March 2010 Archives

Had over 60 spam attempts this evening. None of them got through. Working on some stuff out in the DaveCave(tm) so posting will be a bit on the light side tonight. Spoke with my engineer at Verizon, the second T1 is now on order and should be in sometime first week of May. Meeting with the rest of the committee for the Harvey Haggard Hoedown tomorrow night -- this is the third annual event and is generally a lot of fun. There is a major race the following day -- the Ski to Sea. Harvey Haggard was one of the participants in this race when it was first run back in 1911 -- from the history page:
There were fourteen participants in the first race. The complete route was 116 miles long. Joe Galbraith, driven by Hugh Diehl, won the first event in 12 hours and 28 minutes.

However, Harvey Haggard was the first competitor off the mountain (about 40 minutes ahead of Joe Galbraith) and aboard the special train back to town - the other racers would need to find another way down. Exhausted, Haggard stripped naked for a soothing rubdown. Then, as the train rumbled around a corner in Maple Falls, a mammoth red bull exploded from the underbrush and stood right in front of the oncoming train. The collision was a dandy; the train derailed and the coach car flipped up and over - yet no one was hurt. Haggard was pulled from the wreck, a bit shaken and decidedly naked. Standing up, the resilient 20-year-old announced, "I am all right, but I am afraid I've lost the race."

Nonetheless, he donned his clothes and hitched a ride with a passing horse and buggy. By the time Haggard reached Maple Falls, he had to be lifted out of the buggy and onto the back of a waiting horse, which galloped at breakneck speed to a waiting car at Kendall.

Unfortunately, the horse took one look at the automobile and froze with fright. Haggard flew over the pony's head, landing in a heap. Haggard's driver picked him up, put him in the car and roared back to Bellingham, with Haggard fainting twice along the way.

Haggard arrived back at the Chamber of Commerce at 11 a.m. to the cheers of an astounded crowd, who passed the hat and raised $50 for the persevering racer. The chamber added another $30, and Glacier and Maple Falls thew in a whopping $100. Next thing Haggard knew, he'd been crowned King of Glacier. (Courtesy of The Bellingham Herald)
Anyway, the two Chambers of Commerce will be sponsoring this fund raiser and for $5.42, people can get a nitrite-free Hemplers Hot Dog, some Chili, a bag of chips and a pop. $5.42 because the main highway is State Route 542. I have arranged for a band to play. Lots of fun and looking forward to helping to put it on. I have a portable kitchen and will be running the food side of things; the other Chamber members will be handling the events and crowd control -- had about 350 people last year so we should get a good number of people this year.

WTF - California shoots itself in the foot

This is downright insane. From Coyote Blog:
In Case You Didn�t Already Know that California has Lost It
California has a ballot initiative to raise taxes on wine, perhaps the state�s highest profile export after movies, by 12,600%. The South Bend Seven find the real howler though � apparently 15% of this tax increase or over a billion dollars a year will be directed to naturopathy programs. Apperently a bid by astrologists to get a share of the tax increase narrowly failed.
This little piece of sunshine can be viewed at GoogleDocs Talk about someone unclear on the concept...

About that island that disappeared recently

There was a disputed island in the Bay of Bengal that disappeared recently. The disappearance is being touted as proof of sea level rise caused by Anthropogenic Global Warming. Not so when you look at the facts -- from Nils-Axel M�rner at the SPPI Blog:
The birth and death of an island in the Bay of Bengal
In 1970, the Bay of Bengal was struck by the very powerful Bhola Cyclone. This was a truly disastrous event with a casualty in the order of 500,000 people. This event also caused severe coastal damage. Vast quantities of sediment were set in suspension, and there were significant turbidity flows.

At the boarder between India and Bangladesh, these sediments transported down the river accumulated in a muddy sand-bar that grew into an island. This newly-created island came to be called South Talpatti or New Moore Island.

There is nothing strange in this. Islands come and go for local reasons triggered by sudden events and longer-term dynamic forces.

On 25 March, 2010, it was suddenly announced that the island had disappeared. Many, including scientists (for example Sugata Hazra, professor in oceanography at Jadavpur University in Calcutta), took the island�s disappearance as an expression of a rapidly rising sea level.

The fact, however, is that it has nothing to do with any global sea level rise, but is attributable to local dynamic factors operating in this part of the Bay of Bengal.

So, the Island of South Talpatti (New Moor Island) was born in 1970 and killed in 2010. The island had a short lifetime of only 40 years. The ultimate cause of its birth was cyclone damage. The cause of its death is likely to be local dynamic influences operating in this part of the huge delta, and it is surely not an effect of a rapid global sea-level rise.

Over the last 40 years we record a virtually fully stable eustatic sea level, even in the Sundarban delta of Bangladesh. The disappearance of the island is by no means a sign of global sea-level rise.
Alright folks -- nothing to see here. Move along...

Very cool - Bill O'Reilly

From Newsmax:
O'Reilly Pays Legal Bill for Fallen Marine's Father
No. 1 cable news host Bill O'Reilly said Tuesday that he will personally write a check to cover $16,500 in legal costs for the father of a fallen U.S. Marine who sued the members of a church who picketed his son's funeral.

According to news reports, the members of the Westboro Baptist Church, located in Topeka, Kan., believe that God is punishing the United States because of its acceptance of gay people. The church garners attention for its views by protesting high-profile funerals.

On March 3, 2006, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder died in a non-combat related vehicle accident in Al Anbar province in Iraq.

"He was a hero and he was the love of my life," said Albert Snyder, Matthew's grieving father.

During the wake that was held after his son's funeral, family members turned on the television to view coverage of the massive procession involving over 1,500 persons. They saw the church members waving signs and protesting the funeral.

"I just stood there in shock," Albert Snyder told O'Reilly in November 2007.

"I couldn't believe that somebody would do that to somebody else. I mean, I didn't know what to say.

"Finally, somebody yelled, 'Turn off the television.' But I just stood there in shock. I can't believe there's somebody that would actually do that to soldiers."

Albert Snyder filed a federal lawsuit against the church, and a jury awarded him nearly $11 million dollars for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. But the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the verdict on the grounds that the church's First Amendment right to free expression must be protected.

Adding insult to injury, the court also ruled that Snyder would have to pay $16,500 to church members, to defray what they spent to defend themselves in court.

It was a tough blow for the father, who was already trying to raise the funds needed to appeal the Court of Appeals verdict to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor, however, the host stepped forward.

"That is an outrage," he said. "I will pay Mr. Snyder's obligation. I am not going to let this injustice stand."

O'Reilly added, "It's obvious they were disturbing the peace by disrupting the funeral. They should have been arrested, but our system is so screwed up, so screwed up, that loons are allowed to run wild. Snyder is fighting the good fight, and he is taking his case to the Supreme Court as he should. We are behind him 100 percent."

Snyder's attorney, Sean Summers, says people can contribute to a legal fund established at The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Snyder's appeal during its October term, with a verdict likely to be announced in mid-2011.
Yes, there is Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly but there is also good taste. Fred Phelps is going to be one very surprised man when his time comes up... The legal fund website is here: Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder
From An Exercise in Futility:
If you don�t like the weather, leave.
You know, literally every time I go to I can find something that apalls me enough to write a rant here. If there ever was a muse, this was it. Even Tim Weaver�s perverted notion of civics pales in comparison to the nonsense these girls post on their little website.

Fat ugly Miriam put up a guest post by some Venezeulan who immigrated to this country. Here are some choice quotes:
For most young people who want to go to college but have neither legal permanent residency nor the money to cover tuition, help is out of reach � an injustice that young immigrant activists have been working to end for years by demanding the passage of the DREAM Act.
Nothing is more unjust than a nation of taxpayers who refuse to send citizens of other countries to their universities on their dime.

When I started looking into it, the price of applying for citizenship had just gone up, to nearly $700. Though I was about to graduate with a Master�s degree and had a well-paying job lined up, that is no small chunk of cash.
Actually, unless you�re still living in the early 1990�s, $700 is a small chunk of change for the college-educated, unless you majored in something stupid and spend all your time working for $20,000 at non-profits in the middle of nowhere.
Many of the questions I was required to answer were absurd and offensive: Had I ever been a drug addict? A sex worker? A habitual drunkard? A communist?
What kind of person gets offended by mere questions? Let me remind you, Ms. Venezeula, that prostitution and drug possession are both illegal in the United States. Alcoholism is a public safety concern since everybody drives here, and now post-3/21 it will also cost us money as the hordes of drunk homeless bums chew through federal health money on their cirhossis. And, lest you forget, we did spend nearly half of the last century living under the constant threat of nuclear annhiliation by communists, and the United States is not a communist nation.
Right after the communist question, they have the audacity to ask if I have ever persecuted anyone because of their political opinion.
The truthful answer to this question has already been given by your self-proclaimed indignation that you�d be asked if you�re a druggie, a commie, or a whore. Yes, you are persecuting everyone who doesn�t sing along to your version of coom-bay-yah every time you open your mouth.
It ends by requiring a signature under a statement in which I am to promise that, if legally required to do so, I would serve the U.S. military �without mental reserve, so help me God.� These questions were deeply disturbing, and it was very clear which answers would lead to citizenship and which could lead to something far less palatable.
Virtually every time I hear a liberal speak like this I start to channel Jack Nicholson from A Few Good Men during his monologue in which he scolds Tom Cruise�s character about rising and sleeping under the very freedom which he provides and then questioning the manner in which he provides it.

Why do you even bother worrying about the military? You have a vagina. You don�t need to register for the draft. You�ll get to stay at home and write poetry while the men take care of the business of keeping your happy little bubble safe from other big scary men with guns. Then, when we finish protecting you, you can assert that we committed war crimes and killed foreign women and children in the process of protecting you and court marshall us, or at the very least fritter away your time holding up signs that say things like �war is muder� and �no blood for [my] oil�.

Seriously, woman, fuck you. Go back to Venezeula. If you�re so disturbed by what it means to be a mainstream American citizen then don�t become an American citizen.

Oh, that�s right. You want to bask in all the riches our culture has provided while simultaneously bitching about our culture at every opportunity. The minute you join our society you�ll seek to change it from within, despite the fact that whatever bizarre place you came from which instilled your clearly anti-American beliefs into you is, as you put it, �far less palatable� because it�s a lawless poverty stricken filthy jungle.
And this is just the first half. An excellent read and a sobering insight into what passes for intellectual thought for the left. This kind of self-absorbed hypocrisy is bad for everyone.
Going back to the story of Representative John Lewis being called a N*gger as he walked through a group of Tea-Party protesters. He announced the affront and said that he wished there was a video. A lot of videos surfaced -- none of which had the N-word. Even Jesse Jackson Jr. was photographed holding a camcorder:
So of course, Jesse Jackson Sr.'s old buddy the Reverend Al Sharpton has to weigh in:
I've seen the tape... Yeah, right... From Gateway Pundit:
Liar Al Sharpton on Bogus Black Caucus Tea Party Attack: �I�ve Seen the Tape�
Liar and race hustler Al Sharpton told Bill O�Reilly tonight that he�s seen the non-existent tape that reportedly shows Tea Party Protesters calling Black Caucus Members the n-word.

Of course there is no tape.

Sharpton is lying.

On Thursday of last week Andrew Breitbart at Big Government offered $10,000 to any of the reported victims for proof of a racial attack. So far no one has stepped forward.

There was no racist attack.
Heh -- and of course, this will be swept into the dustbin when November rolls around. Now on to our next manufactured crisis. The title comes from the story Silver Blaze featuring Sherlock Holmes talking with Gregory - a Scotland Yard detective:
Gregory: "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
Holmes: "That was the curious incident."
From FOX News:
Global Warming Advocates Threaten Blizzard of Lawsuits
Environmentalists, unable to squeeze "cap and trade" rules through the U.S. Senate, have a new strategy for combating what they believe is man-made global warming:

They're going to sue.

They're revving up their briefs and getting ready to shop for judges who will be sympathetic to their novel claim that the companies they believe contribute to global warming are a "public nuisance."

The environmentalists allege that individual companies are responsible for climate change because they have emitted greenhouse gases during the course of their operations. Those gases, they say, have "harmed" them by fostering Hurricane Katrina, eroding the shorelines of America's coasts and causing global warming.

"People have a right to sue for redress of grievances," said Lee A. DeHihns III, a partner with law firm Alston & Bird's environmental and land development group and a former associate general counsel with the EPA. He said global warming is a "public nuisance," just like a neighbor with a loud stereo. "You can sue for an intentional infliction of harm, a nuisance," said DeHihns, whose firm is consulting with defendants in these types of cases.

The lawyers seek a "consent decree," an agreement from the defendants to stop causing global warming -- even though the theory that mankind causes global warming is hardly settled science.
Talk about wasting everyone's time. If there was a strong case for Anthropogenic Global Warming, there would be a much greater outcry from the Scientific Community. There is not -- the AGW crowd is being promoted by politicians and business who stand to profit from GW legislation. Alston and Bird are politically well connected -- from OpenSecrets we can see that they do a lot of lobbying for their clients; $11,170,000 for 2009:
It is not about the Earth, it is about power and profit.
There is a silver lining here -- Pelosi is from California and when the voters find out just how much the new Obamacare is going to cost the State, hopefully, they will be able to see what to do next election cycle... From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Health care law may cost California billions
The passage of health care reform has focused attention on Washington, but the significant and expensive burden of implementing key provisions of the law now falls to individual states, and officials in cash-strapped California say it will cost the state billions of dollars a year.

Much of the federal reform is built upon expansion of Medicaid programs - California's is called Medi-Cal - to people who previously did not qualify. States across the country are poring over the federal law and crunching numbers to determine how it will affect their budgets.

"We believe Congress has to account for the fiscal reality of states today if Medicaid is going to be sustained and expanded and serve as a foundation for reforms of tomorrow," said Kim Belsh�, secretary of the state Health and Human Services Agency.

Belsh� said she and the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger support the aims of the health reforms, but emphasized that California already has had to make deep and difficult cuts into health services. Some lawmakers have accused the administration of shredding the social safety net.
The article continues with the observation that the major expenses are going to be increases in administration costs. $25 Billion over ten years for the Medicaid expansion alone. Growing government and not keeping people fit and healthy. This is just so fscking wrong in so many ways it is not funny...
England has had their National Health Service for a little over 60 years now. An interesting look at how this entitlement has changed the culture and health of the English. From the London Daily Mail:
The death of resilience: A Britain that prided itself on self-reliance now believes pills can cure anything and happiness is a human right
The brass band from Yorkshire Main Colliery assembled outside the doctor�s surgery in Edlington, South Yorkshire, and began to play. From the window above fluttered a Union Jack; below, the doctor handed out drinks to the puffing bandsmen.

It was July 5, 1948, the first day of a new era: the age of the National Health Service.

But few of those people toasting the new arrival, born and bred in a country that valued stoicism, reticence and self-reliance, could have imagined how deeply their successors would sink into hypochondria and self-indulgence.

To the first NHS patients, the latest Department of Health figures � which show that the average Briton picks up a staggering 16 prescriptions a year and the Government spends an astonishing �22 million a day on prescription drugs � would seem utterly inconceivable.

For unlike their successors, those people who queued outside doctors� surgeries in July 1948 were not whingers or hypochondriacs.

And what they would make of another report yesterday � that in an era of cuts and sacrifices, the Government�s �happiness czar� Lord Layard is offering �80,000 a year for someone to run the new �Movement for Happiness� � simply defies imagination.

They were the last in a long line of ordinary Britons who did their best to live up to the ideal of the stiff upper lip and saw life�s disappointments as troubles to be endured rather than as an excuse to demand yet more help from the state.

As the war had just shown, the average Briton had a strong sense of duty, believing in an obligation to give something to the state rather than the other way round.

�What we want from the British people is self-discipline and self-restraint,� said the founder of the NHS, the socialist firebrand Aneurin Bevan.

Sixty years on, those virtues seem to have evaporated. Of course, today we are a much healthier people living longer � though whether we are happier is a moot point.
Bevan is quite the character -- he had a very hard time brokering the deal for National Health Care. There was a lot of opposition to this from the Hospitals and the Doctors. From the WikiPedia entry: Bevan later gave the famous quote that, in order to broker the deal, he had "stuffed their mouths with gold". From his book - In Place of Fear: The National Health service and the Welfare State have come to be used as interchangeable terms, and in the mouths of some people as terms of reproach. Why this is so it is not difficult to understand, if you view everything from the angle of a strictly individualistic competitive society. A free health service is pure Socialism and as such it is opposed to the hedonism of capitalist society. It is not about health, it was never about health. It is about power and control.

Clarke's three laws - #1 in action

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A perfect example of Clarke's First Law: 1.When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. From the UK Guardian:
James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change
Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting on our lives over the coming decades. This is the stark conclusion of James Lovelock, the globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist who developed the Gaia theory.

It follows a tumultuous few months in which public opinion on efforts to tackle climate change has been undermined by events such as the climate scientists' emails leaked from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit.

"I don't think we're yet evolved to the point where we're clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change," said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. "The inertia of humans is so huge that you can't really do anything meaningful."

One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is "modern democracy", he added. "Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while."
Boy howdy -- talk about being so wrong on so many different levels... If there was a strong indication of Anthropogenic Global Warming (which there is not -- our impact is very weak when superimposed on natural cycles and solar output), it would be the democratically governed nations that would be in the forefront of solving the problem. As our current crop of congressmen are finding out, a motivated general public is a force to be reckoned with. Nations with a more socialistic or communist government will be simply ignoring the plight of their constituents as the waters rise. Look at China when they built the Three Rivers dam - villages split up with 'Party Leaders' being given cushy houses and the commoners being left to fend for themselves. As for calling 'Climate Change' a 'complex situation' -- damn straight it is a complex situation; it is so complex that we are not able to model it. Our current crop of models cannot hindcast -- give them the last 200 years of meteorological data and they do not come up with anything approximating todays climate. If they are this bad, how can we rely on them to forecast the climate of ten years from now. Hey Dr. Gaia -- time to shut your yap and ride off into the sunset. You had your fifteen minutes of fame back in the 1960's. Move on.

Penn and Teller just got punk'd

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I know how this trick is done traditionally, a Sacral agenesis sufferer on top and a dwarf on the bottom but to have the legs bend at the pelvis and to hop around like they did takes this to a new level... Swiped from Vanderleun who swiped it from Curmudgeonly & Skeptical. Penn and Teller's version is not bad though...

Some interesting poll numbers

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From Rasmussen Reports:
Most Say Tea Party Has Better Understanding of Issues than Congress
In official Washington, some consider the Tea Party movement a fringe element in society, but voters across the nation feel closer to the Tea Party movement than they do to Congress.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of U.S. voters believe the average member of the Tea Party movement has a better understanding of the issues facing America today than the average member of Congress. Only 30% believe that those in Congress have a better understanding of the key issues facing the nation.

When it comes to those issues, 47% think that their own political views are closer to those of the average Tea Party member than to the views of the average member of Congress. On this point, 26% feel closer to Congress.

Finally, 46% of voters say that the average Tea Party member is more ethical than the average member of Congress. Twenty-seven percent (27%) say that the average member of Congress is more ethical.
Yeah yeah yeah... Rassmussen is a conservative pollster. The issue here is that Rassmussen has one of the best track records around. They may be conservative but they are no slouch when it comes to the numbers. Want a liberal pollster? How about Gallup. Here is their take - March 18, 2010:
Obama's Approval Rating Lowest Yet, Congress' Declines
President Barack Obama's job approval is the worst of his presidency to date, with 46% of Americans approving and 48% disapproving of the job he is doing as president in the latest Gallup Daily three-day average.
Americans hold Congress in far less esteem than they do the president -- 16% approve and 80% disapprove of the job Congress is doing, according to the latest update from a March 4-7 Gallup poll. That is just two points off the record-low 14% Gallup measured in July 2008. Gallup has been measuring congressional approval since 1974.
You could run Atilla the Hun and he would come out better than the current administration...

Harry Reid supporters - always classy

The pen is mightier than the sword but the camcorder trumps all. Supporters of Senate Majority leader Harry Reid tossing eggs and threatening violence against Andrew Breitbart. From Founding Bloggers Way to garner public support guys...

Minimal posting tonight

Working on some other stuff out in the DaveCave(tm) Had to run into town for some hardware (a couple bolts for mounting a heater in the shop and some wire management stuff for the small servers for the broadband) and then had a water board meeting tonight. Busy day!

Behavior at the Tea Parties

An excellent and long post from Sean Linnane at Stormbringer. If you are planning to attend a Tea Party event or visit your local representatives office during the Easter break, please take the time to read this in its entirety -- Sean puts into words something that has been rattling around my brain-pan since Representative John Lewis lied about the N-word.
Last week on the eve of the historic coup in the House, I posted DO NOT BREAK THE WINDOWS in response to some radical thought patterns being expressed out there on the right-wing blogosphere. I followed up urging calm & restraint.

True to form, all this past week the Mainstream Media has been repeating the story of racist and anti-homosexual catcalls & slurs yelled at Democrat Congressmen last Sunday, as they walked past crowds of Tea Partiers:

"Tea Party" protesters allegedly hurled racial slurs at Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat. Mr. Carson said that "hundreds of people" were chanting, "Kill the bill," and he heard "at least 15 times" the "n -- word" being thrown around.
I have a problem with this misconduct - particularly since nobody can produce any proof that any of this ever took place. I'm not from Missouri but I say it anyhow: "SHOW ME."
Another small taste:
There WAS bipartisanship in the healthcare debacle, by the way; it was on the side of the people who were against it. 34 House Democrats who voted WITH the Republicans; AGAINST the healthcare monstrosity which passed by the squeakiest of margins and only AFTER a LOT of bribery and Chicago thug strongarm tactics.
Good stuff and well worth reading and remember, the more they ratchet up the propaganda machine, the quieter and more polite we need to be. Any sort of harsh word, any act of frustration will give them incredible media ammunition. Remember, they are filming us just as much as we are filming them.
Battlefield Earth. His acceptance speech at the Razzie Awards -- from the New York Post:
I penned the suckiest movie ever - sorry!
Let me start by apologizing to anyone who went to see "Battlefield Earth."

It wasn't as I intended -- promise. No one sets out to make a train wreck. Actually, comparing it to a train wreck isn't really fair to train wrecks, because people actually want to watch those.
A fun fun read!

On the public teat - Seattle employees

I had posted earlier about the disproportionate number of public union employees with greater-than-average salaries compared to private quarter basic working stiffs.

Here are some numbers for the City of Seattle -- from Seattle station KIRO:

City of Seattle employees over 100k? Here is the answer
But I'm going to make you work a little to see the answer. I'm not going to simply give you the number.

I want you to see for yourself the web page that lists the salaries of every city employee.

I want you to scroll down and see with your own eyes how many make over 100k.

And it is just as bad - or worse - at the county and state levels. I want you to remember this when you hear our mayor or county exec or governor try to tell you that they need to raise our taxes because they have "cut to the bone"

Here is your answer.

The answer is a list of employees in tabular form giving Name, Job title, Department Name, Gross Pay, Overtime, etc...

A little work with Excel shows 2,496 Seattle City employees earn over $100,000 per year with 504 from City Light, 1,271 from Police and Fire departments and $49 Million in overtime.

This is out of a sum total of 11,180 employees -- in other words, over 22% of all Seattle City employees make more than $100,000/year.

All the while it is crying about how to cut spending when its salaries are so unrealistic compared to the real world...

Tech support as it should be done - MSI

From The Register:
MSI tells 97,000 customers to 'Read The F***ing Manual'
Late last week, global hardware manufacturer MSI informed the over 97,000 people registered with its support forums that its reps were "fed up" with repeating information easily found in user manuals. The company even went so far as to say that it had installed an "RTFM" chip on its hardware boards to determine whether users had read their manuals and that anyone who hadn't read them would be banned from support.
A bit more:
"The MSI-forum and MSI-support team are fed-up with explaining you what can be found in the manual," read an email message from the support team, which apparently went to every person registered for the company's support forums, including customers, vendors, and press. "I mean, come on, how hard is it to read a manual? They are printed on paper so you see them."

The so-called RTFM chip, the email went on to say, had been monitoring the behavior of users for "some time."
Wonderful -- but unfortunately:
The email went out on March 25, and the company's support team now says it was an April Fools' joke. "We are sorry people took this for prank for serious [sic]," reads a forum post and email message from the company's support team head. "We thought of this prank after answering the many posts where people ask the obvious that is already in the manual.

How NOT to do it - Casino payouts

A perfect case of piss-poor management and potentially really bad programming. From the online gaming site USAPlayers News:
Alleged Jackpot Error Turns $42M Could Become Nothing
Louise Chavez thought she would be the next big winner in the Fortune Valley Casino of Central Casino. Chavez had been under the impression that, in a low stakes slot game, she had managed to win $42 million dollars from her game. Unfortunately, a problem had arisen from this fortuitous spin of the reels.

Chavez had, according to recent reports, been denied her pay out under the pretext that it was a malfunctioning slot. A casino attendant had called over the Director of Marketing, who stated that random numbers had begun to display across the slot game.

The Division of Gaming is set to take over the case and launch a full scale investigation. The machine�s software will be analyzed, though Chavez could walk away with nothing at all. According to KDVR Denver, Chavez is not sure what her next action will be, though she has stated that she will not give up the case.

�I played the game, I put my money into the machine. Whether it�s 42 million, 42 thousand, or 4 thousand, I should get what the machine said,� stated Chavez.

A similar case had taken place in Florida, where a man thought he would be a million dollar winner. Unfortunately, this slot machine was also malfunctioning. The Florida man had managed to get the casino to settle out of court, however. The amount of the settlement was undisclosed.

Unlike land based casinos, the most trusted USA casinos will never encounter such problems as this. Each online casino is backed by some of the most powerful pieces of software ever written. No malfunction could ever lead to a failed win when the victory is rightfully the player�s.
Where I see a problem is from the software side. Slot machines these days are all software and if I was programming something as potentially sensitive as this, if I detected an issue -- either hardware or software -- I would shut down and turn the lights and display off. There would be several CPUs monitoring each other for errors and if something did manifest, I would not display $42,000,000.00 and sound off bells and whistles. From Denver station FOX31-KDVR:
Casino says woman's $42M jackpot was an error
Louise Chavez thought she had won $42 million dollars. Turns out lady luck was just teasing her.

"People were coming up to me saying I won $42,000,000, or at least $42,000" says Chavez, who was playing penny slots at Fortune Valley Casino in Central City. "Lights were flashing, it sounded like a fire truck, the screen said 'see attendant.'"

When the attendant arrived, Chavez was told the machine had malfunctioned and she would not receive any payment. "They didn't tell me why."

The casino gave her a room for the night, bought her breakfast and gave her $23 dollars, the amount she says she had put into the machine.

The Director of Marketing for Fortune Valley says random numbers appeared on the screen.
I call bullshit. And there is this to back it up -- from Google/Associated Press:
Ind., Colo. casino owner files bankruptcy
The company that owns Indiana's Hoosier Park casino and horse track is putting its Colorado casino up for sale as it works to revamp its payments on at least $574 million in debt under its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Centaur LLC said normal operations would continue at Hoosier Park and Fortune Valley Hotel & Casino in Central City, Colo., despite the filing. The Indianapolis-based company said it would also continue work on its planned Valley View Downs & Casino project near New Castle, Pa.

A bankruptcy filing had been seen as possible since Centaur in October missed a $13.4 million payment due on its debt. The company borrowed heavily to pay for a $250 million state license fee and $150 million in upgrades to open the Hoosier Park casino in 2008.
If I was the Casino manager, I would immediately apologize and offer her $42,000. It's like they were getting financial hassles from the top management and they figured they could make this penny slot winner go away. Scum-sucking bastards...

Charity begins at home

There is a class of people who have been taught that the government will provide for them. They have come to expect this and will vote for any politician who promises advancement of entitlement programs without thinking of how these programs get funded. These people, in low economic brackets, tend to stay in low economic brackets -- money brought in goes for bling, not savings. If a neighbor gets ill or if there is a national catastrophe, these people are not known for their charity. If you look at another demographic -- conservative and fiscally responsible people, self-reliance and savings are second nature and charity is a given. A perfect example of the latter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
VFW fundraiser replaces stolen $11K
After being vandalized earlier this week, the Acworth Veterans of Foreign Wars post has bounced back.

Thieves stole nearly $11,000 during a Sunday night burglary. But, Saturday afternoon, the group was shocked to realize that a one-day fundraiser on Friday resulted in nearly $13,000 in donations. And the amount is climbing.

Dawn Williams, junior vice president of the Woman�s Auxiliary, said the response has been beyond belief.

�There has been a steady flow of people. It has been an awesome turnout,� she said. �We could have never expected such an outcome.�

They have received close to $4,000 in food donations and are looking at receiving well over $18,000 when they are done. Another fundraiser is expected on Tuesday in the form of a carwash being held by Simonize Car Wash.

The money was taken from VFW Post 5408 on Cobb Parkway, just north of Acworth. A large portion had been collected to buy gift packages for overseas troops. The thieves broke into two safes and vandalized an ATM, according to post officials.

Friday�s fundraiser was put on by the post's Ladies Auxiliary. They held a barbecue from 1 p.m. until midnight with live music, food and an auction.

Williams has one message for the community, �Thanks!�

�We never dreamed of such an outcome,� she said. �We want to make sure we let the community know just how appreciative we are for all of their support.�
The AJC is a very progressive newspaper so it is no surprise that they have in the lede that: After being vandalized earlier this week. They weren't vandalized, thieves broke in and robbed them. Stole over ten thousand dollars. The Felony Theft level in Georgia is $300 so we are talking a major felony here. Nice to see that Charity is still alive and that the community can come together and rally for a group that has suffered a catastrophe.

Just wonderful - Obama's Army

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Now that we passed the Health Care Bill, people are reading it. Here is one gem brought to light by Nancy Matthis writing at American Daughter:
Obama Just Got His Private Army
Remember when Obama said he wanted a �national security force�? Not the national guard, but a civilian one that has not sworn to uphold the Constitution? On July 2, 2008 in a speech in Colorado Springs, Barack Obama called for a police state.
See the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, page 1312:
Section 203 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 204) is amended to read as follows:
(1) IN GENERAL.�here shall be in the Service a commissioned Regular Corps and a Ready Reserve Corps for service in time of national emergency.
(2) REQUIREMENT.�All commissioned officers shall be citizens of the United States and shall be appointed without regard to the civil-service laws and compensated without regard to the Classification Act 2 of 1923, as amended.
(3) APPOINTMENT.�Commissioned officers of the Ready Reserve Corps shall be appointed by the President and commissioned officers of the Regular Corps shall be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.
(4) ACTIVE DUTY.�Commissioned officers of the Ready Reserve Corps shall at all times be subject to call to active duty by the Surgeon General, including active duty for the purpose of training.
(5) WARRANT OFFICERS.�Warrant officers may be appointed to the Service for the purpose of providing support to the health and delivery systems maintained by the Service and any warrant officer appointed to the Service shall be considered for purposes of this Act and title 37, United States Code, to be a commissioned officer within the Commissioned Corps of the Service.
(b) ASSIMILATING RESERVE CORP OFFICERS INTO THE REGULAR CORPS.�Effective on the date of enactment of the Affordable Health Choices Act, all individuals classified as officers in the Reserve Corps under this section (as such section existed on the day before the date of enactment of such Act) and serving on active duty shall be deemed to be commissioned officers of the Regular Corps.
Emphasis hers: Officers shall be appointed by the president Emphasis mine: Officers shall be merged with the regular corps. This is not something to deal with medical emergencies, their powers are much more far-reaching. We already have the National Guard. This is what they are for -- this is what they did when Katrina (Cat3) and Rita (Cat5) hit the Gulf Coast back in 2005. We have no need of an additional standing army.


Boy is my face red tonight... The guy who built the Turing Machine mentioned on another website about a very cool machinable plastic. So I googled the name and a couple sites turned up -- one of which was a malware site. I run with a full browser window but this one site came up with a slightly smaller window for some reason. Looked hinkey so I clicked on the little [X] at the top right of that window. Turns out there were two little [X]'s - the real one at the top right of the full-size window and the: Please install this crapware on my PC button attached to the other [X]. It was the Vista Security Scanner - it keeps popping up windows claiming that it is finding various infections and prompts you to visit their website and pay to get the full version. OK - go online and get the registry entries that are needed to get rid of this puppy and go to work. Well, instead of deleting:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\.exe\shell\open\command "(Default)" = "av.exe" /START "%1″ %*
I accidental deleted:
What this means is that when Windows tries to execute an xxxx.EXE file, it doesn't know what to do and gives me an error message. Crap! OK -- I'll fire up Regedit and fix that right back up. Wait - regedit.exe is an .exe file. Crap! I went to another system, extracted the registry branch for the part I deleted, opened up a (.com, not an .exe) window, copied regedit.exe to and everything is copacetic now.
#1) - .com extensions are a legacy from the old MS/DOS Command programs.
#2) - .exe (or Executable) programs allow for larger programs and makes multi-tasking a lot easier.
#3) - P.E.B.K.A.C. - Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair
Outside of that, this has been a very pleasant evening...
My geek-o-meter just melted down. One of the more interesting characters in early computer history was Alan Turing. Certainly one of the most brilliant theorists and designers. One of his ideas was this: What is the simplest computer that you can build that would have no computational limits. Performance is not an issue but simplicity and function is. There have been Turing Machines written in software and certainly, there must have been Turing Machines built in hardware but I have never seen as elegent an example as the one presented by Mike Davey at
Just. Wow.

Busy day today

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Spent the morning at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new library. Our old library shared space in the local town hall and for the three days/week it was open, the staff had to spend a few hours wheeling bookcases out of a back storeroom and setting up only to have to tear everything down at the end of the day. The new facility will have ten times the floor area and will be able to be open seven days/week. It is also right across the street from the local elementary school and will serve as a great resource for them. This has been an amazing several-year-long project as since the library is located in the unincorporated County, they are not able to levy a tax or a bond for funding. They are now about 2/3rds fully funded, all from private donations. The thing I love about the county system is that it has a very good inter-library loan system. I can request books from the local University or from a library in Seattle. It will take a couple weeks but I eventually get them. Spent the afternoon running some errands -- went yard sailing and picked up a nice old ceramic power pole insulator for 25� and hung out at the store for a bit after that.

Partisanship and Obamacare

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With a side dish of what to look forward to down the road a bit. From I Own The World:
Repeated Lies
We heard the words spill out of Pelosi�s botoxed head, �No major piece of major social legislation has ever been passed without the vote being partisan.�

Well, she�s either stupid or a liar. Wait, what am I saying? She�s stupid and a liar.

A site called Political Math has created some visuals to highlight Pelosi�s, and other parroting progressive�s, damn lies.
Hat tip to Gerard's KA-CHING! page And that side dish? From the UK Telegraph:
Hospital wards to shut in secret NHS cuts
The sick would be urged to stay at home and email doctors rather than visit surgeries, while procedures such as hip replacements could be scrapped.

The plans have emerged as health chiefs draw up emergency budgets that cast doubt on pledges by Gordon Brown to protect �front line services� in the NHS.

Documents show that health chiefs are considering plans to begin sacking workers, cutting treatments and shutting wards across the country.

The proposals could lead to:
10 per cent of NHS staff being sacked in some areas.
The loss of thousands of hospital beds.
A reduction in the number of ambulance call-outs.
Medical professionals being replaced by less qualified assistants.
The plans are contained in a series of internal NHS documents uncovered by The Daily Telegraph.

The final details of the plans are not due to be announced until the autumn, well after the country has gone to the polls for the general election.
Two quotes -- for the main course:
The Big Lie
All this was inspired by the principle--which is quite true within itself--that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.
--Adolf Hitler , Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X
And for the side dish:
They�ve got the usual Socialist disease � they�ve run out of other people�s money...
--Margaret Thatcher

A double standard for the media

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Start here: Cincinnati Enquirer:
Tea Party condemns Driehaus protest
The Cincinnati Tea Party said today it is not organizing the planned protest Sunday at Rep. Steve Driehaus� home � and that it opposes it.

Their statement:
As you all know we are not involved in the protest at Congressman Driehaus� residence this weekend.

Please do not support this in any way � including a drive by for curiosity.

Please direct media concerns to me if they arise.
Says spokesman Justin Binik-Thomas: �The Cincinnati Tea Party and The Cincinnati 9/12 Project have been made aware of a protest at the Congressman�s home this weekend. We strongly believe that it is not appropriate to engage an elected official outside of their official capacity. We are urging our members and supporters to show the same respect to his family that we expect for our own.�
As you remember, Driehaus is the guy whose office got a rock through the window. His office is on the 30th floor. We are hearing a lot of complaints from the left about violence being visited on them. Most of these are later found to be complete fabrications. Now go here: Jammie Wearing Fool - Saturday, March 21, 2009
Media Outnumber Mob Protesters on AIG Bus Tour
and this gem:
Funny, though, after the Democrats whipped up such hysteria this week all they could get to turn out was 40 lonely protesters and they were outnumbered by the media.
A busload of activists representing working- and middle-class families paid visits Saturday to the lavish homes of American International Group executives to protest the tens of millions of dollars in bonuses awarded by the struggling insurance company after it received a massive federal bailout.

About 40 protesters � outnumbered by reporters and photographers from as far away as Germany � sought to urge AIG executives who received a portion of the $165 million in bonuses to do more to help families.

"We think $165 million could be used in a more appropriate way to keep people in their homes, create more jobs and health care," said Emeline Bravo-Blackport, a gardener.
And then, go here: Washington Post - September 16, 2008
Unions Protest Outside McCain's Va. Condo
A quick-fingered concierge clicked the glass doors locked before protesters could file into the lobby of John McCain's Arlington condo complex today.

The 50 labor organizers and workers who had gathered to call attention to McCain's economic policies and multiple residences then proceeded to march in a tight circle around the maple tree out front.

"They are blocking our driveway!" snapped the desk attendant, impatient for the police watching outside to jump into action as the crowd chanted, "One, four, seven, ten, how many houses do you have again?"

The carefully choreographed demonstration -- one protester held a sign reading, "Can I crash on one of your couches?" -- was meant to tap economic anxiety in a week of frightening financial news.
And then, go here: San Francisco Chronic - March 29, 2004
Demonstrators take protest to Rove's doorstep
Springtime in the nation's capital brings cherry blossoms, tourists, and this year, swarms of protesters to the home of White House adviser Karl Rove.

"We don't wait around, we go straight to the people in power," said Tracy Van Slyke, communications officer for National People's Action, an advocacy group based in Chicago.
A bit more:
More than a dozen yellow school buses filled with demonstrators paid a house call to Rove on Sunday afternoon. The boisterous group gathered in the yard of his tony northwest Washington home and sent a delegate to knock on the door.

They were there to highlight what they termed Bush administration foot-dragging on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM. The bill, now languishing in the Senate, would allow young immigrants who have lived at least five years in this country to apply for legal residency after they graduate from high school.
What an incredibly stupid idea -- DREAM. How about these mokes apply for citizenship. It is hard yes but lots of people have done it. These stories go on and on and on. The conservatives have to tread on their tiptoes and issue all sorts of statements about not visiting politicians houses (as well they should) while the moonbats on the left treat this as one big onanistic party. Circle-jerk at Rove's house -- pass it on. Get stoned. Sing Kumbaya. Speak power to the MAN only they don't realize that the progressives are now the MAN.
It autoloads so don't click on the link if you have a slow connection but... Here is the Text of H.R.3590 as Enrolled Bill: Patient protection and Affordable Care Act Hat tip to Founding Bloggers for the link.

A strategically bad idea -- saving $3 Million. From the BBC:

Cuts cast doubt on asteroid plan
Plans to more precisely plot the orbit of an asteroid with a small chance of hitting Earth in 2036 may be badly hit by funding cuts to a US radar facility.

Radar measurements set to be made in January 2013 by the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, US, could help rule out an impact by asteroid Apophis.

But the cuts mean Arecibo needs an extra $2m-$3m a year to continue.

If not, the observations planned for 2011-2013 will have to be abandoned, the facility's director told BBC News.

Dr Michael Nolan said he was "moderately optimistic" that the money could be found.

But he pointed out that Arecibo was the only observatory in the world sensitive enough for the task.

"If we measure [Apophis] in 2013, there is something like a 95% chance that we'll be able to prove that it can't hit the Earth in 2036," he explained.

Such threats present challenges for policymakers; while the chances of an asteroid strike might be small, the effects would be devastating.

The power of radar for refining the orbits of Near-Earth Objects (Neos) such as Apophis lies in being able to determine the range to the asteroids, by accurate timing of the emitted and returned pulses.

Dr Nolan, who is also the observatory's head of radar astronomy, told BBC News: "If you have a regular telescope, you can tell where it is from left to right in a sense. The radar measures distance, so it is forward to backwards in that same sense.

"If you do all of those at once, you get a very good measurement of where it is."

Every so often, politicians and policy makers look at ways to save money and the small non-sexy projects are the ones that generally get the axe. This is a blind stupid shame as it is these projects that do 80% of the scientific heavy-lifting while the glamorous projects like the Large Hadron Collider - $9 Billion, National Ignition Facility - $4 Billion or the wonderfully named ITER at $6.7 Billion get all the money and public interest.

These three projects are built for basically one task each whereas something like Arecibo can be repurposed to do many different aspects of radio astronomy and Near Earth Object detection and ranging. You could go to the janitor's lounge at ITER and shake a couple million out of their sofa for cryin' out loud but try and get funding for something that has been cranking out solid science since 1963 and no...


DOH! Stupid criminal in Bellingham

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From the Bellingham Herald:
Bellingham coffee stand robbery suspect in custody
Police arrested one of two suspects in the armed robbery of a Cruisin Coffee stand on Cordata Parkway after he turned himself in late Thursday night, March 25.

Joshua A. Veliz. 24, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and third-degree theft. A second suspect has not been identified.

Police sought Veliz after they found a wallet outside the coffee stand's drive-up window with identification that matched the physical description of Veliz, said Mark Young, Bellingham Police Department spokesman.

According to police, Veliz and another man, wearing bandanas and armed with knives, allegedly jumped through a drive-up window at the stand shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday and demanded money, Young said.

The men took an undisclosed amount of cash and ran off. No one was injured. A police dog was being used to track the robbers' path, Young said.

After the men fled, an employee discovered the wallet outside the side door, Young said.
Talk about instant Karma. Be sure to read the comments as the guy's brother weighs in and there are some really good and heartfelt words...

Rolling out broadband - stage two

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Got an email from my Enterprise Account manager and I will be signing the contract for the next stage of the broadband rollout. This will bring a T1 to the bucolic hamlet of Glacier, WA. Now to talk with the boards of the four residential communities in the area -- these will take a bonded pair as there are several hundred families in each community.

Living the good life - government jobs

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This has already been reported but whenever it is, a counter-report comes out that says that it is not so and there are other mitigating factors.

Still, HughS at Wizbang quotes the Wall Street Journal. I am thinking that if the WSJ writes about the disparity -- there is something to this story:

Life Is Good On The Government Payroll; Private Industry, Not So Much
The Wall Street Journal opines today on a subject that I believe will be the next big issue to energize voters. Unfortunately for Democrats it strikes at the core of one the party's largest constituencies: public employee payrolls.
It turns out there really is growing inequality in America. It's the 45% premium in pay and benefits that government workers receive over the poor saps who create wealth in the private economy.

And the gap is growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 1998 to 2008 public employee compensation grew by 28.6%, compared with 19.3% for private workers. In the recession year of 2009, with almost no inflation and record budget deficits, more than half the states awarded pay raises to their employees. Even as deficits in state capitals widen and are forcing cuts in services, few politicians are willing to eliminate the pay inequities that enrich the few who wield political power.
These statistics highlight the growing gulf that separates the private sector and the political class. As I've said before, the private sector creates ALL of the wealth in this country. Every dollar spent by federal, state and local governments is created by the private sector. Every dollar.

Hugh's last paragraph bears remembering. Every Dollar.

A bit of concern in Korea

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The news is still breaking but it seems that a South Korean military ship sank:
Report: SKorean Ship Sinks, Deaths Among Sailors
A news report says a number of South Korean sailors died when their military ship sank off an island not far from North Korea.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited an unidentified naval official early Saturday as saying there were some deaths. The military says it cannot confirm the report but says 58 of the 104 crew members on board the ship that sank late Friday were safe.
I hope that this was just an on-board accident and not agression by North Korea...

Learn Na'vi

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A bunch of people are deconstructing the Na'vi language and have put together an online guide. Check out Learn Na'vi

Our business involvement in China

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It works both ways -- from Gizmodo:
Dell Leaving China In Search Of "Safer Environments" In India
Dell's said to be joining Google in fleeing China in search of a "safer environment with [a] climate conducive to enterprise," potentially taking the $25 billion it spends on equipment and parts in China to India.

The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, was quoted in the Hindustan Times as saying he'd just met with Dell's chairman, who would like to move all of their set-up to a country "with security of legal system." They've currently got one factory in India already.

Chairman Michael Dell has previously stated that the "Indian operations are doing well...India is a great place to be in. It is growing faster than China for us."
Very cool -- I do a lot of metalworking and the small machine tools I buy are generally imported. I much prefer the Indian imports to the Chinese ones. Big difference in quality and finish. Taiwanese tools are the best but India is a very close second. $25 billion is no chump change.

Cool use of Linux

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Brilliant idea -- from Computerworld:

Can Ubuntu save online banking?
Jay McLaughlin has me worried. I do my online banking from the same home computer the rest of the family uses for Web surfing and online games. I have the McAfee security suite loaded and do regular scans so accessing online banking should be protected. Right?

Not really, says McLaughlin, a Certified Information Security Professional and CIO of CNL Bank. Accessing online banking from your everyday PC is just asking for trouble, he says.

In fact, the CIO of the Orlando, Florida-based regional bank would like to see all of his customers - both consumers and businesses - access online banking either from a dedicated machine or from a self-booting CD-ROM running Ubuntu Linux and Firefox.

The Ubuntu option
Recognizing that most consumers don't want to buy a separate computer for online banking, CNL is seriously considering making available free Ubuntu Linux bootable "live CD" discs in its branches and by mail. The discs would boot up Linux, run Firefox and be configured to go directly to CNL Bank's Web site. "Everything you need to do will be sandboxed within that CD," he says. That should protect customers from increasingly common drive-by downloads and other vectors for malicious code that may infect and lurk on PCs, waiting to steal the user account names, passwords and challenge questions normally required to access online banking.

A bootable CD works because it's isolated from the host PC environment. Malware on the host can't touch it - and any malware picked up when running from the CD-ROM goes away once the CD is ejected. "When you eject the CD you have removed everything off the machine," McLaughlin says.
The article mentions a couple other ways to handle authentication and security but this is by far, one of the simplest and cheapest ideas to implement. The only "hassle" is the need to shut the computer down, reboot into Linux and then shut down and reboot into Windows. This also doesn't address automated data downloads through Quicken or other accounting software but I would only hope that your accounting computer is not used by kids to play "free" online games...

Very cool -- Gerard (from American Digest) writes a very nice article on Climategate and Al Gore's involvement with the Anthropogenic Global Warming crowd.

From Penthouse:

An Inconvenient Fraud?
It was good to be Al Gore in the last part of the last decade. In the year 2000 he was the world's biggest loser. By 2009 he was one of the world's biggest winners after becoming the master of disaster. Flummoxed by his noninvention of the internet and his nonelection as president of the United States, Gore found a winning hand in predicting the end of the world. In the process, he received an Oscar for his film An Inconvenient Truth, the Nobel Peace Prize, and millions of dollars through his interests in companies that dealt in carbon credits. Gore became more of a 'Comeback Kid' than Bill Clinton ever was. For most of 2009, it was still good to be King Al. But late in the year, Al Gore's beloved internet betrayed him.

On November 17, 2009, someone, somewhere, copied some 4,000 emails and documents from a password-protected server at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in England and put them up on a free and open server in Russia for all the world to read. Whoever made these documents available was an unknown soldier of the truth. Taking the handle of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), he or she stated, "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. Hopefully it will give some insight into the science and the people behind it. This is a limited time offer, download now."

Whether the Deep Throat who leaked the emails was a hacker or a mole within the CRU, he or she had an exquisite sense of timing. The files were made public just before the Copenhagen climate summit. The CRU had been one of the central institutions involved in promulgating the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (i.e., the Earth is getting dangerously warmer than ever before in history and people are the primary force behind this threatening rise). Now it had become instrumental in the theory's unraveling.

Gerard then proceeds to quote a few of the emails, the spin that the research 'scientists' put on the text and then, the actual meaning in the context of the coverup.

I have also gone through a lot of the data from the programming side and these people were not evil, they were just stunningly bad scientists. Some of the programs would take a dataset and then force an addition or subtraction to the numbers of the dataset to yield a result that was not true to the actual facts. In other words, they were taking a set of temperature readings and willfully skewing them to fit what they wanted for the results. This is not an opinion, this is a fact writ large in the files.

Good article Gerard and I love the illustration that went with it:

From Yahoo/Associated Press:
Cuban leader applauds US health-care reform bill
It perhaps was not the endorsement President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress were looking for.

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform "a miracle" and a major victory for Obama's presidency, but couldn't help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago.

"We consider health reform to have been an important battle and a success of his (Obama's) government," Castro wrote in an essay published in state media, adding that it would strengthen the president's hand against lobbyists and "mercenaries."

But the Cuban leader also used the lengthy piece to criticize the American president for his lack of leadership on climate change and immigration reform, and for his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, among many other things.
Boy howdy -- Cuba is the first place I think of when I am thinking of quality health care. England's National Health Service is doing a bang-up job too...

Quite the arm on that boy

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We have been seeing some claims of violence and foul language made by Democrats with Conservative Republicans and TEA Party members being accused as the perpetrators. In the case of Congressman John Lewis, three different videos shot from three different angles laid waste to his claim that someone called him a N*gger and that someone spat on his colleague -- Rep. Emanuel Cleaver(here and here). Congressman John Lewis is a liar. Today's Seattle Times had this story:
Vandals target Democrats over health-bill vote
As opponents' anger has built over the Democrats' passage of health-care legislation, Internet posts urging opponents to take action may have sparked a viral spate of vandalism and other threats against members of Congress and their families.
They fawn all over Reps. Lewis and Cleaver, cite a few other items and then say this:
Protesters have been demonstrating at Driehaus' Ohio home, said Tim Mulvey, a spokesman for the anti-abortion Democrat who joined Stupak in voting for the health bill. A rock was thrown through the window of Driehaus' Cincinnati office Sunday, and a death threat was phoned in to his Washington office a day later, Mulvey said.

"It's getting out of hand," Mulvey said.
Here is a screencap in case they slipstream an edit into the article:
Click to embiggen...
From Driehaus' own website:
Judging from the address -- Suite 3003, I can only assume that Rep. Driehaus' office is on the 30th floor -- as I said, that is quite the arm on that boy... Hat tip to Sound Politics for the original tip.

Kerry Mullis interview

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Kerry Mullis is a fascinating person -- brilliant. I have written about him before here, here, here, here and here. Edge has a nice interview with him.
I sat down with Kary Mullis in New York to talk about his current work which involves instant mobilization of the immune system to neutralize invading pathogens and toxins. This comes into play in the fight against Influenza A and drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

"We are devising a drug that will selectively attach alpha-gal epitopes to Staphylococcus," he says, "This epitope is recognized by your immune system as a symbol for, 'Eat me.' The immune system doesn't know what the Staph bacteria is, but since the alpha-gal epitope is attached to it, it complies with protocol and eats it. It doesn't notice, "This is phony, we're being set up."

"If you're driving through L.A. and you get stopped for speeding and a cop throws a bag of marijuana in your back seat and busts you for it, you get outraged. Using our drugs, you've fooled your immune system in the same way. But it's your system; it's okay to do it, as long as you don't stick the epitope on something you need."

Mullis received the Nobel Prize for his invention of PCR, a method of amplifying DNA. PCR multiplies a single, microscopic strand of the genetic material billions of times within hours. The process has multiple applications in medicine, genetics, biotechnology, and forensics. Mullis points out that PCR, because of its ability to extract DNA from fossils, is in reality the basis of a new scientific discipline, paleobiology.

You don't interview Kary Mullis, you turn the camera on, sit back and experience him. He talks, you listen. He's fascinating, exciting. In this regard, I am pleased to present, unedited, the first half-hour of video, followed by the edited text of the complete conversation.
A great read and his work on epitopes will get him a second Nobel. This is basic ground-breaking work...

Reading the bill - Obamacare

Now that people are actually able to read the bill, some strange bits are being found.

And efforts to correct some of the more egregious articles are not always successful.

From Politico:

Dems reject amendment to ban Viagra for sex offenders
Democrats killed an amendment by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn to prevent the newly created insurance exchanges from using federal money to cover Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for rapists, pedophiles and other sex offenders. The amendment failed 57-42

"The vast majority of Americans don't want their taxpayer dollars paying for this kind of drug for those kind of people," Coburn said.

Democratic Sen. Max Baucus urged his colleagues to defeat the amendment.

"This is a serious bill. This is a serious debate. The amendment offered by the senator from Oklahoma makes a mockery of the Senate, the debate and the American people. It is not a serious amendment. It is a crass political stunt aimed at making 30-second commercials, not public policy," he said.

Democrats have defeated every amendment offered by Republicans so far, arguing that any change will kill the bill.

Just. Wonderful.

When pot is legalized

A bit of a panic in Humboldt County -- from Associated Press:
Outlaw pot growers in California fear legalization
The smell of pot hung heavy in the air as men with dreadlocks and gray beards contemplated a nightmarish possibility in this legendary region of outlaw marijuana growers: legal weed.

If California legalizes marijuana, they say, it will drive down the price of their crop and damage not just their livelihoods but the entire economy along the state's rugged northern coast.

"The legalization of marijuana will be the single most devastating economic event in the long boom-and-bust history of Northern California," said Anna Hamilton, 62, a Humboldt County radio host and musician who said her involvement with marijuana has mostly been limited to smoking it for the past 40 years.

Local residents are so worried that pot farmers came together with officials in Humboldt County for a standing-room-only meeting Tuesday night where civic leaders, activists and growers brainstormed ideas for dealing with the threat. Among the ideas: turning the vast pot gardens of Humboldt County into a destination for marijuana aficionados, with tours and tastings � a sort of Napa Valley of pot.
The hippies have become The Man Schadenfreude writ large...

Cool - repurposing property in Haiti

Irony. From the North Carolina Post and Courier/Associated Press:
Ex-drug lords' property used by Haiti government
Election workers scurry across the airy courtyard of their lavish new headquarters, a three-story building that hardly suffered a crack in Haiti's earthquake.

With its stately iron gates, the building looks like a government office. But until recently, it was an upscale shopping center, the $1.8 million property of a major cocaine trafficker.

New cooperation between Haitian authorities and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration before the Jan. 12 earthquake brought an unexpected yield to a country whose infrastructure is in ruins: confiscated properties that are spacious, opulent - and free.

The drug lords built them to last. While the quake destroyed all the government ministries' headquarters, only four of the 30 seized buildings suffered quake damage.

"It's bizarre that the buildings built by drug traffickers survived and the government buildings collapsed," said Max Boutin, who administers the properties for a Haitian anti-drug trafficking commission. "Now the buildings will be here to support the government."

In an interview on leather couches in his new office, Provisional Electoral Council president Gaillot Dorsinvil said he could not imagine a better replacement for their collapsed headquarters. His workers fill rooms that held clothing boutiques, a restaurant and a Gold's Gym.

"It gives an impressive appearance. The space is big enough to hold everyone and, most importantly, it was built to survive a magnitude-8 earthquake," Dorsinvil said with a smile.

The Haitian government began confiscating traffickers' real estate a little more than a year ago with help from U.S. investigators. The DEA says the seizures are worth roughly $25 million so far. The list of stores and mansions includes some of the most desirable properties in areas just outside the hard-hit downtown.
Heh... I am a bit surprised that Gold's would allow a franchise of theirs to be set up in what was obviously an outlier in Haiti's economy.

President Obama - staying classy

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From the UK Telegraph:
Obama snubbed Netanyahu for dinner with Michelle and the girls, Israelis claim
Benjamin Netanyahu was left to stew in a White House meeting room for over an hour after President Barack Obama abruptly walked out of tense talks to have supper with his family, it emerged on Thursday.

The snub marked a fresh low in US-Israeli relations and appeared designed to show Mr Netanyahu how low his stock had fallen in Washington after he refused to back down in a row over Jewish construction in east Jerusalem.

The Israeli prime minister arrived at the White House on Tuesday evening brimming with confidence that the worst of the crisis in his country's relationship with the United States was over.

Over the previous two days, he had been feted by senior Republicans and greeted warmly by members of Congress. He had also received a standing ovation from the American Israel Public Affairs Affairs Committee, one of the most influential lobby groups in the United States.

But Mr Obama was less inclined to be so conciliatory. He immediately presented Mr Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands designed both to the end the feud with his administration and to build Palestinian confidence ahead of the resumption of peace talks. Key among those demands was a previously-made call to halt all new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.

When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Mr Obama rose from his seat declaring: "I'm going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls."

As he left, Mr Netanyahu was told to consider the error of his ways. "I'm still around," Mr Obama is quoted by Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper as having said. "Let me know if there is anything new."

For over an hour, Mr Netanyahu and his aides closeted themselves in the Roosevelt Room on the first floor of the White House to map out a response to the president's demands.
Holy crap. Talk about a slap in the face to the leader of a sovereign nation that is: #1) - our only true ally in the Middle East #2) - the only democracy in the Middle East #3) - the only nation in the Middle East that supports Education and Research #4) - the only nation in the Middle East that has a successful economy

Cool technology (and a great business name)

Polaroid made self-developing film for professional cameras as well as the point-n-click units sold to the general public.

Digital technologies rendered the point-n-click cameras pretty much obsolete but professional Photographers still really liked using Polaroid film for their cameras.

Unfortunately, Polaroid ceased production of all self-developing film two years ago.

Fortunately, a group of enthusiasts purchased a Polaroid plant in the Netherlands and formed a company called The Impossible Project.

From the UK edition of Amateur Photographer:

Impossible films 'save' Polaroid photography from extinction.
New black & white films for use in traditional Polaroid cameras will go on sale this week - the first in a series designed to 'save instant photography from extinction'.

The news comes two years after Polaroid announced it was shutting down its film manufacturing plants in the United States.

The new films, compatible with traditional Polaroid cameras, have been made by Dutch firm Impossible BV which today also announced that a colour version will be available from this summer.

Very cool news. More information including some cool photos of the factory and their plans for the future can be found here: The Impossible Project

A big hat tip to The Online Photographer for the link.

I am doing this as screencaps as I am sure than once word gets out, the copy-editing daemons will be busy scrubbing the site. From The Elders of Ziyon, Wednesday, February 10, 2010:
From Mohamed Naseredin writing at Palestine Note on 11 Feb 2010:
Yup -- word for word. Talk about an honorable people.

Representation at its finest

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An interesting account from someone who calls their Representative. From Big Government:
The Heat is On: Congressman�s Office Says Constituent Calls Are �Harassment�
Yesterday, I decided to call Rep. John Garamendi�s (CA-10) office in Washington, D.C. He�s my representative and I wanted to voice my opposition to the Senate Health Care Bill. I spoke with a female staffer and politely told her that, while I support health care reform, I oppose the Senate Bill because it wasn�t true �reform.� She said the Congressman thinks it�s a good bill and that he campaigned on health care reform. I told her I knew that. I also mentioned that I voted for him. When I tried to give her specific reasons why the Senate Bill would harm our system rather than reform it, she refused to listen. She said she was very busy and hung up on me. Being the persistent person that I am, I kept calling back. Each time I tried to finish my point, she hung up.

I called one more time. This time she said, �If you call one more time, we will notify Capital Police.� I asked why my conduct warranted involving federal law enforcement agents. She said I was �harassing� her. I tried to explain that trying to convince a representative to change his or her vote didn�t constitute �harassment.� Before I could fully explain, she hung up again.

I called back. This time, I asked to speak to her supervisor in order to report her repeated hanging up as well as the threat she made. I was placed on hold. Thinking I was holding for her supervisor, I was shocked when a Federal Agent with the Capital Police picked-up the telephone.

At first, the Agent was curt with me. He claimed I was harassing Mr. Garamendi�s staff by continually calling after being told to stop calling. I asked him when it became a federal crime to lobby a congressman. He said that it wasn�t but it was a crime to �harass� congressional members and staff pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 223. I told him I was an attorney (which I am) and that I would research the statute he had cited.

After researching 47 U.S.C. 223, I called Mr. Garamendi�s office again and asked to be transferred back to the Capital Police Agent. The Agent picked up the phone and I explained to him that the statute he cited was not controlling since it only prohibits people from calling with the specific intent to harass. I further explained that I was simply trying to voice my concerns with the intent of getting Mr. Garamendi to change his mind, not to harass his staff. The Agent eventually agreed with my position and said he would call Mr. Garamendi�s office and instruct his staff that I was within my rights to call my congressman and voice my concerns.

After I hung up, I realized that this story should be told. Besides being an attorney, I�ve also had the privilege of serving this great country in the United States Marine Corps. Having seen the ugly legislative process the Senate Bill had been through, I saw this as not just another tactic to pass the Senate Bill at all costs, but also as an affront to our liberties.
The legislators are not only not representing their constituents, they are instructing their staff to actively block opposing viewpoints from reaching their office. It's not just me that is livid -- the 1,260+ comments to this post are an interesting read. A few of them:
"We are told to shut up or face federal agents. Such treatment may be acceptable in the former Soviet Union, but it�s repulsive in the country I love and served. Is this hope and change?"

So this is how full throated Marxism gets started in a country like Venezuela. You vote them in, they get disconnected from the electorate, and then they subvert the rule of law.

People like that aren't fit to govern a bowl of Sea Monkeys�

Welcome to the club! I called my Congressman (Dave Reichert) in regard to "Cap-N-Trade" to find out if he read the full text of the bill. I called everyday asking the question but never getting an answer (the even sent me a canned letter that did not answer the question I asked) I was given a "single point of contact" (Russel) who would not answer. After several days of this they started transferring me to the Capital Police who informed me my "privilege to contact my rep by phone or email has been revoked" I asked for the law that gave them the power to revoke "my privilege" and was never given one. I have a RIGHT as a US citizen to be able to redress my government for grievances�. I kept calling until Dave's Chief Of Staff gave me the answer I was asking all along�
One of the threads that runs through the comments is that a sleeping giant has been awakened. Considering that Obama is now setting his sights on legalizing the 30,000,000 illegal immigrants already in this country, that giant is coming out of its slumber and right into a blind rage. We are in for some interesting times to say the least...


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Heard back from Verizon this afternoon -- they gave me the 64 IPv4 addresses I asked for. I will be using these for the entire installation (five communities, one small datacenter and the valley north of the house here) but this means that if someone wants to run a VPN, I don't have to go to Verizon hat in hand and beg for a pittance more. I have enough to work with and a good cushion beyond that... Four of the communities have more than a hundred households so it's bonded pair for them. Should be a fun (and busy) summer.

Happy Birthday Frank

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A few days late but 100 years ago on March 18th 1910, the Edison Movie Studio released their twelve minute rendition of Frankenstein:
Some amazing staging and special effects considering the technology of the time. A major hat tip to the Frankensteinia blog for the link.

Talk about unmitigated bullsh*t

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Where do these people come up with this kind of crap. From CNS News:
Liberal Activist Says 'Cognitive' Brain Patterns Prevent Conservatives From Accepting Threat of Global Warming
Proponents of human-caused global warming claim that "cognitive" brain function prevents conservatives from accepting the science that says "climate change" is an imminent threat to planet Earth and its inhabitants.

George Lakoff, a professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California-Berkeley and author of the book "The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics," says his scientific research shows that how one perceives the world depends on one�s bodily experience and how one functions in the everyday world. Reason is shaped by the body, he says.

Lakoff told that �metaphors� shape a person's understanding of the world, along with one�s values and political beliefs -- including what they think about global warming.

"It relates directly (to global warming) because conservatives tend to feel that the free market should be unregulated and (that) environmental regulations are immoral and wrong," Lakoff said.

"And what they try to do is show that the science is wrong and that the argument is wrong, based on the science. So when it comes back to science, they try to debunk the science," Lakoff said.

On the other hand, he added, liberals' cognitive process allows them to be "open-minded."
That's not "open-minded" that is empty headed. The good Dr. Lakoff probably could not recognize good science if he saw it. Talk about a fixed immutable world-view and a willfully closed mind. Sad really although, given the place where he chooses to work, it is not surprising. Fortunately, Dr. Pat Michaels has something to say:
But Pat Michaels, a former professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and a fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, said the argument that opponents of human-caused global warming are physically or psychologically different reveals "desperation" on the part of those who want people to not only embrace the idea of human destruction of the environment but put that idea into laws regulating human activity.

"Imminent disaster serves the proponents of regulation on this issue," Michaels told That includes efforts by Democrats in Congress to pass cap-and-trade legislation, which would limit carbon emissions and tax corporations who fail to meet government-set pollution standards.

"This line of authority is a policy response where the minority would tell the majority how to live," said Michaels, who said he agrees with polls showing the majority of Americans don't believe in global warming, particularly doomsday global warming.

Michaels said environmentalists have been predicting disaster for years in one form or another, including the fear of overpopulation that was popular in the 1960s.

"There's always something out there," Michaels said. "People get tired of being beaten by those somethings."

Moreover, Michaels asserts that science doesn't confirm, and in some cases even rejects, the existence of human-caused global warming.
A breath of fresh air.

Light night tonight

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Looking into some ISP modules for managing load and customer maintenence.

Bart the dim

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From The Daley Gator:
Hey Stupak, about that executive order?
Obama will, get around to it, uh, soon, he promises
Remember that Executive Order intended to give Bart Stupak enormous peace of mind that no Federal funding would be used to pay for abortions? Darn it all, they must have run out of ink in the 22 pens used to sign the bill. Don�t you worry though, they will get around to signing it �soon.�
A White House official told Fox, Obama will not sign the Executive Order Tuesday and has set no specific date to do so. Stupak predicted Obama would sign the order later this week. The White House said only that Obama would sign the order �soon.�
Also Bart, the check is in the mail, trust me. You simpleton, you sell out, you cheap, crack whore.
Sometimes I feel sorry for the simpletons who are in office. Not much and not very often but it is amazing just how much they only hear what they want to hear and are happy to deceive themselves to gain the 'respect' of their 'peers'. Congressional approval is something like 17% and disapproval is over 70%

That nice warm sense of security

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Good news from the technology front -- those new scanners at the airports? From the UK Independent:
Are planned airport scanners just a scam?
The explosive device smuggled in the clothing of the Detroit bomb suspect would not have been detected by body-scanners set to be introduced in British airports, an expert on the technology warned last night.

The claim severely undermines Gordon Brown's focus on hi-tech scanners for airline passengers as part of his review into airport security after the attempted attack on Flight 253 on Christmas Day.

The Independent on Sunday has also heard authoritative claims that officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home Office have already tested the scanners and were not persuaded that they would work comprehensively against terrorist threats to aviation.
And the scanners:
But Ben Wallace, the Conservative MP, who was formerly involved in a project by a leading British defence research firm to develop the scanners for airport use, said trials had shown that such low-density materials went undetected.

Tests by scientists in the team at Qinetiq, which Mr Wallace advised before he became an MP in 2005, showed the millimetre-wave scanners picked up shrapnel and heavy wax and metal, but plastic, chemicals and liquids were missed.

If a material is low density, such as powder, liquid or thin plastic � as well as the passenger's clothing � the millimetre waves pass through and the object is not shown on screen. High- density material such as metal knives, guns and dense plastic such as C4 explosive reflect the millimetre waves and leave an image of the object.

Mr Wallace said: "Gordon Brown is grasping at headlines if he thinks buying a couple of scanners will make us safer. It is too little, too late. Under his leadership, he starved the defence research budget that could have funded a comprehensive solution while at the same time he has weakened our border security.
Heaven help they should actually have to start using police procedures and (shudder) racial profiling. That idiot Richard Reid tried to blow up a shoe in 2001 and now, ten years later, we are still having to take our shoes off and run them through an xray. On a similar note, Security guru Bruce Schneier is running a contest to come up with a new logo for the TSA. Here is one from Travis McHale:
Heaven help us if we are ever attacked by a competent enemy...

Happy Birthday - Carl Zeiss lenses

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From their website (in German) via Google Translator:
120 years Carl Zeiss lenses
They fly from the first moon landing into space, are the darlings of Hollywood and the constant companion of demanding photographers around the world - and this has now been 120 years ago: Carl Zeiss lenses. The end of March 1890, the first camera lenses on the market. The renowned German optical company with major locations in Jena and Oberkochen looks back to the birthday and in the future. Trendsetting developments in photography technology are now beginning its anniversary year the subject of numerous activities for customers and the public. Carl Zeiss lenses have marked the history of photography. Today they are the epitome of creative image design, which explains the time, survived ", Dr. Winfried Scherle, head of the camera lenses.

ZEISS Lenses are often then used when the speed high image quality, Reliable and excellent results are needed. Thus, for example, photographs taken during the first moon landings from 1969 with Carl Zeiss lenses. But numerous Oscar-winning films like Barry Lyndon, The Lord of the Rings trilogy or Slumdog Millionaire was filmed with Carl Zeiss lenses. The great German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus for example, has for years worked exclusively with Carl Zeiss lenses. "Current cameras and lenses from Carl Zeiss enable me to see exactly on the screen to what the eye sees," said Ballhaus.
Very cool -- they do a lot more than just camera lenses. Their scientific optics are superb and their old-school planetarium projectors were state of the art for their day.
Great story about some maroon who took a class and got himself certified. From The Daily WTF:
The Certified DBA
�I�m not questioning your expertise,� Paul cautiously said to the Certified DBA, �it�s just that I�m just not used to requests with� this level of detail.�

Paul should have done what he was asked, exactly how he was asked to do it. After all, he was not an expert but just a lowly systems administrator. Fortunately, the Certified DBA made sure to keep him in his place.

�I would expect not,� smirked the Certified DBA, �system administrators generally don�t know how to tune for database performance, so I have to be very specific on the server configuration.�

The �configuration� that the Certified DBA was referring to was a rather complex set-up of disk partitions and RAID. Per his request, the server Paul was to set up should have six disks, each with ten partitions set-up. Corresponding partitions on disks 1, 3, and 5 were to be concatenated (not striped) to each other via RAID, while the partitions on disks 2, 4, and 6 served as mirrors of their corresponding partitions on disks 1, 2, and 5. All of these partitions were then to be mounted as directories (/p1, /p2, etc) in the file system.

�Fair enough,� Paul acquiesced, �but I�d like to understand why this helps with database tuning . I mean, wouldn�t this just create slower reads and writes? I just don�t see how it helps perfor��

�I�ve been doing this for fifteen years and it�s not like you can understand database tuning overnight.� The Certified DBA was getting aggravated. �The long and the short of it is: the partitions allow me to place datafiles on different physical parts of the disk. The outer edge of the disk is the fastest, so I put indexes in partition 1. Large binary data goes on partition 10. And so on.�
The database, of course, runs very slowly. There is a fix from the DBA but then, the DBA goes on vacation:
Paul, being the lowly system administrator, was not in a position to argue with the Certified DBA, and had little choice but to do what he was told. But instead of doing just that, Paul decided to try something different.

While the Certified DBA was on vacation, Paul took a pair of the 10,000 RPM drives, mirrored them, and then set-up a series of directories (/p1, /p2) on the file system. When the system was brought back online � using a single drive and a single partition � the I/O reads went down by a couple orders of magnitude. The overall application performance improved dramatically, and the users were appreciative.

But there was one thing, however, that was missing: approval by the Certified DBA. Undoubtedly, he�d be upset that his instructions weren�t followed, and accuse the lowly sysadmin of subterfuge and insubordination.

With the Certified DBA returning the following day, Paul was desperate and changed the �df� command such that it executed a shell script that looked identical to the real df command: it listed ten partitions, each mounted in /p1, /p2, and so on.

And the shell script worked. In fact, it worked so well that the Certified DBA took a screenshot of it and used it in an article he wrote about database �tuning� for a trade magazine. And, being the nice guy that he was, the Certified DBA gave Paul a signed copy of that issue.

Though the Certified DBA is long gone, Paul still keeps the signed magazine hanging in his office. It�s taught him more about database tuning than he ever could have hoped for.
When I worked at Microsoft, I was a member of the lab heardware support team for their SQL Server database and then I moved over to the Enterprise Scalability Lab where I got to play with some serious iron. Tuning an array to optimize it for a database is not a black art. Tuning the database software is but the iron is pretty straightforward. Machines that I administered and helped to set up were used in several TPC-C benchmarks...

Fusion in the news - both cold and hot

An interesting look at everybody's favorite non-starter. From Popular Science:

At Annual Convention, Chemists Warm to Cold Fusion
Looking for new energy solutions, scientists are increasingly embracing the idea of cold fusion, once considered a junk science along the lines of alchemy. "Cold fusion" describes the nuclear fusion of atoms at close to room temperatures, as opposed to the epic temperatures at which nuclei fuse inside stars. If realized on a practical scale, it could provide the world with a virtually limitless source of energy.

Several new frontiers in cold fusion research are on display this week at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting in San Francisco. One researcher is working on a new kind of battery that uses a new cold fusion process and has a longer shelf life than conventional batteries. Another researcher has experimental evidence that some forms of bacteria use a type of cold fusion, and their biologically driven transmutations could help dispose of nuclear waste.

German chemist Jan Marwan, who organized the Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions symposium at the ACS meeting, said scientists are no longer afraid to talk about cold fusion.

"I've also noticed that the field is gaining new researchers from universities that had previously not pursued cold fusion research. More and more people are becoming interested in it," he said in a statement. "There's still some resistance to this field. But we just have to keep on as we have done so far, exploring cold fusion step by step, and that will make it a successful alternative energy source."

There are some anomalies out there but there are also a lot of bogus claims backed up with stunningly bad labwork. One of the more interesting proponents of hot fusion is EMC2 Fusion: They offer the following timeline and have been receiving funding from the US Navy:

EMC2 Fusion Development Corporation has been formed as a charitable research and development organization in frontier energy technologies with emphasis on fusion.

Fusion R&D Phase 1 - Validate and extend WB-6 results with WB-7 Device:
1.5 years / $1.8M, Successfully Completed

Fusion R&D Phase 2 - Design, build and test larger scale WB-8 Polywell Device:
2 years / $7M, In Process

Fusion R&D Phase 3 - Design, build and test full scale 100 MW Fusion System:
4 years / $200M, In Design Phase

Successful Phase 3 marks the end of fossil fuels

They are using an outgrowth of the Farnsworth Fusor technology invented back in the 1960's. If their whiffle-ball technology successfully scales up, things should get very interesting, very fast...

Seeing the light -- France

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From the BBC:
French government backs down on carbon tax plan
The French government has signalled that it is dropping a plan for a tax on domestic carbon dioxide emissions.

Jean-Francois Cope, parliamentary leader of the governing UMP party, was quoted as saying the tax "would be Europe-wide or not (exist) at all".

Prime Minister Francois Fillon told parliament that the government should focus on policies that increased France's economic competitiveness.
Good to see them coming back to their senses. It is idiocy to put a tax on something that is nothing more than plant food and is entirely unrelated to any short or long term climate changes. The Global Warming models cannot hindcast so how do they think they can forecast...

An earth shattering Ka-Boom

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One week from today -- from PhysicsWorld:
LHC physics programme set to launch 30 March
CERN has announced that its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will attempt the first collisions at 7 TeV on Tuesday 30 March � one week today.

Smashing together protons at this energy will set another benchmark for the highest energy yet achieved in a particle accelerator. More significantly, it will mark the beginning of the LHC physics programme, which will test and scrutinize the Standard Model of particle physics.
A comment on just how difficult the fine tuning and adjustment process has been:
"The LHC is not a turnkey machine," said CERN director general Rolf-Dieter Heuer. "The machine is working well, but we're still very much in a commissioning phase and we have to recognize that the first attempt to collide is precisely that. It may take hours or even days to get collisions."

This is a sentiment echoed by CERN's director for accelerators and technology, Steve Myers. "Just lining the beams up is a challenge in itself: it's a bit like firing needles across the Atlantic and getting them to collide halfway."
Good luck on an amazing research project. I wish it had been on our soil -- the supercollider would have been as amazing had funding not been pulled. It was designed to reach 20TeV whereas the LHC is only 7TeV.

What is past is prologue

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A chilling comparison of two cultures -- from Pamela Geller
Ahmadinejad's New Year's Message
The spring of human prosperity is the establishment of praying for one God and justice in the world, which will be built by the Lord of the Age [the Shi'ite 12th Imam, the Mahdi]....The age is the age of the appearance [of Imam Mahdi]. The mystery of persistence, happiness and the growing awareness of the Iranian na tion is in faith and hope for the rule of the Imam in the world."

"The government is determined to assert its presence in managing the world wisely and powerfully in order to restore the Iranian nation's honorable position....All of you should be ready, as tomorrow belongs to us."
Compare and contrast...

Very cool technology - small nuke

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Toshiba is developing a small nuclear power plant. This is nothing new, they had them five years ago. What is cool is that this new design is a lot more efficient and the development is being backed by Bill Gates. From Yahoo/AFP:
Bill Gates, Toshiba in early talks on nuclear reactor
A company backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Toshiba are in early talks to jointly develop a small nuclear reactor, the Japanese electronics giant said Tuesday.

The Nikkei business daily earlier reported that the two sides would team up to develop a compact next-generation reactor that can operate for up to 100 years without refueling to provide emission-free energy.

The daily said the joint development would focus on the Traveling-Wave Reactor (TWR), which consumes depleted uranium as fuel. Current light-water reactors require refueling every few years.

"Toshiba has entered into preliminary talks with TerraPower," said Toshiba spokesman Keisuke Ohmori. "We are looking into the possibility of working together."

Gates is the principal owner of TerraPower, an expert team based in the US state of Washington that is investigating ways to improve emission-free energy supplies using small nuclear reactors.

Unlike the current reactors at mega power plants, the smaller types could be introduced by cities or states or in developing countries more easily.

Ohmori said Gates, together with other TerraPower executives, had visited a Toshiba laboratory for nuclear power research near Tokyo last year.

"TerraPower is developing a small nuclear reactor and Toshiba is developing a different kind of small reactor. They were interested in Toshiba's technology and aiming at practical realisation" of small reactors, he said.

Ohmori said the two sides had just begun to "exchange information" but stressed that "nothing concrete has been decided on development or investment."

Gates is expected to use his personal wealth to back the development of TWRs and his investment could reach several billion dollars, the Nikkei said.

The news boosted Toshiba's share price by around four percent Tuesday.

The Nikkei said TerraPower had decided to join hands with Toshiba as it lacks the know-how to manufacture nuclear power equipment.

Toshiba, which owns US nuclear plant maker Westinghouse, has developed a design for an ultracompact reactor that can operate continuously for 30 years.

The company is preparing to apply for US approval to start constructing the first such reactor as early as 2014 and put it into practical use by the end of the decade, Ohmori said.
Very cool -- instead of spending so much money on the grid, you can decentralize generation and place the nukes where the electricity is needed. We have two large petroleum refineries and one Aluminum smelter near where we live -- imagine if these plants didn't have to worry about getting cheap power to run. More on TerraPower

Neanderpundit sums it up

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Heading out to check email...

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...and then watch the 11PM rebroadcast of Glen Beck's show. Should be interesting to see his take on things.

Glacier, WA gets broadband

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Just got back from the Glacier Water District meeting and they agreed to let me use their building for the Broadband tower and servers. Looks like the sleepy hamlet of Glacier gets dragged into the 21st century. Everyone I have talked with is stoked. Calling my person at Verizon tomorrow to order the next T1 and also, to inquire just what kind of capacity they have as it looks like I will be ordering at least three bonded pairs and two or three more T1's over the next six to 12 months... Someone butter me up -- I'm on a roll!

Busy day today

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Had to run into town for some things and then meeting with the Water District in a nearby town to see about using their building to host the Broadband access point and tower. Got an email from Verizon regarding the T1 hookup to my house -- they are getting ready to schedule the connection. I am planning to order the second T1 tomorrow as I should be getting permission from the Water District tonight. This puppy is taking on a life of its own... (big grin) Lots of people are volunteering to help too -- cool to see a community rally together like this.

An obituary from the San Louis Obispo Tribune:

Shirley Eleanor Nash
Shirley Eleanor Nash, 93, died peacefully Thursday, March 11, 2010, at the Garden House in Morro Bay, her hand held, being told she was loved, her favorite Andres Segovia album was playing in the background, and her room was filled with flowers and cards from friends, family and the Marines. She will be deeply missed.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1916, Shirley, came to Pasadena, Calif., as a child with her parents, Herbert Howgate Nash, an administrator at Cal Tech and Christina Eleanor Nash, a nursing volunteer. Shirley was the first of three children. In high school, she won recognition as a classical ballet dancer performing at the Rose Bowl, El Capitan, the Pantages, the Greek Theater and in movies with stars Margaret O'Sullivan, Fred MacMurry, the Marx Brothers and a flop starring Fibber McGee and Molly.
After high school, she enrolled at Pasadena City College. In 1940, yearning to see the world, she quit school, sold her car and bought a steamship ticket to China. As the only American, her fellow passengers were Japanese diplomats being ordered home and German army officers recalled to Berlin. Shirley told how the atmosphere was very tense with the two groups barely polite to one another.
Arriving in Shanghai, she worked as a daily newspaper reporter in the city guarded by Japanese tanks and barbed wire barricades. In November 1941, she boarded the last ship out of China before the war. A sister ship, with all her belongings, was blown up in the Philippines.
While in China she meet a "China Marine" from the 4th Regiment of the Marine Corps, whom she married after World War II. Shirley returned home, joined the Marines, attended boot camp at New York's Hunter College, then Quartermaster School at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Shirley scored the highest ever, to that date, on the Officer Candidate School test and became a first lieutenant, served as the disbursing officer in the transport department stationed in Washington, D.C. She traveled across the United States over 40 times on Marine Corps business.
Upon leaving the Marines after WWII, she married Edward Ellery Kash, who had been captured by the Japanese, survived the Bataan Death march and spent most of the war in a Japanese prison camp. They lived in New York until divorcing, and then Shirley moved to Mexico City. They had one child, Pandora Noel Nash.
In the 1950s, Shirley attended Whittier College on the GI Bill received a Bachelors and Masters with highest honors and worked as a college professor at Chaffey College for 25 years where she founded and headed the Interior Design department and taught architectural history. She utilized her dance and theater expertise at Chaffey, producing and choreographing numerous musicals including South Pacific, Oklahoma and Finian"s Rainbow.
Every summer was spent traveling the world's most unusual places. Shirley was the first white woman to explore Dutch Guiana's Suriname River, and she did it in a dugout canoe just 5 years after locals stopped practicing cannibalism. She taught school in St. Thomas and St. Croix during the 1960's and tromped through mosquito-infested jungles to photograph ruins in Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Merida and Palenque decades before they became popular tourist destinations. Shirley became a scholar specializing in California's estancia and adobe architectural history of the 18th and 19th centuries.

And this is just the first half of her life. Talk about an amazing time!

Well crap - it wasn't a bad dream

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Woke up, got a bite to eat and the healthcare bill is still passed. Was hoping that it might have been a bad dream last night or something...

How time flies - Schadenfreude and video

Remember this story from yesterday: I suppose that in every crowd of people there will be the occasional asshat but...

I was really pissed at the people that did this but I also wondered if it might not be astroturfing from the Democrats.

Turns out it was neither -- fortunately, someone was videotaping the whole sequence without the knowledge of Congressman John Lewis and it seems that Mr. Lewis is not a N***er but he is very much a Liar. See for yourself:

From Gateway Pundit:

Media Lying About Racist Attacks on Black Reps By Tea Party Protesters - VIDEO PROOF
It's come to this.

The state-run media is now pushing their anti-tea party propaganda from sources at the anti-military , Jew-hating , conservative-hating , Huffington Post. And, they're reporting this propaganda without a single piece of evidence.

On Saturday the media reported without a shred of evidence that tea party protesters were shouting obscenities and "n***er" at black Representatives on Capitol Hill. The representatives said it happened as they walked from the Longworth office building to the Rayburn office building.

Fscking people will say anything to get their agenda across. And this is not the first time Mr. Lewis has pulled something out of his ass for political gain. From his WikiPedia entry:

In October 2008, Lewis generated significant controversy by issuing a statement criticising the campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin and comparing their actions to those of certain segregationists, specifically George Wallace, during the American Civil Rights Movement, stating that "What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. [Sarah] Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse."

Always classy John...

Well crap - healthcare passes

And Bart Stupak is an asshat of royal proportions. He billed himself as Blue Dog Conservative, as a Pro-Life Democrat. He was going to vote no on the bill if it contained any provision for Federal funding of Abortion. From Bart Stupak's own Congressional website:
WASHINGTON, DC � U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced three airports in northern Michigan have received grants totaling $726,409 for airport maintenance and improvements. The funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration.
Only $726K for a human soul? Bart -- I never realized that you would sell yourself that cheaply... Hat tip to The Blogmocracy who offers this cheery image of the future:
There is a very interesting nine-page PDF on just how the IRS fits in to this new healthcare bill (with as many as 16,500 new employees especially hired for the job). From the title page:

The Wrong Prescription:
Democrats� Health Overhaul
Dangerously Expands IRS

Committee on Ways and Means Republican Report
Prepared for Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI) and Charles Boustany (R-LA),
Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight
March 18, 2010
So this was not written by people who were wearing tin foil on their heads. This is the real deal and it is happening. This November will be interesting -- November 2012 will be even more interesting.

A hot time in Iceland

One of their volcanoes is erupting and there is a chance that it might trigger another larger eruption.


From the London Times:

Iceland prepares for second, more devastating volcanic eruption
Iceland is preparing for an even more powerful and potentially destructive volcano after a small eruption at the weekend shot red-hot molten lava high into the sky.

About 500 people were safely evacuated from the land close to the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which is around 120 kilometres (75 miles) southeast of the capital, Reykjavik. The country's two airports were closed for most of the day and transatlantic flights re-routed to avoid the risk of ash blocking visibility and destroying engines.

After circling the spectacular eruption in a Civil Defence aircraft, Freymodur Sigmundsson, a geophysicist, concluded that the immediate danger was receding and that the lava was flowing along a one kilometre-long fissure.

The original fear was that the volcano had erupted directly underneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, which could have caused glacial melt, flooding and mudslides. Instead, the volcano blew in between Eyjafjallajokull and the larger Myrdalsjoekull glacier.

However, the danger is that the small volcano is just the beginning and that it will trigger the far more powerful volcano of Katla, which nestles beneath Myrdalsjoekull.

�That has to be on the table at the moment," Dave McGarvie, senior lecturer at the Volcano Dynamics Group of the Open University, said. �And it is a much nastier piece of work.�

Icelanders agree. "This could trigger Katla, which is a vicious volcano that could cause both local and global damage," Pall Einarsson, from the University of Iceland, said.

The excellent Icelandic Meteorological website has just the eruption information with no forecasts. This could be interesting as high-latitude volcanoes have a pronounced cooling effect on the overall climate:

Climate response to large, high-latitude and low-latitude volcanic eruptions in the Community Climate System Model
Explosive volcanism is known to be a leading natural cause of climate change. The second half of the 13th century was likely the most volcanically perturbed half-century of the last 2000 years, although none of the major 13th century eruptions have been clearly attributed to specific volcanoes. This period was in general a time of transition from the relatively warm Medieval period to the colder Little Ice Age, but available proxy records are insufficient on their own to clearly assess whether this transition is associated with volcanism. This context motivates our investigation of the climate system sensitivity to high- and low-latitude volcanism using the fully coupled NCAR Community Climate System Model (CCSM3). We evaluate two sets of ensemble simulations, each containing four volcanic pulses, with the first set representing them as a sequence of tropical eruptions and the second representing eruptions occurring in the mid-high latitudes of both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The short-term, direct radiative impacts of tropical and high-latitude eruptions include significant cooling over the continents in summer and cooling over regions of increased sea-ice concentration in Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter. A main dynamical impact of moderate tropical eruptions is a winter warming pattern across northern Eurasia. Furthermore, both ensembles show significant reductions in global precipitation, especially in the summer monsoon regions. The most important long-term impact is the cooling of the high-latitude NH produced by multiple tropical eruptions, suggesting that positive feedbacks associated with ice and snow cover could lead to long-term climate cooling in the Arctic.

ScienceBlogs has a bit more:

The 2010 fissure eruption at Eyjafjallajokull
The big news this morning is the eruption that started last night at Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland, producing a 1-km fissure vent. The pictures and videos I've seen so far have been quite impressive, with the classic look of a "curtain of fire", where basaltic lava erupts explosively from a linear array of vents - you can see the geometry in the image from the BBC/AP (above). Especially clear is the dual nature of the eruption, with both the explosive fire fountains and the effusive (passive) lava flows from the root of the curtain of fire. In many "curtain of fire" eruptions on Hawai`i, the curtain (see below) eventually coalesces into a single fire fountain, sometimes producing fountains that can reach a few kilometers in height. This will be something to watch for in the coming days if the eruption continues.

More here and here. Keep an eye on this one -- could get interesting...

Go ask Alice

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Went into town to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D. Absolutely stunning! They played with the original plot a bit -- this is Alice's second visit and there are some flashbacks to her visit as a little girl. She is now nineteen years old so this allows for a richer character development. The Cheshire Cat was spot on perfect -- I loved his character. Johnny Depp was great as well. This is a must see on the big screen. The trailers for Clash of the Titans looked really interesting. Plus, TRON is coming out in December. A good year for movies!

Rules in Congress

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A sad but to the point comment from Alcee Lamar Hastings: From The Examiner:
Impeached Federal-Judge-now-Congressman Alcee Hastings says rules don�t count in passing Obamacare
Congressman Alcee Hastings is no stranger to controversy. After his appointment as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida by President Jimmy Carter, Hastings was arrested on charges of accepting a bribe from the Mafia. According to the indictment filed against him, the judge agreed to enter a judgment returning nearly $1 million forfeited to the government in exchange for a six figure payment. After a criminal trial in the Federal Court where he once presided, Hastings was found not guilty. His defense was that William Borders, a long-time friend and associate, had used Hastings� name without the judge�s knowledge to secure the bribe. However, that explanation found no favor within the ranks of the Federal judiciary or among members of Congress. Hastings was impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the U.S. Senate on the bribery charges, which resulted in his removal from office and disbarment. For his part, Borders refused to answer any questions about the matter either at Hastings� criminal trial or at the impeachment proceedings. He has remained silent on the affair to this day, was convicted of the bribery attempt, and was eventually pardoned by President Bill Clinton in his last day in office.

However, Hastings� checkered past did not become an impediment when he ran for office in South Florida�s 23rd congressional district. He was elected to Congress in 1992 and has represented that predominantly-African-American district for the past 18 years.

Today he is a prominent member of the Democrat leadership and sits in the powerful House Rules Committee. His comments made this morning in connection with the health care reform bill, scheduled to be voted on later tonight, provide a telling glimpse on the process which the Democrats have followed. In a nutshell, there are no rules. They make them up as they go along. Hastings� words follow:
He is also remembered fondly for this little gem:
"If Sarah Palin isn't enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention. Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through."
He was participating in a panel discussion sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council.

Good dog Victor

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Great story - from Seattle station KOMO:
Potential car-jacker messes with the wrong vehicle
A car-jacking suspect messed with the wrong vehicle Friday night in a Kirkland parking lot.

A pit bull rescued earlier from an illegal dog-fighting ring was sitting inside in the car - and that dog wasn't taking any more passengers.

The dog's foster mom, Amber Melena, explains what happened.

She says Victor the pit bull was due to be put down a few months ago after he and more than 20 other dogs were found living in horrific conditions - beaten, forced to fight and chained inside filthy kennels.

But a dedicated rescue group believed this dog could be saved and - after months of rehabilitation - placed him with Amber and her family.

On Friday night, Victor had a chance to return the favor in a grocery parking lot.

Amber says she stopped by the store on a routine shopping trip and brought 3-year-old Victor along for the ride.

"I opened the door like this and put the groceries in," she says.

"I was just reaching for my seatbelt, and right as I was turning to click it in, this door flew open. And he was just standing right there."

Amber found herself face-to-face with a possible car-jacker. The man spooked Victor, too - but the dog was quick to act.

"He turns around and lets out just this gigantic woof," says Amber. "And this man throws himself backwards, trips on himself and falls down."

Police later arrested the man. And thanks to Victor, Amber wasn't hurt.

She says Victor still bears the battle scars from being routinely beaten and forced to fight before he was saved last October from a dog-fighting ring in Graham.

"He's got tears inside his ears; his biggest one is the lip. This lip is supposed to be attached, not kind of poking out," Amber says.

Bullseye Dog Rescue and other shelter workers put the dogs through months of rehabilitation. Ultimately, most had to be put down.

"They didn't make it. They had some various behavioral problems ... because of the victims that they were, the cruelty they endured," says Lorrie Kalmbach of Bullseye Dog Rescue.

Victor was the exception - and Amber says he proved himself exceptional against the car-jacker.

She'd keep him if she could, but for now has agreed to be his foster mom until he can be placed.

"Bullseye has given him a second chance. I think he might have given me a second chance. He's definitely my hero," she says.

Victor and two other pit bulls named Hope and Phoenix have gone through months of rehabilitation and are ready and willing to be adopted into a good home.
What a sweet dog -- I am normally wary around bullies but that is a problem with the people that seek them out and "own" them more than the breed itself. If we didn't have other small critters here at the farm, I would not hesitate to file for adoption. Talk about a loyal and trusty companion for life... The agency's website is here: Bullseye Dog Rescue And Amber? Victor wants bacon and steak -- lots of bacon and steak...

The Gray Lady is outdoing herself these days -- not reporting on what is actual news and recycling dead stories from years ago as -- get this -- breaking news!

From the New York Times:

Academic Paper in China Sets Off Alarms in U.S.
It came as a surprise this month to Wang Jianwei, a graduate engineering student in Liaoning, China, that he had been described as a potential cyberwarrior before the United States Congress.

Larry M. Wortzel, a military strategist and China specialist, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 10 that it should be concerned because "Chinese researchers at the Institute of Systems Engineering of Dalian University of Technology published a paper on how to attack a small U.S. power grid sub-network in a way that would cause a cascading failure of the entire U.S."

When reached by telephone, Mr. Wang said he and his professor had indeed published "Cascade-Based Attack Vulnerability on the U.S. Power Grid" in an international journal called Safety Science last spring. But Mr. Wang said he had simply been trying to find ways to enhance the stability of power grids by exploring potential vulnerabilities.

"We usually say 'attack' so you can see what would happen," he said. "My emphasis is on how you can protect this. My goal is to find a solution to make the network safer and better protected." And independent American scientists who read his paper said it was true: Mr. Wang's work was a conventional technical exercise that in no way could be used to take down a power grid.

The difference between Mr. Wang's explanation and Mr. Wortzel's conclusion is of more than academic interest. It shows that in an atmosphere already charged with hostility between the United States and China over cybersecurity issues, including large-scale attacks on computer networks, even a misunderstanding has the potential to escalate tension and set off an overreaction.

Sigh... Large industrial systems are generally controlled with a computer protocol known as Supervisory, Control and Data Acquisition with the acronym of SCADA.

SCADA was never designed to operate over publicly accessible networks. There was never the idea that elements of computer security needed to be implemented or that rogue elements would try to hack SCADA systems and disable them.

That was then, this is now. The latest attempt was in 2008 and that involved social engineering (Hey. This is Joe from the main plant, I am at your site and I forgot the login to your system, could you read it back to me? I would sure hate to have to call my boss for this -- they would never let me live it down...) No damage was done, no power was lost.

There were some events in Brazil back in 2005 and 2007. I would assume that Brazil has now updated their SCADA software.

Bruce writes about a 2008 pronouncement:

Hacking Power Networks
The CIA unleashed a big one at a SANS conference:
On Wednesday, in New Orleans, US Central Intelligence Agency senior analyst Tom Donahue told a gathering of 300 US, UK, Swedish, and Dutch government officials and engineers and security managers from electric, water, oil & gas and other critical industry asset owners from all across North America, that "We have information, from multiple regions outside the United States, of cyber intrusions into utilities, followed by extortion demands. We suspect, but cannot confirm, that some of these attackers had the benefit of inside knowledge. We have information that cyber attacks have been used to disrupt power equipment in several regions outside the United States. In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities. We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet."

According to Mr. Donahue, the CIA actively and thoroughly considered the benefits and risks of making this information public, and came down on the side of disclosure.
I'll bet. There's nothing like an vague unsubstantiated rumor to forestall reasoned discussion. But, of course, everyone is writing about it anyway.

It is funny too as you look through the 'news' reports -- it is the same five or six voices proclaiming the danger. Wortzel and Donahue are the two most vocal these days. They are all consultants seeking money from the feds to make this non-problem go away.

Again, if someone does hack into some public utility, it will either be an inside job or it will be a case of social engineering. The core SCADA systems were brought up to date about ten years ago and there is no problem there. If anyone says there is a problem, they have ulterior motives (think: $$$$).

For the New York Times to fall for such an old and outdated rent-seeking scare is a shame and it greatly reflects on the problems with today's Main Stream Media and their public record of acuracy...

Well crap - 2010 Hurricane Predictions

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I was thinking that I had not seen Dr. Gray's 2010 hurricane predictions. They are available here as a downloadable PDF and the news is not that good:

1) Entire U.S. coastline - 64% (average for last century is 52%)

2) U.S. East Coast Including Peninsula Florida - 40% (average for last century is 31%)

3) Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville - 40% (average for last century is 30%)


1) 53% (average for last century is 42%)
Not horrible but not good either. Joe Bastardi weighs in from Accuweather:
2010 Hurricane Season Will Be More Active, Joe Bastardi Predicts Hurricane Center meteorologists, led by Chief Long-Range Meteorologist and Hurricane Forecaster Joe Bastardi, have released their early hurricane season forecast for the Atlantic Basin for 2010.

The forecast is calling for a much more active 2010 season with above-normal threats on the U.S. coastline.

"This year has the chance to be an extreme season," said Bastardi. "It is certainly much more like 2008 than 2009 as far as the overall threat to the United States' East and Gulf coasts."

Bastardi is forecasting seven landfalls. Five will be hurricanes, and two or three of the hurricanes will be major landfalls for the U.S.

He is calling for 16 to 18 tropical storms in total, 15 of which would be in the western Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico, and therefore a threat to land.

In a typical season, there are about 11 named storms, of which two to three impact the coast of the United States.
A lot of people will cry out that this is proof... PROOF that Global Warming is going to kill us all and we must DO something. The idea that the Earth enjoys a variable climate and has stormy years and not so stormy years is lost on them in their fever dreams.


Pot Roast turned out delicious. Easy to do and yields enough for eight or ten servings.

I really love working with Cast Iron. It is heavy but it heats really uniformly and despite the fact that while browning the meat, I had all sorts of stuff stuck to the bottom, this all came loose while cooking (contributing to the wonderful flavor). Cleanup is a wipedown with a paper towel and then it's off to the shelf until next time. You just have to make sure you season it properly. Lots of great instructions on how to do that are on the web.

Off to the DaveCave(tm) to check email.

Very interesting side-by-side look at Canadian finances with USA finances. From Mark Perry at The American:
Due North: Canada�s Marvelous Mortgage and Banking System
What about the Canadian banking system allowed it to survive the recent worldwide slowdown without a single bank failure? What can the United States learn from Canada about sound banking?

There were some significant differences between Canada and the United States during the recent financial crisis. In general, Canada�s banking system proved more prudent, more resilient, and much less prone to excesses. Taking a closer look at these differences might tell us how the United States got into the mess it is in, and illuminate some ideas for future reforms.
Mark then shows some very interesting data and continues:
And this recent financial crisis isn�t the first time that Canada�s banking system showed greater signs of stability and less exposure to stress than U.S. banks. In the 1930s, when 9,000 U.S. banks failed during the Great Depression, not a single bank in Canada failed. When almost 3,000 American banks failed during the Savings and Loan (S&L) Crisis, only two small Canadian banks failed in 1985, and those were the first bank failures in Canada since 1923. And while almost 200 U.S. banks have failed since the start of the global recession in early 2008, Canada remains the only industrialized country in the world that has survived the last two years of financial and economic stress without a single bank failure.

What about the Canadian banking system allowed it to survive the recent worldwide slowdown, and even the Great Depression, without a single bank failure, and what can the United States learn from Canada about sound banking? Below is a summary of some of the distinctly different features of Canada�s banks and mortgage markets discussed at the AEI seminar, which help explain the greater financial stress resiliency of Canadian banks compared to American banks.

1. Full Recourse Mortgages in Canada. Almost all Canadian mortgages are �full recourse� loans, meaning that the borrower remains fully responsible for the mortgage even in the case of foreclosure. If a bank in Canada forecloses on a home with negative equity, it can file a deficiency judgment against the borrower, which allows it to attach the borrower�s other assets and even take legal action to garnish the borrower�s future wages. In the United States, we have a mix of recourse and non-recourse laws that vary by state, but even in recourse states, the use of deficiency judgments to attach assets and garnish wages is infrequent. The full recourse feature of Canadian mortgages results in more responsible borrowing, fewer delinquencies, and significantly fewer foreclosures than in the United States.
Mark goes on to list seven other differences -- getting these implemented would be like pulling teeth without Novocaine as our current crop of bankers like the risk and money that can be made when playing with other people's money. You always have the option of pulling your money out of these banks and moving to a more prudent institution. Our personal and business accounts are at a local Credit Union and we are very happy with them.

Now this is strange

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Same thing happened to me in about two hours... From XKCD
I just wish it was not in the TEA Party. From The Nation:
Health Reform Foes Shout N-Word at Civil Rights Icon
As Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights movement veteran, was across from the Capitol Saturday when he heard a word that from his past.

White activists, associated with the so-called "Tea Party" movement, who had come to Capitol Hill to protest the anticipated passage of health-care reform legislation on Sunday, used the ugliest racist epithets to attack the man who marched at the side of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for daring to disagree with them.

Lewis was leaving the Cannon Office Building Saturday afternoon when a crowd of demonstrators descended on him, shouting obscenities and screaming, "Kill the bill, kill the bill."

Lewis responded, "I'm for the bill, I'm for the bill, I'm voting for the bill."

Then, according to Lewis and others who were present, the Tea Party crowd then started began shouting: "Kill the bill, n-----."

The incident, which took place not far from where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, was witnessed by other members of Congress and is being broadly reported by media outlets, including McClatchy Newspapers and Fox News.

Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, another member of the Congressional Black Caucus, was a few feet away when the white protesters began shouting the N-word.

"It was a chorus," said Cleaver, who was spit on by protesters. "In a way, I feel sorry for those people who are doing this nasty stuff -� they're being whipped up.. I decided I wouldn't be angry with any of them."

"It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean," said Lewis, who added that he was surprised and saddened that "people are so mean and we can't engage in a civil dialogue and debate."
That was sooo wrong on so many levels -- the actions of these one or two idiots made null and void the actions of a thousand The fact that they would go ahead and say this without realizing the impact it would have puts them into a category far below pond scum on the evolutionary scale. My profound apologies to all the wonderful pond scum out there whose name I have tarnished by mentioning them and those idiots in the same sentence. One thing does come to mind though -- what if those a@@holes were astroturfers from SEIU or other such pro-healthcare organization. After all, it isn't like they have done this before... Oh. Wait. From The Blog Prof:
BUSTED!: "Obama As Hitler" Poster Was A Democrat/Union Plant At John Dingell Townhall! UPDATED with video interview!
Watering the plants, as Glenn Reynolds would say. Nancy Pelosi, the dimmest bulb in the U.S. House, got things started with this absurd assertion last week:

Once she said this, all of a sudden Obama as Hitler posters started popping up at townhall meetings, particularly this one at John Dingell's townhall last Thursday:

Note the black man holding up the poster. This screenshot was used in reports by the MSM who painted the protesters as Nazis. Here's the thing, though - that black man is a Dingell supporter! Last Friday, Frank Beckmann on his show broadcast on WJR 760 AM interviewed an eyewitness that said not only were union thugs let in through a side door before anyone else was let into the venue, but that he clearly saw from his vantage point that very Obama as Hitler poster in that back hallway after the union thugs took their seats. The interview was around 11:00am, but WJR chose not to post that audio (they only tend to select one or two clips a day to post). I thought it would have been bigger news, and needed more than just that to write a post, albeit an audio clip would have partially sufficed. In any case, I've been scouring YouTube and the web for more info, and have finally found some. Here is one account that was posted Monday over at FreeRepublic:
A couple that were at Dingals TH meeting said there was a black man outside with a sign comparing Obama the Adolf Hitler. After the meeting ended and when everyone was leaving this same man was handing out Dingal campaign flyers.

Sorry no link, I'm on my Palm but maybe someone can download it from Fox and post the link.
If the link is out there, I haven't found it yet (**see update for footage**). The plant poster was used by the liberal media and the Soros-funded [see update#15] national blog the Daily Kos:
Before I had even parked the car, I saw a young African American guy carrying a 5-foot tall picture of President Obama with a Hitler mustache.
Game on.

The Huffington Post picked up on the poster as well:
As we neared the venue 30 minutes before it was scheduled to start, it was clear that the turnout was HUGE. Before I had even parked the car, we saw a young African American guy carrying a 5-foot tall picture of President Obama with a Hitler mustache.

This was just a foreshadowing of what was to come.
KG One over at RightMichigan had his suspicions regarding the Obama as Hitler poster. Here's one of the observations that KG listed in that post:
Dispatch a small number of your sycophants to intermingle with the crowd in order to provoke a reaction. Giving them conflicting information works to promote the above. This also works best when the local media finally get off of their sorry duff and appear at event.
This is nothing short of liberals watering the plants, albeit it is unclear whether they knew he was a plant at all. The media have been digging into the background of the father with a handicapped son that confronted Dingell at the event and was removed, but haven't, to the best of my knowledge, done a darned thing in regards to the plant! Typical.
More at the website -- it will be interesting to see who actually did what when videos surface as they eventually will...

Joe Biden opens mouth

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Also from Big Government -- this time Warner Todd Huston:
VP Biden Says Obama Plans to �Control Insurance Companies�
The indispensable Jake Tapper of ABC News took an interview with Vice President Joe �Foot in Mouth� Biden that contains a nugget of information that tends to prove that Barack Obama intends to destroy America�s insurance industry and place it under the full control of the federal government.

Tapper asked VP Biden what he�d been hearing from the members of the Democrat Congress that are vulnerable over this healthcare debate and Biden�s reply let slip the administrations ultimate goal; full government control of the insurance industry. (My bold)
BIDEN: Well, I yes. Some of them I say they say, well, Joe, look, man, I mean, you know, you guys haven�t massaged this very well. And, you know, this thing has gone on so long, I don�t know. And my response is, hey, man, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I�m telling you, you know, pre-existing, they�re going to be covered. You know we�re going to control the insurance companies.
Granted Joe Biden is the court jester of the Obama Administration. He is a fool of the highest order. It would be easy to dismiss his words. However, the idea that Obama wants to take full federal control of the insurance industry fits quite nicely with Obama�s claims as a candidate � that he was for a single payer plan all along.

Barack Obama fully intends to destroy the health insurance industry and replace it with a socialist nationalized healthcare program.
Color me surprised -- at least it is out in the open now although the stampede of the mainstream media to cover this is: ... ... crickets

And this generation shall be known as...

Heh -- from Susan Swift writing at Big Journalism:

Hello, Suckers! Happy Birthday to the Ponzi Generation
Greatest, Lost, Boomer, X, Next - names our society has conjured to describe particular generations. But what of the unborn future generations already burdened with the crushing financial tab of reckless government spending and redistribution of wealth?

Indulge me for suggesting a moniker for these unborn: the Ponzi Generation.

Right now we are witnessing America's ongoing conversion into a socialist society. Depending on the vote tomorrow in Congress, America risks modeling the disastrous behavior of EU nations currently wallowing in economic and social bankruptcy. Socialism, in the final analysis, is nothing more than a cruel pyramid scheme. Whether Healthcare or Social Security or other entitlement scheme, the original players (e.g. retirees in Social Security) receive the promised windfall of government largesse. How? Because succeeding generations of players (i.e. taxpayers) pay for it. Yet, as England's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher explained: "Socialist governments always run out of other people's money."

The liberals latest Grow-the-Government Ponzi scheme, like all others, is necessarily predicated on each succeeding generation being numerically larger - the expanding base of the pyramid - to pay the largesse of those in the higher levels. And ironically that is where socialist theory crashes headlong into reality.

Why? Because family size is shrinking. Socialists have assaulted the traditional family for decades. From Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's racist eugenics to the Zero Population Growth crowd, to government schools mocking chastity and morality, socialists have championed the exaltation of Self (which they say is incompatible with children or marriage) over selfless formation and nurturing of family. Children are expensive. Children are a nuisance. Children interfere with what really matters in life - you!

Heh - spot on! Already seeing it in Greece and Europe...

From The Hill:
Dems ditch 'deem and pass'
Top Democrats confirmed Saturday that the House would hold separate votes on the Senate healthcare bill and the reconciliation bill, making fixes to it.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), one of the chief deputy whips, Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.), and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), all of whom said that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) won't use the tactic of deem and pass for healthcare reform.

The move effectively kills the "deem and pass" strategy Democrats had been eyeing to make changes to the Senate bill through a rule on the bill, which at the same time would have deemed the original Senate healthcare bill to have passed the House.

The House appears set now to move toward an up-or-down vote on the Senate healthcare bill, as well as a separate, up-or-down vote on the series of changes to that bill. There will still be a vote on the rule, as there always is for a piece of legislation, though it will not package the two bills together.
Good to see some clearer heads out there but I really hope that this does not mean that Pelosi has enough votes...

A slow Saturday

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Spending a couple hours in the kitchen preparing a Pot Roast while listening to FOX News on the TV. The farm where we get our grass fed beef had a nice chuck roast so it came home with me a few days ago. Coated it with flour and brown in a cast-iron dutch oven, toss in a box of organic beef stock some chopped celery, two chopped onions and two cans of tomatoes. Bake at 350 for an hour and then add a couple handfuls of chopped carrots and Yukon Gold spuds for another hour and dinner will be ready. Yum!
An interesting dose of reality from a large corporation. From the Chicago Tribune:
Caterpillar: Health care bill would cost it $100M
Caterpillar Inc. said the health-care overhaul legislation being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives would increase the company's health-care costs by more than $100 million in the first year alone.

In a letter Thursday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio, Caterpillar urged lawmakers to vote against the plan "because of the substantial cost burdens it would place on our shareholders, employees and retirees."

Caterpillar, the world's largest construction machinery manufacturer by sales, said it's particularly opposed to provisions in the bill that would expand Medicare taxes and mandate insurance coverage. The legislation would require nearly all companies to provide health insurance for their employees or face large fines.

The Peoria-based company said these provisions would increase its insurance costs by at least 20 percent, or more than $100 million, just in the first year of the health-care overhaul program.

"We can ill-afford cost increases that place us at a disadvantage versus our global competitors," said the letter signed by Gregory Folley, vice president and chief human resources officer of Caterpillar. "We are disappointed that efforts at reform have not addressed the cost concerns we've raised throughout the year."
Emphasis mine -- the increase in overall taxes will happen but the benefits will not manifest until 2014 -- we will be paying increased costs for four years before we reap any of the benefits. This is to allow them to cook the books and make it appear revenue neutral over a ten year period. Thank you Caterpillar for coming forward with this -- citizens know this but we have no traction with our elected Representatives. Having a Corporation such as yours speak truth to power adds a much needed mass to our clue-bat.

Pelosi prays to Saint Joseph

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And The Anchoress delivers a righteous smackdown. The Anchoress writes at First Things and is a very devout Catholic.
Pelosi Dozen�t Know from St. Joseph
I�m sorry. Almost nothing that has come from this woman�s mouth has infuriated me like this.
This woman is a profound grotesque who gets virtually everything wrong here, from what feastday it is, to the kinds of Catholic religious sisters supporting her monster�s bastard of a bill.

Note, because it is important in the face of her stupidity, her mendacity, her slander and her willingness to use any-and-all means to achieve her ends, the Catholic sisters who vehemently oppose this health care bill, and are not considered news-worthy by the media, or relevant by this glammed-up guttersnipe, Pelosi.

First off, Nancy, this is not the feastday of �St. Joseph the Worker.� That feast day is May 1, and it is a simple (and optional) memorial. TODAY is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, in his role as the Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Provider and Guardian for the Child Jesus. A solemnity is not an optional feastday, and Pelosi, who was educated by religious sisters and went to a Catholic college, should know that.

Her ignorance is almost sublime. �Italian Americans� certainly do honor St. Joseph, but they do not �pray� to him. They ask him to pray for them, before the Throne of his most holy and almighty step-son, the Christ.

It is highly doubtful that St. Joseph, who was faced with an unimaginable event, one fraught with challenges, things unknown, social questions, difficulties and sacrifice, would be a happy endorser of a �life-affirming health care� bill that includes the federal-funding of abortions, sterilizations, contraception � undoubtedly, down the road- euthanasia.

In her upside-down world, Pelosi may think that this monstrosity she is laboring so mightily to deliver is �life-affirming;� that is because she is -- like so many of her generation -- unable to imagine life after her own. It takes a �my life right now is more important than any future life� mentality to be this committed to abortion, and to insuring that every means of preventing or ending life, at every stage, is introduced into the public mind as a Godly and enviable thing. It takes a mind that willfully misunderstand the nature of both light and life, as taught by the Church she professes to love, to stand there with a smug, �unicorns and rainbows� demeanor and spout these deceitful platitudes that are not grounded in any sort of reality.

I am disgusted to see this woman -in the same remarks where she sullies a Catholic saint and thumbs her nose at Catholic understanding, to then giddily talk about how she and her cohorts have deployed children �children as young as six, talking about what health care means to them� as propaganda shields.

This video makes me want to vomit. I try not to hate anyone, but this woman is tempting me mightily.
This is only about half of her post. Well worth reading (the 100+ comments too)...

Off to a party

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Some friends of ours are having a spring party -- big potluck with a band and a local brewpub is bringing a keg. We will be hading heading over there in an hour or so -- should be fun! Bringing a couple pounds of shrimp and my Tactical Nuclear seafood sauce. Now I have to get some hay out to the Llamas, Sheep and Goats -- the grass is growing again but not enough to keep their bellies full...
Madoff was either beaten up or not beaten up. From the Wall Street Journal:
Madoff Beaten in Prison
Bernard Madoff, who is serving a 150-year sentence in North Carolina for running a fraud scheme that cost investors billions of dollars, was physically assaulted by another inmate in December, according to three people familiar with the matter.

After the attack, Mr. Madoff, who pleaded guilty a year ago and was sent to a federal prison in Butner, N.C., was moved on Dec. 18 to the prison's low-security medical center for treatment. At the time, the Bureau of Prisons said that rumors of an assault were false and that Mr. Madoff suffered from dizziness and hypertension.

One of his lawyers, Ira Sorkin, added at the time that Mr. Madoff was experiencing high blood pressure and heart palpitations. Mr. Sorkin declined to comment Wednesday on whether his client was beaten, saying, "I don't comment on prison conditions or his family. That has been my policy."
And how do you treat hypertension?
Mr. Madoff was treated for a broken nose, fractured ribs and cuts to his head and face, according to a felon currently at Butner serving time on drug charges who was familiar with his condition at the time. The details of the injuries couldn't be independently verified.
And the (probable) reason:
The former inmate said the dispute centered on money the assailant thought he was owed by Mr. Madoff.
Got milk running out of my nose on that one -- owed by Mr. Madoff? Why Mr. Madoff would never hold onto anyone's money. Enjoy your life Bernie -- this is your reality for the rest of it...

A Tea Party

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Being that the healthcare bill is going to be rammed through the House of Representatives this coming Sunday and being that our own Representative has expressed from the outset that he will be voting yes (parts of this state are strongly union), about 300-400 people gathered outside of his office this afternoon from Noon through 1:00PM. There was one guy holding a "no $ for war" sign but he left after 15 minutes that was it for the "opposition". People walking by were very interested and very surprised when they heard the actual procedures being attempted. A lot of people are just thinking "Healthcare = good" and "Yes, any political process will have compromises and paybacks" but when you talk to someone who hasn't really explored the facts, they become quite amazed and curious. There was one school-yard bully who drove past yelling that we were all idiots and he gave us the finger but he didn't stop for any reasoned debate; he was just the political version of a feces flinging monkey... Pictures will be posted soon -- they are planning another event tomorrow, same place, same time. Our local radio station had a small writeup. Our local newspaper did not but they did have a reporter there interviewing people and taking photographs so it's probably just not online as yet...

A very busy day

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No posting tonight -- one of our employees is out of town and we were unable to get anyone to fill her evening shift. Jen was at work in the morning -- Thursday is when we get all of our deliveries so it's a bit hectic. I had to run into town to see to my Dad (he was running a slight fever and had the sniffles), I also picked up some more of the grass-fed beef from a local rancher (wonderful stuff -- the difference between this and commercial beef is night and day and the price is not that much higher). I got back to the store around five and the two of us proceeded to close the place down. Just got in the house -- headed off to the DaveCave(tm) and then to bed. Attending a rally tomorrow morning at the Bellingham office of my local Representative (as if) so that should be interesting. The idea that they are circumventing the Constitutional procedure to ram healthcare through on a Sabbath Day in Lent beggars belief -- how tone deaf are these people.

An honest politician

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is someone who, when bought, stays bought. From the National Republican Congressional Committee:
Code Red Moves Cardoza and Costa to �Yes� Votes on Gov�t Healthcare Takeover After Water Deal
Is this Another Backroom Deal to Force Obama�s Bill Down the American People�s Throats?

As a vote approaches on Obama and Pelosi�s government takeover of healthcare, Code Red is now considering two supposedly �undecided� California Democrats, Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa, to now be �yes� votes.

The U.S. Department of Interior announced yesterday that it is increasing water allocations for the Central Valley of California, a region that depends on these water allocations to support local agriculture and jobs. The region has recently been starved for water and as a result unemployment has soared. Not surprisingly, Cardoza and Costa had a hand in the announcement:
�Typically, Reclamation would release the March allocation update around March 22nd, but moved up the announcement at the urging of Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and Congressmen Costa and Cardoza.�(�Interior Announces Increased Water Supply Allocations in California,� U.S. Department of Interior news release, 3/16/10)
Will Cardoza and Costa come clean about this apparent backroom deal for their votes?
They do need the water but this is a shitty way to get it...
C-SPAN just opened the doors to their film library. From their about page:
The C-SPAN Archives records, indexes, and archives all C-SPAN programming for historical, educational, research, and archival uses. Every C-SPAN program aired since 1987, now totaling over 160,000 hours, is contained in the C-SPAN Archives and immediately accessible through the database and electronic archival systems developed and maintained by the C-SPAN Archives.

The Archives records all three C-SPAN networks seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Programs are extensively indexed making the database of C-SPAN programming an unparalleled chronological resource. Programs are indexed by subject, speaker names, titles, affiliations, sponsors, committees, categories, formats, policy groups, keywords, and location. The congressional sessions and committee hearings are indexed by person with full-text. The video collection can be searched through the online Video Library.
Should be some gems here -- a great resource for political historians.

A food dare - Satan's Ashes

Meet The Chili Pepper Company.

They are in England and package various chili products including this one:

(sorry for poor image quality
vendor only had thumbnails available)

Yes, you read it correctly -- Satan's Ashes and from their website:

Satan's Ashes
The Hottest Curry Dish In The World

A combination of exotic spices from around the world with a special blend of some of the hottest chillies there are. This is the first curry to be tested as the hottest in the world.

Satan's Ashes has a fantastic tongue burning heat that will make your tongue feel like it is melting!!!

Well, with a dare like that, some chicken curry was made (and eaten) by these guys:

Yesterday I decided to make the world's hottest curry using a spice mix with the endearingly juvenile name Satan's Ashes.

Satan's Ashes are comprised of the usual things you might expect in a quality curry powder: Garam Masala, Cumin and so on but also the Dorset Naga chilli (880,000 on the Scoville scale), the Naga Morich (953,721 on the Scoville scale) and the infamous Bhut Jolokia which - at 1,001,304 Scoville units is the world's hottest chilli pepper. To put that into some kind of context, that makes the Bhut Jolokia over 100 times hotter than a Jalapeno, 20 times hotter than a Tobasco pepper and 3 times hotter than a Scotch Bonnet.

In India, Bhut Jolokia is smeared on fences to repel elephants. This noxious, possibly poisonous substance which even elephants have no truck with, was precisely what I intended to put in my mouth and eventually pass out of my arse.

Now before I proceed with a full pictorial account of the entire sorry affair I would like to establish my Scoville-endurance credentials somewhat. I'm no stranger to spicy foods, particularly curry. I don't find a Madras to be particularly spicy, I can handle a Vindaloo without too much difficulty and on one memorable occasion I ate a Chicken Phaal without having to go to the hospital afterwards.

Satan's Ashes are however a different matter...

The author documents the preparation of the curry and it's first taste test:

Here's the finished product served with a garlic and coriander naan and basmati rice. Note the tray which I nicked from McDonalds. You may at this point wish to assemble your taste-testers and hope that they're a little less disappointing than mine. My girlfriend (not pictured) tried two grains of rice with a little sauce and squealed in pain. My Dad managed one grain of rice with the lightest smear of sauce on it and immediately had to retire for an infusion of milk.

And most of the way through:

And that's me done. I've eaten the meat and the sauce but I just feel too sick and genuinely frightened to eat the last of the rice. At this point my eyes and nose are streaming and my hearing has partially gone. When something is so spicy that it deafens you, it's time to quit. But wait...

I wonder what Bruce Cameron would think...

Fun stuff - becoming an ISP

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Verizon sent me an email. Because I am getting a T1, I am now an official "Enterprise Level" customer. Their support website is actually very cool with a lot of user account and support tools that you mere mortals never get to play with... Meeting with the other Water Board this coming Monday and should be ordering the second T1 the next day. I have used Deliberant stuff before and am very happy with them -- looks like I will be placing a couple $K order with them in the next 30 days or so...

Team Rubicon - an analysis

One of the first groups into Haiti was Team Rubicon:

What We Do
We are the new face of disaster response. We bridge the gap between catastrophe and large-scale response, utilizing flat command structures, social networking technology, and simple decision making processes. We don't wait for ideal situations to develop, we make dysfunctional situations ideal.

We are men and women not satisfied with standing on the sidelines. We believe that inaction is not an option; that our skills are needed, and that Team Rubicon is a model for delivering them. We are 21st century "Medical Minutemen."

We are capable of doing MORE with LESS. We are self-sustaining, self-reliant and self-deploying. We bring only what we need, deploying rapidly to where we are needed. We arrive on-site, identify problems, create solutions and GET THE JOB DONE.

We are doctors, firefighters, medics, nurses, physician assistants and military veterans.

We are Team Rubicon.

What they do not say is that the majority of the Doctors are Military and therefore expert in Triage -- something that is dearly needed when a disaster like this hits. They also have the logistics, training and experience to deliver a 40-bed inflatable hospital into the middle of Haiti when other aid organizations and caregivers are stacked up at a ruined airport and harbor (TR went into the Dominican Republic and drove to Haiti).

Writing in Emergency Physicians Monthly, Dr. Mark Plaster writes of his experiences and what he learned -- an excellent read:

Nine Things I Learned in Haiti
by Mark Plaster, MD

Problem: If EPs wait for big organizations to act, they will miss their real need.

As soon as I saw the scale of disaster in Haiti I knew I wanted to respond. But because I was on the West Coast, I was unprepared to respond to the Navy's call to join the USNS Comfort. I then wasted a week looking for another group, finally joining Team Rubicon, an NGO that had only been formed the week prior by people like me who just wanted to do something.

Take Home: If you want to be able to respond in the first wave of relief, have a relationship with a team of like-minded individuals or an organization that is ready to respond on a moment's notice.

The other eight are at EP -- an excellent read and a good look at the new face of charity.

Reptiles in business suits

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So I show up at this meeting for CDL Services -- turns out the attendant had gotten the name wrong, they are based out of Portland, OR. It was in a room with about 30 very old people. The presenter at the front had an overhead projector and was running through filling out the paperwork and guiding them (if you don't remember this, just put a check mark in the box). The use of the overhead was brilliant as that was technology the people would be familiar and feel comfortable. A powerpoint presentation with a video projector would have alienated them. I had my Canon G11 around my neck operating in Video record mode so I'll see what I got later tonight. I also had a small voice recorder running as the camera doesn't do sound that well. I stood in the doorway for about 30 seconds and a somewhat younger guy (very muscular) in a business suit blocked my view of the proceedings and asked what I was doing. I replied that my Dad had been called by these people and that he was specifically on the Federal do-not-call list. The bouncer walked me out, handed me a business card and told me to call the number on the card. I will be doing this tomorrow. I will post more including the name of business and whatever else I can dig up -- people like this should not be predating on the elderly and infirm.

That is it for the night

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Off to the DaveCave(tm) to see what the email faeries have drug in. Full day tomorrow -- I am planning to go to the CDL Services Financial Planning meeting and see what it is all about. Preying on old and mentally challenged people is not a good thing.

It senses its demise

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Funny, now that I am actively writing about ditching WildBlue and getting a bunch of my neighbors to do the same by offering superior service at half the price, the performance of the satellite has dropped to abysmal. Still better than dial-up but not by much. Nothing I can point a finger at but just sayin'

Idiot in jail, still an idiot

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From the Orlando Sentinel:
Osceola inmate busted after authorities say he told mom where to find drug stash
Even ex-cons tell their moms too much over the phones at the Osceola County Jail.

Take the case of Franco Mayernik. Shortly after he was busted last week on drug-trafficking charges, Mayernik called home and talked his way into another set of drug charges, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office said.

Jails across Florida record every inmate phone call. Inmates know it because there's a warning at the beginning of every call.

But the 300-pound convicted robber with tattoos of guns and "White Boy" on his tummy apparently didn't pay attention.

"I listened to the phone conversation and heard his mother ask him if he left anything at Spank's house," a detective wrote in his arrest report, mentioning a St. Cloud residence where Mayernik had been arrested late Thursday. "Franco told his mother he left two ounces of powder in the cushion on the couch. �Powder' is street terminology for cocaine."
I bet that is one proud Mom...
Had to run into town to get some parts for a project at the store. Came back out here and went to that Chamber meeting at the nearby town. The general feeling out here is that despite the "buzz" surrounding the whole Rural Broadband campaign; nothing will actually happen out in our community. Hell, I am still pissed at Bill Clinton and Congress for not sticking to their guns on the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and allowing over three billion dollars of our money to be pissed away by the large Telcos with nothing to show for it. This is just the same bullshit repackaged into a $20B box. Talking about odd Telco tariffs -- anyone remember this story: here, here and here? Anyway, people were very interested and I am going back next Monday for the water board (their board, not the one I am serving on) meeting as that is the entity that actually owns the building. The model I am looking at is MAIN.NC. With the possibility of low-power FM stations being allowed again, this is a fun time to be up here...

Off for the evening

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Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) There is a lot of moisture in the air -- it is going to dump rain and dump soon. Need to retrieve a book from my library out there -- one of our employees is studying waste water management and I have a copy of my old Standard Methods from when I was in school. I also have a later copy (the 1989 17th Edition) as that was the last year that they went through the actual labwork and didn't depend on fancy equipment. From their website:
About Standard Methods
Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater was first published in 1905. Since that time, and through 20 editions, Standard Methods has included hundreds of analytical techniques for the determination of water quality.
I was studying Marine Bio and Physical Oceanography in college and this was one of the primary references for doing any kind of analytical water quality work.

Wonderful artwork - Alexa Meade

A fascinating idea perfectly executed. She paints her subjects -- I mean actually paints them -- with acrylic and then poses them in either painterly or realistic settings. The overall effect is a delight. From My Modern Met:

Hyper-Realistic Acrylic Body Painting
Alexa Meade thinks completely backwards. Most artists use acrylic paints to create portraits of people on canvas. But not Meade - she applies acrylic paints on her subjects and makes them appear to be a part of the painting!

Meade is an installation artist based in the Washington, DC area. Her background in the world of Political Communications has fueled her intellectual interest in the tensions between perception and reality.

Her innovative use of paint on the three dimensional surfaces of found objects, live models, and architectural spaces has been incorporated into a series of installations that create a perceptual shift in how we experience and interpret spatial relationships.

Here are two of her paintings:



Her personal website is here: Alexa Meade Would not mind having a print of hers hanging in the DaveCave(tm)

Heh... From the San Francisco Chronicle:

No more Mr. Brown Eye
I've always had dogs with long, straight tails that conveniently keep their more "unsightly" parts under wraps. But for pets with stubby, curly-cue or non-existent nubs, there's Rear Gear to the rescue.
Rear Gear is a decorative cover for your dog's, cat's (or ferret's) um, anus. There, I said it.

For all of you news junkies out there, I realize that Rear Gear has been on the scene for several months, but it wasn't until this weekend that I witnessed a real-live pooch sporting one (in the disco-ball design) at Dolores Park. I tried to snap a picture, but the little guy tore off at lightning speed as soon as I managed to fish my iPhone out of my bag - I can only imagine his humiliation.

Previously, I thought of these as a kind of "pet product mythology" - and the perfect gag gift for your friend who almost didn't get a dog because of the pooper-scooper factor. But no. Rear Gear is real. In the word's of the product's founder:
Is your pet feeling left in the dirt because of his/her unsightly rear? I've got them covered... Rear Gear is handmade in Portland, OR and offers a cheerful solution to be-rid your favorite pet's un-manicured back side.

Yup - Portland, the other bastion of wackiness on the Left Coast (with Eugene and Arcata coming in wackier but much smaller population). Available on etsy 100+ comments available at the Chronic -- fun reading!

Awwww crap - RIP He Pingping

Worlds shortest man. From AOL News:
World's Shortest Man Dies
He Pingping, the world's shortest man, has died. He was 21.

The cherub-faced, 2-foot-5-inch Guinness World Record holder was in Rome for a TV show when he complained of chest pains. He was admitted to a hospital two weeks ago and died Saturday of what Guinness describes as "heart complications."
Here he is with two other Guinness Record-holders:
Svetlana Pankratova from Spain with longest legs

Chao (almost) tallest man at eight feet (a Ukrainian just beat him by five inches)
"From the moment I laid eyes on him, I knew he was someone special," said Guinness World Records editor-in-chief Craig Glenday.

Combine an excellent machinist, a sense of humor and a fondness for odd machinery and paintball guns and you come up at Doc's.

Check out: Doc's Machine

A lot of fun stuff, observations, cartoons, etc...

Was in a meeting with someone today and then have been spending the afternoon installing and playing with Centos 5.4 64-bit on a small machine that I will be using as server.

Meeting tomorrow with a local Chamber of Commerce regarding using their building for an access point for step two of the broadband rollout.

Have a couple grass-fed T-Bone steaks thawing out so dinner will be good. Firing up the grill for the first time this year.

Filling a void - Iraqi food

Wonderful story -- from the Wall Street Journal:

Shawarma, Ready-to-Eat: Arab Cuisine Invades Camp Pendleton
Denise Hazime, a Muslim woman, contacted food services officials here last July with what she thought might sound like a preposterous proposal: She wanted to open an Arabic food stand on the largest Marine base on the West Coast.

It turned out to be an appetizing idea. Marines returning from Iraq and the Persian Gulf were pining for pita, according to focus-group surveys conducted on the base.

Last month, Ms. Hazime and her husband, a Marine veteran, opened "Dede Med's Shawarma House" - the first Arabic food stand on a base with a daytime population of 60,000 hungry Marines and civilians.

Minutes after the place opened, Travis Post, a Marine captain from Oklahoma who had been stationed in Iraq for seven months, pulled up in his car. "So you've really got shawarma back there?" Mr. Post asked, referring to the spicy grilled meat sandwich popular throughout the Middle East.

"You want one?" asked Ms. Hazime's husband, Crisantos Hajibrahim, who was working the cash register.

"Heck, yeah!" Mr. Post responded. While training Iraqi police, he had shared meals with locals daily. "There was a lot of lamb in my life," he says.

As Mr. Post grabbed his $7 sandwich and walked away, he yelled,"You'll see me next week."

For decades, American troops have been on the front lines of foreign cuisine, sampling exotic foods during even the most dangerous conflicts.

Since 2001, more than 2 million military service members have been deployed to the Middle East. While many take their meals on U.S. bases there that serve American-style food, those sent to villages and neighborhoods quickly learn about lamb, flat bread, and the ubiquitous chickpea. In the Middle East, shared meals are often a key part of forming bonds and winning trust.

"They're deploying to that part of the world and they're developing a taste for that kind of product," says Lane Jones, Camp Pendleton's director of community services.

Camp Pendleton - a sprawling, 125,000 acre base 38 miles from downtown San Diego, had already been expanding its cuisine, adding Mexican, Chinese and soul-food places. But Ms. Hazime's shawarma stand is a more delicate proposition than the base's planned opening of a Panda Express selling Americanized Chinese food.

"This is not about war. This is not about politics. This is about shawarma," said Ms. Hazime. "And falafel," she said, referring to the fried chickpea patties, a big part of the cuisine.

Very cool -- wonderful food. When I used to work at Microsoft, they would have guest chefs visit on a rotating basis and there was one who did wonderful Middle Eastern food. We are fortunate to have an excellent M.E. stand in Bellingham as well as three very good Greek restaurants.

I love her quote: "This is not about politics. This is about shawarma," said Ms. Hazime. And falafel"

High geekdom here -- on March 15th, 1985, the company Symbolics registered - the first registered Internet Domain Name.


Happy Birthday to the .com!
25 years ago, today, the Internet received its first .com registration, when the Symbolics Computer Company registered

Nearly 200,000,000 registrations later, the Internet thrives as the world's network for entertainment and business.

Very cool -- I remember sitting in my favorite coffeehouse in Seattle when a guy I knew from the UW Physics department came wandering in looking at a printout and saying that this was really cool. It was Tim Berners Lee's original proposal from 1989 for the World Wide Web.

There is also this website:

That;s it for the night

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Working on some stuff out in the DaveCave(tm)
The guy who drove his Prius at 91MPH down the San Diego freeway should have realized that they were going to go over the car with a fine-toothed comb. From Reuters:
Investigation questions Prius driver's story: report
A federal investigation of the Toyota Prius involved in a dramatic incident on a California highway last week found a pattern of wear on the car's brakes that raises questions about the driver's account of the event, the Wall Street Journal said in its online edition on Sunday.

The driver, James Sikes, called 911 and told the operator his Prius had sped up to more than 90 miles per hour on its own, on Interstate 8 near San Diego. During and after the incident, 61-year-old Sikes told authorities he had used heavy pressure on his brake pedal at high speeds, the WSJ site said.

"But the investigation of the vehicle, carried out jointly by safety officials ... didn't find signs the brake had been applied at full force at high speeds over a sustained period of time," the Journal said, citing three people familiar with the investigation.
Of course, the fact that Sikes and his wife had declared bankruptcy in 2008 and was, today, over $700,000 in debt had nothing to do with this incident. Involved in the pron bidness too...

A fun Saturday night

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Looks like a fun time was planned in Sandy, Oregon. From Portland station KGW:
U.S.26 traffic stop yields guns, machete, rum, clown mask
Three men were under arrest after a traffic stop on U.S. 26 yielded two handguns, marijuana, five knives, a machete, stun gun, handcuffs, a bail bondsman badge, an open container of Captain Morgan rum and one clown mask.

Two troopers pulled over the eastbound car near Brightwood Friday afternoon after motorists called 9-1-1 to report that men inside a car were flashing a police badge to get through traffic. The car was a 1999 police model Ford Crown Victoria with Washington plates.

Police also found Washington bail bond badge in the car.

Driver Joseph H. Maillous, 55, was cited for unlawful possession of a firearm and open container of alcohol in a vehicle. Passenger Daniel J. Tighe, 31, was cited for unlawful possession of a firearm. A second, unnamed passenger was cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and failure to use safety restraints.
Quite the party - photo courtesy the Oregon State Parks

Senator Ditka?

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From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Ditka glad he turned down 2004 bid against Obama
Mike Ditka says he has no regrets about passing up Republican Party overtures to run against Barack Obama for U.S. Senate in 2004.

Da Coach said he thought about it for perhaps two days before declining.

"The hypocrisy of both parties" is what annoys him about politics, he told the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post last week at an event for the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.

"You're not there to represent a party, a special interest. You're there to represent America, the people that elected you. They don't do that. I'm sorry, they don't do it! And you can't make all these promises when you're a candidate, and none of them happen."
I could think of a lot worse cantidate for Senator. Given Obama's thirst for power and given the quiet backing he had and the dirty tricks he played getting Senator Ryan out of the picture it would have been quite the interesting race. I don't think Ditka would roll over and play quiet...

Heh - say buh-bye to Senator Boxer

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It will be interesting to have Carly in the Senate - she certainly turned HP around in a very good way. Now let's see what she can do for the Republic...

Finding old tech - small LCD monitors

Putting together the prototype head end equipment for the new ISP project.

Got some nice racking, the server and a couple UPS power supplies to run everything. I will probably use CentOS 64-bit as it has an excellent track record, just not the paid support that Red Hat Enterprise Linux has.

Been trying to find a small 1024x768 monitor -- found a nice 9" unit at NewEgg but it was $160 and was designed to be used as an auxiliary monitor under Windows for email or IM. Interface was through a mini-USB port so it could not be used as a primary monitor. Everything else is 17" or larger. I can use a 17" but do not want to. I'll keep digging...

Good news on the Educational Front - Texas

From the New York Times:

Texas Conservatives Win Curriculum Change
After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers' commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

The vote was 10 to 5 along party lines, with all the Republicans on the board voting for it.

The board, whose members are elected, has influence beyond Texas because the state is one of the largest buyers of textbooks. In the digital age, however, that influence has diminished as technological advances have made it possible for publishers to tailor books to individual states.

In recent years, board members have been locked in an ideological battle between a bloc of conservatives who question Darwin's theory of evolution and believe the Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles, and a handful of Democrats and moderate Republicans who have fought to preserve the teaching of Darwinism and the separation of church and state.

And one change near and dear to my heart:

In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word "capitalism" throughout their texts with the "free-enterprise system."

Must be fun to sit in on those meetings! Good to hear that some rational thought and care for the children is seeping into the political swamp. Hopefully, this will trickle up to collegiate level...

Heh -- sometimes reading between the lines is a lot clearer than reading something at face value. From The Washington Post:
Obama proposes 'No Child' overhaul
President Obama proposed overhauling the No Child Left Behind law that was his predecessor's hallmark education initiative, aiming to eliminate several of the measure's controversial mandates on public schools but adding new ones.
And the money quote:
The proposal would authorize $29 billion in aid for schools, a 16 percent increase. Most of the new money would be delivered through competitive grants, rather than formulas that would spread it more evenly among states.

"Schools that achieve excellence or show real progress will be rewarded," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, "and local districts will be encouraged to commit to change in schools that are clearly letting their students down."

The president telegraphed his position on a stringent accountability policy March 1 when he expressed support for a decision to fire the staff of a struggling high school in Rhode Island, enraging teachers unions. However, Obama pledged in the Saturday address to treat teachers "like the professionals they are."

Teachers union leaders reacted skeptically.

Obama's plan "appears to place 100 percent of responsibility on educators and gives them zero percent authority," Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said after being briefed by administration officials.
Emphasis mine. We really need to break the vicious cycle between the Democratic Government and the Unions. The Unions bargain with the Democratic politicians at every level and say, basically, the following: "Give us these benefits and we will vote for you en bloc." This keeps the Democrats in power. Unfortunately, neither side will own up to the fact that the pensions and benefits awarded are vastly larger than the wages earned and the contributions made by the union rank and file. This is all a Ponzi scam to keep the Union officials and the Democratic politicians in office and the bubble is starting to burst big-time... Now that the teachers may find themselves fired for poor performance or find their benefits up for re-negotiation, they are a bit more than skeptical. Heh...
Whole lotta FAIL going on -- clicked and blocked about 30 spam this morning and went into town this afternoon. Sitting down to a late dinner and found another 20 or so. All of them failed. Not one of them even came close. Those that weren't listed in the Black Hole database tripped the script.
Logged in to find close to 30 attempts at comment spam. None of them were successful. The majority are coming in from IP addresses that are already registered in the Black Hole database for known spam sources. Looks like your pool of zombie machines is getting a little old... The comments coming in would have been tossed into moderation anyway; the IP address is checked first as that gets rid of the low hanging fruit and cuts CPU cycles on my server.

Sean Penn - even classier

He may be great in front of a camera but when he steps off the set, he is an asshat of epic proportions.

From Yeas & Nays (The Washington Examiner's blog):

Yeas & Nays reporter booted from Sean Penn event
A Yeas & Nays reporter was publicly berated and threatened to be escorted out by police on Thursday night when the reporter asked actor Sean Penn a controversial question about his humanitarian work in Haiti.

Penn, who recently has been criticized for his motivations in helping to rebuilding Haiti, recently told CBS News he hopes his critics "die screaming of rectal cancer."

Members of the media were invited to a gala hosted at the Washington Hebrew Congregation and were allowed to ask one question each of the actor in a closed-door news briefing.

When the Yeas & Nays reporter asked, "How have you seen your critics change since you mentioned that they should die of rectal cancer?" publicity coordinator C.J. Jordan interrupted to say the reporter was only allowed to talk about the Haitian benefit.

"You know, I think that you are investing in a culture that I am not interested in. And you should go your way," Penn said to the reporter, when she said her question was related to his involvement in Haiti.

Jordan ended the interview, and publicly scolded the reporter outside of the media room. Jordan told the reporter that to keep her job, she needed to write a letter of apology to the Haitian ambassador. The publicity coordinator then threatened to have the reporter escorted out of the building by the police.

"You desecrated this sacred place," Jordan said.

The congregation's Rabbi Bruce Lustig attempted to take the reporter's recording device and delete the material. The reporter was approached by police and threatened to be escorted out, even though she responded calmly and exited quickly.

If you cannot stand the heat.

C.J. Jordan seems to be a real pratt as well. I love the bit about: "congregation's Rabbi Bruce Lustig attempted to take the reporter's recording device and delete the material" -- that is freedom of MY speech, not freedom of YOUR speech. You don't agree with me so I get to use my bullhorn and drown you out. La la la la la la la la la la la la...

Finally. From the LA Times:
'Vaccines court' rejects mercury-autism link in 3 test cases
The finding supports a broad scientific consensus that the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal does not cause autism, and will likely disappoint parents who are convinced otherwise.

Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles The federal "vaccines court" ruled Friday in three separate cases that the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal does not cause autism, a finding that supports the broad scientific consensus on the matter but that greatly disappointed parents who are convinced that their child's illness was caused by vaccines.

The court had ruled 13 months ago that a combination of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, commonly known as the MMR vaccine, and thimerosal does not cause the disorder, so the new ruling may finally close the bulk of litigation on the matter. The earlier ruling has been appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and this one most likely will be also, but most experts think the court will uphold the decision.

A claim that the MMR vaccine alone causes autism has been withdrawn by parents.

More than 5,300 parents had filed claims with the vaccines court, a branch of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, seeking damages because they believed their children had developed autism as a result of vaccinations. And they reacted bitterly to Friday's ruling.

"Find me another industry where the U.S. government defends their product in court and funds the science that exonerates them," said J.B. Handley, a founder of Generation Rescue in Sherman Oaks and father of a child with autism. "The average citizen has no hope."

The cases that three judges, called special masters, chose to rule on as test cases were considered among the strongest, so the outlook appears grim for others making the same claim. Each ruled on one case.

Special Master Denise K. Vowell wrote in one of the decisions that "petitioners propose effects from mercury in [vaccines] that do not resemble mercury's known effects in the brain, either behaviorally or at the cellular level. To prevail, they must show that the exquisitely small amounts of mercury in [vaccines] that reach the brain can produce devastating effects that far larger amounts experienced prenatally or postnatally from other sources do not."

She also dismissed claims that some groups of children are unusually susceptible to the effects of mercury. "The only evidence that these children are unusually sensitive is the fact of their [autism] itself."

In a separate ruling, Special Master George L. Hastings wrote: "This case . . . is not a close case. The overall weight of the evidence is overwhelmingly contrary to the petitioners' causation theories."
My heart goes out to the parents of Autistic children but it is awesome that this trope has been squashed for good. The initial Wakefield paper was a piece of stunningly bad labwork with a sample size of twelve children. (here, here and especially here) That got the snowball rolling and nobody ever bothered to check the facts, they just plastered their own anecdotal data to the original Wakefield paper and kept on rolling downhill getting bigger and bigger. Good riddance to bad science!

We have a comment - Cool photographs found

I posted about the article in the UK Telegraph earlier today and it gathered this wonderful comment:
Thanks so much for picking up on the Telegraph item. I am the curator for the exhibition and I hope that the folks at the Experience Music Museum in Seattle will want to have the exhibition there next year. Drop them a line! The photographer was born in Brooklyn, and in 1968 headed north to Montreal where Life assigned him to cover the story. He spent the last 30 years of his life on the West Coast working and living aboard the MV Luigi. I have a book which is on Amazon and Indigo - Give Peace A Chance: John and Yoko's Bed-in for Peace 1969 (Wiley) by Joan Athey. Yes - as you observe, an interesting time in OUR history. And the message of peace even more relevant today. Cheers!
The website is here: Peace Works Now A quick heads up to whomever runs the site. My laptop is set at 1600X900 resolution and the left menu bar is badly clipped. It is usable but barely. (running 64-bit Vista with all the updates)
Quite the trip down memory lane. It is also a lot of fun to see the early Electronic News Gathering equipment in use -- the black and white camcorders that weighed 40 pounds and were tethered to a 70 pound "suitcase"

Friends in high places - Sean Penn

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Sean Penn is a useful idiot and gets thanked for it. From the Associated Press:
Chavez thanks Sean Penn for slamming his critics
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is grateful that actor Sean Penn has defended him against his critics within the U.S. media. In an appearance on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" last week, Penn slammed Chavez critics who refer to the socialist leader as a dictator.

The Oscar-winning celebrity noted that Chavez has won repeated elections and suggested that media critics who call him a dictator should be jailed.

He says that "there should be a bar for which one goes to prison for these kinds of biases."

Penn has visited Chavez several times and frequently defends the president's leftist political policies.

Chavez welcomed Penn's comments Wednesday and thanked the actor for standing up to his detractors.
The apple does not fall far from the tree -- his dad Leo was quite the piece of work.

Cool photographs found

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Awesome news from the UK Telegraph:
New photos of Beatles' John Lennon appear after 40 years
The extraordinary photos of the musician and Yoko Ono, taken during their famous Bed-in for Peace in Montreal in 1969, snapped by Life photographer Gerry Deiter.

He was the only photojournalist allowed to witness and document the bed-in for the full eight days and managed to capture pictures of the couple totally off-guard.

But his story about them, due to run in Life magazine, was ditched at the last minute for an article on the Vietnam war.

Since the photographer's death in 2005, the unpublished photos were hidden away until this week, when they go on exhibition for the first time in Coventry Cathedral, West Mids, on Saturday.

Lennon and Yoko flew to Montreal on May 26 where they stayed in Room 1738 and 1742 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, writing and recording the song Give Peace a Chance from their bedroom.

Nick Chevasse, the Cathedral's tourist director, said the photos had only recently been unearthed.

He said "Gerry Deiter was the only photojournalist there the entire eight days, with complete access.

"He was on assignment for Life magazine, but his story was bumped in favour for one about Vietnam.

"The photos were never published, they never ran, so Deiter hid them away.

"This is why many of the images are not familiar, even to Lennon fans - they have never been seen before by anybody.

"He captured the celebrity visitors, the action and intimate, behind the scenes moments between John and Yoko."
Should be a wonderful set of photos -- an interesting time in our history.

Sad news - Simon Singh goes offline

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British science writer Simon Singh is a national treasure. He chose to write about chiropractic "medicine" and was promptly sued for libel. More at the UK Guardian:
Simon Singh: This is goodbye
Almost a year after writing my first column for this site, I would like to welcome you to my final article.

At first I was able to deliver my monthly column on time, but my submissions have become increasingly delayed, and this is my first since November. The problem is that I have spent the past two years being sued for libel, which has taken up huge amounts of time. And now all my remaining spare time is being devoted to campaigning for libel reform.

The crippling and prohibitive financial cost of defending a libel case is often highlighted, but the equally terrible cost in terms of time and stress is rarely mentioned.

I recently discussed this with Dr Peter Wilmshurst, the eminent cardiologist who is being sued for libel for commenting on the efficacy of a new heart device. Peter was put under immense stress when he received legal papers on Friday 21 December 2007 at 5.09pm, which was nine minutes after most solicitors closed for their Christmas holiday. It was not until the new year that Peter was able to get any legal advice, so it was an anxious Christmas.

Perhaps it was just as well that Peter was not aware of the full implications of what lay ahead of him, namely at least two years of anxiety, misery and the threat of bankruptcy. Almost all his spare time has been spent on the libel case. When finalising his defence, he took two weeks of annual leave to work on the documents. Moreover, dealing with ongoing legal issues has prevented him from carrying out his usual medical research, and a number of publications have been put on hold.

After chatting to Peter, I decided to count up how much time I had spent defending the article published in the Guardian in April 2008 that led to the British Chiropractic Association suing me for libel. I reckon I have spent 44 solid weeks on the libel action spread across two years.

I am in the very fortunate position of having no employees, being a freelancer, having financial resources and having a very supportive wife. In any other circumstance, I cannot imagine fighting a libel action because of the enormous sacrifices involved.

I should have started writing a new book a year ago, but as yet I cannot even develop proposals and talk to publishers because I have no idea how the next year or so will develop.

The case could easily continue for another two years. If I win then I will not recover all of my legal costs, but (worse still) I will never recover the time I have dedicated to poring over legal documents.
Draconian laws -- allowing anyone with money for a lawyer to effectively shut down anyone.

Heh - locked in the car

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Only in Florida -- from United Press International:
Owners keep burglar locked in car
Authorities in Florida said residents who saw a man attempting to steal their car used the vehicle's remote-controlled locking mechanism to prevent his escape.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office said the Lake City residents were alerted to a man trying to break into their car by a neighbor at about 5:40 a.m. Friday and they used the remote control on their keychain to keep the alleged attempted thief from exiting the car, The Gainesville Sun reported Tuesday.

"So every time he tried to get out of the car, the owners just kept hitting the lock button on their key fob, and eventually he gave up trying to get out," sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ed Seifert said.

Travis James Neeley, 19, was arrested and charged with burglary of a vehicle, possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief and trespassing.
I would say that Mr. Neeley is as dumb as a box of hammers but that would be insulting a lot of really wonderful hammers...
As I had mentioned, these mokes cold-called my Dad and signed him up for some kind of estate planning seminar to be held at a local hotel (in direct violation of the Federal do-not-call list). I called the hotel and they called CDL Services and an agent from that company called the store and spoke with Jen. Did not give the name of the company, did not give a phone number, did not give a city of operation or the link to their corporate website. Gave an apology but also tried to sell Jen on their services. The seminar is next week. I will be attending. I am very very pissed.

Slow running tonight

The satellite broadband is a bit better than dialup tonight but not by much.

Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to work on some stuff. Downloaded CentOS and Scientific Linux to play with for the servers for the T1 system.

Both of these are based on the Red Hat Enterprise server distribution. Kubuntu is probably fine but wanted to get a bit better integration and security and do not need the colorful clown suit.

Gui? Pfuii! CLI forever... These will be machines that live in a closet and run web services (Apache), mail (Postfix) and some internet protocols (DHCP, NAT, Firewall, VPN, Squid, SpamAssasin, etc...)

Fun stuff!

Insanity - comment spam

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
--Albert Einstein
Like I said, I am experiencing yet another wave of comment spam. This one tosses in the kitchen sink. Without being too obvious, one of the things I do is word-match. If you are touting a common pharmaceutical, chances are it is in my little list and if the words match, you are kicked over into moderation and I have to either approve it or delete it (and save the IP address into a killfile). Same thing with common URL's. Same thing with a couple other things. Tonight's spam is soooo wrong on so many different levels I am surprised that my script didn't just explode from over stimulation.
And on and on and on and on and on and on...
I am just as amazed that it was able to hit 91MPH as that it had a sticking accelerator problem. Now it turns out there is a little more to the story. From Jalopnik:
Did Bankrupt Runaway Prius Driver Fake "Unintended Acceleration?"
James Sikes, the San Diego runaway Toyota Prius driver, filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and now has over $700,000 in debt. According to one anonymous tipster, we're also told he hasn't been making payments on his Prius.

We received an email earlier today from an anonymous tipster who claims James (Jim) Sikes, the driver of the runaway Toyota Prius, was in financial trouble and even behind by five months on his payments for the Prius. If that's true, it's potential motivation for wanting to find an out � any out � on paying for the vehicle.

We did some public records searches (thanks to the help of Gawker's John Cook) and found Sikes and his wife Patty found themselves, like many in the California real estate business, on the bursting side of the real estate bubble last year. The two declared bankruptcy in June of 2008 and have a combined liability of over $700,000 dollars in debt.

Among the list of creditors holding secured claims is none other than Toyota Financial Services for a lease on a 2008 Toyota Prius with 7,200 miles on the odometer. Total value of the lease at the time of bankruptcy was $20,494.
As the great Sherlock Holmes once said:
How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
My Dad just celebrated his 94th birthday a few weeks ago. He suffers from Vascular Dementia and although in great physical shape, he has essentially zero short-term memory. He is happy and lives in his memories. I have Power of Attorney and take care of all of his bills and also have an attendant come in every day to care, cook and clean for him. The attendant called me a few hours ago to let me know that he had an appointment with a company called CDL Services to go over his Estate and his Will.


He is on the Federal do-not-call list and some salesman called him and got him signed up for this event at a local hotel. I go on line and Googled the company name and there is one business in Florida and that is it. Nada. I call the hotel where the event is scheduled to take place and of course, they cannot release the contact information (I fully respect that) but they will call CDL Services and ask them to give me a callback. This should be interesting -- building up quite the head of steam as I type... I cannot imagine running a business whose purpose is to scam the elderly. How can these arseholes sleep at night -- what dreams haunt their souls. Or are they just psychopaths and do not care.

Yesterdays fun and games

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I had written that we had quite the police event in our town yesterday. Two news agencies reported on it. From the Bellingham Herald:
Maple Falls man arrested after foot chase near Mount Baker Highway
Whatcom County Sheriff deputies arrested a Maple Falls man wanted for several felony warrants after a hour-long foot chase Wednesday, March 10.

William Anderson was driving westbound in the 7400 block of Mount Baker Highway when deputies spotted his vehicle, said Sgt. Kevin Moyes of the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office.

When Anderson noticed the deputies driving behind him, he attempted to elude the deputies by driving over several large boulders, causing the canopy on his vehicle to fall off, Moyes said.

Anderson drove into the woods, causing his vehicle to get stuck. He then fled on foot, Moyes said.

The U.S. Customs helicopter unit and the Sumas and Everson Police departments assisted the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office in the pursuit, and Anderson was eventually apprehended and arrested for several felony charges, Moyes said.

Anderson was booked into the Whatcom County Jail for felony harassment, unlawful imprisonment, felony possession of a firearm and fourth-degree assault.
From Bellingham radio station KGMI:
Deputies Chase Wanted Maple Falls Man Into Woods
A Maple Falls man was arrested on several outstanding charges after trying to elude officers Wednesday.

Sheriff�s Sgt. Kevin Moyes said a deputy recognized 45-year-old William S. Anderson as a wanted man as they passed each other in the 7400 block of the Mount Baker Highway.

The deputy followed Anderson�s vehicle as he left the roadway.

�(He) attempted to flee the deputy by driving over a couple of large boulders, causing his canopy to fall off his vehicle, and then drive through the woods proceeding to get his vehicle stuck,� Moyes said.

Anderson then allegedly fled on foot, prompting a search involving a number of agencies.

�U.S. Customs Air and Marine units, as well as Sumas Police and Everson Police assisted the Whatcom County Sheriff�s Office,� Moyes said.

Anderson was apprehended and arrested on suspicion of several felony charges, including unlawful imprisonment, assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Anderson actually tried ducking into a local restaurant and was spotted there. We also talked with a couple that we know -- the guy went out onto his back deck to look at the helicopter and Anderson rolled out from under the deck and told the guy that he needed to get into his house to hide. The guy slammed the door on him. Anderson was only captured after they brought out a police dog -- he walked out of the bushes before the dog had a chance to go find the bad guy, Needless to say, Anderson, William Scott is now known as Whatcom County Jail booking number #199473
From Firehand at Irons in the Fire:
Ok, so why IS the Department of Education buying shotguns?
Combat shotguns?

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) intends to purchase twenty-seven (27) REMINGTON BRAND MODEL 870 POLICE 12/14P MOD GRWC XS4 KXCS SF. RAMAC #24587 GAUGE: 12 BARREL: 14" - PARKERIZED CHOKE: MODIFIED SIGHTS: GHOST RING REAR WILSON COMBAT; FRONT - XS CONTOUR BEAD SIGHT STOCK: KNOXX REDUCE RECOIL ADJUSTABLE STOCK FORE-END: SPEEDFEED SPORT-SOLID - 14" LOP are designated as the only shotguns authorized for ED based on compatibility with ED existing shotgun inventory, certified armor and combat training and protocol, maintenance, and parts.

The required date of delivery is March 22, 2010.

Interesting. Also the 'existing inventory, etc.'
I can kind of see the IRS getting some firepower (here and here) but the Chicago office of the Department of Education.

And I love that the call for bids opened on March 8th, closes on March 12th and the shotguns must be delivered by March 22nd. Five business days to bid and one full business week (Friday 12th through Monday 22nd) for delivery. They already have someone in mind, the order is being processed right now and this call for bids publication is just to keep their collective asses covered. Are they doing gang outreach or something? And, interestingly enough, these shotguns are the same make and model as the IRS guns with very similar modifications and gun bling. Did they just rubber-stamp the IRS request or do they actually have an armorer on staff.
Having a lot of fun reading up on WISP -- this and mesh WiFi are what I am planning to use for the great broadband rollout of 2010. Light posting tonight as I work on this plus other stuff -- need to figure out realistically how far away I can support a customer without incurring poor service during rain and snow. Fun stuff -- a lot of the basic networking configuration is mothers milk to me but I have not worked with wireless for a long long time. Setting up a WRT-54 router is a lot different than setting up a 1/2 Watt Access point and calculating and tweaking signal strength. The access points are no longer commodity black boxes that operate when you plug them in -- the access points are actual computers running Linux that you need to configure before they will work. A complex process but not rocket science and once I get the first leg rolled out, each successive leg will be that much easier.

It was nice and quiet for a couple of weeks -- two Kona Coffee sock puppets but none of the PPC idiots (Pills, Pron, Casinos).

It was not going to last.

Been deluged the last day and a half.

If anyone out there is reading -- none of your comment spams got through.

One legitimate comment was flagged for moderation and I allowed it.

Two legitimate comments were posted immediately without the need for my intervention.

The real Chicago politics

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I have stated my annoyance at President Obama for taking Chicago Politics into the White House. The Czar of Muscovy schools me on what Chicago Politics is actually like:
Obama vs. The Chicago Machine
You�ve heard it and seen it and read it dozens of times: Obama is bringing Chicago politics to Washington! Obama, part of the Chicago machine, is doing business old school! The President is showing the world the Chicago way of working.

Except, none of it is true.

Take this from someone who has lived in the Chicago area for decades and has studied the intricacies of its political engine. Not only is Obama not part of the Chicago machine, the machine doesn�t even like him all that much.

Chicago has obviously always had a bizarre love-hate for its politicians, even back to the 19th Century. The current Chicago machine functions surprisingly well (if you don�t mind the odd death here and there, but those are almost always from negligence). Indeed, one can easily argue that the current mayor, Richard M Daley, has done an outstanding job of transforming the city from a hole of inner city blight to million dollar condos and Starbucks on every corner.

What is the machine?

First, know that the Chicago machine covers the entire state: the Chicago machine fully owns and operates Springfield The machine is run like organized crime, but is not organized crime like you think of it.

Like organized crime, it operates many interests across a wide geographical area, involving union labor as its willing stooge, with many different functions. There are multiple levels, with big fish gobbling up whatever they can, and little fish trying to become bigger fish. It exists to meet their personal needs, but also fulfills countless functions that clients desire. And it is entangled in so many legitimate businesses that it is difficult to point to anything illegal.

Unlike organized crime, its membership is pretty open. White, black, or hispanic members are welcome. No family in Sicily collects the loot: it invests and divests itself fully. It also oddly seems to want to help people: trash is collected, potholes get fixed, and events are fun and well attended. Boondoggles are rare. And again, if you cross them, you simply tend to have to pay out a lot of money in bizarre fire inspections and code violations until you leave. People rarely wake up dead.
The Czar then gives this example:
Corruption is a given. Here is a theoretical example of Chicago politics: you announce you want to have a fund-raising event for charity. Your alderman gets on board, and says it will be a major success. Suddenly, you are contacted by planners and organizers who seem to be producing all sorts of media releases and cornering celebrities. A company you never heard of insists on providing the chairs and tables; another group will provide audiovisual entertainment, and a third company will handle set up and garbage collection. The mayor shakes your hand for the press, and now the fire regulations limiting you to 2,000 people are waived, and you may have 4,500 people crammed into the room. Not a problem, because the City is providing you the room at a discounted cost. Because it�s a charity, you wonder why you are paying sales tax to these mysterious vendors showing up with stuff. The Illinois legislature bangs a gavel, and you are informed all your taxes will be paid back.

Two weeks later, your event is attended by 4,500 people, and you raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. You could not be more happy. The event winds down, the people go home, and the trash and tables and leftover food all goes away. But when you pay your bills, you suddenly find bizarre charges and taxes you did not expect. In fact, by the end of the week, you find your charity raised a grand total of $1,100.

A month later, your trash is found floating in the Chicago river. An investigation shows that the trash pickup was handled by a company owned by the alderman�s brother-in-law, and the mayor�s cousin provided the food and beverages. And the audiovisual gear was discovered to be stolen by a Chicago street gang, and the owner of the company mysteriously settled his insurance for the stuff at twice the usual rate through another alderman�s brother. The tables and chairs were provided by a state representative�s sister, and her company is being indicted for links to suspicious purchasing activity through your same alderman�s cousin�s company. And when you call about the state tax exemption, no one has heard of you, and the money is not returned. And then you�re fined for violating fire regs, and no one heard of the fire prevention clerk who told you that you were good to go, even though it turns out she�s a state senator�s sister-in-law.

That�s how it�s done in Chicago. You got what you wanted, but everybody got a bit richer than you.
The Czar then has a few observations -- he makes an interesting case. A good read!
The students are revolting. You can say that again. But do they see the big picture? From the Wall Street Journal:
California's College Dreamers
When will students figure out the politicians have sold them out?

Hundreds of University of California students rallied against a 32% tuition hike last week. Let's hope their future employers get a better work product. With just a little research, the students could have discovered that compensation packages won from the state by unions were a big reason for the hike.

Last year, the state cut funding to the 10-campus system to $2.6 billion from $3.25 billion. To make up for the reduction in state funding, the UC Board of Regents increased tuition to $10,300, about triple 1999's cost.

Understandably, students have gone wild. The UC system is supposed to offer low- and middle-income students a cheaper alternative to a private college education. Now a year at a UC school can cost students as much as at many private schools.

Who's to blame? UC President Mark Yudof rightly notes he had no other means of closing the university's budget gap. The university used $300 million in reserves last year and cut staff salaries by furloughing them between 11 and 26 days this year. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says "we've done everything we could, but the bottom line is it's not enough. We need to put pressure on the legislature not only this year in a year of crisis, but in the future."

The California legislature? Good luck with that. In 1999, the Democratic legislature ran a reckless gamble that makes Wall Street's bankers look cautious. At the top of a bull market, they assumed their investment returns would grow at a 8.25% rate in perpetuity�equivalent to assuming that the Dow would reach 25,000 by 2009�and enacted a huge pension boon for public-safety and industrial unions.

The bill refigured the compensation formula for pension benefits of all public-safety employees who retired on or after January 1, 2000. It let firefighters retire at age 50 and receive 3% of their final year's compensation times the number of years they worked. If a firefighter started working at the age of 20, he could retire at 50 and earn 90% of his final salary, in perpetuity. One San Ramon Valley fire chief's yearly pension amounted to $284,000�more than his $221,000 annual salary.

In 2002, the state legislature further extended benefits to many nonsafety classifications, such as milk and billboard inspectors. More than 15,000 public employees have retired with annual pensions greater than $100,000. Who needs college when you can get a state job and make out like that?

In the last decade, government worker pension costs (not including health care) have risen to $3 billion from $150 million, a 2,000% jump, while state revenues have increased by 24%. Because the stock market didn't grow the way the legislature predicted in 1999, the only way to cover the skyrocketing costs of these defined-benefit pension plans has been to cut other programs (and increase taxes).

This year alone $3 billion was diverted from other programs to fund pensions, including more than $800 million from the UC system. It is becoming clear that in the most strapped liberal states there's a pecking order: Unions get the lifeboats, and everyone else gets thrown over the side. Sorry, kids.
The Unions may have been very good at collective bargaining (and electing the Democratic legislators that agreed to the pension plans) but they were not operating from a rational perspective. Sure, it is great to tell your rank and file members that they will get these larger-than-life pensions when they retire at age 50 but they should have been able to figure out that this was unsustainable. Don't they have any accountants on their payroll? What was their exit strategy when a situation comes up like today -- the pensions are bankrupting the state but the lawmakers are so dependent on union funds and union votes to stay in office. Unions definitely had their place in early industrial history. When there was only one big employer in town and back when people did not enjoy the mobility they have today, the average worker was screwed if the boss decided to pay poorly. Now, people can just move to another job if they are unhappy. Odd that the students at an institute of higher learning are so blind as to this bit of economic realpolitik...
The average citizen is just too stupid to know the difference between right and wrong. From The Gothamist:
Salt Assault! Lawmaker Wants Salt Banned From Restaurants
Back in January, health crusader Mayor Bloomberg launched a "voluntary" initiative encouraging fast food joints like Subway and supermarket chains like Food Emporium to cut the salt in hundreds of store brand products. The Salt Institute was outraged, Curtis Sliwa drank salt in protest, and panicked New Yorkers began hoarding salt in earnest (not really). But the initiative was voluntary, and lacked a certain, shall we say, despotism. Well, according to Reason's blog, NY Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) is kicking it up a notch by proposing a law fully banning "the use of salt by restaurants in the preparation of food." Now that's some hardcore legislating, or should we say legisalting? (Sorry.)

Bill A10129, introduced on Friday in the New York state assembly, would impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 on any restaurateur caught sneaking the deadly white powder into their food. And it's clear where this is going: The fastidious Prohibition-era speakeasy trend has just about run its course, so next up are the salteasies, where refined gentlemen and ladies can repair to savor the exotic pleasures of that proscribed condiment once favored by Pharaohs and Fry Guys alike! (Those who can't afford these exclusive underground salt "cuppings" will have to make do with a simple salt flask.)
As I am sitting here munching on the last of a bag of Potato Chips. People like this are what is deeply and fundamentally wrong with this Nation. They think that it is the Government's job to regulate every aspect of our lives when all they are doing is removing our self-reliance and sense of self determination. They think that they are regulating us and instead, they are our own worst enemies.

A bit of excitement today

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I was working in the store this morning and noticed a bunch of border patrol vehicles heading up the road to our house (we live about four miles from teh Canadian border). And then, the cop cars started showing up. And then the helicopter. And then the K9 crew with one very happy German Shephard as he found the bad guy for his friend. Wags all around. No word as to the story yet -- the guy who was arrested was local.
Talking about Nuclear Power - from World Nuclear News:
No choice between poverty and the environment
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said the world must not choose between poverty and protecting the environment. With nuclear energy, he said, we can change our economies towards new forms of power generation.

Speaking at the International Conference on Access to Nuclear Energy in Paris today, Sarkozy said that solutions to future energy needs would not be found in no-growth theories. Such policies were selfish and would force the poorest people of the world to stay in their current situation and 'would close the door' on have-nots.

France is deeply convinced that nuclear power is the key to more equitably sharing wealth on the planet. According to Sarkozy the world would need 40% more energy by 2030, with the vast majority of the increase in demand taking place in non-OECD countries, and nuclear energy use must grow in these developing regions.

Sarkozy said that the world would need renewables and nuclear if we were to honour our goals on climate change.

The French President complained that nuclear projects were ostracised in terms of international funding. This, he said, was sentencing poorer countries to use more expensive generation options. The World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development should undertake fully to fund new nuclear power generation. Meanwhile he called for the current rules governing the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism to be changed too to include nuclear energy projects, as the present restriction was impacting on the energy choices of poorer countries.

Sarkozy also had advice for countries starting to embark on nuclear energy programs. The general public needs to be closely involved in any project, with full consultation. Those countries wanting to embark on civil nuclear power must do so with full transparency.

Sarkozy proposed that an independent authority, under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), should develop ratings for reactor designs currently in the market based on safety and security. His comments come after Areva's painful rejection by nuclear planners in the United Arab Emirates, who opted for South Korean designs instead. At present, according to Sarkozy, the only rating available to compare reactors is price, whereas Areva has since claimed its designs to be superior in safety and security.

Sarkozy also said the international community would also have to address the reprocessing and recycling of recovered fuel materials. France is opposed to the views of some countries that feel that reprocessing should be limited to a small number of countries. However, broader access to reprocessing would require giving stronger powers to the IAEA. France had found reprocessing the best way to deal with high-level radioactive nuclear waste and would cooperate with many countries to help with the use of reprocessing, Sarkozy said.
France's fourth largest export is electrical power generated from Nuclear Reactors. Their safety record is impeccable. Nuclear does have the waste issue but the Pressurized Boiling Water Reactor original design is over 60 years old and newer technologies -- specifically involving Thorium -- result is very short lived waste of which, most can be recycled back into fuel again. It is foolish to not be looking at this -- we have enough Uranium for about 500 years of use and enough Thorium for several thousand years (it is about three times more abundant than Uranium)
Don't have it be Washington's Most Wanted
Sean Kelley Arrested After Bragging About Upcoming Appearance on "Washington's Most Wanted"
Like most people making their television debut, Sean Kelley was excited about his upcoming appearance on the boob tube. But he probably shouldn't have been.

Back in January, the 22-year-old Kelley was hanging out at a friend's Lake City apartment when the landlord came knocking. The 65-year-old man wanted Kelley and his pals to turn down the stereo. They obliged. But Kelley decided the elderly man had crossed some invisible line of conduct.

Having lost one arm in a car crash, Kelley nonetheless beat the old man well enough to break a bone in his face and impair his vision for life. Kelley was arrested, posted bond, then skipped out on his court date.

A month later he was at a party in Magnolia, bragging about an upcoming appearance on "Washington's Most Wanted." Kelley thought this made him a celebrity. But what it actually made him was a fugitive. A fact not lost on one of Kelley's fellow partygoers, who called CrimeStoppers and presumably pocketed a handsome reward for their efforts.
Bail is set at $105K. Cannot believe that this moke thought the TV show would give him street cred -- what? beating up an old man? Enjoy jail you idiot

Cool archaeological find

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From Associated Press:
Dozen centuries-old shipwrecks found in Baltic Sea
A dozen centuries-old shipwrecks - some of them unusually well-preserved - have been found in the Baltic Sea by a gas company building an underwater pipeline between Russia and Germany.

The oldest wreck probably dates back to medieval times and could be up to 800 years old, while the others are likely from the 17th to 19th centuries, Peter Norman of Sweden's National Heritage Board said Tuesday.

"They could be interesting, but we have only seen pictures of their exterior. Many of them are considered to be fully intact. They look very well-preserved," Norman told The Associated Press.
They are at 400 feet so a little bit too deep for conventional recovery but I bet they will be visited frequently by a team of ROVs. Probably no great "treasure" but a fascinating cross section of commerce at that time.

Speaking of The Drudge Report

From FOX News:

Senate Staffers Warned to Stay Clear of Drudge Report
In the very body sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, an e-mail is circulating warning U.S. Senate staffers not to view one of the most popular news sites on the Web, claiming it could spread computer viruses.

The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, the chamber's official gatekeeper, said the Drudge Report, a news aggregator, and, a telephone directory site, "are responsible for the many viruses popping up throughout the Senate," according to an e-mail from the Environment and Public Works Committee obtained by

Another e-mail from a separate office warned that staffers who had visited the Drudge Report or White Pages had experienced viruses on their PCs.

"Please avoid using these sites until the Senate resolves this issue," the e-mail read. "The Senate has been swamped the last couples (sic) days with this issue."

But the Drudge Report suggested that politics might be behind the warning, noting in an original story that the e-mail came as the "health care drama in the Capitol reaches a grand finale."

The Drudge Report noted that it served more than 29 million pages Monday without an e-mail complaint about "'pop ups,' or the site serving 'viruses.'"

"The site was seen 149,967 times since March 1st from users at and 244,347 times at [10,825 visits from the White House,]" the Drudge Report wrote.

"The Systems Administrator may want to continue taking her antibiotic until the prescription runs out."

A spokeswoman for the Sergeant-at-Arms did not respond to a request for comment.
Nope. No. You can't go looking at alternative news source as they can (throws dart) Viruses! They can cause Viruses in your system. Ahhhhh - the dain bramage is strong in this one...
From Politico:
Nancy Pelosi's grip on House slips
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not accustomed to the word she�s been hearing far more frequently in recent days: �no.�

Over the past two weeks, Pelosi has faced a series of subtle but significant challenges to her authority � revolts from Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Blue Dog Coalition and politically vulnerable first- and second-term members.

The dynamic stems from an �every man for himself� attitude developing in the Democratic Caucus rather than a loss of respect for Pelosi, according to a senior Democratic aide. But it�s making Pelosi�s life � and efforts to maintain Democratic unity � harder.

And it�s noteworthy, in part, because Pelosi�s signature strength has been a firmer hand than past Democratic leaders � an aptitude for wielding raw power in a consensus-minded caucus.

But her inability � or unwillingness � to dictate when Rep. Charles Rangel would resign his Ways and Means Committee chairmanship and who would replace him is one sign that she is commanding the caucus with less authority.

Although he would give up his gavel the next day, Rangel defiantly pronounced he was still chairman after leaving a come-to-Jesus meeting last Tuesday night in Pelosi�s ceremonial office next to the House floor. Her first choice to succeed him, Pete Stark of California, was rejected by the Ways and Means Committee members, as was her plan to split power on the committee between Stark and Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan. Pelosi�s backers said that what she really wanted was to avoid a fight for the gavel � and that she succeeded by refusing to apply a heavy hand.
Image swiped from The Drudge Report where the Congressional Implosion is unfolding in glorious 3D.
England's health care system is horrible and President Obama wants to institute a similar system here. From the London Times:
Labour hid ugly truth about National Health Service (NHS)
Damning reports on the state of the National Health Service, suppressed by the government, reveal how patients� needs have been neglected.

They diagnose a blind pursuit of political and managerial targets as the root cause of a string of hospital scandals that have cost thousands of lives.

The harsh verdict on the state of the NHS, after a spending splurge under Labour between 2000 and 2008, raises worrying questions about the future quality of the health service as budgets are squeezed.

One report, based on the advice of almost 200 top managers and doctors, says hospitals ignored basic hygiene to cram in patients to meet waiting-time targets.

It says �several interviewees� cited the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells [NHS Trust in Kent where 269 deaths during 2005-6 were caused by infection with Clostridium difficile bacteria].

�Managers crowded in patients in order to meet waiting-time targets and, in the process, lost sight of the fundamental hygiene requirements for infection prevention,� the report stated.

There were subsequent failings at health trusts in Basildon in Essex, and Mid Staffordshire. Filthy wards and nurse shortages led to up to 1,200 deaths at Stafford hospital.

Lord Darzi, the former health minister, commissioned the three reports from international consultancies to assess the progress of the NHS as it approached its 60th anniversary in 2008. They have come to light after a freedom of information request.
And the money quote:
The risk of consequences to managers is much greater for not meeting expectations from above than for not meeting expectations of patients and families.
Hat tip to Don at E3 Gazette for the link.
From Sky News:
Soldier Lobs Taliban Grenade Back At Enemy
A British soldier has saved his comrades by scooping up a live Taliban grenade and throwing it straight back at the enemy moments before it exploded.

The device hit Rifleman James McKie's platoon commander and landed at his feet during a battle in the Sangin area of Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

And as the enemy continued to pound his position from three directions the young soldier lobbed the grenade as far as he could.

"I remember thinking that if I didn't pull this off, it was going to hurt," he said. "But at that stage I was pretty much committed."
Emphasis mine. Talk about hero.

Global Warming - Spain and France

Must suck to be a Global Warming proponent these days...

From the UK Telegraph:

Barcelona hit with heaviest snowfall in 25 years
Snowfalls of up to 50 centimetres (20 inches) were forecast for the worst affected areas of the region of Catalonia, prompting the regional government to cancel classes for more than 142,000 students at 476 public schools.

Power was lost in homes throughout the region, with energy company Fecsa-Endesa reporting 200,000 clients without electricity, mostly in the province of Girona.

Emergency services workers helped evacuate some 500 passengers who became trapped on trains traveling between Barcelona and Portbou, on the French border, which became stuck due to the lack of power, said regional interior minister Joan Boada.

Thousands of commuters were left scrambling for an alternative way to get home after the blizzard forced the suspension of bus services in Barcelona and the closure of five suburban train lines in the Mediterranean port city.

From the Scotsman:

France and Spain shiver amid 'exceptional' unseasonable snow
Southern France and parts of Spain have been hit by unseasonable snow, with areas such as Collioure experiencing their heaviest fall in years.

Up to 40cm of snow fell overnight yesterday in France's central southern region, including Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence, the Rh�ne valley and Mid-Pyr�n�es. Such snowfall is "exceptional", according to the national weather bureau, M�t�o France.

Some 250 motorists in the Gard region were trapped in their cars on Sunday night after snow blocked the roads.

Local authorities towed the vehicles away and took their drivers to emergency shelters. Catalonia, meanwhile, also experienced heavy snow, disrupting travel across the region, including in Barcelona.

More people die from cold than from heat. And, as the Northern Hemisphere eases into Spring and Summer, the Southern Hemisphere is easing into Winter.

From Steven Goddard writing at Watts Up With That:

NSIDC Reports That Antarctica is Cooling and Sea Ice is Increasing
Last month we discussed how NASA continues to spread worries about the Antarctic warming and melting.

A January 12, 2010 Earth Observatory article warns that Antarctica:
"has been losing more than a hundred cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice each year since 2002" and that "if all of this ice melted, it would raise global sea level by about 60 meter (197 feet)."
[Note that is continental ice, not sea ice, - Anthony]

But NSIDC seems to be thinking differently in their March 3, 2010 newsletter. They say Antarctica is cooling and sea ice is increasing (makes sense - ice is associated with cold.)
Sea ice extent in the Antarctic has been unusually high in recent years, both in summer and winter. Overall, the Antarctic is showing small positive trends in total extent. For example, the trend in February extent is now +3.1% per decade. However, the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas show a strong negative trend in extent. These overall positive trends may seem counterintuitive in light of what is happening in the Arctic. Our Frequently Asked Questions section briefly explains the general differences between the two polar environments. A recent report (Turner, et. al., 2009) suggests that the ozone hole has resulted in changes in atmospheric circulation leading to cooling and increasing sea ice extents over much of the Antarctic region.

Emphases theirs. Amazing what two months and a public outcry will do to the observed data. These people are funded with our tax dollars -- it is time to institute a measure of credibility here...

Dan - Rather nuanced and articulate

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An interview by (thrill up my leg) Chris Matthews:
DAN RATHER: Part of the undertow in the coming election is going to be President Obama's leadership. And the Republicans will make a case and a lot of independents will buy this argument. "Listen he just hasn't been, look at the health care bill. It was his number one priority. It took him forever to get it through and he had to compromise it to death." And a version of, "Listen he's a nice person, he's very articulate" this is what's been used against him, "but he couldn't sell watermelons if it, you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic."
He has his facts straight too:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Will health care, the health care bill of Barack Obama, the one he roughly is for now, coming out of the Senate and coming out of the House. Will it become law? Will he win?

DAN RATHER: Yes because what we have now is basically a Republican health care bill, if it gets through. It's, it's got a lot...but I think the President finally putting his whole sack in on it, yes he wins but it's not a certain thing.
Republican health bill? Danny -- what the @#$% are you smoking. Let me know so as to avoid it myself.

Back on March 5th, Eric Massa resigns his post of New York Democratic Congressman.

While I still take umbrage at his opinions of blogs, he is not going down quietly.

From Real Clear Politics:

Massa: Rahm Emanuel "Would Sell His Own Mother" For Votes
"Rahm Emanuel is son of the devil's spawn, Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) said. "He is an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive."

Rep. Massa describes a confrontation with Emanuel in a shower: "I am showering, naked as a jaybird, and here comes Rahm Emanuel, not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me."

From Politico:

Eric Massa: Democrats ousted me over health care
Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) says the House ethics committee is investigating him for inappropriate comments he made to a male staffer on New Year's Eve � and that he's the victim of a power play by Democratic leaders who want him out of Congress because he's a "no" vote on health care reform.

"Mine is now the deciding vote on the health care bill," Massa, who on Friday announced his intention to resign, said during a long monologue on radio station WKPQ. "And this administration and this House leadership have said, quote-unquote, they will stop at nothing to pass this health care bill. And now they've gotten rid of me, and it will pass. You connect the dots."

And his original ethics violation -- from City Hall (excerpted)

According to Massa, the sexual harassment complaint stemmed from an incident during a wedding on New Year's Eve last year. Sometime soon after midnight, Massa said, a drunken male staffer made a lurid comment to Massa about dancing with one of the bridesmaids at the reception.

"A staff member made an intonation to me that maybe I should be chasing after the bridesmaid. His points were clear and his words were far more colorful than that," Massa said. And I grabbed the staff member sitting next to me and said, "Pal, what I really ought to be doing is fracking you." And then [I] tussled the guy's hair, and left.

Massa said that another staff member "disturbed by Massa's statement" reported it to the House Ethics Committee. Massa said the staffer to whom he directed the comment never was involved with the complaint.

"That staff member never said to me he felt uncomfortable," Massa said. "He never came to me, he never said a word to me. In fact, he never went to anybody."

From Otto von Bismarck:

Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.

Anyone got a bowl of popcorn; this is going to be a fun few days and the media frenzy is going to divert people's attention from the wrangling to get the health-care monstrosity passed.

Sean Penn hitting bottom

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Geee -- first it was rectal cancer, now it's jail time. From The Blogmocracy:
Sean Penn Suggests Prison Time for Journalists Who Call Hugo Chavez a Dictator
Just when you think that Sean �Spicoli� Penn (a terrific actor by the way) cannot fall in your estimation any lower � you get this. There is little doubt in my mind that he is a Red and that in his case, the apple did not fall far from the tree as his father Leo Penn was Red also:
by Tim Graham
At the end of a discussion of Haiti on HBO�s Real Time with Bill Maher, actor Sean Penn went on a rant in defense of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, suggesting prison time for American journalists: �every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it! And accept it. And this is mainstream media, who should � truly, there should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.�

This is a little strange, since a study by our Business and Media Institute of Chavez coverage from 1998 to 2006 found Chavez�s much-criticized human rights record was mentioned in only ten percent of stories, and he was described as a leftist in only 12 percent of stories. Maher shifted to Chavez and the end of the Haiti interview, asking Penn to make a case for his man Chavez:

MAHER: His image in the media is just a buffoon. You have been there. You know him. You�ve talked to him. That�s all I really know about Hugo Chavez, is what I read in the media. A dictator, took over a lot of the branches of government, wants to be president for life. What do you know that I don�t know, that I should not have such a harsh feeling about this guy?

PENN: I think that if you�re more happy with 20 percent of a population having the access to dreams, access to the feeling they have an identity and a voice. If it�s okay with the 20 percent, versus the 80 percent he gave it to, then you can criticize Hugo Chavez. You know, there are a lot of complicated issues that comes simply out of perspective. We in the United States have a difficult time putting ourselves in the shoes of what has been the history of Venezuela, the history of Latin America, and many other places.We�re very monocultural. And then we are hypnotized by the media. For example, Hugo Chavez. Who do you know here who�s gone through fourteen of the most transparent elections on the globe, and has been elected democratically, as Hugo Chavez?
One comment at the link was wonderful:
It must really gall him that Spicoli will be his defining act.
He keeps trying to get beyond it with his agitation, trying to prove he is smarter than that role.... But he really isn't.
Talk about being a useful idiot. Stick to the silver screen buddy-boy...

An interesting spam - Kona Coffee

Yesterday, I wrote about Organic Coffee Growers coming to grips with a saturated market for Organic Coffee. Today, I came in to find spam from a Kona Coffee company touting their product:
I think Kona coffee is filling an excellent niche. It has a unique set of variables going for it IN ADDITION to the appeal of just being from one of the loveliest places in the world. It combines the sheltered microclimate with rich volcanic soil and individualized attention from small family farmers to create a stupendous coffee bean. It really lives up to the hype.
The comment was pure spam -- touting one particular company, not really adding anything to the conversation and incorrect information. The Kona side of Big Island is not a sheltered microclimate and the large growers are all automated. What's more, I should not be paying $15 to $20 for eight ounces of any kind of premium coffee. More than $15 is a rip-off and yes, I am talking about premium coffee, not the floor sweepings that are generally passed off for Kona. If I was going to spend my money on some Peaberry, I would get the green beans and roast and grind them at home, not pay for something that had been roasted weeks ago and flown over to the mainland. The thing that prompted this is that the IP Address resolves to a mainland Comcast address. One that is listed in the BSB database as being a known spammer. The WHOIS lookup resolves to Corporation Service Company of Wilmington, Delaware. Their website: Corporation Service Company. I can certainly understand wanting to protect a trademark and to build a business and I wish them (Kona) luck but promoting via comment spam is not the way to go and a corporation of this size and scope (CSC) should know the hell better -- this only turns people's perceptions of the company toward the tawdry and sleazy side of things. Spam is still Spam regardless of the intentions of the sender and as the senders IP address is in a Black Hole Spam database, it is patently obvious that this is not the first instance of abuse...

Always classy - Sean Penn

You may remember when Sean Penn flew down to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He filled a boat with photographers, publicists, some bottled water and proceeded to go out and help the people. He forgot to replace the boats drain plug.
Well, now he is wishing that people die painfully. From Celebrity Smack:
Sean Penn is lashing out (this time verbally) at people who say his recent trip to Haiti was self serving.
He�s not only speaking out against them, he is actually wishing cancer on them.

Penn went to Haiti in January, accompanied by 11 doctors, to try and help the ravaged country. He also helped found a relief organization. But by coming out and telling everyone about it, does that make it self serving? It seems that way to me � and to others. Especially when you are someone of Penn�s status. I mean, Penn even told everyone that he helped raise more than $1 million dollars for Haiti. Now, if he had kept quiet about it I think it would be a bit more commendable.

By voicing my opinion on this it most likely puts me into to the category of Sean Penn�s haters, even though I adore him as an actor. I always have. He would wish cancer on me if he read this, I�m sure.

Here�s what Sean had to say to everyone who doubts his reasons for going to Haiti:
�You know, do I hope that those people die screaming of rectal cancer? Yeah. You know, but I�m not going to spend a lot of energy on it.�
Honestly, i think that was a horrible thing to say. Penn must not have ever have lost anyone to cancer. Anyone who has would tell you that they wouldn�t wish it on their worst enemy. Sean, grow up, dude. Your helping Haiti yet wishing rectal cancer on people at the same time?

Just STFU and go back to making millions while pretending your somebody.


Sweet - flying to Hawaii made easier

Ran into this news item yesterday. From local station KGMI:

Allegiant Air Plans To Buy Six Long-Range Jets
The rumbling of twin-engine long-range jetliners is a sound you may be hearing at Bellingham International Airport in the future.

Allegiant Air is planning to buy a half-dozen Boeing 757-200 planes so it can offer flights to Hawaii.

The airline isn't saying which airports the large aircraft will operate out of, but a Bellingham-to-Hawaii route has been mentioned in the past, and the Port of Bellingham has said it is moving forward with a $23-million runway project this year.

Flying out of Seattle requires a trip down there the previous day and commercially parking the car for the duration of the trip as the flights to Hawaii leave early in the morning. To be able to leave from Bellingham would shave a couple hundred bucks and two days off the trip.

Green Jobs

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A good look at the Green Jobs scam from James Delingpole:
What Dave and his chum Barack don�t want you to know about green jobs and green energy
Green jobs are a waste of space, a waste of money, a lie, a chimera. You know that. I know that. We�re familiar with the report by Dr Gabriel Calzada Alvarez of the Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain which shows that for every �green job� that is created another 2.2 jobs are LOST in the real economy.

We also know that alternative energy is a fraud � only viable through enormous government (ie taxpayer subsidy) and utterly incapable of answering anything more than a fraction of our energy needs. As Shannon Love puts it here:
Here�s a fact you won�t see mentioned in the public policy debate over �alternative� energy:

There exists no alternative energy source, no combination of alternative energy sources, and no system of combinations of alternative energy sources that can fully replace a single, coal fired electric plant built with 1930s era technology.

So why are our political leaders setting out quite deliberately to deceive us?
Delingpole then cites this article from Christopher Horner at Pajamas Media:
BREAKING: �Anti-Lobbyist� Obama Administration Recruited Left-Wing Lobbyists to Sell Bogus �Green Jobs�
After two studies refuted President Barack Obama�s assertions regarding the success of Spain�s and Denmark�s wind energy programs, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveals the Department of Energy turned to George Soros and to wind industry lobbyists to attack the studies.

Via the FOIA request, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has learned that the Department of Energy � specifically the office headed by Al Gore�s company�s former CEO, Cathy Zoi � turned to George Soros� Center for American Progress and other wind industry lobbyists to help push Obama�s wind energy proposals.

The FOIA request was not entirely complied with, and CEI just filed an appeal over documents still being withheld. In addition to withholding many internal communications, the administration is withholding communications with these lobbyists and other related communications, claiming they constitute �inter-agency memoranda.� This implies that, according to the DoE, wind industry lobbyists and Soros�s Center for American Progress are � for legal purposes � extensions of the government.

This is a defense commonly employed against FOIA requests when seeking to withhold certain communications with, for example, paid consultants.

As candidate and president, on eight separate occasions Barack Obama instructed Americans to �think about what�s happening in countries like Spain [and] Germany� if they wanted to know what successful �green jobs� policies look like, and if they wanted to know what we should expect here in the U.S. from his agenda.

Some European economists took a look. In March, a research team from Madrid�s King Juan Carlos University produced a detailed, substantive, heavily sourced, two-method paper: �Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources.� The paper concluded that Spain�s �green jobs� program was an economic failure, in fact costing Spain many jobs.

The president of Spain�s renewable energy association � along with a Communist Party affiliated trade federation � decried the paper�s lead author as being unpatriotic.

The former wrote in Spain�s leading paper, El Mundo, slamming the research paper. However, he did not critique the paper itself � he agreed with its conclusion. He was furious only that the study was publicized. By revealing the truth about Spain�s increasingly mythologized �green jobs� and renewable energy experience, the revealed study threatened the prospects for Spain�s companies to be bailed out by the U.S. repeating these mistakes.

Incidentally, this became a common refrain. After the Spanish study embarrassed the White House, prompting substantial media attention and even questioning at a press conference, Obama swapped out Denmark for Spain for later references to an enacted �green jobs� program.
Nice to know that we are being lied to by this administration and that our Energy policies are in such good hands...

A chilling parallel

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Bob Carter takes a look at the parallels between NASA computer modeler and Anthropogenic Global Warming promoter Dr. James Hansen and Russian plant scientist Trofim Denisovich Lysenko. Lysenko is now written in the history books as a very well connected Soviet Communist who through his political connections rose to become the director of the Genetics branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences but who's ideas on plant genetics turned out to be completely bogus. In 1964, physicist Andrei Sakharov had this to say about Comrade Lysenko:
He is responsible for the shameful backwardness of Soviet biology and of genetics in particular, for the dissemination of pseudo-scientific views, for adventurism, for the degradation of learning, and for the defamation, firing, arrest, even death, of many genuine scientists.
Here are Bob's thoughts:
Lysenkoism and James Hansen
Is Hansenism more dangerous than Lysenkoism?

On June 23, 1988, a young and previously unknown NASA computer modeler, James Hansen, appeared before a United States Congressional hearing on climate change. On that occasion, Dr. Hansen used a graph to convince his listeners that late 20th century warming was taking place at an accelerated rate, which, it being a scorching summer's day in Washington, a glance out of the window appeared to confirm.

He wrote later in justification, in the Washington Post (February 11, 1989), that "the evidence for an increasing greenhouse effect is now sufficiently strong that it would have been irresponsible if I had not attempted to alert political leaders".

Hansen's testimony was taken up as a lead news story, and within days the great majority of the American public believed that a climate apocalypse was at hand, and the global warming hare was off and running. Thereby, Dr. Hansen became transformed into the climate media star who is shortly going to wow the ingenues in the Adelaide Festival audience.

Fifteen years later, in the Scientific American in March, 2004, Hansen came to write that "Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic".

This conversion to honesty came too late, however, for in the intervening years thousands of other climate scientists had meanwhile climbed onto the Hansenist funding gravy-train. Currently, global warming alarmism is fuelled by an estimated worldwide expenditure on related research and greenhouse bureaucracy of more than US$10 billion annually.

Scientists and bureaucrats being only too human, the power of such sums of money to corrupt not only the politics of greenhouse, but even the scientific process itself, should not be underestimated. In recognition of these events, the term Hansenism is now sometimes used to describe the climate hysteria which had, until recently, gripped western media sources and political, business and public opinion in a deadly grasp.

Histories of science contain an account of the ideological control of Soviet biology during the mid-20th century by plant scientist Trofim Lysenko, who by 1940 had risen to be Director of the influential Institute of Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Lysenko and his supporters rejected the "dangerous Western concepts" of Mendelian genetics and Darwinian evolution. They preferred the Lamarckian view of the inheritance of acquired characteristics; for instance, that cows could be trained to give more milk and their offspring would then inherit this trait.

Whilst this was not an unreasonable hypothesis to erect in the early 19th century, by the 1930s the idea had been tested in many ways and was known to be wrong. Requiring its application to agricultural and allied biological research in the USSR was disastrous, not least in the vicious persecution of scientists that took place, and the legacy of this sad episode still disadvantages Soviet biology today.

Lysenkoism grew from four main roots:
  • a necessity to demonstrate the practical relevance of science to the needs of society;
  • the amassing of evidence to show the "correctness" of the concept as a substitute for causal proof;
  • noble cause corruption, whereby data are manipulated to support a cause which is seen as a higher truth; and
  • ideological zeal, such that dissidents are silenced as "enemies of the truth".
The first of these roots has been strongly represented in Australian government attitudes to the funding of science as far back as the 1980s. The remaining three roots exemplify closely the techniques that are currently used by global warming alarmists in pursuit of their aims � as recently exposed for all to see by the Climategate and IPCCgate scandals.

Lysenkoism damaged mainly Soviet science and society, whereas Hansenism has now been exerting its pernicious influence worldwide for more than twenty years. The climate alarmism involved has long been undermining the precious public trust from which science draws its traditional influence and sustenance, and now Climategate has opened up new sinkholes all over the place.

Hansenist climate alarmism has also damaged the standing of many leading science journals and science organizations, which have replaced their formerly careful editorial and organizational balance with environmental alarmism and naked global warming advocacy.

Future historians of science are likely to judge the 1988-2009 frenzy of climate change alarmism as even more damaging than Lysenkoism, because of the distrust that collapse of the global warming paradigm has already inculcated about using science to inform modern policy making.

Instead of exercising the leadership that is desperately needed to correct this, and to restore public faith in science and scientists, public utterances from Australia�s senior research advisors show that they have so far lost the plot that they are no longer even in the theatre.
A long but fascinating (and chilling) read. What makes this even more interesting is that this was published during a visit to Australia by Hansen and the Australian Broadcasting Company. It was originally supposed to have been published by the ABC and they spiked it. Dr. Carter was also supposed to be on ABC Television and this too was canceled. Carter is no slouch when it comes to Science: Biography of Robert M. Carter
Bob Carter is a Research Professor at James Cook University (Queensland) and the University of Adelaide (South Australia). He is a palaeontologist, stratigrapher, marine geologist and environmental scientist with more than thirty years professional experience, and holds degrees from the University of Otago (New Zealand) and the University of Cambridge (England). He has held tenured academic staff positions at the University of Otago (Dunedin) and James Cook University (Townsville), where he was Professor and Head of School of Earth Sciences between 1981 and 1999.
And a bit more:
Bob Carter's current research on climate change, sea-level change and stratigraphy is based on field studies of Cenozoic sediments (last 65 million years) from the Southwest Pacific region, especially the Great Barrier Reef and New Zealand, and includes the analysis of marine sediment cores collected during ODP Leg 181.

Bob Carter has acted as an expert witness on climate change before the U.S. Senate Committee of Environment & Public Works, the Australian and N.Z. parliamentary Select Committees into emissions trading and in a meeting in parliament house, Stockholm. He was also a primary science witness in the U.K. High Court case of Dimmock v. H.M.'s Secretary of State for Education, the 2007 judgement from which identified nine major scientific errors in Mr Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth".
The guy knows what he is talking about...

That is it for the evening

Out to the DaveCave(tm) and an early bed. Still tired and today was a busy day.

Had to take my dog into the Emergency vet's office. Finnegan had surgery two weeks ago to remove a lump of fatty tissue. No problems there but just yesterday, the area started to swell up and there was indication of an infection along the suture line. I dosed him with 500MG of Amoxycylin last night as a prophylactic and we brought him to the emergency clinic today.

The Vet said it was a serotoma (an accumulation of fluid) and proceeded to drain off over 65CC of fluid!?!

He goes to his regular vet on Tuesday to get his stitches out. The Vet Tech turned out to be a neighbor -- small world!

From Watts Up With That:
Methane, The Panic Du Jour

The climate panic headline this week has been that the warming Arctic is burping out dangerous quantities of greenhouse gas Methane.
Published on Friday, March 5, 2010 by Agence France Presse

Huge Methane Leak in Arctic Ocean: Study

WASHINGTON � Methane is leaking into the atmosphere from unstable permafrost in the Arctic Ocean faster than scientists had thought and could worsen global warming, a study said Thursday. From 2003 to 2008, an international research team led by University of Alaska-Fairbanks scientists Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov surveyed the waters of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, which covers more than 772,200 square miles (two million square kilometers) of seafloor in the Arctic Ocean. �This discovery reveals a large but overlooked source of methane gas escaping from permafrost underwater, rather than on land,� the study said. �More widespread emissions could have dramatic effects on global warming in the future.�
Methane is 30X more potent a greenhouse than CO2, so this sounds very alarming. Or does it? From the New York Times:
Dr. Shakhova said that undersea methane ordinarily undergoes oxidation as it rises to the surface, where it is released as carbon dioxide. But because water over the shelf is at most about 50 meters deep, she said, the gas bubbles to the surface there as methane. As a result, she said, atmospheric levels of methane over the Arctic are 1.85 parts per million, almost three times as high as the global average of 0.6 or 0.7 parts per million.
The first problem with the statement is that it is incorrect. The average global methane concentration is ~1.8 ppm, (1786 ppb) not 0.6 ppm as seen below in this graph from NOAA.
Steven Goddard then proceeds to thoroughly debunk the Malthusian claim that OMFG - we're all gonna die if we don't so SOMETHING and do it NOW! A wonderful breath of fresh CH4 Air

Makes sense - market saturation

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The Organic Foods movement grew so big that a lot of traditional farmers switched over and got certified. Big expense and lots of bureaucratic red-tape to deal with. An interesting story of what happens when a market for something saturates. From today's Seattle Times:
Organic coffee: Why Latin America's farmers are abandoning it
Some 450,000 pounds of organic coffee sit in a warehouse here, stacked neatly in 132-pound bags. It's some of the world's best coffee, but Gerardo De Leon can't sell it.

"This is very high quality and it's organic. But ... the roasters don't want to pay extra these days," says the manager of FEDECOCAGUA, Guatemala's largest growers' cooperative, which represents 20,000 farmers.

De Leon is asking $2 per pound for the unroasted coffee, about 50 cents more than the going price. But he says he'll soon have to sell it as conventionally grown coffee, which sells for less.

That's why many Mesoamerican farmers here are starting to give up on organic coffee: The premium price that it used to fetch is disappearing.

From Mexico to Costa Rica, at least 10 percent of growers have defected in the past three years, estimates the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education in Costa Rica (CATIE). Researchers say that each year, about 75 percent of the world's organic coffee comes from Latin America.

Farmers have returned to the chemical fertilizers and pesticides that increase production, albeit at a cost to the environment. Although organic still pays a premium of as much as 25 percent over conventional coffee, it's not enough to cover the added cost of production and make up for the smaller yields. For consumers, the defections threaten to make the coffee harder to find.

"This is a critical point for organic coffee. It was starting to make the conversion to the mainstream," says Jeremy Haggar, who oversees the research for CATIE. If farmers continue to abandon organic coffee, "prices will definitely go up and it will return to being a niche product."
Sad that the farmer should be the one to bear the brunt of this. If the market saturates, you can either raise the prices throughout the entire chain or promote the product -- form a cooperative and pay for advertising to build brand awareness. You can also establish a niche market -- Coffee growers in Hawaii did this very successfully with their Kona Coffee.
Very fun time-waster. Google Books is hosting two wonderful archives: The Weekly World News from Dec 29, 1981 through Aug 20, 2007 And Popular Science for the entire 137-year run.
Investment bankers from England and the Netherlands tried to game Iceland's biggest bank to make money. They fubared and the bank collapsed leaving them $5.3 Billion in the hole. They want their money back (too big to fail?). Voters in Iceland -- not so fast big boy... From the New York Times:
Voters in Iceland Appear to Reject Repayment Plan
Iceland�s voters expressed their outrage on Saturday against bankers, the government and what they saw as foreign bullying, overwhelmingly rejecting a plan to pay $5.3 billion to Britain and the Netherlands to reimburse customers of a failed Icelandic bank.

With about 30 percent of the votes counted, roughly 93 percent of voters said no to the plan, in the first public referendum ever held on any subject in Iceland. Less than 2 percent voted yes, and the rest of the votes were invalid.
Gotta love the blatant media bias from the grey lady: Appear to Reject when it's a 93% majority to reject... More:
The vote shows the depth of Icelanders� rage. They are angry at the British and Dutch, who they say are mistreating them; angry at the regulators and government officials who failed to properly oversee the Icelandic financial system; and angry at the bankers whose recklessness helped the economy grow at a headspinning rate and then caused it to self-destruct in days.

�Ordinary people, farmers and fishermen, taxpayers, doctors, nurses, teachers, are being asked to shoulder through their taxes a burden that was created by irresponsible greedy bankers,� President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said on Bloomberg Television.

How to repay the debt, which represents more than 40 percent of Iceland�s gross domestic product, has consumed this small, isolated nation for the last year and a half, since its banks failed, its stock market crashed and its currency collapsed.
Had the great joy to backpack through Iceland back in the 70's -- love the place, love the culture and love the people. Glad to see that they still have that wonderful spirit of independence. Theirs is the longest continuously running parliamentary government starting in 930 at �ingvellir.

Early night

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Had to get up a bit earlier than usual to prep for the Water Board meeting and have been more tired than usual the last week or so. Sleep in tomorrow and get an early bed tonight -- heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to check email and then I am off to the land of Morpheous... Nothing really happening on the intarwebs anyway so not missing much.

Well, at least they have Internet - Chile

Came home to find a spam from a Chilean IP Address (

Good to see that the various Chilean businesses are getting back online again. Royally sucks about their wine industry though: From AFP:

Chile quake wrecks vineyards, wine stocks
Chile's famous grape-growing region, which has helped propel the country into ninth place among the world's top wine producers, is soberly counting the cost of the massive earthquake.

Growers believe some 12.5 percent of Chile's current production, just coming into the fall early harvest in this southern hemisphere nation, was destroyed by Saturday's 8.8-magnitude quake.

Some 70 percent of the country's vineyards are based in the area struck by the quake -- one of the largest ever recorded -- and then dealt a double whammy when it was swamped by a tsunami.

But growers are optimistic that despite the losses and the damage to grape vines and wineries they will still be able to meet domestic and export targets.

Chile's largest wine growers association, Vinos de Chile, which groups some 92 percent of the country's vineyards, said in a statement that the damage was uneven and still being assessed.

"We've managed to measure the loss at 125 million liters... worth some 250 million dollars," said the association's president Rene Merino.

From the Wine Spectator:

Chile's Wine Industry Estimates $250 Million Loss
Despite strong aftershocks that continued to rumble Wednesday in devastated areas of Chile following Saturday's massive 8.8 earthquake, the wine industry is beginning to get a clearer picture of its situation.

"We are estimating a loss of 125 million liters of wine [about 14 million cases] with a value of approximately $250 million," said Ren� Merino, president of Wines of Chile, who met earlier today with the association's board, comprised of representatives from Chile's largest wineries. The winery-funded group represents 95 percent of the Chilean wine industry.

"While the number might seem high, it is in fact only about 12 percent of what the 2009 harvest was, by comparison. So the loss is not as significant as initially feared," Merino told Wine Spectator this afternoon.

The initial estimate does not specify how much of the wine is bulk versus premium wine as a more detailed assessment is still ongoing. Most of the wineries are insured against earthquake damage, however, with both wine and infrastructure covered, according to Merino. "There will not be a significant financial loss for the wineries."

He added that even with a one- or two-week interruption in the supply chain, stocks of wine in the U.S. market should not be affected. Both of the main shipping ports for the wine industry, San Antonio and Valparaiso, are now open and operating at about 50 percent capacity, according to Merino.

The news came as the country still struggles to assess damage and help the wounded and homeless. According to government sources, the death toll from the earthquake has risen to nearly 800. Overall damage estimates run as high as $30 billion, with about 500,000 homes destroyed and serious damage done to bridges, roads, ports and public transportation. Although a large aid effort is under way, tens of thousands of Chileans remain short of food, drinking water and shelter. In Concepcion, one of the hardest-hit cities, thousands of government troops were sent in to restore order and prevent looting.

Reports from winery owners have been difficult to get, as communications are still disrupted in many places. Many winemakers and their families were still on their summer vacation when the quake struck, and their return to wineries has been very difficult. "The damage to the infrastructure and houses is extremely severe. It was heartbreaking to see some beautiful old houses completely down," said Jose Ortega, of Maule-based Bodegas y Videdos O. Fournier.

Despite more immediate concerns, the damage assessment for wineries is important to the country as a whole. After copper mining, wine is Chile's biggest industry, and the country will need it to help fuel economic recovery.

Crap -- their wines are really really good.

Talk about being tone deaf -- Bob Cesca in the Huffington Post:
The Tea Party Is All About Race
I was going to open this piece with an analogy about the tea party groups and why they're treated seriously by the press and the Republicans. The analogy would go something like: "Imagine [insert left-wing activist group here] getting a serious profile in a mainstream newspaper, and imagine serious Democratic politicians appearing at their convention."

The problem is, when I really evaluated what the various far-left activist groups are all about and compared them with the tea party movement, there really wasn't any equivalency. At all.

Because when you strip away all of the rage, all of the nonsensical loud noises and all of the contradictions, all that's left is race. The tea party is almost entirely about race, and there's no comparative group on the left that's similarly motivated by bigotry, ignorance and racial hatred.
That is so clueless and idiotic as to render me (almost) speechless... A prime example here: Media Bias - a perfect example Want a perfect example of a fiscally responsible conservative? Check out Herman Cain Read Lloyd Marcus:
Black Tea Party Express Tour Team Member Experienced Racism
I traveled on the Tea Party Express tour bus as a singer/songwriter, entertainer and spokesperson; 16 states, 34 rallies in two weeks. I experienced vicious racial verbal attacks, not from the tea party protesters. The racial hate expressed against me all came from the left, people who support President Obama's radial socialist agenda.

Unfortunately, my deleted email box is littered with numerous messages expressing the following:

"You are the dumbest self hating f****** n***** I have ever seen!"

These racists are outraged by my opening lines I boldly proclaimed at each rally. "Hello my fellow patriots! I am NOT an African-American! I am Lloyd Marcus, AMERICAN!"

At every rally, my proclamation inspired great applause and cheers of joy and approval from the audiences. After each rally many came to me with tears in their eyes. They said, "I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you said. I am Irish (or Italian, or Asian) American. And yet, I would never hyphenate. I feel hyphening divides us. While it is fine to honor one's origin, let's all be American first".

The tea party audience's passionate response to my proclamation was a surprise to me. I did not know so many Americans disapproved of hyphenating pushed on us via political correctness.

I rejected hyphenating years ago. One day I woke up and heard I was no longer black, I was African American. Anyone rejecting the new term was called ignorant, insensitive and an Uncle Tom -- if you are black. Not intending to be provocative or controversial, I casually stated that I am not a hyphenated American, but simply an American at a tea party. The audience's cheers of approval were surprising and heartwarming.
And there are hundreds of other sources -- Blacks are just as fed up with the Government as Whites and because the Democratic Party has always courted the Black population, they are running defensive now that they are losing votes... Cesca needs to get out of the confines of his self-referential echo chamber for a while and experience the rest of the world. Besides, this is just a re-hash of what Janeane Garofalo was saying back in April of 2009:
Garofalo: Tea Party Goers Are Racists Who Hate Black President
During last year's election campaign, liberal media members treated Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin with a hatred most Americans had never witnessed from the press.

On Thursday's "Countdown," MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and his guest Janeane Garofalo defamed fellow citizens who attended the prior day's Tea Parties with the same vitriolic contempt.

Garofalo actually called Party-goers "a bunch of teabagging rednecks," adding "this is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up."
Again, get out of the echo chamber Bob -- it's a big world out there...

Being Water-boarded

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Our community has a water cooperative, I am a board member and today, we are hosting our annual general meeting for the 80+ customers of our district. Should be interesting -- voting on a couple of issues (two bylaw revisions and a couple expansion plans) This is small-town political action at its best -- community organizing as it was meant to be, not the Chicago style of community organizing we are seeing writ large across the USA these days...

Paul Ehrlich

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Readers will know that I have a soft spot in my heart for Malthusians. Thomas Robert Malthus was a British Scholar and Reverend. He wrote a lot about population and resources and was the first writer to talk about catastrophe -- running out of resources if the population grew to large. Since then, there has been no shortage of acolytes to follow down his hand-wringing path preaching doom and gloom. The Anthropogenic Global Warming crowd is a perfect example -- we have to hamstring our economy to avoid the tipping point which is just around the corner. What I find fascinating is that not one of them has ever been correct. I cannot think of one catastrophe that was predicted that came true. The Club of Rome - Limits to Growth -- BZZZZZTT!!! Dead wrong. Peak Oil - debunked. One of the more virulent Malthusians out there is Paul Ehrlich. Firehand has a few words to say:
Be it noted: Paul Ehrlich is a slimy little bastard
Ace notes:
But then come back here and recall with me that Paul Ehrlich is one of the most discredited pseudo-scientific alarmists of all time. In 1968 he predicted that population growth would exceed the resources available on the planet, resulting in decades of famine and disease. He conned universities and governments into thinking that hundreds of millions of people would die by the 1980s.
I also have to point out that in the early 70's he was one of the Global Cooling Will Kill Us All(unless we act NOW!!!) people; and now he's a Globular Warmering Will Kill Us ALL!!!(unless, etc.) bigshot.
And don't forget the Simon-Ehrlich wager:
In 1968, Ehrlich was the author of a popular book, The Population Bomb, which argued that mankind was facing a demographic catastrophe with the rate of population growth quickly outstripping growth in the supply of food and resources. Simon, a libertarian, was highly skeptical of such claims.

You could name your own terms: select any raw material you wanted � copper, tin, whatever � and select any date in the future, "any date more than a year away," and Simon would bet that the commodity's price on that date would be lower than what it was at the time of the wager...

Ehrlich and his colleagues picked five metals that they thought would undergo big price rises: chromium, copper, nickel, tin, and tungsten. Then, on paper, they bought $200 worth of each, for a total bet of $1,000, using the prices on September 29, 1980, as an index. They designated September 29, 1990, 10 years hence, as the payoff date. If the inflation-adjusted prices of the various metals rose in the interim, Simon would pay Ehrlich the combined difference; if the prices fell, Ehrlich et al. would pay Simon...

Between 1980 and 1990, the world's population grew by more than 800 million, the largest increase in one decade in all of history. But by September 1990, without a single exception, the price of each of Ehrlich's selected metals had fallen, and in some cases had dropped through the floor. Chrome, which had sold for $3.90 a pound in 1980, was down to $3.70 in 1990. Tin, which was $8.72 a pound in 1980, was down to $3.88 a decade later.

As a result, in October 1990, Paul Ehrlich mailed Julian Simon a check for $576.07 to settle the wager in Simon's favor.
Talk about asshat -- the guy should stick with his butterflies...
The Tides Foundation just released their 2008 tax return and there are some interesting numbers... From Bret Jacobson writing at Big Government:
Tides Foundation: General Support, Major Concern
Not enough people know about the Tides Foundation, which is one of the original �philanthropic� donation launderers for donors who don�t want to be tied to fringe activist groups. Frankly, there�s too much to tell, but they�re the sugar daddy for ACORN (whose founder, Wade Rathke, is intricately linked within Tides official leadership).

A look at their 2008 tax return, 160-plus pages, reads like a directory of the New Left. I�ve pulled out the donations to ACORN groups and Big Labor�s Working America Education Fund (not many people know unions take in ostensibly charitable donations) and one theme is clear: �general support� seems to be a popular phrase. Another theme: notice that states receiving money are critical to election-year success for Democrats. And finally, notice just how much money is being thrown around.
The 160+ pages of Tides 990 are posted for your perusal. Tides operates like a money laundering scam for the liberal progressives who want to contribute but who don't want their name linked to the organization. A check written to Tides with a directive (Acorn is deeply in bed with them) and the money is handed over without a fuss...
I really love the people at the Congressional Budget Office -- they are letting us know the truth about Obama's various programs. From Bloomberg:
Obama Budget Underestimates Deficit Over 10 Years, CBO Says
President Barack Obama�s budget proposal would generate bigger deficits than advertised each year for the next decade, with the 10-year shortfall totaling $1.2 trillion more than the administration estimated, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The nonpartisan CBO, in an annual analysis of the White House budget proposal, said today that under Obama�s plan deficits would never shrink below 4 percent of the economy between now and 2020. The cumulative deficits would total $9.76 trillion, and debt held by the public would amount to 90 percent of the nation�s gross domestic product by 2020, the CBO said.

By 2020, the federal debt would grow to $20.3 trillion under Obama�s budget, according to CBO.

Those figures are all higher than the administration estimated last month when it said its budget would cut the deficit to as low as 3.6 percent of GDP, with total shortfalls over 10 years totaling $8.5 trillion. The publicly held debt would grow to 77 percent of GDP in 2020, under the administration�s estimate.

This year�s deficit will total $1.5 trillion, according to the CBO report.
Reminds me of this Pete Seeger song from the 60's:
Well, I'm not going to point any moral;
I'll leave that for yourself
Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.

But it's organic

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From ABC/Associated Press:
Claim: San Francisco Giving Gardeners Toxic Sludge
San Francisco wears its environmental consciousness like a green badge of honor. Residents separate and recycle their food scraps. Streets close to cars so people can walk and bike them. A city department even gives away "high-quality, nutrient-rich, organic bio-solids compost" to any and all takers.

But hold on there: A public interest and environmental advocacy group says San Francisco's free compost, used by community, backyard and school gardens in the Bay Area, is processed sewage sludge � the product of anything flushed, poured or dumped into the wastewater system, including industrial, chemical and pharmaceutical toxins.

"This sludge belongs in a hazardous waste dump," said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, before he poured some of the compost on carefully laid out plastic sheeting at the steps of San Francisco City Hall on Thursday.
This is a perfect example of the old: "if it's there, it must be bad" trope that is infecting people who do not have a rigorous mind. Even as little as twenty years ago, analyzing for a specific chemical would take a day or two and would give results down to a few parts per thousand. Any "contamination" under that level would simply not register. As the analysis could take a day or more, it was very expensive so you did not test for a lot of things. Now, tests can be done in under fifteen minutes with a desktop machine that yields results into the parts per billion range. The machines are still expensive but not that much and since the tests only take a few minutes, they are relatively cheap so you can test for a much broader spectrum of chemicals. People are now seeing measurable levels of all sorts of nasty stuff. Is it bad for you? At the doses present, no, absolutely not. But it's arsenic!!! But not at toxic levels. Water is toxic if you drink enough of it. These "Activists" need to take a couple of good high-school level chemistry and biology classes...

Tick tock tick tock...

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From Israel's Harretz:
Iran: Bushehr nuclear plant to be operational in spring
Iran's long-delayed Bushehr nuclear power plant will be launched within a few months, the Iranian nuclear energy agency chief said on Friday.

"This plant will be launched according to schedule at the end of the spring and will run the same as the other nuclear plants in the world," Ali Akbar Saleh, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation said in quotes carried by news agency ILNA.
Wonder how long it will be before one of these drops a little housewarming present...

And another one bites the dust

A lot of Democrats are either not running for re-election or are stepping down. From FOX News:
Facing Misconduct Allegations, Massa to Resign
Facing "allegations of misconduct" that reportedly involve sexual harassment against a male staffer, freshman Rep. Eric Massa is resigning Monday.

"I own his reality," the New York Democrat said in a statement, admitting to using language that "might make a chief petty officer feel uncomfortable."

Massa went on to call Washington an "incredibly toxic atmosphere" and said the ethics committee probe "would tear my family and my staff apart."

The House ethics panel is reviewing a complaint by a male staffer who reportedly felt uncomfortable in a situation with Massa that had sexual overtones.

Massa announced Wednesday he would retire at the end of his term because of a recurrence of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, first diagnosed in 1996. He also addressed head-on the harassment allegations.

"The allegations are totally false. I am a salty old sailor," Massa, a former Navy officer, said at a news conference. "These are blogs that are saying that I am leaving because of charges of harassing my staff. Do and have I used salty language? Yes, and I have tried to do better."

He called the blogs "a symptom of the problem in this city."
Emphasis mine -- blogs are a symptom of the problem in this city Talk about clueless ninny -- blogs are not a symptom; they are the messenger, not the illness. Blogs open the window and shine the light onto the truth or the allegations. If a blog posts an allegation, other blogs will do the fact checking and reveal the truth. Blogs as a population are inherently truthful and self-correcting. Good riddance to bad trsh...


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Sums it up nicely:
Swiped from Denny.

The icecaps are melting

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A lot of people know about the Northwest Passage from Newfoundland to British Columbia. It opens up every 20 years or so and then closes down. A matter of currents and wind more than temperature. The Northeast Passage is not as well known -- from the East coast of Russia and Asia, it extends north over the top of Russia and ends in Europe. This passage has been in commercial use for about ninety years -- the Russians use huge icebreakers to keep it open. Well, they seem to be having a bit of trouble. From Breitbart/AFP:
More than 50 ships stuck in Baltic Sea ice: maritime authorities
More than 50 ships, including large ferries reportedly carrying thousands of passengers, were stuck in ice in the Baltic Sea Thursday evening, and many were not likely to be freed for hours, Swedish maritime authorities said.
Explain to me again this theory of yours... Something about Global Warming? For the final word on melting Ice Caps, here is a dissertation from renowned climatologist Herbert Khaury:
One suggestion is to sell off some islands... From German news outlet The Local:
German MPs suggest cash-strapped Greece should sell islands
Greece should sell some of its uninhabited islands to raise cash to avoid bankruptcy, two German parliamentarians from Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition suggested on Thursday.

"The Greek state must sell stakes in companies and also assets such as, for example, unpopulated islands," Frank Sch�ffler, a member of parliament for the pro-business Free Democrats, told the Bild daily.

Marco Wanderwitz, an MP for Merkel's own conservative Christian Democrats, said Athens should provide collateral for any money it receives from the European Union to help it out of its debt crisis.

"In this case, certain Greek islands also come into question," added Wanderwitz.

"We give you cash, you give us Corfu," the Bild commented.
What a stupid, non-reversible boneheaded idea. Greece is in trouble because it is spending too much -- giving Union members guaranteed pensions; pensions worth far more than the Union member paid into through ought his career. It needs to cut spending, not dip into its principal. Greece's islands and corporations are its principal and you never ever dip into your principal...
Run like hell! From the BBC:
Chile earthquake brings double nightmare for Haitians
The Desarmes family from Haiti will never forget the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince in January.

And they will never forget the earthquake that hit Chile last Saturday.

Because they lived through both.

When Haiti suffered its huge loss of life and widespread destruction nearly two months ago, the first thought of Pierre Desarmes, a Haitian singer based in Chile with his group Reggaeton Boys, was to get his family to safety.

He managed to bring his father, Joseph, mother Jeanelia Pierre, his brothers Quinchy and Stanley, Stanley's young daughter Standerly Nelia to Chile, along with four other Haitian nationals.
Out of frying pan...

Fun times in Maricopa County

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Arizona's Maricopa County is always good for an interesting story. The Sheriff, Joe Arapio is quite colorful and has been known to not be that careful as to which side of the law he walks on. The could use a little bit of remedial computer education. From AZ Central:
County officials recover data destroyed by Sheriff's Officials in profiling case
Maricopa County�s information technology department has recovered information contained in e-mails destroyed by sheriff�s officials related to a racial-profiling lawsuit.

The Sheriff�s Office has acknowledged it destroyed records from its immigration sweeps and deleted e-mails among employees regarding those operations.

A federal judge last month imposed sanctions on the Sheriff�s Office for destroying the evidence. U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow ordered the Sheriff�s Office to try to recover the deleted e-mails and swear under oath officials to steps to gather the records.

The Republic has learned the sheriff�s office recently contacted the Office of Enterprise Technology to see if the e-mails could be recovered. Sources said technology officials recovered e-mails dating back to the summer of 2008; it is unclear if all of the e-mails have been recovered, however.

County officials have made arrangements to give the data to attorneys representing the Sheriff's Office in the case.

The racial-profiling lawsuit was filed in December 2007 following a sheriff's crime-suppression operation in Cave Creek that included the arrest of Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres.

Melendres is seeking to stop what he calls "illegal, discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against Hispanics in Maricopa County."

The case now includes five individuals who claim deputies have detained them because of the color of their skin, and their lawyers have sought records from the sheriff's crime-suppression operations.

The Sheriff's Office has denied it engages in racial profiling, but the office destroyed records from those sweeps and deleted e-mails among employees regarding those operations.
This is the same kind of politically correct stupidity that makes airline travel such fun. If your enemy is Middle-Eastern men in their teens to mid-30's, don't stop and search my Grandma. The Sheriff's Department is enforcing Federal Immigration laws -- the people trying to illegally immigrate are Hispanics so searching for anyone else is a waste of time. There are almost 100 comments polarized between Go Joe! and how Arapaio is corrupt and should be run out of town.

So close I can taste it

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My agent at Verizon received the fax I sent to them. On re-reading the contract, it was just one person needed but up to three could be listed so Esmeralda's brief Carree in IT ended as she was laid off. She will get some extra sunflower seeds for severance pay... Just received an email that the provisioning people will be getting in touch... Was in town today so get a couple extra of the Costco UPSs for the server. I am downloading the server edition of Ubuntu -- it will be fun to play around with it while waiting for the connection. I do prefer Kubuntu but there is no optimized server version for it. Registered last evening as well as -- rather surprised the latter was available...

No problem. From Popular Mechanics:

Anatomy of Toyota's Problem Pedal: Mechanic's Diary
What's the real problem behind Toyota's unintended acceleration? Is it simply a sticky pedal, or is the trouble more fundamental? PM senior automotive editor Mike Allen delves into modern car tech, explaining why widespread theories about electrical throttle problems and electromagnetic interference are misguided.

Basically, the fault lies with the driver. Popular Mechanics also did the wonderful troofer debunking of the 9/11 terrorist attack as well as debunking the stunningly stupid idea that you can generate Hydrogen gas and feed it into your cars intake and boost your gas milage.

There is a chain of 'premium' burger places in the Pacific Northwest called Red Robin. A little bit pricey compared to other burger places but the food is good.

Their first restaurant was a wonderful funky icon just south of Seattle's University District over the Montlake Bridge. When I lived in Seattle, I used to have sailboats and my favorite one was moored just under where the Red Robin was. I would get back from a sail and head up the hill for a couple beers and a burger as the sun was setting.

Wonderful place, not at all like the franchise locations. Sad to hear that the owners are closing it for the pissant reason that it is too expensive to maintain. From Neatorama:

Red Robin to Close Original Restaurant
HP preserves the garage where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started their company. Google bought the garage Larry Page and Sergey Brin rented to start theirs. But Red Robin has decided to let go their original Seattle location because it is too expensive to maintain.

Nancy Leson of The Seattle Times' All You Can Eat Blog has a brief history of the US burger chain:
It was 1969 when Gerry Kingen -- now owner of Salty's restaurants -- bought the Red Robin tavern. "I ran it as a tavern for a couple-three years," recalls Kingen, whose clientele included the university crowd and local houseboat habitues. "Before we put in food, we were serving burnt popcorn and plastic-wrapped sandwiches prepared in an infrared oven, doing about 12 grand a month - which was big money back then."

In 1973, Kingen did a thorough remodel of the hillside joint, built in 1916, and upgraded its menu. "We put a deck in the back, added two burgers, fish and chips and a strip steak out of Andy's Diner. It wasn't exactly Andy's recipe, but the concept was the same."

More than a few of my boomer-buddies remember the first Red Robin as the place where they could flash their fake IDs before sitting in front of a fabulously sloppy burger washed down with a beer -- or three. Seattle historian Paul Dorpat remembers its storied jukebox: "Muddy Waters, psychedelic, none of that teen-y pop." And he recalls the night Kingen closed the tavern in preparation for the makeover. "When you know a place is going to be destroyed, you help it along the way," he says of the "spirited community" some 200-strong, who enthusiastically brought down the house that night. "By 2 a.m., it wasn't the same place that we showed up at earlier in the evening."

In the wake of his splashy redo, business tripled, says Kingen. Red Robin eventually expanded to Northgate and elsewhere, and later franchised. "I basically created a grownup's McDonald�s," he says.

More here: All You Can Eat

A move like this cannot be reversed -- the current owners need to think long and hard about closing, all for a few dollars more...

Happy Birthday Dad

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Turned 94 today. We went out to a local restaurant for dinner and had a fun time. As I have mentioned before, his short-term memory is basically shot but he is happy and is living in a world of his own making.

Now this will be interesting

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From DoubleTapper:
Muslim Religious Ban On Terrorism
The leader of a global Muslim movement has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that he calls an absolute condemnation of terrorism.

Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a former Pakistani lawmaker, says the 600-page fatwa bans suicide bombing "without any excuses, any pretexts, or exceptions."

"They can't claim that their suicide bombings are martyrdom operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim nation," Qadri told a press conference in London. "�No, they become heroes of hellfire, and they are heading towards hellfire.�

Qadri also slammed Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, referring to it as an "old evil with a new name" and saying it has not be challenged adequately thus far.

"There is no place for any martyrdom and their act is never, ever to be considered jihad," he said.
A bit more:
Tahir-ul-Qadri has issued similar, shorter decrees, but Tuesday's event in London was publicized by the Quilliam Foundation, a government-funded anti-extremism think tank and drew strong media attention.

The religious scholar is the founder of Minhaj-ul-Quran, a worldwide movement that promotes a nonpolitical, tolerant Islam. The group has hundreds of thousands of followers around the world.
If these people are able to get traction among the disadvantaged and poorly educated Muslims, it will go a long way to killing terrorism at its source. Glad that ul-Qadri grew a pair and decided to issue this in the form of a Fatwa -- kind of hard to sweep one of those under the rug...

On the dotted line

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Received the contract to sign to get the T-1 up and running. Part of the document (14 pages) requires three contact people - hmmm... There is me, Jen and...
Let us all say hi to Esmeralda Caprinia, our new NOC coordinator as she is checking out the chicken coop future home of Foothills Power and Light. She has been on the farm staff since 2005 and should work out just fine.

Buh Bye Charlie

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What a difference one day can make... Fox News from March 2nd:
Rangel Says He�s Still Chairman of Ways and Means Panel
Embattled House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) denied media reports Tuesday night that he would step down as the head of the powerful taxwriting committee.

A defiant Rangel emerged Tuesday night from a half-hour meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). When asked by reporters if he was still the chairman of the panel, Rangel gave an unequivocal �yes!�
And from Fox News March 3rd:
Rangel to Step Down From Ways and Means Post Amid Ethics Probe
Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel announced Wednesday that he plans to step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee amid a wide-ranging ethics probe.

The announcement came as Republicans readied a formal resolution to strip the Harlem Democrat of his chairmanship, and as several Democrats began to peel away and call for Rangel to step down from his leadership post.
Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you...

Joy in Mudville tonight

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Things seem to be back to what passes for normalcy for our WildBlue satellite internet provider. It is starting to rain so Rain Fade will be an issue throughout the evening. Packet loss is prevalent and the speed is not what I would call stellar. The idea that within 20 business days, I will be sucking through a T-1 is pure joy. A project in the DaveCave will be setting up Linux the two Compaq 1850R servers I own. I used to use these units at Microsoft and purchased the two I have at a tech auction a few years ago. Yes, these are older units but they are rock solid and more than adequate performance for web serving and running various ISP software.

Awesome product, awesome founder

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Bob's Red Mill products are excellent. We sell a lot of them at the store as well as using them for cooking at home. Turns out that Bob (yes, there really is a Bob) is an awesome person as well. From Oregon Live:
Founder of Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods transfers business to employees
Scores of employees gathered to help Bob Moore celebrate his 81st birthday this week at the company that bears his name, Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods.

Moore, whose mutual loves of healthy eating and old-world technologies spawned an internationally distributed line of products, responded with a gift of his own -- the whole company. The Employee Stock Ownership Plan Moore unveiled means that his 209 employees now own the place and its 400 offerings of stone-ground flours, cereals and bread mixes.

"This is Bob taking care of us," said Lori Sobelson, who helps run the business' retail operation. "He expects a lot out of us, but really gives us the world in return." Moore declined to say how much he thinks the company is worth. In 2004, however, one business publication estimated that year's revenues at more than $24 million. A company news release issued this week stated that Bob's Red Mill has chalked up an annual growth rate of between 20 percent to 30 percent every year since.

"In some ways I had a choice," Moore said of what he could have done with the company he founded with his wife, Charlee, in 1978. "But in my heart, I didn't. These people are far too good at their jobs for me to just sell it."

It's not that the offers aren't there. Hardly a day goes by that Nancy Garner, Moore's executive assistant, doesn't field a call or letter from someone wanting to buy the privately held company or take it public.
The article goes into a lot more detail. The website: Bob's Red Mill

Now this is hella cool

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From CBS:
'Hella Big': Soon To Be A Scientific Measurement?
An oft-hated slang word coined in Northern California has been proposed as a worthy entry into the field of scientific measurement when calculating enormous numbers.

Austin Sendek, a physics student at UC Davis, wants the number of 10 to the 27th power -- a trillion trillions -- to officially become "hella" big.

Along the lines of using the "kilo" prefix for kilometers or "giga" for gigabyte, Sendek is petitioning the International System of Units (SI) to use the term "hella" to describe really, really big measurements; such as the size of the universe.

"The diameter of the universe is 1.4 hellameters," Sendek said. "You know if someone says that's 'hella meters' you know exactly what they're talking about."

Under Sendek's proposed terminology, you would say the mass of the earth is six hellagrams, and the power of the sun is 0.3 hellawatts.

Physics professor Daniel Cox says he gets a kick out of the idea, but points out the number is so big, you can't use it to count the age of the universe, believed to be a measly five times 10 to the power of 17 seconds.

"Ten to the 27th [power] is about 10 billion times bigger," Cox said. "That's a hella lot of seconds."

Reactions on the UC Davis campus were mixed -- one physics student even told CBS13 she would switch majors if the proposal were accepted -- and Sendek admits that the odds of his idea gaining traction are "hella small," but he has his hopes.

"You can apply it everywhere, it's sort of a catch-all word," he added.

SI last added a prefix to the metric system in 1991, when they accepted "yotta" to describe 10 to the 24th power.
Makes a lot of sense -- people are using measurements this big and you have to call it something -- why not 'hella'

Yikes - not a good way to go

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From Associated Press:
Wash. man electrocuted by urinating on power line
Authorities believe a Washington man was killed by accidentally urinating on a downed power line after a car crash.

Grays Harbor County sheriff's Deputy Dave Pimentel (PIM'-en-tel) said Monday 50-year-old Roy Messenger was not seriously hurt after he collided with a power pole Friday and called a relative to pull his car from a ditch.

However, family members found Messenger electrocuted when they arrived.

Pimentel says Messenger apparently urinated into a roadside ditch but didn't see the live wire. The urine stream likely served as a conductor, allowing the electricity to reach his body.

Pimentel says there will be an autopsy but burn marks indicated the way the electricity traveled through Messenger's body.
What a horrible way to go -- you are aware of the pain all the while you are being cooked alive...

We have joy - placed the order

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I called SpeakEasy and it turns out that they do not service our corner of the woods. The agent referred me to someone at Verizon who quoted me $422/month for the same service that SpeakEasy was quoting $380. Again, free premises equipment and I am free to resell the broadband to my neighbors. The agent quoted a maximum of 20 business days to process the order and complete the installation. Looking forward to this!

Heh - Graduate School

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From PHD Comics:

We have joy - somewhat

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WildBlue service was abysmal this morning and it got to the point just an hour ago where IE would time out before it was able to load any browser content. Placed a service call to WildBlue and a switch was flipped and pure magic was done and we seem to be back to what passes for normalcy... I will see what happens this evening during the prime-time. I am still placing an order for the T-1 through SpeakEasy -- there is a company that sells ISP starter kits for just under $1,000 -- a high power (500mW) access point and ten CPE receivers. We will need another $50 worth of hardware for each installation (mounting bracket, cable, etc...). We will be able to keep prices down to about $40/month for a major chunk of a T-1 and if this works out, I will be able to roll it out into a lot of other local communities nearby. Maple Falls is where ComCast ends its service and there are three largish (100+) housing developments and one small town further down the highway. I have started documenting the process and will make all of the information available as an open source project.

I am now down to 63% usage; well below the 70% upper limit that WildBlue publishes in their Terms of Service.

Called home and Jen says the internet connection is so slow as to be unusable -- IE times out before it is able to download any data.


As we can see from my earlier post, SpeedTest gives a horrid performance indication -- and this was in the early morning when the system is not being stressed.

Wondering if this might be the way to get out from under that two-year contract...

Surfing the web -- now that I am (still) at 65% download capacity, I should be getting the service I contracted for. I am not. The performance of the dish is a lot better but it is not what I used to have.

I have not called Speakeasy yet as I want to keep the phone line open in case the sheerer needs to call but as soon as he is done, I will be placing the order for the T-1

65% and still major suckage

I finally (13 days) got my rolling 30-day performance down to below 70% after being told by the highly trained WildBlue Tech Support staff that (call #1) I just had to shut the modem off for two days; (call #2) I had to get below 90%; (call #3) I had to get below 80% and finally; (call #4) I had to get below 70% which jives with the written Fair Access Policy on their website. Just opened a browser window to find this wonderful stat:
And this wonderful bit of reality:
Still suxrd. More later...

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