July 2010 Archives

That's it for the night

Today was busy at the store -- one person was out sick and another is going through a bit of a rough patch so I was there all day cashiering and stocking. Monday is a British Columbia holiday so there are a lot of people down here enjoying a long weekend and we were swamped. We may very well have our biggest day of gross sales ever. Just finished a grazing dinner (salad, three ears of corn and a big bowl of sliced organic Red Haven peaches with ice cream and pound cake) so I am headed out to the DaveCave(tm) to check email and work on a few projects.
First Charlie Rangel gets tossed under the bus with more than 12 ethics charges and Obama (and fellow Representatives) calling for him to step down. From Google/Associated Press:
Democrats say Rangel should resign
Calls for Rep. Charlie Rangel's resignation rained down on Capitol Hill late Friday from House Democrats who said more than a dozen ethics charges against the 20-term lawmaker showed a disregard for the rules and undermined the public's confidence in Congress.

The calls came as Democrats headed home for their monthlong recess wrestling with how to handle the tax and disclosure charges against Rangel back in their districts as election season loomed. Republicans, meanwhile, raced ahead with plans to make Rangel the face of corrupt Washington under the rule of Democrats who had vowed to clean up Congress.
And from Ben Smith at Politico:
Obama: Time for Rangel to end career "with dignity"
President Barack Obama has kept mum on the fate of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) for days -- but he tells CBS News that it's time for the embattled 80-year-old former Ways and Means Chairman to end his career "with dignity."

"I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served-- his constituents very well. But these-- allegations are very troubling," Obama told Harry Smith in an interview to be aired on the "Early Show." and first broadcast on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
And now Rep. Maxine Waters will be joining him under the bus. From Yahoo/Associated Press:
California Rep. Waters may face fall ethics trial
A second House Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, could face an ethics trial this fall, further complicating the election outlook for the party as it battles to retain its majority.

People familiar with the investigation, who were not authorized to be quoted about charges before they are made public, say the allegations could be announced next week. The House ethics committee declined Friday to make any public statement on the matter.

Waters, 71, has been under investigation for a possible conflict of interest involving a bank that was seeking federal aid. Her husband owned stock in the bank and had served on its board.
Maybe if Queen Nancy had lived up to her promise to run the most ethical Congress ever (here and followup here)...

Tales from the server room

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I worked for MSFT for five years as a hardware lab manager -- basically keeping some server farms and client test machines configured properly and running happily. The last building I was in was a gorgeous office building but it was next to impossible to get server racks in our out. The canopy over the loading dock was too low to get anything larger than a box truck into position. The building next door had a full-sized dock but there were only man doors between the two -- seven foot tall man doors and a full-size server rack can be eight feet tall. And close to 1,000 pounds fully loaded. And just a few inches narrower than the man door. To top things off, this was the Business Enterprise lab where companies like IBM or Compaq or Unisys or HP would bring their latest and greatest big iron to optimize performance for Windows Server. Fun stuff and I got to play with some amazing systems... Here is another tale over at The Daily WTF:
The Suicide Door
At the university where Diogo worked, the Computer Science program outgrew its status as an unloved child of the Mathematics department. It was to become its own department, and that meant it finally deserved its own building. Since the university in question had a very strong architecture program, the university searched for the biggest names to design the building.

Enter Laurent. He flew in to consult and prepare designs for the building; he was fresh off a project in Dubai and his next port-of-call was Tokyo. He was a name that could name names. The exterior renders he provided were stunning, full of glass and sweeping lines. The designs leapt up on a desk, stomped their feet and screamed, "I AM MODERN AND TECHNOLOGICLYISH!" To the casual spectator, they were fantastic. As Diogo discovered, when you actually had to live in the building, things got much worse.

"I assume," Diogo said during one conference with Laurent, "there will be some sort of freight elevator? The server room we're moving in involves a great deal of heavy equipment, after all."

"No, no!" Laurent smiled like he was revealing a fabulous Christmas gift. "There is no need. You see, there is an access door on the south wall, with a ramp into the basement. Your computers can go in through there."

"Well, yes," Diogo agreed, "but how are we going to move them up to the server room?"

"Up? There is no up! The server room is in the basement. Nothing heavy need go upstairs; we have no need for a freight elevator."

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," Diogo said. He explained the unique geography of the region.

Laurent extolled the virtures of his choice. It would be easy to move equipment in and out of. The naturally cooler basement would be cheaper to keep cool, reducing the costs of running a large server farm. The lack of a freight elevator would reduce the initial construction costs. Diogo continued his protests, carrying his case before the dean and eventually the university president, but their response was simple: "Laurent is a world class architect. He knows what he's doing. What buildings have you designed?"

Laurent came with a stack of designs and left with a gigantic check for his efforts. The CS department moved into their new building while the president gave his ribbon cutting speech. For most of the summer session, things were sunny and bright, and the new building worked out spectacularly. Shortly before the fall semester kicked into full swing, it rained. It kept raining for a full week, at rates ranging from a drizzle to a torrent. By the third day, Diogo was looking into renting a gondola for his commute. By the fourth, the water table rose and filled basements across the entire county.

Diogo's home was well prepared for this sort of flooding, common to the region. The basement was unfinished, the furnace was on blocks, and an emergency drain shunted the flood waters into the storm sewers. The new CS building wasn't so fortunate. As Diogo waded through the waist deep muck and murk in the basement, Jacques Cousteau swam between his legs, searching for the mysterious creatures of the deep ocean. Anything in the server room that had been below shoulder height had at least some water damage; anything below waist height was a complete loss. In the darkened room, Diogo feared that at any moment an upsurge of water would dash him against the ceiling and drown his unconsious body.

"�which is exactly what I warned you about," Diogo told the dean. It was impolitic, but honest.
Visit The Daly WTF for the University's fix and that fix's downfall. A great story and I got the Tee Shirt...

Minimal posting today

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Working on some other stuff and put in a good day at the store. Had dinner at the new restaurant -- it's coming along very well. Their website is now up and running -- if you are ever in this corner of the Pacific Northwest, check them out. The food seriously rocks -- had the Buffalo Burger tonight for the first time and it was tasty!
An incredible read. From Bellamags writing at The Blogmocracy:
Invention of Demons
It was the middle of summer, two thousand ten. As I pulled into the almost vacant office complex I noticed the thermometer in my car read 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It seems as each winter passes, I forget just how hot and humid it is every summer in Florida.

I had taken the afternoon off from my duties as shop keeper to take care of my father�s income tax filing while he was away. I got out of my car and began the long hike to see the accountant. As I walked up the stairs toward the office, I wondered how people could actually work outside when it was so hot. My overactive imagination got the best of me and I imagined myself picking weeds and digging ditches because my business failed in this miserable economy. �If it comes to that, at least I will stay tan and get skinny�, I thought.

A blast of super cold air hit me in the face as I opened the glass door to the office. Adding to the North pole atmosphere, the accountant that met me in the lobby reminded me of Santa, only younger and clean cut but just as rotund and jovial. He showed me to his office and as I sat down at his desk he began to give me instructions on how to file the return. I told him I would get things done as soon as I could and I am very busy with a shop of my own. He asked what business I was in. �I own a tanning salon� I said then looked at him to watch his reaction. He stopped abruptly and looked me in the eye and said �Oh honey. I�m sorry. It seems you are being targeted. I read the legislation and was amazed at what had passed. I�ve never seen anything like it.� The sincerity and concern in his voice brought up all of the emotions that I had been bottling up for months. I felt the familiar sting of tears. �He knows.� I thought. �He understands, and I�m not imagining this.� I put my hand up to my mouth and squeezed my eyes shut trying to keep it together but a few drops managed to escape. He saw my reaction and felt terrible as he realized he shouldn�t have said anything.
A ten minute read and worth every second. This is what the administration is doing to businesses too small to have a paid-for lobby resident in D.C. -- ignoring their needs and treating them as just another source of money to feed leviathan. Go and read: Invention of Demons

A WikiLeaks two-fer

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Item One The leaked files were offered to the White House for their review before they were posted. The White House reply? . . . . crickets . . . A video of Judge Andrew Napolitano who had interviewed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange:
Hat tip to Frank Ross at Breitbart's Big Journalism for the link. Item Two It seems that Pfc Manning is in custody and is being transferred stateside. From Politico:
Pentagon returns Wikileaks suspect to U.S.
A military intelligence analyst suspected in the leak of more than 90,000 classified field reports from Afghanistan was returned to the United States from a base in Kuwait Thursday, an Army spokesman said.

"U.S. Army officials transferred PFC Bradley Manning from the Theater Field Confinement Facility in Kuwait to the Marine Corps Base Quantico Brig in Quantico, Virginia, on July 29," Major Bryan Woods, an Army spokesman, said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.
And why he was incustody initially:
Preliminary charges were filed against Manning back on July 5 in connection with the leak of a classified video to Wikileaks depicting the killing of a Reuters photographer by U.S. forces. He was also charged with leaking more than 50 diplomatic cables and downloading more than 150,000 of them in violation of military rules. At least some of that material seems to have made it to Wikileaks, though the web site's founder Julian Assange has said it does not have the larger cache.

Military officials said this week that Manning is now a "person of interest" in the highly-publicized leak of the Afghanistan reports--a leak which top Pentagon officials have said could result in the deaths of U.S. soldiers or Afghans.
I hope he doesn't see daylight for a long long time...
Chelsea Clinton is getting married in a very lavish ceremony. The cake alone is over $10,000. From the London Daily Mail:
�7,000 for the cake at Chelsea Clinton's �3.2 MILLION wedding of the year
When your father is a former U.S. President and your mother is the Secretary of State, having your wedding reception in the local pub isn�t an option.

Chelsea Clinton�s big day in a country mansion on Saturday could cost up to �3.2million.

No expense will be spared at what will be the American society event of the year, with the equivalent of �6,400 being spent on each of the 500 guests.
(1 GBP ~ 1.56 USD) They are a nice looking couple, he is well connected too and I wish them the best of luck in their marriage. What caught my eye is that the President and the First Lady were not invited. If they showed up, it would take away from the couple's ceremony and it would seriously inconvenience the guests with the required screening but... The polite thing to do would be to issue an invitation and the Obama's would politely decline citing a previous obligation on the golf course, send them a nice gift and that would be that -- protocol would have been served. Not inviting Obama and his family highlights the deep rift between the two families. 2012 is going to be an interesting year...

The WikiLeaks problem

Generally I am in favor of WikiLeaks -- some corporate and political secrets need to be brought out into the daylight for people to see. It has the overall effect of keeping people (and corporations) honest.

The leak of the Afghan documents is unconscionable. Contained within are names and locations of contact people who have been feeding information to coalition forces. We can kiss those people, and their families, and their villages and extended families goodbye.

From the New York Times:

U.S. Military Scrutinizes Leaks for Risks to Afghans
The Pentagon is reviewing tens of thousands of classified battlefield reports made public this week about the war in Afghanistan to determine whether Afghan informants were identified and could be at risk of reprisals, American officials said Wednesday.

A Pentagon spokesman, Col. David Lapan, said that a Pentagon assessment team had not yet drawn any conclusions, but that "in general, the naming of individuals could cause potential problems, both to their physical safety or willingness to continue support to coalition forces or the Afghan government."

Speaking in Kabul on Thursday, the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, called the disclosure of the names of Afghans who had cooperated with NATO and American forces "extremely irresponsible and shocking."

A bit more:

A search by The New York Times through a sampling of the documents released by the organization WikiLeaks found reports that gave the names or other identifying features of dozens of Afghan informants, potential defectors and others who were cooperating with American and NATO troops.

And, as for who did this -- there is a rapidly growing body of evidence that it was this little snowflake:


From the Wall Street Journal:

Evidence Ties Manning to Afghan Leaks
Investigators have found concrete evidence linking Pfc. Bradley Manning with the leak of classified Afghanistan war reports, a U.S. defense official said.

A search of the computers used by Pfc. Manning yielded evidence he had downloaded the Afghanistan war logs, which span 2004-2009, the official said. It isn't clear precisely what that evidence is.

Pfc. Manning, 22 years old, worked in the intelligence operations of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade in Baghdad. Although he was supposed to be examining intelligence relevant to Iraq, defense officials said Pfc. Manning used his "Top Secret/SCI" clearance to tap into documents around the world.

Rope, Tree -- some assembly required...

And it's heading to Lake Michigan. From Yahoo/Associated Press:
Crews work to keep oil spill from Lake Michigan
Federal officials believe an oil spill that has contaminated a major Michigan river was larger than first estimated, and the governor is warning of a "tragedy of historic proportions" should the oil reach Lake Michigan some 80 miles away, and the vacation communities that depend on it.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which has taken control of efforts to contain and clean up the Kalamazoo River spill, said late Wednesday that it believes more than 1 million gallons of oil leaked from a pipeline into Talmadge Creek, which feeds the river. Enbridge Inc., the Canadian company that oversees the pipeline, had estimated that 819,000 gallons spilled Monday before they could stop the leak.

By late Wednesday, the oil had traveled at least 35 miles downstream from where it leaked in Calhoun County's Marshall Township, killing fish, coating other wildlife and emitting a strong, unpleasant odor. It had passed through Battle Creek, a city of 52,000 residents about 110 miles west of Detroit, and was headed toward Morrow Lake, a key point near a Superfund site upstream of Kalamazoo, the largest city in the region.
Well, Michigan voted strongly Democrat back in 2008 so it's no wonder they are getting all the help they are.
From PhysOrg:
Artificially controlling water condensation leads to 'room-temperature ice'
Researchers at Spain's Centre d'Investigaci� en Nanocičncia i Nanotecnologia (CIN2) have studied the underlying mechanisms of water condensation in the troposphere and found a way to make artificial materials to control water condensation and trigger ice formation at room temperature. Described in the Journal of Chemical Physics, which is published by the American Institute of Physics, their work may lead to new additives for snowmaking, improved freezer systems, or new coatings that help grow ice for skating rinks.
A bit too close to Ice Nine for my liking but interesting nontheless...
From the Associated Press:
Ousted USDA employee Sherrod plans to sue blogger
Ousted Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod said Thursday she will sue a conservative blogger who posted an edited video of her making racially tinged remarks last week.

Sherrod made the announcement in San Diego at the National Association of Black Journalists annual convention.

The edited video posted by Andrew Breitbart led Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to ask her to resign, a decision he reconsidered after seeing the entire video of her March speech to a local NAACP group. In the full speech, Sherrod spoke of racial reconciliation and lessons she learned after initially hesitating to help a white farmer save his home.
Hey Associated Press -- first paragraph: "conservative blogger who posted an edited video" There is a huge difference between editing a video and excerpting a video. Andrew published an excerpt from a much larger video. He also published the entire video on his site and it bears watching not only to see all of Shirley's racial comments but also the audience's reactions to those comments... Now with things like her own $13 Million dollar "agricultural discrimination" settlement (here and here); the discovery process will be a bitch for her. Time to cook up a bowl of popcorn and watch the proceedings unfold...

OK - one item caught my eye

I feel really sorry for England because Chris Huhne, their Energy Minister is a mouth-breathing, kool-aid drinking idiot. First, a little bit on the Minister -- from the London Daily Mail:
Has any minister in history seemed more hopelessly unfit to do his job?
The penny is fast dropping that by far the most disastrous appointment made by David Cameron to his Coalition Cabinet was that of the ultra-green, Lib Dem millionaire Chris Huhne as our Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

Yesterday, after Mr Huhne issued his first annual statement on Britain's energy future, it was clear that we should all be very, very concerned about the future of Britain.

As was only too predictable, the overall theme of Mr Huhne's message was that 'climate change is the greatest global challenge we face'.

We must do everything we can and more to cut down very drastically on our 'carbon emissions', as we are now legally committed to do by the Climate Change Act - at a cost of �18 billion a year.

But in the real world, the �100 billion-plus energy question that confronts us all in Britain today is how we are going to fill that massive, fast-looming gap in our electricity supplies when the antiquated power stations which currently supply us with two-fifths of the power needed to keep our economy running are forced to close.

The headline answer given by Mr Huhne is that we must build thousands more giant wind turbines.

As a 24-carat green ideologue, he is viscerally opposed to replacing the ageing nuclear and coal-fired plants which currently provide us with more than half our electricity.
From The Daily Bayonet:
Ta Ta, Tata
The UK may be waving goodbye to Tata Steel and some other large industrial concerns as the government piles on more green costs, making it almost impossible for global businesses based there to compete.
Companies including Tata Steel Ltd. and GrowHow U.K. Ltd. may leave the U.K. as climate-protection policies boost electricity and natural-gas costs.

Factories will pay 18 percent to 141 percent more for gas, electricity and carbon-reduction programs by 2020, adding about 7 million pounds ($11 million) to the bill for a typical large energy consumer, the London-based Energy-Intensive Users Group and Britain�s Trades Union Congress said in a report on the impact of climate policy released today.

�The combined impact of the government�s climate change policies is imposing significant costs on the U.K.�s energy- intensive industries, and without urgent review could see some companies leaving the U.K. for good,� according to the report.

It�s the second report this month suggesting potential job losses in Britain because of climate policy.
If there is a penalty placed on the cheap generation of electricity, heavy industries will move to places where there are no such penalties. The outcome will be as follows: #1) - loss of jobs #2) - loss of tax revenues #3) - higher prices for products #4) - overall higher global pollution as 3rd world nations are not concerned about environmental issues #5) - overall higher global pollution as heavy materials are shipped across the globe to England. Mr. Huhne -- what is the benefit of your ideological path. What does England derive from your inane Marxist fever dreams.

Light posting tonight

The internet fairies are not being fruitful and I had a very deep acupuncture session today and feeling very mellow -- too mellow to do any deep digging beyond the usual Breitbart, Puppy Blender, WUWT and Maggie's Farm websites. Off to the DaveCave to see if anything catches my eye there...
Not just any farmers - African American Farmers. From Zombie:
Pigford v. Glickman: 86,000 claims from 39,697 total farmers?
I�m confused.

If there are only 39,697 African-American farmers grand total in the entire country, then how can over 86,000 of them claim discrimination at the hands of the USDA? Where did the other 46,303 come from?

Now, if you�re confused over what the heck I�m even talking about, let�s go back to the beginning of the story:

Pigford v. Glickman

In 1997, 400 African-American farmers sued the United States Department of Agriculture, alleging that they had been unfairly denied USDA loans due to racial discrimination during the period 1983 to 1997. The farmers won the case, known as Pigford v. Glickman, and in 1999 the government agreed to pay $50,000 each to any farmer who had been wrongly denied an agricultural loan. By then it had grown into a class action case, and any black farmer who had filed a complaint between 1983 and 1997 would be given at least $50,000 � not limited to the original 400 plaintiffs. It was estimated at that time that there might be as many as 2,000 beneficiaries granted $50,000 each.

According to the summary of the case linked above...
Zombie then goes to show the numbers -- we are talking about $760 Million in the first round and then a new round announced in January of $1.25 Billion. And of course, Shirley Sherrod is right there in the thick of things:
The U.S. Senate and Shirley Sherrod
Which brings us up to today, when two current events suddenly thrust this otherwise little-known case into the spotlight. First, the Senate stripped funding for the settlement out of an unrelated war appropriations bill, as they had done several times in the past. Second, it was revealed today that �A farm collective founded by Shirley Sherrod and her husband that was forced out of business by the discriminatory practices received a $13 million settlement as part of Pigford last year, just before she was hired by the USDA.�
If this isn't bad enough, Zombie continues:
What I want to know is: How can there be 86,000 legitimate claimants?

The Census pinpoints the precise number of African-American farmers

I ask this question because it didn�t take me very long to find the latest census statistics released by the Department of Agriculture, which can be found linked to from this official USDA page. There, you will find this direct link to a text version of the Census report, and this recommended pdf version.

In the pdf version of the government�s official 2007 Agricultural Census, Table 53 on page 646 shows that there are exactly 39,697 African-American farmers grand total in the entire nation.
Zombie then shows the document in question and adds the comment:
A scan through earlier census reports shows that this number has remained fairly constant over time, which is to be expected, as farming tends to be a long-term lifestyle rather than a �job� that one gets and then quickly abandons.
Sherrod should have kept quiet when the race-baiting speech she made to the NAACP became public. It will be interesting to see how much coverage this gets from the liberal media...

That Wabbit...

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...is 70 years old today. A Wild Hare was released on July 27th, 1940.

One Senator, One Representative

Why are the very people who play fast and loose with our hard-earned money so cheap when it comes to their own pocketbooks. Lurch had enough public pressure and has said that he will pay the $500K sales tax to Massachusetts for his $7M spiffy new yacht. From the Boston Globe:
Sen. Kerry to pay $500K tax on yacht
Senator John Kerry said today he will voluntarily cut a check to the state of Massachusetts for some $500,000 in sales tax for a yacht he purchased in Rhode Island earlier this year.

"We�ve reached out to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and made clear that, whether owed or not, we intend to pay the equivalent taxes as if the boat�s home-port were currently in Massachusetts," Kerry said in a statement released this afternoon. "That payment is being made promptly."

Kerry has been dogged by questions in recent days by questions about whether he purposely tried to evade taxes in his home state by listing the $7 million yacht's home berth as Newport, R.I., when he actually intended to use the boat at his summer home on Nantucket. His yacht purchase was first reported in the Boston Herald.
Next up is Barney Frank who wanted a dollar senior-citizen discount for his boat ride and was petulant when told he didn't have the proper documentation. From The New York Post:
Rep. Barney Frank causes scene demanding discount
Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank caused a scene when he demanded a $1 senior discount on his ferry fare to Fire Island's popular gay haunt, The Pines, last Friday. Frank was turned down by ticket clerks at the dock in Sayville because he didn't have the required Suffolk County Senior Citizens ID. A witness reports, "Frank made such a drama over the senior rate that I contemplated offering him the dollar to cool down the situation." Frank made news last year when he was spotted looking uncomfortable around a bevy of topless, well-built men at the Pines Annual Ascension Beach Party. Frank's spokesperson confirmed to Page Six that his partner, James Ready, asked the ticket office for a regular ticket for himself and a senior ticket for Frank, "but was turned down because Frank didn't have a resident ID."
No problem with gays -- I am straight but not narrow. That being said, Barney Frank is about the sorriest sack of shit that ever walked the face of this planet. Shame on him for lying to Congress, to the President and to us about the financial state of Fannie and Freddy. Shame on him for bedding Fannie Mae exec Herb Moses all the while (eight years) that Fannie was digging itself further into the hole. Shame on him for spearheading this new regulatory legislation that makes the banking industry a lot more complex (ie: more expensive to consumers and businesses) but does not touch Fannie and Freddie. The 100+ comments to the NY Post article echo my sentiments...

Comment spam update

Been seeing a shift away from the kitchen sink URL spams and over to a new set of URLs with just one or two examples per spam attempt.

Only problem is that half of them are sent through open proxy servers and get kicked into moderation and the other half are using older compromised computers whose IP addresses have already been included in the known-bad database.



Just wonderful - two more oil spills

First - from Kalamazoo Michigan's MLive.com:
Oil spill update: State of emergency declared as 800,000 gallons of leaked oil begins flowing through Kalamazoo County
Kalamazoo County officials declared a state of emergency Tuesday afternoon as more than 800,000 gallons of oil released into a creek began making its way downstream in the Kalamazoo River.

�I just came from Fort Custer and you can smell it now,� Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Pali Matyas said. �... It�s all rolling downhill and there are a lot of complications.�

Matyas said police, local fire departments and local hazardous-materials companies are working to set up booms to trap the crude oil but workers are not able to use their trucks to remove oil from the water because high water levels have made the areas inaccessible to the vehicles.

�We�re racing against time here too because the weather is supposed to get pretty bad tomorrow,� Matyas said.

County officials said they began an emergency response at about 6 p.m. Monday after news spread that a 30-inch oil pipeline in Marshall sprung a leak and released oil into the Talmadge Creek, which feeds into the Kalamazoo River. Houston-based Enbridge Energy Partners said the pipeline has been shut down but that did not happen before more than 800,000 gallons flowed into the creek.
Second, from FOX News:
Boat Crashes Into Oil Well, Creating New Spill in Gulf of Mexico
Fox News is being told by the Homeland Security director for Jefferson Parish, La., that a new oil leak has sprung up in the Gulf of Mexico after a boat struck an oil well in the early morning hours on Tuesday.

A tugboat or other workboat collided with the well near Bayou St. Dennis, La., shearing off its valve structure and releasing pressurized natural gas and light oil, DHS official Deano Bonano told Fox News.

Cleanup workers are currently booming off the area and the scene at sea has been taken over by federal agents. The U.S. Coast Guard, Jefferson Parish police and fire officials, as well as Vessels of Opportunity boats have all been dispatched to the scene.

Federal officials do not know who owns the well, but a contractor who handles wild wells is also on the way, Bonano said.

Oil is spewing about 20 feet in the air from the severed 4-inch pipe, a contractor who flew over the leak told Fox News. The area has been evacuated and civilian boats are being told not to enter the scene, where "a fair bit of oil" is leaking out, the contractor said.
The good news on the Michigan spill is that Jenison, Mi based Cellulose Materials Solutions, L.L.C. is contributing oil absorbant materials to help clean up the spill. These are the same materials that were refused for the Gulf cleanup -- presumably because CMS is a non-Union shop.

Ouch - Harbor Freight problems

Harbor Freight sells cheap (and cheaply made) tools at very low prices. When I am going to use something daily, I will spring for something of better quality but when I just need something on a one-shot basis, I will get it from Harbor Freight rather than rent -- same money and I get to keep the tool. If I find myself using this tool on a regular basis, I'll Craigslist the HF tool and buy a good one. That being said, Harbor Freight may be going through some serious changes. From the Ventura County Star:
Harbor Freight CEO accused by parents of 'looting' company
When he founded Harbor Freight Tools four decades ago, it�s unlikely Allan Smidt expected it would end like it did this spring, when his own son had an executive walk him out the door and lock him out of the building.

It was the culmination of almost 15 years of growing friction between father and son. Last week Smidt, 81, and his 76-year-old wife, Dorothy, struck back in the increasingly acrimonious family feud and sued their 50-year-old son Eric L. Smidt, CEO of the Camarillo-based tool retailer and importer.

The couple accuse their son of �looting� the company to buy such things as a $20 million Manhattan apartment and a single painting for $100 million.

The lawsuit, filed last week in state court in Los Angeles County, alleges their son used his relationship with his parents to cajole them into giving up control of the family business and subsequently enriched himself to the company�s detriment.
A bit more:
The complaint states Eric Smidt took out more than $500 million in loans to acquire property such as The Knoll, the former Beverly Hills estate of the late billionaire Marvin Davis. Eric Smidt paid a reported $46 million for the Georgian-style estate, which was on Forbes.com�s list of the most expensive homes In America in 2004. The 13-bedroom, 12-bath mansion also once belonged to country-singer Kenny Rogers. It has 25,000 square feet of living space, two pools, a tennis court, two guest houses, a screening room and two wine cellars.

Allan Smidt objected to some of the leveraging, according to the complaint, and in an effort to work out the dispute, Eric Smidt allegedly agreed to pay his father $2.5 million per year for his continued service to the company for the remainder of his life. But Allan Smidt claims Eric failed to make the past two payments, saying �the company was going through bad times and the payments could not be made.�
What a putz -- Eric is going to break that company within a few years.

Pat Sajak on Global Warming

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It would be easy to dismiss this because Pat is 'just' a game show host (Wheel of Fortune) but he has quite the history and is whip-smart. From Ricochet:
Manmade Global Warming: The Solution
Pat Sajak

Manmade global warming, like so many other social and economic issues, has become hopelessly politicized. Each side has dug in its heels and has accused the other of acting irresponsibly and dishonestly. For the believers, the other side has become the equivalent of Holocaust deniers; and for the doubters, the other side has become a cult intent on manipulating mankind to remake the world in some sort of natural Utopian image.

The divide has become so great, it seems virtually impossible to bridge the gap. However, I�m not writing for Ricochet merely to outline problems; I�m here to offer real solutions. And I�m not just blowing carbon dioxide.

Let�s assume that a third of the world�s population really believes mankind has the power to adjust the Earth�s thermostat through lifestyle decisions. The percentage may be higher or lower, but, for the sake of this exercise, let�s put it at one-third. Now it seems to me these people have a special obligation to change their lives dramatically because they truly believe catastrophe lies ahead if they don�t. The other two-thirds are merely ignorant, so they can hardly be blamed for their actions.

Now, if those True Believers would give up their cars and big homes and truly change the way they live, I can�t imagine that there wouldn�t be some measurable impact on the Earth in just a few short years. I�m not talking about recycling Evian bottles, but truly simplifying their lives. Even if you were, say, a former Vice President, you would give up extra homes and jets and limos. I see communes with organic farms and lives freed from polluting technology.

Then, when the rest of us saw the results of their actions�you know, the earth cooling, oceans lowering, polar bears frolicking and glaciers growing�we would see the error of our ways and join the crusade voluntarily and enthusiastically.

How about it? Why wait for governments to change us? You who have already seen the light have it within your grasp to act in concert with each other and change the world forever. And I hate to be a scold, but you have a special obligation to do it because you believe it so strongly. Then, instead of looking at isolated tree rings and computer models, you�d have real results to point to, and even the skeptics would see the error of their ways and join you.

So start Tweeting each other and get the ball rolling. We�ll anxiously await results. See, I told you I had the solution. My work here is done.
Heh... A big hat tip to Anthony for the link and be sure to read the comments at both Ricochet and WUWT.
A wonderful essay from one of America's better political writers:
How Smart Are We?
Many of the wonderful-sounding ideas that have been tried as government policies have failed disastrously. Because so few people bother to study history, often the same ideas and policies have been tried again, either in another country or in the same country at a later time-- and with the same disastrous results.

One of the ideas that has proved to be almost impervious to evidence is the idea that wise and far-sighted people need to take control and plan economic and social policies so that there will be a rational and just order, rather than chaos resulting from things being allowed to take their own course. It sounds so logical and plausible that demanding hard evidence would seem almost like nit-picking.

In one form or another, this idea goes back at least as far as the French Revolution in the 18th century. As J.A. Schumpeter later wrote of that era, "general well-being ought to have been the consequence," but "instead we find misery, shame and, at the end of it all, a stream of blood."

The same could be said of the Bolshevik Revolution and other revolutions of the 20th century.
Take the five minutes to read the whole thing. This guy is a national treasure. Sowell goes into the 'elites' and why they are unfit to run a big government. Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek wrestled with the same ideas back in the 1920's -- the Economic calculation problem is their explanation and it shows why central planning will always fail. I often wonder why Keynes is so popular with the statists but the answer is obvious -- Keynes' ideas mesh with the statists desire for more power and centralized decision making. The Austrians tell us to bust up big government and put things in the hands of the free market. People like Obama, Pelosi, Reed, et. al. do not like this train of thought...
Alzheimer's patients have a problem with eloping -- they think they are fine and want to go and visit their cousin (who died 30 years ago). A German home came up with the perfect hack -- from the UK Telegraph:
Wayward Alzheimer's patients foiled by fake bus stop
The bus stop, in front of the Benrath Senior Centre in the western city of D�sseldorf, is an exact replica of a standard stop, with one small difference: buses never stop there.

The idea emerged after the centre was forced to rely on police to retrieve patients who wanted to return to their homes and families but had forgotten that in many cases neither existed any longer.

"If we can�t find them then we have to alert the police,� said Benrath's director Richard Neureither. �It can be particularly dangerous if this happens in winter and they spend the night out in the cold.�

Without powers to detain patients, he said, Benrath had been forced to look for other solutions.

�We cannot and must not run after people and lock them up,� said Mr Neureither.

Instead, Benrath home teamed up with local care association called the 'Old Lions'. They went to the Rheinbahn transport network which was happy to provide the bus stop to nowhere.

�It sounds funny,� said Old Lions Chairman Franz-Josef Goebel, �but it helps. Our members are 84 years-old on average. Their short-term memory hardly works at all, but the long-term memory is still active. They know the green and yellow bus sign and remember that waiting there means they will go home.� The result is that errant patients now wait for their trip home at the bus stop, before quickly forgetting why they were there in the first place.

�We will approach them and say that the bus is coming later today and invite them in to the home for a coffee,� said Mr Neureither. �Five minutes later they have completely forgotten they wanted to leave.� The idea has proved so successful that it has now been adopted by several other homes across Germany.
Whomever thought that one up is a genius...

One big @#$% surprise

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That bailout money that was given to Goldman Sachs? Money taken from our wallets? From USA Today:
Goldman reveals where bailout cash went
Goldman Sachs sent $4.3 billion in federal tax money to 32 entities, including many overseas banks, hedge funds and pensions, according to information made public Friday night.

Goldman Sachs disclosed the list of companies to the Senate Finance Committee after a threat of subpoena from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Ia.

Asked the significance of the list, Grassley said, "I hope it's as simple as taxpayers deserve to know what happened to their money."

He added, "We thought originally we were bailing out AIG. Then later on ... we learned that the money flowed through AIG to a few big banks, and now we know that the money went from these few big banks to dozens of financial institutions all around the world."

Grassley said he was reserving judgment on the appropriateness of U.S. taxpayer money ending up overseas until he learns more about the 32 entities.
It bears remembering that Goldman Sachs was Obama's biggest campaign contributor...

Cool legal judgment

From the Electronic Freedom Foundation:
EFF Wins New Legal Protections for Video Artists, Cell Phone Jailbreakers, and Unlockers
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won three critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anticircumvention provisions today, carving out new legal protections for consumers who modify their cell phones and artists who remix videos � people who, until now, could have been sued for their non-infringing or fair use activities.

"By granting all of EFF's applications, the Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress have taken three important steps today to mitigate some of the harms caused by the DMCA," said Jennifer Granick, EFF's Civil Liberties Director. "We are thrilled to have helped free jailbreakers, unlockers and vidders from this law's overbroad reach."
Awesome! For the phone jailbreak -- many of the new technologies are priced a lot higher than they should be. Jailbreaking allows competition to enter the marketplace in that Company 'B' can now offer a better product for less and benefit from the Company 'A' customer base. Fair Use is a biggie as well -- this is just for video remixing, it will be nice when bloggers get the same for newspaper fair use quoting. The DCMA should never have been signed into law. Poorly conceived and overreaching legislation.

Well Shit... John Callahan dead

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One of my favorite cartoonists. Passed away at 59 due to complications from his quadriplegia. His personal website: Callahan Online An article from the Willamette Week from March 9th, 2005 and from December 27, 2006

Conditions in Louisiana

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It has been said that if those states affected by the spill were more solidly Democratic that the federal government would have reacted a lot sooner and with a lot more boots on the ground and materiel... The offshore drilling moratorium is killing business in the Gulf states and people are starting to get angry and organized. From Cane Loader posting at The Blogmocracy:
Rally for American Survival
Eleven thousand angry and fearful south-Louisiana residents packed a Gulf-coast arena last Wednesday to join Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and 11 other speakers in condemning the Obama administration�s controversial and economically devastating offshore oil-drilling moratorium that threatens to collapse their state�s economy.

The �Rally for Economic Survival,� � held at the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana, located on the critical U.S. 90 �energy corridor� that is at the very heart of the nation�s offshore oil and gas industry � gave voices and names and faces to some of the anonymous tens of thousands of working-class men and women who for decades have toiled in mud and sweat and grease to bring gasoline, natural gas and heating oil to the cars and homes of America.
A great story with some wonderful pictures -- these are people who see the truth of the matter and who simply are not going to go away and be quiet.

Heh - Ford Motor Company

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Back in April of this year I picked up this slightly used Ford F-350 pickup truck.

I had been a General Motors driver for the last thirty years but the current government involvement and their out and out lie about paying off their loan ahead of schedule pissed me off enough to look for another car company. I was running errands last Friday and heard this over the radio. From the Detroit News:
Ford's profit the biggest in 12 years
Ford Motor Co. earned $2.6 billion on higher car and truck sales in the second quarter, its biggest quarterly profit in 12 years, and repaid some of the debt that it took on to ride out the industry downturn.

"We're ahead of where we thought we'd be after this excellent first half, and we expect even better results in 2011," Ford President and Chief Executive Alan Mulally said.

"It appears to us we're going to be able to improve the balance sheet and reduce the debt," he told analysts and reporters Friday.

Compared with its crosstown rivals, Ford made it through the downturn intact, after borrowing $23 billion in late 2006.

But its heavy debt load left Ford at a disadvantage relative to General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, which shed their debts in bankruptcy.

Now, after five consecutive profitable quarters, Ford repaid $7 billion of debt, trimming interest expenses by more than $470 million.

Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth said the company expects to go from having net debt to a positive cash position sometime next year. "That's a strong statement about how the business is going," he said.
So General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC welshed on their debt by declaring bankruptcy and then attached themselves to the government teat while, in the same time period, Ford payed off a substantial chunk of their debt, are earning record profits and are manufacturing an excellent product. I have now had the truck for three months and just love it and love giving the support to a company that is being run well...

Cold cash

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From The Consumerist:
Rejoice Penguins, Wells Fargo Has An ATM In Antarctica
Wells Fargo is the undisputed leader in Antarctic banking thanks to a pair of ATMs at McMurdo station. Despite the monopoly, the bank acts as a benevolent despot by allowing non-customers to draw cash without a surcharge. But who replenishes the stock of $20s? What happens when the ATMs break? Wells Fargo VP David Parker explained it all in a recent interview.

It turns out McMurdo doesn't get new money, which, for us, would create the overwhelming urge to doodle on bills.
First of all, the cash on the ice is recycled. So McMurdo Station (which is the scientists' station there on Antarctica)... any sort of venue, the cash is all recycled, and so there's no cash vendor that has to go down all the time to a regular ATM to replenish the cash volume.�
And repairs?
We do send a vendor down about once every two years to do some preventative hardware maintenance on both of the ATMs, to make sure they're operational, change out the belts and that kind of stuff, provide new cartridges�anything else hardware-wise that we would need to make sure that it runs. But as you can imagine getting somebody down there is quite a feat.
Interesting -- a side to science that you don't think about. It would be interesting to see how many times a $20 changes hands and what is the size of the pool of other denominations...

A gun and an airplane

Here is the airplane -- the A-10 Thunderbolt commonly known as the Warthog:


And here is its main gun -- the U-8 Avenger. Yes, it is that big -- there is not much else in the plane except for the fuel tanks. The entire gun is over 19 feet long.


More on this incredible plane and gun at the MilitarySpot forums.

The history of Chili

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From Edible Aria comes the history of Chili:
150 Years of Chili con Carne
In the latter half of the 1800′s, pieces of beef or bison were pounded together with suet, dried chile peppers and salt and formed into bricks which were dried and stored for later use. On the trail, the bricks were simply boiled with water in heavy pots.

Chili con carne (literally �chili [peppers] with meat�) later found its way to San Antonio�s Military Plaza, where onions,garlic, cumin and oregano (and maybe tomatoes) were likely first added by a group of Hispanic women famously known as the �chili queens�.

Chili was broadly introduced at the �San Antonio Chili Stand� at the 1893 Chicago World�s Fair. The first chili parlors outside of Texas began to appear in the early 1900′s, with accompaniments such as beans, shredded cheese and crackers showing up in the 20′s and 30′s.
Figured it had to be something like this but didn't know that it was blocks of meat and peppers -- always thought it would be strips of jerky. The article also gives a recipe for chili that looks quite good -- have to try it sometime soon...
Today is the first anniversary of a significant piece of Congressional action. From the Wall Street Journal:
The Young and Jobless
Today marks the first anniversary of Congress's decision to raise the federal minimum wage by 41% to $7.25 an hour. But hold the confetti. According to a new study, more than 100,000 fewer teens are employed today due to the wage hikes.

Economic slowdowns are tough on many job-seekers, but they're especially hard on the young and inexperienced, whose job prospects have suffered tremendously from Washington's ill-advised attempts to put a floor under wages. In a new paper published by the Employment Policies Institute, labor economists William Even of Miami University in Ohio and David Macpherson of Trinity University in Texas find a significant drop in teen employment as a direct result of the minimum wage hikes.

The wage hikes were implemented in three stages between 2007 and 2009, and not all states were affected because some already mandated a minimum wage above the federal requirement. But for the 19 states affected by all three stages of the federal wage increase, "there was a 6.9% decline in employment for teens aged 16 to 19," write the authors. And for those who had not completed high school, "we estimated that the hikes reduced employment by 12.4%," which translates to about 98,000 fewer teens in the work force.
Hat tip to Newsalert for the link. I wrote about this two weeks ago:
And to make matters worse, there are all of the feel-good programs for employees but nothing for the employer. There are a bunch of drop-dead bored teenagers in our town who are getting into trouble. I would love to hire them at the store but I cannot afford the $7.50 minimum wage for the work that they would do (cleaning and stocking). We have hired one of them (an employees daughter) at $8/hour but our payroll is already too high for our kind of business.
This person comes in for a few shifts each week to help stock the shelves. I would love to hire more local teens but for a retail store of this type, my payroll is about 15% higher compared to gross than it should be. The upside is that we are still making money and we are a solid employer in an area with at least 20% unemployment -- more if you count the teenagers who would love a job...

Unhappy Hipsters

Unhappy Hipsters - A new (to me anyway) blog and a lot of fun.

Kind of hard to describe -- just go and scroll through Unhappy Hipsters.

Heh - Same as it ever was

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End of an era - Kodachrome

I have been shooting for the last 40 years and up until the time I went fully digital, I always shot Kodachrome 25. Gorgeous stuff... From the Wichita (Kansas) Eagle:
Last Kodachrome roll processed in Parsons
Freelance photojournalist Steve McCurry, whose work has graced the pages of National Geographic, laid 36 slides representing the last frames of Kodachrome film on the light board sitting on a counter in Dwayne's Photo Service in Parsons.

He placed a lupe - a magnifier that makes it easier to view film - over one frame and took a closer look at the film.

McCurry told Dwayne's vice president Grant Steinle how he had chosen to shoot the last roll of Kodachrome produced by Eastman Kodak by capturing images around New York.

"Then we went to India, where I photographed a tribe that is actually on the verge of extinction. It's actually disappearing, the same way as Kodachrome," he told Steinle.

Kodak announced last year that it would retire Kodachrome, a brand name of color reversal film it had manufactured since 1935. McCurry, well-known for his 1984 photograph of Sharbat Gula, or the "Afghan Girl," published on the cover of National Geographic magazine, requested from Kodak to shoot the last roll of 36 frames it manufactured.

National Geographic has closely documented the journey of the final roll of Kodachrome manufactured, down to its being processed. Dwayne's is only photo lab left in the world to handle Kodachrome processing, so National Geographic Television producer Yvonne Russo and National Geographic magazine senior video producer Hans Weise found themselves in Parsons Monday, along with McCurry, with the final roll of the iconic film of the 20th century.
Sad to see it go. Digital is now of a quality to equal if not replace the incredible resolution of KM-135 and in some senses, is a lot more versatile but it is still sad to see it go -- one of these things you always think will be around forever...

What a concept

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The Washington, D.C. school system is doing something revolutionary. From Yahoo/Associated Press:
Hundreds of DC school employees to be dismissed
The D.C. Public Schools are firing 241 teachers and warning more than 700 other employees that they could be fired in the next year if their performance doesn't improve.

The firings announced Friday total 302 school system employees, including the 241 teachers. They come largely as a result of the first year of a new teacher evaluation system, though 76 teachers were fired for problems with their licenses.

The evaluation is based largely on five classroom observations of teachers and their students' standardized test scores. Those found "ineffective" on a four-tier system were fired.
And the Teachers Union?
Washington Teachers' Union President George Parker says the union will challenge the firings for performance.
The Union is not helping -- they are the major part of the problem. When you remove competition, you kill growth and quality. What makes this even worse is that the "product" being manufactured here is our kids education. If it was just a lemon car or something, that would be bad but this is something that will affect the kids for the rest of their lives. Glad to see that D.C. is taking action...

A John Kerry two-fer

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Item one from the Boston Herald -- a matter of a boat:
Sen. John Kerry skips town on sails tax
Sen. John Kerry, who has repeatedly voted to raise taxes while in Congress, dodged a whopping six-figure state tax bill on his new multimillion-dollar yacht by mooring her in Newport, R.I.

Isabel - Kerry�s luxe, 76-foot New Zealand-built Friendship sloop with an Edwardian-style, glossy varnished teak interior, two VIP main cabins and a pilothouse fitted with a wet bar and cold wine storage - was designed by Rhode Island boat designer Ted Fontaine.

But instead of berthing the vessel in Nantucket, where the senator summers with the missus, Teresa Heinz, Isabel�s hailing port is listed as �Newport� on her stern.

Could the reason be that the Ocean State repealed its Boat Sales and Use Tax back in 1993, making the tiny state to the south a haven - like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Nassau - for tax-skirting luxury yacht owners?

Cash-strapped Massachusetts still collects a 6.25 percent sales tax and an annual excise tax on yachts. Sources say Isabel sold for something in the neighborhood of $7 million, meaning Kerry saved approximately $437,500 in sales tax and an annual excise tax of about $70,000.
And the reason?
�The boat was designed by and purchased from a company in Rhode Island, and it�s based in Newport at the Newport Shipyard for long-term maintenance, upkeep and charter purposes, not tax reasons,� Wade told the Track.
As though there were no competent yards in MA... {cough}bullshit{cough} Item two from CNS News -- Kerry the Klimatologist
Sen. Kerry Predicts �Ice-Free Arctic' In '5 or 10 Years�
Speaking at a town hall-style meeting promoting climate change legislation on Thursday, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) predicted there will be �an ice-free Arctic� in "five or 10 years."

�The arctic ice is disappearing faster than was predicted,� Kerry said. �And instead of waiting until 2030 or whenever it was to have an ice-free Arctic, we�re going to have one in five or 10 years.�

However, the Web site of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says: �Using the observed 2007/2008 summer sea ice extents as a starting point, computer models predict that the Arctic could be nearly sea ice free in summertime within 30 years.�
There is a huge difference between a computer model and simple observation. NOAA gets its budget from morons like Kerry and the more 'hustle' they can drum up, the bigger their budgets. Observation is showing a marked increase in ice thickness and extent. What gets me about people like Kerry is their sense of being elite and of 'knowing what is best' for us even if we do not. Sure, they may have attended different schools then I did, they may be connected to a different group of people than I am connected to but they are fundamentally not that intelligent. Listen to Kerry speaking and the man is an idiot with a naked lust for power and money.

Just this one - Westboro Baptist Church

Fred Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church and has gained national notoriety for having his parishioners go out and picket funerals and sensitive events. God hates Fags for someone who perished from AIDS -- that kind of thing. They recently picketed at the San Diego International Comic-Con this weekend. I don't think they expected the reaction they received -- from Comics Alliance:
Super Heroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church


They've faced down humans time and time again, but Fred Phelps and his minions from the Westboro Baptist Church were not ready for the cosplay action that awaited them today at Comic-Con. After all, who can win against a counter protest that includes robots, magical anime girls, Trekkies, Jedi and...kittens?

Unbeknownst to the dastardly fanatics of the Westboro Baptist Church, the good folks of San Diego's Comic-Con were prepared for their arrival with their own special brand of superhuman counter protesting chanting "WHAT DO WE WANT" "GAY SEX" "WHEN DO WE WANT IT" "NOW!" while brandishing ironic (and some sincere) signs. Simply stated: The eclectic assembly of nerdom's finest stood and delivered.

No posting tonight

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One of our two new cash registers (Sharp XE-A506 -- otherwise quite excellent and well priced) developed a serious case of sticky button syndrome which made running the till an exercise in frustration. Since Costco has an excellent customer satisfaction program, I drove the 100 miles from here to Lynwood and had them swap it out with a new unit. None of the closer Costco's carried this -- the Lynwood location is their "business" branch which features a lot of the items used by retail stores, restaurants, etc... A fun place to shop. Coming back, my drive was impacted by a car crash -- no mention of what happened on the news or state DOT website as yet but traffic was backed up and I was doing about 10 MPH max. Near Everett I bailed and took old Highway 99 up to SR-9 and rode 9 all the way north to about twelve miles from home. Of course, now I have to program the new register -- this is actually really easy as it has a USB port and some decent programming software. Grabbed dinner at a local restaurant and am now just getting home. I will post maybe an item or two but nothing much -- tomorrow and Sunday promise to be busy as well...
BP so far has spent about $100 Billion on recovery from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Visual Economics puts that into perspective. (scroll sideways using the bottom button) Hat tip to Izismile for the link.

Problems in Mexico

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From Yahoo News/Associated Press:
8 suspects killed in clash with Mexican soldiers
Eight suspected drug gang gunmen died in a battle with Mexican soldiers in the remote mountains of northern Chihuahua state, the federal Public Safety Department said Thursday.

The department cited an internal army report saying the clash occurred near the rural town of Madera, about 145 miles (230 kilometers) south of the U.S. border.

The gunmen apparently opened fire on an army patrol, but the Defense Department did not offer any information on the attack or the identity of the attackers. The area is frequently used by gangs to produce and traffic drugs.
Nice to see that the Mexican military has the operating authority to take action. I wish our military had the same -- that would send the proper message and the hemorrhage of illegals into our country would slow down a bit...

Cleaning up the House a little bit

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From Fox News:
Rangel Charged With Ethics Violations
A House investigative panel on Thursday announced multiple ethics charges against Rep. Charles Rangel, the powerful New York Democrat who has been fending off accusations related to his business dealings and fund-raising, among other issues.

The case will go to trial before a separate ethics committee, and Rangel said Thursday he looks forward to the opportunity to explain himself to his constituents after two years of allegations.

Rangel was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee until he stepped down in March following criticism from the House ethics committee in a separate case.
Things should be rolling along nicely in time for the November elections. What is it with these people -- they consider themselves to be above the law? The law is for the Proletariat and not the Elites? Time to wake up and smell the cappucino...
Heh... From St. Louis Today:
Mo. diners flee without paying, but forget purses
A dine-and-dash escapade went bad when two of the fleeing diners left their purses behind. The Springfield News-Leader reported that no charges had been filed as of midweek against the three women who ran from a Waffle House restaurant Sunday morning without paying their $39 bill. The general manager said the women seemed intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

The Springfield paper said a short time after fleeing, one of the women returned to the store and demanded the purses.

The manager said he told the woman she needed to wait for police to arrive, but she left.

A police report said the purses contained identifying documents, along with what appeared to be a check stub from another Waffle House in Arkansas.
Stupid is not the way to go through life...
Two stories from the UK Guardian. Story #1) - Iran halts woman's death by stoning
A 43-year-old Iranian woman will not be stoned to death after an international campaign launched by her children.

It is unclear whether the authorities have lifted the death sentence for alleged adultery against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani or if she faces execution by another means.

Mohammadi Ashtiani endured a sentence of 99 lashes after being convicted in May 2006 of conducting an "illicit relationship outside marriage". But her case was reopened when a court in Tabriz suspected her of murdering her husband.

She was acquitted, but the adultery charge was reviewed and a death penalty handed down on the basis of "judge's knowledge" � a loophole that allows for subjective judicial rulings where no conclusive evidence is present.

Her case has highlighted the growing use of the death penalty in a country that has executed more than 100 people this year.

Her son Sajad, 22, and daughter Farideh, 17, told the Guardian their mother had been unjustly accused and punished for something she did not do, prompting international appeals for the death sentence to be lifted.

Under Iranian sharia law, the sentenced individual is buried up to the neck (or to the waist in the case of men), and those attending the public execution are called upon to throw stones. If the convicted person manages to free themselves from the hole, the death sentence is commuted.
Nice that if you free yourself during the stoning process, you are free to go. Must suck to be buried up to your neck. Oh Wait -- that's only women who get that treatment; men only get buried to their waist. Story #2) - Iran stoning case woman ordered to name campaigners
Iran has put fresh pressure on the woman it last month sentenced to death by stoning, demanding the names of those involved in the campaign for her release.

The case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has drawn international attention after her children launched a campaign for her release. After a global outcry last month, Iran's judiciary said Sakineh would not be put to death by stoning, but still faced execution by hanging.

The 43-year-old mother of two has been interrogated inside Tabriz prison over the names of the people who have been in touch with her family and the way her photo has been distributed among the media, the Guardian has learned.

Sakineh's photo, which has been distributed all over the world, has become a defining image for human rights activists campaigning against stoning in Iran.

"Sakineh has been under big pressure since the world has paid attention to her case", a source close to her family told the Guardian. "Recently she was questioned and asked to advise her children to remain silent, otherwise they will be arrested too. International attention is the only hope for Sakineh's release", the source added.
And this is a nation that is pursuing nuclear energy but only for power generation (honestly!!!) meanwhile it is sitting on the largest oil reserves of the middle east. A fscking pox on radical islam and all of those who worship the false prophet. A fscking pox on the 'progressive liberals' who enable this scum and who give them an equal place to sit at the world's table. I am a bit hacked especially as the city of Tabriz was where Rumi's friend Shems came from and Sufism is what I would consider to be pure Islam (submission of one's heart and self to the love of God) where what these sons of pigs and apes are practicing is a pale shade -- a black perversion. Their idea of submission is that dhimmi must submit to them. Μολὼν λαβέ assholes...
I had remembered a post from a few years ago about Nitromethane race engines. I am guessing that the original news article for today's post conflated Methanol and Nitromethane. This is the fuel for Top Fuel dragsters and here is the link to the July 2006 post (the original website is sadly out of commission -- I liked The Braden Files dammit!) Here is an excerpt:
A lesson in Acceleration

dv/dt = [F - vdm/dt]/m

One Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower than the first 4 rows at the Daytona 500.
  • Under full throttle, a Top Fuel dragster engine consumes 11.2 gallons of nitro methane per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the same rate with 25% less energy being produced.
  • A stock Dodge 426 Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive the dragster's supercharger.
  • With 3000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into a near-solid form before ignition. Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock at full throttle.
  • At the stoichiometric 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for nitro methane the flame front temperature measures 7050 degrees F ( 3900 degrees C ).
  • Nitromethane burns yellow. The spectacular white flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from atmospheric water vapour by the searing exhaust gases.
  • Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the output of an arc welder in each cylinder.
  • Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After 1/2 way, the engine is dieseling from compression plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1400 degrees F. The engine can only be shut down by cutting the fuel flow.
  • If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up in the affected cylinders and then explodes with sufficient force to blow cylinder heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half.
To put a couple gallons of this hellfire into a 50 gallon barrel and to ignite the fumes is a classic Darwin Award attempt. No word as to pre-existing children (a Darwin dealbreaker) or the current state of the two moke's wedding tackle but still...

Philippine-American War, 1899-1902

A wonderful history of the Philippine-American War presented as a web book. Check out Philippine-American War by Arnaldo Dumindin

In the local news - two stories

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Both from local radio station KGMI. A pot bust:

Two Marijuana Busts in as Many Days
A Whatcom County Sheriff's Deputy responding to an alarm at a home south of Lynden, reported smelling marijuana upon arrival.

After further investigation, 50 plants and 25 pounds of pot were confiscated.

Thirty-two year old Carlton Carr, 26 year old Jory Mullen, and 29 year old Thomas Palcios were arrested.

In another case just the day before, the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force responded to the 4200 block of Jimi Hendrix Way, near Toad Lake and found more than 200 plants.

A pair of twenty-two year olds, Joey Sousa and Taylor Johnson were taken into custody.

Emphasis mine -- memo to self; when setting up a grow-op, maybe choose a less conspicuous street name. Second: Hold my beer and watch this:

Attempt at 'Barrel Ride' with Methanol Fuel Lands Pair in Hospital
Two men were seriously injured in an explosion at a shop that builds and services race cars in Sedro-Woolley.

Fire Chief Dean Klinger says the men put about four gallons of methanol in a 55 gallon barrel in the parking lot Sunday night, sat on top and lit it on fire for a "barrel ride."

Klinger says, "apparently it was supposed to slide across the parking lot like a rocket. Instead it blew up."

One end of the barrel flew 120 feet. The men were responsive when paramedics arrived at Funk Racing.

They were taken to United General Hospital then flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with severe burns.
From ABC News:
Gold Coin Sellers Angered by New Tax Law
Those already outraged by the president's health care legislation now have a new bone of contention -- a scarcely noticed tack-on provision to the law that puts gold coin buyers and sellers under closer government scrutiny.

The issue is rising to the fore just as gold coin dealers are attracting attention over sales tactics.

Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will amend the Internal Revenue Code to expand the scope of Form 1099. Currently, 1099 forms are used to track and report the miscellaneous income associated with services rendered by independent contractors or self-employed individuals.

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, Form 1099s will become a means of reporting to the Internal Revenue Service the purchases of all goods and services by small businesses and self-employed people that exceed $600 during a calendar year. Precious metals such as coins and bullion fall into this category and coin dealers have been among those most rankled by the change.

This provision, intended to mine what the IRS deems a vast reservoir of uncollected income tax, was included in the health care legislation ostensibly as a way to pay for it. The tax code tweak is expected to raise $17 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
I knew about the $600 limit -- this is going to add about 20 hours to our paperwork each year for the store. That it specifically targets certain industries -- such as precious metals -- is a large overreach. That it is a component part of a supposed "health care package" is draconian. No wonder they rammed the thing through without giving people a chance to read and reply. 2012 is not that far away. 2010 should be interesting...

Two ideas

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From Yahoo News/Associated Press:
Oliver Stone: US should nationalize oil resources
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows that the United States should follow the example of South American socialists in nationalizing its energy industry, filmmaker Oliver Stone said Tuesday.

The Academy Award-winning director of "Born on the Fourth of July" and "JFK" said that America's country's natural wealth was too important to be left in private hands, telling journalists in central London that oil and other natural resources "belong to the people."

"This BP oil spill is typical" of what happens when private industry is allowed to draw revenue on what should be a public good, Stone said.

"We shouldn't make this kind of profit on oil or on health or on war or on prisons. All these industries should be public industries."

Stone, 63, is in the British capital to promote his documentary, "South of the Border," which tells the story of firebrand Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his left-wing Latin American allies.

The 75-minute film is meant to draw attention to the social improvements ushered in by Chavez, who has nationalized vast swaths of Venezuela's economy, including important parts of the oil sector and big chunks of the banking, electric and steel industries. Bolivian leader Evo Morales, also interviewed by Stone for the documentary, has similarly expanded the state's control over the country's energy infrastructure.
Hey Oliver -- how about this idea: The US Government should nationalize the film industry. After all, movies are for the people. Directors and workers will be paid a livable salary -- say $30K/year and the actors would volunteer their efforts because it would be for the people. The profits would go to the federal government to pay for the wonderful entitlement programs for the people... Asshat. The only reason Chavez is in power is because Venezuela is incredibly rich in oil and he is using that money to prop up his little version of Neverland. If the oil ran out, Venezuela would descend into a third-world hell-hole in less than one year.

Publicity - not always good

From Breitbart/Associated Press:
BP's altered photo distorts spill center activity
BP acknowledges it posted on its website an altered photo that exaggerates the activity at its Gulf oil spill command center in Houston.

The picture posted over the weekend showed workers monitoring a bank of 10 giant video screens displaying underwater images.

Spokesman Scott Dean says Tuesday that two screens were blank in the original picture and a staff photographer used Photoshop software to add images.

Dean says the company put the unaltered picture up Monday after a blogger wrote about telltale discrepancies.

He says the photographer was showing off his Photoshop skills, and there was no ill intent.

Dean says BP has ordered workers to use Photoshop only for things like color correction, cropping and removing glare.
Not a big thing but a large camel's nose under the tent-flap. What else is falsified in their photographs. Trust, once forfeited is a bitch to regain and the one thing that BP needs right now is public trust. One thing that I have not heard -- people are talking about well pressure this and well pressure that but nobody is saying what the pressure is. 5,000, 10,000? Just curious to know what we are dealing with.

Another full day

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This so called retirement thing is not all its cracked up to be. We were at Chair 9 again for dinner (it is really good food) and ran into a local friend of ours who is in the process of acquiring a building in town that we were once interested in. At the time we were interested, there had been a fire, there was litigation and fire damage and Plan-B presented itself. Now, we find out that the guy that is acquiring it is looking for a compatible business to share the space. He does vacation rentals. One of my long-term plans was to erect a multi-use building with office space and I would put in a FedEx and UPS shipping and receiving business with copy and Fax services. I would also have computers for people to rent loaded with Photoshop and some decent video editing software so they could edit their vacation photos and home movies. I have all of the equipment (picked up a very large Xerox copier and some other equipment at an auction) and I owned a very similar business to this in Seattle for six years. I could set this up in two months -- we will be talking in the next few days...

A long day

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Spent the day installing the shelving units that I bought. A video store had gone out of business (thanks Netflix!) and I was able to get their fixtures for literally a dime on the dollar. Our old shelving was falling apart (wood boards screwed into dadoed uprights) so this will be a major upgrade. It also has seven shelves compared to our old six shelf units so there is more capacity. Looks really good too. Did some adjustments on our Beer Cave -- the evaporator was icing up and tweaked the temperature and the defrost cycle. Hung the open sign -- our old one just failed after two years of service. Off to the DaveCave(tm) for email. Doing some paperwork tomorrow and heading into town to pick up some things for the next round of projects at the store and the shop.

Unintended consequences - Arizona lawsuit

From The Washington Times:

Obama lawsuit invites fortified state militia
Arizona has enacted a law that enables state and local police to support federal immigration enforcement, in a carefully circumscribed manner. This moderate statute is under vicious attack by the Obama administration and assorted amnesty advocates. Yet Arizona and her sister states in the Southwest could take dramatically stronger actions to bring order to the border. And they would have both history and the Constitution on their side.

History first. In 1916, criminal gangs rivaled the authority of the Mexican government. Led by Pancho Villa, they launched attacks against Americans on both sides of the border. Following a bloody raid that killed American soldiers and civilians in New Mexico, President Woodrow Wilson dispatched 15,000 state militia to the border and sent Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing and thousands more soldiers into Mexico after Villa and his bandits. Once Pershing's force clashed with the Mexican army, Wilson ordered another 75,000 National Guardsmen to the border region. Supported by an enraged American citizenry, Wilson reacted swiftly and with substantial force to secure our southern border and drive out what was, in effect, a marauding army of Mexican invaders.

Today, armed drug cartels openly challenge the Mexican government. Deadly battles occur frequently in Mexico, where more than 6,500 people were killed by cartel forces last year and more than 5,000 have been killed so far this year. Paramilitary bands have entered the United States illegally and set up sentry and command posts. Federal authorities have actually ceded control of public land in Arizona to these invaders. Cartels claim openly that Mexico's border with the United States has been moved northward to Interstate 8. Federal officials have even advised the public to avoid the Sonoran Desert National Monument, which is not on the border; it's 35 miles southwest of Phoenix.

This is interesting. President Wilson would have felt right at home in the Obama White House as he was very much a proponent of 'Progressive' large government and entitlement spending --but-- let some Mexicans get a little aggressive and he opens a can of whoop-ass on them. Liberal politician with a good pair of military and protectionist stones. We need more people like him if we are going to be stuck with a Progressive government. And Pershing was the perfect choice -- the story of what he did with the 'moslem threat' in the Philippines is wonderful -- shut them down for 100 years. A bit more:

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu reports that attacks on police and American citizens have increased in the past several months, saying, "It is literally out of control." Mitch Ellis, federal manager of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona, warns that the area is "increasingly violent" because of "smugglers and border bandits." The police chief of Nogales, Ariz., has received threats that cartels may use snipers positioned just across the border to target law enforcement personnel in the U.S.

Of course, this is not just about trafficking in drugs and illegals. According to reports, "hundreds of Somalis" with ties to "terror cells" have infiltrated the United States from Mexico. Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and kindred groups are all reported to be actively moving their members across the border. Trust me, these folks are not entering the United States illegally in order to get work in your neighbor's backyard.

And the unintended consequences? Read your Constitution -- it's all in there:

The Constitution is informative here. In Article IV, Section 4, the federal government is required to "protect each [state] against Invasion; and [on request of the state government] against domestic Violence." As St. George Tucker noted, this provision guards against "the possibility of an undue partiality in the federal government," for example a "sectional" president who might, for political reasons, decline to protect states in a certain region. Today the federal government, at the direction of the president, has declined to carry out its duty under Article IV. Leaving aside its other possible consequences, this intentional failure to protect Arizona raises the question of what action the state is now entitled to take under the Constitution.

This brings us to Article I, Section 10, Clause 3, which provides that "No State shall, without the Consent of Congress ... engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay."

So, the militias organized and armed by a state may go to war when the state has been invaded or is in imminent danger. This is clear under Article I, and plainly justified when the federal government has deliberately failed to protect against invasion as required by Article IV. As Joseph Story explains in his treatise on the Constitution, the prohibition against states engaging in war is "wisely" limited by "exceptions sufficient for the safety of the states, and not justly open to the objection of being dangerous to the Union."

Very interesting... I hope the State of Arizona carries this out. They need protection, the Mexican gangs are just getting bolder and will continue to flaunt the borders (to our detriment) until we grow a pair and stop them. The Democrats are looking at a pool of faithful voters but these people have no desire to participate in this nation, they are just looking for a free ride or to make some money selling drugs.

Hat tip to Theo for the link.
I had posted the double rainbow acid rant a few days ago. Here it is made into a song with pitch correction added.
Delftsman3 over at �migr� with a Digital Cluebat offers these facts:
Walmart vs the Morons
I got this in my E-mail today and I have to admit that the unknown author of this piece may be on to something... :

something to ponder...

1. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart every hour of every day.
2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!
3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.
4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target + Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.
5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private employer, and most speak English.
6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the World.
7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only 15 years.
8. During this same period, 31 supermarket chains sought bankruptcy.
9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.
10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are Super Centers; this is 1,000 more than it had 5 Years ago.
11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur At a Wal-Mart store. (Earth's population is approximately 6.5 Billion.)
12. 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart.

You may think that I am complaining, but I am really laying the ground work for suggesting that MAYBE we should hire the guys who run Wal-Mart to fix the economy.

This should be read and understood by all Americans, Democrats, Republicans � EVERYONE!

To President Obama and all 535 voting members of the Legislature:
...it is now official you are ALL corrupt morons:

* The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775. You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke.
* Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.
* Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is broke.
* War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor" and they only want more.
* Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke.
* Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 39 years to get it right and it is broke.
* The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 32 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.

You have FAILED in every "government service" you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars AND YOU WANT AMERICANS TO BELIEVE YOU CAN BE TRUSTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM??

I'm not that big a fan of Wal-Mart; I think they sometimes use bully tactics unfairly stifle their competition, and I don't like that fact that most of their products are made in China.

Your Opinions?
What he said...

Mel on the run

I don't usually follow the Hollywood crowd but this is interesting.

Some tapes of Mel Gibson were released recently -- really bad. Now it seems that he is heading out of the US -- from the London Daily Mail:

Troubled Mel 'leaving the States' after selling his New York mansion at cut price
Mel Gibson is poised to quit the US after selling his mansion near New York.

The disgraced Lethal Weapon star, who faces allegations of violence from his Russian former girlfriend, sold the mock Tudor property, known as Old Mill Farm, for 16 million - 10 million less than the asking price.

Gibson has also put his Malibu home, Lavender Hill Farm, on the market for 10 million, according to a property newsletter.

He has told friends that he will move back to Australia - where he grew up after moving from America when he was 12 - with his ex-wife Robyn, who still supports him.

Curious -- so the stories that were floated about the tape being 'doctored' must not be true... This guy really needs some anger management skills. Goes to show that just because you are a good actor, doesn't mean that anything else you do should be taken seriously.

We have already seen how the White House dog is dominant over President Obama.
Now we hear from Bob at The Blogmocracy:
Obama�s dog �Bo� flew on a �small� Air Force private jet to Maine before the Obamas arrived
It�s bad enough that the arrogant America-hating jerk is taking his 7th vacation in just 17 months.

But just when we thought the narcissistic POS in the White House couldn�t be more out of touch with real Americans, what with 17% actual unemployment, trillions of dollars in new debt, unchecked illegal immigration, the stock market tanking, confidence in the moron�s ability to run the country at an all-time low, and recession almost certainly heading toward double recession or possibly depression, we find out he had his dog Bo flown to Maine on a separate �small� jet before the incompetent imbecile and his family arrived in Maine.

And of course, there�s not a peep about this from the Obama-loving state-controlled media lapdogs.

Let�s go back to yesteryear and imagine if President George W. Bush was going on vacation to his dad�s house in Kennebunkport, Maine, and had sent his two dogs, Barney and Mrs. Beasley, on a private jet ahead of his family. Think the LSM would have not reported this? Me neither.
Link to the Maine Today article here. I wonder just how Bo communicated his need to be in Maine first to Obama. Explains a lot of things when you think about just how far off track the current legislation is from reality. Woof!

A swift back-pedal

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Gotta love it -- these people never have strong convictions, their direction changes whichever way the wind blows (and I am talking about all politicians, not just Democratic ones...) From FOX News:
The Tea Party 'Not a Racist Organization,' Biden Says
Vice President Biden said Sunday that neither he nor the president thinks the Tea Party is a "racist organization," after the NAACP voted Tuesday to condemn the "racist elements" in the conservative activist movement.

Biden, speaking on ABC's "This Week," said both members and those on the "periphery" of the movement have expressed "racist views" which he described as "really unfortunate."

But despite the differences the administration has with Tea Partiers, Biden says he does not think that certain behavior by some members accurately portrays the movement as a whole.

"I wouldn't characterize the Tea Party as racist," Biden said. "I don't believe, the president doesn't believe, that the Tea Party is a racist organization. I don't believe that -- very conservative, very different views on government and a whole lot of things, but it is not a racist organization."

The NAACP originally was considering a broadly worded resolution to "repudiate the racism of the Tea Parties," but afterward tailored the language last week to repudiate elements within the Tea Party ranks that express "racist" views.

Tea Party organizations roundly condemned the NAACP for taking the time out of its annual convention to target their movement. Organizers called the NAACP irrelevant and guilty of bigotry themselves.
Emphasis mine - Joey Plugs gets it, the President gets it. Now, all we need is for the Senate and Congress to get it. Conservative has the same roots as the word Conservation -- to preserve. This deficit spending is bankrupting our grandkids for a brief spurt of governmental largess. Not the way to run an entity that has been in business for over 200 years...

Government efficiency

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TJIC cites a perfect personal example of why I do not like government involvement in my day-to-day affairs:
government vs. ecommerce
I booked two tickets on Amtrak.

One of these I did using whatever Amtrak�s equivalent of frequent flier points are.

The website told me �your account point balance will be updated in 4-6 weeks�.

Not 4-6 minutes.

Not 4-6 hours.

Not 4-6 days.

4-6 weeks.
Unreal indeed. Our government doing what it does best...

Life in Spain these days

From the UK's Daily Globe and Mail:

Nini and the European Dream
Estudias o trabajas? When young Spaniards gather around the bars and patios, that's their traditional icebreaker line: "You study or work?" In the past year, it's become almost mandatory to answer, with a self-effacing smirk: "Nini."

It is half a joke, for nini is a way of saying "neither-nor," and NINI is the Spanish government acronym for "Not in education or employment" -- that is, lost to the economy.

But it's not really a joke, because now almost everyone is NINI. The under-30 unemployment rate in Spain has just hit 44 per cent, twice the adult rate. Italy also has passed the 40 per cent mark, and Greece has gone even further. If you count all the people who've given up looking, it means the number of people between 20 and 30 who have any form of employment in these countries is something like one in five.

An entire European generation is leaving school to discover they have no place in the economy.

Most will do all right, eventually -- a period of low income is manageable, sometimes even noble, when you don't have kids or life obligations -- but when they finally enter the work force, they'll almost certainly discover that the crisis has permanently altered the nature of working life in Europe.

Spain and Greece are quietly stepping back from the abyss while America plunges head-on into the night. A comment left at the site demonstrates the failure to grasp a very simple economic fact of life -- a failure that was Karl Marx's biggest fuck up and is something that trips up the 'logic' of 99% of all of the progressives and liberals out there -- including our President:

So, who has all the wealth from the previous boom in Espana?

I suspect it's the wealthy elite. Why not tax their wealth to offset the impact of the "depression"?

The writing is excellent, the human tragedy poignant.

Where did the money go? Who's got it? Why won't they share it?

One of Marx's (and it seems, President Obama's) key thoughts was that there was an unequal distribution of money (capital) and that to ameliorate people's sufferings, that money needed to be re-distributed more evenly. The fact they get wrong wrong WRONG! is that there is not a fixed pool of money. Money (and capital) is fungible. When Bear Sterns crashed, the money that disappeared wasn't quietly shifted off premises in large unmarked paper bags, it simple went away when the leveraged securities were shown to not be worth anything. On the other hand, a single mom living in Edinburgh single-handedly created a multi-billion dollar industry when an idea popped into her head while riding the train. Sometimes, I just want to grab a few people by the throat and shake some sense into them...

Had to run into town to get some stuff and then came out and went for dinner at a soft opening of a new local restaurant.

The place is in Glacier, WA and is called Chair 9.

Nothing much on their website for now -- the place was packed with locals, the food was slow (this was a soft opening after all -- word of mouth only) but Good Lord was it good...

The pizza rivaled the best pizzeria nearby (and that is saying a lot!) and I had a free-range buffalo steak that seriously rocked. The steak was served with oven-roasted potatoes and onions (the onions had nicely caramelized) and also with a couple spears of grilled asparagus drizzled with some lemon juice.

Tomorrow will be spent picking up a bunch of shelving from a store that went out of business and then doing some minor work at the store (hanging a sign and adjusting some refrigeration equipment). Sitting here with a glass of wine and surfing a bit...

Dang - aim and phasing was off

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Depth was right, aim was OK but the phasing only yielded a 3.6 From the United States Geological Survey Well, spend a few days recharging the flux capacitor bank and try again.

65 years ago today

The first Atomic Bomb was exploded -- code name Trinity. Bayou Renaissance Man has a wonderful post on the event with images and links. On my recent roadtrip to the East, I drove back through New Mexico and stopped off at a few rock shops as I am a bit of a geology geek. I found this little bit of rock for a decent price:
This rock is 65 years old today -- it was formed when the Trinity explosion liquefied the desert soil and turned it into a bubbling sheet of glass.

Racism revisited - the Klu Klux Klan

From Breitbart's Big Government - Michael Zak looks at the originsof the KKK:

The Ku Klux Klan, Terrorist Wing of the Democratic Party
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) has falsely accused the Tea Party of having ties to the Ku Klux Klan. Speaking at the NAACP convention, she said: �All those who wore sheets a long time ago lifted them off to wear Tea Party clothing.�

Now is the time to speak some Truth to Power.

It would have been far more truthful for the congresswoman to have admitted the fact that all those who wore sheets a long time ago lifted them to wear Democratic Party clothing. Yes, the Ku Klux Klan was established by the Democratic Party. Yes, the Ku Klux Klan murdered thousands of Republicans - African-American and white - in the years following the Civil War. Yes, the Republican Party and a Republican President, Ulysses Grant, destroyed the KKK with their Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.

How did the Ku Klux Klan re-emerge in the 20th century? For that, the Democratic Party is to blame.

It was a racist Democrat President, Woodrow Wilson, who premiered Birth of a Nation in the White House. That racist movie was based on a racist book written by one of Wilson's racist friends from college. In 1915, the movie spawned the modern-day Klan, with its burning crosses and white sheets.

Inspired by the movie, some Georgia Democrats revived the Klan. Soon, the Ku Klux Klan again became a powerful force within the Democratic Party. The KKK so dominated the 1924 Democratic Convention that Republicans, speaking truth to power, called it the Klanbake. In the 1930s, a Democrat President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, appointed a Klansman, Senator Hugo Black (D-AL), to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the 1950s, the Klansmen against whom the civil rights movement struggled were Democrats. The notorious police commissioner Bull Connor, who attacked African-Americans with dogs and clubs and fire hoses, was both a Klansman and the Democratic Party's National Committeeman for Alabama. Starting in the 1980s, the Democratic Party elevated a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), to third-in-line for the presidency.

Speaking more Truth to Power, the Republican Party has been a resolute enemy of the Ku Klux Klan, terrorist wing of the Democratic Party.

This is the truth -- a bit of American history that has been swept under the rug by too many people. Even as late as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There was some going back and forth between the House and the Senate but the final votes were as follows:

House Democrats -- 63% for
House Republicans -- 80% for

Senate Democrats -- 69% for
Senate Republicans -- 82% for

And the Democrats claim to be the party of the people. Rather, the party of power and control and keeping the people dependent on the government teat and keeping them stupid and pliable...

A rainbow - what does it mean?

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What does it mean? It means that fourth hit of acid you took just kicked in. Relax and enjoy the ride...

That's Senator Al Franken to you

Some interesting developments in Franken's election.

If you remember, there were several recounts and with each recount, more ballots were found in Franken's favor.

And now this from Dan Gifford at Breitbart's Big Journalism:

Franken's Felony Vote News Blackout
Maybe I'm deaf and blind, but two weeks after a voting records examination report showed Minnesota Senator Al Franken was probably elected by felons who were illegally voting in that state's 2008 general election, I've yet to come across even one mention of that story in the agenda-setting media.

Yesterday, I kept an eye on CNN's Rick Sanchez, Wolf Blitzer, HN's headline hammerers, and MSNBC's Obama cheer leading squads. It's too early for the "prestige" glamour anchor news shows on NBC, CBS, and ABC as I write this so maybe the story will be on later Psyche! as New Black Panther chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz likes to say.

Denial of the vote to convicted felons is a big deal to the Panthers as well as many other black groups that want nothing to do with the Shabazz crew because most now affected are black and vote Democrat- the very reason conservatives like Alabama Republican Party Chairman Marty Connors say, "We're opposed to [restoring voting rights to them] because felons don't tend to vote Republican." Yep, around 90% of the time they don't.

A lot more can be found at the site for Minnesota Majority This level of corruption is stunning. The fact that the mainstream media is not reporting this is also stunning. We need some hot water, clorox and a good stiff brush...

Good - moonbat behind bars

From the New York Times:

Sentence Is Sharply Increased for Lawyer Convicted of Aiding Terror
A federal judge on Thursday increased the sentence of Lynne F. Stewart, a disbarred lawyer convicted of assisting terrorism, to 10 years - nearly five times as long as her original sentence.

An appeals court had ordered the judge, John G. Koeltl of Federal District Court in Manhattan, to resentence Ms. Stewart after it deemed his first sentence, of 28 months, too light.

Judge Koeltl, after speaking for about 45 minutes about the considerations he had made, the legal sentencing guidelines and the facts of the case, ordered Ms. Stewart to serve 120 months.

A collective gasp went up from Ms. Stewart's supporters, who packed the broad, high-ceilinged courtroom. That was followed by a few shrieks and sobs; some held their hands over their mouths.

Ms. Stewart, in an oversize navy blue prison jumpsuit, sat silently as the sentence was announced. Afterward, when Judge Koeltl offered her an opportunity to speak, she paused for several seconds before rising.

"I'm somewhat stunned, Judge, by the swift change in my outlook," she said. "We will continue to struggle on to take all available options to do what we need to do to change this."

I don't know what sorts of mental pathologies are at play here but Ms. Stuart has actively aided terrorists down to smuggling information from one of her 'clients' to his co-terrorists in Egypt. She knew what she was doing and is now paying the price.

Although entering this Nation legally requires jumping over a few hoops, leaving is just a matter of walking away and moving to a different country. More of these America haters should walk the walk and vote with their feet.

That's it for the night

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Got about 150 more emails to weed through and working on some other stuff as well. Been breaking down some storage boxes and getting them ready to burn and just noticed that the county started its summer burn-ban in the last day or two. Rats! Doing a dump run into town so I will take this into the recycling center.

Very good news - if it lasts

From Yahoo/Associated Press:
BP finally stops oil spewing from Gulf gusher
The oil has stopped. For now. After 85 days and up to 184 million gallons, BP finally gained control over one of America's biggest environmental catastrophes Thursday by placing a carefully fitted cap over a runaway geyser that has been gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico since early spring.

Though a temporary fix, the accomplishment was greeted with hope, high expectations � and, in many cases along the beleaguered coastline, disbelief. From one Gulf Coast resident came this: "Hallelujah." And from another: "I got to see it to believe it."

If the cap holds, if the sea floor doesn't crack and if the relief wells being prepared are completed successfully, this could be the beginning of the end for the spill. But that's a lot of ifs, and no one was declaring any sort of victory beyond the moment.

The oil stopped flowing at 3:25 p.m. EDT when the last of three valves in the 75-ton cap was slowly throttled shut. That set off a 48-hour watch period in which � much like the hours immediately after a surgery � the patient was in stable, guarded condition and being watched closely for complications.

"It's a great sight," said BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles, who immediately urged caution. The flow, he said, could resume. "It's far from the finish line. ... It's not the time to celebrate."

Nevertheless, one comforting fact stood out: For the first time since an explosion on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers April 20 and unleashed the spill 5,000 feet beneath the water's surface, no oil was flowing into the Gulf.

Pot meet Kettle

I had posted about the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People the other day. Now the Council on American-Islamic Relations is putting their dog into the fight. From Breitbart's Big Government:
CAIR Backs NAACP Resolution on Tea Party Racism
A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today offered support for an NAACP resolution passed earlier this week asking the Tea Party movement to condemn racism within its ranks.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) echoed concerns by delegates at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that the Tea Party has failed to repudiate elements within the movement who use racist or bigoted language.

�If the Tea Party wishes to be taken seriously by mainstream Americans, it must repudiate all those who express or promote extremist, racist or bigoted views while claiming to be affiliated with the movement,� said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

Hooper noted the NAACP�s list of racist incidents tied to the Tea Party movement and cited similar examples of Islamophobic incidents, including:
Let us not forget the progressive groups who are astroturfing TEA Party events with disruptive and racist signs and yelling. From Pajamas Media:
Who�s Behind the �Crash the Tea Party� Website?
If there has been one constant in our national politics of the last year, it has been the continuous assault by progressives and liberals against the grassroots tea party movement. As the tea party movement has gained support and become more effective, the attacks have ramped up. After attempts to ignore the movement failed, progressive astroturfing specialists attempted to create a countering Coffee Party movement that quickly fizzled out. When that tactic failed, the left-leaning op-ed pages went into direct attack mode and only served to further distance themselves from mainstream America.

Out of momentum, out of sorts, and out of ideas, progressives were left with one alternative: framing tea party activists as a group of unpalatable racists and bigots that any reasonable person would shy away from.

Such is the mission of www.crashtheteaparty.org, a newly incorporated website seemingly dedicated to widespread and organized fraud to discredit the tea party movement, as it boasts on its home page:
WHO WE ARE: A nationwide network of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who are all sick and tired of that loose affiliation of racists, homophobes, and morons; who constitute the fake grass-roots movement which calls itself �The Tea Party.�

WHAT WE WANT: To dismantle and demolish the Tea Party by any non-violent means necessary.

HOW WE WILL SUCCEED: By infiltrating the Tea party itself! In an effort to propagate their pre-existing propensity for paranoia and suspicion. � We have already sat quietly in their meetings and observed their rallies.

Whenever possible, we will act on behalf of the Tea Party in ways which exaggerate their least appealing qualities (misspelled protest signs, wild claims in TV interviews, etc.) to further distance them from mainstream America and damage the public�s opinion of them. We will also use the inside information that we have gained in order to disrupt and derail their plans.

Sound like fun? � It is!!
As you may suspect, crashtheteaparty.org was not created by a Republican or an independent, but instead by someone with a red-tinted sickle to grind. In this instance, the suspect appears to be a conspiratorial 36-year-old from the Pacific Northwest named Jason Levin. He started promoting the site on April 8 on his personal Twitter account, but failed to do an adequate job of covering up his personal information when he registered the domain five days earlier. He later attempted to cover his tracks, but the original information was quickly disseminated around the internet by those who wondered who was behind the group.
And here and here Where do these groups get their funding? Who sits on their board and what other boards do their executives sit on. A lot of light is needed before this coming November...

That's it for the night

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Got about 400 emails yet to wade through. I am on a couple of high-volume email lists (CNC machining, blacksmithing, analog synthesizers, off-grid and alt-energy, homebrewing and Tesla) and need to look at each email as there are some really useful links and ideas out there. Off to the DaveCave(tm) Doing paperwork tomorrow :(
From that reliable purveyor of news -- The Onion:
U.S. Economy Grinds To Halt As Nation Realizes Money Just A Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion
The U.S. economy ceased to function this week after unexpected existential remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke shocked Americans into realizing that money is, in fact, just a meaningless and intangible social construct.

What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world's largest economy.

"Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we�if we�" said Bernanke, who then paused for a moment, looked down at his prepared statement, and shook his head in utter disbelief. "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of this�this so-called 'money'�really matters at all."

"It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless."

According to witnesses, Finance Committee members sat in thunderstruck silence for several moments until Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) finally shouted out, "Oh my God, he's right. It's all a mirage. All of it�the money, our whole economy�it's all a lie!"

Screams then filled the Senate Chamber as lawmakers and members of the press ran for the exits, leaving in their wake aisles littered with the remains of torn currency.

As news of the nation's collectively held delusion spread, the economy ground to a halt, with dumbfounded citizens everywhere walking out on their jobs as they contemplated the little green drawings of buildings and dead white men they once used to measure their adequacy and importance as human beings.

At the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday morning's opening bell echoed across a silent floor as the few traders who arrived for work out of habit looked up blankly at the meaningless scrolling numbers on the flashing screens above.

"I've spent 25 years in this room yelling 'Buy, buy! Sell, sell!' and for what?" longtime trader Michael Palermo said. "All I've done is move arbitrary designations of wealth from one column to another, wasting my life chasing this unattainable hallucination of wealth."

"What a cruel cosmic joke," he added. "I'm going home to hug my daughter."

Sources at the White House said President Obama was "still trying to get his head around all this" and was in seclusion with his coin collection, muttering "it's just metal, it's just metal" over and over again.

"The president will be making a statement very soon," press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters. "At the moment, though, his mind is just too blown to comment."
Insightful articles like this are why The Onion is considered to be America's news source of record.
A news item from the BBC:
Venezuela oil 'may double Saudi Arabia'
A new US assessment of Venezuela's oil reserves could give the country double the supplies of Saudi Arabia.

Scientists working for the US Geological Survey say Venezuela's Orinoco belt region holds twice as much petroleum as previously thought.

The geologists estimate the area could yield more than 500bn barrels of crude oil.
This is wonderful news on several levels -- it lessens the hold that the Arabians have over us, it pumps much needed cash into the Venezuelan economy and it is proof once again that the idea of peak oil is bunk -- oil is being found in places that never saw the light of day. The oil is being manufactured in the crust on an ongoing basis with naturally occurring hydrocarbons and the earth's heat. The sad news is that Chavez will use the money to consolidate his power and set him up to be president for life. The only problem is that he is a stupid man and a piss-poor leader. He is not building infrastructure, Venezuela has to import 70% of its food. He is spending the money on bread and circuses for his 'citizens'.

An oil story

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Rick Bass is an author who has lived a rich and interesting life. He melds his working in the oil business with the events in the Gulf and comes up with this story at the Virginia Quarterly Review:
The Hunters
I�m not writing to offer an apologia, but I have to say, life in the oilfield was wonderful. How much of that wonder was due to my youth�as well as the specific joy of youthfulness in the 1980s�and how much of the wonder was due to the nature of the work�the joy of the hunt�I cannot be sure. I think it must have been mostly the joy of the hunt, for there were old guys (there were almost never any women) who pursued the oil and gas with just as much fervor as the younger geologists.

We never called it crude, or black gold, or Texas tea. There were no clever nicknames, there was only the pure thing itself�oil if in the liquid state, or gas, if gaseous�that, and our pure and steady fever, our burning. If we ever referred to it as anything other than oil or gas, we called it pay. Four feet of pay, twenty feet of pay, thirty feet of pay. Sixty feet of pay was a lot, enough to change your life.

I worked for a small independent oil and gas company, which was owned by a wealthy individual who drilled his wells with the aid of a group of a dozen or so investors, rich people who believed in him and in us, but who were also entirely willing to stop believing if we one day ceased to be successful.

Speaking only for myself, I didn�t ever worry about that. I never mapped a prospect, never drilled a well that I didn�t believe was going to find pay. Success rates were somewhere in the neighborhood of baseball batting averages�between ten and thirty percent�but the baseball metaphor does not carry much further than that, other than perhaps the ability to salvage a game�or a career�with one certain swing, a key strike at the most critical time.

It wasn�t like baseball at all. It wasn�t like anything. The closest thing was maybe hunting�pursuing, with blind instinct and whetted desire and only a handful of clues, the hint of one�s quarry far into the wonderful wilderness of the unknown. Lands no man or woman ever saw, or ever will see, ten thousand feet below the ground. Beaches that received sunlight and warm winds hundreds of millions of years before the strange, momentary experiment of mankind arrived, cold and shivering and with neither fire nor fur. Beaches that were then buried over, still hundreds of millions of years before we first stirred, so anomalous and far from the spine of the main and older tree of life.
Take the time to read the whole thing -- you will not be disappointed. Rick's Wikipedia entry has links to some of his other writing. Hat tip to Fred at GoodShit for the link.


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I don't usually follow the affairs of the Hollywood set but this is cool. From People magazine:
Javier Bardem and Pen�lope Cruz Get Married
Pen�lope Cruz and Javier Bardem have always kept their romance under the radar � and their intimate wedding was equally low-profile.

Cruz, 36, and Javier Bardem, 41, exchanged vows in front of family members during a small, private ceremony held at a friend�s home in the Bahamas earlier this month, her rep confirms to PEOPLE.

The bride wore a gown designed by designer John Galliano, a longtime friend of the actress.

The Spanish lovebirds, who are both Oscar winners, started dating in 2007 but have famously kept their relationship out of the public eye. Last year rumors surfaced that the couple had gotten engaged, but they would not comment.
Very cool -- I wish them the best. They are both incredible actors and I really like the way they have kept their relationship quiet.

Heh - NAACP meet Jerry Pournelle

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In a bit of a roundabout way. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People went fatwa on the TEA Party the other day with an accusation that seems to be baseless and for which, there is a standing offer of $100,000 if anyone can provide video or audio recordings otherwise. NAACP -- meet Jerry; specifically, Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.
The TEA Party (TEA = Taxed Enough Already) had a delightful reply. From Andy Barr at Politico:
Tea party to NAACP: 'Grow up'
A spokesman for a group of tea party activists on Tuesday said that they are taking offense to a resolution the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is set to approve that condemns the grassroots movement as �racist.�

�For the NAACP to accuse the tea parties of racism is insulting to the great patriots who have participated in this movement, and sadly shows just how out of touch that group is with the American people,� Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell told POLITICO.

The NAACP is expected to vote at its annual conference as soon as Tuesday on a resolution that accuses tea Party activists of having used racial epithets in denouncing the policies of President Barack Obama and of having verbally and physically abused members of Congress.

The resolution asserts that tea partiers have engaged in �explicitly racist behavior� and asks NAACP members to �stand in opposition� to the conservative group�s �drive to push our country back to the pre-civil rights era.�

In response, Russell said the resolution fails to recognize minorities� contributions to the grassroots movement and attacked the NAACP for lobbing racism charges without evidence to back them.

�Some of the most compelling leaders of this movement are of many different races � men and women such as William and Selena Owens, Lloyd Marcus, Kevin Jackson and others,� Russell said.

�The racism accusation by the likes of the NAACP has been proved false time and again. Earlier this year, Democrats smeared tea party activists by claiming members of the Black Caucus were spit on and called the n-word as they paraded through a crowd of tea partiers,� he added. �Their blatant lie was proved false by overwhelming evidence from multiple video cameras that recorded the event.�

Russell contended the NAACP is guilty of overstepping its bounds and of acting juvenile.

�As the tea party movement has gained political momentum, groups or individuals still playing the race card look like a foolish embarrassment to their own party,� he said. �It�s time for the NAACP to grow up and stop hiding behind hypocritical race-baiting politics.�
Time to grow up. Indeed.

Take this happy meal and shove it

An excellent response from McDonald's CEO to the nattering nabobs of negativity.

From Chicago Breaking Business:

McDonald's CEO stands up for Happy Meals
McDonald's defended its Happy Meals on Wednesday against claims by a consumer advocacy group, with McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner saying that "Happy Meals are a fun treat, with right-sized, quality food choices."

Skinner's letter addressing this issue comes a week after the Center for Science in the Public Interest sent a letter to McDonald's threatening to sue if the company didn't stop using toys to market Happy Meals to young children.

"By advertising that Happy Meals include toys, McDonald's unfairly and deceptively markets directly to children," the letter stated. CSPI said Happy Meals lead children to develop a lifelong habit of eating meals that are "too high in calories, saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium, and devoid of whole grains." In addition, CSPI said that none of the 24 Happy Meal combinations listed on McDonald's Web site meet the 430 calories lunch target, one-third of the 1,300 calories recommended daily intake for children 4 to 8 years old.

McDonald's said it offers parents choices and variety in Happy Meals, and "makes available in-depth, comprehensive nutrition information." It emphasized that parents are fully capable of making their own decisions when it comes to feeding their children.

"It seems that you purposefully skewed your evaluation of our Happy Meals by putting them in the context of a highly conservative 1,300 calorie per day requirement," Skinner contended. "I'm sure you know this category generally applies to the youngest and most sedentary children."

Yeah riiight.

It's the evil corporations that serve the bad food that makes our kids obese.

And it's the benevolent gubbmint that takes care of us.

I apologize for my little moment of mental disconnect but something is not quite rite here...

A hat tip to Clayton Cramer for the link.

That is it for the night

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Off to the DaveCave(tm) to weed-whack through the almost 800 emails waiting in my inbox. I had to reboot the mail server (power glitch? -- will go through the logs when I get to them) and took a quick count as it started processing the inbox. Doing paperwork and phone calls tomorrow. Back into the groove...

When push comes to shove, some people are simply removing themselves from the equation. From Dallas, Texas station NBC/DFW:

Doctors Threaten to Pull Out of Texas Medicaid
Cuts to the reimbursements given to doctors who treat patients covered by the state's low-income health care program are raising fears that already declining physician participation will fall even further, according to a published report.

The health care and insurance industries fear that a 1 percent cut in Medicaid fees scheduled to take effect Sept. 1 will be the first in a series of cuts as state agencies are asked to trim their two-year budgets by 10 percent to help cover an expected $18 billion revenue shortfall, The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday.

About 3.3 million poor and disabled Texans depend on Medicaid for health care, but less than a third of the state's 48,700 practicing doctors accept patients covered by the federal program, according to Texas Health and Human Services Commission. And some doctors who do participate in the program limit the number and kind of patients they accept.

The commission, which administers the program in Texas, is among the state agencies that state leaders expect to cut spending. Thomas Suehs, the commission's top executive, said he realizes the bind that physicians find themselves in.

"No one ever wants to cut Medicaid," commission spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said. But, she noted, "it's 75 percent of our budget. So when you start to identify places to reduce our budget, it gets very hard to skip Medicaid."

Medicare and Medicaid were set up with no real thought being given to the true cost of administration. When confronted with reduced budgets, the bureaucrats cut the Doctors fees instead of the size and scope of the bureaucracy. Something is rotten here...

Jen and I were talking about this yesterday -- if we privatized everything, put everything out into the public marketplace, costs would drop as competition set in. Tort Reform would be nice but this infringes on a State's Rights issue which I have zero complaints about. Maybe when a few states enact a strong tort reform to limit malpractice, others will resist the pressure of the trial lawyers and do the same.

The third item (if we were King and Queen) would be to set up medical savings accounts. Your employer could also contribute and these earnings would be completely tax free. You would then get a very high-deductible insurance policy -- something in the order of $20K deductible but you would be covered for anything and everything after that. Sure, $20K is a huge hit but that is what your savings account would be for. You could also use the savings account as a regular source of funds but you would be liable for a tax penalty for withdrawal for non-medical uses.

The fourth and final item would be to promote the use of small 24/7 medical clinics to take the burden off the Emergency Rooms. In this case, household pets have it better than their owners up here as local vets staff an after-hours clinic that provides good and reasonably priced vet services. I know that both WalMart and Walgreens have opened a number of these and plan to expand.

Honestly priced health care could be here if the people in Washington weren't bending over to accommodate their pet interests and building their power base. It really is that simple.

DDT was never the horrible chemical that it was painted to be. The two problems were -- at the time that Rachel Carson was gathering evidence for her book, we were literally marinating in the stuff. A little bit is good so a lot will be even better. Cheap to make, cheap to buy and it doesn't hurt anything else except for insects. The second problem is that DDT kills the beneficial bugs as well as the bad ones. Therefore, DDT would be an amazing resource to have now that we know to #1) - not use so much and #2) - know where and how to apply it. It would prevent stories like this from Reuters:
More than 1,000 exposed to dengue in Florida: CDC
Five percent of the population of Key West, Florida -- more than 1,000 people -- have been infected at some point with the dengue virus, government researchers reported on Tuesday.

Most probably did not even know it, but the findings show the sometimes deadly infection is making its way north into the United States, the researchers said.

"We're concerned that if dengue gains a foothold in Key West, it will travel to other southern cities where the mosquito that transmits dengue is present, like Miami," said Harold Margolis, chief of the dengue branch at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"These cases represent the reemergence of dengue fever in Florida and elsewhere in the United States after 75 years," Margolis said in a statement.

"These people had not traveled outside of Florida, so we need to determine if these cases are an isolated occurrence or if dengue has once again become endemic in the continental United States."

Dengue is the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes, infecting 50 million to 100 million people every year and killing 25,000 of them.
And before any fool tries to make a climate link, we had malaria and dengue up the East Coast to Boston back 100-150 years ago. It was only the advent of insecticides like DDT and treatments like pouring kerosene over mosquito breeding grounds (still ponds) that knocked it back. If we remove the prevention, these diseases will come back -- Dengue was a significant problem up until the 1940's.

Back home again

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Some 2,500 miles round trip. The new truck (Ford F-350) performed flawlessly except for a warped door gasket that allows for high wind noise in some conditions. I am betting that the dealer will fix the next time I get an oil change... Stuck my head in the door at the store to get some wine and some milk. Back to work tomorrow... A bit of blogging and then, off to the DaveCave(tm) to see what emails have come in over the last seven days.

Back home tonight

Spent a lousy evening at the Best Western in Grant's Pass Oregon -- noisy, sucky broadband and a really bad mattress.

Tonight will see us back home in our own place.

Off to breakfast and then the road...

Ouch - can't get a break

Good article from Michael Barone at the New York Post:

Stalled by stimulus
Home mortgage-interest rates are the lowest in history, but house sales are plunging. Banks can make money easily because of the Federal Reserve's low interest rates, but they're not making many loans. Major corporations are sitting on something like $2 trillion in cash, but they're not investing.

Unemployment is running at 10 percent, rounded off, for the 11th straight month, but few employers are hiring; a million people have stopped looking for work in the last year. Small-business hiring is at a nine-month low, and retail sales are tailing off.

Government policies designed to stimulate the economy seem to be having the opposite effect. Consumers aren't buying, businesses aren't hiring, and those fortunate enough to have some cash on hand don't seem to be investing.

I call it the mattress economy. People seem to be following this investment strategy: 1) Go to Mattress Discounters and buy the biggest mattress you can find. 2) Take it home, and stuff all your money in it. 3) Lie down, and get some rest.

This hurts the economy, but it's a rational response to the Obama Democrats' public policies. And that's not just the view of their political opponents.

Consider the plaint of Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, head of the Business Roundtable, which has played footsie with the Obama administration for most of the last 18 months: "By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life," Seidenberg recently wrote, "government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise new capital and create new businesses."

Or take a look at Obama backer Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight.com Web site. "Why aren't businesses hiring?" asks tax lawyer Hale "Bonddad" Stewart. "Uncertainty: There has been a tremendous amount of change over the last 12 months. Businesses are still trying to figure out what this means for their bottom line.."

In other words, the Obama Democrats' vast expansion of the size and scope of government -- and the threat that they may pass even more such legislation -- has chilled the animal spirits that John Maynard Keynes said were the driving force for economic growth.

Instead of stimulating the economy, the Democrats' policies have shocked it into immobility. People are lying on their mattresses, waiting for the next shock. At least one is definitely coming: The Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year, which means that high earners can be sure they'll soon keep less of what they make.

And to make matters worse, there are all of the feel-good programs for employees but nothing for the employer. There are a bunch of drop-dead bored teenagers in our town who are getting into trouble. I would love to hire them at the store but I cannot afford the $7.50 minimum wage for the work that they would do (cleaning and stocking). We have hired one of them (an employees daughter) at $8/hour but our payroll is already too high for our kind of business. These kids would jump at the chance to make $5/hour but we cannot pay them that. Right now, all of our businesses are going Galt -- all of the proceeds are being rolled right back into building the business...

A big tip 'o the hat to Speranza writing at The Blogmocracy

A bit of spam while I was on the road

I have been getting about six to twenty spam attempts/day while on this trip.

One of the ones posted today caught my eye -- it was an advertisement for a web hosting service. Just what I want to see in a hosting company; they are either so clueless that they think that comment spam is a good business promotion OR they are clueless about how their marketing people are operating.

Talk about a lose/lose situation.

Hunkered down for the night in Grant's Pass and planning to be back home tomorrow early evening. A fun trip but it will be good to get back -- got a lot of ideas for my new hammer...

On the road again

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Heading back today -- a long haul as we need to be back by Tuesday evening. Got time for a few small explorations but no long trips. San Louis Obispo was a delight -- it is an old city and the downtown is gorgeous - an architectural feast. We visited the old Catholic Mission (1772). The Fathers buried there would have been spinning in their graves as there was a very loud Gay Pride festival being held in the park outside the grounds. Packing up the car and heading for Medford Oregon tonight. Bellingham and home tomorrow.
The second dip is manifest and it is on its way. From the New York Times:
Crisis Awaits World�s Banks as Trillions Come Due
The sovereign debt crisis would seem to create worry enough for European banks, but there is another gathering threat that has not garnered as much notice: the trillions of dollars in short-term borrowing that institutions around the world must repay or roll over in the next two years.

The European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund have all recently warned of a looming crunch, especially in Europe, where banks have enough trouble raising money as it is.

Their concern is that banks hungry for refinancing will compete with governments � which also must roll over huge sums � for the bond market�s favor. As a result, credit for business and consumers could become more costly and scarce, with unpleasant consequences for economic growth.

�There is a cliff we are racing toward � it�s huge,� said Richard Barwell, an economist at Royal Bank of Scotland and formerly a senior economist at the Bank of England, Britain�s central bank. �No one seems to be talking about it that much.� But, he added, �it�s of first-order importance for lending and output.�
We're all Keynesians now... Yeah... Right... Just as the US Commercial Real Estate borrowing bubble is about to crash. In Bellingham, in the mall, there are a lot of vacant storefronts and several mega-stores that are boarded up. In the 7K mile road trip I took recently, there were lots of smaller towns with boarded up malls. Get out of debt, pay cash, hunker down and prepare to wait it out for another three to five years. Things will get better again, this is just the unfortunate confluence of several national and global bubbles that happened when we had an incompetent hand at the wheel. Things will get better but hunker down for now.

Heh - a little bit of pushback

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Political winds and all that. Last I saw in the polls, a lot of people (more than 60%) approved of what Arizona was doing when it put SB-1070 into law (16 page PDF file). Now, the Obama government is filing a lawsuit against Arizona to rescind SB-1070. From the New York Times:
Governors Voice Grave Concerns on Immigration
In a private meeting with White House officials this weekend, Democratic governors voiced deep anxiety about the Obama administration�s suit against Arizona�s new immigration law, worrying that it could cost a vulnerable Democratic Party in the fall elections.

While the weak economy dominated the official agenda at the summer meeting here of the National Governors Association, concern over immigration policy pervaded the closed-door session between Democratic governors and White House officials and simmered throughout the three-day event.

At the Democrats� meeting on Saturday, some governors bemoaned the timing of the Justice Department lawsuit, according to two governors who spoke anonymously because the discussion was private.
A bit more:
The administration seemed to be taking a carrot-and-stick approach on Sunday. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, in town to give the governors a classified national security briefing, met one-on-one with Jan Brewer, the Republican who succeeded her as governor of Arizona and ardently supports the immigration law.
Back on May 18th, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano admitted that she had not read the 16 pages of SB-1070. Has she done so now? What a concept -- elected officials FINALLY listening to their constituents. I don't know but I am wondering if anyone has tested the water in the metro D.C. area for things like LSD or Ergot -- that would go a long long way to explain some of the legislation and political appointments in the past eighteen months. What part of "States Rights" do these morons fail to grasp...
Colton Harris-Moore is otherwise known as the barefoot bandit -- he started out in WA State and led quite a merry chase through Washington, British Columbia, Idaho, Indiana and suspected burglaries through the rest of the US and down to the Bahamas. He just got caught. From Yahoo/Associated Press:
'Barefoot Bandit' nabbed after 2 years as fugitive
For two years he stayed a step ahead of the law � stealing cars, powerboats and even airplanes, police say, while building a reputation as a 21st-century folk hero. On Sunday, Colton Harris-Moore's celebrity became his downfall.

Witnesses on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera recognized the 19-year-old dubbed the "Barefoot Bandit" and called police, who captured him after a high-speed boat chase, Bahamas Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade said at a celebratory news conference in Nassau, the capital.
A bit more:
Harris-Moore is blamed for several thefts in the Bahamas in the week since allegedly crash-landing a stolen plane there, and Bahamian authorities said he will be prosecuted for those crimes before the start of any U.S. extradition proceedings.
Cool -- the Bahamians are a gracious people and have a lovely laid-back island culture but they also have a backbone and take their laws very seriously. For this guy to come in to their Nation illegally and steal from the Bahamian citizens is something that will not endear him to authorities... And mama's widdle snowflake:
Harris-Moore's mother, Pam Kohler, has said that he had a troubled childhood. His first conviction, for possession of stolen property, came at age 12. Within a few months of turning 13, he had three more.
He grew up on Camano Island -- family has money, privileged childhood, nothing too good for little Colton, get away with anything, permissive parents, oh - he is just going through a 'phase' There are over 7,900 comments to the post. Two that caught my eye:
This guy is waaay cuter than Joran Van Der Sloot
What's wrong with breaking into someone's house and stealing a few little things? Gives me some good target practice!
Good to know that after he is done with the Bahamians, he will be spending some time in the American prison system. Given this moke's ability to think rationally, he will probably be converted to Islam, change his name and try to blow himself up in an Tukwilla Rite-Aid but the explosives will not detonate because he used Miracle Grow instead of ANFO. Fscking idiot.

A fun wedding

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The ceremony was held on the beach by Morro Rock in Morro Bay. We walked around for a bit in the morning, had a nice lunch at The Flying Dutchman. The wedding was held at 3:00PM and the reception at 5:00PM in a local community hall. A lot of fun was had by all. Meeting up with some of the family for dinner tomorrow night -- will be driving down to San Louis Obispo to poke around in the morning and afternoon. I had driven through it a number of years ago but never spent any time there. Start back to Bellingham on Monday taking a few days to drive back up -- do some exploring...

A great day for a wedding

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Kinda overcast and cool but that is par for the course for coastal California. The ceremony is at 3:00PM Should be a fun day...

Michael Bellesiles - at it again

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Some folks just never learn -- or change. Bellesiles was in the news back in 2000 through 2002. He published a book that was very well received and then hard questions about his scholarship were asked and not successfully answered. Bellesiles resigned his full professorship at Emory University in 2002 and the Bancroft Prize which had been awarded to his book was rescinded. A small sampling of his research pointed to him citing records that had been destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, cited wills for people in Rhode Island who had died intestate, the list goes on... Now, he is back doing "scholarly" work again. From The Volokh Conspiracy:
Serious Questions About the Veracity of Michael Bellesiles�s Latest Tale
A few days ago, questions were raised first by Big Journalism and then by me about a story that Michael Bellesiles published in the June 27th issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education: Teaching Military History in a Time of War. I have now read through every DoD casualty report from last fall for both Iraq and Afghanistan and news obituaries for most of them, and I have found none that was even remotely possible as the case that Bellesiles wrote about in the Chronicle. This post discusses the serious questions this raises for the veracity of Bellesiles account.

In the Chronicle Review, after mentioning the military history course that he taught �this last semester,� Bellesiles told a compelling story of a troubled student, his dying brother, and an exceedingly sensitive teacher (himself):
On the first day of my military-history class, after a discussion of the concept of democratic warfare, I asked my usual question about veterans or National Guard members present, and if any students had family members serving in the military. Ernesto (I have changed names out of respect for this family�s privacy), a shy but exceedingly bright student, smiled with evident pride as he mentioned that his brother Javier had recently enlisted in the Army. We discussed his brother�s reasons for enlisting, which mostly focused on a sense of gratitude to a country that had given their family refuge.

Two weeks later, the class discussed Baron von Steuben�s training of the American Continental Army . . . . Afterward, Ernesto told me that his brother had been sent to Iraq. He admitted he was worried about Javier�s safety, but had read several articles indicating that the war was winding down.
A little basic research on the 'ole computer shows:
According to the course listings on the Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) website, Bellesiles taught his Military History course in the Fall 2009 semester, not the Spring 2010 semester as his reference to �this last semester� might imply. Thus, the relevant time frame for Bellesiles�s fall 2009 Military History course should have been from August 31, 2009 (his first regularly scheduled class) through December 9, 2009 (his last regularly scheduled class).

ICasualties shows 31 fatalities in Iraq during the period of Bellesiles�s course, 8 of which were from hostile attacks. One of these 8 hostile attacks was from a mortar (not sniper bullets), and 5 of these 8 hostile attacks were IED attacks (4 of these 5 IED attack deaths came on Sept. 8, too soon to fit Bellesiles�s narrative in any event).
Looks like he is pretty well busted. Bellesiles should have learned his lesson but I guess that some people never change. He has a political anti-war/anti-gun agenda and he is going to promote that regardless of whatever pesky facts stand in the way... I am surprised that neither the Chronicle of Higher Education nor Central Connecticut State University bothered to Google his name and discover his history of out and out fraud.
Turns out there are a lot of other potential problem spots in the gulf. How many? How about 27,000 give or take a few... From NOLA and the Associated Press:
27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in Gulf of Mexico ignored by government, industry
More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one -- not industry, not government -- is checking to see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows.

The oldest of these wells were abandoned in the late 1940s, raising the prospect that many deteriorating sealing jobs are already failing.

The AP investigation uncovered particular concern with 3,500 of the neglected wells -- those characterized in federal government records as "temporarily abandoned."

Regulations for temporarily abandoned wells require oil companies to present plans to reuse or permanently plug such wells within a year, but the AP found that the rule is routinely circumvented, and that more than 1,000 wells have lingered in that unfinished condition for more than a decade. About three-quarters of temporarily abandoned wells have been left in that status for more than a year, and many since the 1950s and 1960s -- even though sealing procedures for temporary abandonment are not as stringent as those for permanent closures.

As a forceful reminder of the potential harm, the well beneath BP's Deepwater Horizon rig was being sealed with cement for temporary abandonment when it blew April 20, leading to one of the worst environmental disasters in the nation's history. BP alone has abandoned about 600 wells in the Gulf, according to government data.
Nuclear now more than ever. Drill on land, drill close to shore. Solar and wind are nothing but expensive feel-good options. The Federal subsidies that are required to make these industries economically viable could be much better spent on insulation, heat pumps, window retrofits, etc... For small energy, conservation is king. For big energy, the new nuclear plants (thorium and fusion) are the way to go. A big tip of the hat to Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing for the link.

Most curious - our spending

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From Yahoo/Agence France-Presse:
IMF presses US to cut debt
The International Monetary Fund on Thursday urged the United States to rein in its ballooning budget deficit without putting the "modest" economic recovery at risk.

Amid jitters that high levels of unemployment may force a double dip recession, the IMF warned the slow US recovery would continue and that debt problems loomed.

"The central challenge is to develop a credible fiscal strategy to ensure that public debt is put -- and is seen to be put -- on a sustainable path without putting the recovery in jeopardy," an IMF report said.

The balance between spending to stimulate the economy and putting budgets in order has vexed countries around the world as the recovery has looked more and more precarious.

President Barack Obama has plowed nearly a trillion dollars into the economy to spur economic growth, exploding the US deficit to a level that many believe is unsustainable.
Geez -- for the International Monetary Fund to be hectoring us on spending is unreal. First the Nations of the G20 and now the IMF -- will someone in Washington not listen to what these people are saying? They have already stared into the abyss and backed away -- the USA is neck deep in the big muddy and the damn fool keeps yelling to push on. Big Muddy was written by Pete Seeger and has been sung by a lot of 'progressive' voices but it also works really well for conservatives. Put that in your Alinsky pipe and smoke it. Pbbbttttt.....

Back from Dinner

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Jen's parents arrived in town and we went searching for them at the various restaurants. Found them at The Sow's Ear (caution, heavy use of Flash). Good place -- we had eaten there last night and really liked it. Went back to the hotel and talked for a couple hours afterwords. Time to surf a bit and then to bed -- the cousin's wedding is tomorrow afternoon.

One great, one not so

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Hearst Castle was just wonderful -- the original artwork, the architecture, the location. What a wonderful place and a National Treasure. Interesting that the architect was Julia Morgan the first woman architect in California. She started her career with a Degree in Civil Engineering, studied in France and settled in San Francisco. Two of her buildings survived the 1906 earthquake with minimal damage which brought her to the attention of a lot of people, Hearst among them. The tour was wonderfully done -- very knowledgeable guide and there were only about 50 in our group so it wasn't just a shuffle from one point to another. Spent about 90 minutes on the grounds. The forge in town used to be a blacksmiths shop but was now an arts gallery. Nice stuff but not what I was expecting...

A hardware store closes

Not just any hardware store -- this is really sad news.

From the London Daily Mail:

Britain's oldest ironmongers is beaten by the recession (and B&Q) and closes after 480 years
It survived the English Civil War, two world wars, two depressions and three recessions, but after 480 years Britain's oldest hardware store is finally having to hang up its pots and pans.

King Henry VIII was on the throne when Gill & Co became the country's first ironmongers in Oxford in 1530.

The independent shop has been in business ever since, trading six days-a-week through the reigns of 20 monarchs and 76 prime ministers.

But the shop has become the latest victim of the global recession and will close its doors for the final time next month when the current lease on the building runs out.

Gill & Co's owner Victor Hunt, 48, today blamed the recession and larger chains like B&Q and Homebase for the store's demise.

He said: 'Gill's is the oldest ironmonger's in England, so we are coming to the end of an era.

'Sales have declined in recent years and we are moving out before we start to lose money.

'Our client base is the over-45s and some customers are considerably older than that. Inevitably, as time goes by, we lose a few.

'The younger customers seem happier these days to drive to B&Q and other out-of-town stores.

'It is such a shame that the shop must close but unfortunately that is the climate small businesses are facing now.'

Gill & Co originally provided ironware for the local residents when it opened its doors almost half-a-millennium ago, and through the centuries it it has stocked chimney sweep brushes, scythes, iron nails and hay rakes.

But I am calling bullshit on Mr. Hunt's managerial skills:

But Mr Hunt, who bought the store ten years ago and also runs a hardware store in Chipping Norton, said that despite the changes customer numbers had gradually fallen.

I am sorry Victor but in my corner of the world, there are some amazing and energetic hardware stores doing great business. You purchased a significant bit of history and are pissing it away after ten years because it did not fit into your business model. Victor Hunt -- Screw You.

A breath of fresh air - alt.energy

Popular Mechanics did another of their bang-up expose's -- this time they present the Top 10 Energy Myths:

Debunking the Top 10 Energy Myths
The road to clean energy is full of enticing opportunities - and perilous pitfalls. Picking the best path requires avoiding both starry-eyed hype and cynical fatalism. In this special report, PM debunks 10 of the most pernicious myths that could derail our progress.

I am dealing with this a lot where I live.

A lot of people really have their hearts in the right places but have been fed a diet of Unicorn farts and Moonbeams and they simply do not have the numbers.

There are some good places to go -- Amory Lovins had the idea of the Nega-Watt -- energy conserved is energy saved. Expecting to get baseline from solar or wind is a fools chase and the smart grid is the same old grid we already have with draconian monitoring and demand switches -- you load your clothes dryer or your dishwasher and the central office will control when it turns on (when there is surplus energy). As with any kind of price fixing (unnh... Carter / Gas prices?), expect this to fall apart soon...

Do not set fire to my own fscking house of worship. From Atlanta, Georgia television station WXIA:
Man Charged in Marietta Mosque Arson
Officials say a 26-year-old man has been arrested and charged with setting fire to a Marietta mosque he had attended.

Marietta fire marshal Scott Tucker said Thursday that Tamsir Mendy was arrested Wednesday night and charged with first degree arson at the mosque, which caught fire Monday night. Tucker says Mendy is being held without bond.

Tucker says Mendy describes himself as a devout Muslim who had attended the mosque. Tucker didn't characterize a motive but says it doesn't appear to be a hate crime.

Tucker says the arrest is "a bit of a surprise" to members of the mosque, who had expressed concern that the fire might be hate crime.

Tucker said earlier that the fire did about $100,000 worth of damage.
First of all, you do not attack a House of Worship -- even if the parishioners are anathema to your personal beliefs. Reason #1) - if you do, you are a supreme a__hole and Reason #2) - if you do, those mokes have the moral high ground and they will crush you into the dirt. And you will thank them and wash their feet -- with your tongue; either in this life or in the next. Karma is a bitch. To attack your own personal House of Worship for some unspecified sense of public sympathy or an infantile need for attention tosses these two rules out the window. My bile is not yet high enough to come up with two new ones but I am sure that given the inroads Islam has made into the general prison population, Mr. Mendy will be receiving his just desserts in a few months... And a big tip of the hat to Sun Tzu writing at Big Peace for the link...

Cambria, CA

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Gorgeous little town and there is a resident blacksmith so tomorrow will be spent touring Hearst Castle and visiting with a fellow smith. Some surfing and maybe a post or two if something catches my eye -- it was a long haul today too...

Unintended consequences

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From the Los Angeles Times:
Legalization could slash the price of pot 80%
California's cash crop could become dirt cheap if the state legalizes marijuana.

Researchers associated with the Rand Corp.'s Drug Policy Research Center said Wednesday that not much is certain about the potential impact of Proposition 19 except that the price of California's choicest weed could plunge more than 80%, down from $300 to $450 per ounce to about $38.

"That's a significant drop," said Beau Kilmer, co-director of the center. "We're very clear about the fact that the price will go down."

The implications of such a drop would be profound. Kilmer and four other researchers who analyzed marijuana legalization said consumption would rise, but they could not determine with any certainty by how much. "We cannot rule out increases of 50% to 100% or perhaps higher, but we just don't know," he said.

Such a low price could also affect pot prices across the nation, encourage marijuana tourism in the state, increase the amount of pot shipped out of state, disrupt the smuggling of marijuana from Mexico and stimulate an underground market designed to avoid high taxes that might be imposed.

Rand, the Santa Monica-based nonpartisan research institute, had five prominent drug policy experts spend about six months examining what might happen to marijuana use and tax revenues if Californians approve the measure on the November ballot or the Legislature passes a bill introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D- San Francisco) that would legalize pot and impose a $50-per-ounce tax.
Of course, the Rand study doesn't take into account the gobs of hard money that the growers in CA are currently making. I posted about this on March 25th quoting from an Associated Press news item -- the link to the AP story now suffers from link rot but here is what I quoted:
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.
I wonder how much lobbying money is coming from these growers...

Medford, Oregon

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From four miles South of the Canadian border to about 20 miles North of the Californian border. A long day but a fun drive. Jen did a lot of the driving in the afternoon while I took a little nap and I took over until just now. Heading to Cambria, California tomorrow with some detours.

That is it for the night

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DaveCave(tm) and then off to bed and a very long day tomorrow...
Back on May 10th, I read several reports that Mullah Omar had been captured by friendly forces. I posted about this on May 13th but that there really wasn't a lot of verifiable information. Today, from Brad Thor over at Breitbart's Big Government:
Afghan TV Confirms BIGs Scoop: Mullah Omar in Pakistani Custody
Back on May 10th, we broke the story that Taliban leader, Mullah Omar had been captured by the Pakistanis.

Our reporting was subsequently backed up by The Jawa Report, Oliver North, Millblogger Baba Tim, Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive.net, the Nation, and Iranian Television. Even Newsweek magazine added a dog to the hunt with their story, �Taliban in Turmoil,� chronicling the total disarray the Taliban have been in since Mullah Omar disappeared.
My initial hesitation is that most of these stories were quoting the same source materials and there was no real corroboration from an independent source. Well today, from an Afghanistan Television station (via Xinhua Net News):
Taliban chief Mullah Omar detained in Pakistan: Afghan television
An Afghan popular television channel Tolo citing Pakistani media reported Tuesday that Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar has been arrested in Pakistan.

Tolo also showed a picture of the one-eyed Mullah Omar without giving more details.

Meantime, a Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi in talks with Xinhua via telephone from undisclosed location rejected the report as mere western propaganda, saying Taliban chief is free, and enjoys sound health and in full command of his fighters.

Previously, Taliban second-in-command Mullah Brather was arrested in Karachi city of Pakistan months ago.
Sounds plausible. I love that he is in the hands of the Pakistanis -- no Miranda rights or other Progressive bullshit.
From Edmund, Oklahoma's KWTV News9:
Edmond Pharmacy Burglar Steals Pill Bottles Filled with M&M's
An Edmond pharmacist got back at a serial burglar by filling the wanted bottles with candy, police said.

According to police, officers responded to an alarm going off at the Clinic Pharmacy, 120 N. Bryant Avenue, at about 5:30 a.m. Sunday. When they arrived, they found the front glass doors of the pharmacy had been broken and four bottles of hydrocodone were missing. The pharmacist informed officers that due to recent burglaries he had filled the bottles with M&M's.

No suspects have been identified.
Heh... I would have loved to see the expression on that mokes face when he realized what he actually had. I can only imagine the beat-down he would have received if he tried to sell them...

Another long long day

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Ran one of the registers at the store for a few hours this morning and then went out looking for a hay feeder. A tray elevated on legs that holds one bale. Nobody had them -- they could special order it but I wanted it for the people who are caring for our critters over our trip to California. Finally, found a store that had them right when they were closing -- bought two and also got 16 bales of hay. Full load heading back. The store was busy this evening so I spent another hour there, headed home to unload the feeders and the hay and then went back to help. We are still running just one person at night so this way, I could handle the register and she could stock (Tuesday is one of the two major buying runs -- other is Friday) Finally getting home, got some left-over spaghetti in the microwave and sit down to a late dinner and a glass or three of wine and some surfing... We leave tomorrow morning -- tomorrow will be a long haul, want to get as far as possible...

Minimal (if any) posting tonight

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A very busy day and just sitting down after going out for Mexican food. The free Ice Cream will not be in supply tonight. Also, driving down to California Wednesday morning so tomorrow will be spent with last-minute errands.

Meet Georgianne Nienaber - Media Felon

From Huffington Post:

Facing the Future as a Media Felon on the Gulf Coast
The United States Coast Guard considers me a felon now, because I "willfully" want to obtain more photos like these to show you the utter devastation occurring in Barataria Bay, Louisiana as a result of the BP oil catastrophe. If the Coast Guard has its way, all media, not just independent writers and photographers like myself and Jerry Moran, will be fined $40,000 and receive Class D felony convictions for providing the truth about oiled birds and dolphins, in addition to broken, filthy, unmanned boom material that is trapping oil in the marshlands and estuaries. We don't have $40,000 to spare, and have had to scrape the bottoms of our checkbooks as is to hire boats to take us to the devastation the Coast Guard, under the direction of BP, does not want you to see.

She goes on with a lot of photos of oil and a lot of ineffective attempts at skimming and booming. I can see wanting to restrict unscheduled access to the operations for visitor safety but to make it a felony? This is a bit draconian. She also shows some of BP's photos of the operations -- quite different...

Grain of Salt department

Why do I not believe these people. From MS/NBC:
Old technology stymies Calif. gov's pay-cut order
As the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the technology of the future, feared by humans. As governor, he's being foiled by the technology of the past.

For the second time in two years, Schwarzenegger has ordered most state workers' pay cut to the federal minimum wage because lawmakers missed their deadline to fix the state's $19 billion budget deficit. The Legislature's failure to act has left the state without a spending plan as the new fiscal year begins.

A state appellate court ruled in Schwarzenegger's favor Friday, but the state controller, who issues state paychecks, says he can't comply. One reason given by Controller John Chiang, a Democrat elected in 2006: The state's computer system can't handle the technological challenge of restating paychecks to the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

Chiang cited Friday's ruling by the 3rd District Court of Appeals, which said "unfeasibility" would excuse him from complying with Schwarzenegger's minimum wage order. He said a fix to the state's computerized payroll system won't be ready until October 2012.

Meanwhile, more than 200,000 state workers remain in limbo about the size of their July paychecks while Chiang asks the court for guidance on how to proceed. If wages are indeed cut to $7.25 an hour, employees will be reimbursed once a budget is signed.

At least one expert said the outdated nature of the payroll system should not be an excuse for failing to comply with the governor's directive.

John Harrigan, who served as a division chief for the state's payroll services from 1980 to 2006, said upgrading the system would be complicated, time-consuming and expensive, but it could be done.
Christ on a Corn Dog -- what is it about governmental computing systems. Crap like this would be shot down in a heartbeat at a major corporation. What they are asking for is to continue this group of people at their normal salary of -- say -- $25/hour, track and record their earnings but only cut paychecks for $7.25 while storing the balance owed for a later payment. This is not rocket science. I use Quicken payroll for my ten employees and it would be all of about five minutes to set up if I needed to. If this was me, I would be on the phone Monday to companies like ADP or Paychex soliciting bids to outsource the whole payroll system -- this would probably save the California taxpayers a lot of money and get rid of the obsolete and incompetent system and people they have now. From what it sounds like, the CA payroll system is a custom program -- the idea that they are using this and not some Business Enterprise application like SAP boggles...

Fun fun fun

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Moved the power hammer out of the truck today and it went flawlessly except I had to switch to Plan B at the last minute. My initial plan was to back the truck into the shop (I have a ten-foot wide door) and use my Engine Hoist to pick it out of the bed and move it to where it will be living. The hydraulic cylinder on the Engine Hoist failed to operate -- I had enough fluid. I am guessing that since it had not been used in about two years, the oil varnished up and the pump valve is stuck. I'll take it apart and fix it when we get back from our road trip. Plan B was to use Buttercup the tractor. Since there was not enough room to maneuver the truck and the tractor near the shop door, I moved the truck near the barn and am temporarily stashing it there until I get back. (Leaving for California Wednesday for a week -- cousin's wedding.) Sitting here boiling a pot of spaghetti for dinner and will head down to the store to close. Being the fourth, all of the other stores out here closed early. We are paying 1.5 hourly so there is no trouble staffing these shifts and we sell a hella lot of beer after the other places close.

Celebrating our Independence Day

I am starting off the morning here reading Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website and two posts catch my eye. The first is the announcement from Andrew of the launch of a brand new site: Big Peace:

A New Declaration of Independence
How fitting that BigPeace.com is rolling out on the 234th anniversary of the first Declaration of Independence! For, with the launch of this newest of the marvelous Breitbart web portals, the national security community can finally break the stranglehold the legacy media has heretofore had on what the American people know about the issues that are likely to have the greatest effect on them and those they love.

Thanks to Big Peace, issues of vital importance to our security - including such topics as: the threat posed at home and abroad by the theo-political-legal-military code authoritative Islam calls Shariah; the implications of President Obama's pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons and the defective New START Treaty meant to advance that dangerous initiative; the menace facing our sovereignty and liberties at the hands of "transnationalists" and their international lawfare; the opportunities for securing our borders and energy supplies; and many more - will be made available to millions of Americans in an authoritative, timely and evocative manner.

And we won't have to worry about getting it all past the anti-defense biases of editors and reporters at places like the New York Times or NBC.

The timing of this roll-out is particularly opportune as it means there is a chance that the momentous electoral decisions looming this Fall can be made by voters who actually have a clue about the dangers we face - and who will be able to hold accountable incumbents and contenders alike with respect to their views on the appropriate responses. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never has better information been more needed by so many.

The second is the announcement of a new initiative:

Opposing Obama's Blueprint by Celebrating American Exceptionalism
On the Fourth of July, we don't only celebrate the birth of our nation. We celebrate American exceptionalism -- everything that makes the United States the greatest nation on earth. In celebrating this, we reject Barack Obama's blueprint for the kind of country he seeks to make us.

On July 4, 1776, fifty-six dedicated patriots resolved to risk everything in the hope of a new beginning. Elected to represent colonists from across the thirteen British colonies on the American continent, they decided to embark upon a grand experiment, to form a self-governing democratic republic.

They were risking their lives. Had they failed, they would have been hanged as traitors, their lands confiscated by the Crown, their fortuned forfeited, and their families left disgraced and destitute.

Yet they succeeded, and the freest, safest, and prosperous nation in the world was born.

We don't just celebrate the historical fact of America's birth. When we celebrate Independence Day, we celebrate everything the United States stands for.

We celebrate the right to speak what we will, no matter how unpopular, without fear of government reprisal. We celebrate our right to worship according to the dictates of our conscience. We celebrate our right to bear arms in defense of ourselves and our freedom. We celebrate our right to be secure in our homes and our families, and should we become entangled with the law, our right not to be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process, which includes everything from our right to a jury trial, to our right to a lawyer, to our right to not incriminate ourselves or be tortured.

While many of us take those rights for granted, the reality is that they are rare, both in history and even around the globe today. But those rights, that liberty, is what we celebrate on the Fourth of July.

In other words, what we celebrate is American exceptionalism.

That's the belief that America is something special. We are a shining beacon of light throughout the world and throughout the annals of history. We are the exception, not the rule.

Could not have said it better myself...


When I was living in Seattle, I used to own a computer store for 12 years. I have always been interested in typesetting and design and printing (my Mom's family owned a large commercial paper warehouse and I would get to visit various printers as a kid riding along with the salesmen) and when companies like Dell and Gagway ...sorry... Gateway started selling decent systems for less than I could build them, I started focusing entirely on copies and printing.

Bought two offset presses, set up a darkroom and had a lot of fun for five years. Ran into this nice article at idsgn (a design blog):

The end of movable type in China
While Western letterpress printing has made a recent revival, what was once considered one of the Four Great Inventions of Ancient China is no longer a sustainable practice in its country of origin.

Wai Che Printing Company, preserved by its 81-year-old owner Lee Chak Yu, has operated on Wing Lee Street with its bilingual lead type collection and original Heidelberg Cylinder machine for over 50 years. Curious to learn more, I visited Wai Che - one of the last remaining letterpress shops in Hong Kong - to understand how Chinese movable type differed and why this trade has become obsolete.

Movable type, made influential by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440, was one of the greatest technological advances defining typography as we know it today. Invented in China by Bi Sheng 400 years earlier during the Song Dynasty, movable type was created as a system to print lengthy Buddhist scripture. As Chinese characters were mostly square, characters of uniform size and shape were easily interchangeable for printing. Kerning was not an issue; the letterforms had a balanced visual appearance by nature.

A delightful read. What struck me is the comparison between the job cases for Western and Eastern type. In China, you do not have very many typefaces but you have as a minimum, about 4,000 different characters that are used on a regular basis. Here is the storage for Western type -- each typeface and size is stored in a separate drawer of what is known as a California Job Case (Image swiped from here):


And here is one font of Chinese type:

From CNS News:
Congressional Report Claims Administration Misled About Efforts on Oil Spill
Billy Nungesser, president of New Orleans� Plaquemines Parish, sensed that a chart showing 140 oil skimmers at work -- a chart given to him by BP and the Coast Guard -- was �somewhat inaccurate.� So, Nungesser asked to fly over the spill to verify the number.

The flyover was cancelled three times before those officials admitted that just 31 of the 140 skimmers were actually deployed.

The incident is detailed in a report released Thursday by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Republicans say the report provides evidence that the Obama administration misrepresented the assets devoted to the cleanup, misrepresented the timing of when government officials knew there was an oil spill and misrepresented the level of control the government had over the matter. It also claims the Obama administration seemed more interested in public relations than cleaning the mess and plugging the hole.
The report is from July 1st and is a sixteen page PDF document. Lots of references if you want to look it up for yourself. There is a page of findings:
Committee staff has discovered the following based upon witness interviews and documents provided by federal and state entities:
� Officials on the ground dispute key White House assertions about the number and timeliness of assets deployed in the Gulf. Local officials describe White House outreach efforts as more focused on stopping bad press than on addressing the disaster at hand;

� The White House's assurances that there are adequate resources are at odds with the reality on the ground, where those on the frontline of the spill express significant frustration over the lack of assets. Local complaints are supported by the fact that the White House waited until Day 70 of the oil spill to accept critical offers of international assistance. Local workers and boats could have been assisting more with the clean-up if the Federal government had provided them with needed supplies and equipment;

� While the White House has tried to use the delay in finding a visible leak to explain its early silence on the oil spill, Transocean officials and Coast Guard documents from the scene of the oil spill reveal clear and early indications of a substantial oil leak days earlier than White House accounts;

� The failure of Administration officials to quickly waive laws preventing necessary foreign assets from reaching the Gulf and other regulations are hampering efforts to clean-up and limit damage from the oil spill. Local officials feel the federal government is making the perfect the enemy of the good in cleanup efforts;

� Local officials strongly dispute President Obama's insistence that the federal government - and not BP - has been in control since day one. One Coast Guard Admiral told congressional investigators that decisions on the ground are made through a "consensus-based" process with BP. In practice, the Federal Government is not in charge of oil spill response efforts through a command-and-control approach;

� Local officials strongly believe the President's call for a drilling moratorium will significantly compound the economic damage caused by the oil spill and will actually increase risk associated with future offshore drilling projects.
Smells to me like a big steaming pile of "No Leadership" with an undertone of Protectionism and Union Crony-ism.

The 'Chicago' way

Looks like it's business as usual in the great state of Illinois. From MS/NBC/New York Times:

Illinois facing 'outright disaster' amid budget crisis
Even by the standards of this deficit-ridden state, Illinois's comptroller, Daniel W. Hynes, faces an ugly balance sheet. Precisely how ugly becomes clear when he beckons you into his office to examine his daily briefing memo.

He picks the papers off his desk and points to a figure in red: $5.01 billion.

"This is what the state owes right now to schools, rehabilitation centers, child care, the state university -- and it's getting worse every single day," he says in his downtown office.

Mr. Hynes shakes his head. "This is not some esoteric budget issue; we are not paying bills for absolutely essential services," he says. "That is obscene."

For the last few years, California stood more or less unchallenged as a symbol of the fiscal collapse of states during the recession.

Now Illinois has shouldered to the fore, as its dysfunctional political class refuses to pay the state's bills and refuses to take the painful steps -- cuts and tax increases -- to close a deficit of at least $12 billion, equal to nearly half the state's budget.

A bit more:

The governor proposes to borrow $3.5 billion to cover a year's worth of pension payments, a step that would cost about $1 billion in interest. And every major rating agency has downgraded the state; Illinois now pays millions of dollars more to insure its debt than any other state in the nation.

"Their pension is the most underfunded in the nation," said Karen S. Krop, a senior director at Fitch Ratings. "They have not made significant cuts or raised revenues. There's no state out there like this. They can�t grow their way out of this."

A bit more:

Few budget analysts are surprised to see Illinois, with a limping economy and broken political culture, edge close to the abyss. Two of the last six governors have served jail terms, and a third is on trial.

The article goes on -- the culture of corruption; borrowing money to fund today's debts with zero thought to tomorrow's payments. There is a guy who became politically active in this culture, considered it to be the norm and we gave him the keys to the Oval Office a year ago. No wonder the USA is in such dire financial straits right now.

How to make Popcorn Shrimp

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Nancy figured out

From Gerard at American Digest:
I think I've got the Pelosi Perplex puzzled out
When Nancy Pelosi speaks, America is gobstoppered.
Like you and millions of others, when I read Pelosi's theory that unemployment is the best means of creating employment (Pelosi: Unemployment Checks Fastest Way to Create Jobs), I had to spend a couple of days in the auto repair shop have my jaw jacked back into place.

Back at home with my head wrapped in bandages, I then read her amplification of those remarks: "It injects demand into the economy. It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name...." There was the tearing of fabric and...

Well, I had to turn around and get back to the shop to have my jaw jacked back into place again. Clearly, this process cannot continue. Being neither a rich man nor on unemployment, I cannot continue to pay for Pelosi's ceaseless injections of demand into the "Just STFU!" sector of the economy.

How does the mouth of this woman keep moving so many years after her intellectual hysterectomy? She's obviously in dire need of a high hard one in the form of a meteor to the base of the skull, and yet, like the Energizer Zombie, she keeps talking and talking and .... Then it hit me.

It was obvious. In fact, Pelosi herself hints at it when she says, "It injects demand into the economy." Pelosi's the victim of a ghastly surgical error. Nancy Pelosi's problem stems from the fact that at one of her regular Mojitos, Full Brazilian Waxing and Bathtub Botox" parties on her official jet, one of her fellow drunken galpals plunged the Botox needle through Pelosi's cheek and into her brain stem before pressing the plunger home.

You think I am exaggerating or make the weak joke, compadre? Not at all.

As it turns out there is a surgical procedure tailor-made for delivering Botox into Pelosi's brain. It's called: A non-surgical technique for accurate intracerebral injections in rat
An improved technique for intracerebral injection into rats is described. This technique uses a metallic skull template as an injection aid, aligned with the maxillary incisors, the eyes and the outer ear canals of anesthesized animals. With this device we have been able to target brain structures as small as 4 mm3 both rapidly, accurately and reproducibly. The new method provides a useful alternative to common stereotaxic techniques for rats up to 300 g. -- Journal of Neuroscience Methods
I rest my case.
This best describes the problem -- I defy anyone to come up with a better answer...


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Eighteen spam attempts -- all FAIL One legit comment and it went right through with zero hassles. Off to town today and then working in the shop.

Comment spam - an observation

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Here is a screen-grab of part of what I see when I examine a comment spam. I wanted to point out the idiocy of these script kiddies. They have no intelligence.
The majority of these domains are already in my spam database but out of about 50 domains in this one spam, there were five new domains that this luser added to the long existing list. So, by using about 50 domain names in one spam attempt, they just guaranteed that their pathetic little attempt would trip even the simplest of spam catchers. If, instead, they had sent out fifty individual comment attempts, they could have gotten five through. By bundling the new domains along with the old dead ones, they exhibited a classic Extreme Fail. So, go back to wanking off to your copy of Readers Digest. How is it living in your Mom's basement apartment?

Happy 30th Airplane

The movie Airplane debuted on this date, thirty years ago.

From the New York Times:

Surely It's 30 (Don't Call Me Shirley!)
When the creators of Airplane! were lining up actors for their rollicking parody three decades ago, some of the straight-arrow character actors that ended up in the cast worried about the harm it might do to their careers. One of the most skittish participants: Peter Graves, the taciturn 'Mission: Impossible' star who played the movie's pilot, a kindly veteran who welcomes a little boy named Billy into the cockpit and asks questions like "Ever seen a grown man naked?"

"His agent got him the script, and he was totally turned off by it," Jerry Zucker, who wrote and directed the film with his brother, David Zucker, and their lifelong friend Jim Abrahams, said recently during a phone interview with his erstwhile partners. "He thought it was tasteless trash."

Mr. Abrahams interjected, his voice perfectly deadpan: "I don't understand. What did he think was tasteless about pedophilia?"

Graves (who died in March) needn't have worried. Within months of its release in July 1980 Airplane! became the highest-grossing comedy in box office history, a distinction that held until Ghostbusters came along in 1984. And it remains one of the most influential. Its anything-goes slapstick and furious pop culture riffs can be seen in the 20-gags-a-minute relentlessness of The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy and grab-bag big-screen parodies like Epic Movie, Date Movie and the Scary Movie franchise (the third and fourth installments of which were directed by none other than David Zucker). It also inspired Airplane II: The Sequel in 1982.

Time flies...

pull out a handgun and commence firing. From Portland, OR station KATU:
Police: Woman pulls gun in police car, starts firing
A handcuffed woman in the back of a police car pulled out a .40 caliber handgun and started firing shots Wednesday night, holding police at a distance for more than 4 hours before surrendering.

The standoff closed Highway 97 both north and south in northcentral Oregon.

The incident started just before 8 p.m. Wednesday when a Sherman County, Ore., sheriff's deputy stopped a blue 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier two door sedan for a traffic violation.

The car was being driven by Leonardo Rodriguez, 54, of Yakima, Wash. Candice Sahme, 24, and Nathan Smith, 21, both of Yakima, Wash., were passengers in the car.

During the course of the traffic stop, the deputy became suspicious that Sahme may have been involved in criminal activity. He detained Sahme by placing her in handcuffs while he continued his investigation. The deputy then put Sahme in the rear seat of his Ford Crown Victoria police car and called for assistance.

While the deputy called for backup, police said Sahme produced a .40 cal handgun, which had been hidden on her person, and fired multiple shots from the back seat of the police car.
No injuries. What an incredibly stupid thing to have done. No mention of immigration status. I bet that cop is going to get ribbed for a couple years on this. No pat down? Should have called for a female officer for backup.

Finland does Broadband

An interesting approach -- from Google/AFP:

As world first, Finland makes broadband service basic right
Finland on Thursday became the first country in the world to make access to a broadband service a basic right, ensuring that a high-speed Internet connection is available to all Finns, a government official said.

"Today the universal service obligation concerning Internet access of one Megabit per second (Mbit/s) has entered into force," Olli-Pekka Rantala of the communications networks unit at the ministry of transport and communications said.

"It is our understanding that we have become the first in the world to have made broadband a basic right," he added.

The tech-savvy Nordic country amended its communications market act last year to make sufficient Internet access a universal service, such as the telephone and postal services.

It was later determined by the ministry of communications "that what is meant by sufficient Internet access ... is one Megabit per second." Rantala said.

Finnish Communications Minister Suvi Linden called the new mandatory broadband regulation "one of the government's most significant achievements in regional policy."

"I'm proud of it," she said in a statement. "I hope that people will make use of the opportunity and turn to telecom operators in the area they live."

From July 1, service providers in Finland are thus obligated to provide a one Mbit/s connection to all Finnish households, regardless of their location.

On the one hand, I laud the decision to do this -- there are a lot of remote villages and to guarantee 1Mb/s to each household is some serious bandwidth. On the other hand, it opens up the question of what a person's rights really are -- does a person have a government-given right to free schooling, to health care, to a job, to an automobile, to government food, to government provided shelter?

Where do you start and where do you stop and who pays for it all. Tax the rich for sure but they are not stupid and will find shelters and even relocate so the overall revenues will plummet. This has happened here and in other nations on a sickeningly repeating basis. And you still have a percentage of the population demanding their slice of the free Government Cheese. But then again, I'm just a private sector kinda guy...

Broadband meeting

Had an interesting meeting in town this morning.

 I am in the process of commissioning T1 lines out to pockets of houses in my area and then using radio links to cover the 'last mile'.

There are a bunch of people in the County who are looking at getting State and Federal funding to provide high-speed internet for people.

What is interesting is that they are looking at doing the middle-mile -- running fiber and such but they do not have the infrastructure to handle the last mile -- delivery to people's houses.

We dovetail perfectly. Also at the meeting was someone from a County-wide foundation and also one of the higher-mucky-mucks in the County Planning Department. Good connections to have for any project.

The next year will be interesting for people in this area -- the radio links I am installing will handle fiber speed so all I would need to do is turn over the router passwords and have them cut me a nice big fat check.

Heh - 15 spam attempts; all fail

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Had 15 attempts since this morning and each and every one of them failed. It is insane that they are still trying to spam with multiple domains. They introduce some new domains but keep enough of the old ones that each post attempt still hits at least one tripwire.
I had seen a few aerial photos but nothing from the inside. Here are three pictures of a house:


Ten more at this website: Whose House is This? The person who lives here? Robert Mugabe Nice work if you can get it. Must be nice to live in a nation that cared so much for your people...
Happy Canada Day - eh?

A politician that 'gets it'

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From NBC/New York:
6,900 6,899 6,898... Paterson Begins a Veto Marathon
As the Senate sought to negotiate and further delay a late budget to head off 6,900 promised vetoes, Gov. David Paterson rifled through a 2-foot high stack of the Legislature's budget bills, voiding them at a rate of one every 3 seconds Thursday.

"I'm not talking to them," Paterson told reporters during a break in vetoing the Legislature's budget bills that he said the state can't afford. "They sent me a message. They sent that budget that was out of balance."
A bit more:
He said many of the programs are laudable and important, but unaffordable. His vetoes Thursday included grants to the elementary school his children attended, a service group whose board of directors includes his wife, and a group to which his mother had been a member.
So he is feeling the hurt as well -- shows moral backbone; something the State Senators severely lack. I am still amazed at how out of touch with reality these people are. They play their little power games behind locked doors, they each talk to their constituents but it's all about what part of the pie can I carve off and bring home to you; it is not about how we are spending unreasonably and here is what we need to do to cut back. And this is our supposed cultural elite class? A bunch of nattering fops...

Life in a border town

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Getting wilder by the day as our President kowtows to Calderon and the criminals get more and more brazen. From the ElPaso Times:
Gunfire hitting City Hall prompts Texas AG to ask for more troops on border
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today demanded that President Obama send more troops to the Texas-Mexico border and used the shots that hit El Paso City Hall as an example of increased violence on the border.
The requests came in the form of this letter to President Obama:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,

Deadly violence from drug cartels and transnational gangs in Mexico is knocking on the United States' door with ever increasing frequency.

Yesterday, gunfire from the cartels pierced that threshold and struck City Hall in El Paso. Fortunately no one was injured or killed. But that good fortune was not the result of effective border control - it was mere luck that the bullets struck buildings rather than bodies.

Luck and good fortune are not effective border enforcement policies. The shocking reality of cross border gunfire proves the cold reality: American lives are at risk. As the attached news article notes: "More than 1,300 people have been murdered in Ju�rez this year as a war continues relentlessly between the Ju�rez and Sinaloa drug cartels." Americans must be protected as this deadly war bulges at our border.

Law enforcement officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety and your own U.S. Customs and Border Protection will reveal the hard truth. Our state is under constant assault from illegal activity threatening a porous border.

The time for talk has passed. The time for action is now. The need is urgent. Each day that passes increases the likelihood that an American life will be lost because of the federal government's failure to secure the border.

This threat demands immediate and effective action by your Administration to secure our border. As the Attorney General of Texas, I urge you to make border security your top priority so that no more innocent lives are lost to border violence.
What he said -- the violence that is ramping up is merely power rushing in to fill a vacuum. Obama has zero leadership and fails to understand the basics of the job the US handed him. Texas didn't vote for him so he will not help Texas. The Chicago way writ large. And the creatures of the dark are jockeying into position to fill the void.
The numbers behind the story are coming out -- from Yahoo/Associated Press:
Venezuela seizes oil rigs owned by US company
Venezuela's government has seized control of 11 oil rigs owned by U.S. driller Helmerich & Payne, which shut them down because the state oil company was behind on payments.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez announced that Venezuela would nationalize the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company's rigs. He said in a statement Wednesday that Helmerich & Payne had rejected government demands to resume drilling operations for more than a year.

Helmerich & Payne announced in January 2009 that it was stopping operations on two of its drilling rigs, because Venezuela's state-run oil company, PDVSA, owed the company close to $100 million. It said it would shut down the rest of its rigs by the end of July as contracts expired unless PDVSA began to make good on its debts.

The company said Thursday that PDVSA's debt was $43 million as of June 14.
Makes sense -- Venezuela has built its house of cards on the continuing revenues from oil production and it cannot afford even the most modest slowdown. Chavez has done nothing to build infrastructure or educational facilities or manufacturing or agricultural facilities (they import 70% of their food!) -- his whole bread and circuses is built on oil money. Easier to nationalize a few oil wells than to actually have to pay what is owed to a foreign imperialist running dog. More:
President and CEO Hans Helmerich said in a statement on Thursday the company's position has remained clear: "We simply wanted to be paid for work already performed."

"We stated repeatedly we wanted to return to work, just not for free," he said. "We are surprised by yesterday's announcement only because we have been in ongoing efforts in a good faith attempt to accommodate a win-win resolution, including a willingness to sell rigs."

The company has worked in Venezuela for 52 years, Helmerich added.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said he hopes Helmerich & Payne is compensated and suggested the takeover and other recent nationalizations are scaring off private investment in Venezuela.
Venezuela is not only throwing away the resources of this company, they are throwing away the 52 years of expertise these people have. As for Mark Toner's comment: "hopes Helmerich & Payne is compensated and suggested the takeover and other recent nationalizations are scaring off private investment in Venezuela" Talk about the department of the obvious...

Long day

Working at the store getting the two new cash registers programmed and up and running.

Ran payroll today so quite a few hours were spent in front of a computer. The registers we are using are from Sharp and feature a USB interface and a dedicated application for a computer. This seriously eases the programming pain as with only a numeric keypad and display, getting alpha characters set up can be a royal pain. Trial and error... I initially purchased a big Casio system and it's programming interface was so opaque as to be unusable.

Back home for the evening, a couple steaks resting with salt and pepper waiting for the grill to heat up. These are grass-fed so looking forward to some tasty eats. Got some frozen extra-sweet corn that I'll nuke for the side dish.

From the PBS Newshour:
In Reporting on Oil Spill, Limits Persist on Media Access in the Gulf
Health Correspondent Betty Ann Bowser and I spent last week reporting the health . impact of the oil spill in Plaquemines Parish -- Louisiana's southernmost parish, where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico.

During that time local officials and media contacts at the Unified Command Center Operations were mostly helpful in finding answers to our questions and providing us information about scheduled media boat tours of the cleanup operations (even if it did take sometimes take them a few days to get back to us).

But there's one roadblock that we encountered that mystified us -- and, we understand, many other journalists. It has been virtually impossible to get any information about the federal mobile medical unit in the fishing town of Venice, La. The glorified double-wide trailer sits on a spit of newly graveled land known to some as the "BP compound." Ringed with barbed wire-topped chain link fencing, it's tightly restricted by police and private security guards.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set up the facility on May 31. According to a press release, the medical unit is staffed by "a medical team from the HHS National Disaster Medical System -- a doctor, two nurses, two emergency medical technician paramedics (EMT-P) and a pharmacist."

For over two weeks, my NewsHour colleagues and I reached out to media contacts at HHS, the U.S. Coast Guard and everyone listed as a possible media contact for BP, in an attempt to visit the unit and get a general sense of how many people were being treated there , who they were and what illnesses they had. We got nowhere. It was either "access denied," or no response at all. It was something that none of us had ever encountered while covering a disaster. We're usually at some point provided access to the health services being offered by the federal government.

We tried the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals who told us to talk to HHS. HHS said they couldn't provide us access and said they would get back to us about our questions.

We reached out to local parish officials, who told us to talk to Unified Command Center Operations. Unified Command Center Operations told us to talk to HHS... noticing a pattern here?

NewsHour colleagues -- correspondent Spencer Michaels and Producer Joanne Elgart Jennings -- warned us of the wild goose chase they were sent on two weeks ago while they were in Venice trying to find out what goes on there.

We found we weren't the only ones. Fox News' Dr. Manny Alvarez was also denied access to the unit.
Wonder if this unit could have anything to do with the accounts of very high levels of aromatic hydrocarbons (Benzine, Toluene) and Hydrogen Sulfide in the air.

Government run healthcare

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The government does run one aspect of complete health care -- Military Veterans get health benefits. From CNN:
VA hospital may have infected 1,800 veterans with HIV
A Missouri VA hospital is under fire because it may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to life-threatening diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they could contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after visiting the medical center for dental work, said Rep. Russ Carnahan.

Carnahan said Tuesday he is calling for a investigation into the issue and has sent a letter to President Obama about it.

"This is absolutely unacceptable," said Carnahan, a Democrat from Missouri. "No veteran who has served and risked their life for this great nation should have to worry about their personal safety when receiving much needed healthcare services from a Veterans Administration hospital."

The issue stems from a failure to clean dental instruments properly, the hospital told CNN affiliate KSDK.
Saving a few bucks by hand-washing dental tools? Someone needs to be hung from the nearest lamp-post as an inspiration to 'others'

Playing the Race card

From FOX News:

Former Justice Department Lawyer Accuses Holder of Dropping New Black Panther Case for Racial Reasons
A former Justice Department attorney who quit his job to protest the Obama administration's handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case is accusing Attorney General Eric Holder of dropping the charges for racially motivated reasons.

J. Christian Adams, now an attorney in Virginia and a conservative blogger for Pajamas Media, says he and the other Justice Department lawyers working on the case were ordered to dismiss it.

"I mean we were told, 'Drop the charges against the New Black Panther Party,'" Adams told Fox News, adding that political appointees Loretta King, acting head of the civil rights division, and Steve Rosenbaum, an attorney with the division since 2003, ordered the dismissal.

A bit of background:

In the final days of the Bush administration, three Black Panthers -- Minister King Samir Shabazz, Malik Zulu Shabazz and Jerry Jackson -- were charged in a civil complaint with violating the Voter Rights Act in November 2008 by using coercion, threats and intimidation at a Philadelphia polling station -- with Shabazz brandishing what prosecutors called a deadly weapon.

The Obama administration won a default judgment in federal court in April 2009 when the Black Panthers didn't appear in court to fight the charges. But the administration moved to dismiss the charges in May 2009. Justice attorneys said a criminal complaint, which resulted in the injunction, proceeded successfully.

The department "is committed to comprehensive and vigorous enforcement of both the civil and criminal provisions of federal law that prohibit voter intimidation. We continue to work with voters, communities, and local law enforcement to ensure that every American can vote free from intimidation, coercion or threats," Schmaler said Wednesday.

But the Justice Department's explanation has failed to appease the United States Commission on Civil Rights, which is probing the department's decision, or Republican lawmakers who say the dismissal could lead to an escalation of voter intimidation.
A lot of people point to what Obama is doing and calling it good. A lot of people are sympathetic with President Hugo Chavez and think that he is doing a good job for Venezuela. It will be interesting to see if this little news item gets any traction in the US Press -- from Breitbart/AFP:
Venezuela govt to nationalize 11 US-owned oil rigs
Venezuela's legislature has voted to nationalize 11 oil rigs owned by the US firm Helmerich & Payne.

The rigs, located in Monagas, Anzoategui and Zulia states, will be taken over by state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the official news agency AVN said.

PDVSA had asked the legislature controlled by supporters of leftist President Hugo Chavez to take over the rigs after the US firm declined to negotiate a new service contract, unlike 32 other foreign firms.

The oil giant is South America's top oil producer.

Since 2007 Caracas has nationalized companies in industries from oil to utilities, to telecoms, cement, steel and banking.
I love the line: "after the US firm declined to negotiate a new service contract" They were probably negotiating very closely with Chavez -- they were just not offering the kind of deal that Chavez wanted. And where is Waldo our President? Shouldn't he be protecting American investments overseas -- this is one of the jobs the US Government actually has a Constitutional Mandate to do. As for Chavez's abilities at running the businesses after they are "Nationalized". I know that the electrical grid is in a shambles, I can only imagine what the telecom is like. With the government owning a majority share in General Motors and running a ham-handed takeover of our healthcare system as well as actively developing an underclass of voters who do not pay taxes who are dependent on the government dole, we are heading to a workers paradise like Venezuela a lot faster than we should be. It is funny that at the G20 conference, Obama was urging the other nations to ramp up government spending while everyone else was telling Obama that they had been there, they stood on the edge of the Abyss and looked down and they decided to back away while they still had money left.

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