxious to go out and get pummeled, but I have had more than my share of that already. And I am not lost.

You see, if you look at Fight Club, you don�t see many guys who got off their tractor to join. Or put down their rifle to join, or parked their stock car to join. That is because the people riding that tractor, or hunting those deer, or driving that car, see, they already belong to Fight Club. They pit themselves daily against the hard soil, to make it fertile. Or the wiliness of the whitetail, or the abilities of their fellow drivers. Men- real men- have known for ages the need to brace themselves against something- some, like crab fishermen, or farmers, do so against their jobs. Some, like hunters, do so against their quarry. Some do so on the baseball diamond against other players, or on ashalt courts all over the place.
Go and read the rest. What he said...

Global Warming - the news from Germany

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The truth is starting to trickle out -- from Der Spiegel:
Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time-Out
Global warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years. Some attribute the trend to a lack of sunspots, while others explain it through ocean currents.

At least the weather in Copenhagen is likely to be cooperating. The Danish Meteorological Institute predicts that temperatures in December, when the city will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will be one degree above the long-term average.

Otherwise, however, not much is happening with global warming at the moment. The Earth's average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year.

Ironically, climate change appears to have stalled in the run-up to the upcoming world summit in the Danish capital, where thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, business leaders and environmental activists plan to negotiate a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Billions of euros are at stake in the negotiations.
Emphasis mine -- it is all about the money, power and control. The recent warming trend came to a stop in 1998 -- with the Sun cooling off the way it is, we are now in a strong cooling trend.

A letter

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Dear Mr. Grim Reaper,

So far this year you have taken away my favorite dancer and entertainer Michael Jackson, favorite actor Patrick Swayze, and favorite actress Farrah Fawcett.

Just so you know, my favorite politician is Barack Obama.

Thank you.
Swiped from Mostly Cajun

Senator Lindsey Graham

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beats US Attorney General Eric Holder to the ground and steals his lunch money:
From Robert McCain. This is in regards to Holder ruling that KSM can be tried in an NYC court instead of a Military Tribunal. Graham knows whereof he speaks -- from McCain:
And why is the flogging delivered with authority?
Military service
Graham decided to join the United States Air Force in 1982, and served on active duty until 1988. Following his departure he stayed in the military, joining the South Carolina Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force Reserves. During the Gulf War, he was recalled to active duty, serving as a Judge Advocate at McEntire Air National Guard Station in Eastover, South Carolina, where he helped brief departing pilots on the laws of war.
So, unlike our nation's top lawyer, Graham has a clue about the Law of War.

There would be no sin in Eric Holder just admitting that he's inexperienced in the topic, and seeking advice from people who know more. Senator Graham, for example.

This business of just Making Crap Up, when there is so much at stake, is dereliction of duty. Holder, if it's your own private concern, and you want to try something you read in a comic book, that's your prerogative. But you've a sworn obligation to do The Right Thing, in a job where you have systematically demonstrated cluelessness. This business of mixing civil law with the Law of War makes exactly as much sense as mixing domestic policy with international diplomacy. Holder, you're either are living in a unified-world-government fantasy land, or the least competent boob to occupy your office since its inception.
Holder has made a big mistake here. Obama needs to 'request' that Holder change his mind...

A message from the future

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Stephen Fry is a national treasure...

Amazing restaurant in Bellingham

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Jen met a friend at a new Vietnamese restaurant a few days ago and we went there for dinner tonight. Drop. Dead. Awesome. If you are ever in this neck of the woods, head over to Bakerview Road to the new shopping mall near the Fred Meyers and check out Soy House (Google link and map). Here are a few of the words of CM writing at Vegan in Bellingham:
Amazing Vietnamese food at the Soy House: 414 W. Bakerview Rd. Suite 112
This past Wednesday we had the craziest little snow storm that seemed to come out of nowhere. Everyone was taken by surprise, and when it first began to snow, I don't think I really believed it was actually happening. We had dinner plans with a friend that night and were determined to brave the elements no matter what, and I am so glad we did. We had one of the best meals in ages, and a truly enjoyable evening.

The subject of this post is the Soy House, a true gem of a restaurant where not only is the food delicious, but you will be so warmly welcomed that for days afterwords, you will smile just thinking about the place. The first time my husband and I ever ate there, we were immediately impressed by the friendliness and kindness of the people who ran the restaurant. We had wandered in spontaneously to check out the menu in the off chance there was something vegan that I could eat. The owner immediately greeted us and answered all of my questions with no hesitation. He explained that he completely understood what vegan was, and that he would even cook my tofu in a different pan separately from where the meat was cooked. We had a delicious meal and returned several more times, once with my mother-in-law who also really liked the food.

Before last Wednesday night, it had been quite a few months since we had last eaten there, but that did not stop us from being enthusiastically greeted upon our arrival by the owner who said it was great to see us and even added, "We have a vegan in the house!" I was shocked that he remembered me after such a long time, and instantly wondered why it had been so long since we had eaten there.
Excellent food and they pay attention not only to Vegans but also to people with Gluten problems. Food is prepared quickly, its fresh and absolutely delicious. I had had a late lunch and wasn't that hungry but I wolfed mine down like I hadn't eaten for a week. We will be back there again. And again. And...

Long day

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We are being buffeted by winds in the 30 to 40MPH range with gusts a bit higher. The lights have flickered a few times but nothing serious (crossing fingers). One of the problems the other day was that the generator that came with the building failed and we lost a lot of our dairy (including an entire case of ice cream). Costco has an incredible deal on a specific generator -- the Honeywell HW7000ES. Don't know if it is available in all stores but if you are looking for one, see if they carry it. It has a Honda engine and Honeywell electronics -- 7KW for $999. The generator that failed was only 4,500 Watts and was being run at max capacity. The previous owners of the store were cheap bas&ards so there was no telling where the unit came from or what sort of preventive maintenance it had received. I will sleep a little more soundly tonight knowing that we now have a bulletproof option. Welcome to November in the Pacific Northwest...

Great Bumper Sticker

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Pray for Obama
Psalm 109:8

A hint here Swiped from Grouchy. And it is gaining traction -- from the Christian Science Monitor:
Biblical anti-Obama slogan: Use of Psalm 109:8 funny or sinister?
There�s a new slogan making its way onto car bumpers and across the Internet. It reads simply: �Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8�

A nice sentiment?

Maybe not.

The psalm reads, �Let his days be few; and let another take his office.�

Presidential criticism through witty slogans is nothing new. Bumper stickers, t-shirts, and hats with �1/20/09� commemorated President Bush�s last day in office.

Light posting tonight

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Got a total of about three hours of sleep last night. The butchers bill is going to be a steep one as, due to the power coming and going, a component on our biggest freezer failed and things got a bit warm in there. The block frozen foods are fine (steak, pizza, etc...) but the juice and the ice cream had to be given away. I will post pictures and more details in a day or so -- got to call the insurance people tomorrow and start that process. Had to go into town today so swung by Costco to pick up a copy of Sarah Palin's new book. I am so glad that Jen agrees with me politically. When I showed her the book, she backed away and her head did that cute thing with spinning around a few times while she vomited this pea-green ichor. I tried to hand her the book but she kept screaming: "It Burns! It Buuurrrrnnnnssss!!!" I mean big deal, so she gets a few scorched fingers if she accidentally comes into contact with the book, it's not like I tried to force it into her hands or anything. Women -- sheesh...
Some report came out from somewhere saying that the suicide rate in the US Army was way to high. From CNN:
Army suicides set another yearly record
Suicides among soldiers this year have topped last year's record-breaking numbers, but Army officials maintain a recent trend downward could mean the service is making headway on its programs designed to reduce the problem, Army officials said Tuesday.

Since January, 140 active-duty soldiers have killed themselves while another 71 Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers killed themselves in the same time period, totaling 211 as of Tuesday, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, U.S. Army vice chief of staff, told reporters at a briefing Tuesday. But he said the monthly numbers are starting to slow down as the year nears its end.
Each one is a tragic loss of life but let's look at some numbers. The US Army (2008 figures) has 1,097,050 soldiers This makes a suicide rate of 0.000192 per capita or 19.23 per 100,000 soldiers. The suicide rate for the USA (2005 figures) is 17.7 per 100,000 citizens. I do not see that much of a reason for concern. Yes, it is tragic but it is also statistically in line with the rest of the USA's numbers. The article at CNN makes it sound like the number is much higher than it really is.


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The wind started picking up around 10PM, a couple really big gusts (50 to 60MPH range) and the lights flickered a few times and then went out. Down at the store too -- got the generator running and then drove to check on a nearby substation. Lights were on there so I figured it would be an hour or two max. Sitting at the store and another gust of wind came up -- sustained 60MPH gusts. After this one subsided, I drove out to the substation. Dark. I drove up alongside one power line and saw a couple trees leaning against the wires. Drove West toward Bellingham. Dark. Hung out until 1:00AM and then bagged the generator and went home to sleep. The power was not going to be restored anytime soon. The generator only powers the dairy coolers so I figured the potential loss of a couple hundred bucks of milk and eggs was an OK gamble. Power was finally restored around 8:00AM this morning. We lost a bunch of frozen food as well as the dairy. There is a local farmer who raises pigs -- we give him all of our out of date produce and we get the occasional package of porky goodness and bliss. His pigs will be very happy! Back to work...

That is it for this evening

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Out to the DaveCave(tm) for email and working on rearranging some crap wonderful and useful equipment...

One evening in Seattle

Wonderful story - Gerard and a friend explore some of the University District culture:

Ceci N'est Pas Une Bong
So my old friend Mr. Stephen Jones and I are doing some urban spelunking deep within the "University District" of Seattle on a rainy Friday night. A couple of movie art houses are presenting bills that offer an ancient Louis Malle flick alongside the towering cinematic achievement of "Saw 2." The corner curry houses are doing a desultory business in over-spiced stews, and in the various coffee houses with free WiFi young couples who used to sit and have "intellectual" conversations over cappuccinos are sitting together staring at their laptop screens. Perhaps they're having "intellectual" instant messaging with each other.

The streets, though damp, boast roving clumps and clusters of drunken or stoned students, and the drunker and more stoned human detritus that takes shelter under the ever forgiving wing of what passes for institutions of "higher learning" in our cities. One young woman with a white marble complexion and wearing a hooded Eskimo coat is mistaken, in the mist, for a storefront mannequin. Hilarity and apologies ensue after a young fellow carelessly shakes his umbrella in her direction.

It's an aimless night on University Way and, aside from Twice-Sold Tales, a musty and chaotic used book store, very few shops are open except those that will give you caffeine, pho and facial piercings. Why no Seattle shop has broken down and offered all three of these things under one roof is beyond me. For a moment, I dream of starting a new international chain, StarPhoTats, to fill this obvious need of a nation with far too much time and money on its hands, but then my attention is distracted by a shop up the street that seems to be open.

I say "seems" because the entryway is dimly lit and the store name above the lintel is not lit at all. Still, the door is slightly ajar with bright white light spilling out onto the wet sidewalk. I look up and find out this emporium (since it seems to be a recycled Five and Dime ) is called "Off the Wall." It's not clear from the contents of the window what this store is selling. The window shows you only a worn and broken mannequin slumped in an ancient chair with a gas mask pulled over its head. It's the kind of display that either sucks you in or makes you turn, set your hair on fire, and run down the misted streets screaming "I got the fear!"

Naturally, we go in.

Heh... Go and read the rest.

Just a little ray of sunshine and light

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With an amazing track-record for being on the right side. Dr. Nouriel Roubini writes at Nouriel Roubini's Global EconoMonitor:
The Worst is yet to Come: Unemployed Americans Should Hunker Down for More Job Losses
Think the worst is over? Wrong. Conditions in the U.S. labor markets are awful and worsening. While the official unemployment rate is already 10.2% and another 200,000 jobs were lost in October, when you include discouraged workers and partially employed workers the figure is a whopping 17.5%.

While losing 200,000 jobs per month is better than the 700,000 jobs lost in January, current job losses still average more than the per month rate of 150,000 during the last recession.

Also, remember: The last recession ended in November 2001, but job losses continued for more than a year and half until June of 2003; ditto for the 1990-91 recession.

So we can expect that job losses will continue until the end of 2010 at the earliest. In other words, if you are unemployed and looking for work and just waiting for the economy to turn the corner, you had better hunker down. All the economic numbers suggest this will take a while. The jobs just are not coming back.

There's really just one hope for our leaders to turn things around: a bold prescription that increases the fiscal stimulus with another round of labor-intensive, shovel-ready infrastructure projects, helps fiscally strapped state and local governments and provides a temporary tax credit to the private sector to hire more workers. Helping the unemployed just by extending unemployment benefits is necessary not sufficient; it leads to persistent unemployment rather than job creation.

The long-term picture for workers and families is even worse than current job loss numbers alone would suggest. Now as a way of sharing the pain, many firms are telling their workers to cut hours, take furloughs and accept lower wages. Specifically, that fall in hours worked is equivalent to another 3 million full time jobs lost on top of the 7.5 million jobs formally lost.

This is very bad news but we must face facts. Many of the lost jobs are gone forever, including construction jobs, finance jobs and manufacturing jobs. Recent studies suggest that a quarter of U.S. jobs are fully out-sourceable over time to other countries.

Other measures tell the same ugly story: The average length of unemployment is at an all time high; the ratio of job applicants to vacancies is 6 to 1; initial claims are down but continued claims are very high and now millions of unemployed are resorting to the exceptional extended unemployment benefits programs and are staying in them longer.

Based on my best judgment, it is most likely that the unemployment rate will peak close to 11% and will remain at a very high level for two years or more.

The weakness in labor markets and the sharp fall in labor income ensure a weak recovery of private consumption and an anemic recovery of the economy, and increases the risk of a double dip recession.
Double-dip is something that scares me -- the more I read, the more I see it coming. The good news is that it will hopefully wake people up to what is happening in Washington D.C. and get them out to vote in 2010 and 2012. Now if there was just a good candidate available...
Winds really started to pick up around 2:00AM and the lights went out soon after. All of the lights. The store, the entire town. Found out later that it was quite the swath -- from 15 miles West of us all the way East and past our town and up North to the Sumas border crossing. Went in to fire up the Generator. Winds are picking up now again too. Forecast for high winds through Tuesday. Oh joy!

Winds kicking up

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Gusts in the 30-40MPH range and had a five second flicker-outage of electricity; some switch somewhere did its job. UPSs work great for the hardware and we have a manually operated Generator that I can kick in when needed. Got a couple cords of wood in and stacked so we are ready for the season. Hey Gaia -- Μολών λαβέ
YESTERDAY! Wendy Carlos' 70th Birthday -- one of the true pioneers of Electronic Music. Her homepage; her Eclipse Photography; her film scoring and some photos of her and her studio. I knew about the date but spaced yesterday...

Olympic Torch - an interesting detour

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The Olympic Torch is making its way around Canada in preparation for the 2010 Olympics. One stop is a bit unusual. From the Vancouver Sun:
For Alert's 'Frozen Chosen,' wolves are good company company
Northernmost inhabited settlement in the world hosts Olympic torch in 24-hour darkness

Here, on the top of the world, one's perspective is altered, drifting far from the minutiae of the everyday and into more ethereal contemplation about life's big picture.

It has something to do with the cold, and the isolation and the ice crystals that dance in the dark in this place where the sun doesn't shine for much of the year.

Ask 26-year-old Meaghan Harris of Kingston, Ont., why she can't stay away from the North Pole and she will tell you this: "I absolutely love it up here. There's something so majestic about it. It's barren. It's beautiful."

By "here" she means the Canadian Forces Station at Alert, where she is one of the 35 civilians who work as service support staff for six Environment Canada employees and the 21 permanent military personnel whose job is signal intelligence and who call this Arctic outpost on the Lincoln Sea on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island - 800 kilometres from the North Pole - home.

Alert is, rather famously, known as the northernmost inhabited settlement on the planet, an airstrip and a collection of five buildings and scattered outbuildings forever covered by snow and surrounded by ice pack, where when it's not totally dark outside, it's totally bright.

On Sunday, in the 24-hour blackness that now envelopes Alert through next February, the 2010 Olympic flame was carried into the base by a relay of torchbearers, where a celebration was held in the -31 C chill outside the gym, and where the final torchbearer, George Stewart, used his torch to ignite a propane-powered cauldron in the moonlight.

This is the farthest north any Olympic flame has ever been, and on Day 10 of the torch relay's northern Canada tour it was only fitting that Stewart carried it home, because although he is retired from the military he has been coming to this base off and on since 1957, and is considered by many to be its elder statesman.
Sounds like a gorgeous place. I have always been attracted to the ends of the Earth. Spent two months backpacking around Iceland, visited the Galapagos, Antarctica (the French station at Dumont d'Urville), Gary, Indiana (now THAT is the ends of the Earth), been through the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, spent three weeks sailing the Caribbean. If I was rich, I do not know that I would travel like this perpetually but I sure would take more trips like that. More on Alert and Ellesmere Island here, here, here and here. No news on airplane tickets though...

A fun evening

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Had an unexpected pleasure this afternoon -- someone walked into the store and asked for me. Turns out it was someone my Mom and Dad had known since the 1980's and although I had never met him, I heard about him. He is the CEO of this company BiaDiagnostics and between Jen's and my biology and food interests, dinner was a fascinating wandering conversation. My Dad was pleased to meet him -- very few of his old friends come to visit and he doesn't get out very much on his own. We were planning to see a movie but that can wait. This was much better.
Had a gorgeous weekend for the ski area -- five feet of powder. Now, looking at the weather forecast, I see three warnings for Avalanche, Flood Watch and High Wind Watch. Temperature has gone up from near freezing to low 50's and the wind is starting to pick up. Gusts over 60MPH are not uncommon. Fun (and gorgeous) place to live.

Fron an email list

This came in over the transom -- from a metalworking email list I subscribe to:
Drafting Guys over 60----(This is quite funny and obviously written by a Former Serviceman)

New Directive for any war: Send Service Vets over 60!

I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I'm too old to track down terrorists.. You can't be older than 42 to join the military. They've got the whole thing backwards. Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn't be able to join a military unit until you're at least 35.

For starters: Researchers say 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.

Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. 'My back hurts! I can't sleep, I'm tired and hungry' We are impatient and maybe letting us kill some terrorist that desperately deserves it will make us feel better and shut us up for a while.

An 18-year-old doesn't even like to get up before 10 a.m. Old guys always get up early to pee so what the hell. Besides, like I said, 'I'm tired and can't sleep and since I'm already up, I may as well be up killing some fanatical so-and-so....

If captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank, and serial number would be a real brain teaser.

Boot camp would be easier for old guys. We're used to getting screamed and yelled at and we're used to soft food. We've also developed an appreciation for guns. We've been using them for years as an excuse to get out of the house, away from the screaming and yelling.

They could lighten up on the obstacle course however. I've been in combat and didn't see a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side, nor did I ever do any pushups after completing basic training.

Actually, the running part is kind of a waste of energy, too. I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet.

An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He's still learning to shave, to start up a conversation with a pretty girl. He still hasn't figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade his eyes, not the back of his head.

These are all great reasons to keep our kids at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off into harm's way..

Let us old guys track down those dirty rotten coward terrorists. The last thing an enemy would want to see is a couple of million pissed off old farts with attitudes and automatic weapons who know that their best years are already behind them.

***How about recruiting Women over 50 ...with PMS !!!

You think Men have attitudes !!! Ohhhhhhhhhhhh my Gosh!!!

If nothing else, put them on border patrol.... they will have it secured the first night!

Share this with your senior friends. It's purposely in big type so they can read it.
Heh -- I resemble that remark!

How (not) to Weld

I feel sorry for Sean as he is trying his best but he gets a couple fundamental things dead wrong in this 3:49 video:

  • He is dressed wrong with a buttoned shirt (the better to trap and hold spatters of molten metal)
  • His shirtsleeves are rolled up or short exposing his arms to the intense UV light from the arc -- really bad sunburn. When I first started welding, I would frequently work on the floor. I wear Teva sandals with socks and had my skin blister and peel on my feet after a long welding session. Hurt like hell to walk...
  • He doesn't run the arc hot enough -- he talks about melting through the workpiece; if this happens it is a technique problem and not a voltage problem. The welding happens where the metal is being melted and if you are not melting all of the metal, the joint is not completely welded.
  • He quenches the work after welding. This causes extreme stress in the metal and will guarantee a brittle weld.

Your best bet is to see if there is a local Community College or Vocational School.

Frequently they will have Welding for Dummies classes and even if you are currently welding, these classes will help to break your bad habits.

Link is from the new-to-me excellent website Welding Tips and Tricks

How to greet the Emperor of Japan

A lesson our President could stand to learn. From Hot Air Pundit:
President Obama vs. The Rest of the World Greeting The Emperor of Japan (Photos)
What follows is nine photos of heads of state greeting the Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. Here are two of them; Vladimir Putin:
and our President:
What is it about his subserving himself to an equal. Here he is with Queen Elizabeth and King Abdullah (from Gateway Pundit):
He has people that should be briefing him on this stuff. Doesn't he listen?

Out of frying pan...

The people of New Jersey have long been strongly liberal, in favor of big government, unions and they voted Democrat. Until they got fed up with where that led them -- high taxes, very unfavorable business environment, higher prices and government meddling.

Earlier this month (the 3rd), they booted out Jon Corzine as Governor and elected Republican Chris Christie even though Obama visited New Jersey to campaign several times before the election. NJ has not elected a Republican governor since 1993. At that time, Corzine said that he had no plans for the futures.

Well that was quick! From The Business Insider:

Corzine Staff Is Already Preparing To Take Over Bank Of America
Jon Corzine is definitely open to running Bank of America.

There haven't been any formal talks between the outgoing New Jersey Governor and the board of Bank of America, according to news reports. Part of the reason for this might be that the chairman of the board, Walter Massey, is on vacation.

The bank is expected to select someone before Thanksgiving.

Corzine returned from his vacation in St. Barts energized and ready to get back to work. A person familiar with the matter tells us that staffers are already prepping for the transition from working for a governor to working in finance. Some are anticipating a substantial pay hike if they move with Corzine.

This is a perfect example of what is wrong with this tone-deaf administration.

I could say few things about Bank of America too...

Leonid meteor shower

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Looks like it will be a good one this year. From Meteor Showers Online:
Observing the Leonids
Astronomers are predicting that the Leonids could experience an outburst of about 500 per hour on November 17. Although Asia is favored for the outburst, observations are encouraged around the world on the mornings of November 17 and 18, as better than normal rates could be seen. The moon will not be an issue.
From NASA comes this estimator for best times to observe.

Hacking Llama brains

We have four Llamas, two older ones (five years) and two younger ones (two years). The older ones are very dominant in our little herd and when I set feed out, Pancho and Lefty hog the hay bale until they are full and only then let Willie and Waylon come in to feed (we have an outlaw sort of thing going with them -- they were all rescue animals so we never knew their original names).

This time of year, they eat about a bale/day for the four -- by setting out two bales separated by fifteen feet, the two dominant Llamas can enjoy their own bale while the two subservient llamas have their own as well. Pancho and Lefty haven't figured out (yet) that they could each hog their own bale.

From Portland, OR station KGW:
Mountains see an inch of snow per hour
The snow level was dropped to at least 1,500 feet on Friday, as a new storm system took hold and many started to enjoy the earliest openings in years for Mt. Hood ski resorts.

�The next potent and wet weather system pushing in on Friday late afternoon and early evening, and will give us a lot of rain, and much cooler air � so cool that the snow level may possibly drop to as low 1,000 feet. The good news here, however, is that most of the moisture will be winding down when the coldest air starts to push in,� said KGW Meteorologist Nick Allard.

Allard said Mt. Hood should get 12 to 18 inches of new snow before the precipitation winds down late Friday night. Then, "we will get a break from the rain Saturday and the dry weather has a good chance of hanging on through Sunday. �More rain, and somewhat warmer weather returns next week.�

At Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort, workers said they were getting more than an inch of fresh powder every hour. The base has grown to 40 inches and another 10 inches could fall by Saturday.
Pffttt... Only 50 inches of base? Mt. Baker (as of 2PM today) has 68" base at the bottom and 73" at Pan Dome. And it's all powder!!! There is some crusty snow on the ground here (at 800' elevation)



From Peter Gwynne writing at Watts Up With That:

American Physical Society rejects climate policy plea from 160 physicists
The American Physical Society (APS) has "overwhelmingly rejected" a proposal from a group of 160 physicists to alter its official position on climate change. The physicists, who include the Nobel laureate Ivar Giaver, wanted the APS to modify its stance to reflect their own doubts about the human contribution to global warming. The APS turned down the request on the recommendations of a six-person committee chaired by atomic physicist Daniel Kleppner from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The committee was set up by APS president Cherry Murray in July, when the society received the proposal for changing its statement, which had originally been drawn up in November 2007. It has spent the last four months carrying out what the APS calls "a serious review of existing compilations of scientific research" and took soundings from its members. "We recommended not accepting the proposal," Kleppner told "The [APS] council almost unanimously decided to go with that."

Different positions
he official APS position on climate change says that "emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate" and adds that there is 'incontrovertible' evidence that global warming is occurring. The APS also wants reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions to start immediately. "If no mitigating actions are taken," it says, "significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur."

Don't want to risk that nice Federal Grant money. Cowards...

From John M. O'Hara writing at Breitbart's Big Government:
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: Terror Trials in the Big Apple
It is a Friday and President Obama is abroad. What better time for the President and the Department of Justice to announce that 9/11 coordinator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and some of his fellow terrorists will be tried in a civilian court in New York City?

Yesterday, I wrote about the curious connection that major Obama and ACORN supporter Bruce Ratner has to the Department of Justice � the very department that refuses to initiate a criminal trial of ACORN. It just so happens that Bruce Ratner�s brother, Michael Ratner, shares the terrorist coddling sympathies of Attorney General Eric Holder. As Michelle Malkin documents, Holder not only pushed for the pardoning of actual terrorists in his last stint at DOJ, but he was also a senior partner at a law firm representing detainees at Guantanamo. While Michael Ratner has not represented Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he did represent a handful of terrorists and won them the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts under habeas corpus. This is just one of many legal �victories� that have paved the way for folks like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be tried in civilian court on our soil.
Couple of thoughts... There already is a very nice courthouse at Guantanamo purpose-built for dealing with these terrorists. The citizens of New York City have been through enough -- what with the original 9/11, the US Air Force buzzing the city for a "photo op", there was that Afghani man who was plotting to bomb the NYC subway system. Bringing KSM to NYC will cause a major increase in terrorist attempts. From a legal standpoint, KSM was an enemy combatant and was not arrested as a civil criminal. The breach between the two systems offers many avenues for charges to be dismissed on technicalities. Other thoughts are on the discovery process -- KSM's lawyers can ask for classified materials that, when made public, can seriously hurt our efforts -- names of resources, groups that are being infiltrated, etc... The article mentions how Attorney General Eric Holder was instrumental in pardoning sixteen Puerto Rican terrorists. The link in the previous sentence describes these perfect little angels:
The 16 members of the FALN (the Spanish acronym for Armed Forces of National Liberation) and Los Macheteros had been convicted in Chicago and Hartford variously of bank robbery, possession of explosives and participating in a seditious conspiracy. Overall, the two groups had been linked by the FBI to more than 130 bombings, several armed robberies, six slayings and hundreds of injuries.
There already is an online petition to the White House although a well-written physical snail-mail letter carries a lot more weight than yet another bit of electronic fluff. Getting in touch with your representatives is not the route to go for this one -- you either need to write the White House or the Office of the Attorney General. And, oh yeah, this little bit of conflict of interest: From the website of Covington & Burling LLP:
and from a different page:
Even though Holder is no longer a full partner, shouldn't this be grounds for recusal?
Obama has a hard time picking people that can withstand public scrutiny. Now White House counsel Greg Craig is stepping down. From Google/Associated Press:
Official: Craig to step down as White House lawyer
The White House's top lawyer is announcing his resignation on Friday, senior administration officials said.

White House counsel Greg Craig has been the subject of questions about his future since late summer, dogged by talk that President Barack Obama's promise to close the controversial Guantanamo Bay military prison by January went awry under Craig's leadership.

Craig also oversaw the president's revamping of U.S. policy on terrorism interrogations and detentions, including a ban on torture, and was at the center of administration moves to release many documents relating to the treatment of terror suspects under the Bush administration � and to oppose the release of photos of abuse of detainees overseas by U.S. personnel. All those decisions earned Obama considerable criticism, some from the right and some from the left.
Don't let the door hit 'ya where the good Lord split 'ya...
From the Chicago Tribune:
U.S. to seize mosques, cash
Federal authorities moved Thursday to seize an array of U.S.-based properties, bank accounts and religious sites that they charged in court documents were funneling money to an Iranian bank involved in that country's suspected nuclear weapons program.

Prosecutors sought the forfeiture of assets that included Islamic centers and mosques in California, Maryland, New York City and Houston, as well as 100 acres in Virginia.

They also took steps to seize financial control of a 36-story office tower at 650 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan that they said was part of a business empire controlled by the Alavi Foundation. Prosecutors alleged that Alavi has been illegally "providing numerous services to the Iranian government," as well as a large amount of money.

The properties and bank accounts being sought by the government in a lawsuit are worth more than $500 million and represent one of the largest attempted seizures of assets allegedly linked to Iran.

"As today's complaint alleges in great detail, the Alavi Foundation has effectively been a front for the government of Iran," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "For two decades, the Alavi Foundation's affairs have been directed by various Iranian officials, including Iranian ambassadors to the United Nations, in violation of a series of American laws."
We could be going further but baby steps are an important first start. We know where the money is going -- it is time to get serious about the threat to the worlds Freedom.

First Snow of the Season

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Just a light dusting and will probably be gone in a few hours but our farm has the first snowfall of the season. Should be an interesting winter. The ski area opened up with a bang and business (and traffic) is up substantially. Over 60" of powder with more due this weekend!

A bunch of ninnies - 350 or bust

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A great article that shows just how uneducated the "upper" classes are. From Breitbart/AFP:
Church bells to ring out warning on climate change
The World Council of Churches on Thursday called on churches around the world to ring their bells 350 times during the Copenhagen climate change summit on December 13 as a call to action on global warming.

The leading council of Christian and Orthodox churches also invited places of worship for other faiths to join a symbolic "chain of chimes and prayers" stretching around the world from the international date line in the South Pacific.

"On that Sunday, midway through the UN summit, the WCC invites churches around the world to use their bells, drums, gongs or whatever their tradition offers to call people to prayer and action in the face of climate change," the council said in a statement.

"By sounding their bells or other instruments 350 times, participating churches will symbolise the 350 parts per million that mark the safe upper limit for CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere according to many scientists," it added.

The chimes are meant to start at 3.00 pm local time in each location.

The WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican churches representing about 560 million Christians in 110 countries.
Emphasis mine -- not my Anglican. My Anglican would tell the others to read the facts and then nut up or shut up... I cannot think of a more self-serving bunch of ninnies. They will feel so good, so righteous, so connected with this action. What they are feeling is pride at taking such a moral high-ground and the last time I checked, Pride was still a sin. The focus on 350 is idiotic. CO2 is plant food and there have been times when it was up to 6,000 parts per million and the global temperatures averaged in the 70s (this was the time when the great coal beds were laid down -- intense vegetation). In recent history, the CO2 was a bit lower but we had a five hundred year span (800-1300)of higher than normal temperatures -- higher than we had during 1998 (Medieval Warm period). Those nattering nabobs who say that we are at a climate tipping point are either idiots or have a darker political agenda.

That's it for the night

Had to run into town today and this evening, we went to a lecture by Galen Biery's granddaughter at a local Elementary School.

Galen Biery?

Galen Alvord Biery (1910-1994) was one of Bellingham's most well-known local 'armchair' historians. During the summer of 1930, Biery was introduced to Beverley B. Dobbs, who had become famous for filming some of the first motion picture travelogues of the Alaskan Gold Rush. In Fairhaven Biery began working for Dobbs as he photographed the fish processing operations at Pacific American Fisheries during the 1930s. Biery later travelled with him to Seattle to learn more about motion pictures and photographic techniques.
Galen Biery set up a newsreel laboratory in Bellingham in 1932 and captured the Nooksack River floods on film which was aired nationally. In 1935 Biery's inventiveness, with the help of Bob and Joe Dunn, led to a patent for a post-card printing machine. Later, Biery and Erwin Hube invented a revolutionary salmon skinning and boning machine used in a Pacific American Fisheries cannery in Alaska. Throughout his career, Biery worked as a machinist, mechanic, researcher and cannery foreman at Pacific American Fisheries.

After his retirement in 1976, Biery was able to concentrate on his passions of history, photography, film and gardening. He shared both his knowledge of local history and the thousands of photographs he had taken through his famous "Magic Lantern" slide shows. The "Magic Lantern" slide shows began in 1958 for the Fairhaven Lions' Club and expanded to include historical societies, museums, community clubs and local elementary schools. The shows presented Biery's recollections and research on local history, including Lake Whatcom, Pacific American Fisheries, local theaters and the Mount Baker country.

Biery collaborated on many books, including Looking Back, with Dorothy Koert, wrote several newspaper columns titled, "Bellingham - A Look Back," in the Bellingham Buyer, and had photos published in the Bellingham Herald. His historic photos grace almost every newspaper in the region, as well as several books. In 1984, Biery was named "Whatcom County's Living Treasure" by the Bellingham Arts Commission, and proclaimed "Honor Citizen" by the City of Bellingham.

Although Galen Biery died on September 26, 1994, his heritage is deeply ingrained in the residents of Bellingham and Whatcom County, Washington. His "Magic Lantern" slide shows have been carried on by several friends and most recently by his grandchildren. The Galen Biery Papers reflect his commitment to the history of Bellingham.

The Magic Lantern show was just that -- his granddaughter, Laura Jacoby, brought a couple hundred of the lantern slides out of the 30,000 or so that she has and gave a wonderful talk on the history of the Mt. Baker area, our little community and Bellingham at large. These were the original 3.5X4 glass slides shown on a 1930's projector. Mostly black and white, some hand tinted and all in fantastic shape. An amazing historical resource.

Probably the most fundamental cause of our current banking woes. From the New York Times:
10 Years Later, Looking at Repeal of Glass-Steagall
Ten years ago to the day, the government reversed one of the key elements of the Depression-era banking laws, knocking down the firewall between commercial banks, which take deposits and make loans, and investment banks, which underwrite securities. The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 was seen at the time as a way to help American banks grow larger and better compete on the world stage.

�Today, Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century,� then-Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers said at the time. �This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy.�

But 10 years later, the end of Glass-Steagall has been blamed by some for many of the problems that led to last fall�s financial crisis. While the majority of problems that occurred centered mostly on the pure-play investment banks like Lehman Brothers, the huge banks born out of the revocation of Glass-Steagall, especially Citigroup, and the insurance companies that were allowed to deal in securities, like the American International Group, would not have run into trouble had the law still been in place.

�Commercial banks played a crucial role as buyers and sellers of mortgage-backed securities, credit-default swaps and other explosive financial derivatives,� Demos, a nonpartisan public policy and research organization, wrote in a report discussing the problems it said were caused by the repeal of Glass-Steagall.
And of course, instead of reinstating Glass-Steagall, they fuck things up further by adding another layer of bureaucracy:
But the Senate version of the bill introduced this week by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, did go further than the House bill. Mr. Dodd�s bill called for the various banking regulators set up in the 1930s, which had separate jurisdictions based in part on the firewall divisions created by Glass-Steagall, to finally be merged into one new agency. The aim is that a single regulator would discourage regulator shopping by financial institutions and lead to better oversight of banks.
Like this new agency is going to be immune from lobbying -- believe that and I have some oceanfront property to sell you. Idaho.
Obama wants Unions and the Unions want Obama (Obama's most frequent White House guest is SEIU president Andy Stern) This is all about consolidation of power, it is not about benefiting the working man or helping stabilize the American economy. Raw Political Power. For this to work, more and more workplaces need to be unionized. It's starting -- from Breitbart/Associated Press:
Unions prod Obama to fix ailing airline industry
Three decades of airline deregulation have helped make air travel more accessible to consumers through lower fares.

Now labor unions are questioning whether the industry is paying the price, and the Obama administration is listening.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was holding a forum Thursday to discuss the state of the airline industry, which is mired in a severe economic slump and blamed for using a business model critics say undermines safety. The industry has suffered repeated shocks in recent years, including the 9/11 terror attacks, the SARS virus, volatile oil prices and the current economic downturn.

"U.S. aviation is facing severe economic uncertainty, and an open and frank conversation will help begin a continuing dialogue about the industry's future," Transportation Department spokeswoman Sasha Johnson said.

Airlines are offering the fewest seats to passengers, measured by available seats and distance traveled, in more than a decade. They have shed more than 158,000 full-time jobs since employment peaked in 2001 and lost an estimated $33 billion over the past decade. Thirteen airlines have filed for bankruptcy in the past two years.
Hell, I think the airlines are doing just great. The ones that are well managed make money. The ones that are poorly managed loose money and fail. We just flew on Alaska a few weeks ago and it was great -- they redesigned the ticket counters in SEA so checking in is a breeze. We paid an extra $15 for our checked bag which is a lot cheaper than if we had air-freighted it to SFO so the price is very reasonable. The flight down was $49, flight back was $149. Hawai'ian Airlines used to not be that great, they lost business as a result, went through bankruptcy reorganization and it is now doing just fine. The telling sentence from the article is this one:
The forum, which is closed to the public and the media, was organized at the request of the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department.
Closed to the public and the media. Why are they so afraid of a little transparency and openness? Wonder when this will get spilled on WikiLeaks...

Very Low Frequency radios and reception

Lots of fun -- our atmosphere makes some very strange noises if you have the tools to listen to signals in the Very Low Frequency range.

Now NASA has a receiver online along with samples of interesting events.

Check out the NASA INSPIRE VLF radio receiver at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.

Receivers can be purchased for a couple hundred bucks and the parts to make one yourself are about $50.

Fun with statistics - Anscombe's quartet

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Looking at a set of numbers and trying to calculate a trend? Don't forget to consider Anscombe's quartet
Should not have played the game -- from The Smoking Gun:
Medals Of Dishonor
NOVEMBER 11--Just in time for Veteran's Day, a California bank employee is facing federal charges for allegedly masquerading as a decorated Marine and wearing a host of bogus medals, including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Navy Cross. Steven Burton, 39, is scheduled to surrender tomorrow in U.S. District Court in Riverside, California (Burton, who has never served in the armed forces, was named last week in a misdemeanor criminal information charging him with the unauthorized wearing of military medals). According to a search warrant affidavit, Burton's charade was discovered after an actual Navy commander, Colleen Salonga, ran into Burton at their high school reunion. Online records indicate that Salonga and Burton graduated in 1988 from Alhambra High School in Martinez, California (and that their class's 20th reunion was last October). Suspicious that Burton was playing dress up, Salonga asked to take a photo with him. That image, seen below, was later provided to FBI agents. A subsequent investigation turned up another photo of Burton in uniform as well as blog postings in which he recounted his "combat experience" and tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the real world, Burton is employed at Rabobank in Palm Springs, California.

George W. and Laura Bush - a new appreciation

From HillBuzz-- an unlikely source but I'll let them tell the story:

Thank you former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush
We know absolutely no one in Bush family circles and have never met former President George W. Bush or his wife Laura.

If you have been reading us for any length of time, you know that we used to make fun of 'Dubya' nearly every day -- parroting the same comedic bits we heard in our Democrat circles, where Bush is still, to this day, lampooned as a chimp, a bumbling idiot, and a poor, clumsy public speaker.

Oh, how we RAILED against Bush in 2000 - and how we RAILED against the surge in support Bush received post-9/11 when he went to Ground Zero and stood there with his bullhorn in the ruins on that hideous day.

We were convinced that ANYONE who was president would have done what Bush did, and would have set that right tone of leadership in the wake of that disaster. President Gore, President Perot, President Nader, you name it. ANYONE, we assumed, would have filled that role perfectly.

Well, we told you before how much the current president, Dr. Utopia, made us realize just how wrong we were about Bush. We shudder to think what Dr. Utopia would have done post-9/11. He would have not gone there with a bullhorn and struck that right tone. More likely than not, he would have been his usual fey, apologetic self and waxed professorially about how evil America is and how justified Muslims are for attacking us, with a sidebar on how good the attacks were because they would humble us.

Honestly, we don't think President Gore would have been much better that day. The world needed George W. Bush, his bullhorn, and his indominable spirit that day -- and we will forever be grateful to this man for that.

As we will always be grateful for what George and Laura Bush did this week, with no media attention, when they very quietly went to Ft. Hood and met personally with the families of the victims of this terrorist attack.


The Bushes went and met privately with these families for HOURS, hugging them, holding them, comforting them.

If there are any of you out there with any connection at all to the Bushes, we implore you to give them our thanks -- you tell them at a bunch of gay Hillary guys in Boystown, Chicago were wrong about the Bushes -- and are deeply, deeply sorry for any jokes we told about them in the past, any bad thoughts we had about these good, good people.

A very classy apology -- I hope someone does forward this to the Bush family. Hat tip to Theo and Washington Rebel for the link. I don't know who did this image but it hits it on the head:

Al Gore's new media venture is not going very well. (insert obligatory smily here) From Breitbart/AFP:
Al Gore's Current Media cuts 80 jobs
Current Media, a cable television company co-founded by former US vice president Al Gore, announced Wednesday that it is cutting 80 jobs as part of a reorganization.

The layoffs, which will leave Current with some 300 employees worldwide, come seven months after the San Francisco-based startup shelved plans for a 100-million-dollar initial public offering, citing market conditions.

In a statement on Wednesday, Current said it was canceling several television programs and shifting the focus of its programming away from short-form content to longer formats.

"As a result of these cancellations, and the shift away from a reliance on daily in-house production, Current Media eliminated 80 positions worldwide associated with the affected programs and related support personnel," it said.
That is a 20% cut -- major. Skipping the IPO is another really bad sign. Maybe if they had a product to sell that people were interested in buying. Website for Current TV Don't bother...

Veteran's Day

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Taking a few minutes to be quiet and to thank the people who keep America the land of the free. Our friends to the North remember this day as well -- Canadian artist Terry Kelly has this to say:

The buck stops here

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Talk about a bad choice to make -- from the LaCrosse, Wisconson LaCrosse Tribune:
Unlucky buck: Deer loses head-butt with lawn ornament
A love-struck buck ran out of luck a week ago. The seven-point buck was killed when it rammed a 640-pound concrete statue of an elk in the backyard of Mark and Carol Brye's home in rural Viroqua.

Bucks often fight during the breeding season, commonly called the rut. Dominant bucks defend breeding territories and female deer by sparring with subordinate bucks. Antler battles sometimes result in the death of one or both deer, but usually end with the biggest buck winning and the smaller buck high-tailing it out to another area.

Mark Brye, who owns Brye Plumbing in Viroqua, was still laughing about the suicidal buck he found near his elk statue last week.

Brye said his morning ritual is to rise early and look out at the life-like statue about 40 yards from his home.

"Our son and daughter gave it to us for Christmas four years ago because we like to hunt elk," Brye said. "The elk is a nice thing to see every morning. It looks pretty cool, especially on a foggy morning."

Brye said he knew exactly what happened when he saw the statue tipped over. Although they were about the same height, the statue weighed at least three times more than the 180-pound deer.

He didn't realize the buck lay dead a short distance away.

"I could tell the buck poked the statue a couple of times by the chipped paint on it," Brye said, adding that the buck eventually rammed it like a mountain goat.

The buck apparently staggered about 20 feet and fell.

Brye claimed the buck with a tag from the Vernon County conservation warden. He laughed at the warden's tag note: "lawn ornament fight - lost."

Brye said the deer shattered its skull. The antlers were still on its head but were dangling.

"The statue is OK, but the antlers broke off when it tipped over," Brye said. "One side of the antlers is in one piece, but the other side is in five pieces."

Brye, 58, is considering removing the antlers from the unlucky buck and gluing them on the elk statue as a remembrance of the strange but true story.

The deer is butchered and in Brye's freezer. The elk remains on its side.

"I can't tip it back up until I get a whole bunch of guys to help me," he said.

Interesting times in Tennessee

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From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:
Second slide keeps Ocoee Gorge blocked
Workers with heavy equipment had cleared all but a few boulders from a rockslide that blocked U.S. Highway 64 this morning when, with a tremble and a roar, another huge slide spilled across the road and into the Ocoee River gorge.

Tennessee Department of Transportation officials said they aren�t sure how long the highway will be blocked, but it will be at least a week, probably longer.
Nobody was injured but there is this spectacular video:
With an event like that, you go home, take a shower, change into some clean underpants and pour yourself a stiff drink...

Science!!! In Our Own Backyard!!!

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And it is Science that shows the periodic fluctuations in our climate. Fluctuations that swamp any possible input from our industrial production of Carbon Dioxide gas. Western Washington Emeritus Professor Dr. Don J. Easterbrook writes at Watts Up With That:
New geologic evidence of past periods of oscillating, abrupt warming, and cooling
Two hundred years ago, Charles Lyell coined the phrase �The present is the key to the past.� In today�s highly contentious issues of global climate change, we might well add �The past is the key to the future, i.e., to forecast future geologic events, we must understand past climate changes. This paper documents past global climate changes in the geologic and historic past.

Recent laser imaging of the Earth�s surface provides new evidence for abrupt, fluctuating, warm and cool climatic episodes that could not have been caused by changes in atmospheric CO2. In a paper presented at the national meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, OR, Professor Don J. Easterbrook, Professor of Geology at Western Washington University, presented new data from airborne laser imagery showing well-defined, previously unknown, multiple moraines deposited by glaciers 11,700 to 10,250 years ago.

At least 9 significant, abrupt periods of warming that resulted in retreat of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet are documented by moraines from successive glacial retreats in the Fraser Lowland of NW Washington l(Fig. 1). In addition, smaller multiple glacier recessions are found within the more prominent episodes of glacier retreat. As indicated by the amount of glacier recession between each of the successive moraines, the warming events were of greater magnitude than those observed in recent centuries.
The advances and retreats of the glacier coincide with Isotope data from Greenland ice cores. Easterbrook concludes his post with the following:
What we can learn from this geologic climate changes is that the past is indeed the key to the future. In 1999, the year after the warmest year of recent times, I projected the climate pattern from the past century and past 500 years into the future and predicted that we would be due for 25�30 years of global cooling beginning about 2000. The PDO changed from its warm to cool mode in 1999 and since then we have had global cooling, quite moderate to flat (interrupted by two warm El Ninos) and intensifying since 2007.
Add to this the low output of the Sun and we are going to be in for an interesting ride...

What if...

The Matrix was filmed during the era of silent movies:

From YouTube:

Video from Russian actor's group "Big Difference" (Bolshaya Raznitsa / Большая Разница). They specialize mostly on Russian TV show parodies.

Water Drops

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At 2,000 frames/second
Very cool! If high-speed cameras didn't cost $30K or so, I would be in the DaveCave(tm) cranking out stuff like this...

Great news from Afghanistan

Huge cache of explosives found. From the New York Times:

Allies Uncover Vast Cache of Bomb Material in Afghanistan
With fertilizer bombs now the most lethal weapons used against American and NATO soldiers in southern Afghanistan, the operation in Kandahar was something close to astonishing.

In a pair of raids on Sunday, Afghan police and American soldiers discovered a half-million pounds of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that is used in the overwhelming majority of homemade bombs here. Some 2,000 bomb-making devices like timers and triggers were also found, and 15 Afghans were detained.

With a typical homemade bomb weighing no more than 60 pounds, the seizure of that much fertilizer - more than 10 tractor-trailer loads - removed potentially thousands of bombs from the streets and trails of southern Afghanistan, officials said.

"You can turn a bag of ammonium nitrate into a bomb in a matter hours," said Col. Mark Lee, who heads NATO's effort to stop the bombmakers in southern Afghanistan. "This is a great first step."

The article goes on to say that ammonium nitrate is presently illegal in Afghanistan. Farmers are given urea-based fertilizers and if any ammonium nitrate is seized, the farmers are compensated. Starting to roll up these bastards...

Take your "peak oil" and stuff it

With all the Cassandras pissing and moaning about "peak oil" this and "peak oil" that, it is wise to listen to the people who actually work in the oil business... From CNN:

Energy body rejects whistleblower allegations of oil cover up
The International Energy Agency has rejected reported allegations from a whistleblower that world oil reserves have been exaggerated to avoid panic buying in the oil market.

A senior source within the IEA is reported to have told The Guardian newspaper that many within the agency believe the body's prediction for oil supplies "is much higher than can be justified."

In its annual outlook released on Tuesday, the IEA repeated its prediction that oil supplies would rise to 105 million barrels by 2030 under current government policy.

"We're the ones that are out there warning that the oil and gas is running out in the most authoritative manner. But we don't see it happening as quickly as some of the peak oil theorists," Richard Jones, deputy executive director of the IEA, told CNN.

"Generally, we're viewed as more pessimistic than we should be by the (oil) industry," he added.

Of course, it devolves into a power play for lower CO2 emissions:

The IEA's 2009 World Energy Outlook is explicit in its warnings about the impact of a "business as usual" approach to energy over the next 20 years.

"The scale and the breath of the energy challenge is enormous -- far greater than many people realize. But it can and must be met," the report said.

It presents the results of two scenarios: The "Reference Scenario" assumes government policy remains the same, while the "450 Scenario" projects what may happen if governments take action on climate change.

The 450 refers to the long-term concentration of 450 parts per million of CO2-equivalent needed to limit to 50 percent the probability of a global average temperature rise of two degrees Celsius.

Talk about a two-fer -- Malthusian predictions and Anthropogenic Global Warming. Neither of which have ever proven to be correct.

Oh noes - it's golf balls

Talk about asinine -- from CNN:
Golf balls: 'Humanity's signature litter'
Research teams at the Danish Golf Union have discovered it takes between 100 to 1,000 years for a golf ball to decompose naturally. A startling fact when it is also estimated 300 million balls are lost or discarded in the United States alone, every year. It seems the simple plastic golf ball is increasingly becoming a major litter problem.
And more:
With an increasing number of golf balls discarded each year, the Danish Golf Association devised a number of tests to determine the environmental impact of golf balls on their surroundings.

It was found that during decomposition, the golf balls dissolved to release a high quantity of heavy metals. Dangerous levels of zinc were found in the synthetic rubber filling used in solid core golf balls. When submerged in water, the zinc attached itself to the ground sediment and poisoned the surrounding flora and fauna.

Course manager for the Danish Golf Union, Torben Kastrup Petersen, said the scale of the problem is unknown: "There has been very little research on the environmental impact of golf balls, but it's safe to say the indicators are not good. We are planning to collaborate with environmentalists in America to conduct more tests to fully explore the extent of the problem."
Isn't there something more pressing that needs doing guys? How about volunteering to tutor kids, how about wiping out the piracy in Somalia, how about deposing Mugabe and restoring Zimbabwe to its former glory, how about doing something that really matters for a change instead of this banal pettifogging chicanery -- oh, but that would mean that you would actually have to do something, be effective, be a man -- well never mind...

And another one hits the dirt

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Obama has a bit of a problem with his appointed advisers. They keep having their speeches brought to the general public and having to resign. Van Jones was Obama's Green Czar until his fundamental Marxist roots came to the forefront. His Science Czar is having a bit of an issue with his published views on eugenics. His Safe Schools Czar has a close relationship with the founder of NAMBLA His communications director Anita Dunn is resigning. From The Hill:
White House communications director Anita Dunn announces her resignation
White House communications director Anita Dunn will resign by the end of the month, the Obama administration confirmed on Tuesday morning.

Dunn, who signed on for a temporary stint after Ellen Moran stepped down from the post, will stay on as a consultant. Deputy communications director Dan Pfeiffer will replace her.

Dunn's tenure has not been without controversy. She helped lead the White House battle against Fox News, once calling the network an "arm of the Republican Party."

"The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party," she told CNN. "And it is not ideological ... what I think is fair to say about Fox, and the way we view it, is that it is more of a wing of the Republican Party."

Conservatives, including Fox host Glenn Beck, criticized Dunn after a video clip surfaced in which she referred to Mao Zedong as one of her "favorite political philosophers."
These people forget that in this day and age, every single speech they give will be videotaped and distributed freely on the internet. They speak to a "friendly" audience so they pander to them only to have it blow up in their faces when their words are put out there for everyone to see. A fun time to be alive!!!

That's it for tonight

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Longish day - spent a couple hours decluttering the forge and working in the DaveCave(tm). Did a quick run into town for some stuff and of course, forgot to get two high-priority items... Heading out into a nice warm DaveCave(tm) to check email and finish off installing a FireWire interface to a small mixer of mine (Mackie Onyx 1220). Got a nice wood stove and the place is will insulated so it doesn't need much to get it up to a comfy 75 or so.

Winning hearts and minds

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Spirit of America is doing some wonderful work. Just heard about them this evening. They take donated and requested items and send them over to the troops in Afghanistan for distribution to Afghani citizens. Everything from school supplies to baseballs to sewing machines to this brilliant idea:
Army Sgt Major McDowell Needs Saffron Bulbs to Assist Afghan Farmers
Sergeant Major Mack McDowell is looking for help to provide Afghan farmers a cash crop alternative to poppy. In 2007 Mack made a similar request and we provided 40,000 saffron bulbs and farm tools. Mack was chosen as a CNN Hero for his efforts. Mack is back in Afghanistan and again asks your support for local farmers. Your contributions will buy saffron bulbs, farming tools and other items to benefit the farmers and their families.
The wheat crops I posted about earlier are great but they do not have the cash value that the opium or saffron has plus, they take a lot more water from an area that is, at best, a marginal desert. Very cool idea! The other projects that Spirit of America supports look really good too.

Ships passing in the night

Ships over a certain size and capacity are required to have beacons that transmit the ship identification and position. This is called the AIS (Automated Identification System) and a group from the University of the Aegean in Greece is collecting this data and putting it onto a Google Map with a realtime display (default update frequency is 100 seconds). Check out the Live Ships Map at Marine Traffic.
I had posted about this before but the majority of what you recycle gets tossed into the landfill. Aluminum is valuable and easy to recycle so it is the shining example but there is only so much of a market for paper, glass, garden waste, food waste, etc... and once that market is satisfied, the rest of it goes into the landfill. Reporter Christine MacDonald from the District of Columbia Washington City Paper is shocked SHOCKED to find this out:
Together Forever
Your recycling and your trash, sharing cramped quarters in the trucks of private D.C. haulers.

One Wednesday morning last winter, a big evergreen-colored garbage truck from Bowie�s, Inc. lumbers into the parking lot behind Politics & Prose bookstore. The sound of its engine breaks the quiet as its mechanical arms grab hold of the Dumpster and unload its trash into the back�a tumble of black plastic bags filled with coffee grinds, food scraps, greasy takeout containers, and castoff paper products.

After the truck releases the Dumpster, the garbagemen get their hands on something that doesn�t mix well with all that rotting garbage: the recycling. They roll up with bins holding newspaper, cardboard, bottles, and cans�all dutifully separated by employees at the bookstore and other businesses on this upper Connecticut Avenue strip. One by one, the men tip the contents of the recycling containers on top of the refuse�the bottles make a tinkling sound as the glass shatters against the truck bed.

Then: They go back to collecting trash. The driver hits a switch and it�s all smashed together before disappearing into the belly of the truck.

An exception? A rare case of wrongful commingling?

It doesn�t look that way if you spend some time following trucks of various private garbage companies around town. D.C. law requires recycling at all city buildings, though the law appears to stop at the threshold of all alleys. There, behind businesses and apartment complexes all across the city, this sloppy ritual goes down with striking regularity: In a blur of asses and elbows, workers throw stuff from green containers, black containers, and blue containers in the same truck, creating a jumble of trash and recycling that can never be de-mingled.
One sentence gives a possible reason for this travesty:
For starters, the market for recyclables has tanked.
But this doesn't stop the environmentalists from working up a good case of the vapours:
�The system is so broken,� says Jim B. Dougherty, a lawyer and member of the Sierra Club�s D.C. chapter, which has dragged the city into court multiple times over enforcement of the recycling law in the last two decades. He says the latest revelations are �outrageous� and calls for a formal investigation by the D.C. Council.
And reality sets in:
Looking around her neighborhood, she has concluded that most people aren�t recycling and says she�s not too concerned about a crackdown.
The numbers:
At one point, Doug Williams, vice president of World Recycling, Inc., says he couldn�t help but wonder whether haulers would bother to keep coming to his Cheverly, Md., center.

�That was the scary part because some haulers say, �Why come here when I can just take it to the dump?�� Williams says. He says he worried that they would �do the math and figure they are only going to make 30 or 40 bucks [on a day�s load] and say �to hell with it.��
One of the commentors summed it up nicely:
So basically the city passed an unenforceable recycling law so that local politicians could send out self-laudatory press releases about how forward thinking they were and no one ever bothered to check to see if the program was working or not.

The basic incompetence of our elected officials is no longer shocking.
There was a wonderful three-part episode of Penn and Teller's Bullshit television show that dealt with recycling and waste disposal in general. It was up on YouTube but has been removed for copyright reasons. Worth checking out -- Bullshit is available for rental at most places -- it's Season Two, show #5.
From USA Today:
Chrysler drops three electric vehicles despite having touted them to get billions in government bailout cash
If you believed all the talk from Chrysler about how our tax dollars would help finance its fast-track electric-vehicle future, you're in for a big disappointment.

Chrysler has disbanded the engineering team that was trying to bring three electric models to market as a rush job, Automotive News reports today. Chrysler cited its devotion to electric vehicles as one of the key reasons why the Obama administration and Congress needed to give it $12.5 billion in bailout money, the News points out.

The change of heart on electric vehicles has come under Fiat. At a marathon presentation of Chrysler's five-year strategy, CEO Sergio Marchionne talked about just about everything on Chrysler's plate last week except its earlier electric-car plans. With the group's disbanding, Chrysler's electric plans will be melded into Fiats. Marchionne is apparently no fan of electric power.

He says electrics will only make up 1% or 2% of Fiat sales by 2014 and that he doesn't put a lot of faith in the technology until battery developments are pushed forward.
Marchionne is being wise -- right now, battery life sucks and there is no way to get more than a 40 mile range without getting really expensive. Recharging also sucks -- if you work 30 miles away, plan to spend sixteen hours at work as that is the time it takes for your batteries to fully recharge. There are physical constraints that make this what it is. Sure you can get 100 miles from your battery pack but your pack's lifetime will be shortened from 800 to 1,000 charge/discharge cycles to 50 or 60. Sure you can charge at a higher current and shorter charge time but with the same reduction in cycles. There are always new technologies on the horizon but nothing promising as yet.

Don't mess with Mom

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Very cool story from the Omaha World-Herald:
Working mom takes down meth ring
Her husband was in prison, waiting out a 15-year sentence that he earned by selling methamphetamine out of his mechanic shop. Her kids were at home, missing their father.

So she called the Omaha Police Department, and because she was a woman and spoke only Spanish, she talked to Detective Edith Andersen, the only woman and Spanish speaker in the narcotics unit.

The caller wanted to become a police informant in hopes of shaving time off her husband's prison term. She'd turn in drug dealers, and her children could see their father again sooner. Andersen and the caller agreed: The woman would volunteer her help to detectives.

It turned out to be no ordinary partnership.

The mother of six gained the trust of dangerous people who were part of a drug ring active in Arizona, Texas, California, Nebraska and Iowa. Authorities link the ring to four still officially unsolved Omaha homicides.

By the time the informant's involvement ended, police had seized 13 pounds of methamphetamine worth an estimated $500,000 � enough to feed the daily habits of 17,600 or more users. Federal prosecutors convicted 11 people on drug and gun charges, getting them prison sentences ranging from five to 27 years.

�She single-handedly took these people down,� Andersen said.

The seven-month undercover undertaking was dubbed Operation Red Ice. This story, based on documents and court hearings held in U.S. and Douglas County district courts, as well as interviews with police, provides a rare window into how a violent, sizable meth ring operated in Omaha � and was broken up by a working mother.
Took the better part of a year but she was able to pick up where her husband left off and infiltrate herself into the gang. Talk about nerves of steel and devotion to her husband and family...

Dodgy internet tonight

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The internet has been up and down like a three-year-old jacked up on Halloween candy and a couple Caf� Lattes... See what tomorrow brings...

A nice change in Afghanistan

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From Bloomberg:
Record Afghan Wheat Crop Displaces Opium Poppies, U.S. Says
Afghanistan harvested its biggest wheat crop in 50 years as rains boosted yields and farmers switched from growing poppies that make the country the world�s largest opium producer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Growers produced an estimated 4.1 million metric tons of the grain this year, almost triple the 2008 total and the most since at least 1960, the first year the Department of Agriculture kept records for the country.

�For many Afghans, this year�s bumper crop means a good winter,� Ashley Jackson, spokeswoman for Oxfam International, said by telephone from the capital, Kabul. �There are still pockets of crop failure, though, that need to be addressed, and a bumper crop this year does not mean a bumper crop next year.�

Improving food security is essential in Afghanistan, where decades of war have driven poorer farmers from the land or forced them to switch to growing opium poppies, aid workers said. The trade in opium, the raw ingredient for heroin, is worth as much as $3 billion annually to traffickers, warlords and the Taliban, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Very cool -- the Afghan diet uses a lot of wheat so this is a perfect crop to substitute. My only concern is that the opium still yields more money and the farmers will plant this if they can. Why do we simply not just buy the entire crop. Spending $3 Billion to eliminate the majority of the heroin problems worldwide is a drop in the bucket. Considering too that there is a global shortage of medicinal opiates, the opium purchased from the farmers could be given to pharmaceutical companies and alleviate this shortage. Put the drug lords, the Taliban (but I repeat myself), all of the petty pimps, dealers, bagmen -- all of them -- out of business. Sure, they will drift to something else but it will be a shade of what heroin is now...

Blogroll update

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Added some new (to me) ones, moved a few to the gone but not forgotten pile (if you don't post for six months...) and changed the links to two that moved.

The benefits of power

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A little item that never made the news until now: From FOX News:
Barney Frank Present When Partner Arrested for Pot
Rep. Barney Frank admitted Friday that he was sitting on the porch of his partner�s Maine home when police came to arrest his partner for marijuana possession.

Frank, responding to new reports that he was present during the Aug. 2007 arrest of James Ready, said in a statement he was unaware Ready had marijuana plants.

According to a police report obtained by MyFoxBoston, Maine police arrested and charged James Ready with marijuana possession, cultivation and use of drug paraphernalia. He pleaded guilty to civil possession and paid a fine. The remaining charges were dismissed last year.

Frank was not charged.
WTF did he think the plants were? If this had been a Republican, the news would have been all over the place.

Insanity and the stimulus

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From the Wall Street Journal:
Washington and the Jobs Market
The U.S. needs to stop pouring money into a Keynesian cul-de-sac.

A familiar definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. So in the wake of yesterday's report that the national jobless rate climbed to 10.2% in October, we suppose we can expect the political class to demand another "stimulus." Maybe if Congress spends another $787 billion in the name of job creation, it can get the jobless rate up to 12% or 13%.

It's hard to imagine a more complete repudiation of Keynesian stimulus than the evidence of the last year's job market. We've now had two examples of such stimulus�President Bush's $160 billion effort in February 2008 and President Obama's mega-version a year later�and neither has made even the smallest dent in employment.
A bit more:
The White House says the stimulus created as many as one million new jobs, but this is single-entry economic bookkeeping. No one doubted that such spending would create some jobs and "save" others, especially in government. But such spending isn't free. Every dollar in new government spending is taxed or borrowed from the private economy, which might have put it to better use.

If the government takes $1 from Paul, who would have invested it in a new business, and gives it to Peter, who spends it on a new lawn mower, the government records it as a net gain for economic growth via consumption. But the economy is hardly more productive as a result. Especially with so much of the Obama stimulus going to transfer payments�such as Medicaid and jobless benefits�the net effect on job creation has probably been negative. The ballyhooed Keynesian multiplier that every dollar of government spending yields 1.5 times that in economic growth has been exposed again as false.
The alternative to the Keynesian School is the Austrian School. It doesn't lend itself to mathematical models as it takes people into account so today's crop of economists do not like to use it -- too squishy... It also has the advantage of working and working well much to the dismay of the Keynesians.

How liberty dies

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Two clips -- then and now:

From The Blog Prof Welcome to INGSOC

Actual good news from Venezuela

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From the London Times:
Hugo Ch�vez�s support is slipping away as water shortages and soaring crime bite
President Ch�vez came to power promising to harness Venezuela�s vast oil resources to create a 21st-century nation in which no one was deprived. Now, with water and electricity shortages and soaring crime and inflation, even his ardent supporters are beginning to turn away.

In Caracas, which has the world�s highest murder rates and runaway food prices, residents now face two days a week without water until May next year as the Government imposes rationing to cope with a 25 per cent shortfall in supply.
And some numbers:
The problems have cut into Mr Ch�vez�s political support. His popularity slid from 61 per cent in February to 52.8 per cent last month, according to the polling firm Datan�lisis. �Whatever he offers, everything gets half done,� said Mar�a Mart�nez, a 32-year-old street bookseller who once voted for Mr Ch�vez but is now disenchanted.

The recent infrastructure crisis has added to concerns over spiralling crime. Named the world�s most murderous city in a 2008 study by Foreign Policy magazine, homicides in Caracas have risen 67 per cent since Mr Ch�vez took office in 1998.

Rampant inflation � officially 31 per cent last year � is squeezing Venezuelans even more, with jaw-dropping food prices. A packet of cheese can cost more than �10.
Let's hope they get someone good in place there and not just more of the same...
Betsy McCaughey has actually read all 2,000 pages and lists a few of the things that got voted in last night in the Pelosicare bill. From the Wall Street Journal:
What the Pelosi Health-Care Bill Really Says
The health bill that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is bringing to a vote (H.R. 3962) is 1,990 pages. Here are some of the details you need to know.

What the government will require you to do:
� Sec. 202 (p. 91-92) of the bill requires you to enroll in a "qualified plan." If you get your insurance at work, your employer will have a "grace period" to switch you to a "qualified plan," meaning a plan designed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. If you buy your own insurance, there's no grace period. You'll have to enroll in a qualified plan as soon as any term in your contract changes, such as the co-pay, deductible or benefit.

� Sec. 224 (p. 118) provides that 18 months after the bill becomes law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will decide what a "qualified plan" covers and how much you'll be legally required to pay for it. That's like a banker telling you to sign the loan agreement now, then filling in the interest rate and repayment terms 18 months later.

On Nov. 2, the Congressional Budget Office estimated what the plans will likely cost. An individual earning $44,000 before taxes who purchases his own insurance will have to pay a $5,300 premium and an estimated $2,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, for a total of $7,300 a year, which is 17% of his pre-tax income. A family earning $102,100 a year before taxes will have to pay a $15,000 premium plus an estimated $5,300 out-of-pocket, for a $20,300 total, or 20% of its pre-tax income. Individuals and families earning less than these amounts will be eligible for subsidies paid directly to their insurer.

� Sec. 303 (pp. 167-168) makes it clear that, although the "qualified plan" is not yet designed, it will be of the "one size fits all" variety. The bill claims to offer choice�basic, enhanced and premium levels�but the benefits are the same. Only the co-pays and deductibles differ. You will have to enroll in the same plan, whether the government is paying for it or you and your employer are footing the bill.

� Sec. 59b (pp. 297-299) says that when you file your taxes, you must include proof that you are in a qualified plan. If not, you will be fined thousands of dollars. Illegal immigrants are exempt from this requirement.

� Sec. 412 (p. 272) says that employers must provide a "qualified plan" for their employees and pay 72.5% of the cost, and a smaller share of family coverage, or incur an 8% payroll tax. Small businesses, with payrolls from $500,000 to $750,000, are fined less.
And these are just about half of the highlights that she talks about. Get on the phones to your Senators and keep up the pressure. Get in touch with your Representatives and let them know how appreciative you are and how much of your support they can count on in their next election campaign...


From FOX News:
House Passes Health Care Bill
In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed landmark health care legislation Saturday night to expand coverage to tens of millions who lack it and place tough new restrictions on the insurance industry. Republican opposition was nearly unanimous.

The 220-215 vote cleared the way for the Senate to begin debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi likened the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.

"It provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans. It offers everyone, regardless of health or income, the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will have access to affordable health care when they need it," said Rep. John Dingell, the 83-year-old Michigan lawmaker who has introduced national health insurance in every Congress since succeeding his father in 1955.

In the run-up to a final vote, conservatives from the two political parties joined forces to impose tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies to be sold to many individuals and small groups. They prevailed on a roll call of 240-194.

Ironically, that only solidified support for the legislation, clearing the way for conservative Democrats to vote for it.
The abject stupidity of it -- Pelosi et. al. tossed the Blue Dogs a small sop (the Stupak Abortion amendment) and they proceeded to wet themselves with tail-wagging joy voting for something that the CBO says will cause a Three-Trillion Federal deficit (our kids tax dollars) in ten years. I am pissed, very very pissed...

That's it for the night

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Sitting down to dinner (turkey with some fixings -- been craving that with the change in seasons) and then out to the DaveCave(tm) to work on a couple projects. Weather has been quite something -- the Mt. Baker ski area is forecasting an opening as early as next week!!!

A crappy work of art

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Fun story from the other Down Under -- from the Denver Post:
NZ lawmaker sculpted in cow manure
A sculpture of a New Zealand government minister crafted from cow manure sold for New Zealand dollars 3,080 ($2,220) on an auction Web site. The bust of New Zealand Environment Minister Nick Smith, sculpted as a protest by artist Sam Mahon, attracted 112 bids before being picked up by an anonymous buyer on Friday.

Mahon said he created the sculpture, and chose the medium, to protest what he considers Smith's too-soft stance on pollution created by dairy farms. He said the bust did not smell and would last forever.

"The sculpture has a hollow head, which is very fitting. It is highly polished and sits on the stand slightly to the right of center," Mahon said.

Mahon gathered cow dung from an organic dairy farm, ground it in a coffee grinder, mixed it with a polymer resin and pressed it into a mold. He polished the sculpture with beeswax to create a finish that resembles bronze.

Smith joked about the tribute Friday.

"Excuse the pun, but I would describe it as crap art," he said.

Mahon's said he will use the proceeds from the auction to help clean up waterways polluted by effluent from dairy farms near his home.
I love the little digs:
The sculpture has a hollow head, which is very fitting. It is highly polished and sits on the stand slightly to the right of center
I can think of a few politicians that could benefit by this treatment -- not sculpting a likeness, I mean covering in the stuff. Might make them listen to their constituents a bit more carefully...

Right Place - Right Time

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Very cool -- a NOAA ROV is exploring a volcanic rift when it erupts:
Hat tip to Educated Earth for the link.

Robert Gibbs on Hitler

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Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had this to say:
"I will continue to say what I've said before. You hear in this debate, you hear analogies, you hear references to, you see pictures about and depictions of individuals that are truly stunning, and you hear it all the time. People -- imagine five years ago somebody comparing health care reform to 9/11. Imagine just a few years ago had somebody walked around with images of Hitler.
Like this?
Hundreds more images here, here and here. Hat tip to Neptunus Lex for the link.

Sarah Palin on Pelosicare

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Great concise statement on what is so very wrong with Pelosicare From Sarah Palin:
Speaker Pelosi: Your Blue Dogs are Howling
Like many Americans, I�m very concerned about the efforts underway to rush through the 2,000 page Pelosi health care bill this weekend. Why the rush? That�s a lot of pages to read. Why not give everyone the chance to read it and debate it?

How much will this bill cost us? It�s unclear because the figures coming out of Washington keep changing � and always in the direction of costing more, not less. The latest numbers show it will cost more than a trillion dollars over the decade, but when has a government program ever come in on or under budget?

How will we pay for it? Taxes, of course � and not just on the �rich� (you know, the people who spur the economy by buying goods and running companies that employ people), but also on just about everyone, especially small businesses � the job-creating engine of our economy. One of the points of health care reform was to help small businesses with the cost, but this bill hurts them � and right at a time when so many Americans are out of work and need the jobs that small businesses produce.

What�s in this bill? The �death panel� provision is in it. Medicare cuts are in it. Coverage of illegal immigrants is in it. And federal funding for abortion is in it. I commend the many Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who are taking a principled stance to fight this.
Over 4000+ comments -- a sample:
Pelosi is acting like she thinks that God died and left her boss. She is supposed to be representing us, not ruling us. Something needs to happen to instruct our so-called representatives that we, the people, will not have this dictatorship!!! Civil war can happen with the mood of the people these things are causing.
Sarah also links to John Boehner's Blog:
Mega-Bureaucracy: J.E.C. Chart Shows Speaker Pelosi�s New Bill Will Create Unprecedented Health Care Labyrinth
The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) House Republican staff, which earlier this year created a chart mapping the bureaucratic complexity of Speaker Nancy Pelosi�s original health care proposal (H.R. 3200), has combined similar analysis by the House Republican Conference with the earlier chart. The analysis details new additions to the health care bureaucracy contained in the new version of the Speaker�s bill (H.R. 3962) that were not previously listed. Let�s just say the Speaker�s vision for government-run health care hasn�t gotten any simpler.

�This is the blueprint for a taxpayer-funded mega-bureaucracy,� said House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH). �The new chart is an astonishing and unsettling glimpse of the future that awaits American health care, should H.R. 3962 be passed by the House and signed into law.�

The chart, completed at the direction of Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the committee�s ranking House Republican Member, shows that the Pelosi plan has grown even more complex in the months since it was originally unveiled by congressional Democrats. The new bill - expected to be brought to a vote in the House as early as Saturday - contains all of the bureaucracy of the original plan, plus a whole lot more, the chart illustrates. The full chart can be seen here.
The chart is a large PDF file and worth taking a look at -- I have seen a lot of ORG charts in my life and this one is downright byzantine in its complexity -- it is almost as though they were purposefully obfuscating it...

Another tale from the Nanny State

A cautionary tale of what might happen here if we let the government take a large part in our lives.

From the London Daily Mail:

Couple flee to save their unborn baby from social workers after girl, 17, is told she is not clever enough to look after her child
A heavily pregnant woman and her fiance have gone on the run after social workers threatened to take away their baby at birth.

Kerry Robertson, 17, and Mark McDougall, 25, had been told that she was not bright enough to raise their child and that they would have to give him up.

It was another blow for the couple, whose wedding this year was halted just 48 hours before the ceremony in a row over whether Miss Robertson was intelligent enough to marry.

Miss Robertson, who is 29 weeks pregnant, has since been told the couple will be allowed only a few hours with their baby - a boy they have already named Ben - before he is taken into care and placed with foster parents.

Desperate to keep their family together, the pair fled their home yesterday for a secret safe house.

Last night, Miss Robertson, who has mild learning difficulties, said: 'I have been out of my mind with worry about my unborn baby being taken away.

'Although Ben isn't born yet, I already love my baby and know I will be a good mum. Mark and I talk to him inside me every day and tell him we love him.

'We've already bought him clothes and my cousin, who recently had a baby, has handed down a beautiful crib for him.

'But social workers aren't even giving me a chance to be a mum. It's as if social workers are trying to rule my life and I just couldn't take the pressure from them any more.'

And needless to say, the 400+ comments are 99% excoriating the social workers and 1% clueless.

From Yahoo/Reuters:
Freddie Mac posts $5 billion loss
Freddie Mac the second largest provider of U.S. residential mortgage funding, on Friday posted a loss of $5 billion in the third quarter and predicted it would need more government support amid a "prolonged deterioration" in housing.

Increases in the value of securities Freddie Mac held over the period helped buoy its net worth, however, erasing its need to tap government funds for a second straight quarter to stay solvent while continuing to buy and guarantee home loans.

Including a $1.3 billion dividend payment on senior preferred stock bought by the Treasury in previous quarters, Freddie Mac's third-quarter loss increases to $6.3 billion.

The home funding company's loss comes amid a rise in provisions for credit losses to $7.6 billion in the quarter, up 46 percent compared with the previous quarter, as delinquencies worsened on loans it guarantees. Provisions will remain high this quarter, it added.

"I would say we are just beginning to see the impact of the chargeoffs on their guarantee book," said Janaki Rao, vice president of mortgage research at Morgan Stanley in New York.

Its larger rival Fannie Mae on Thursday said it would need $15 billion from the U.S. Treasury after a whopping $18.9 billion third-quarter loss.

Results at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are widely watched as a barometer of the U.S. housing market since they own or back nearly half of outstanding mortgages.
What the fuck are these assholes smoking and keep that bad shit away from me. Is there no one left on the East Coast who knows how to run a business? They got themselves into this swamp, they need to figure out a way to get out of it (hint: bankruptcy and reorganization) and reincarnate as a lean and mean mortgage machine. It can be done but I am beginning to understand that the ability to do this is so far above the upper management's pay grade that their last toot of cocaine would come screaming out of their navels just thinking about it.

Curious - AARP supports Obamacare - why?

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I was wondering why the American Association of Retired People would be such an active supporter of the current Democratic Obamacare package. I should not have furrowed my brow as their intentions are easily traced -- money. Large amounts of money... #1) - Medicare is OK but there is an optional fee-based plan that makes it really decent. #2) - Medicare Advantage is this plan. My Dad is on it. It works. #3) - Medicare Advantage will be eviscerated under the Pelosi-Obama socialized plan. (Sec. 1161 (pp. 520-545)) (text of the bill) #4) - the only other fee-based Medicare supplements available are the "Medigap" plans. #5) - of which AARP is the largest vendor:
and... checking out the AARP website, there seems to be a whole lot of spinning going on. If I was the webmaster for this site, and my parent corporation was embroiled in a such a blatant power grab, I would be damn sure to put up something, anything, besides this 404 in a colorful clown suit:
There is an upstart organization American Seniors and if you send them your torn up AARP card, they will give you a free second year of membership when you join. Chutzpa doesn't fade with age...

Zimbabwe twofer

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Two stories from Zimbabwe -- first from the UK Telegraph:
Zimbabwe escapes 'blood diamonds' ban
Human rights groups had called on the Kimberley Process, which certifies diamonds as being conflict-free, to suspend exports from the country, following the widely reported deaths of hundreds of people when the Zimbabwean army took control of the Marange gem fields.

The Zimbabwean government denies a massacre took place.

The move would have dealt a major blow to President Robert Mugabe, as members of his Zanu-PF party allegedly use the wealth of the area, in eastern Zimbabwe, to ensure the loyalty of the military and police.

But sources inside a meeting of the Kimberley Process (KP) in Namibia said that despite a suspension recommendation from its own working group, it would instead send in a monitor to the area who would vet future exports. It was not clear how the scheme would work in practice.
And the Kimberley Process from one of its architects:
Ian Smillie, one of the architects of the Kimberley Process who resigned earlier this year in protest at how it was working, said: "The whole thing is farcical, irresponsible and a disgrace.

"Here we have a government that has lied repeatedly to the KP - clearly stated in the KP report - has a tenuous grip on its diamond industry - and that courtesy of gross human rights violations - and the regulatory body that is supposed to assure consumers that the diamonds its certifies are clean ignores its responsibility and sets up an open-ended tea party.

"It will turn the KP into a laughing stock and give Zimbabwe more or less carte blanche for business as usual."
But the liberals love Mugabe -- he be sticken' it to the man. How many murders are on the souls of the communists, maoists, marxists, liberals, etc? 400,000,000 give or take... Second item -- from Reuters:
Zimbabwe proposes local ownership of foreign firms
Zimbabwe's government has proposed that "indigenous Zimbabweans" take 51 percent ownership of all foreign companies, including mines and banks, according to a draft law seen by Reuters Friday.

An official at the Chamber of Mines expressed surprise and concern at the proposed legislation, prepared by the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment.

"We haven't seen the regulations but if what we've heard is true, then that's a step back. It goes against what we've been discussing with the Ministry of Mines and other ministries," the official, who declined to be named, said.

The draft regulations said indigenous Zimbabweans should hold a controlling interest in each foreign-owned business with an asset value above $500,000.
Great -- so now they can do to all of their other industries what they did to their farmers. Nothing says success like going from a major food exporter to a nation where starvation is the norm for 99% of the population.

A simple math lesson from Chicago

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From the Chicago Tribune:
Illinois data on stimulus-related jobs saved, created don't add up
More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers.

Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers.
Gotta go back to skool and learn that new math...

Repercussions and power plays

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Heh -- sucks to be you Mahmoud Abbas... The boat with all of the shiny new toys from your buddies in Syria gets taken away so you don't get to rule anymore.
Mahmoud Abbas to step down as Palestinian leader
He expressed frustration over shifts in the White House's policy on Israeli settlement construction as he told colleagues he was not prepared to seek a second term in elections in January.

The loss of one of the Palestinian hierarchy's most conciliatory voices left President Barack Obama's Middle East peacekeeping efforts floundering and raised questions about his handling of negotiations in the region.

Critics say the US president has fatally undermined Mr Abbas by conceding political ground to Israel and pressuring him into taking unpopular decisions.
It amazes me that the citizens of the USA and the EU still buy the multiple lines of crap that they continue to pump out of there. Abbas is no more a moderate than my Great Aunt Sally was Pope. Abbas is playing the moderate to try to get concessions out of the USA and to get the USA to pressure Israel. The Palestinians are not even from Palestine -- the are Hashamite Jordanians and are being used as pawns by at first the Soviets (Yasser Arafat was a Soviet Apperatchick placed there by Moscow). Abbass' 'resignation' is just clearing the decks so a 'hardliner' can appear to rule the palestinians. We need to remember that Israel has been our strong friend for the last 60 years and that they are the only freedom-loving democracy in that part of the world.

Comment spammers

Been getting a lot of attempts in the vein of if one link doesn't get through maybe a hundred will: Here is just a fraction of the 140 links that came in through one attempt tonight:
First, more than eight URLs embedded into one comment get automatically placed into moderation. Eight? Slammer. Nine? Slammer. Eleventy-thousand? Slammer. Seven? Possible approval if it doesn't get caught up on my other search criteria. Second, I have a flat-file of common spam words. If you want to comment on how you were able to score some Viagra while playing online Poker, your comment will probably be placed in moderation until such time as I have to either approve it or toss it in the bit-bucket while uploading your IP addresses and blocking future access. This is done with about 60 lines of PERL and a few flat-file databases. This Blog = FULL OF WIN! Comment Spammers = Bunch of fscking pathetic Looosers. In the words of Harlan Ellison, go back to jerking off to your copy of Reader's Digest...

Warren Buffett bets on Coal

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Nice to see someone with a clear view of the realities on the ground and the future they lead to. From Daily Finance:
Warren Buffett's big railroad buy is also a huge bet on coal
If the Sage of Omaha is truly an oracle of future returns and a leading indicator for where the market is going, it's hard not to think that U.S. carbon emissions will continue to grow apace and that the budding green revolution will be more bang than bucks.

Why? On Tuesday, Buffett paid a hefty 25 percent premium to acquire the remaining 77 percent interest in railroad giant Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNI) that his company, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), did not already own. The fate of Burlington Northern is closely tied to shipments of coal.

In third-quarter 2009, coal shipments accounted for roughly 25 percent of Burlington Northern's total revenue, according to Marketwatch. It shipped 604,000 carloads of coal in the quarter, more than any other single category. And Burlington Northern hauled 297 million tons of coal last year, enough to supply roughly 10 percent of the country's electrical needs. Its coal shipments were down roughly 6 percent in the last quarter, year-over-year. The drop was largely blamed on the economic slowdown and reductions in industrial uses and power generation. The recession has also been closely linked to lower carbon emissions recently.
Very cool -- we have several hundred years of coal and it is cheap to mine. Environmental concerns are bullshit as although the mines look ugly when they are active, the mining companies remediate the land and it looks like a park when they are done. If we are not going to roll out Nuclear on a large scale, Coal is our only realistic option...

Out of touch

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Wonderful editorial (with a wonderful title) at the Wall Street Journal:
The Madness of Queen Nancy
It's one thing to be serene under fire, it's another to be delusional.

More than a few Democrats in Congress are perplexed and worried that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is insisting on ramming through a 1,900-page health care bill on Saturday, just days after her party took heavy losses in Tuesday's elections. "It reminds me of Major Nicholson, the obsessed British major in the film 'Bridge on the River Kwai,'" one Democrat told me. "She is fixated on finishing her health care bridge even as she's lost sight of where it's going and what damage it could cause to her own troops."
Her day will come -- I just regret that it will not come until 2012...

Now with 10.2% more Hope 'n' Change

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From the United States Department of Labor:
The unemployment rate rose from 9.8 to 10.2 percent in October, and nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline (-190,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The largest job losses over the month were in construction, manufacturing, and retail trade.
The report breaks it down by occupation and demographic. Some sobering numbers for this time of the year...

That's Doctor Meow to you buddy!!!

From Wikipedia

List of cats with fraudulent diplomas
On several occasions, people who desired to expose a diploma mill have registered their pet cat as a student. Upon its speedy graduation, the cat and its diploma are displayed to the news media.
Colby Nolan
Colby Nolan is a housecat who was awarded an MBA degree in 2004 by Trinity Southern University, a Dallas, Texas-based diploma mill, sparking a fraud lawsuit by the Pennsylvania attorney general's office.

Colby Nolan belongs to a deputy attorney general. In looking to expose Trinity Southern University for fraud, some undercover agents had the then six-year-old Colby Nolan obtain a bachelor's degree in business administration for $299. On the cat's application, the agents claimed that the cat had previously taken courses at a community college, worked at a fast-food restaurant, babysat, and maintained a newspaper route. Then the school informed Colby that, due to the job experience listed on his application, he was eligible for an executive MBA for $100 more. The agents then sent for Colby's transcript, which claimed that Nolan had a 3.5 grade point average.

Six others at the site. My own Luna has been reading my Dad's Physics books, maybe she qualifies for a PhD?

First good storm of the season

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Power was out at the farm for about six hours. Did not even bother to fire up the generator -- had dinner out, came home and built a wood fire and lit a couple candles. Read for a while, tossed a few logs onto the fire and read some more. All the critters are happy, Jen is happy, I am happy... Lights came back on a few minutes ago -- we have transitioned from happy to ecstatic (with INTERNET goodness)...
From CNS News:
Sen. Burris Cites Unwritten Constitutional 'Health' Provision to Justify Forcing Americans to Buy Health Insurance
When asked by what specific part of the Constitution authorizes Congress to mandate that individuals must purchase health insurance, Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) pointed to the part of the Constitution that he says authorizes the federal government "to provide for the health, welfare and the defense of the country." In fact, the word "health" appears nowhere in the Constitution.
The Preamble has this:
provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity
And we certainly have been handing out enough welfare but no, the word "health" is not in there...

Life in the workers paradise of Venezuela

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Think that big-government nanny state-ism is OK 'cause you get all sorts of free stuff? How about the regulation and control. What will you think when video games are regulated. I mean really really regulated... From BoingBoing:
Venezuela: Chavez administration criminalizes video games
Guido N��ez-Mujica, a 26-year-old Boing Boing reader in Venezuela who is an avid gamer, writes in with this extensive personal observation piece about a new law that widely criminalizes video games in the South American country. As you read the piece, please also bear in mind that publishing this sort of thing under one's full name is not done without personal risk.
These games are a cherished part of my life, they helped to shape my young mind, they gave me challenges and vastly improved my English, opening the door to a whole new world of literature, music and people from all around the world. What I have achieved, all my research, how I have been able to travel even though I'm always broke, the hard work I've done to convince people to fund a start up for cheap biotech for developing countries and regular folks, none of that would have been possible hadn't I learned English through video games.

Now, thanks to the tiny horizons of the cast of morons who govern me, thanks to the stupidity and ham-fisted authoritarianism of the local authorities, so beloved of so many liberals, my 7 year old brother's chances to do the same could be greatly impacted.
What follows is an amazing cri de cour -- to all the liberals who think that Chavez is doing right for his people, read and take to heart...

A few people in Washington

Tens of thousands of people have heeded Rep. Michele Bachmann's call to come to Washington today:
Michelle Malkin has the news plus information on the Republican version of Health Care (which costs significantly less than the Democratic version):
Battling Pelosicare; Update: Thousands descend on D.C., �You work for us!�
Hey, Nancy, look out the window. You can see health care protesters from your House.

House Republicans are holding a 12-hour live online telecast today starting at 1pm Eastern to expose the perils and pitfalls of Pelosicare � and to spotlight the GOP alternative.

You can tune in here. Spread the word.
And the Republican option:
The CBO has scored the GOP health care reform alternative:
House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed in a letter tonight that the Republican health care plan will lower health care premiums by up to 10 percent and reduce the deficit by $68 billion over 10 years without imposing tax increases on families and small businesses:

�When it comes to reforming health care, controlling skyrocketing costs is the American peoples� top priority. Now CBO has confirmed that the Republican plan will lower health care costs for American families, and that�s good news for everyone struggling in today�s economy. The choice now could not be clearer: Speaker Pelosi�s plan raises costs. Our plan lowers them.

�Not only does the GOP plan lower health care costs, but it also increases access to quality care � including for those with pre-existing conditions � at a price our country can afford. The cost of the Speaker�s bill, now at $1.3 trillion and counting, is a debt that will be paid for by our kids and our grandkids. The American people deserve a better solution, and Republicans� smart, fiscally-responsible plans give them exactly what they want.�

NOTE: In a letter delivered tonight, CBO estimated that the GOP health care plan would reduce average private health insurance premiums per enrollee in the United States relative to what they would be under current law. Specifically:

� For the small group market (generally businesses with 2 to 50 employees), the GOP plan would reduce premiums in 2016 for example by up to 10 percent.
� For the individual market, the GOP plan would reduce premiums in 2016 by up to eight percent.
� For the large group market, the GOP plan would reduce premiums in 2016 by up to three percent.
The Republican option is about Health Care, the Democratic option is about Power and Control masquerading as Health Care.

Heh - the invisible hand in the marketplace

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Missoula, MT may be a bastion of liberals but the rest of Montana is not. This has a cause and effect on business decisions -- sometimes fun ones. From New West Politics:
Missoula�s Progressive Talk Radio Hijacked, Again�
Turning the radio dial from NPR news over to AM 930 this morning revealed an unfamiliar voice. Instead to the comical antics of The Stephanie Miller Show, there was a local show, Voices of Montana with Aaron Flint.

Great I thought a local show. But they sure talk about Bush a lot, I pondered. Then I went to the KMPT website to see how the new lineup looked. �A new attitude and a great line-up or some of the best conservative talk!� a tag line read. The best conservative talk!

Yes, Missoula, it�s happened again. Our local progressive talk radio has be replaced with conservative talk.

I called the local station to ask about the change. The receptionist that answered said it was a corporate decision passed down from high up. She also said she had gotten 21 calls so far this Tuesday morning.

I called the headquarters of GapWest Broadcasting in Scottsdale, AZ. The answering reception said I was the first to call and had no information as to what sparked the change.

So here we go again Zootown, another progressive voice outlet smothered by big HQ decisions.

If you all remember our old FM 105.9 station that featured an Air America line up was shut down by new owners Simmons Media Group of Salt Lake City, UT.

So now once again an out of state owner of our air waves has shut down a progressive voice.
These big, out of town corporations are not run by fools. They know to within a few percent what their demographics are and they provide the content that satisfies the largest number of people. There is a reason Air America tanked and it had to file for bankruptcy back in 2006 and has sunk from several hundred stations down to 66. Their audience simply is not that large... And a tip o' the hat to reader Geran for the link

A word up to the environmentalists

We are squandering our resources, wasting our water, etc... etc... etc... You hear this every day. The facts? Not so. From Mother Jones Magazine:

US Uses Less Water Now Than 35 Years Ago
This news is particularly relevant heading into Copenhagen... for those who think conservation of any kind is impossible or unattainable or out of keeping with American goals.

The US Geological Survey released a study today showing that Americans used less water in 2005 than 35 years ago�despite a 30 percent population increase. Most of the decline is attributable to alternative cooling methods at power plants and to more efficient irrigation systems.

(The AAAS reminds us that some commercial farmers in the US have doubled the crops they grow with a given amount of irrigation water by using sub-surface drip irrigation.)

In 2005, 297 million Americans used 410 billion gallons of water per day. That's 5 percent less than in 1980, the year of peak water use, when there were 227 million Americans. Or 1.4 billion gallons of water per day per American in 2005, compared with ~2 billion gallons per person per day in 1980. Not bad. And a reminder that trends can be managed, not just suffered.

Repeat after me: Technology is good. Technology is good...

Israli Navy captures arms shipment

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I had posted about the huge shipment of arms from Iran to the Palestinians that Israel captured the other day. Here is some preliminary video of the event:
Hat tip to Theo for the link.

Artists Statement

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Writing an Artists Statement is difficult as you have to appeal to whatever passes for hip in the NYC or EU art culture. Here is an online generator to help you along: The Market-O-Matic (1.0) (Fine Arts Version) And regarding my latest show at the prestigious Maple Falls Fine Arts Museum:
Work of Meta-Art in the Age of Symbiotic Reproduction
The vortex creates, the body reproduces. In the synoptic hallucination, art objects are calculations of the iterations of the vortex -- a vortex that uses the body as a zeitgeist to deconstruct ideas, patterns, and emotions. With the devolution of the electronic environment, the vortex is reaching a point where it will be free from the body to transcend immersions into the machinations of the delphic hallucination. Work of Meta-Art in the Age of Symbiotic Reproduction contains 10 minimal shockwave engines (also refered to as "memes") that enable the user to make participatory audio/visual compositions.
measuring chains, constructing realities
putting into place forms
a matrix of illusion and disillusion
a strange attracting force
so that a seduced reality will be able to spontaneously feed on it.


Dave H's work investigates the nuances of surveilance cameras through the use of slow motion and close-ups which emphasize the Symbiotic nature of digital media. H explores abstract and processing scenery as motifs to describe the idea of infinite hallucination. Using biofeedback loops, non-linear narratives, and allegorical images as patterns, H creates meditative environments which suggest the expansion of culture...
Works for me...

That's it for the night

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Long day today -- got the credit card and EBT machines back up and running at the store. Wiring error on the part of the fire alarm people... Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to see what the email faeries have drug in and then off to a reasonably early bedtime.

Cool news from the Climate Front

From the London Times:

Binding treaty no longer a realistic goal for climate summit, UN chief concedes
A legally binding agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions is no longer a realistic goal for next month�s Copenhagen summit, the UN Secretary-General says.

According to Ban Ki Moon such an agreement will not be signed next month and the most likely outcome is voluntary targets, which countries could announce but then ignore.

He said that several key countries were not ready to sign up to binding targets and that the best the world could hope for from the summit would be �political commitments�. Mr Ban said he hoped that they would be legally binding within a year but would be dependent on each country.

Yadda... Yadda... Yadda...

Willy the Shake said it best (That Scottish Play)

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Some schooling I could get behind

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From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
Oregon school teaches how to grow pot
In case you missed it ... A school in Hillsboro, Ore. is teaching people how to grow pot.

Oregon station KPTV reported Tuesday that the Oregon Medical Cannabis University, which opened in October, offers courses and community centers where attendees can access the drug.

And it's growing.
The US Government is loosing so much money that they could be making if they legalized it and taxed it. Always makes me wonder who is being paid off -- the criminals are making the money now and they want it kept illegal. Who is getting paid off...

Great intelligence work

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From The Blogmocracy:
Israeli Navy captures Imperialist Vessel
In a daring operation backed by great intelligence, the Israeli navy has captured an Iranian Imperialist vessel. This ship was transporting weapons to the Militant Radicals: from Iran. The Israelis caught this ship and sent the Aggressors a message.
Hundreds of tons of weaponry, the largest arms seizure in Israel�s history, were intercepted overnight Tuesday in a daring raid by Israeli naval commandos aboard a cargo ship sailing 100 nautical miles west of Israel.

The arms shipment was 10 times the size of the cache found on the Palestinian arms ship Karine A in 2002.

The cache was hidden inside shipping containers belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) which departed from the Badar Abbas Port in Iran some 10 days ago, were unloaded in the Egyptian port of Damietta and then loaded onto the Francop, a German vessel flying an Antiguan flag.

The operation had been in planning for several days and was dubbed �Four Species,� for the recent Succot holiday.
Read the rest.
The restraint of the Israelis is beyond belief -- they suffer constant attacks from rockets and it would be so easy to march in and take over the occupied areas and clear out the pests once and for all. I remember seeing a video of an American being shown around and they stopped at a playground. There was a big concrete worm with kids playing on it. The worm was there as a shelter in case of rocket attacks. The palestinian swine don't care that they are hitting children's playgrounds... There is no race of people more deserving of their own state -- plasma is a state...

Nails it...

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'Nuff said -- time to clean house (and senate) Swiped from Mostly Cajun who got it from Red Planet Cartoons
Curious story -- from the UK Telegraph:
Secret Worcestershire Sauce recipe found
The original recipe was a closely guarded secret, but a former accountant at the company claimed that he found the notes dating from the mid 1800s in a skip by the firm's site.

Brian Keogh, who died in 2006, said that he discovered the original recipe in two leather-bound folios written in sepia ink. The recipe was written in two different styles of handwriting, which analysts believe was due to the fact that no one knew the entire recipe. His daughter Bonnie Clifford is now working with the museum to test the papers.

The classic condiment is thought to contain ingredients including cloves, vinegar, pickles and tamoraide.

Worcester City Museums collections officer David Nash said: "There has always been a lot of secrecy surrounding the recipes and pride that it is made locally.

"Not even the staff knew the whole recipe, only parts of it, which would account for the different handwriting, and some of the ingredients were written in code.

"Even with all the ingredients there is no guarantee you would be able to make the sauce as what makes it distinctive is the way it is made, which is still a secret."

"It would be significant to the people of Worcester and maybe even attract national interest if they are proved to be genuine."
Been a regular consumer since the 1970's (when I learned how to cook); go through about a bottle/year -- good on scrambled eggs with fresh-ground pepper, great in marinades and for the grill. The imitations are crap -- you owe it to yourself to get the original, talking about a world of difference...

Malcom Gladwell online

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Malcom Gladwell is an interesting observer of modern life and technology. I just ran into his website and am pleased to find that there are a lot of his essays available online -- he (in my own opinion) writes better in the short form so the essays are a bunch of treats for the brain. Malcom Gladwell: Home, The Dog, Outliers, Blink, The Tipping Point, The New Yorker Archive, Etc. and Blog The New Yorker archive is a fun and deep read...

Big day

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Celebrated my 59th B-Day buy doing a store buying run into town and then coming back to find that something was wrong with the credit card machine. (Suffering from doan twerks syndrome) Fortunately we still have the old manual knuckle-buster and can call the numbers in tomorrow... Went out for a dinner at an incredible local steak house and just got back. Posting will be light as I am still working on some stuff in the DaveCave(tm).

Post 10,001 - light posting today

The employee who does the store's Tuesday buying run is out of town (Phish Concert) so I will be taking the store van into Bellingham to stock up on groceries through a couple of wholesalers. Having dinner at a local steak house tonight so probably will not be spending that much time reading the internet today -- maybe later this evening...

Woo Hooooo!!! Post number 10,000

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There are a few blog and personal anniversaries in these two months. October 27 was my six-year Blog Birthday, this post marks my 10,000th post and tomorrow is my own birthday -- marking 59 years on my screaming descent into senescence and feeble-mindedness.
Looking forward to another couple 10K posts and another 59 turns around the Sun at least!!!
From Edward Lazear writing at the Wall Street Journal:
Stimulus and the Jobless Recovery
Jobs 'created or saved' is meaningless. What matters is net job gain or loss, and that means the unemployment rate.

With the news that GDP grew at 3.5% in the third quarter, it seems apparent that economic recovery is underway. How much of this was a result of government programs? To evaluate this, it is important to understand what constitutes a recovery. There are three developments needed to restore the economy to its prior vibrancy.

The first development, bank stabilization, began in late autumn of last year. The source of the recession was financial-sector turmoil that commenced in August 2007 and peaked in early autumn 2008. Although we did not know it at the time, by the end of 2008 the financial crisis had passed. Financial markets were far from normal, but the panics and major collapses that characterized September 2008 were behind us, and no others arose. This financial-sector stabilization created the environment that is allowing our economy to heal.

This past January, at the end of my term as chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, my agency released the White House economic forecast. At that time, I said that I foresaw a couple of bad quarters but expected that the second half of 2009 would be positive, with perhaps very strong growth in 2010. These forecasts assumed no stimulus; the projected turnaround was instead based on the natural rebound of the economy that would come after the financial crisis had eased. The resumption of GDP growth, which is the second development on the road to full recovery, probably began in late spring of this year.

The third recovery factor�job growth�will be slower to develop. In a shallower recession that ended in late 2001, job growth did not become positive until 2003. Historically, recoveries have a consistent pattern: Productivity grows first, then jobs are created, and finally wages rise.
Emphasis mine -- productivity first, jobs and wages second. But why are they touting these huge jobs saved or created numbers?
After reporting GDP, the government released new numbers claiming that the stimulus programs have "created or saved" over a million jobs. These data were collected from responses by government agencies that received federal funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Agencies were required to report "an estimate of the number of jobs created and the number of jobs retained by the project or activity." This report is required of all recipients (generally private contractors) of agency funds.

Unfortunately, these data are not reliable indicators of job creation nor of the even vaguer notion of job retention. There are two major problems. The first and most obvious is reporting bias. Recipients have strong incentives to inflate their reported numbers. In a race for federal dollars, contractors may assume that the programs that show the most job creation may be favored by the government when it allocates additional stimulus funds.

No dishonesty on the part of recipients is implied or required. But when a hire conceivably can be classified as resulting from the stimulus money, recipients have every incentive to classify the hire as such. Classification as stimulus-induced is even more likely if a respondent must only say that, except for the money, an employee would have been fired. In this case, no hiring need occur at all.
An excellent analysis -- I am only excerpting a few thoughts, go and read the entire article as he gets into a bit more detail about specific programs.

The Last Days of Gourmet

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Publisher Cond� Nast is in financial trouble so they are shutting down a number of their magazines -- one of which was Gourmet. Here is a set of photos taken by an ex-Gourmet employee showing their offices in the final stages of being packed up and carted off. Sad to see -- Jen and I are more of a Cooks Illustrated reader, never got into the big-city glitz of Gourmet but it was one of the big foodie publications out there and was always a fun read...

Ford is making money

Ford just posted huge profits -- from Bloomberg:
Ford Raising $3.3 Billion, Paying Down Credit Line
Ford Motor Co., after posting a surprise third-quarter net profit, said it is raising as much as $3.3 billion, while paying down and pushing back the maturity of a $10.7 billion line of credit to strengthen its balance sheet.

Ford said it is seeking to pay down 25 percent of the revolver and move back by two years, to 2013, the maturity of the remaining $8 billion liability. Ford also said it is offering as much as $2.3 billion in senior notes that can be converted to common stock or cash in 2016.

Ford also in December will offer as much as $1 billion in common shares through broker-dealers.

�We expect the moves will enhance Ford�s automotive liquidity and over time reduce the company�s debt burden, providing an additional cushion given the still uncertain state of the economy,� Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said in a statement. Earlier in the day, it announced a surprise $997 million third-quarter profit.
And why does Ford seem to ring a bell -- oh yeah:
Ford, the only major U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy, is seeking to reduce a debt load larger than those of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, which shed liabilities in reorganization. GM�s liabilities will be $22.3 billion in 2011, while Ford�s will total $38.1 billion, Barclays Capital auto analyst Brian Johnson said in an Oct. 20 research note.
They were the only US carmaker to refuse government bail-out. Instead, although they had a debt bigger than GM and Chrysler, they were able to recover and come out ahead. Now they are building a cushion to further protect themselves from any financial downturns. Sounds like they have an excellent President and a great product. I had some bad experiences with Ford products back in the 1980's so have avoided them since but I think it is time to give them another look... and it is the only US car builder that was not bailed out by the Federal Government.

U.S.S. New York City visits NYC

From FOX News:

World Trade Center Steel Strengthens New Naval Warship
The U.S.S. New York made it's triumphant New York City debut today and what a sight to behold it was. Many 9-11 first responders and 9-11 family members lined the banks of the Hudson River today to be a part of history - to watch the ship made with the salvaged remains of the World Trade Center return to the site where twin towers came down 8 years ago.

Watching the transformation of the twisted and charred steel turn into a massive hulking warship was powerful for shipbuilders, who have said this ship is a bold reminder that America will "never forget", which is also the ship's motto.

The U.S.S. New York arrived with a large escort of firefighting, police and coast guard boats - like a protected public official - or rock star heading to a stage - a fitting entourage for a ship of this size. She is 684 feet long, 105 feet wide and weighs 25-thousand tons.  7 1/2 tons of salvaged steel from the twin towers were melted down and molded into the ship's bow. As the ship made it's way into New York Harbor, it passed under the Verrazano Bridge then paused in the waters just outside the world trade center where Marines on board gave a 21 gun salute. It then muscled it's way up the Hudson River to Pier 88 on Manhattan's west side, where it will stay parked for the next 10 days.

Long may she sail...

Project Unity

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Very high geekdom with an interesting sponsor. From the National Examiner:
Google's Pacific fiber optic cable departs from Japan to connect to America
The laying of a new high-bandwidth fiber-optic cable connecting North America and Asia via the northern Pacific Ocean began on November 1st from Japan. The cable line, called �Unity�, is a project of six major communication companies, including Google and Japan�s KDDI.

The Unity cable plan was announced in February of 2008 at a projected cost of $300 million USD. In the wake of rapidly increasing traffic between the two regions of the world, the six companies aim to increase the overall transpacific cable capacity by at least 20% when it is set to start operation sometime in spring of 2010. Yutaka Yasuda, KDDI�s General Manager of Technology Sector, commented �The project is of great importance to Japan and America, as well as Asia."

The cable, when finished, will stretch approximately 10,000 km (6,200 miles) from data centers in the Los Angeles area to KDDI�s data center in Chikura, just outside of Tokyo. From Japan, information can then be distributed to other countries in East Asia. The planned maximum capacity of Unity was 7.68 Tbps, however that number has since fallen to 4.8 Tbps for its initial use, according to a report from Japan�s ITpro. (For the curious, according to one reporter, John Bourdreau, 4.8 Tbps would supposedly be the equivalent of approximately 75 million simultaneous voice calls!)

The cable-laying ship, operated by Japan�s NEC Corporation, is expected to meet up with another cable-laying ship from America, operated by Tyco Telecommunications, sometime around November 11th. The cable will then be fused together. Tests are scheduled to be conducted before Unity is brought in to operational use early next year.

The Unity cable is a joint effort by Bharti Airtel (India), Global Transit (Malaysia), Google (US), KDDI Corporation (Japan), Pacnet (Hong Kong), and SingTel (Singapore).
Great - even more Chinese spam!!!

Movies and Firearms

We all know about The Internet Movie DataBase: imdb

Check out The Internet Firearm Movie DataBase: imfdb

Hundreds of movie titles and pages of information as to what guns were used in each one. Cool!

A fork-lift accident

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Somehow I do not think that "Oops" covers this...

From CNS News:

More than 3 Million Registered Voters are Dead, 12 Million More Ineligible, Analysis Finds
Regardless of how lively an election season might be, a new study shows that more 3.3 million voters on current registration rolls across the country are dead.

Another 12.9 million remain on voter registration lists in an area where they no longer live.

The analysis was conducted by the Aristotle International Inc., a technology company specializing in political campaigns, developing software and databases for politicians.

In total that means about 8.9 percent of all registered voters fall under the category of "deadwood" voters on the rolls, the term for voters who should no longer be eligible to vote in a precinct.

And WA State is one of the biggies:

The analysis showed that Washington State had 27,267 dead voters who were still registered, just 0.7 percent of the total number of registered voters. Another 332,510 had moved out of the area they are registered to vote in, or 8.73 percent of the total registered voters.

Now how close was the Governors election? 129 votes in 2004 and 194,614 in 2008. Well within the 359,777 number of ex-voters...

Here are the websites for Aristotle and Deadwood (currently being updated)

Instead of Infrastructure -- a small taste of the consequences from Breitbart/AFP:
Water rationing for Venezuela's capital city
Residents of the Venezuelan capital face cuts in water service for as much as 48 hours per week, after the government imposed rationing to stem a 25 percent shortfall in the city's supply, officials said Monday.

Officials said cuts in water service were to be staggered throughout Caracas through the duration of the current dry season, which is not expected to end until May 2010.

Weather forecasters blame the "El Nino" weather phenomenon, saying the periodic weather system has markedly reduced rainfall and created drought conditions.

Others blame the shortage on poor government management of the country's water resources, while President Hugo Chavez faulted the excesses of capitalism.
And of course, all of the other utilities are in fine shape:
The government recently created a ministry of electricity to help conserve the use of power, which also is in short supply.
They are one of the richest South American nations with massive oil reserves and yet, Chavez squanders this on feel-good programs for the poor and doesn't spend a dime on the nations infrastructure. I have said this before but when (not if), Venezuela's oil runs out, they will sink into a pit of their own making if this guy stays in office.


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Just ran into the trailer for James Cameron's latest film: Avatar Looks downright awesome -- already planning a trip to the Vancouver, BC IMAX 3D theater...

Party Loyalty

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The ever classy Dede Scozzafava... From FOX News:
Republican Scozzafava Endorses Democrat After Exiting N.Y. Congressional Race
Republican Dede Scozzafava endorsed her former Democratic opponent Sunday in the race for an upstate New York congressional seat, shaking up the contest for the second day in a row after exiting the race Saturday.

Scozzafava dropped out after Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman experienced a late-in-the-game surge. The move was expected to consolidate GOP voters behind Hoffman on Tuesday.

But on Sunday, Scozzafava issued a written statement in which she backed Democrat Bill Owens.

"I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same," she said. "In Bill Owens, I see a sense of duty and integrity that will guide him beyond political partisanship. He will be an independent voice devoted to doing what is right for New York. Bill understands this district and its people, and when he represents us in Congress he will put our interests first."
Talk about a class act. She sees her numbers tanking compared to Hoffman so she bows out. The initial thought was that she would lend her support to Hoffman who is, in the classical sense, a Regan Republican (small "g" government, lower taxes, better environment for growing businesses, overall prosperity). Instead, she shills for the Democratic candidate who is a classical big "G" Government, high taxes, high support for the poor, crappy environment for businesses, overall fiscal downturn (see: NY, CA, MA, etc...) We all make our beds -- I hope that Dede's is very Procrustean...

Cats in Space

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Take the Vomit Comet, add a few intrepid souls and one hacked off cat:

Omega-3 health benefits

I have been looking at nutrition over the last six months and one thing I have been doing is taking a lot more Omega-3 and Omega-6 as well as Vitamin D. Within a month, I started to notice an overall reduction in stress level as well as an increase in well-being.

The more I have read, the better these three things seem to be -- boosting the immune system, reducing the chance of disease, etc...

Omega-3 now seems to have very good anti-inflammatory properties. From back40 at Muck and Mystery:

Flame Out
New detail about the benefits of omega-3.
the body converts DHA into Resolvin D2...

The research also suggests that Resolvin D2 could be the basis for a new treatment for diseases including sepsis, stroke and arthritis. Unlike other anti-inflammatory drugs, this chemical does not seem to suppress the immune system...

We've also looked in detail at this chemical, determining at least some of the ways it relieves inflammation. It seems to be a very powerful chemical and a small amount can have a large effect...

Arthritis, and many other diseases, are caused by inflammation. This means that the body's natural defences against infections are mistakenly directed at healthy tissue.

Previous research has shown that a crucial step in this process occurs when white blood cells, called leukocytes, stick to the inner lining of the blood vessels, called the endothelium.

Researchers studied these blood cells and how they interact with the endothelium in the lab. When they added Resolvin D2 they found that the endothelial cells produced small amounts of nitric oxide, which acts as a chemical signal discouraging the white blood cells from sticking to the endothelial cells and preventing inflammation.
The benefit of DHA isn't news, but the mechanisms aren't well understood. It may be that Resolvin D2 can be synthesized and used as therapy, but it makes the intake of dietary DHA on a regular basis seem sensible too.

Cool news! I am taking 8,000 units of D-3/day plus three tablespoons of Barleans Total Omega (PDF) twice/day. I know that this is more than is generally recommended but I also know that these fat-soluble oils take some time to build up in the body and I will be gradually tapering down to about 30% of this dosage over the next month or so.

Idiots and a tragedy

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Sad news from the Spanish Resort of Tenerife -- from the London Times:
British woman killed in rock fall on beach
A British holidaymaker has died after being buried under falling rocks during a landslide on a Tenerife beach.

Marion Auril O�Hara, 57, was killed instantly after part of the cliff towering above the popular family beach collapsed.

Hundreds of sunseekers ran for cover as rocks from the 1,600 foot-high cliff at Los Gigantes in the north west of the island started raining down on sunseekers just after 3pm this afternoon.

Rescue workers used their bare hands and picks and shovels to reach the British tourist after she was buried under tons of falling rocks. She was already dead by the time they managed to free her.
And the Idiot tag:
The area where Ms O�Hara died had been cordoned off following a similar landslide less than a month ago.

A coastguard at the beach said that on October 7 part of the cliff had collapsed and he had warned sunbathers to stay away from the area.

That incident caused no casualties.
What part of "wake-up call" do you fail to understand. Tenerife is one of the Canary Islands.
From the Las Angeles Times:
California to withhold a bigger chunk of paychecks
Reporting from Los Angeles and Sacramento - Starting Sunday, cash-strapped California will dig deeper into the pocketbooks of wage earners -- holding back 10% more than it already does in state income taxes just as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks into gear.

Technically, it's not a tax increase, even though it may feel like one when your next paycheck arrives. As part of a bundle of budget patches adopted in the summer, the state is taking more money now in withholding, even though workers' annual tax bills won't change.

Think of it as a forced, interest-free loan: You'll be repaid any extra withholding in April. Those who would receive a refund anyway will receive a larger one, and those who owe taxes will owe less.

But with rising gas costs, depressed home prices and double-digit unemployment, the state's added reach into residents' regular paycheck isn't sitting well with many.
No shit sherlock -- maybe this will tip the voters against the big government option. Years ago, there was a meme that an earthquake would cause the coastal area to slide into the ocean. If we could localize that to the Bay area, that would be a wonderful thing!

A bit of a fender-bender in Denmark

The picture below shows a VW Toureg SUV, a Tesla Roadster and a Toyota Prius in an automotive Menage a trois:


Nobody was seriously hurt -- for more, check out this story at Watts Up With That.

The cost of BioFuels - emissions

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A good writeup at The Daily Bayonet:
Biofuel Emissions Up, Gore Credibility Down
Vice President Al Gore famously saved the ethanol industry with a tiebreaker vote in 1994. He boasted about that vote and how it saved the USA�s farms and the planet in a speech five years later:
�I was also proud to stand up for the ethanol tax exemption when it was under attack in the Congress � at one point, supplying a tie-breaking vote in the Senate to save it. The more we can make this home-grown fuel a successful, widely-used product, the better-off our farmers and our environment will be.�
Unfortunately for Al, ethanol and biofuels in general turned out to be a disaster on many levels.

The practice of diverting food crops to fuel production caused grain prices to spike at the same time food supplies to the world�s poor dropped. Poor people that could afford food could afford less of it, even the World Food Program struggled to find enough money to feed the hungry. All this human suffering happened because of a misguided effort to spare the planet a little bit of plant food, or CO2, as greens prefer to call it.

Inconveniently, it is now revealed that biofuels actually increase emissions:
�Our analysis, which we think is the most comprehensive to date, shows that direct and indirect land-use changes associated with an aggressive global biofuels program have the potential to release large quantities of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.�
�Large greenhouse gas emissions from these indirect land-use changes are unintended consequences of a global biofuels program; consequences that add to the climate-change problem rather than helping to solve it�
Once more, the law of unintended consequences strikes the green movement.

How many more times do they have to be wrong before they are discredited for good?
The curse of the short-sighted ninnies. I know that they mean well on some level but they simply do not think through their actions...

The cost of Green in Oregon

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It seems that the true cost of Green Energy has been misrepresented to the voters of Oregon. From the Portland Oregonian:
State lowballed cost of green tax breaks
State officials deliberately underestimated the cost of Gov. Ted Kulongoski's plan to lure green energy companies to Oregon with big taxpayer subsidies, resulting in a program that cost 40 times more than unsuspecting lawmakers were told, an investigation by The Oregonian shows.

Records also show that the program, a favorite of Kulongoski's known as the Business Energy Tax Credit, has given millions of dollars to failed companies while voters are being asked to raise income taxes because the state budget doesn't have enough to pay for schools and other programs.

The incentives are now under intense scrutiny at the Oregon Department of Energy, which is scrambling to curb their skyrocketing costs.
A bit more:
The official estimates turned out to be absurdly low. In 2007-09, the business tax credit cost the state $68 million, of which about $40 million can be attributed to the bigger subsidies. The latest estimate for 2009-11 puts the tab for subsidies at $167 million in lost revenue, which is projected to grow to $243 million for 2011-13 -- about what Oregon spends now from its general fund on the entire state police budget.
Three specifics:
A wind energy project received four separate $10 million tax credits even though it will generate less electricity than projects getting one-tenth the $40 million subsidy.

A Clatskanie ethanol plant got $12 million in tax subsidies plus a $20 million state energy loan, then promptly went bankrupt and stopped operating. The plant, Cascade Grains, claims it's still owed $10 million in tax credits, and it may sue to try to get them.

A Boardman tire recycling plant got $3.4 million even though, after more than two years, it has yet to recycle tires. Investors are suing founders of Reklaim Technologies, now known as McKinstry-Reklaim, alleging they were misled about the project's solvency.
Green energy will never ever be cost effective. Ethanol was known from the start to take more energy to produce one gallon than that gallon of fuel had in it. Cost of power from a nuke plant is about 1.4 cents kW/Hr and about 30 cents from PV Solar. Do the math!

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