September 2011 Archives
Diebold voting machines can be hacked by remote controlIn these days of cheap storage and large processors, making this process hackproof should be a simple task. Where is the push coming from to make this an open hackable system? Who has Diebold given money to and why are they given the green-light to develop this system. The problem with these machines was known back in 2006. Time to sweep out the house (and senate).
It could be one of the most disturbing e-voting machine hacks to date.
Voting machines used by as many as a quarter of American voters heading to the polls in 2012 can be hacked with just $10.50 in parts and an 8th grade science education, according to computer science and security experts at the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. The experts say the newly developed hack could change voting results while leaving absolutely no trace of the manipulation behind.
"We believe these man-in-the-middle attacks are potentially possible on a wide variety of electronic voting machines," said Roger Johnston, leader of the assessment team "We think we can do similar things on pretty much every electronic voting machine."
ITV documentary can�t tell the difference between gaming and reality; mistakes Arma 2 for secret IRA filmLinks to the video in the source article. Unh... You have to be a special kind of stupid to not be able to tell the difference between a video game and real-life footage. The video game is aliased but has a lot clearer points of view and steadier camera. The game ArmA 2 website is here Talk about great advertising...
Here�s an upload of a video from a recent ITV documentary into Colonel Gaddhafi�s support of the IRA. It contains shocking footage of a helicopter being shot down using weapons allegedly supplied by that baddie.
Except. Umm. It�s actually ArmA 2.
Words. Fail. What. How. For goodness sake. UK media, can you stop being shit please.
If you�re looking for the footage in the documentary in the ITV player � it�s online here. The footage is in place from 28 minutes, 20 seconds.
Ruth I. Hanson of Maple Falls died at Mt. Baker Care Center in Bellingham on Wednesday, September 21. She was 88. Born in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming on January 27, 1923, Ruth was the daughter of Otto and Vesta Bogie. She married Charles Hanson in Reno on July 18, 1941 and moved with their family to Maple Falls in 1946. A home maker, Ruth was also employed as a cook for twenty years at the Maple Falls Elementary School and was a charter member of the Mt. Baker Baptist Church. She enjoyed raising her beef cattle, gardening, and served as a Commissioner for the Maple Falls Cemetery District. Mrs. Hanson was preceded in death by her husband Charles in 1989 and is survived by her children Lois (Steve) Buckner of Maple Falls, Tom (Margot) Hanson of Brier, WA and Ken (Pat Todd) Hanson of Port Ludlow, WA; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; sister Alice Wolf of Santa Maria, CA and other relatives. The Hanson family expresses their deep appreciation for the loving compassionate care given their mother by the Mt. Baker Care Center staff.I know the local family well -- she was an amazing woman and will be missed.
OC Couple Threatened With $500-Per-Meeting Fines For Home Bible StudyAnd of course:
An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a �church� and not as a private gathering.
Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what city officials called �a regular gathering of more than three people�.
That type of meeting would require a conditional use permit as defined by the city, according to Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the couple�s legal representation.
The Fromms also reportedly face subsequent fines of $500 per meeting for any further �religious gatherings� in their home, according to PJI.
�We�re just gathering and enjoying each other�s company and fellowship. And we enjoy studying God�s word.� Stephanie Fromm told CBS2.
Neighbors have written letters to the city in support of the Fromms, whom they said have not caused any disturbances with the meetings, according to PJI.A big tip 'o the hat to Bryan Preston at PJ Tattler for the link. Title? Matthew 18:20
From the Bellingham Herald this morning:
First -- I would have liked to have seen this (link):
Semi hauling chemicals overturns on northbound I-5
A semi truck hauling liquid nitrogen crashed and overturned on Interstate 5 about 7:45 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in the northbound lane near the Lakeway exit, spewing a white chemical cloud onto both sides of the freeway.
Nitrogen comprises about 70% of the air we breathe so the (airquotes)chemicals(airquotes) designation is just fear factor and this wasn't dangerous except for the minute chance of asphyxiation -- still, that would have been a spectacular cloud!
Second is a tale of some local families (link):
Whatcom Sheriff: Stolen property trafficking ring 'dismantled,' five arrested
Five people have been arrested in connection with a series of break-ins north of Custer last week, and the Whatcom County sheriff says the arrests have "dismantled" a crime organization bent on trafficking in stolen property.
Last week's burglary spree ended when Navarone Randmel, 22, was shot once in the back with a .357-caliber Magnum by a homeowner as he tried to break into a garage in the 2900 block of Behme Road, said Sheriff Bill Elfo.
Randmel later fled the hospital, against the advice of doctors, and was at-large for a week.
He was arrested Tuesday, Sept. 20, along with his cousin, Guy Harlin Hovander, 34, on charges that they had been involved in the Sept. 13 burglary of about $200,000 to $300,000 in property - including firearms, antiques and refrigerators - from a house in the 2100 block of Burk Road.
As Randmel was being arrested, he tried to hide a stash of heroin from deputies, according to the sheriff's office. He also had a syringe and less than 40 grams of marijuana concealed in his underwear.
During the investigation, which Elfo said had grown "very complex," deputies served a search warrant on a trailer in the 1800 block of H Street Road, east of Blaine. Other trailers "loaded" with stolen items were found at the property, which also was the residence of Lawrence Michael Wasisco, 45, who was wanted on an unrelated felony charge.
Wasisco was arrested Sept. 14 on suspicion of second-degree possession of stolen property, trafficking in stolen property and obstructing law enforcement. His Facebook page lists him as the owner of a Ferndale second-hand store, Treasure Hunt, at 2009 Main St., under the name "Mike Wasisco."
Another pair of suspected traffickers, Austin Markusen, 36, and Krista Janine Wieandt, 24, were searched and arrested at their home in the 3900 block of Bay Road. They had jewelry, electronics and other items taken from the Burk Road home, according to the sheriff's office.
And a perfect example of why there is a push to unseat the Police Chief:
That evening, Randmel went to a house on Behme Road and asked the husband and wife who lived there to use the phone, Elfo said. He refused to answer questions and acted suspicious, so the wife went inside and grabbed a .357-caliber Magnum.
When she came back, Elfo said, she saw Randmel trying to push past her husband and into the garage, so she fired several rounds, hitting him in the back once. He was found in the roadway by deputies minutes later and taken to the hospital.
After having surgery, he was able to leave the hospital "against medical advice," Elfo said, because deputies who interviewed him at the hospital had not yet established for certain that he was involved in the earlier burglary.
They let the guy go even though he was in the hospital for a gunshot wound and he received that wound as he tried to invade the home. Kudos to the wife for trying to dispatch the goblin...
The Big Day Arrives. The Washington Coastal Radar is Operational!Cliff posted a couple of images from the new radar compared to the views from the existing system in Seattle -- amazing what more can be seen. The majority of the Pacific Ocean is in a shadow from the Olympic Mountain range and invisible to the older Seattle system.
Today I received a wonderful email from Brad Colman, head of the Seattle National Weather Service Forecast Office: the new coastal radar, located just north of Hoquiam, is now fully operational and the data is flowing to the outside world.
This radar, on top of Langley Hill, has been updated to include dual-polarization, which will allow a whole new collection of valuable products.
Insurance giant sues Saudi Arabia for "funding" 9/11 attacks that cost firm $215mLloyds would not be filing suit if they didn't have iron-clad evidence. The discovery process is going to be fun to watch...
An insurance firm is suing Saudi Arabia in a U.S. court over claims that the country funded the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
A division of Lloyds of London is demanding the return of $215 million compensation it paid victims by alleging that the Saudi government is responsible because it used banks and charities to support Al Qaeda.
The lawsuit - filed in Johnston, Pennsylvania, where United Airlines flight 93 crashed on 9/11, names nine defendants, including a leading member of the oil-rich state's royal family.
Saudi Arabia has always denied claims that Osama bin Laden's organisation received official financial and practical support from his homeland.
Hong Kong unemployment falls to 13-year lowOne of my favorite big cities in the world. Been over there a few times and wandering around, I saw a lot of busy small businesses -- a garage or shed with ten people running lathes and mills turning out parts. The engine of job creation is small businesses, not Unions.
Hong Kong said Tuesday its unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest in more than 13 years thanks largely to a strong local economy, but analysts warned the figure could rise again.
The unemployment rate for the June-August period fell to 3.2 percent, from 3.4 percent in the May-July, which marked Hong Kong's lowest jobless rate since February 1998, the Census and Statistics Department said.
The figure was below the average 3.5 percent unemployment rate forecast in a poll of seven economists by Dow Jones Newswires.
The total number of people in jobs in the June-August period rose by around 10,800, to 3,636,600 people -- a record high for the Chinese city of seven million people.
Solyndra execs will decline to testify at hearingAnd that $535 million of our tax monies that were 'loaned' to them? Pfft...
Solyndra LLC's chief executive and chief financial officer will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights and decline to answer any questions put to them at a Congressional hearing on Friday, according to letters from their attorneys obtained by Reuters.
In the letters sent to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, attorneys for Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison and CFO W. G. Stover said they advised their clients not to provide testimony during the hearings.
Fed is expected to take new action to lift economyThey look back 50 years ago and fail to see the result. On August 23, 1960, the Prime Rate was 4.5% (first adjustment in 1960). The next adjustment was December 6, 1965 to 5%. It rose gradually and on March 25, 1970 was adjusted to 8% The all-time national high was a Prime Rate of 21.50% on December 19, 1980 under the last years of the Carter administration. I remember this well because I tried to get a bank loan to buy my first house in Seattle and could not -- had to find a place with owner financing. It gives me the willies to think that these idiotic ideologues are sending us down the same path again with little or no consideration for the outcome...
The Federal Reserve is running out of options to try to boost a slumping economy and lower unemployment. So policymakers are expected to reach 50 years back into their playbook for their next move.
Most economists expect the Fed to announce a plan Wednesday to shift money in its $1.7 trillion portfolio out of short-term securities and into longer-term holdings.
The plan could lower Treasury yields further. Ultimately, it could reduce rates on mortgages and other consumer and business loans, too.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to advocate the move despite criticism from within the Fed and from Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates.
On Monday, the four highest-ranking Republicans in Congress sent Bernanke a letter cautioning the Fed against taking further steps to lower interest rates. Their letter suggested that lower rates could escalate the risk of high inflation.
The plan the Fed is considered most likely to unveil Wednesday has been dubbed "Operation Twist" and dates to the early 1960s. The Fed used a similar program then to "twist" long-term rates lower relative to short-term rates.
Expectations that the Fed will do so again, along with renewed fears of another recession, have led investors to buy up U.S. Treasurys. Treasury yields have dropped in response.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note last week touched a historic low of 1.87 percent. On Tuesday, it finished slightly higher, 1.93 percent.
39% Approval Rating for Obama, Lowest of PresidencyAll polling has bias but for a major polling agency, this is only a few percent or so -- well under 10%. For the Mighty O to have 39% has got to leave a mark...
President Barack Obama faces a litany of bad news. The president�s job approval rating, his favorability, and his rating on the economy have hit all-time lows. To compound matters, three in four Americans still believe the nation is in a recession and the proportion who thinks the country is moving in the wrong direction is at its highest point in more than a decade.
According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, the president�s approval rating is at 39% among registered voters nationally, an all-time low for Mr. Obama. For the first time a majority � 52% � disapproves of the job he is doing in office, and 9% are unsure.
From DC FOX Television 5:
White House, Geithner Speak Out Against Claims in 'Confidence Men'
The Obama administration on Monday vehemently denied unflattering portrayals in an upcoming, behind-the-scenes book about the White House's response to the financial crisis, with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner saying its compilation of "sad little stories" bore no relation to reality.
Chief White House spokesman Jay Carney claimed that one passage appeared to have been lifted from the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
The book, "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and The Education of A President," says Geithner ignored an order from President Barack Obama to help firm up the banking industry. Geithner said he absolutely did not and would never ignore a request from the president.
"I would never contemplate doing that," he said Monday at the White House. "I lived the original, and the reality I lived, we all lived together, bears no relation to the sad little stories I heard reported from that book."
Geithner said he hasn't read the latest work by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind, which is set for release Tuesday.
Added to my reading list...
The Colour of My DreamsAlso stopping at Ikea to get some things for the house. Back Thursday afternoon sometime -- not taking the laptop.
The most comprehensive exhibition of Surrealist art ever to be shown in this country will open at the Vancouver Art Gallery on May 28, 2011. The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art features 350 works by leading Surrealist artists, including Andr� Breton, Salvador Dal�, Max Ernst, Ren� Magritte, Joan Mir�, Alberto Giacometti, Leonora Carrington, Brassa�, Andr� Masson, Man Ray, Edith Rimmington, Wifredo Lam and many others.
Guest curated by Dawn Ades, internationally renowned expert on Surrealist art, The Colour of My Dreams will be shown exclusively at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Ades has selected works of art that underscore the Surrealists� radical sense of experimentation and the expansive range of mediums in which they worked, including painting, sculpture, collage, photography and film. The exhibition provides a stunning overview of one of most important movements of the 20th century and features a number of signature works by more than 80 artists including Dali�s Lobster Telephone, Ernst�s The Forest, Mir��s Photo: This is the Colour of My Dreams, Giacometti�s Spoon Woman, Carrington�s The House Opposite and Man Ray�s Emak-Bakia, among many others. It will also reveal, for the first time, the Surrealists� passionate interest in indigenous art of the Pacific Northwest and the little-known influence of early Hollywood cinema on the development of Surrealist film.
This historic exhibition brings together loans from more than sixty of the world�s foremost private collections, museums and galleries, including the Guggenheim, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the Israel Museum, the Mus�e du quai Branly, the Centre Georges Pompidou, and Tate.
Jindal to endorse PerryVery cool - Jindal has been doing amazing work coming after Blanco who couldn't even fill out the correct paperwork to get FEMA in after Katrina. He is someone to look at in a few years as a national contender. It will take three or four terms to undo Obama's work and getting two terms of Perry and two more terms of someone like Cain or Jindal would do a world of good for this Nation.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is backing Rick Perry for president, a major endorsement for the Texas governor as the campaign for the Republican nomination enters the crucial fall stretch of the primary calendar, a source tells CNN.
Obama Seeks to End Tax Breaks to Pay for Jobs PlanUsed to be that $250K was the cutoff -- what will it be next year? $150K. And of course, this son-of-stimulus will be just as effective as the last couple were -- abject failures. Big fool says to push on.
President Barack Obama would pay for his $447 billion jobs plan by ending a series of tax breaks for oil and gas companies, hedge-fund managers and people making more than $200,000, the White House said Monday.
Italy turns to China for help in debt crisisA Bond is nothing more than a formal loan spread out over multiple investors. Will Italy be able to fund these Bonds and what will happen if/when Italy defaults. The Chinese already own a lot of businesses around the world -- will this just be an entr� into even more?
Italy�s centre-right government is turning to cash-rich China in the hope that Beijing will help rescue it from financial crisis by making �significant� purchases of Italian bonds and investments in strategic companies.
According to Italian officials, Lou Jiwei, chairman of China Investment Corp, one of the world�s largest sovereign wealth funds, led a delegation to Rome last week for talks with Giulio Tremonti, finance minister, and Italy�s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, a state-controlled entity that has established an Italian Strategic Fund open to foreign investors.
White House floods reporters� inboxes after Obama�s jobs speechScreen caps at the site -- a bit more:
The White House really wants you to know that the $447 billion jobs plan that President Obama outlined in a speech to a joint session of Congress Thursday night has support--that is, from unions, liberal groups and other Democrats.
The White House Press Office sent nearly 50 e-mails to reporters overnight with statements of support from the president's allies, including The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Democratic lawmakers, The Center for American Progress, the mayor of San Francisco and members of Obama's own Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
Reporters, to say the least, took note.Someone needs to dial back on the happy pills a little bit -- for all of these people to be in favor of a "Jobs Bill" that has not even been written yet is a bit much and really serves to: #1) - show their desperation and #2) - dilute their message. Looking forward to 2012 -- vote the bastards out... And as someone pointed out yesterday in conversation, Obama is not African American. He is half white and the other half is majority Arab. It was the Arabs who rounded up and sold the Blacks to the American and English slave traders so todays Blacks should not be as tolerant toward Arabs if they want to keep the flames of reparation alive.
"The White House Press Office has vomited all over my inbox," wrote Talking Points Memo's Callie Schweitzer.
"White House Press Office says Malia and Sasha support Obama's jobs plan," cracked Washington Examiner opinion columnist Phil Klein.
The Years of ShameEmphasis mine although his whole op-ed piece has a distinct taint to it. That this moron is considered an intellectual painfully displays the thought processes of what passes for liberalism these days. And my abject apologies to all the wonderful horse's asses out there -- I did not mean to paint with such a broad brush but it is early, my coffee has not kicked in yet and it was all that I could come up with...
Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?
Actually, I don�t think it�s me, and it�s not really that odd.
What happened after 9/11 � and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not � was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.
September 9th, 2011Going to the parent site, there is no home page. Nothing. All that is there is opening and closing HTML and BODY tags, enough to ensure that the browser will not choke. The xxxx. in front of the Fluffy_Bunnies domain name is a number so I am betting that some poor schlub has spent their money to "lease" this "custom web page" with the intention of making money selling these entries into a patently fake book. What caught my eye is the: "Your Invited" instead of the grammatically correct "You're Invited" IP Address resolves to some server farm in Chicago. Domain name resolves to some kid living in his Mom's basement. Hey Zachary -- you will always be a putz!
Dear Fellow Professional,
You were recently chosen as a potential candidate to represent your professional community in the 2010 Edition of Who's Who among Fluffy_Bunnies(1) and Fluffy_Bunnies(2).
We are please to inform you that your candidacy was formally approved September 8th, 2011. Congratulations!
To accept, please go to our website here.
It says a lot for our country that a satire website comes closest to America's feelings about the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
From The Onion:
Nation Would Rather Think About 9/11 Than Anything From Subsequent 10 Years
As media coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 ramps up this week, citizens across the United States collectively realized they would rather think about the terrorist attacks of 2001 than about anything else that has transpired in the subsequent decade. "The events of Sept. 11 were unspeakably tragic, but really, when you think about it, things have only grown more horrible and unbearable since then," said Phyllis Bennett of San Jose, CA, who considered 9/11 a notably less unpleasant topic than the Iraq War, the worldwide financial meltdown, Hurricane Katrina, the nation's debt burden, the deaths of 6,200 U.S. troops, China's rise into a global superpower, the housing market, relentless partisan bickering, millions of job losses, the war in Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation, unchecked climate change, declining household income, swine flu, or the 9/11 Truth movement. "That was an awful day for America, but at least the nation came together and people actually seemed to care about one another. Just compare that to now, Jesus Christ." While stating they felt "kind of terrible" about it, Americans expressed a longing to return to those "better days" of shared national agony in September 2001, when everybody truly believed things couldn't get any worse.
Jihadists Take Over, As WarnedIf these mokes ask for and receive foreign aid from the USA, it will be proof-positive that our present administration is clueless. If these were revolutionaries seeking a democratic Republic, where are their founding documents? Where is their Declaration of Independence and their Constitution? Instead, we have 9th century rabble, seeing weakness and expanding their sphere of influence. There are too many parallels to Europe in the 1920-30's to deny that WW-III is brewing. Two questions: #1) - What will be the trigger. #2) - Will the civilized world have the moral courage and conviction to carry this war to victory.
The official euphoria with which the U.S. and European governments celebrated the fall of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya has given way to growing concern that many among the new Libyan leadership are radical Muslims with links to al-Qaeda. Revelations are surfacing also of a close collaboration of Western governments with the deposed dictator.
The overwhelming presence of radical Muslims among the rebel Libyan leadership has been known in Paris at least since early March. But the dangers from this are now beginning to be discussed openly in Western capitals.
On Mar. 8, Fran�ois Gouyette, ambassador to Tripoli until late February, told a select group of deputies at a closed session of the French parliamentary commission of foreign affairs that the rebellion, especially in the east of the country, comprised mostly "radical Muslims".
"In the east of the country, especially in the city of Derna, which was taken very easily by the insurrection, there is without question a high concentration of radical Muslims," Gouyette told the deputies. "Hundreds of Libyan combatants taking part in the international jihad in Afghanistan and in Iraq originate from this region.
"Many of these combatants are back in Libya," Gouyette warned. IPS has the minutes of the meeting.
I had been a Dodge/Chrysler driver for the last thirty years and it was time to retire my Dodge Dakota truck. Loved that truck and put about 200K miles on it over the last fifteen years.
It was time to upgrade and I made a conscious decision to not put my money in a company that screwed over its stock-holders and negotiated a big union bailout (had they gone through bankruptcy, they would have been able to favorably renegotiate all union pensions and retirement benefits).
No, I went with Ford and have been incredibly happy ever since -- the level of engineering is wonderful and for such a large vehicle (F-350 King Cab and Long Bed), it is a delight to drive. Here is a guy who expresses what I feel:
Longshoremen storm Wash. state port, damage RRAnd the reason?
Hundreds of Longshoremen stormed the Port of Longview early Thursday, overpowered and held security guards, damaged railroad cars, and dumped grain that is the center of a labor dispute, said Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha.
Six guards were held hostage for a couple of hours after 500 or more Longshoremen broke down gates about 4:30 a.m. and smashed windows in the guard shack, he said.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union believes it has the right to work at the facility, but the company has hired a contractor that's staffing a workforce of other union laborers.So it isn't a union v/s non-union issue, it is an International Longshore and Warehouse Union v/s some other Union. When these people are tearing themselves apart like this, it shows that the end of their monopoly is near. If I was that contractor, I would seriously look at automation.
FBI agents executing search warrant at SolyndraEmphasis mine -- no shit. More from Washington DC The Daily Caller:
Just days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection, federal agents swarmed around the Solyndra facilities in Fremont to execute a search warrant.
FBI agents were joined by officials from the Department of Energy's Office of the Inspector General in the early morning operation.
Officials would say little about the search, which seemed to center on the Solyndra buildings on Page Avenue off Interstate 880.
"Everything is under seal," said Julianne Sohn, a spokeswoman for the FBI.
Agents began executing their search about 7:30 a.m., Sohn said. More agents arrived in SUVs at 8:40 a.m.
The action by federal agents comes a week after the solar manufacturer abruptly closed, laying off about 1,000 workers, and two days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection.
Solyndra spokesman Dave Miller said the search came as a surprise, but he emphasized the company is "fully cooperating" with federal officials. He said he did not know the purpose of the search, but he speculated it could have something to do with the $535 million in loan guarantees the Department of Energy awarded to Solyndra.
Solyndra officials made numerous trips to the White House, logs showCrony capitalism writ large.
Not only does the now-bankrupt solar energy firm Solyndra have a cozy financial relationship with the Obama administration, company representatives also made numerous visits to the White House to meet with administration officials, The Daily Caller has learned.
According to White House visitor logs, between March 12, 2009, and April 14, 2011, Solyndra officials and investors made no fewer than 20 trips to the West Wing. In the week before the administration awarded Solyndra with the first-ever alternative energy loan guarantee on March 20, four separate visits were logged.
Obituary for Michael Stern HartMore at the site -- Michael was one of the pioneers.
Michael Stern Hart was born in Tacoma, Washington on March 8, 1947. He died on September 6, 2011 in his home in Urbana, Illinois, at the age of 64. His is survived by his mother, Alice, and brother, Bennett. Michael was an Eagle Scout (Urbana Troop 6 and Explorer Post 12), and served in the Army in Korea during the Vietnam era.
Hart was best known for his 1971 invention of electronic books, or eBooks. He founded Project Gutenberg, which is recognized as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects. He often told this story of how he had the idea for eBooks. He had been granted access to significant computing power at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On July 4 1971, after being inspired by a free printed copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, he decided to type the text into a computer, and to transmit it to other users on the computer network. From this beginning, the digitization and distribution of literature was to be Hart's life's work, spanning over 40 years.
Officials: 1,000 Texas homes burned in past weekAnd the governor cut short his campaigning to return and help. A bit more:
More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed in at least 57 wildfires across rain-starved Texas, most of them in one devastating blaze near Austin that is still raging out of control, officials said Tuesday.
Gov. Rick Perry, who cut short a presidential campaign trip to South Carolina on Monday to return to help oversee firefighting efforts in Texas, toured a blackened area near Bastrop, about 25 miles from Austin, where a fast-moving blaze destroyed nearly 600 homes on Monday.
At a news conference afterward, he marveled at the destruction and pointing out that more than 100,000 acres in the drought-stricken state had burned over the past week, and that more than 3.5 million acres � an area roughly the size of Connecticut � had burned since December.
Perry, who was scheduled to take part in a Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, declined to say whether he would skip the event to stay in Texas.That is how you govern. Priorities first.
"We'll deal with that when it comes up," he said. "I'm substantially more concerned about making sure Texans are being taken care of."
A United Europe...Indeed...
Your Mandarin happened upon this article from Reuters regarding former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder�s call for a �United States of Europe.�
Now if your Mandarin recalls correctly, the last time a German Chancellor looked to unify Europe it ended with a gunshot in a bunker underneath Berlin.
State of the unionsA bit more:
This summer, something remarkable happened: 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike, and no one � save a few customers dealing with service interruptions � much cared.
The communications behemoth wanted more than 100 concessions on health care, pensions, sick days and outsourcing. Unions representing the workers said Verizon sought to void 50 years of collective-bargaining gains for middle-class workers, despite posting a 2.8% jump in revenue in the second quarter, up to $27.5 billion.
Thirteen days later, those on strike went back to work on good faith, the company guaranteeing nothing other than continued talks.
It�s an indictment of how anemic the labor movement in America has become, how irrelevant to the average worker that, even in this ever-contracting economy, the lower and middle classes couldn�t be agitated to care.
And why should they? Private-sector unions in the US are nearly extinct, having long ago abandoned an unwinnable fight against big business. Meanwhile, public-sector unions are thriving by comparison, even though public opinion has been on the decline since the rise of unions in the 1930s, when 72% of Americans had a favorable view of them.
By 2009, according to a Gallup poll, that number had declined to 48%.
How did this happen? How is it that the average American worker has come to view unionized labor � which, by definition, was meant to protect and progress each generation in ever-greater ways � with such contempt?
�There�s a big difference between a movement in the interest of the people, and an institution collecting dues and advancing the interests of its members,� says Barbara Ehrenreich, author of the modern-day classic �Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.�Pournelle's Iron Law again. Lots more at the site -- a good read. Unions did have a major role to play back when they were founded but they are now just a political cult serving nobody except their own bureaucracy.
Woman wants county to cover $1K hospital bill for cavity searchAnd the piece de resistance:
A Las Cruces woman has been charged $1,122 by a local hospital for a forcible body cavity search ordered by the Metro Narcotics Agency that did not turn up any illegal substances.
She is now asking the county to pay her hospital bill.
The woman, who is not being named because she was not arrested or criminally charged, was searched at Memorial Medical Center on July 1, according to a tort claim notice Las Cruces attorney Michael Lilley served to the county this week.
The woman is refusing to pay the $1,122 she was subsequently billed for the body cavity search, the tort claim notice shows.
Metro Sgt. Mike Alba said agents had "credible information from a reliable source" that the woman was concealing up to an ounce of heroin, leading to the search warrant from Magistrate Court. The woman, who has no criminal history in New Mexico, was in custody for several hours.
In his letter, Lilley calls the search "unlawful" and is asking Metro to pay the bill.
The county has a policy of not commenting on threatened or pending litigation.No shit Sherlock... Someone is going to get their pee pee whacked on this one, credible information from a reliable source or no.
U.S. Postal Service Nears DefaultUnions making promises that the employers cannot keep -- works great when the economy is booming and revenue keeps rising but when the economy adjusts (as it always does), there is no safety blanket. And of course, they are quick to place the blame:
As the U.S. Postal Service begins shuttering offices across the country to stem their ever-growing $9.2 billion deficit, the entire agency now faces default and could shut down next summer, USPS spokesman Dave Partenheimer told ABCNews.com today.
"Right now we think we can make it through until next summer most likely but then some hard choices will have to be made," he said. "That's why it's such an urgent crisis."
USPS owes $5.5 billion to fund future retirees' health benefits, and next year it may not have money to pay its 560,000 employees. Partenheimer said that by Sept. 30, the end of the USPS fiscal year, the agency will have reached its borrowing limit of $15 billion.
"That's why we cannot make the payment of $5.5 billion," he said. "Something we desperately need is action from Congress to operate more like a business. That's why we're looking at other proposals to save us money."
"Snail mail" has been on the decline for years due to email and electronic bill paying, but the USPS has yet to adapt, clinging to a traditional brick and mortar model.And email has been in common use for the last ten years? The Post Office has had ten years to see the effect and adapt -- commercial businesses have done this, why not the Post Office.
A March 2010 report from the USPS highlighted a 17 percent contraction in mail volume between 2006 and 2009 due to "e-diversion, ad spend shift and the economic recession," resulting in $16 billion less revenue. The same report projected a 37 percent drop in first-class mail over the next 10 years.
Patriotism is supporting your country all the time,
and your government when it deserves it.
-- Mark Twain
Will the Giant Star Betelgeuse Go HyperNova?The more we think we comprehend the universe, the bigger and stranger it gets. I love it!
Betelgeuse, one of the brightest stars in the sky, could burst into its supernova phase and become as bright as a full moon - and last for as long as a year. The massive star is visible in the winter sky over most of the world as a bright, reddish star, could explode as a supernova anytime within the next 100,000 years.
The red giant Betelgeuse, once so large it would reach out to Jupiter's orbit if placed in our own solar system, has shrunk by 15 percent over the past decade in a half, although it's just as bright as it's ever been.
"To see this change is very striking," said retired Berkeley physics professor Charles Townes, who won the 1964 Nobel Prize for inventing the laser. "We will be watching it carefully over the next few years to see if it will keep contracting or will go back up in size."
Betelgeuse, whose name derives from Arabic, is easily visible in the constellation Orion. It gave Michael Keaton's character his name in the movie "Beetlejuice" and was the home system of Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
Red giant stars are thought to have short, complicated and violent lifespans. Lasting at most a few million years, they quickly burn out their hydrogen fuel and then switch to helium, carbon and other elements in a series of partial collapses, refuelings and restarts.
Betelgeuse, which is thought to be reaching the end of its lifespan, may be experiencing one of those collapses as it switches from one element to another as nuclear-fusion fuel.
Fun happenings at the poles. About that Global Warming? Nevermind. From Autonomous Mind:
Reality of sea ice is starting to bite
One problem with "global warming" that scientists and journalists seem to gloss over is that it doesn't seem to be, well, global. Some areas have exhibited more warming than others.
The Arctic is one area that gets a lot of focus. Each summer the media makes a big deal of the extent of Arctic sea ice melt during the warmest months of the year, focusing on navigation passages and often proclaiming that before long the summer will see all the Arctic ice melt away. The BBC never misses an opportunity to relay the story, even if it is barely mentioned elsewhere, and rolled out the latest iteration of it last week.
However there seems to be a lack of coverage about the increasing extent of sea ice in the winter. With the non stop global warming narrative burned onto the subconscious of decision makers, it the therefore of little surprise that there has been barely any investment in new maritime icebreaking capability.
Always ahead of the game, EU Referendum pointed to this problem in March this year. Richard North reported the former Prime Minister of Estonia Tiit Vihi arguing that the country should urgently order a new icebreaker, Instead of spending money on buying icebreaking services.- The reason? The country's two existing icebreakers cannot cope with the "difficult ice conditions" in the Gulf of Finland. Elsewhere, North was an almost solitary voice in the western blogosphere as he reported on shipping trapped in the Sea of Okhotsk by a huge volume of thick sea ice and the subsequent challenging rescue effort.
And a bit more:
After increasingly bitter winters that have resulted in more iced over navigation passages, the Swedish government wrote to US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, to announce that the icebreaker Oden will be kept at home and not be made available to support the work of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) in Antarctica, for the first time since 2006.
But it seems the National Science Foundation only has itself to blame for the position it found itself in, for the NSF is responsible for managing the U.S. icebreaking fleet. Under NSF management the US icebreaking fleet has been 'emasculated'. The American fleet of icebreakers numbers three - for now. It boasted two of the most powerful non-nuclear icebreakers on the seas, Polar Sea and Polar Star, but that changed some years ago. Polar Sea is to be decommissioned next month and Polar Star has been undergoing a re-fit since 2006, but there is speculation it might never to return to service. The third, Healy is not designed for heavy icebreaking of the nature required in Antarctica.
This begs the question, why did the NSF not properly maintain the US icebreaking fleet? Could it be the faith in its own belief that global warming is reducing ice cover and therefore spending money on icebreakers would be a waste? No matter, the NSF was forced into an embarrassing and desperate search for a suitable icebreaking replacement.
Just shows the huge difference between climate modeling and temperature proxy studies and actual boots-on-the-ground measurement.
Cheney: 'Honored to be compared to Darth Vader'Heh -- the guy is smart and has a great sense of humor. Just picked up his autobiography and looking forward to reading it over the next few weeks.
Talk show radio host Laura Ingraham opened her show this morning with the Darth Vader theme song to introduce former Vice-President Dick Cheney recalling the nickname given to Cheney by the left.
"I always had a soft spot for Darth Vader," said Ingraham as she began her interview, "He was the most interesting person, other than Chewbacca in the Star Wars series. . . c'mon."
"I love the music and Star Wars reference," Cheney responded, "I was honored to be compared to Darth Vader."
Ingraham and Cheney then shared memories of Cheney dressing up as Darth Vader for Halloween one year at the Vice President's mansion.
The Gibson Raid: When You Lie Down with Dogs, You Get Up with FleasIt is not the environment, it is the ideology.
There�s an old saying that if you lie down with dogs be prepared to get up with fleas. Apparently if you lie down with environmentalists you should be prepared to get raided by the Feds.
That�s the lesson to be learned from the experience of Gibson Guitars, whose Tennessee-based operations were overrun by armed agents from the Fish and Wildlife Service this week. The agents were looking for wood used in the manufacturing of the company�s legendary six strings. They believe some of it comes from sources not considered environmentally correct.
Gibson�s CEO protested the raid loudly this week, and who can blame him? For years Gibson has worked hand in glove with far left environmental organizations in an effort to make sure their wood comes from �approved� sources. Gibson is a partner in Greenpeace�s �Music Wood� campaign. It was one of the first instrument makers to procure wood that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), another green group. Gibson�s president sat on the board of Rainforest Alliance.
What has all the consorting with environmentalists gotten Gibson? Government jackboots kicking down doors and bad-mouthing from environmentalists.
And is anyone surprised to find George Soros involved in this saga?
The Environmental Investigation Agency is a radical propaganda and agitation organization. It has pushed aggressively for the government to punish Gibson for not being green enough (despite Gibson�s long-standing history of yielding to green demands). EIA is supported by the anti-American billionaire Soros.
There is another wrinkle to the story here that�s worth highlighting. It has to do with a growing problem that my organization has been highlighting for months. An unsavory alliance of government policymakers, ideological activists, and corporate interests is colluding to block trade in goods from developing countries, in this case wood from Asia, India, and Africa.
Why would they do this, and why would they target a popular and innovative American company? Blocking trade benefits timber interests in Europe and the United States. It also helps domestic unions who don�t like competition. And it satisfies the demands of hard greens who want to control the market for forest products. The Obama administration goes along with all this to support its union and green political base.
The loser here is not just Gibson but consumers who must pay higher prices for finished goods like guitars and other products requiring wood.
Economy Gains No Jobs in August, Rate Holds at 9.1%The article also mentions that other number:
The US economy created no jobs and the unemployment rate held steadily higher at 9.1 percent in August, fueling concerns that the US is heading for another recession.
It was the first time since World War II that the economy had precisely net zero jobs created for a month.
Economists had been expecting the report to show a net of 75,000 jobs created, an unusually low number considering the US is technically more than two years removed from the end of the last recession.
Stocks sold off sharply following the report, while bond prices rose and the US dollar fell nearly 2 percent against the Swiss franc.
Markets had been closely watching the August report in hopes that the employment picture would begin to show signs of recovery.
Stocks have slumped more than 10 percent since the beginning of May as concerns grew that the debt and deficit problem was beginning to overwhelm hopes of a recovery following the depths of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.
Private payrolls actually rose 17,000, but that was offset by continued shrinkage in government. The number of people unemployed remained unchanged at 14 million.
It was a dismal way to kick off the Labor Day weekend when Americans are supposed to be celebrating work, not bemoaning the lack of it.
The unemployment rate that counts those not looking for work rose to 16.2 percent, tied for the highest in 2011.And of course, these numbers will impact the global economy and Nouriel Roubini weighs in today:
Roubini : risk of a double dip recession in most advanced economiesI love it, those nations that aren't trying to implement a workers paradise -- China, Asia, India, Brazil -- are going great guns while the cultural elite (Europe and the US under the Obama regime) are reaping the rewards of collectivized labor and central planning.
Nouriel Roubini : I do not see a global recession in the sense that the emerging markets that account for half of the economy are going still grow robustly , but I certainly see a situation where a risk of a recession or a double dip is significant not only in the US but also in the most advanced economies , if you look at the peripheral of the Eurozone they are already in a contraction Greece Ireland Italy Portugal and Spain the UK had no economic growth for three quarters....." Nouriel Roubini speaking to Bloomberg from Cernobbio in Italy - Sept 02 2011
Roubini : The Risk of recession is now at 60 percentThirteen minute interview with Bloomberg TV's Margaret Brennan:
Nouriel Roubini: first of all we have reached the stall speed in the economy not just the US but also in the Eurozone the UK the most advanced economies, so we see a probability of 60 percent recession next year, and unfortunately we are running out of policy tools, every country is doing fiscal austerity and there is going to be a fiscal drag the ability to back stop the bank is now impossible because of political constrains insolvency, cannot anymore bailout their own distressed banks because they are distressed themselves, everybody would like a weaker currency but in an equilibrium if a currency is weak the others has to be stronger and there going to be more monetary easing more quantitative easing by the FED and other central banks but the credit channel is broken.
National Hair ShirtWhere's my country indeed... We have a long hard haul ahead of us to set things right again. The Japanese woke the sleeping Dragon at Pearl Harbor. The Islamists covered this nation in a foetid cloud of malaise at the Towers.
I can hear The Today Show faintly in the other room. It seems we are well and truly reaching the climax of our national month-long banquet of sackcloth and ashes commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Saudi Arabian radical Islamic terrorist attacks on American soil which murdered thousands of American citizens.
Except people being interviewed are saying things like "...and then 9/11 happened...", like it was an earthquake or blizzard, and "...my husband died...", like he'd just had a little myocardial infarction at his desk one fine autumn day.
Ten years after Pearl Harbor, we had reduced Japan to a glowing pile of radioactive cinders and then rebuilt it and were buying cheap Japanese consumer goods by the shipload. Ten years after New York City was attacked by foreign enemies, all I see as evidence around Indy are a maudlin memorial being erected downtown, TSA probulators and porn-O-scans at the airport, and the occasional young man with an empty sleeve or trouser leg.
Dude, where's my country?
An example of what happens when a big government handles education. From the London Evening Standard:
Shopping mall bosses shocked at staff who cannot read or write
Hundreds of staff at the huge new Olympic shopping mall had to be taught to read and write after bosses found they could not even fill in basic forms.
Employees at Westfield Stratford City have been given remedial tuition after Australian director John Burton made the "incredible" discovery that they were illiterate.
The boss of the £1.45 billion mall said he was amazed that so many have left British schools without basic skills. He told the Evening Standard: "The most difficult thing was the number who simply do not meet the basic reading and writing criteria.
"They could not even fill out the forms without getting assistance. They just weren't ready to interview."
His discovery is the starkest example yet of the literacy crisis in the capital's deprived areas which inspired the Standard to launch its Get London Reading campaign aimed at training adults to provide literacy support to primary schools in poorer areas.
The remedial education blitz comes as Newham council said it is set to exceed its target of securing 2,000 jobs for local long-term unemployed at what will be Europe's largest urban shopping centre when it opens on September 13 next to Stratford's Olympic Park.
And the number of people applying:
Employers at the centre say they have been "overwhelmed" by the number and enthusiasm of applications. Marks & Spencer, which will have its third largest UK store at Stratford City, said more than 10,000 people applied for the 550 jobs created - meaning 20 are chasing each position.
So with a twenty to one ratio for openings, culling the other nineteen people you are still left with this high illiteracy rate. Take a good long look as this toxin is already in our large urban cores and is spreading through the US. When has the government ever operated efficiently?
James Carville: White House �Out of Bounds� Over Speech FlapHeh...
Democratic strategist James Carville told me that the White House was in the wrong when it requested that the President address Congress on the same night and time as a Republican presidential debate.
�I do think this is a really big debate and I think the White House was out of bounds�in trying to schedule a speech during a debate,� Carville said on �GMA.�
This will be Gov. Rick Perry�s first debate, and as Carville said this morning the stakes are high.
�Given a choice between watching a debate and the speech I would have watched the debate and I�m not even a Republican or even close to being a Republican,� he said, adding it will be a �barn burner.�
Town slams brakes on traffic ticketsThe article goes on to give the history of policing traffic and it has some interesting and old roots:
Speeders venturing off I-80 in Northern California shouldn't get the wrong idea. The little city of Roseville, north of Sacramento, hasn't nixed traffic tickets altogether.
But it has cut the number of moving citations issued by a striking 84%, and no one's complaining.
Drivers received 1,317 traffic tickets in the first six months of 2011, compared with 8,236 during the same time last year, after City Manager Ray Kerridge, a former engineer, said he wanted police to focus on long-term solutions and not feel pressured to write tickets. Nor did he want drivers to feel ambushed by speed traps.
Officers are now assigned dangerous areas and asked to be creative, consulting with community leaders and traffic engineers if need be.
"If collisions are high at one intersection, tell me how to solve that," Roseville Police Chief Daniel Hahn says. "It might be red lights or erecting a median," or simply beefing up presence at certain hours.
"Well, the whole time you're doing that -- that you're not writing tickets -- you're solving the problem. You're permanently solving the problem," Hahn says.
The results so far? The number of traffic accidents in Roseville, population 115,000, was down 7% in the first six months of this year.
Fewer tickets. Fewer accidents. Cheaper insurance.
In 1903, when New York City adopted William P. Eno's "Rules of the Road," the foundation of modern traffic protocol, the city immediately created a concurrent battalion of police to enforce those rules. This was decades before the states began issuing driver's licenses, in the 1930s.More at the site -- worth reading and adopting. The entrenched mentality of we have always done it this way is holding us back -- so pervasive that we are not aware of it until we start to peek behind the curtains...
Still, it was wise thinking. Modern academic research supports the notion that drivers are far more likely to obey traffic laws when they fear getting caught. (Knowing how much your car insurance rates could rise is also a deterrent.)
The question is whether traffic tickets are the only solution. Or, as the budding example of Roseville indicates, might issuing more tickets even be the poorer option?
Bones of Australian bush icon Ned Kelly identifiedAn interesting character -- idolized by some but at heart, he was a common criminal. Che down-under.
Australian authorities have identified the remains of bushranger Ned Kelly, 131 years after the iconic outcast was hanged for murder and his body buried in the yard of a Melbourne gaol.
But mystery remains over the location of Kelly's skull, which was last thought to have sat on the desk of a Victorian state police detective in 1929.
Scientists have used DNA from Kelly's great great nephew to identify the bushranger's bones from others in a mass prison grave.
"To think a group of scientists could identify the body of a man who was executed more than 130 years ago, moved and buried in a haphazard fashion among 33 other prisoners, most of whom are not identified, is amazing," Victoria's state Attorney-General Robert Clark said on Thursday.