March 2013 Archives

I posted about the local paper (The Bellingham Herald) publishing a nasty hit-piece on one of the clearest voices in the real climate world. At the time of posting, there were about 70 comments, now there are over 220.

The WWU Geology Department needs to get their crap in order. You do not do this kind of hit-piece unless you are unsure of your own Science -- this is a classic knee-jerk reaction -- revulsion from a personal phobia.

Sad because their Engineering Department is stellar, their Music and Drama department are really good. Whatcom and Island counties have some fascinating geology happening -- I would expect a higher caliber of Professors.

Hot topic and fun readling...

The plucky little server that could

I used to run Novell 3.12 and was licensed to sell and install it a long long time ago. A great operating system for a dedicated server! Here is one server status screen that shows the kind of uptime you can expect when you choose your hardware and software correctly:
Novell server uptime
That is 6030 days, 5 hours and 21 minutes, nineteen seconds! Sixteen years of continuous operation. More at Ars Technica here:
Epic uptime achievement unlocked. Can you beat 16 years?
It's September 23, 1996. It's a Monday. The Macarena is pumping out of the office radio, mid-way through its 14 week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, doing little to improve the usual Monday gloom.

Easing yourself into the week, you idly thumb through a magazine, and read about Windows NT 4.0, released just a couple of months previous. You wonder to yourself whether Microsoft's hot new operating system might finally be worth using.

Then it's down to work. Microsoft can keep its fancy GUIs and graphical server operating systems. NetWare 3.12 is where it's at: bulletproof file and print sharing. The server, named INTEL after its process, needs an update, so you install it and reboot. It comes up fine, so you get on with the rest of your day.
And also from Ars Technica -- the user forum:
So long to a valiant companion
Bringing her down tomorrow. This system went online before I graduated high school. I get to take her home.
And one more comment from the Admin:
It really sounds like a car dragging its muffler now, and I'm ready to go home.

Will document the machine tomorrow. There's so much dust in the case you can't see *any* single component. It's like a bird's nest.

I would have kept it running but I was getting complaints about the noise.

Love the retro messages -- Connection terminated.
Some fun user comments...

From FOX News:

Frost bites: Cold weather kills 300 acrobatic insects at German flea circus
An entire troupe of performing fleas has fallen victim to the freezing temperatures currently gripping Germany.

Flea circus director Robert Birk says he was shocked to find all of his 300 fleas dead inside their transport box Wednesday morning.

The circus immediately scrambled to find a new batch so it could fulfill its engagements at an open-air fair in the town of Mechernich-Kommern in western Germany.

And the fleas were housed in an unheated space why? Where's PETA? Where's Greenpeas?

Urrppp....

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Dinner was good. Did a salad, a baked ham with Orange Marmalade dressing, roasted asparagus and home-made pasta with a shallot, garlic, peas, and pine-nut dressing. I was not able to get any Durum flour in time so I went with AP flour and added some wheat gluten to the mix. Bad move -- the end result was tasty and a perfect al-dente but it was a bear processing the dough. Very very sticky and stretchy. I needed a hard flour, not a sticky one -- this made rolling out the noodles a bit of fun but everything tasted really good and we are both stuffed. Got one hoop-house up (12X25 foot) and planning four more -- picking up the last of the supplies for this in town tomorrow when I do the store shopping run. The garlic and the flower bulbs are peeking up through the ground and got a bunch of seed starts going in the garage. Fun time of year -- Easter really is a time of re-birth and renewal...

Happy Easter

Quiet day at the farm.

Got a ham ready to go into the oven.

Stopped down at the store for 30 minutes or so (have a circuit breaker that is tripping too often -- bringing some test equipment and a new breaker).

Lulu and I are spending this afternoon in the garden and then dinner. Salad, Ham and homemade fresh pasta.

Minimal posting until later tonight... And BTY -- do not be an April Fool -- today is World Backup Day

California coastline oil pollution

There is a lot of ongoing oil pollution on the coast of California. The problem is that it is all natural oil seeps -- these are underwater, bubble up and wash onshore as stinky tar balls that stick to everything. I have one around here somewhere that I picked off the beach near Monterrey. If one were somehow able to dig down, penetrate these pesky pockets of pollution and relieve the pressure, the oil would not seep. From Daily Tech:
How to Reduce Pollution by Drilling for Oil
In 1969, a Union Oil rig off the coast of Santa Barbara experienced a blowout. Pipes burst, and oil spilled into the sea -- as much as 100,000 barrels worth. The resultant oil slick so horrified local residents that Earth Day was born. Soon thereafter, the first of a series of laws banning offshore drilling was enacted.

The chance of another spill, locals reasoned, just wasn't worth drilling. And despite four decades of progress in eliminating such accidents, the ban has stood. Yet, local beaches still see oil slicks and its resultant damage. Where's the oil coming from?

Seeps.

A seep occurs when oil escapes naturally from the ground, due to pressure in the underground reservoir. Off the California coast, seeps release an incredibly large amount of oil. In fact, since the 1969 accident, the amount of such seepage in the Santa Barbara Channel alone has been over 30 times as large as the amount from the spill itself.

We can't stop such seeps, but we can reduce them. How? By drilling.

Earlier this year, University of California geophysics professor Bruce Luyendyk spoke to a citizens� town hall forum at Santa Barbara. He told citizens that the oil mucking up Santa Barbara beaches was due to seeps, not spills. According to Luyendyk, the amount of oil escaping naturally from just one set of seeps in the Santa Barbara channel is equal to about 42 thousand gallons a day -- equal to an Exxon Valdez-size oil spill every 5 or 6 years.

Oil isn't the only thing seeping either. About 3 million cubic feet of natural gas escape each day from the ocean floor off the California Coast. By comparison, your average home uses between 200 and 300 cubic feet per day.

This is oil and gas we could be capturing and using. Instead, it's going to waste and polluting beaches in the process.

The sheer size of the seepage has led to the formation of a new environmental group, called SOS California -- which stands for Stop Oil Seeps. The group wants to lift the offshore drilling ban not to generate oil, but to reduce oil pollution from seepage. They point to university studies which demonstrate that extracting oil through drilling reduces reservoir pressure. That, in turn, reduces seepage. SOS advocates lifting the drilling ban for just that reason -- to reduce oil pollution on local beaches.
Here is the website for SOS California Makes sense to me!

A fun bit of libel - Doctor Don Easterbrook

This has the potential to backfire wonderfully. Don Easterbrook is a widely published retired Professor of Geology at Western Washington University. He is a cherished resource in the fight against the politicized climate science and power grabbing known as Global Warming and has done wonderful things to spike the arguments of its proponents. He recently gave testimony to one of our Senators and because of that, some of his colleagues at Western wrote this little hit-piece that was published in the Opinion column at our local Bellingham Herald:
WWU faculty find overwhelming scientific evidence to support global warming
On March 26, 2013, a long-retired faculty member of our department, Don Easterbrook, presented his opinions on human-caused global climate change to the Washington State Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee at the invitation of the committee chair Sen. Doug Ericksen, R.-Ferndale. We, the active faculty of the Geology Department at Western Washington University, express our unanimous and significant concerns regarding the views espoused by Easterbrook, who holds a doctorate in geology; they are neither scientifically valid nor supported by the overwhelming preponderance of evidence on the topic. We also decry the injection of such poor quality science into the public discourse regarding important policy decisions for our state's future; the chair of the committee was presented with numerous options and opportunities to invite current experts to present the best-available science on this subject, and chose instead to, apparently, appeal to a narrow partisan element with his choice of speaker.
Ooooo -- Doctor Easterbrook is "a long-retired faculty member of our department" Now that is going to leave a mark! Talk about a classic case of argumentum ad hominem (more here). "We, the active faculty" -- see above "express our unanimous and significant concerns regarding the views espoused by Easterbrook, who holds a doctorate in geology" -- of the twelve people signing this vituperative little missive, ten are Doctorate in Geology, Two are in Geophysics and one has a second Doctorate in Engineering. So, Easterbrook's holding a Doctorate in Geology renders him unable to make a statement while the twelve people who seek to discredit him are all geologists or geophysicists. What are they afraid of -- losing their grant money? Their Tenure? These are scientists -- there is never 'consensus' in science. There is a lot more at the site and the comments are a great mix of echo-chamber and skeptic. If the Herald's stupid paywall gets in the way, they administrate this through cookies on your system. Piriform's wonderful and free CCleaner will bust those out with no muss, no fuss...

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Legendary Music Producer Phil Ramone Dies at 79
Phil Ramone, the instinctive music producer whose mixing mastery for Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Paul Simon and Billy Joel helped fashion some of the most sumptuous and top-selling albums of his era, has died. He was 79.

The 14-time Grammy winner and 33-time nominee once dubbed "The Pope of Pop" was hospitalized in late February with an aortic aneurysm in New York and died Saturday morning at New York Presbyterian Hospital, according to Ramone's son Matt.

A native of South Africa who at age 10 performed as a violinist for Queen Elizabeth II, Ramone spent years working as a songwriter, engineer and acoustics expert in New York before charting a path that would make him a trusted studio partner in the eyes (and ears) of the industry's biggest stars.

The Heavenly Choir just got a lot sweeter...

Someone did not do their homework

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From Yahoo News/Associated Press:
Kansas couple: Indoor gardening prompted pot raid
Two former CIA employees whose Kansas home was fruitlessly searched for marijuana during a two-state drug sweep claim they were illegally targeted, possibly because they had bought indoor growing supplies to raise vegetables.

Adlynn and Robert Harte sued this week to get more information about why sheriff's deputies searched their home in the upscale Kansas City suburb of Leawood last April 20 as part of Operation Constant Gardener � a sweep conducted by agencies in Kansas and Missouri that netted marijuana plants, processed marijuana, guns, growing paraphernalia and cash from several other locations.
A bit more:
"With little or no other evidence of any illegal activity, law enforcement officers make the assumption that shoppers at the store are potential marijuana growers, even though the stores are most commonly frequented by backyard gardeners who grow organically or start seedlings indoors," the couple's lawsuit says.

The couple filed the suit this week under the Kansas Open Records Act after Johnson County and Leawood denied their initial records requests, with Leawood saying it had no relevant records. The Hartes say the public has an interest in knowing whether the sheriff's department's participation in the raids was "based on a well-founded belief of marijuana use and cultivation at the targeted addresses, or whether the raids primarily served a publicity purpose."
Hell -- I have trays under lights in the garage right now. It's called growing your own food. Some more:
The suit filed in Johnson County District Court said the couple and their two children � a 7-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son � were "shocked and frightened" when deputies armed with assault rifles and wearing bulletproof vests pounded on the door of their home around 7:30 a.m. last April 20.
More:
During the sweep, the court filing said, the Hartes were told they had been under surveillance for months, but the couple "know of no basis for conducting such surveillance nor do they believe such surveillance would have produced any facts supporting the issuance of a search warrant."

Harte said he built the hydroponic garden with his son a couple of years ago. He said they didn't use the powerful light bulbs that are sometimes used to grow marijuana and that the family's electricity usage didn't change dramatically. Changes in utility usage can sometimes lead authorities to such operations.

When law enforcement arrived, the family had just six plants � three tomato plants, one melon plant and two butternut squash plants � growing in the basement, Harte said.

The suit also said deputies "made rude comments" and implied their son was using marijuana. A drug-sniffing dog was brought in to help, but deputies ultimately left after providing a receipt stating, "No items taken."
Accidents regarding addresses happen but these popo were at the right house, they just arrived with absolutely wrong information. The Husband and Wife were ex-CIA -- the locals should have known this before going in...

It's not just Barry

From White House Dossier:
Biden to Take Third Vacation of the Year
Vice President Biden today is enjoying his third vacation of the year, a five day sojourn on South Carolina�s luxurious Kiawah Island, where he will no doubt partake of his favorite pastime, golf.

Biden and his wife Jill arrived on the island � known as a golf mecca � Thursday night and are not scheduled to depart before Monday.

Biden�s trip is the latest episode in a bout of rampant vacationing by the First and Second Families, who have been roaring out of Washington this year on taxpayer-funded excursions even as the deficit mounts and the sequester axes jobs and critical spending on other priorities.
Joey Ashtray is learning well from his masters...
From The Weekly Standard:
Claim: Germany Spends $110 Billion to Delay Global Warming by 37 Hours
Bjorn Lomborg claimed on John Stossel's television show last night that money isn't being spent well to combat "global warming".

"The Germans are spending about $110 billion on subsidies for these solar panels," said Lomborg. "The net effect of all those investments will be to postpone global warming by 37 hours by the end of the century."

"All those billions, for 37 hours delay?," asked Stossel.

"Yeah," said Lomborg, "so remember them in [the year] 2100 and say, 'Wow.'"

Stossel clarified, "You believe in global warming and man-made--"

"Global warming is real," said Lomborg, "and it is we need to fix. But we should fix it smartly, and not in a very, very costly way as we're doing it now. Germany is probably spending $660 for every ton of CO2 they're cutting."
The $110 billion was not wasted -- a couple crony capitalists became very rich. They invested a couple hundred million into campaign contributions and were fast-tracked for cheap government loans and subsidies for the $110 billion. This ripoff was sugar-coated by saying it was for Global Warming and the Environment.

The Washington Post -- then and now

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Then - a three-fer from Newsbusters:
WashPost Promotes Photo Exhibit Glorifying Occupy Wall Street 'Emotional Impact'

Post/NYT: 182,000 Words on Occupy Wall Street and Counting

Occupy 15th Street: The Washington Post Anti-Business Section
And today, from Breitbart:
WaPo Executives Make Millions While Paper Cuts Staff, Benefits
The publisher of the struggling Washington Post made over $2.4 million last year, and at least three other executives made over $3 million while the left-leaning newspaper slashed benefits for its employees and laid off others.

According to Securities and Exchange filings reviewed by the Washington City Paper, publisher Katharine Weymouth earned $2,436,413 in salary and bonuses last year. Her "haul came from her $625,000 salary, a bonus of $611,413, and a $1,200,000 payment for a 2009-2012 incentive plan." She also "received a 3.5 percent raise this year, with her new salary set at $646,875." She received her raise even though The Post Co.'s share price fell three percent in 2012.

The Post has reduced benefits for its employees while dumping its Ombudsman and slashing jobs after Valentine's Day, while advancing the narrative that CEOs who do the same are villains. The paper has lost subscribers, advertisers, and its stock has gone down by three percent.
Must be nice to be a child of privilege and not have to really work. If things get sticky, you can always let people go -- there are so many lined up for work...

Free Energy for All!!!!!!!!!

First, an interesting article about some research -- from CBC Technology:
Cheaper green energy storage solution invented by Calgary profs
A new discovery by a pair of University of Calgary chemists could make the large-scale use of wind and solar energy more feasible.

Curtis Berlinguette and Simon Trudel have invented an environmentally friendly, highly customizable way to make a key component in a process that stores electricity by turning water into hydrogen fuel � at a price they say is roughly 1,000 times cheaper than current methods for making that component.

They published their method this week online in the journal Science Express and are currently trying to commercialize it through a new spinoff company called Firewater Fuel Corp.

Wind and solar energy are considered clean, renewable sources of electricity, but they have a major drawback � the amount of power they generate at a given time depends on the amount of wind and sun at that moment. That doesn't necessarily correlate with the demand for electricity at a given time, so in order to use wind and solar power efficiently on a large scale, there needs to be a way to store it for later use.

Technically, electricity can already be stored cleanly by converting water into hydrogen and oxygen through a process called electrolysis, using a device called an electrolyzer. The stored chemical energy can be reconverted to electricity by recombining the hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell. It's a process similar to what happens in a battery and can be used in similar applications, including electric vehicles. However, hydrogen and water are cleaner storage materials than those used in batteries and fuel cells tend to be more efficient than batteries in a number of different ways.
Not even wrong. Visiting the Firewater Fuel Corp, you see a website full of hope and promise but absolutely no meat. Nothing substantial. Granted, they are not wanting to give away the farm but at least some published test results and an overall photograph of your lab setup. This reminds me oh-so-much of the Irish company Steorn. (more here and here) In 2004, they were all a-twitter about an over-unity electrical motor they developed. They had a public demonstration but it didn't work. The two websites looked a bit similar with the swooshy logos.

Firewater_Fuel
Firewater Fuel Corp

Steorn_Orbo
Steorn Orbo

I would love for this to be true but for now, I am not holding my breath (or investing in their company).

Fear the coming Ice Age

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And no, this is not some re-tread from the 1970's From Glasgow, Scotland's The Daily Express:
Scientist predicts earth is heading for another Ice Age
Incredibly, British Summer Time officially starts tomorrow but millions of brassed off Brits pining for warmth will have to endure freezing temperatures and biting winds until May.

The misery will continue with daytime temperatures struggling to reach a bracing 5C (41F). The only ray of sunshine, forecasters said, is that it will stay dry.

As if the outlook wasn�t bleak enough already, meteorologists believe the shivering start to 2013 has been the coldest in more than 200 years.

More worryingly, the combination of sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow experienced across much of the country recently could be the prelude to a new Ice Age that will begin next year and last for 200 years.

Russian scientist Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov, of the St Petersburg Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, painted the Doomsday scenario saying the recent inclement weather simply proved we were heading towards a frozen planet.

Dr Abdussamatov believes Earth was on an �unavoidable advance towards a deep temperature drop�. The last big freeze, known as the Little Ice Age, was between 1650 and 1850.

Today he said: �The last global decrease of temperature (the most cold phase of the Little Ice Age) was observed in Europe, North America and Greenland.

�All channels in the Netherlands were frozen, glaciers were on the advance in Greenland and people were forced to leave their settlements, inhabited for several centuries.

�The Thames river in London and Seine in Paris were frozen over every year. Humanity has always been prospering during the warm periods and suffering during the cold ones. The climate has never been and will never be stable.�
And still, people are advocating 'carbon neutrality' when CO2 is in fact, the Gas of Life. Without it, there would be no plants or algae and no other substantial forms of life as we know it. And how many people in England died because they could not afford to heat their home? All this from a failed scientific theory that was hijacked to implement a political power-grab and a crony tax and spend. The stupid, it burns...

The Crony Chronicles

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A wonderful website -- check out Crony Chronicles From their What Is page:
What is Cronyism?
In an economically free society, the role of business is to create value for society by producing products and services that their customers consider beneficial. If they do this while using resources wisely, they make a profit, and societal wellbeing is enhanced.

Cronyism diverts resources away from the wants and needs of consumers and toward political purposes. Cronyism occurs when an individual or organization colludes with government officials to create unfair legislation and/or regulations which give them forced benefits they could not have otherwise obtained voluntarily. Those benefits come at the expense of consumers, taxpayers, and everyone working hard to compete in the marketplace.

Cronyism harms society and threatens economic freedom, which is the key to greater opportunity and an improved quality of life. To learn more about economic freedom, visit this site.

To understand why cronyism is such a threat, read this article.
There is a very important distinction between the average small business you deal with every day and the multi-national crony capitalists like General Electric. A tip of the hat to Master Resource blog for the link.

Radi-Aid

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What a wonderful idea -- after decades of raising money and shipping it over to the kleptocrats in Africa, they are now giving back. From Norway comes Radi-Aid:
Donate Your Radiator!
Africans unite to save Norwegians from dying of frostbite. You too can donate your radiator and spread some warmth!
Although the lede is pure parody, their actual effort is a good one...

Oh Hell No - this is just too much

From The Daily Caller:

Obama creates panel to recommend state election law changes
The White House announced Thursday the formation of a nine-seat Presidential Commission on Election Administration tasked with recommending changes to states' election laws by the end of September.

"The Commission shall identify best practices and otherwise make recommendations to promote the efficient administration of elections in order to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots without undue delay, and to improve the experience of voters facing other obstacles," said Obama's executive order, issued March 28.

This is one of the more Orwellian things I have heard in a long time. This needs to be fought and stopped in its tracks. Just when you think that this regime cannot get any more Machiavellian or duplicitous.

From CafeMom:
Michelle Obama Turns White House Easter Egg Roll Into 'Fat Camp'
The White House will host its annual Easter Egg Roll on Monday April 1 this year. More than 35,000 people will join the First Family on the South Lawn for �games, stories, and, of course, the traditional egg roll.�

Also, because we apparently can�t just let kids have fun anymore, the day�s activities will include sports courts and cooking demonstrations in accordance with Michelle Obama�s Let�s Move! campaign. Nothing says �Happy Easter� like educating families on �smart ways to incorporate healthy eating and exercise choices into their daily routines.�

I can just imagine the disappointment on some kid�s face when the Easter Bunny hands him a carrot instead of chocolate. Not everything has to be turned into an educational seminar. You know how to get kids not to care about healthy eating habits and exercising regularly? Jam it down their throats on a candy-holiday.
And from Breitbart:
White House Scrubs First Daughters Ski Trip Report
A local news affiliate in Idaho reported that the First Daughters, Sasha and Malia Obama, are on a Spring Break ski trip in Sun Valley, Idaho. The story quickly spread across the Internet when picked up by the highly trafficked Drudge Report website.

But hours later, the story disappeared from the KMVT website without an update or correction. Breitbart News confirmed that the White House requested that the post be removed.

In March of last year, the White House requested media outlets remove accurate reports that Malia Obama was on a trip in Mexico with over two dozen Secret Service agents.

The First Family has been criticized in recent days for taking frequent vacations. Earlier this week, Breitbart News broke the story that the Obama daughters spent part of Spring Break at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Michelle Obama and the First Daughters took a separate ski trip last month to Aspen, Colorado.

While each of these trips require a significant Secret Service presence, the White House canceled public tours this month citing Secret Service staffing costs.
Sure, the media should keep their hands off the relatives and children but their lifestyle is so regal, they are living life so large that they are almost King George and Queen Charlotte and we all know what happened back then. Obama is our employee -- he needs to start acting like it...
A strongly worded memo -- from the National Post:
UN calls Harper government�s decision to pull out of anti-drought treaty �regrettable�
The United Nations said Friday that it is �regrettable� Canada will withdraw from a UN convention that fights the spread of droughts.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said Canada was withdrawing from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification because the program has proven too bureaucratic, and not worth the $350,000 contributed each year.

The decision would make Canada the only country in the world not part of the convention.

�The Convention is stronger than ever before, which makes Canada�s decision to withdraw from the Convention all the more regrettable,� the Bonn-based secretariat for the convention said in a statement Friday.
Awwww -- some poor widdle bureaucrat in Bonn will not be able to make the payments on his 2013 Mercedes Limousine. Some more:
�Canada, a country that is frequently subjected to drought and where 60 per cent of the cropland is in dry areas, is also a major actor in global efforts to address food security in developing countries,� the UNCCD said.

The UN body said Canada�s annual contribution of $291,000 � less than the $350,000 the government says it was paying � accounted for 3.1 per cent of its budget.

It said the Canadian government and �Canadian civil society have played significant roles in moving the Convention to where it is today.�
And obviously, it is not the loss of 3.1% of their revenue, it is the fact that a Sovereign Nation is calling bullshit and dropping out of the program. The first drop of the coming flood. Their only power is in conformity and the mastermind's theory that they know better than us lessers. Some more:
In 2007, Canada along with the other 194 countries that are party to the convention agreed to a 10-year strategy to �enhance the implementation of the Convention as a blue print for a more effective and efficient process grounded on a strong and cutting-edge science,� Friday�s statement said.
So they bought into the Kool-Aid for six years out of ten. They saw it was only a bureaucratic fustercluck and decided to cut their losses. The United Nations needs to be defunded by 80%. There are a few programs that do good work but they could be spun off to stand-alone organizations and see a marked improvement in their operating efficiency.

Jim Carrey

I liked him in The Mask but he really hasn't done anything special since then. He has come out against guns and is also a rabid anti-vaccine proponent (and by default, a child murderer). Law Dog sums it up wonderfully at The Law Dog Files:
Dancing monkey dances.
In 1998 the British medical journal The Lancet printed an article by Andrew Wakefield in which he claimed that Autism Spectrum Disorders could be caused by the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella -- referred to as the MMR Vaccine.

Ben Goldacre later named this article one of the "Three all-time classic bogus science stories" in his book Bad Science.

Andrew Wakefield ignored data, manipulated evidence, presented fraudulent results, and basically lied his arse off for this article -- and apparently all for the sake of a paycheck of less than 500,000 pounds by lawyers looking for evidence to use against vaccine manufacturers in civil litigation.

Wakefield's fraud was discovered -- unfortunately not before a drastic drop in childhood immunisations resulted in severe, permanent injuries and death in children throughout the UK from easily-preventable measles and mumps -- and Wakefield was pilloried, stripped of his medical licence and had to pay a goodly amount of legal costs for other people.

Not nearly enough in my opinion, but there you go.

Any-the-hoo. Researcher lied, kids died, researcher exposed: Truth and Justice win out in the end ...

... except for one dancing monkey on this side of the pond named Jim Carrey -- apparently famous for making his butt talk (how apropos), genitalia jokes, and a rubber face.

Mr Carrey seems to have decided that the medical expertise gained by making ones' butt talk (and medical fraud such as that perpetrated by Andrew Wakefield) should be tied to any fame that he does have for the purpose of scaring parents into not vaccinating their children against easily-preventable, life-altering childhood diseases.

Wrap your mind around that, Gentle Reader.

So, the news that this particular butt-talking dancing monkey has decided to apply the same level and variety of cogitation and rational thought to the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States as he has to childhood immunisations means ...

... not a whole hell of a lot to me.

If anything the pure chutzpah of a man who is perfectly okay with children getting -- or dying from -- measles (one of the leading causes of death amongst children globally), but is having a conniption fit over me owning an AR-15 is mildly amusing.

I'll wager that the sum total of people killed by privately-held AR15s last year is a fraction of the number of children who died from complications of measles in the same time frame. Yet Jim Carrey wants parents to stop immunising -- saving -- children from this disease.

Yet at the same time he thinks me owning an AR15 is morally repugnant?!

Pfagh.

Shut your piehole and dance, monkey.

LawDog
Impossible to excerpt so I swiped it in full. Carrey jumped the shark about fifteen years ago.

It is amazing the quality of people who enter politics -- and get elected. From Alabama.com:

Alabama lawmaker's email: 'Slave-holding, murdering, adulterous, baby-raping, snaggle-toothed kin folk'
State Rep. Joe Mitchell, D-Mobile, had an outlandish exchange via email with a Jefferson County man who asked him and other lawmakers not to pass any laws that would restrict gun ownership.

Eddie Maxwell sent a mass email to state legislators at 10:54 p.m. on Jan. 27, warning them that even attempting to introduce a gun control bill was, in his opinion, a violation of state law.

Mitchell responded from his public, ALHouse.gov email account at 11:59 p.m., telling Maxwell: "Your folk never used all this sheit (sic) to protect my folk from your slave-holding, murdering, adulterous, baby-raping, incestuous, snaggle-toothed, backward-a**ed, inbreed (sic), imported criminal-minded kin folk."

"That's not the type of reply I expect to receive from a state legislator," Maxwell replied on Feb. 11. "I'm not a racist and I find your reply to be especially offensive considering the position you hold."

Copies of the email exchange were provided to AL.com by state lawmakers who were included in the correspondence. The emails are printed below, edited only to remove the specific addresses.

So not only did Mitchell reply in that tone, he CC'd ALL when replying. DERP!

The full email tread is at the website -- needless to say, there are over 1,600 comments. Here are a couple:

If a white representative had said with they would have Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the NAACP down here SO fast it would make your head spin!!

This is a political arena and this behavior should NOT be tolerated. Signed lock and load on the last line and "Let the next generations resolve this continuing story." Get out of here, NOW! Government is to protect the future of our children and grandchildren, not to burden them more. Shame on you for holding us in the past Rep. Mitchell. If you have no apology, than you do not belong in the state house, period. GET OUT! Were you never taught to not dwell over things from the past. You can at least refer to light skinned people as people and your folk. I hope you never are allowed to propose a law for the entirety of your poor, closed life.

And the wheels on Rep. Mitchell's political career may be falling off:

One other comment about Joe Mitchell...look at his emails and bio...this guy has fabricated his life story, he was a jumpmaster and USMC DI, graduated from Morehouse in 69, but was involved in the Albany movement in 61...which I guess could have happened, but he would have been 12 or 13 but he says he graduated high school from Central High School in Mobile and was born in Mobile but was a 12 yr old activist in Albany, Ga...then, according to his official bio spent 69-83 attaining two masters and a phd...so when exactly was this guy in the military, much less long enough to be a DI? Look at his official bio and the one on ballotpedia, there is no way he is serving as an "engineering consultant"in Africa and Europe (which he has no educational or vocational background in), sitting on hospital and community boards in Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama, running some organization called Alabama American Research and Education Associates (of which I could not find any entries on Google) and publishing psychology papers....are you kidding me? This guy is a fraud, he has a degree in education and music, has lived his whole life in Mobile and the only thing he has ever been good at is playing his flute and being an arrogant, ignorant politician.

Cimategate 3 -- the CAGWers fight back.

From The Pointman:

Climategate 3, the goon squad and going nuclear
One of the climate establishment's new coping mechanisms in handling what is effectively the third release of the climategate emails, is to put pressure on the people who were sent the decryption key, rather than looking for the identity of the leaker. The leaker goes by the name FOIA and the establishment in this case are the University of East Anglia, usually abbreviated to UEA, which is also rather tellingly interpreted by its own notably laid-back students as the University of Easy Access.

Incidentally, in the aftermath of the long drawn out and seemingly unquenchable PR disaster that climategate keeps turning out to be for UEA, there are rumours of them working hard on repairing their academic credibility. Given the alarums and excursions of the last few years, big donors have been noticeably gun-shy of the place. They're sprucing up their academic credentials by trying to recruit some scholastic heavy hitters like Gergis, Marcott, Shakun and Lewandowsky. Apparently the University of Western Australia are actually very keen to let UEA have the advantage of the latter's full-time services, and as quickly as humanly possible. It's all going extremely well, but I do think them having to break the fait accompli to Lew will be the tricky bit.

In case you don't know, the previous or second release contained another batch of emails in plaintext as well as all of the remainder, but in an encrypted archive. The third release is FOIA supplying the decrypt key for the archive to certain bloggers.

Why concentrate on the key's recipients? There appear to be a number of reasons. The first would be that looking for FOIA would seem to be a fruitless exercise. The official police search for FOIA has been closed down and the statute of limitations applicable to any supposed criminal act in connection with the leak has run out. In the light of even what little whistleblower legislation exists in the UK, it's actually highly debatable whether there's a basis in law to proceed with a criminal charge in any case. At the end of the day, FOIA on trial would have been a disaster for the 'cause' and still would be.

Having not been able to stop the release of the key, the point solution appears to be simply bringing in a legal goon squad to try to intimidate people who were sent the decryption key by FOIA. I've seen one of the goon squad's communications with a blogger and I'd have to say, it's marvelously vague, in the matter of all empty threats. The blogger is ominously warned against doing something which is never quite spelt out. The dire consequences of doing so, also not spelt out, appear somehow, well, mysteriously dire without actually being specific in any way. It's all truly terrifying stuff, yawn.

Much more at the site. This "Goon Squad" has hit a couple other blogs with cease and desist orders -- the next couple months will be really interesting. Time to invest in some popcorn futures...

Not really -- from US News and World Report:
Chicago, Los Angeles, New York Prosecuted Fewest Federal Gun Crimes
The districts that contain Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City ranked last in terms of federal gun law enforcement in 2012, according to a new report from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which tracks federal data.
Chicago has the highest gun violence per capita of any US city. They also have the most draconian gun laws for private citizen ownership. A connection???

More sequester spending

The government is cutting back on border patrols, it has closed the White House, it spent $880,000 on snail sex. From CNS News:
Feds Spending $880,000 to Study Benefits of Snail Sex
The National Science Foundation awarded a grant for $876,752 to the University of Iowa to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails and whether that explains why any organism has sex.

The study, first funded in 2011 and continuing until 2015, will study the New Zealand snails to see if it is better that they reproduce sexually or asexually � the snail can do both � hoping to gain insight on why so many organisms practice sexual reproduction.
I am all for the advancement of science but things like this need to be put away until there is more available funding. Our priority should be the economy, nothing else -- take care of that and jobs and research will follow.

Our puppet government - no, really.

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From Breitbart:
U.S. Spends $1.18 Million on Puppets Amid Sequester
The recent canceling of White House tours in the name of sequester-related cuts understandably has disappointed children and families grousing.

Canceling tours of �the people�s house� saves taxpayers an estimated $18,000 a week, or $936,000 a year.

Putting that figure in perspective, the U.S. federal government has spent more on puppets and puppetry-related expenses than it would cost to fund an entire year�s worth of White House tours.

Yes, puppets.

From 2009 to 2013, the U.S. government has spent $1,188,382 on puppetry-related expenses. Some of the expenses include puppet shows for kids on educational topics. Others include puppet-based research. In 2010, the taxpayer-funded National Science Foundation awarded the University of Central Florida a $199,754 research grant for �Efficient Control and Transmission of Digital Puppetry.�
Unreal...

Joe 'ashtray' Biden on gun control

From Associated Press:

Biden says gun control votes 'only the beginning'
Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday the expected upcoming Senate votes on gun control are only the beginning of the White House's fight.

The fate of gun control legislation is unclear. A vote on a Senate bill, including expanded background checks and harsher penalties for gun trafficking, is expected next month.

The White House also has been pushing for limits on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but those provisions won't be part of the Senate bill. Instead they are to be offered as amendments, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says they don't have enough support to pass.

"That doesn't mean this is the end of the process. This is the beginning of the process," Biden said during a conference call organized by Mayors Against Illegal Guns pushing for the gun control measures.

"The American people are way ahead of their political leaders," Biden argued. "And we, the president and I and the mayors, intend to stay current with the American people."

And there is nothing in the article calling out Mayor Bloomberg's organization "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" for being corrupt as hell with many of the 'mayors' having criminal records.

Don't believe me? Check this out:

Shiela Dixon, Baltimore, Maryland
Charges: Fraud, perjury, embezzling gift cards meant for the poor; investigated for receiving thousands of dollars in illicit gifts.
Outcome: Awaiting sentencing after being convicted of embezzlement and pleading guilty to perjury.

Eddie Perez, Hartford, CT.
Charges: bribery, fabricating evidence, conspiracy. Arrested a second time, on extortion charges.
Resolution: Awaiting trial.

Gary Becker, Racine, Wisconsin
Charges: Possession of child pornography, showing pornography to a child, sexual assault on a child, enticing children, and lesser felonies
Resolution: Plea of guilty to sexual assault on a child and child enticement. Awaiting sentencing.

Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit, Michigan
Charges: Perjury, obstruction of justice, and misconduct in office. Later, re-arrested on two counts of felonious assault on officers. Jailed for violating conditions of bond.
Outcome: Guilty plea to two counts of perjury and one of assault on an officer. Sentenced to four months in jail and five years of probation.
Update: on February 3, his former assistant took a plea and offered to cooperate in proving that Kilpatrick was hiding assets to avoid paying restitution.

That is just four of them. There are seven more at the site. All mayors of large cities. All corrupt. These are the people who want to limit our access to guns in violation of the Second Amendment.

The Joe 'ashtray' Comment comes from this new book. From Newsmax:

Roger Ailes: Obama Is 'Lazy,' Biden 'Dumb As an Ashtray'
Fox News chief Roger Ailes says President Barack Obama is "lazy" and claims the commander-in-chief "never worked a day in his life," a controversial new book claims.

Ailes also takes shots at Vice President Joe Biden, saying, "he's as dumb as an ashtray," and at Newt Gingrich, who he says is a "sore loser."

In his upcoming biography, "Roger Ailes: Off Camera," author Zev Chafets writes that Ailes reacted to a crack by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney, wife of last year's Republican presidential candidate, "never worked a day in her life," with his own blunt opinion of the president.

A bit more:

Ailes, who granted Chafets one-on-one interviews for the biography, also takes the gloves off on Vice President Joe Biden.

"I have a soft spot for Joe Biden. I like him. But he's dumb as an ashtray,"  Ailes says.

30,000 gallons of oil spill in Minnesota

From Reuters:
Train hauling Canadian oil derails in Minnesota
A mile-long train hauling oil from Canada derailed and leaked 30,000 gallons of crude in western Minnesota on Wednesday, as debate rages over the environmental risks of transporting tar sands across the border.

The leak - the first major spill of the modern North American crude-by-rail transit boom - came when 14 cars on a 94-car Canadian Pacific train left the tracks about 150 miles north west of Minneapolis near the town of Parkers Prairie, the Otter Tail Sheriff's Department said.
Gee -- if we only had some kind of... pipeline??? to transport this oil in a safe manner.

Texas gold - they want it back

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A fun story -- from The Texas Tribune:
Perry, Some Lawmakers Want State's Gold Back in Texas
Call it the Rick Perry gold rush: The governor wants to bring the state�s gold reserves back from a New York vault to Texas.

And he may have legislative support to do it. Freshman Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, is carrying a bill that would establish the Texas Bullion Depository, a secure state-based bank to house $1 billion worth of gold bars owned by the University of Texas Investment Management Company, or UTIMCO, and currently stored by the Federal Reserve.

The idea isn�t entirely new. Some Republican members worked on a gold bill last session that was never filed. And gold-standard-backing Ron Paul, the former Texas congressman, has raised repeated concerns about the safety of states' gold supplies.

"If you think gold is a hedge, or a protection, you always want it as close to the individual and the entity as possible," Paul told the Tribune on Thursday. "Texas is better served if it knows exactly where the gold is rather than depending on the security of the Federal Reserve."
We are talking about 6,643 bars - not exactly chump change. It will be interesting if this starts a run from other states. The Fed refuses to account for the physical gold in its vaults.
From the Vancouver Observer:
We just experienced 4,000 years of global warming in two decades
A new study published in the journal Science shows how freakishly extreme global warming has become in the last few decades.

The scientists from Oregon State University and Harvard University used dozens of sources of ice cores and sediment cores from around the world to reconstruct the Earth�s temperature record for the last 1,100 decades. This detailed record stretches back much farther than previous studies.

Global temperatures rose slowly for thousands of years after the end of the last ice age. Temperatures peaked around 5,000 BC, at a level close to where we are today. Then temperatures declined slowly for thousands of more years.

Now, suddenly, the global temperature has started rocketing upwards. Far more troubling than the actual temperature is the fact that the changes are accelerating dramatically.

The century from 1860 to 1960 saw rapid warming. The next two decades more than doubled that warming. And then the next two decades � 1980 to 2000 � went ballistic, piling on thousands of years of warming.
The paper: "A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years" authored by Shaun A. Marcott et. al. was completely debunked -- by their own published data -- in the first two weeks after publication. From John Kehr writing at Watts Up With That:
Where�s the hockey stick? The �Marcott 9′ show no warming past 1950
While it took me a while to get the time together to write an article about the Marcott paper, that does not mean I have not been looking at it and discussing it from nearly the day it was released. There has been volumes of discussion within The Right Climate Stuff group that I have been involved with. The ones that lean towards CO2 as something to be concerned about were initially rather excited about this paper, but that has taken a course correction as it has become clear how poor the science is in the Marcott paper.
What follows is a detailed smack-down of the shoddy science used in the Science paper. I can now consider Science to be a Political journal and no longer a Scientific one. It is a shame that publications like the Vancouver Observer fail to check their facts especially when the data is out there ready for them to look at. But it sounded right -- it fit our agenda and we wanted to believe. The author maintains this website: Visual Carbon -- no bias there. Children...
Nobody wanted to touch the story during the spin-up to the November election. Now, stuff is starting to leak out. From Investors Business Daily:
Benghazi's Silenced Witnesses Hidden In Plain Sight?
A Virginia congressman says the witnesses to an act of war on sovereign U.S. territory are being held incommunicado in a Washington, D.C., hospital by their own government. Free the American 30.

When 52 Americans were seized and held hostage by the foreign government of Iran and held for 444 days, it was a national embarrassment that helped bring down a presidency and spawned a late-night news program, "America Held Hostage," which would become ABC's Nightline.

The Sept. 11, 2012, organized and planned terrorist attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, is a similar national embarrassment, an event prompted by what in a court would be deemed criminal negligence as U.S. diplomats were denied the security they needed and requested as a callous administration, through its Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, would later say, "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

It makes a difference how and why it happened, and that the survivors of that terrorist attack could tell us the how and why if they weren't being held hostage by their own government under the cover of an "ongoing" investigation that is seemingly going nowhere.

Worse yet, they may be held in plain sight, right under the eyes of a sleeping Washington press corps.
A bit more:
According to Rep. Wolf, citing two confidential sources, "as many as seven Americans have been or are currently being treated," at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., less than 11 miles from the U.S. Capitol.

As we've noted, in a March 1 letter to Kerry, the two Republicans said they'd been informed that "as many as 30" Americans � including State Department and CIA officers and government contractors � were injured in the attack, including seven reportedly treated at Walter Reed Hospital.
And some more:
"Six months later not a single American official has been held accountable or lost their job over the inadequate consulate security, intelligence failures, or the administration's abysmal response during the terrorist attack," Rep. Wolf says.

"Why have we not heard from any of the Benghazi survivors? I can't tell you the answer to that," Kerry told Fox News last week. "I can tell you that I have visited with one of the survivors ... who is a remarkably courageous person, who is doing very, very well."

We need to know their names, starting with the individual Kerry talked with.
The truth will get out -- this is a scandal of epic proportions and the people in charge need to be fired -- this goes all the way to the top...

Unintended consequences - Colorado gun ban

From Bob Owens:
What Bloomberg hath wrought: Colorado gun control blowback accelerates
Everyone knew Magpul was going to take its jobs and nearly $90 million in taxes elsewhere as a result of the state�s recent gun control laws. That was just the beginning of the rebellion. The blowback that has begun against Michael Bloomberg�s Colorado gun control bills is so massive that even the Washington Post is noticing it.
Hunters across the country are boycotting Colorado because of recent legislation meant to curtail gun violence.

Michael Bane, a producer for The Outdoor Channel, announced he will no longer film his four shows in Colorado, and hunters are joining the protests.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette (http://tinyurl.com/cfbquoy ), hunting outfitters say people began cancelling trips after the legislation passed. The numbers are few, but growing.
If you follow that link to the Gazette, it is obvious that the New York-written legislation is going to have a significant multi-million or even billion dollar impact on the state.
Gun and hunting websites and forums are full of talk of boycotting the state, and hunting outfitters say people have begun cancelling trips here. It�s just a handful for now, but northwest Colorado hunting guide Chris Jurney expects more.

�There�s a united front of sportsmen that are tired of having their freedoms and liberties and fundamental rights taken away from them,� said Jurney, vice president of the Colorado Outfitters Association. �That kind of unity among sportsmen is going to be big and unfortunately for those of us who live here, we�re going to suffer the consequences of this misguided legislation.�
Bob goes on to say:
Wildlife recreation contributes $3 billion to the economy, directly sustaining 21,000 jobs. Out-of-state hunters account for about 15-percent of the licenses sold in the state, and if they decide to go somewhere else it affects not just the outfitters and guides, but the entire state economy, from the airlines that fly the hunters in, to the vehicle rentals/taxis, hotels, restaurants, etc.
I hope that this will cause a serious dent in The Colorado Model that I wrote about yesterday. Enjoy your four years -- The Colorado Model may let you seize power. It does not guarantee that you will keep your power.

From TMZ:

Sean Penn's Son RAMS Photog -- F*** You N***er
Sean Penn's son handled a paparazzo in Beverly Hills today much the way his father used to ... violently ramming the photog -- and also calling the guy a "f***ot" and a "n***er."

19-year-old Hopper Penn was following his dad into a medical building when he got into the altercation with an African-American photographer (not TMZ's).

The nuclear exchange was all caught on tape ... Hopper gets up in the photog's face, pushing him, then says, "F*** you ... you're a f***ing f***ot ... shut up you f***ing n***er."

Cops happened to be nearby at the time and heard the commotion. Law enforcement sources tell us, officers asked what happened ... but the photog said it was just a verbal argument, and he didn't want to press charges.

Like son, like father:

It's been nearly four years since Sean's infamous kicking altercation with a photog. He was sentenced to three years probation stemming from that incident.

Great actor. Piss poor excuse for a human being. Considering his Dad (openly Communist Leo Penn) it is not a surprise.

Here's the reason -- a pissing match between two companies. From The New York Times:
Firm Is Accused of Sending Spam, and Fight Jams Internet
A squabble between a group fighting spam and a Dutch company that hosts Web sites said to be sending spam has escalated into one of the largest computer attacks on the Internet, causing widespread congestion and jamming crucial infrastructure around the world.

Millions of ordinary Internet users have experienced delays in services like Netflix or could not reach a particular Web site for a short time.

However, for the Internet engineers who run the global network the problem is more worrisome. The attacks are becoming increasingly powerful, and computer security experts worry that if they continue to escalate people may not be able to reach basic Internet services, like e-mail and online banking.

The dispute started when the spam-fighting group, called Spamhaus, added the Dutch company Cyberbunker to its blacklist, which is used by e-mail providers to weed out spam. Cyberbunker, named for its headquarters, a five-story former NATO bunker, offers hosting services to any Web site �except child porn and anything related to terrorism,� according to its Web site.
A bit more:
Patrick Gilmore, chief architect at Akamai Networks, a digital content provider, said Spamhaus�s role was to generate a list of Internet spammers.

Of Cyberbunker, he added: �These guys are just mad. To be frank, they got caught. They think they should be allowed to spam.�

Mr. Gilmore said that the attacks, which are generated by swarms of computers called botnets, concentrate data streams that are larger than the Internet connections of entire countries. He likened the technique, which uses a long-known flaw in the Internet�s basic plumbing, to using a machine gun to spray an entire crowd when the intent is to kill one person.
How anyone could countenance Spam is beyond belief. This stuff is "free" to send but adversely impacts the entire rest of the network. Cyberbunker delenda est.

A fun auction

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I like going to auctions -- even if I don't buy anything. It's pure theater. I have not been to any recently -- no money to travel and do not want to take the time off. However, April 2nd promises to be fun -- this James Murphy auction in Bellingham: Wireless Detection Co. Downtown Bellingham so no travel and there are a lot of amateur and antique radio components up for auction. It is a crap-shoot as to what the prices will be -- sometimes things go for pennies on the dollar, sometimes they sell for more than they cost new. Still, it will be fun.

The Colorado Model

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A very dangerous idea -- how a state's politics can be derailed by a third-party. From RedState:
The Colorado Model & The Left�s Stratagem For Turning Red States to Blue
Although it�s being deployed in several states like Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and others, there are still many who have never heard of the Colorado Model. What�s worse, despite all the Left�s bemoaning of the �vast right wing conspiracy,� Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or whatever enemy they can dream up, there is still nothing like the Colorado Model on the Right.

In sum, the Colorado Model is one of the Left�s most effective stratagems that was �built� to turn �red states� into �blue states� in a very short period (with the exception, perhaps, of the 2010 election cycle). When combined with the tactics of Saul Alinsky and his disciples, the Colorado Model is akin to a Soviet platoon armed with AK-47s mowing down a militia armed with slingshots.

According to a 2008 expose in the Weekly Standard, in 2004 and 2006 �routed Republicans, capturing the governorship, both houses of the state legislature, a U.S. Senate seat, and two U.S. House seats.�

Conceived by four rich liberals, the Colorado Model is a fairly simple strategy:
Eric O�Keefe, chairman of the conservative Sam Adams Alliance in Chicago, says there are seven �capacities� that are required to drive a successful political strategy and keep it on offense: [1] the capacity to generate intellectual ammunition, [2] to pursue investigations, [3] to mobilize for elections, [4] to fight media bias, [5] to pursue strategic litigation, [6] to train new leaders, and [7] to sustain a presence in the new media. Colorado liberals have now created institutions that possess all seven capacities. By working together, they generate political noise and attract press coverage. Explains Caldara, �Build an echo chamber and the media laps it up.�
Unfortunately, the Right still doesn�t seem to embrace or, more importantly, understand the Colorado Model. What�s worse, because the Colorado Model requires cooperation, it is unlikely the Right will ever be successful in creating a model similar to that which the Left is deploying across the country.

Unlike Barack Obama�s OFA, which coordinates with the institutional Left, the Moveon.orgs of the world, hundreds of 527s, think tanks, unions, and the like, the Right largely consists of groups who work disparately, in disagreement with, and, often, openly fighting with one another. On the Right, we have the Keystone Cops facing the Red Army on the Left.

As opposed to disarray on the Right, the Left is largely unified in their vision, their messaging, and their tactics. As such, the Colorado Model is a prime example of the Left putting their ideas into action and, in so doing, turning America from a country of individuals into a country of collectivists.
A big hat tip to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link. Peter also linked to this article at The Examiner:
Danger ahead: Colorado leftwing coup a blueprint for America
When the gun control debate began in the Colorado legislature nearly two months ago, many residents in the state were left scratching their heads, wondering how their state fell into the hands of leftwing extremists who not only disregard gun rights but encourage one another to ignore the protests, emails, phone calls, and letters from constituents.

"What on earth has happened to my state?" one Colorado resident asked in despair.

It turns out that what happened in Colorado was not a spontaneous reaction to criminal violence but the consequence of a longterm, planned strategy among Democratic operatives to oust conservatives from office and replace them with leftwing extremists.

Further, it also turns out that what happened in Colorado is a blueprint for the entire country, in every state, and eventually in the halls of Congress itself.

The blueprint is known in political circles as "the Colorado model" and refers to a very different strategy than that which is normally utilized by state political parties.

A group of leftwing extremists and four liberal Democratic millionaires/billionaires collaborated to develop the new strategy that would bypass the grassroots Democratic Party machine in the state in order to think totally outside the box. The core of the new strategy is a privatized political infrastructure with the four mega-donors footing the bill. New campaign finance laws were analyzed and probed in order to find ways to make the new laws work to their favor.

The gang of four mega-donors -- Pat Stryker, Rutt Bridges, Jared Polis, and Tim Gill -- created a new political infrastructure that operated totally outside the realm of the Colorado Democratic Party. All of the functions of the Party were replicated by the new infrastructure, but more functions were added that went much further than state parties ever envisioned.

While the new private infrastructure employed the traditional tactics such as grassroots organization, leadership recruiting and building, and policy development, the four mega-donors relied heavily on 527, 501(c)(3), and 501(c)(4) organizations, each with different names and identifies but all working in complete harmony to destroy the Colorado Republican Party and any conservative coalition in the state. Television and radio ads relentlessly attacked conservatives, often with no factual basis, but by the time political operatives found out who was behind the false allegations and mounted an attempt to expose the falsehoods, the mega-donor organizations had already moved on to other issues and false charges, making it difficult if not impossible for Republicans and conservatives to keep up.

The strategy worked in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles in Colorado. Democrats took control of both houses of the state legislature and installed a Democratic governor.

With all of the major leadership offices firmly under the control of leftists, the assault on the values that most Colorado residents have held dear were systematically attacked, culminating in the latest debacle, the infamous gun control laws that were approved by the legislature and signed into law by the governor.

Many polls showed that most residents in the state clearly opposed the new laws but had them shoved down their throats by politicians who made no secret that they do not care what their constituents think. The result has been outrage. Sportsmen, hunters, and gun enthusiasts plan to bypass the state and take their business elsewhere. A major gun magazine manufacturer, Magpul, announced the day of the vote that they are leaving Colorado and taking approximately $85 million per year in revenue with them.

The longterm danger, however, lies in what is happening in other states, right under the noses of most Republicans and conservatives. The Colorado model is being used far and wide across America to replicate the Colorado coup. North Carolina is a perfect example.
If we sit on our butts and do nothing, the United States of America will be changed into something completely different from what our founders envisioned. We will have become the England of the 1770's. Time to get active in your local politics.

Quite the collection of synthesizers

A nice interview with Vince Clarke and pictures of his new studio at SonicScoop:
Icons: Inside Vince Clarke's Synth Kingdom in Brooklyn
You know it as soon as you hear it: A Vince Clarke creation has a way of bouncing right through you. Even at his darkest, there are vibrant energetic impulses emanating from the "King of the Synth".

These days, this music-making royalty resides in Brooklyn. In the sub-basement of a house on a quite NYC street, new ideas are steadily emerging from Clarke.

That's good news for fans of the bands he's co-founded -- major musical forces that include Depeche Mode, Yazoo, The Assembly and Erasure. It's an amazing resume that spans four decades with millions upon millions of record sales tied to a list of unforgettable hits that he's written: I Just Can't Get Enough, Only You, Don't Go, Chains of Love and A Little Respect to name just a few of Clarke's global smashes. He is responsible for 17 Top Ten-charting singles in the U.K. just with Erasure.

Situated as he is now, two floors below the earth and surrounded by one of the most mind-boggling collections of analog and digital synths anywhere, you'd think Clarke was safe in his comfort zone. Far from it, this music explorer remains immersed in new projects -- remixes, songwriting, production collaborations, and performances -- that challenge him.

"I've been trying to learn how to be a DJ, which is a scary process," he laughs. "But I'm not playing live otherwise at the moment, and learning a new piece of technology has been exciting. I've figured out how to every song in time from one to the next."

Actually, managing crossfades and transitions is something Clarke has always been a master of. As he's grown group after hitmaking group, his rhythmically driven synth style is always evolving. If you haven't had the chance yet, just check out his entrancing 2012 collaboration with fellow Depeche Mode colleague Martin Gore, VCMG's entrancing Ssss -- this is minimalist techno at its most deliciously enriching.
One of the masters and an amazing collection of instruments.

Hindcasting - doesn't work that well

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I have said before that the one big problem I have with the current Global Warming 'sophisticated computer models' is that they cannot hindcast. We have a good 200 years of weather data (entire globe) and feeding this data into the current models produces predictions totally unrelated to our current climate and weather patterns. If we cannot trust the hindcast, how can we trust the forecast? This from University of Gothenburg, Sweden -- at Watts Up With That:
Climate models aren�t good enough to hindcast, says new study
From the University of Gothenburg
Climate models are not good enough

Only a few climate models were able to reproduce the observed changes in extreme precipitation in China over the last 50 years. This is the finding of a doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Climate models are the only means to predict future changes in climate and weather.

�It is therefore extremely important that we investigate global climate models� own performances in simulating extremes with respect to observations, in order to improve our opportunities to predict future weather changes,� says Tinghai Ou from the University of Gothenburg�s Department of Earth Sciences.
A bit more:
Tinghai has analysed the model simulated extreme precipitation in China over the last 50 years.

�The results show that climate models give a poor reflection of the actual changes in extreme precipitation events that took place in China between 1961 and 2000,� he says. �Only half of the 21 analysed climate models analysed were able to reproduce the changes in some regions of China. Few models can well reproduce the nationwide change.�

China is often affected by extreme climate events. Such as, the flooding of 1998 in southern and north-eastern China caused billions of dollars worth of financial losses, and killed more than 3,000 people. And the drought of 2010-11 in southern China affected 35 million people and also caused billions of dollars worth of financial losses.
China has a problem - extreme weather. It has money and its citizens are not stupid. If they are unable to come up with a 'sophisticated computer model', why do we give the current crop of AGW warmists such credence for their work especially when said work will not hindcast. Hide the decline indeed...

Absolutely brilliant

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The White House has a website where people can submit petitions. The Petition has one month to garner 100,00 signatures and when it does, it gets a response. This one is just wonderful:
Require Congressmen & Senators to wear logos of their financial backers on their clothing, much like NASCAR drivers do.
Since most politicians' campaigns are largely funded by wealthy companies and individuals, it would give voters a better sense of who the candidate they are voting for is actually representing if the company's logo, or individual's name, was prominently displayed upon the candidate's clothing at all public appearances and campaign events. Once elected, the candidate would be required to continue to wear those "sponsor's" names during all official duties and visits to constituents. The size of a logo or name would vary with the size of a donation. For example, a $1 million dollar contribution would warrant a patch of about 4" by 8" on the chest, while a free meal from a lobbyist would be represented by a quarter-sized button. Individual donations under $1000 are exempt.
Tip of the hat to BoingBoing for the link. I signed! They have 22K signatures and need 77K more by April 18th. Let your friends know -- this would be wonderful to see...

This just in

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From an email list:
Chicago Bears Draft an Afghan For Quarterback
The coach had put together the perfect team for the Chicago Bears. The only thing that was missing was a good quarterback. He had scouted all the colleges and even the Canadian and European Leagues, but he couldn't find a ringer who could ensure a Super Bowl win.

Then one night while watching CNN he saw a war-zone scene in Afghanistan. In one corner of the background, he spotted a young Afghan Muslim soldier with a truly incredible arm. He threw a hand-grenade straight into a 15th story window 100 yards away. KABOOM!

He threw another hand-grenade 75 yards away, right into a chimney. KA-BLOOEY! Then he threw another at a passing car going 90 mph. BULLS-EYE!

"I've got to get this guy!" Coach said to himself. "He has the perfect arm!"

So, he brings him to the States and teaches him the great game of football. And the Bears go on to win the Super Bowl.

The young Afghan is hailed as the great hero of football, and when the coach asks him what he wants, all the young man wants is to call his mother.

"Mom," he says into the phone, "I just won the Super Bowl!"

"I don't want to talk to you, the old Muslim woman says."You are not my son!"

"I don't think you understand, Mother," the young man pleads. "I've won the greatest sporting event in the world. I'm here among thousands of my adoring fans."

"No! Let me tell you!" his mother retorts. "At this very moment, there are gunshots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten within an inch of their lives last week, and I have to keep your sister in the house so she doesn't get raped!" The old lady pauses, and then tearfully says,
"I will never forgive you for making us move to Chicago !!
Too true...

Home again

Did the shopping run -- the birds are eating us out of house and home so swung by the feed store to pick up some more suet cakes. Buy the seed at Costco in 25 pound bags. Lots of plump happy birds around the house... Fixing dinner -- leftover pulled pork -- doing them as tacos tonight, some refried beans and corn tortillas. More posting in an hour or two...

A wonderful idea

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From The Hill:
GOP lawmaker seeks 'virtual Congress' with telecommuting plan
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) wants to create a "virtual Congress," where lawmakers would leverage videoconferencing and other remote work technology to conduct their daily duties in Washington from their home districts.

Under a resolution Pearce introduced on Thursday, lawmakers would be able to hold hearings, debate and vote on legislation virtually from their district offices.

While Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer may have recently nixed the Web company's work-from-home policy to boost its performance, Pearce believes a remote work arrangement may benefit Congress and make lawmakers more accountable to folks in their home districts.

Pearce says the resolution would eradicate the need for members to jet back and forth from their districts to Washington each weekend. This would allow lawmakers to spend more time with their constituents rather than the armies of lobbyists from K St., he argues.

�Thanks to modern technology, members of Congress can debate, vote, and carry out their constitutional duties without having to leave the accountability and personal contact of their congressional districts. Keeping legislators closer to the people we represent would pull back Washington's curtain and allow constituents to see and feel, first-hand, their government at work," Pearce told The Hill in a statement.

"Corporations and government agencies use remote work technology; it�s time that Congress does the same," the New Mexico Republican said.
I love it -- K Street will piss and moan but the lobbyists there have a grossly undue influence over our Representatives. These people were elected by us to serve us and not kowtow to the blandishments of the corporate lobbyists. If the occupy movement wants to have an enduring legacy, have them bust up the crony corporatism that has Jeffrey Immelt (CEO of GE) being B.F.F. with Barack all the while they are moving entire divisions over to China while paying no Federal Corporate Taxes. A big tip 'o the hat to Slashdot -- some nice comments at both sites.

A big win for Watts Up With That

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The Bloggie Awards are an international "Best Of" awards open to websites of various categories. The voting is tied to a voters email address so is fairly secure -- you vote and then you need to manually respond to an email sent to your address so no 'bots stuffing the ballot box. Anthony Watts' Watts Up With That has been a daily read for me for the last five years (it started in November 2006). Today it was announced that Watts Up With That won the Best Science Blog for the third year in a row. This year, it also won the Weblog of the Year category. Congratulations and well done Anthony! For those that consider this site to be a pseudo-science 'denier' website, you really need to visit often, read the posts, follow the comments and present an open mind. There is a lot of first-class science being done here.

The joys of capitalism

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From Stanford University's The Stanford Review:
�Moral Foundations of Capitalism� class canceled
As the United States dipped into recession after the stock market crash in the late 2000s, capitalism was under intense scrutiny. As concern and criticism of the economic structure rose, part-time History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) professor John McCaskey mulled over the idea of teaching a course on capitalism.

�I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to get students to explore how Americans have historically defended the morality of capitalism,� said McCaskey in an interview with The Stanford Review.

In 2009, after presenting the idea to his colleagues, McCaskey began teaching the course, sponsored by the Ethics in Society (EiS) program. In the seminar, named �Moral Foundations of Capitalism,� students explored and evaluated historical arguments for the free-market model, particularly those which emerged in the 20th century. The seminar primarily covered the arguments of economists such as Milton Friedman, of Protestant and Catholic religious defenders, and of Objectivists.
Aaaand...
�There was a huge demand for the class � with students sitting on the floor outside, trying to get in,� said a junior, (who wishes to remain anonymous), who took the class in Winter 2012.

While there was steady interest for the course throughout the three years the class was offered, the type of students that it attracted varied. According to McCaskey, the class was largely made up of competing conservative students in the first year, largely because two students�one Catholic and one Ayn Rand Objectivist�extensively promoted the course before registration. By the third year, however, the class was much more balanced. �The class attracted all sorts of students, right and left wing,� said the junior. �Some objectivists, a couple of libertarians, a member of Stanford Democrats, and even two Marxists.�

�The class was still disproportionately conservative compared to the campus demographic,� said McCaskey, �but it was a good mix with strong opinions. It was just as much an intellectual challenge to be conservative in the class as it was to be liberal.�
And more:
Despite strong demand, the class was discontinued after three years due to a restructuring of Stanford�s general education requirements (GERs). Beginning next year, one of the new requirements will be �Ethical Reasoning.�
And more:
In light of its reception at Stanford, Professor McCaskey was invited to teach the course at Brown University.
Ironic really given that Leland Stanford was the Promethean capitalist's Capitalist. Dare I even say that he was a Robber Baron. That his money is funding this bastion of fuzzy reasoning probably has him spinning in his grave at a few tens of thousands RPM. And if Stanford University cannot recognize the worth of Professor McCaskey, it is good that Brown University does.

Another day in our little community

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Had a water board meeting tonight. The prior meeting was our public Annual General Meeting so there was a lot to re-hash from that -- changes to the bylaws, procedures, etc... 2013 will be my fifth year as President -- time flies. A friend of mine suffered a severe heart attack Thursday -- I am doing the shopping run for the store tomorrow so will spend an hour at the Bellingham hospital sitting with him. Surfing for an hour or two and then up to bed -- long day tomorrow...

First hummingbird of the season

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Spring is definitely coming -- Lulu and I saw the first Hummingbird of the season. I put a feeder out two weeks ago so they are finding it.

Gun laws in New York city

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From The Washington Times:
Man faces 3 years in jail for pulling �unlicensed� gun on burglar inside his home
A Manhattan millionaire faces three years in jail for drawing an unlicensed gun on a burglar inside his home.

George Bardwil, who owns linen company Bardwil Home, was in his E Street apartment when an intruder came into his home in January, The Daily Mail reports.

Mr. Bardwil, 60, threatened the intruder with a loaded .40 cal Sig Sauer. The man fled and Mr. Bardwil called the police.

After showing the cops footage from his home surveillance cameras, they arrested him under suspicions of owning an illegal firearm.

The businessman�s lawyer, Michael Bachner, told the New York Post that the gun is legally registered to the defendant�s bodyguard.

�There�s no dispute that George was being burglarized,� Mr. Bachner said. �George had been the victim of multiple burglaries, and the DA�s office concedes that it was used in self defense.�
Good lord -- whose side are the popo on anyway? Tip of the hat to Doug Ross for the link.

A glimpse of the future

From Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute at Watts Up With That:
FOIA and the coming US Carbon Tax via the US Treasury
In November, I and CEI sued the Department of the Treasury to produce emails and other records mentioning �carbon�. See Joint_Scheduling_Agreement PDF.

I sought emails and other documents from two offices: Environment and Energy (really), and Legislative Affairs. This action after the administration first ignored us, which they followed with an unfortunate stumble, trying to delay us with fees � even absurd and surely anti-�green� ones, like $1,800 to photocopy electronic mail, typically copied on a disc for no charge � which fees, even when they�re not mindlessly trumped up like that one, not-for-profit groups which disseminate government information are exempt by statute from paying.

Delay can only work only so well once we file suit, and recently Treasury turned over a first production of approximately 770 pages of reports. Despite its better efforts Treasury managed to hand over some docs that in an attentive world should prove extremely useful, offering fantastic language if often buried in pointy-headed advice they received in Power Points and papers from the IMF, G-20 and, in graphic terms, an analysis from the World Bank on how to bring a carbon tax about.

These documents represent thoughtful advice on how to mug the American taxpayer and coerce them out of unacceptable and anti-social behavior, diverting at least 10% of the spoils to overseas wealth transfers. The major focus is language, how to sell it to the poor saps not by noting the cost or that it is a tax but as, for example, the way to be the leader in something like solar technology.
Read the whole thing -- this is downright chilling. The Competitive Enterprise Institute website is here. These are the same people that are pushing the EPA to release the emails from Richard Windsor -- the false account of head Lisa Jackson. She 'retired' when this came to light.

And so it starts - the walking back

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From Andrew Revkin writing at the New York Times:
Global Study of Monsoons Finds Ocean Variations Have Driven Recent Shifts
The seasonal rains called monsoons matter enormously to human affairs, from the Indian subcontinent to the American Southwest. Getting a better understanding of the forces that will shape these features of the climate system in coming decades is a big research priority, but also a very tough challenge given the many factors in play.

In a study published in this week�s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers analyzing monsoon patterns around the Northern Hemisphere since the 1970s conclude that there has been a substantial intensification of summer monsoon rainfall and circulation. The researchers say natural variations in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans appear to be the main force behind the shift. Climate models have tended to project a different result.
Emphasis mine -- so the actual measurement does not match the models. Heretic!!! Burn him!!! Some more:
I distributed the abstract and a news release from the University of Hawaii, where the lead author, Bin Wang, is chairman of the department of meteorology.

Here�s an excerpt from the release:
Current theory predicts that the Northern Hemisphere summer monsoon circulation should weaken under anthropogenic global warming.

Wang and his colleagues, however, found that over the past 30 years, the summer monsoon circulation, as well as the Hadley and Walker circulations, have all substantially intensified.

This intensification has resulted in significantly greater global summer monsoon rainfall in the Northern Hemisphere than predicted from greenhouse-gas-induced warming alone: namely a 9.5% increase, compared to the anthropogenic predicted contribution of 2.6% per degree of global warming.
Revkin solicits input from several in the pro-CAGW camp. The most lucid is Kevin Trenberth who says this:
Indeed regionally, interannual and decadal variability is still dominant in the climate record and will be for a long time. The whole idea of regional climate prediction that has come to the fore mainly because of need/demand is not based on sound science owing to fundamental predictability issues.
In other words: Regional climate prediction (it would be nice to have) is not based on sound science owing to fundamental predictability issues. As the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warmists slowly step back from the proselytizing and find something else to look at...
From Investors Business Daily:
DHS Won't Answer Congress On Billion Bullet Purchase
Fifteen members of Congress have written a letter to the Department of Homeland Security demanding to know why the federal agency is buying so many rounds of ammunition. We'd like to know too.

Freshman California Republican Doug LaMalfa and 14 of his House colleagues, who signed on to his March 5 letter, are asking the Department of Homeland Security to explain why it is buying 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition of various calibers. They aren't happy with explanations provided so far in the press by lower-level officials, answers meant to debunk "unfounded" concerns.

As we have noted, DHS has been buying lots of ammo, enough by one calculation to fight the equivalent of a 24-year Iraqi War.

Peggy Dixon, spokeswoman for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga., told the Associated Press that the training center and others like it run by the Homeland Security Department use as many as 15 million rounds every year, mostly on shooting ranges and in training exercises.

The massive purchases are said to be spread out over five years and due simply to the best practice of saving money by buying in bulk what comes down to five rounds of ammo for every man, woman and child on the U.S. That's a lot of practice and training.

A good portion of the 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition are being purchased by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal government's second-largest criminal investigative agency. Yes that's the same ICE that is releasing detained criminal illegal aliens onto our streets because of sequestration cuts.
Another agency that needs to have its budget slashed by 80%. More here -- from US News and World Report:
DHS Denies Massive Ammunition Purchase
The Department of Homeland Security responded Friday to questions from Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., about why the agency was allegedly planning to buy some 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the next five years.
A bit more:
Questions over DHS's big ammunition purchases have been bouncing around the right-wing blogosphere for months. But the story came to a head Friday after a video was posted to the website Infowars of Rep. Huelskamp saying at CPAC that he had expressed concerns to DHS over the purchase but received no response.

"They have no answer for that question. They refuse to answer to answer that," Huelskamp said on the video of the purchases. His office told Whispers that he had sent a letter to DHS with his concerns but had not heard back.

In the letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, Huelskamp wrote that it had "become clear" that DHS was "purchasing vast quantities of ammunition" and that "estimates show that this ... would be enough for 24 Iraq wars." The Kansas congressman also said the timing of the purchase was "of great interest" because of gun control legislation currently being pushed by the Obama administration.
These people disgust me -- the entire city of Washington D.C. needs to be cleaned out. Time to reset back to 1776...

Our EPA at work

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Just wonderful -- from Farm Futures:
EPA Releases Producer Information To Animal Rights Groups
NCBA and the National Pork Producers Council are both furious with EPA for handing extremist groups illegally gathered data on farmers who operate confined animal feeding operations.

NCBA said early this week it was notified by the EPA that the agency had been collecting information from states on CAFOs. The information was requested by extremist groups, including Earth Justice, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Natural Resources Defense Council through a Freedom of Information Act request and was given to them.

The information released by EPA covers livestock operations in more than 30 states, including many family farmers who feed less than 1,000 head and are not subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.
This organization has waaaay too much power -- they need to have their budget cut by 80%. Let them get back to their core competency.

The devil is in the details

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This administration always releases the interesting stuff on Friday. They figure that the major new outlets will not pick up on it and by Monday, anything reported will be below the fold on page 24. This from the State Department's Daily Press Briefing The person talking is Spokesperson Victoria Nuland:
QUESTION: Can I ask on Palestinian aid? There�s reporting out of the region that the funds have actually been unblocked kind of a bit quietly over the last couple of weeks, the 200 million that was held up in Congress, and that�s now been received by the Palestinian Authority.

MS. NULAND: Jo, I don�t � I�m just finding it here. I did go through this about a week ago in some detail. I can do it again for you. To date, we have moved $295.7 million in Fiscal Year 2012 money, 200 million of that � see, this � numbers don�t � oh, and 200 million in Fiscal Year 2013 assistance. So breaking that down again, 200 million in FY2013 ESF money was direct budget support for the Palestinian Authority; 195.7 million in FY12 Economic Support money went for development and humanitarian assistance implemented by USAID; 100 million in FY2012 for International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement; and then in February � at the end of February we notified Congress about another 200 million that we�d like to move.
So we are giving these swine about $500 million dollars all the while the White House is closed to school tours and 140 county airports are being closed due to "budget cuts".

The Canadian medical system

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Falling through the cracks -- from the Beeb:
Knife taken from Billy McNeely's back after three years
Doctors in Canada have removed a knife blade from a man's back more than three years after he was stabbed in a fight.

Billy McNeely of the Northwest Territories told local media he had suffered itching and minor pain but did not know the blade was still embedded.

This week, his nail caught the tip of the 7.5cm blade and uncovered it.

"I've done some jail time in the past," he said. "The guards rub over you with a metal wand detector, and every time it hit my back... it went off."

In April 2010, McNeely got into a fight after an arm wrestling match and was stabbed five times, he told the Canadian Press news agency.

Doctors at the local accident and emergency room stitched him up but never took an X-ray, he said. Seeking subsequent treatment for the lingering discomfort, he was told he had suffered nerve damage.

But this week, McNeely, 32, was scratching his back as usual when his fingernail caught on something. His girlfriend took a look.

"I told Billy: 'There's a knife sticking out of your back.' I was scared. I was ready to pull it out with tweezers," Stephanie Sayine told CBC News.

McNeely is considering whether to file a lawsuit against the local health department.
He didn't get an X-Ray -- on top of that, a simple probing with the end of a forceps or waving a magnet over the trauma site would have shown the presence of the knife. To leave it in for so long that there is nerve damage is unconscionable. Wonder if that Doctor is still practicing...

A Venezuelan two-fer

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Now that frontman Chavez is rotting away and not able to put a fun spin on things, things in Venezuela are starting to fall apart. It will be bad and I feel sorry for the citizens because they were kept totally in the dark. At least, here in the US, shining some light onto Obama's history and ethics does not guarantee time in jail. First up -- from Walter Russell Mead's Blog Via Meadia:
Venezuela Takes Desperate Measures to Put Off Day of Reckoning
The Venezuelan government is making a frenzied effort to combat shortages of food and medicine. The FT reports that on Monday the country will begin auctioning off dollars to certain business in hopes of spurring them to import the basic goods it desperately needs. But critics claim that the new system won�t really do much to solve the problem:
�The total supply of foreign exchange to the economy via Cadivi [old system for getting foreign currency] and Sicad [the new system] is still likely to undershoot the overall demand in the economy for dollars,� [Goldman Sacs economist Alberto] Ramos said. He said to control the black market Caracas must fix underlying problems including high inflation, an unfriendly business climate, a misaligned currency, and exacerbated political and economic risk.
Venezuela�s economic woes are telling. Apologists for Chavez mentor Fidel Castro blame Cuba�s sixty years of economic problems on the US embargo. If it weren�t for Uncle Sam, they say, Castro would have built a socialist paradise by now.

Venezuela is the test for this talking point. Not only is there no US embargo in Venezuela, but the country also has huge oil reserves. And what does it have? Food and medicine and foreign currency shortages. A socialist paradise, indeed.
Second up -- Chavez was in bed with some nasty people. From the Washington D.C. Free Beacon:
The Iran, Hezbollah, Venezuela Axis
Iran has illegally laundered billions of dollars through the Venezuelan financial sector and is currently stashing �hundreds of millions� of dollars in �virtually every Venezuelan bank today,� according to a former senior State Department official.

�It�s a huge blind spot in those trying to implement sanctions� on Iran, Roger Noriega, a former United States ambassador and assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, told the Washington Free Beacon.

Venezuela served as Iran�s closest Western ally under the late President Hugo Chavez, who allowed the rogue regime to establish a military and financial presence at the highest levels of the Venezuelan government.

Iran�s foothold in the country is expected to grow exponentially under the rule of Chavez�s likely successor, Vice President Nicolas Maduro.
Some more:
Hezbollah has not only infiltrated Venezuela�s governmental bodies. The organization has also established terrorist training facilities on the country�s Margarita Island, according to Noriega.

Hezbollah has been able to form from this Caribbean haven �a marriage of convenience� with various narcotics traffickers and drug gangs that bring the terrorist �threat to our doorstep,� Noriega told lawmakers Wednesday.

The Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, ringleader of the deadly Sinaloa Cartel, is known to have spent time on Margarita Island where he likely established ties with Hezbollah, according to Noriega.
Wonderful -- nuclear armed Islamofascists/drug lords at our southern border...
The writing is on the wall -- the government subsidies are on their way out and the disparity between alt.energy (solar/wind) at 30� per kilowatt/hour and traditional energy (coal/nuke/hydro) at 6� per kilowatt/hour aren't making customers happy. From Associated Press:
Bosch to abandon solar energy business
German engineering company Bosch said Friday that it is abandoning its solar energy business, because there is no way to make it economically viable amid overcapacity and huge price pressure in the industry.

The solar power industry has been hit by falling subsidies, weaker sales and increasingly stiff price competition, especially by Chinese manufacturers. Robert Bosch GmbH's move came after German industrial conglomerate Siemens announced last October that it would give up its loss-making solar business.

Bosch said that it will stop making products such as solar cells, wafers and modules at the beginning of next year. It will sell a plant in Venissieux, France, and is abandoning a plan to build a new plant in Malaysia.

The solar energy division, which employs about 3,000 people, lost around 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) last year. The company said that, despite efforts to reduce manufacturing costs, it was unable to offset a drop in prices of as much as 40 percent.
Yeah and one of the biggest Chinese solar companies just filed for bankruptcy. How much of our dollars have been wasted on this stupid program -- we have enough thorium in the USA for several thousand years (PDF) of operation with more being discovered every day.
Heh - from Good Morning America/ABC News/Yahoo:
Cold Prosecutor Indicts Punxsutawney Phil for Fraud
An Ohio prosecutor tired of a prolonged winter has indicted Punxsutawney Phil for fraud after the famed groundhog predicted an early spring.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael T. Gmoser is also seeking the death penalty for Phil.

"It was kind of one of those brainstorm moments," Gmoser told ABCNews.com. "I woke up in a snow storm. The wind was blowing and howling. The temperature was in the teens."

Gmoser indicted Punxsutawney Phil on one count of misrepresentation of Spring, an unclassified felony, against the peace and dignity of the state of Ohio. "Phil let us down," Gmoser said.

On Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow and did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring.

In his indictment, the prosecutor stated, "Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that Spring would come early." Gmoser cited a snowstorm and record low temperatures in Butler County as evidence that Phil's was prediction was grossly inaccurate.

Due to the nature of the groundhog's deceit, Gmoser is seeking the death penalty: "Let's face it. Phil is already behind bars. He's got a life sentence�There's no sentence left for Phil."

Getting rid of Phil could make an opportunity for a new rodent, Gmoser said, "His sister Phyllis."
All the signs were for an early spring but I woke up to snow on the ground this morning... Got some lettuce and chard starts hardening off but still need a few more weeks before planting. Lulu and I will be building hoop houses this weekend if the weather lets us.

Fun times in Colorado

Classic case -- people flee California because of the f***ed-up economy, they move to a state where the economy is better (Colorado) and they then vote for the same feel-good crap that caused California to tank. The Governor of Colorado is a typical blue-state top-down mastermind. From The Seattle Times:
Colorado governor signs landmark gun bills
Colorado's governor signed bills Wednesday that place new restrictions on firearms, signaling a change for Democrats who have traditionally shied away from gun control in a state with a pioneer tradition of gun ownership and self-reliance.

The legislation thrust Colorado into the national spotlight as a potential test of how far the country might be willing to go with new gun restrictions after the horror of mass killings at an Aurora movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed bills that require background checks for private and online gun sales and ban ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

The debate in the Democratic-controlled Legislature was intense, and Republicans warned that voters would make Democrats pay. The bills failed to garner a single Republican vote.
The fifteen-round magazine is a stupid restriction. First of all, magazines can be extended very easily. Second of all, I am not a trained marksman and have not practiced this much but I can drop a mag, load a new one and clear the slide in about two seconds. Having a small magazine is not going to make me "pause" so people could rush me. It just means I would carry more of them. And speaking of more magazines -- Colorado just lost a bunch (200+) of well-paying jobs. From the Denver Post:
Magpul says move out of Colorado "underway," and others will follow
Ammunition magazine manufacturer Magpul Industries said it plans to begin leaving Colorado "almost immediately," and other firms may follow suit in the wake of a new law that limits ammunition magazine capacities.

"Our moving efforts are underway," Magpul chief operating officer Doug Smith said Wednesday. "Within the next 30 days we will manufacture our first magazine outside the state of Colorado."

One of three gun-control bills signed Wednesday by Gov. John Hickenlooper prohibits the sale of gun magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

Erie-based Magpul, with about 200 workers, is the largest Colorado company that potentially would be affected by the bill.

Magpul said earlier this week in a Facebook posting that it "will start our transition out of state almost immediately." The company also posted, "We will likely become a multi-state operation as a result of this move, and not all locations have been selected."

The firm's departure could have a ripple effect on companies that supply parts and materials to Magpul.

"We're basically going to follow Magpul and do our best to continue being a supplier for them," said Lloyd Lawrence, owner of Denver-based Lawrence Tool & Molding. "It will probably be out of state."
I feel sorry for Magpul -- the move will be expensive. Still, I am glad they drew the line in the sand and voted with their feet. They make an excellent product -- I have a bunch of them and after they get settled, will order a bunch more.
From FOX News:
RANGEL FIBS: DEMOCRAT CLAIMS �MILLIONS� OF KIDS BEING �SHOT DOWN BY ASSAULT WEAPONS�
During an appearance on MSNBC this morning, Congressman Charlie Rangel was asked what he thought about the assault weapons ban being dropped from Senate bill.

Rangel blamed the defeat on politics and money and then made the extraordinary claim that "millions of kids" are dying because they are "being shot down by assault weapons."
The post has the transcript -- one excerpt:
We're talking about millions of kids dying � being shot down by assault weapons, were talking about handguns easier in the inner cities, to get these guns in the inner cities, than to get computers. This is not just a political issue, it�s a moral issue and so when we condemn the NRA we should not ignore the fact that a lot of people that have taken moral positions have been solid on this big one.
And the numbers?
FBI data from 2010 shows a vast majority of gun murders in the U.S. are committed with a handgun and you're more likely to be killed with someone�s �hands/feet/fists� than a rifle. Furthermore, the total number of gun/firearm homicides in 2011 was just 8,583.
You have to love New York State. From FOX News:
New York offers $500 reward for reporting illegal gun owners
Nearly a year before signing the nation's most stringent gun control measure into law, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a hotline that allows state residents to report illegal gun owners in exchange for a $500 reward.

The measure is part of a four-pronged approach established by the governor's office to reduce gun violence in urban communities, according to CBS6Albany.com.

New Yorkers can call the "Gun Tip Line" if they believe someone they know has an illegal gun. Hotline calls are answered by state police and tips are referred to local law enforcement, the station reported.

�This initiative seeks to turn neighbor against neighbor and use their own tax dollars to pay for the $500 reward,� Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin told the station.
Shades of Germany in the late 1930's -- if this isn't struck down, something is seriously wrong.

Mathematical Modeling on parade

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Readers will know that I have a special soft spot for purported 'climate' scientists that base their work on proxies and computer models. These have been shown false and are unable to hind-cast. For example, we have 200 years of decent weather data available. When this data is plugged into the modeling software, it yields results that are nothing like today's climate. How then can we expect to believe the forecasts from these scientists and their models. The three climategate releases show that there are a lot of cases where data has been cherry-picked and that the models have been tweaked to produce the desired results. Political correctness masquerading as science. Now modeling is going crazy -- from the (Non)Scientific American:
Strength in Numbers: Mathematicians Unite to Tackle Climate Change and Other Planetary Problems
What do polar ice caps, guinea worm disease and wildfires have in common? All are being modeled with cutting-edge mathematics. Mathematical societies and institutes around the world are participating in "Mathematics of Planet Earth," or MPE, this year. They aim to study the math that underpins geologic and biological processes on our planet as well as encourage more math researchers to tackle these problems. Events are planned for the year 2013, but the organizers hope that the initiative will have lasting effects.
More:
Some mathematicians themselves don't realize that all of this modeling actually uses novel techniques. Barry Cipra, a freelance mathematics writer, says, "Within the mathematics community there can be the view that these are differential equations that were worked out hundreds of years ago," but in reality the models aren't all "off-the-shelf." Real ingenuity and new ideas are needed to develop them. One goal of MPE is to convince more mathematicians that climate change and other planetary problems are not only important but also interesting. "That's what the mathematicians like when they choose a problem," Rousseau says.
No mention of accuracy. Fun problems yes, accurate results? . . . crickets . . . Some fun comments. This group also has a blog here: Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013
One of the key principles in engineering is that you do not deploy a new and untested technology and remove the old and mature technology. You develop and test the new technology in isolation and only switch over when it has proven to be mature and tested. From Yahoo/Reuters:
Britain faces gas supply crisis as storage runs dry
Britain is grappling with a potential gas supply crisis as a late blast of winter depletes stored reserves, coal power plants close and pending maintenance in Norway threatens to further squeeze supply.

The country risks running out of stored gas by April 8 based on the fall in its reserves seen since the cold hit at the beginning of March, Reuters calculations show.

Gas storage sites have been depleted by 90 percent, with the equivalent of less than two days' consumption remaining, data from Gas Infrastructure Europe shows.

If the cold persists, as is forecast, the UK may need to cut gas supplies to some big industrial customers, as it did in 2010 at a time of severe gas shortages.
Not mentioned in the article is that the elderly and poor will be unable to afford the high prices and will freeze to death. This is happening while England is shutting down coal mines because they are not as "green" as some people like... Morons.

Sequester - what has been chopped

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From Jammie Wearing Fools comes this little bit of information:
Food Stamps for Mexican Illegals Survive Obama Sequester
No White House tours, but plenty of money is still available for those who break our laws. The man does have his priorities:
Salmonella outbreaks. E. coli outbreaks. Millions of dollars in economic losses.

These are among the scenarios the Obama administration warned about last month as it claimed the sequester would force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to furlough meat inspectors.

But while the administration prepares to take that step, it continues to pursue a �partnership� with the Mexican government to �raise awareness� about food stamps among immigrants from that country. When a top Senate Republican proposed cutting off funds for that program last week � in the form of an amendment to a budget resolution � Democrats on the Budget Committee shot it down.
Obama lost serious face when it came to light that the sequester was his idea all along. Now he is inflicting political pain while keeping his pet projects well funded.

Welcome to Spring

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Spring (and the Vernal Equinox) came in today at 4:02AM local time. The Equinox is when there are the same hours of day as their are of night -- happens twice/year. A time of new beginnings.

Crap - RIP James Herbert

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Horror/Science Fiction writer James Herbert died this morning. From his website:
James Herbert
It is with great regret that Pan Macmillan announces the death of bestselling novelist, James Herbert OBE. James, aged 69, died peacefully in his bed this morning at his home in Sussex.
From The Bookseller:
James Herbert dies
Bestselling novelist James Herbert has died.

Herbert, described by his editor Jeremy Trevathan as "one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century", passed away this morning at home in Sussex at the age of 69.

The horror writer, awarded the OBE in 2010, wrote 23 novels and was published in 34 languages, selling more than 54 million copies worldwide, his publisher Pan Macmillan said. The new paperback edition of his 23rd novel, Ash, was published last week and currently sits at number seven in the Nielsen Bookscan mass-market fiction chart.

Trevathan, Macmillan publisher and Herbert's editor for 10 years, said: "Jim Herbert was one of the keystone authors in a genre that had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. It's a true testament to his writing and his enduring creativity that his books continued to be huge bestsellers right up until his death. He has the rare distinction that his novels were considered classics of the genre within his lifetime. His death marks the passing of one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century."

Herbert's other works included The Rats trilogy as well as later bestsellers such as Portent, Nobody True and The Secret of Crickley Hall.
One of the better writers out there -- he could really raise the goosebumps...
UPDATE: The actual number of Farmers is a lot higher. See the bottom of this post. I always thought that Timothy Egan was a decent writer. His 2006 book The Worst Hard Time was wonderful. His other books too. It turns out that he has a very strong Urban Blue-State bias and it influences his "reporting". From the New York Times:
Hicks Nix Climate Fix
Everybody loves a farmer, judging by the popularity of this year�s hit Super Bowl ad about the virtues of those who coax food from dirt. And yet nobody wants to be one, with less than 1 percent of the population claiming it as an occupation.
The correct number is 0.48% -- still, you are looking at 751,000 people employed, no small number.
But somewhere among the 315 million Americans is a farmer who is (rarer still) a Democrat willing to serve President Obama. Should this person be found, he or she should be put in charge of the daunting task of convincing food producers that nothing imperils their future more than climate change.

I realize that summoning images of wilted wheat, lizard-skin ground and scrawny cattle nosing through drought-ravaged forage just a few days after a major winter storm is not the most timely approach. Whenever it snows over a large portion of the country, climate change-deniers point to the blanket of white outside and cry �hoax!�
This from someone who wrote a book on the Dust Bowl? As for pointing to some snow, during last summer's huge drought, I posted this on July 5th: Weather is not climate
Please re-read that for one moment � yes, over 3,000 records broken. Of which 2,253 is for high temperatures and 936 for low temperatures. That is 70.65% of the records were high and 29.35% were for low. It's summer folks and we are setting records for low temperatures.
Some more:
But with the announcement this week of the usual suspects of city-bred, East Coast, well-credentialed types to the cabinet-level team that Obama is assembling to fight climate change, it�s time to consider a farmer as a leader of that cause.
I would be very much in favor of that. Also, at a State level in California.
Farmers don�t care much for Obama, so why should he reach out to them? He lost the rural vote by almost 20 points. And among big farmers (I�m talking productivity here, not bib overall size), he lost by 50 points. No surprise. Farmers haven�t had anything nice to say about a Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt was touring cornfields in his open-air car.
Because Farmers deal every day with "The Market" -- they understand how stupid political meddling from Washington can make or break their profits (and thence, their ability to make payroll, pay their taxes and bills, and maybe, make a little bit extra for themselves). Obama and his 'people' have never operated in the real world. They have never run a business, they have never had to make a payroll. They may be well educated but they are clueless when it comes to the real world. More:
The people who grow grain for breakfast cereal and raise pigs for prosciutto are also among the biggest deniers of the consensus scientific view that humans have altered the earth�s climate. While acknowledging that, yes, sir, the weather does appear to be changing for the worse, most farmers don�t think it is human-caused, according to several polls. You�d have to survey the leading talk-radio hosts to find a higher percentage of disbelievers of the obvious.
Climate scientists are all about computer modeling. They massage the data (just look at the emails from Climategate 1.0, 2.0 and recently 3.0), they cherry pick their data sources (Climategate again) and they use computer models that cannot predict the reality on the ground. A farmer will have at least one weather station on their land and will connect online to the stations that their State ag. departments maintain. They know what the weather is like down to the tenth degree, they know the rain, they can plot the overall patterns. They do not depend on models, they do not publish forecasts based on models. Their understanding of the weather is based on factual observation. Some more:
At first glance, this makes no sense, because farmers have the most to lose in a world of weather havoc. Droughts, floods, searing high temperatures and freakish storms that now appear with regularity pose more of a threat to global food supply than the whims of the market. Weeds, pests and fungi � agricultural nightmares in a bundle � thrive under warmer temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels. Heat waves are livestock killers, increasing the prevalence of parasites and diseases.
Emphasis mine. Bzzzzzt -- you are dead wrong. We have always had droughts -- I remember reading one of your books on this very topic. Storms? Actually, the hurricane seasons have been steadily weakening over the last 20 years. Our sun is a variable star and we have always had warm and cold weather. More:
These horrors were highlighted in two recent government assessments of what climate change will mean to the nation�s breadbasket. And since American exports supply more than 30 percent of all wheat, corn and rice on the global market, what�s bad for the fertile crest of the United States is bad for a planet with seven billion people to feed.
Pure conjecture based on computer models. A lot of people are now looking at Dr. James Hansen's temperature predictions from his initial papers back in 1988 and comparing them to the climate today. Not even close... More:
So, why the denial? Cost. Any fix in the sticks is likely to hit farmers hard, because they use a disproportionate amount of the fertilizers, chemicals and fossil fuels that power the American agricultural machine, and are likely to come under increased regulation.
Emphasis mine -- is it just me or is anyone else having a problem parsing this sentence. So machinery manufacturers are going to use the "fertilizers, chemicals and fossil fuels that power the American agricultural machine". Automobile manufacturers? Doctors? Of course farmers use these. It's a cost of doing business and new and cheaper materials, techniques and fertilizers are becoming available every day -- some things get cheaper, some things get more expensive and occasionally, a game-changer will appear. An overall increase in temperature of 2�C by 2100 is not going to have any effect on day to day operations and this increase, 2�C by 2100 is what the IPCC is predicting will happen in their latest assessment. I am only about two thirds through Egan's diatribe but you get my drift. Timothy -- shame on you! UPDATE: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2010 number of Agricultural Workers on farms is 757,900 -- close to the 751,000 people I cited in the 2010 US Census report. There is, however, another category for Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers clocking in at 1,202,500 people. 'Other Agricultural Managers' would cover people who rent and farm land owned by someone else. This makes a total of 1,960,400 or 1.27% of the US labor force. This does not count all of the tractor salesmen and mechanics, fertilizer salesmen, County Agriculture agents, seed salesmen, feed store employees, dairy equipment manufacturers, feed lot operators, fence and orchard contractors, irrigation equipment salesmen, etc. These jobs fall outside the scope of the 1,960,400 direct Farm employees or owners.

About that ice melting in Greenland

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From Discover Magazine:
Winter Snow Melt in Greenland Grossly Over-Estimated
Back in February, satellite observations indicated that snow was melting � in the dead of winter � across large portions of Greenland�s eastern coast. (I wrote about it here.) But now, it looks like the algorithm used to process data coming from the satellite was grossly over-estimating the melt.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center has revised the algorithm to better estimate conditions on the ground, and the result, posted to the Greenland Ice Sheet Today web site last night, is seen above. Whereas the original estimate seemed to show upwards of 50 days of melting in some places from the first of the year until now, the revised algorithm reveals very little surface melt at all.
The one unifying thing with the warmists is their reliance on computer models, on cherry-picking their data and their constant use of data 'processing'. They never just go out there and measure something. Their computer models can not hindcast -- feed them the last 200 years of climate data and their models will not arrive at what we have outside this minute. How can we expect the same models to forecast our climate for the next 10 or 100 years?

How other nations see us

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An interesting post from David P. Goldman at PJ Media:
The Russians Think We�re Wrecking the World on Purpose
�In Russia, most analysts, politicians and ordinary citizens believe in the unlimited might of America, and thus reject the notion that the US has made, and continues to make, mistakes in the [Middle East]. Instead, they assume it�s all a part of a complex plan to restructure the world and to spread global domination,� writes Fyodor Lukyanov on the Al Monitor website today. Lukyanov, who chairs Russia�s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, laments what he derides as a �conspiracy theory.� Nonetheless, he reports, President Vladimir Putin and the Russian elite think that the United States is spreading chaos as part of a diabolical plot for world domination:
From Russian leadership�s point of view, the Iraq War now looks like the beginning of the accelerated destruction of regional and global stability, undermining the last principles of sustainable world order. Everything that�s happened since � including flirting with Islamists during the Arab Spring, U.S. policies in Libya and its current policies in Syria � serve as evidence of strategic insanity that has taken over the last remaining superpower.

Russia�s persistence on the Syrian issue is the product of this perception. The issue is not sympathy for Syria�s dictator, nor commercial interests, nor naval bases in Tartus. Moscow is certain that if continued crushing of secular authoritarian regimes is allowed because America and the West support �democracy,� it will lead to such destabilization that will overwhelm all, including Russia. It�s therefore necessary for Russia to resist, especially as the West and the United States themselves experience increasing doubts.
It�s instructive to view ourselves through a Russian mirror. The term �paranoid Russian� is a pleonasm. �The fact is that all Russian politicians are clever. The stupid ones are all dead. By contrast, America in its complacency promotes dullards. A deadly miscommunication arises from this asymmetry. The Russians cannot believe that the Americans are as stupid as they look, and conclude that Washington wants to destroy them,� I wrote in 2008 under the title �Americans play monopoly, Russians chess.� Russians have dominated chess most of the past century, for good reason: it is the ultimate exercise in paranoia. All the pieces on the board are guided by a single combative mind, and every move is significant. In the real world, human beings flail and blunder. For Russian officials who climbed the greasy pole in the intelligence services, mistakes are unthinkable, for those who made mistakes are long since buried.
A lot more at the site. The comments are well worth your time too.
More info comes out about Salomon Melgen. First, from the Sunlight Foundation:
Donor in Menendez probe hoped for riches from government contracts
Salomon Melgen, the Florida eye doctor whose relationship with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is now the subject of a grand jury investigation, has left a trail of lawsuits over bad investments, including one involving a government contract in which he had attempted to tie his money to the coattails of another prominent Hispanic official.

Melgen, who has a port security firm in the Dominican Republic that Menendez denies he tried to help and a medical practice in Florida that the senator admitted he aided, has filed numerous lawsuits over other business dealings that went sour. The paper trail suggests that the litigious ophthalmologist whom Menendez claims as a friend is a high-rolling risk-taker with a self-promotional flair who is not averse to using government connections as part of his investment strategy.

Some of the cases in which Melgen, his wife and his principal investment vehicle, SFM Holdings have been plaintiffs:
  • In June 2012, they sued Bank of America, claiming that they "suffered over ten million dollars in damages" from the concurrent swoon in Bank of America's stock; their claims, now part of a larger suit against the bank, are pending.
  • In July 2011, they sued CitiGroup, whose falling stock price during the financial meltdown cost the couple $32 million, according to Melgen's complaint. Those claims are still in litigation.
  • Among his more complex cases, one that has resulted in six separate lawsuits and three appeals, are a series of complaints that started in 2005, when the Melgens lost $15 million in the KL Fund Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of as much as $195 million. In an attempt to recover their money, they sued the three operators of the scheme. Then they sued Bank of America, which provided brokerage services to an account Melgen set up and turned over to one of the architects of the Ponzi scheme. Then they sued another victim of KL Funds who had also lost $150 million in Bernard Madoff's swindle. A federal judge dismissed the suit against Bank of America; the Melgens and their investment company have appealed. The case against the fellow victim, Nine West founder Jerome Fisher, is still pending in Florida state court.
Melgen's investment track record has not been stellar--in 2000, its first full year of operation, SFM Holdings lost $14 million, which led to the ophthalmologist's first dispute with the IRS, which he settled by paying a tax bill of $2.7 million.

Given that history, it's not surprising that Melgen looked for a safer bet. According to a lawsuit he filed in May 2011 in the U.S. District Court of Southern Florida, he thought he'd found one in the connected world of government contracting. In February 2009, Melgen claims he met Florencio Rendon, a former chief of staff to Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas. Rendon, whose boss was a member of the House Armed Services Committee before losing his seat in 2010, "touted his ability to put deals together and to win federal and state government contracts," Melgen said in his lawsuit.
There is a lot more at this site, complete with links to documentation. Next, this piece from Politico:
Robert Menendez donor courted President Obama, Harry Reid
Salomon Melgen had a knack for going straight to the top.

He posed for pictures with President Barack Obama, flew Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on his private jet and sought advice on a port security deal from an ex-CIA agent who helped lead the hunt for Osama bin Laden, POLITICO has learned.

Melgen, a wealthy South Florida eye doctor and investor, has seen his flashy forays onto the political stage backfire in spectacular fashion in the past few months. Federal investigators are probing his business dealings. He�s at the center of the controversy over Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

And now, new details show that Melgen also courted other leading politicians, including two of the top Democrats in Washington.
Amazing what a few dollars will do to our political system. The rot goes all the way to the top...
From the D.C. McClatchy affiliate:
Obama turning to executive power to get what he wants
President Barack Obama came into office four years ago skeptical of pushing the power of the White House to the limit, especially if it appeared to be circumventing Congress.

Now, as he launches his second term, Obama has grown more comfortable wielding power to try to move his own agenda forward, particularly when a deeply fractured, often-hostile Congress gets in his way.
A bit more:
While his decision to send drones to kill U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism has garnered a torrent of criticism, his use of executive orders and other powers at home is deeper and wider.

He delayed the deportation of young illegal immigrants when Congress wouldn�t agree. He ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence, which Congress halted nearly 15 years ago. He told the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, deciding that the 1996 law defining marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. He�s vowed to act on his own if Congress didn�t pass policies to prepare for climate change.

Arguably more than any other president in modern history, he�s using executive actions, primarily orders, to bypass or pressure a Congress where the opposition Republicans can block any proposal.
These Republicans are listening to their constituents and acting on their desires. Obama and the Congressional Democrats are wrapped up in a power grab and think that they are smarter than their constituents. There is a lot to be said for that -- after all, they keep getting re-elected -- gotta love that Government cheeze...
From FOX News:
South Korean banks and media report computer network crash, causing speculation of North Korea cyberattack
Computer networks at major South Korean banks and top TV broadcasters crashed simultaneously Wednesday, paralyzing bank machines across the country and prompting speculation of a cyberattack by North Korea.

Screens went blank at 2 p.m. (0500 GMT), the state-run Korea Information Security Agency said, and more than seven hours later some systems were still down.

Police and South Korean officials couldn't immediately determine responsibility and North Korea's state media made no immediate comments on the shutdown. But some experts suspected a cyberattack orchestrated by Pyongyang. The rivals have exchanged threats amid joint U.S.-South Korean military drills and in the wake of U.N. sanctions meant to punish North Korea over its nuclear test last month.

The network paralysis took place just days after North Korea accused South Korea and the U.S. of staging a cyberattack that shut down its websites for two days last week. Loxley Pacific, the Thailand-based Internet service provider, confirmed the North Korean outage but did not say what caused it.
Probably a HULK SMASH!!! kind of attack -- DOS, nothing subtle or sophisticated. A review of the log files in the routers should yield clues as to who did it and how to block it in the future.

alt.energy in Germany

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Carbon fail in Germany -- from der Spiegel:
Funding Shortfall: Germany Forced to Cancel Climate Programs
That the German government is facing a massive budget shortfall for projects aimed at transforming the country into a model of alternative energy and environmental friendliness is hardly new. The European cap-and-trade system has for months been sliding into inconsequence as prices for CO2 emissions have stubbornly remained below �5 ($6.47) per ton. The revenues Berlin earns on the mandatory emissions certificates have suffered as a result.

In response, SPIEGEL has learned, the Environment Ministry is set to cancel several flagship subsidy programs this month -- programs that were to be key elements of Germany's transition away from fossil fuels and towards complete reliance on renewables.

By the end of the month, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, is set to cut the program aimed at promoting electric cars, a fund for research and development of energy storage technologies and a third program focused on protecting and expanding forestland in Germany as a way to absorb more CO2 out of the atmosphere. In April, further programs are on the chopping block, according to an internal ministry document seen by SPIEGEL. In total, 14 programs or one-time measures are affected.
Good call -- programs like energy storage are best served by the private sector. Some guy in a garage comes up with a viable idea, they are rewarded with the profits. Government subsidies always squash true innovation as the subsidies will stop once you solve the problem -- there is no incentive.
From The Washington Examiner:
White House refuses to promise that Obama will cut back on �lavish vacations�
Confronted about President Obama�s $1 million golf trip, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney attacked Republicans rather than promise that the president will cut back on �lavish vacations� paid for by taxpayers.

�How does the president justify lavish vacations and a golf trip to Florida at taxpayer expense and does he plan to cut back on his travel?� a reporter from Colorado asked after noting the high unemployment rate among minorities and the furloughs that federal employees face under sequester.

I can tell you that this president is focused every day on policies that create economic growth and help advance job creation,� Carney replied. �We certainly do not need to embrace economic policies that shift the entire burden of deficit reduction on senior citizens, middle class families, and Medicare recipients.�

Carney and the reporter went back and forth about the significance of such programs to minorities until a member of the White House press corps intervened to ask a question about Republican opposition to additional tax increases.
Emphasis mine -- pants on fire...

Our tax dollars at work

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With all the sequestration going on, stuff like this still gets funding. From CNS News:
$2.7M Federal Study: Why Do Lesbians Have Higher 'Risk for Hazardous Drinking'?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $2.7 million to study why lesbians are at a higher �risk for hazardous drinking.�

The University of Illinois has received grants since 2009 for its project, "Cumulative Stress and Hazardous Drinking in a Community of Adult Lesbians," which aims to develop �culturally sensitive� strategies to prevent lesbians from being drunks.

�Studies using both probability and nonprobability samples provide ample evidence of lesbians' vulnerability to hazardous drinking,� the grant�s description reads. �However, very little is known about the factors that increase lesbians' risk for hazardous drinking.�

�We propose to build on and extend our study of sexual identity and drinking� to model effects of cumulative stress on hazardous drinking among lesbians.�
Why do we even have a National Institutes for Health? It's 2010 budget was 30.9 Billion dollars. There are some divisions that do good work but better work is being done at the university and private lab level. Put our money there and not in a bloated bureaucracy.
From the National Review Online:
Elizabeth Warren Asks: Why isn�t the Minimum Wage $22 an Hour?
In a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions last week on �indexing the minimum wage,� Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren inquired of University of Massachusetts professor economics Arindrajit Dube, �If we started in 1960, and we said that, as productivity goes up � that is, as workers are producing more � then the minimum wage is going to go up the same. And, if that were the case, the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour. So, my question, Mr. Dube, is what happened to the other $14.75?�
Because the prices on everything would skyrocket -- you braying ninny. Fauxcahontas? Here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Hooray for our side

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From Associated Press:
Assault weapons ban won't be in Dems' gun bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has decided that a proposed assault weapons ban won't be part of a gun control bill the Senate plans to debate next month, the sponsor of the ban said Tuesday, a decision that means the ban stands little chance of survival.

Instead, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she will be able to offer her ban on the military-style firearms as an amendment. Feinstein is all but certain to need 60 votes from the 100-member Senate to prevail, but she faces solid Republican opposition and likely defections from some moderate Democrats.

"I very much regret it," Feinstein, D-Calif., told reporters of Reid's decision. "I tried my best."
With all due respect Senator Feinstein, your job is not to do your best, your job is to listen to your constituents and act on their behalf. To do their best. Corporal Joshua Boston
 summed it up wonderfully in this letter to the Senator:
Senator Dianne Feinstein,

I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government�s right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime. You ma�am have overstepped a line that is not your domain. I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one.

I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America.

I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned. I am an American. You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man.

I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public.

We, the people, deserve better than you.
Well said.
From Reuters:
Bankrupt San Bernardino approves over $1 mln in pay hikes
The bankrupt city of San Bernardino, California, approved over $1 million in pay increases for police and firefighters despite claims it can barely make payroll, let alone afford the salary hikes.

Monday night's pay increases, for a city that appears before a federal judge again this week to plead for bankruptcy protection, are a result of its charter. It mandates that pay for safety workers must be tied to salary levels for 10 similar- sized California cities, all of which are wealthier than San Bernardino.

The bankruptcy of the city 65 miles east of Los Angeles is a national test case on whether the pensions of government workers take precedence over other payments in a municipal bankruptcy. It is a high-stakes issue for pension plans and their beneficiaries, and for Wall Street bondholders who lend money to governments.

Moves to have the city charter overturned, so the city can set its own pay levels, have failed to get the majority needed on the city council in the past year.

Council members opposing a charter change have received campaign contributions from police and fire unions in past elections. They argue that police and firefighters would leave San Bernardino if they were not paid wages similar to other cities.
Emphasis mine -- the finest politicians that money can buy. They need to get some adults in the room -- people who will follow the wishes of their citizens and not the lobbyist groups. Another perfect example of union overreach -- they had their day once...

What was lost has been found

Interesting bit of geology -- from LiveScience:
'Lost' Tectonic Plate Found Beneath California
A tectonic plate that disappeared under North America millions of years ago still peeks out in central California and Mexico, new research finds.

The Farallon oceanic plate was once nestled between the Pacific and North American plates, which were converging around 200 million years ago at what would become the San Andreas fault along the Pacific coast. This slow geological movement forced the Farallon plate under North America, a process called subduction.
More:
Now, new research published Monday (March 18) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that these pieces of Farallon plate are attached to much larger chunks at the surface. In fact, part of the Baja region of Mexico and part of central California near the Sierra Nevada mountains sit upon slabs of Farallon plate.

The finding solves a mystery of California geology. Earth scientists use seismic waves (either recorded from earthquakes or created with dynamic charges or other methods) to map out the region beneath the Earth's surface. Softer and hotter materials slow seismic waves down. The waves move faster through stiffer, cooler material.

In California, these seismic surveys revealed a large mass of cool, dry material 62 miles to 124 miles (100 to 200 kilometers) below the surface. This strange spot was dubbed the "Isabella anomaly."

Despite many theories, no one had nailed down exactly what caused the Isabella anomaly. Then researchers discovered another anomaly (where the researchers saw a change in seismic wave speed where one wasn't expected) under the Baja Peninsula, directly east of some of the known remains of the Farallon plate. The proximity led Brown University geophysicists Donald Forsyth and Yun Wang (now at the University of Alaska) to suspect they might be related.
Fascinating piece of detective work.

Like a bad penny - CISPA is back

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From CISPA is back:
Cat Signal! CISPA is back.
CISPA --the bill that would end our online privacy -- is back in Congress despite public outrage and warnings from experts. This bill won't keep us safe from cyber attacks, but it will let companies share our personal information with the government. We stopped it once. Ready to stop it again?
CISPA is the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act -- basically, if passed, it will allow Federal agencies to obtain personal communications and data without the bother of obtaining a search warrant. Nasty bit of legislation and it is in direct opposition to the Fourth Amendment. We defeated it before, we need to contact our Congress critters and tell them to vote against it again.

And another one bites the dust

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From Yahoo News/AFP:
Solar giant Suntech defaults on debt
Chinese solar panel giant Suntech Power announced Monday that it was in default on its debt after failing to make a payment on $541 million worth of bonds.
Wind and Solar have no viable business model unless there are substantial subsidies and we all know where these subsidies come from -- our own paychecks. Nuke or Coal power costs about 6� per Kilowatt/Hour Solar or Wind power costs about 30� per Kilowatt/Hour No amount of future development will shift this number by more than ten percent or so.
I went to school in Boston and lived there until 1988. Moved to Seattle. While living in Seattle, I read about an art theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. I loved that Museum -- a gorgeous small jewel of a place with some amazing pieces. Now, 23 years later -- from The Boston Globe:
FBI says it has identified the thieves in Gardner Museum heist; paintings' location still unknown
In a stunning twist in a case that had frustrated investigators for decades, federal law enforcement officials said today that they had identified the people who stole $500 million worth of masterworks in a daring heist from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

The officials also said they had determined where the artworks had traveled in the years after the robbery, which is considered the greatest art theft in history. But the officials said they did not know where they were now and were appealing to the public for their help in finding them.

"The FBI believes with a high degree of confidence in the years after the theft the art was transported to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region and some of the art was taken to Philadelphia where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft. With that confidence, we have identified the thieves, who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the mid-Atlantic states and New England," Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the Boston office of the FBI, said.

DesLauriers said that after the attempted sale of the paintings about a decade ago, the FBI did not know where the artworks -- which included three Rembrandts, a Vermeer, a portrait by Edouard Manet, and sketches by Renoir -- had been taken.

Officials said at a Boston news conference they would not release the names of the individuals who masqueraded as police officers to gain entry in the early-morning robbery at the Gardner exactly 23 years ago.

DesLauriers said that because the investigation is continuing it would be �imprudent� to disclose their names or the name of the criminal organization. He said the probe was in its 'final chapter.'
Very cool. I had a couple of minor 'brushes' with organized crime while living in Boston then (I was there from 1970 through 1988) -- the biggest was one group trying to copy an arcade video game without paying licensing fees (but that's another story). It will be nice to see this finally wrapped up. A nice end to a cold case. Looking forward to the book...
From The Smoking Gun:
Hacker Begins Distributing Confidential Memos Sent To Hillary Clinton On Libya, Benghazi Attack
Armed with confidential memos to Hillary Clinton that were stolen from the e-mail account of a former White House aide, a hacker has distributed some of the documents to a wide array of congressional aides, political figures, and journalists worldwide.

In a series of weekend e-mail blasts, the hacker known as �Guccifer� disseminated four recent memos to Clinton from Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of the former Secretary of State.

The 64-year-old Blumenthal, who worked as a senior White House adviser to President Bill Clinton, had his AOL e-mail account hacked last week by �Guccifer,� who has conducted similar illegal assaults against a growing list of public figures, including Colin Powell, relatives and friends of the Bush family, and a top United Nations official.
And it begins. There have been some stories about what was happening that have a whiff of plausibility to them. Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Glad to see the truth finally coming out. The Obama administration fubared this operation and people died. Nobody has owned up to their mistakes. This needs to change.

Ho Li Crap

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I play keyboards and am into analog and digital synthesyzers and subscribe to a couple of email lists. Someone posted a link to photos of this studio in Switzerland and is downright drool-worthy. The webmaster is a bit overly fond of High Dynamic Range photography but their collection of equipment is drop-dead awesome. I am in awe... Here are the album pages: One, Two, and Three.
From gCaptain:
Maersk Line Ships Will No Longer Transit Panama Canal
Maersk Line, the world�s biggest container shipping company, will stop plying through the Panama Canal to move goods from Asia to the U.S. east coast as bigger ships help the company move it profitably through Suez Canal.

Maersk Line will send vessels through Suez Canal that can carry as many as 9,000 20-foot boxes at a time, instead of using two 4,500-box-vessels through Panama Canal, Soeren Skou, chief executive officer of Maersk Line, said in Singapore today. The last sailing through Panama will be on April 7 and the first service through Suez will be a week later, the company said in an e-mail statement.
Some more:
Fees for ships to go through the Panama Canal have tripled in the past five years to $450,000 per passage for a vessel carrying 4,500 containers, Skou said. The distance from China to the U.S. east coast via the Suez Canal is about 4 percent to 5 percent more, he said.
Tripled??? Talk about pricing yourselves out of business. I did not realize that the two routes were so close in distance.
From Natural News:
Wind farms are net carbon dioxide emitters
Large British wind farms will actually release as much carbon dioxide as fossil-fuel power plants, according to a study conducted by researchers from Aberdeen University and published in the journal Nature.

The source of the emissions is not the windmills themselves, but the land on which they are being constructed.

"Much of the cheap land being targeted by developers desperate to cash in on wind farm subsidies is peat land in remote wild land areas of the UK," said Helen McDade of the John Muir Trust.
Some more:
The uplands of Great Britain, where conditions are generally thought to be ideal for wind farms, consist largely of peat soil; indeed, two-thirds of Scottish onshore wind farms (and half of those in Great Britain) are slated for bogs and other peat land.

The peat contained in these areas hold at least 3.2 billion tons of carbon, making it one of the most important carbon sinks on the planet.
More:
Peat retains its carbon only when kept in its natural damp, boggy condition. But the development that goes along with big energy projects, from roads and rails to the windmills themselves, damages the peat and disrupts the flow of water, causing massive carbon dioxide release.

And while the wind industry claims that it constructs "floating roads" (made of rocks piled atop fabric) to prevent just such degradation, scientists dismiss such measures as symbolic.

"Peat has less solids in it than milk," Lindsay said. "The roads inevitably sink, that then causes huge areas of peat land to dry out and the carbon is released."
Schadenfreude... All actions have consequences and when you make an impact in one area, other stuff is going to manifest. The world is a complex place. My word for the day: Thorium
Of course, the people promoting this garbage will never be called to task for these unnecessary deaths. From the UK Telegraph:
Hypothermia deaths double over five years
Figures revealed that 1,876 patients were treated in hospital for the condition in 2010/11, an increase from 950 in 2006/07.

The number who died within 30 days of being admitted rose from 135 to 260.

Three quarters of those admitted to hospital with hypothermia were over-60s, with cases rising among that age group more than any other � from 633 to 1,396.

The statistics, released by the NHS Information Centre, cover a period in which soaring energy bills have been pushing more and more pensioners into fuel poverty � meaning they are forced to choose between heating and eating.
A bit more:
A survey by Age UK last month found half of pensioners had turned their heating down to save money even when they were not warm enough, with many so cold that they go to bed before they are tired or stay in one room, to keep bills down.
This is just disgusting. The stupid 'green energy' projects get huge government subsidies all the while people are freezing in their homes. The older people paid a lifetime of taxes to support the system and this system pisses their money away on useless 'solutions' to a non-existent problem...

Urrrrrppp...

God that was good -- smoking the short-ribs before cooking them added a really nice component to the flavor profile. Veges came out perfectly.

We are both totally stuffed and there are several days worth of leftovers...

Our State Senate

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The Democrats in our State Senate have been playing some dirty pool. From the Washington State Wire:
When Republican Senator Leaves to Nurse Child, Dems Take Advantage � Power Play Stirs Outrage
When state Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, left the Senate floor Tuesday to nurse her newborn son, Senate Democrats didn�t miss a beat.

Immediately they moved to take over the chamber
Some more:
During a mid-afternoon session, as the Senate was debating a routine series of bills, Holmquist Newbry left the floor to care for her four-month-old son Makaio, who had been brought to the women�s lounge off the Senate floor. Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, moved to excuse Holmquist Newbry from voting. That meant the majority coalition had 24 votes, not 25, and they were tied at least temporarily with the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, took advantage of the moment. He rose to demand an immediate vote on a bill sponsored by a Democrat that did not appear on the afternoon schedule.

The unusual motion quieted the chamber. Members rushed to their seats. Frockt demanded a roll-call vote. The assumption was that Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, a Democrat, would cast a tiebreaking vote to advance the bill to the floor.

Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus voted yes as their names were called. Members of the Majority Coalition Caucus voted no. And just in time, Holmquist Newbry emerged from the lounge to cast her vote. The motion failed 25-24.
A class act. Of course, the Republicans could do the same thing whenever a Dem went to the bathroom but that wouldn't be sporting. We have a slender majority and need to capture more positions in 2014.

Starting dinner

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Spent the last two days brining some short-ribs and had them in the smoker all this morning. Just put them in the dutch oven for a two hour boil. Made a pound of mustard two weeks ago and that has mellowed out nicely in the fridge. Dinner should be a good one... Turner Classic Movies are running a bunch of Irish-themed films so Lulu and I are kicking back and enjoying a quiet day at home.

Sensitive detection

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Quite the detector - from Chicago's CBS affiliate:
Feds Swarm Metra Train After Detecting Nuclear Risk
It was stunning for those who watched Thursday night as federal agents investigated a possible nuclear threat at Chicago�s Ogilvie Transportation Center.

CBS 2′s photojournalist Lana Hinshaw-Klann happened to be at the scene and used a cell-phone camera to record agents in action. Reporter Dave Savini looks into what agents were looking for and what they found.

Sources say the agents were members of the elite TSA VIPR team on the 5:04pm Union Pacific West line. They were carrying hand-held nuclear-detection devices that picked up a reading.
And the source?
Jerry Jones, a Chicago lawyer, was heading home on that train. He says the federal officers narrowed the trouble to the area where he was sitting.

�I had no idea I was the center of the activity,� he says.

The special security team must have picked up on him as he entered the station and walked up the stairs, Jones says. Little did he know a nuclear stress test he had at a hospital earlier in the day had set off silent alarms and sent security scurrying.

The TSA team passed by him several times before ending up on his train car. Finally, he got a clue when an agent questioned the man right next to him and asked, �Sir, do you have an explanation as to why I am getting a high isotope reading on your bag?��

�The fellow�s jaw dropped,� Jones said.

Once the agent said the word �isotope,� Jones says he realized he was the one they were looking for. He raised his hand to say he had a nuclear stress test.

The tests can leave patients emitting radiation for some time. After showing identification and proof of the nuclear test, Jones and the other passengers were allowed to go on their way.
I cannot imagine the kind of detector that could pick up the radiation from so far away. The most common isotope used in Cardiac Stress Tests is Thallium 201 which is a gamma emitter so the distance is not a factor but the amount of radiation is so small that detecting it from 20 feet away through bodies and the train walls is quite the feat. Curious that they are monitoring subway trains...

Woonsocket, Rhode Island

A look at a dystopian community where one third of its citizens are on food stamps. From The Washington Post:
Food stamps put Rhode Island town on monthly boom-and-bust cycle
The economy of Woonsocket was about to stir to life. Delivery trucks were moving down river roads, and stores were extending their hours. The bus company was warning riders to anticipate �heavy traffic.� A community bank, soon to experience a surge in deposits, was rolling a message across its electronic marquee on the night of Feb. 28: �Happy shopping! Enjoy the 1st.�

In the heart of downtown, Miguel Pichardo, 53, watched three trucks jockey for position at the loading dock of his family-run International Meat Market. For most of the month, his business operated as a humble milk-and-eggs corner store, but now 3,000 pounds of product were scheduled for delivery in the next few hours. He wiped the front counter and smoothed the edges of a sign posted near his register. �Yes! We take Food Stamps, SNAP, EBT!�

�Today, we fill the store up with everything,� he said. �Tomorrow, we sell it all.�

At precisely one second after midnight, on March 1, Woonsocket would experience its monthly financial windfall � nearly $2 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. Federal money would be electronically transferred to the broke residents of a nearly bankrupt town, where it would flow first into grocery stores and then on to food companies, employees and banks, beginning the monthly cycle that has helped Woonsocket survive.

Three years into an economic recovery, this is the lasting scar of collapse: a federal program that began as a last resort for a few million hungry people has grown into an economic lifeline for entire towns. Spending on SNAP has doubled in the past four years and tripled in the past decade, surpassing $78 billion last year. A record 47 million Americans receive the benefit � including 13,752 in Woonsocket, one-third of the town�s population, where the first of each month now reveals twin shortcomings of the U.S. economy:

So many people are forced to rely on government support.

The government is forced to support so many people.
The solution to these problems is so simple that it is criminal that the government isn't doing something. But that would require some giving up of Federal Power and we all know how that will play out...

Obama and alt.energy

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From Willis Eschenbach at Watts Up With That:
Obama By-Passes Gas
President Obama continues his Global War on Cheap Energy�, this time under the guise of avoiding �spikes� in gasoline (petrol) prices. He wants to pass gas without regrets and move post-haste to electricity and biofuels, although both are more expensive than gasoline and diesel for road and rail transport. According to the Associated Press, in a speech at the Argonne National Laboratories Obama said:
The only way to break this cycle of spiking gas prices � the only way to break that cycle for good � is to shift our cars entirely, our cars and trucks, off oil.
Let me start by saying that I�m greatly encouraged to hear that Obama has solved the problem of price variation in capitalist societies. It�s simple. Are you like me, bothered by gas prices going up and down, tired of seeing peaks and valleys in the cost of gasoline, fed up with price spikes because of e.g. unregulated speculation in commodities? The answer is obvious.

Stop using gas.
A bit more:
It�s bad news because the way he plans to get past spiking gas prices is to go to high, constant alternative fuel prices, higher than even the spikes of today. And just as he promised � no spikes. The high prices, just like the outrageous thirty-cent per kilowatt-hours electricity prices in California resulting from this same kind of backwards thinking, get locked in by long-term contracts.

No more price spikes. What�s not to like?

Unfortunately, the brilliant Obama plan is the same trademarked plan the Government always seems to have, to wit:

THROW MONEY AT THE PROBLEM�

In this case, it�s two BILLION dollars. With a B. If your family had started a business when Christ was born and made a million dollars profit per year, a huge sum of money, imagine what that could buy, you�d have been millionaires � well, after two thousand long years of running your business, stacking up a million bucks every year, year after slow year, centuries pass, finally a millennium. You�re still running the business, more years go by, dark ages and renaissance and finally, ten centuries after the first endless millennium, right about now you�d be hitting two billion in total profits.

Now imagine what that could buy. It is a huge sum of money.
Willis looks back 30 years to when the next-to-the-worst President was facing the same issues and dealing with them the same way. Carter established the Department of Energy and what has that done for us??? A longish but excellent read. Wonderful stuff...

Barry's latest little junket

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From Investors Business Daily:
Obama flies a 747 to Chicago to tout his fuel-saving plan
President Obama's weekly remarks
Hi, everybody. As a nation, our top priority is growing our economy and creating good middle class jobs. That�s why this week I�m speaking to you from the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, because few areas hold as much promise as what they�re focused on right here � harnessing American energy.

You see, after years of talking about it, we�re finally poised to take control of our energy future. We produce more oil than we have in 15 years. We import less oil than we have in 20 years. We�ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar � with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it.
Let's see: We produce more oil than we have in 15 years -- all the increase is from private development on private lands. Obama has essentially shut down new drilling offshore or on Federal lands. We import less oil than we have in 20 years -- yeah, your Economy sucks big-time -- people cannot afford to do casual driving. Plus, with the underwater job market, fewer people are commuting to work. We�ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar � with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it -- none of which is economically viable without huge government subsidies. All of this is making the cost of energy skyrocket. One kilowatt/hour from a nuke or hydro plant costs about 6�. One kilowatt/hour from wind or solar is about 30� Air Force One costs $181,757 per hour to fly. Figure three hours airtime, we are looking at a cool $1,090,542 for the six hour round trip. This is not counting the cost of the ground security detail. Our dollars -- we taxpayers are paying for his endless campaigning...

Pot meet Kettle - Detroit

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From The Detroit News:
Records show Detroit's emergency manager has tax liens on his Maryland home
The man charged with fixing Detroit's faltering finances has been hit with four liens in four years from the state of Maryland for unpaid taxes, records show.

State records show Kevyn D. Orr, who was appointed emergency manager on Thursday, has two outstanding liens on his $1 million home in Chevy Chase, Md., for $16,000 in unemployment taxes in 2010 and 2011. Two other liens of more than $16,000 in unemployment and income taxes were satisfied in 2010 and 2011, records show.
A bit more:
Critics of the emergency manager said the liens are troubling, since Orr is tasked with improving tax collections. The Detroit News reported last month that only 53 percent of homeowners paid property taxes last year, leaving $246.5 million uncollected for Detroit and other governments. City records estimate that, in 2011, Detroit collected $32 million less in income taxes than it was owed.
Very strange -- I don't know about Maryland but I know that Washington State will contact you a number of times before setting a lien against your property. For Orr to say:
"I don't know what they are," Orr said, as his new boss, Gov. Rick Snyder, sat next to him in The News' offices. "That's surprising to me, to be honest."
Is highly improbable if not out and out lying. Pants on fire...
Great move on his part -- from the Associated Press:
Pope Francis reaches out to Jews
Like his predecessor, Pope Francis reached out to Rome's Jewish community at the very start of his pontificate, pledging to continue to strengthen the increasingly close ties between Catholics and Jews.

Just hours after he was elected the first Latin American pope in history, Francis sent a letter to Rome's chief Rabbi Riccardo di Segni, saying he hoped to "contribute to the progress that relations between Jews and Catholics" have seen since the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council.

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, di Segni said the dialogue between Catholicism and Judaism was "complicated" but added that the new pope's background "gives me trust and hope" that relations will continue to improve.

Other Jewish leaders welcomed the election of a pontiff seen as an ally when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires. Israeli President Shimon Peres said Francis would be a "welcome guest in the Holy Land" while Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, said the new pope "always had an open ear for our concerns."
Very cool - Israel needs all the help she can get these days what with Obama being openly hostile and giving military and financial aid to Israel's declared enemies.

Dr. Benjamin Carson - a two-fer

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First, from National Review Online:
Carson: Obama Trying to �Destroy the Country�
Dr. Benjamin Carson, the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital who garnered national headlines for his pointed remarks at last month�s National Prayer Breakfast, says that President Obama and his political allies are trying to �destroy the country.�

�Let�s say somebody were [in the White House] and they wanted to destroy this nation,� Carson postulated in remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference. �I would create division among the people, encourage a culture of ridicule for basic morality and the principles that made and sustained the country, undermine the financial stability of the nation, and weaken and destroy the military. It appears coincidentally that those are the very things that are happening right now.�
Next, from The Washington Post:
Ben Carson announces retirement, feeds presidential speculation
Ben Carson, an emerging star in the conservative movement since his National Prayer Breakfast speech last month, fed into increasing speculation Saturday that he could run for president.

Carson announced at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he would retire from his medical practice in the coming months and then suggested something else was on the horizon.

�I want to quit while I�m at the top of my game, and there are so many more things that could be done,� the 61-year old said as the crowd rose to its feet.
A bit more:
�Let�s say you magically put me in the White House,� he said. The crowd rose and gave him another ovation.
He would be an amazing President -- we really need an adult in that office.

Taxing California

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From NewsBusters:
Bill Maher on California Income Taxes: 'Liberals - You Could Actually Lose Me'
Bill Maher made a comment Friday that his benefactor and hero Barack Obama should sit up and take notice of.

Speaking about the taxes the rich pay particularly in California, the host of HBO's Real Time said, "Liberals - you could actually lose me"

The panel discussion began with a conversation about the various budget proposals currently on the table in Washington.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow predictably slammed Congressman Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) plan.

"The Ryan budget is a document that says the big problems in America right now are that rich people do not have enough money," she mocked. "They need relief from confiscatory tax rates."

"Well," Maher unsuccessfully tried to interrupt as Maddow continued. When she was finally done, he surprisingly pushed back.

Pointing at Virginia's former Republican Congressman Tom Davis, Maher said, "You know what? Rich people - I'm sure you'd agree with this - actually do pay the freight in this country."

"I just saw these statistics," he continued, "I mean, something like 70 percent. And here in California, I just want to say liberals - you could actually lose me. It's outrageous what we're paying - over 50 percent. I'm willing to pay my share, but yeah, it's ridiculous."

So it appears there is a point where Maher's money becomes more important than his politics.

Consider that in California, millionaires on top of the 39.6 percent they'll pay to the federal government in 2013, there's an additional 14.63 percent that now goes to the state.

Add in payroll taxes, local taxes, and property taxes, and I've seen estimates that the total tax bite could exceed 60 percent here.

But the rich aren't paying their "fair share."
Like the saying goes, a Liberal is just a Conservative who hasn't been mugged yet.

Saint Patrick's Day Aurora?

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Look up tomorrow evening. A large Coronal Mass Ejection was ejected from the sun yesterday from sunspot AR1692. Supposed to hit Earth tomorrow evening sometime -- excellent opportunity for an aurora. Tomorrow is forecast rain showers (snow possible) so I will probably miss this (as well as missing Comet PANSTARRS. Grumble...
Lulu and I are heading off to the Home and Garden show in a few minutes. More posting later today. Whoops! Checked the calender and that was last weekend -- spending a quiet day at home. I have to run into the feed store for rolled ration for the Llamas.

Our Royal President

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L'�tat, c'est moi -- from The Daily Caller:
Obama couldn�t eat at Hill meeting without food �taster�
Following President Obama�s lunch meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill, Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins described the food served and said the president was not able to eat since his �taster� was not present.

�University of Maine recipe for healthy lobster salad � I pointed that out to the president in keeping with the first lady�s initiatives and Fox Family Potato Chips made in Aroostook County where I�m from and wild blueberry pie full of anti-oxidants, see this was a healthy lunch as well. We did have a little ice cream on the pie too, also made in Maine, Gifford�s Ice Cream. So in all seriousness this was well received,� Collins told reporters on Thursday after the meeting at the Capitol.

�Unfortunately, you know, the president can�t,� said Collins when asked if Obama ate at the lunch meeting.

�He looked longingly at it,� Collins continued. �He honestly did look longingly at it, but apparently he has to have essentially a taster, and I pointed out to him that we were all tasters for him, that if the food had been poisoned all of us would have keeled over so, but he did look longingly at it and he remarked that we have far better food than the Democrats do, and I said that was because I was hosting.�
Unreal... If this shit happens in a foreign nation, that would be a diplomatic slap in the face.

New England Boiled Dinner

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A lot of people will be having Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. The Irish do not eat Corned (or otherwise) Beef -- it was too expensive for them, the beef was sold to the English. What is eaten here is nothing more than a traditional New England Boiled Dinner. Here is a good recipe -- New England Boiled Dinner I was at Costco the other day and their briskets were pretty well picked over, nothing caught my eye. I picked up a couple pounds of short-ribs and they are sitting in brine out in the Garage. Yummy!!! Bought enough so there will be left-overs for sandwiches...

Hollywood clueless

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From The Washington Times:
Sacred mystery: Blockbuster ratings for �The Bible� confound Hollywood
Sure, it�s easy to criticize Hollywood, but try to remember that the entertainment industry today is an intellectually demanding environment, fraught with cognitively challenging, even intractable, questions, like, to take one recent example: How can the cable mini-series �The Bible� be such a ratings hit when there is no audience for overtly religious entertainment programming?

According to the latest Nielsens, released Tuesday, Sunday night�s telecast of �The Bible,� produced by husband-and-wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for basic cable�s History channel, managed to attract more viewers than anything on broadcast network NBC � during the entire week.

The second installment of this five-part mini-series airing at 8-10 p.m. Sundays through Easter � the first foray into scripted drama for �Survivor� creator Burnett � drew 10.8 million viewers, good for number one in its timeslot and number 11 overall for the week.

Even bigger was part one the week before, which amassed an audience of 13.1 million viewers, cable�s largest of the year. That series premiere topped the ratings for both of the week�s episodes of �American Idol.� (Not the first time the Almighty has bested idols in head-to-head competition in this ancient rivalry � but, still, an impressive feat, even if Fox�s longtime ratings juggernaut is showing signs of slippage.)
I'll have to set the DVR -- don't watch much television (Food Channel or CSpan if anything) I wonder if the producers in Hollywood will take a hint...

Supporting our veterans

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The administration is gutting the military but it's not just hardware being cut. From The Washington Free Beacon:
Trashing Tricare
The Obama administration�s proposed defense budget calls for military families and retirees to pay sharply more for their healthcare, while leaving unionized civilian defense workers� benefits untouched. The proposal is causing a major rift within the Pentagon, according to U.S. officials. Several congressional aides suggested the move is designed to increase the enrollment in Obamacare�s state-run insurance exchanges.

The disparity in treatment between civilian and uniformed personnel is causing a backlash within the military that could undermine recruitment and retention.

The proposed increases in health care payments by service members, which must be approved by Congress, are part of the Pentagon�s $487 billion cut in spending. It seeks to save $1.8 billion from the Tricare medical system in the fiscal 2013 budget, and $12.9 billion by 2017.

Many in Congress are opposing the proposed changes, which would require the passage of new legislation before being put in place.
We are asking these wonderful men and women for their service, promising them specific benefits when they retire and this administration is trying to pull the rug out from underneath their feet. Obama is a clueless dip-shit.

Holy Crap - major lightning storm

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The last ten minutes have been quite the light-show. Today was dry but very humid and unseasonably warm -- temps to 58� at the farm. All hell just broke loose starting with a sudden downpour and then the lightning. Fun stuff -- got a couple candles lit in case the power goes out. Haven't seen this much lightning at the farm for a long long time.

Geothermal

From Bloomberg:

A Quiet Breakthrough in Geothermal Energy
Not a lot of startups tackle the field of geothermal power, which entails tapping into hot rocks deep in the earth to produce energy and electricity. That's because it can be an expensive proposition, and can require extensive permits and environmental reports. But a rare startup called AltaRock Energy has recently delivered a promising breakthrough that it says can lead to the commercialization of its next-generation geothermal technology.

AltaRock Energy - which has backing from venture capitalists, as well as Google and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's investment firm - has been working on enhanced (sometimes called engineered) geothermal tech. This technology drills wells deep into the ground, injects them with cold water to fracture the hot rocks, and creates a geothermal source of power where none was naturally occurring. Traditional geothermal systems, in contrast, tap into naturally occurring geothermal reservoirs (you know, the kind you see on the side of the road in Yellowstone National Park).

They are running a test plant near Bend, Oregon and are looking at up to 100GW of energy available in the United States -- equivalent of about 100 conventional power plants.

From the Pointman:
Well, at least one of the bastards is behind bars
It�s been a very big week in the war against climate alarmism. FOIA revealed the password, which now gives access to all the emails contained in the CG2 release. Given that the archive contains something like 220,000 emails, you can expect a bit of a lull on the blogging front, simply because there�s a lot of reading going on, rather than writing.

Given such excitement, it�s easy to understand why the other big news event of the week barely got a mention.

That was Mr. Chris Huhne, starting a prison sentence. If you perhaps don�t know his name, he was the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Under his direction, the UK adopted massively expensive renewable energy policies, which have pushed nearly a third of households into fuel poverty. Just recently, pensioner organisations have estimated this Winter�s death toll among the elderly will top 26,000 people by the end of March, simply because they can no longer afford heating or are self-rationing it down to dangerous levels.
It wasn't a climate issue that put Mr. Huhne behind bars -- it was lying about a traffic infraction. Still, it's a start. The people who started this scam and who promoted it despite knowing that it was a fraud need to be called to task for their misdeeds...

Senator Feinstein in the news again

Her rant yesterday is legendary stupid. Now, her widdle feelings are hurt -- from Mediaite:
Dianne Feinstein Tells Wolf Blitzer She �Felt Patronized� By �Arrogant� Ted Cruz During Senate Gun Debate
Thursday afternoon on CNN, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) discussed the fiery debate with colleague Ted Cruz (R-TX) over gun control legislation that occurred earlier this morning during a Senate committee hearing. Feinstein told Wolf Blitzer she �felt patronized� by the �arrogant� junior senator and had to take some time to cool off afterward.

Asked by Blitzer to explain what happened, Feinstein said, �Well, I just felt patronized. I felt he was somewhat arrogant about it.� She elaborated on how her personal experience with gun violence shaped her reaction to Cruz�s objections to stricter gun measures and impromptu lesson on the Bill of Rights. �When you come from where I�ve come from and what you�ve seen, when you found a dead body and put your finger in bullet holes, you really realize the impact of weapons.�
The bullet holes she 'stuck her finger' in was 30 years ago -- Moscone and Milk. She needs to get over this; get some therapy. Or stop milking a 30-year-old murder. Where is her outrage over the 500 poor citizens murdered in Chicago last year?

Fallout from Obama's Sequester

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All those illegal immigrants that were released from jail because of Obama's sequester? From The Washington Times:
Sequester do-over: Feds recaptured 4 immigrants released under budget cuts
The Obama administration said Thursday it had rearrested and brought back four of the most dangerous immigrants it released from detention last month in the run-up to the budget sequestration.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton testified to Congress that his agency released 10 �level one� offenders, and has gone out and apprehended four of them. He said the other six are nonviolent.

Mr. Morton also acknowledged that overall, 2,228 immigrants were released � far more than the several hundred the agency had initially acknowledged. Of those, 629 had criminal records, though Mr. Morton said they were low-level offenders.

The releases have drawn a stern rebuke from Republicans, who said it showed mismanaged priorities. They also said ICE�s concession that it released far more immigrants than it first acknowledged dents the agency�s credibility.
A good example of a department that needs a thorough cleaning. Throw them all out and start over...

Susan Rice's Dissertation

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Susan Rice is the US Ambassador to the United Nations and has a long long track record of stupidity culminating in her surreal display during the Benghazi scandal. From Charles C. Johnson writing at The Blaze:
We Uncovered a Copy of Susan Rice�s College Dissertation � And It Could Reveal a Lot About Her Foreign Policy
In a 1990 dissertation while she was at Oxford, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice praised the 1979-1980 British peacekeeping operation that led to the rule of Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe, as �a model and a masterpiece in the evolution of international peacekeeping� missions while journalists on the ground were condemning Mugabe�s mass murder of political opponents and dictatorial control.

The previously unseen 426-page dissertation, �The Commonwealth Initiative in Zimbabwe, 1979-1980: Implications for International Peacekeeping,� sheds new insights into Rice�s foreign policy thinking, especially when it comes to Africa and Zimbabwe.

Writing on the heels of the controversial 1980 election that saw Robert Mugabe�s Marxist party come to power, Rice praised Mugabe�s role, even going so far as to compliment him for the considerable military restraint he had shown in an election contest he was all but certain to win.
Explains a lot...
Senator Dianne Feinstein at the height of her rhetorical prowess:
I�m not a sixth grader. Senator, I�ve been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. I�ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I�ve seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered. Look, there are other weapons.
Really Senator? "bullets that implode" Really Senator? "youngsters were dismembered" Full transcript from Doug Ross Post title from here. The Senior Senator from California is unhinged...

Obama's travel

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From Politico:
Obama and Biden abroad at the same time?
With Vice President Joe Biden attending the pope's investiture in Rome Tuesday and President Obama leaving for the Middle East the same day, there is potential for a very rare occurrence: That both may be out of the country at the same time.
280+ comments but oldollie said it best:
Quick, change the locks!

Happy 134th Birthday Albert

Albert Einstein was born on this day back in 1879.

I was four years old when my Father came home in a state of shock saying that Einstein had died (Dad was a Physics Professor and textbook author). I didn't quite know who Einstein was but the impact that this had on both my parents (Mom was a Nuclear Chemist) has stuck with me to this day...

Back from town

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Ran into town for a few things -- Lulu is spending two days in B'Ham with her son and will be back out on Saturday. Working on some financial stuff and the #@$% video computer...

BillG - please do not go there

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From The Daily Caller:
Bill Gates: �Some days I wish we had a system like the UK� to give Obama more power
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the wealthiest American, said on �some days� he wishes the U.S. political system were like England�s, so that President Barack Obama could have �slightly more power.�

Gates was asked for his assessment of President Obama�s job performance during an interview at Politico�s �Playbook Cocktails� event.

�Some days I wish we had a system like the U.K. where, you know, the party in power could do a lot and you know, you�d see how it went and then fine you could un-elect them,� said Gates on Wednesday.

�Now, over time, our system has worked slightly better than theirs, theirs has worked okay but so it�s ironic that right now it feels like I wish there was slightly more power in the presidency to avoid some of these deadlocks. So I think what he [Obama] wants to do and what he�s actually able to do, the gap is so big there that it�s hard to know in some ways.�
Bill -- if you do not see Obama for what he is, you need to back away from the public stage. Really.
From Seattle station KOMO:
Washington Senate passes Inslee's climate bill
The Washington state Senate on Wednesday advanced a measure championed by Gov. Jay Inslee to study the best practices for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the measure, an outside consultant would review both Washington state's ongoing efforts to cut carbon emissions and similar endeavors elsewhere. It would then report back to the governor and legislative leaders.

As passed by the Senate, language warning of the perils of climate change was struck from the measure. Supporters say the bill would help the state reach its target of reducing 2020 greenhouse gas emissions levels to those of 1990.

The measure "has the ability to improve the state's energy independence and competitiveness and grow many sectors of our economy," said Democratic Sen. Kevin Ranker of Orcas Island, the bill sponsor.

Also speaking in favor of the bill was Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen of Whatcom County, who said it would help the state identify how to reduce carbon emissions in "the most cost-effective fashion possible."

The bill passed by a vote of 37-12, with two Democrats and 10 Republicans voting against.

The only lawmaker speaking against the bill during the floor debate was Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, a former high school science teacher and climate science skeptic.

"I think there's a lot of pseudoscience here," said Carrell, who questioned the causal link between carbon dioxide emissions and rising global temperatures. "I have no problem with the earth warming right now."
WTF? I voted for Sen. Doug Ericksen -- will be sending his office a letter today or tomorrow. This is abject stupidity.

A Papal two-fer

I am liking this guy -- from the Associated Press:

Pope Francis' humility: stops by hotel to pay bill
Pope Francis put his humility on display during his first day as pontiff Thursday, stopping by his hotel to pick up his luggage and pay the bill himself in a decidedly different style of papacy than his tradition-minded predecessor, who tended to stay ensconced in the frescoed halls of the Vatican.

The break from Benedict XVI's pontificate was evident even in Francis' wardrobe choices: He kept the simple pectoral cross of his days as bishop and eschewed the red cape that Benedict wore when he was presented to the world for the first time in 2005 - choosing instead the simple white cassock of the papacy.

The difference in style was a sign of Francis' belief that the Catholic Church needs to be at one with the people it serves and not imposing its message on a society that often doesn't want to hear it, Francis' authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press.

"It seems to me for now what is certain is it's a great change of style, which for us isn't a small thing," Rubin said, recalling how the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio would celebrate Masses with ex-prostitutes in Buenos Aires.

"He believes the church has to go to the streets," he said, "to express this closeness of the church and this accompaniment with the people who suffer."

Francis began his first day as pope making an early morning visit in a simple Vatican car to a Roman basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary and prayed before an icon of the Madonna.

He had told a crowd of some 100,000 people packed in rain-soaked St. Peter's Square just after his election that he intended to pray to the Madonna "that she may watch over all of Rome."

Next up -- His Holiness is having an effect on the internet. From Arizona station KTAR:

The pope dominates Go Daddy
Not even the Internet stood unaffected by the announcement of the new pope.

According to GoDaddy.com Public Relations Specialist Kari Amarosso, 479 new domains were registered in relation to the pope within the first hour of the announcement of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I.

Strangely enough, a domain under the name of PopeFrancis.com was already registered in April 2010.

Keywords that were to identify the new domains were pope, Francis, Bergoglio, and Habemus Papam.

Minor nit -- His Holiness is not Pope Francis I, he is Pope Francis. At some point down the road, if another Pope takes the name of Francis, that Pope will be Pope Francis II.

Happy Pi Day

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Once again, we celebrate Pi day. March 14 = 3/14 = 3.14 = π

More carbon dioxide stupidity

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The Gas of Life certainly has its share of detractors. This just in from the World Wildlife Fund:
Nobel Prize-Winning Economists Urge President Obama to Address Carbon Emissions from Aviation
A group of 32 leading economists, including 8 Nobel Prize winners and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) board member Dr. Robert Litterman, is urging President Barack Obama to adopt a global market-based measure to reduce carbon emissions from the aviation sector.

Unregulated carbon emissions from the aviation sector currently are a large and growing source of the greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to global climate change.

The open letter states that: �Pricing carbon in the aviation sector will incentivize appropriate investments and changes in operations that would reduce future greenhouse gas emissions. If climate change is to be slowed appreciably at tolerable cost, it is wise to use the market to provide incentives for individuals and firms to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.�
Emphasis mine -- they don't give a flying crap about the environment. Our minders just think that we need more regulation -- it's for our own good as we are too stupid to know anything about Carbon Dioxide. No, this is about grabbing power and consolidating it at the top where a few people can get very very rich meanwhile driving up the cost of travel and shipping for everyone else. They do this in the name of the poor people but these are the very people that will get hurt the most as these meddlesome asshats grab more and more power.

An interesting shift in the wind

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First, from February 23rd of this year:
A modest proposal re: The Boston Globe
A great idea from Da Tech Guy:
The Right should buy the Boston Globe�and staff it with conservatives
There has been a lot of talk about what conservatives need to do in order to get their message out to the low information voter. These are the voters who don�t pay attention to the news, don�t watch cable or read blogs much but do read general magazines while waiting at the doctor, who do hear CNN in the background in airports or at their local bar and restaurant.
The problem is those background noises are filled with liberal pap.
Today, from the Chicago Tribune:
Koch Brothers eye L.A. Times, other Tribune newspapers: sources
Charles and David Koch, two of the world's richest men, are interested in Tribune's newspaper assets, which include the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, according to sources familiar with situation.

Earlier on Tuesday, L.A. Weekly reported that the Koch brothers were rumored to be interested in either all of the Tribune company, which includes 23 TV stations and national cable network WGN American, or the Tribune newspapers. The report also cited "another rumor" from a Los Angeles Times editorial board member that the Koch brothers are helping U-T San Diego newspaper owner Doug Manchester finance a bid.
The delightful soft popping sound of lefties heads exploding. It would be fun to have what Da TechGuy talked about:
  • Imagine a Movie section where the liberal themes of a picture were noted and tweaked while the conservative themes were highlighted and celebrated.
  • Imagine a culture section where events of a conservative nature were celebrated while liberals pressed to get the press.
  • Imagine reviews of plays with conservative themes getting web space and print space and liberal themes hoping for a line or two.
  • Imagine stories in the Sunday section celebrating historic places, people and sites that highlight America’s conservative History or people who are conservative doing great things for the community.
  • Imagine a whole slew of conservative Journalists cutting their teeth of straight news instead of news with a liberal spin, imagine the farm team it would create.
  • Imagine an editorial page giving conservative opinion day after day after day.
  • And imagine a web site ranked in the top 1500 worldwide and top 350 nationally, a web site that local papers around New England draw stories from giving that public conservative thought as background noise in the same way that liberals have done for ages.
Hell yeah!

Climate Change Derangement Syndrome

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I love it -- just ordered it from Amazon -- April 22nd release date. From Peter Foster, writing at Ontario's Financial Post comes this wonderful review:
Deranged science, perverse policy
In his brilliant new book, The Age of Global Warming, British writer Rupert Darwall notes a phenomenon known as �climate change derangement syndrome.� The phenomenon was on prominent display this week when NDP leader Tom Mulcair went to Washington.

It wasn�t just that Mr. Mulcair�s attack on the climate policies of Stephen Harper was diplomatically inappropriate, or that his support for the recent New York Times anti-Keystone XL editorial was fatuous, it was that Mr. Mulcair�s stance made absolutely no sense if he is truly concerned about the welfare of Canadians � or indeed humanity as a whole.

Mr. Mulcair criticized Mr. Harper for pulling out of Kyoto, but is he even aware that the Americans never signed on to Kyoto in the first place? To find out why, Mr. Mulcair badly needs to read Mr. Darwall�s book, which provides a thoroughly researched and lucidly written account of the truly amazing cultural, scientific and political background to the dominant global political issue of our age, at least until the subprime crisis came along.

The book should profoundly embarrass virtually the entire global scientific community, either for actively supporting the political corruption of science, or for standing silently by while it happened � although the consequences of speaking out shouldn�t be underestimated. As Mr. Darwall observes, skeptics �needed to be crushed and dissent de-legitimized. They were stooges of oil companies and fossil fuel interests, free market ideologues, or climate change deniers.�

Nobody foresaw the technocratic danger than emerged with the climate issue better than U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower. Most people are aware of Ike�s warning in 1961 about the military-industrial complex. Less quoted is his observation that �In holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.�
A nice excerpt from the book can be found at the Financial Post here. Looking forward to the book.

Fiskar calls it quits

From Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge:

Founder Of Federally-Subsidized Electric Car Fisker Calls It Quits
It turns out that when peddling a flaming paperweight (recall "Total Karma Recall: Fisker Pulls All Cars Due To Fire Risk", "As Another Fisker Karma Spontaneously Combusts, "Green" Dreams Go Up In Smoke" and of course "Fisker Karma Is First Car To Burn Underwater"), even if it is a very pretty and streamline paperweight, not even $529 million (or perhaps due to) in government subsidies can lead to a Hollywood ending and everlasting prosperity. As the WSJ reports, "The founder and executive chairman of electric-car start up Fisker Automotive Inc. said he resigned Wednesday because of "disagreements" over business strategy with the ailing company's management." The founder, "said in an email sent to a small number of journalists that has "left the company." Reached by phone, Mr. Fisker confirmed that he sent the email and that he had resigned."
Fisker Automotive is the maker of the Karma, a battery-powered luxury sports that sells for about $100,000. It received backing from the U.S. government but ran into technical and financial troubles stemming from both the Karma and a second model that was supposed to be built at a former General Motors Co. plant in Delaware.

In recent weeks, Fisker management has been looking into selling the company, weighing bids including a $350 million offer from China's Dongfeng Motor Corp.
It remains to be seen now that the business is in terminal disarray if any of the taxpayer cash used to prop up yet another spurious "green" venture will be clawed back. We doubt it.

More of our tax dollars wasted.

First they took our hope

Now they are coming after our change -- from Reuters:
EXCLUSIVE - U.S. to let spy agencies scour Americans' finances
The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.

The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates.

Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of "suspicious customer activity," such as large money transfers or unusually structured bank accounts, to Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation already has full access to the database. However, intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, currently have to make case-by-case requests for information to FinCEN.

The Treasury plan would give spy agencies the ability to analyze more raw financial data than they have ever had before, helping them look for patterns that could reveal attack plots or criminal schemes.

The planning document, dated March 4, shows that the proposal is still in its early stages of development, and it is not known when implementation might begin.
Hat tip to Slashdot for the link to this story. Wasn't Obama's initial campaign based on increased transparency? I guess he meant for Federal Agents to see our personal lives with transparency and not the other way around.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Emphasis mine -- these people need to be removed from office if they cannot uphold the very Constitution that they swore to protect and uphold when they took office.

Hell no - Hillary and Michelle

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From The Washington Examiner:
2016 Hillary-Michelle 'Dream Ticket' floated
Hillary Clinton hasn't stepped into the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries yet and there's already buzz growing for the ultimate grrl power ticket: Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama.

"All due respect for President Obama and Vice President Biden, but that would truly be a dream team for America," said former Clinton spokeswoman Karen Finney. "Both women are proven effective leaders who've raise children, so dealing with Congress would be a snap!" added Finney, also a former Democratic Party spokeswoman.
They. Can. Not. Be. Serious. Ms. Clinton would not be the worst of choices but Queen Michelle?

Climategate - 3.0

Back in November of 2009, a zip file was released through a Russian download wares site. That file contained over 60MB of numerical data and programs as well as 1,073 emails that had been harvested from private communications between the most prominent climate researchers. They appeared to have come from England's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. Then, in November of 2011, a second tranche was released. This one was 5,292 emails and 23 documents. This was Climategate 2.0 Part of this package was a large zip file that was encrypted. Well, this morning is Climategate 3.0... From Anthony over at Watts Up With That:
Climategate 3.0 has occurred � the password has been released
A number of climate skeptic bloggers (myself included) have received this message yesterday. While I had planned to defer announcing this until a reasonable scan could be completed, some other bloggers have let the cat out of the bag. I provide this introductory email sent by �FOIA� without editing or comment. I do have one email, which I found quite humorous, which I will add at the end so that our friends know that this is valid.
Update � the first email I posted apparently was part of an earlier release (though I had not seen it, there are a number of duplicates in the all.zip file) so I have added a second one.- Anthony
FOIA's email:
Subject: FOIA 2013: the password

It�s time to tie up loose ends and dispel some of the speculation surrounding the Climategate affair.

Indeed, it�s singular �I� this time. After certain career developments I can no longer use the papal plural ;-)

If this email seems slightly disjointed it�s probably my linguistic background and the problem of trying to address both the wider audience (I expect this will be partially reproduced sooner or later) and the email recipients (whom I haven�t decided yet on).

The �all.7z� password is [redacted]

DO NOT PUBLISH THE PASSWORD. Quote other parts if you like.

Releasing the encrypted archive was a mere practicality. I didn�t want to keep the emails lying around.

I prepared CG1 & 2 alone. Even skimming through all 220.000 emails would have taken several more months of work in an increasingly unfavorable environment.

Dumping them all into the public domain would be the last resort. Majority of the emails are irrelevant, some of them probably sensitive and socially damaging.

To get the remaining scientifically (or otherwise) relevant emails out, I ask you to pass this on to any motivated and responsible individuals who could volunteer some time to sift through the material for eventual release.
And why?
If someone is still wondering why anyone would take these risks, or sees only a breach of privacy here, a few words�

The first glimpses I got behind the scenes did little to garner my trust in the state of climate science � on the contrary. I found myself in front of a choice that just might have a global impact.

Briefly put, when I had to balance the interests of my own safety, privacy\career of a few scientists, and the well-being of billions of people living in the coming several decades, the first two weren�t the decisive concern.

It was me or nobody, now or never. Combination of several rather improbable prerequisites just wouldn�t occur again for anyone else in the foreseeable future. The circus was about to arrive in Copenhagen. Later on it could be too late.

Most would agree that climate science has already directed where humanity puts its capability, innovation, mental and material �might�. The scale will grow ever grander in the coming decades if things go according to script. We�re dealing with $trillions and potentially drastic influence on practically everyone.

Wealth of the surrounding society tends to draw the major brushstrokes of a newborn�s future life. It makes a huge difference whether humanity uses its assets to achieve progress, or whether it strives to stop and reverse it, essentially sacrificing the less fortunate to the climate gods.

We can�t pour trillions in this massive hole-digging-and-filling-up endeavor and pretend it�s not away from something and someone else.

If the economy of a region, a country, a city, etc. deteriorates, what happens among the poorest? Does that usually improve their prospects? No, they will take the hardest hit. No amount of magical climate thinking can turn this one upside-down.

It�s easy for many of us in the western world to accept a tiny green inconvenience and then wallow in that righteous feeling, surrounded by our �clean� technology and energy that is only slightly more expensive if adequately subsidized.

Those millions and billions already struggling with malnutrition, sickness, violence, illiteracy, etc. don�t have that luxury. The price of �climate protection� with its cumulative and collateral effects is bound to destroy and debilitate in great numbers, for decades and generations.

Conversely, a �game-changer� could have a beneficial effect encompassing a similar scope.

If I had a chance to accomplish even a fraction of that, I�d have to try. I couldn�t morally afford inaction. Even if I risked everything, would never get personal compensation, and could probably never talk about it with anyone.

I took what I deemed the most defensible course of action, and would do it again (although with slight alterations � trying to publish something truthful on RealClimate was clearly too grandiose of a plan ;-).

Even if I have it all wrong and these scientists had some good reason to mislead us (instead of making a strong case with real data) I think disseminating the truth is still the safest bet by far.
Someone needs to nominate FOIA for the Nobel Peace Prize. Restore some credibility to that office. I am looking forward to the new materials over the next couple of weeks...

We have white smoke

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Meet Pope Francis -- From FOX News:
Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio named new pope
Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been elected by his peers as the new pope, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas.

He has chosen to be known as Pope Francis.

The 76-year-old has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.

Francis, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, reportedly got the second-most votes from the 115 cardinals after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and he has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next pope.

In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, Francis has shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly.

He is also known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.
This article is all I know of the man but he sounds to be good for the post. It will be interesting to see the next couple years.

Chilling essay from Victor Davis Hanson

A simple premise really -- what would you do if you specifically wanted to weaken a nation's economy:

How to Weaken an Economy
It is not easy to ruin the American economy; doing nothing usually means it repairs itself and soon is healthier than before a recession.

But don't despair: there are plenty of ways to slow down even an inherently strong economy. History offers plenty of examples. But as more contemporary models, take your pick of successfully ruined economies - the Venezuelan, the Cuban, the North Korean, the Greek, the Italian, the Portuguese, or pretty much any from Mediterranean Africa to the Cape of Good Hope. There are certain commonalities about why and how they fail. Let's review some of them.

Dr. Hanson then goes on to list such items as:

Government
The state can never be too big. Ensure that it is unaccountable and intrusive, in constant need of more money and more targets to regulate. The more government, the more people are shielded from the capital-creating, free-market system. Think the DMV or TSA, not Apple.
The Law
To ensure capriciousness and unpredictability for both suspect employers and investors, make the law malleable, even unpredictable from day to day, in the style of an Argentina or Venezuela.
Top Down, Not Bottom Up

Everywhere a War

Deficits

Interest

And I am just scratching the surface -- well thought out and written. Not news though -- we have been seeing this for the last four-plus years.

The Wheels of Justice

Grind slowly but they do grind. I had posted before about Ohio Poll Worker Melowese Richardson casting more than one vote (here and here). From FOX News:
Cincinnati poll worker charged with voting half dozen times in November
She admitted voting twice in the presidential election last November, and now, Obama supporter Melowese Richardson has been indicted for allegedly voting at least six times. She also is charged with illegal voting in 2008 and 2011.

The 58-year-old veteran Cincinnati poll worker, indicted Monday, faces eight counts of voter fraud. Two others, one of whom is a nun, have been charged separately.

Richardson had admitted on camera to a local TV station, "Yes, I voted twice," claiming she was concerned that her vote would not count. She also said there "was no intent on my part to commit any voter fraud."

"I'll fight it for Mr. Obama and Mr. Obama's right to sit as president of the United States," she proclaimed in the interview.
Emphasis mine -- excuse me: "right to sit". That is where in the Constitution? Talk about low information voter. She will have a lot of time to reconsider her actions:
She faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted. Efforts to contact her and her lawyer have been unsuccessful.
She will probably only serve a year at most but still, it should send a message to other people trying this same shit. There has been a campaign in the Democratic Party to elect Democrats to the Secretary of State positions. Why? Because the Sec. State oversees each State's elections. Ohio has a Republican in that position:
The Hamilton County Board of Elections recently held hearings on cases of possible double voting and voter fraud, part of a statewide review ordered by Secretary of State John Husted. He called on all 88 counties to review complaints of fraud, as well as voter disenfranchisement.

�Every voter must play by the rules, and if they don�t they will be held accountable,� Husted, a Republican, said in a written statement. �For voters to have confidence in our elections, we must prosecute every case of voter fraud in Ohio.�
Good - Ohio is one of the States that pushed Obama over the top last election. Need to get it cleaned up for 2014.

Cool news from Japan

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From the Beeb:
Japan extracts gas from methane hydrate in world first
Japan says it has successfully extracted natural gas from frozen methane hydrate off its central coast, in a world first.

Methane hydrates, or clathrates, are a type of frozen "cage" of molecules of methane and water.

The gas field is about 50km away from Japan's main island, in the Nankai Trough.

Researchers say it could provide an alternative energy source for Japan which imports all its energy needs.

Other countries including Canada, the US and China have been looking into ways of exploiting methane hydrate deposits as well.
And how much is there?
A Japanese study estimated that at least 1.1tn cubic metres of methane hydrate exist in offshore deposits.

This is the equivalent of more than a decade of Japan's gas consumption.
And this is just the low-hanging fruit -- they will find more.

The New York Times - over the top

From the Toronto, Ontario Financial Post:

Terence Corcoran: The New York Times calls for war on Canadian oil
It looks like the Keystone XL pipeline is coming down to a nasty war on Canada. In a stunning lead editorial Monday, The New York Times - which is inexplicably slated in June to receive a special tribute at the Canadian Journalism Foundation annual gala - told President Barack Obama he should "say no" to the pipeline that would bring more Canadian oil to the United States.

But the newspaper did more than that. The Times editorial, "When to Say No," essentially urged Mr. Obama to declare a war on Canada's oil sands. The Keystone decision, said the Times, is not merely about the environmental impact of the pipeline on flora and fauna as it runs through the United States. Nor is it about the alleged climate impact of the annual carbon emissions from producing and refining the oil that would flow through the pipeline and eventually to U.S. consumers.

These Keystone impacts are short-term issues. President Obama, when he comes to make a final decision sometime in the next few months, should be looking at the big, long-term picture. He should see Canada's oil sands in their totality, a great ugly deposit of 'tar sands' that is estimated to hold 170-billion barrels of oil, and maybe 10 times that amount. "It is these long-term consequences that Mr. Obama should focus on," said the Times. "Given its carbon content, tar sands oil should be among the first fossil fuels we decide to leave alone."

Mr. Corcoran closes with the following:

But what now does look like a dead certainty is that Mr. Obama has set himself and Canada on a dangerous policy course. The president has declared his intentions to declare war on fossil fuels as a threat to humanity, a war backed by mainstream scientists. Canada produces fossil fuels from the oil sands, deemed by green activists to be the worst of all. This is war somebody is going to lose, and The New York Times has decided on Canada.

The Times editorial is really a nasty piece of work. Our Newspaper of Record(tm) is trying to influence foreign policy and when we have imbeciles like Obama and Kerry in positions of power, they are too easily swayed by editorials like these. We are sending billions of dollars to nations that do not like us when we are sitting on more oil than they ever had. We need to drill here, drill now. Diesel fuel is over $4.25/gallon -- this is Obama's fault.

Planting an Iroquois Garden

Been planning the garden for this upcoming season. Looks like an early spring so Lulu and I will be starting seeds this weekend. I was looking at planting some corn this year and ran into the Iroquois Garden. Here is a brief description from Renee's Garden:
Celebrate the Three Sisters: Corn, Beans and Squash
According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive together. This tradition of interplanting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, widespread among Native American farming societies, is a sophisticated, sustainable system that provided long-term soil fertility and a healthy diet to generations. Growing a Three Sisters garden is a wonderful way to feel more connected to the history of this land, regardless of our ancestry.
More - the reason behind planting like this:
Corn provides a natural pole for bean vines to climb. Beans fix nitrogen on their roots, improving the overall fertility of the plot by providing nitrogen to the following years corn. Bean vines also help stabilize the corn plants, making them less vulnerable to blowing over in the wind. Shallow-rooted squash vines become a living mulch, shading emerging weeds and preventing soil moisture from evaporating, thereby improving the overall crops chances of survival in dry years. Spiny squash plants also help discourage predators from approaching the corn and beans. The large amount of crop residue from this planting combination can be incorporated back into the soil at the end of the season, to build up the organic matter and improve its structure.

Corn, beans and squash also complement each other nutritionally. Corn provides carbohydrates, the dried beans are rich in protein, balancing the lack of necessary amino acids found in corn. Finally, squash yields both vitamins from the fruit and healthful, delicious oil from the seeds.
More from the Cornell University Garden-Based Learning website. Planning to set aside a 10*15 foot section of a bed for this -- I normally plant squash and beans anyway.

Raining

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So much rain in the last 12 hours, my back teeth are floating. There is some serious rain-fade going on with my internet connection so don't expect a lot of posting for the next two days. Time to finish the video computer, organize my taxes and pay some bills.

The watery "finger" of Poseidon

Otherwise known as a Pineapple Express. We are going to get wet for a few days. From Cliff Mass:
The Heavy Rains of Poseidon
The Weather Channel is now naming major storms, most recently referred to two major East Coast events as Nemo and Saturn. Since the WC seems adverse to naming West Coast storms, those of us facing the Pacific must take the matter into our own hands. No one will name our storms if we don't.

So today, this blog will begin leveling the playing field by announcing that Atmospheric River Poseidon will soon hit our coast, bringing torrential rains and possibly flooding to some rivers drainages.

Poseidon arrives on Tuesday. The WRF model prediction of the total water vapor in an atmospheric column for 1 PM that day shows the watery "finger" of Poseidon stretching from near Hawaii to the Northwest. Yes, some folks have called this a "Pineapple Express", but we are beyond that now.
Loaded up the firewood bin Sunday so we are set for a few days -- posting may be light as my internet connection is susceptible to rain fade.

Prepping

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From January 31st of this year -- just found it. A list of fifty 'prepping' websites and a brief explanation of what it is. From InvestmentWatch:
Rise Of The Preppers: 50 Of The Best Prepper Websites And Blogs On The Internet
Are you preparing for the collapse of society? If so, the truth is that you are definitely not alone. The number of preppers in the U.S. has absolutely exploded in recent years. It has been estimated that there are now approximately 3 million preppers in the United States, and �Doomsday Preppers� is currently the highest rated show on the National Geographic channel. In fact, you could be living next to a prepper and never even know it. All over America, families are transforming spare rooms into long-term food storage pantries, planting survival gardens, unplugging from the grid, converting their homes over to alternative sources of energy, taking self-defense courses and stocking up on just about everything that you can imagine. The re-election of Barack Obama and other recent events seem to have given the prepper movement even more momentum. For example, in January the U.S. Mint broke all kinds of records and sold nearly half a billion dollars worth of gold and silver coins to the public. Not only that, Americans bought enough guns during the last two months of 2012 alone to supply the entire armies of China and India. When it comes to prepping, nobody can match the passion that Americans put into it.

So what are all of these people prepping for?
Three million preppers is still less than one percent of the US Population. I am not a radical prepper but I have always had a couple months of food on hand and have been honing my civilization skills -- CERT, going for the Red Cross training, firearm training. If the SHTF, Lulu, her son and I stand a better chance of survival. If it doesn't, the training is a lot of fun, the people we meet are awesome and I don't have to do grocery shopping as often. A classic win/win

Minimal posting tonight

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Long day today -- did the store buying run into town and Bellingham was busy in a sort of 'cluttered' way. Everything took longer than expected, an order wasn't ready, stuff wasn't on the shelves and I had to go back a couple hours later. Got home late -- Lulu and I had the last of some left-over spaghetti sauce and a salad and I am about ready to crash. Still working on the video rental software on the new computer. Daylight savings always gives me jet-lag for a few days too. No excuses, just statement of fact. The cool news is that my CERT instructor emailed me and was wondering if we would like to set up a training scenario here. There are about 30 people certified from Kendall, Maple Falls and Glacier so we could have a lot of fun with this...
The White House has a website where you can set up a petition and if 100,000 people sign it, they will take a serious look at the proposal. Here is a critical one -- please go and sign:
focus the bulk of American regulatory and technical prowess on developing a test Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. (LFTR)
My fellow Americans,

In the 1960's, our Oak Ridge research facility created a Thorium-fueled nuclear reactor which was both fail-save and sustainable. It was buried because the reactor did not produce weaponize-able, fissile elements. This abandoned technology could have solved every American energy problem long ago, yet it languishes near oblivion.

Today, companies like Filbe Energy want to develop LFTR technology to essentially end climate change and restore American energy independence. We humbly asks the Obama administration to take all Constitutional means possible to help develop a new test reactor to prove the safety and effectiveness of this technology, once and for all.

This five minute long video will explain it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK367T7h6ZY

Thank you.
This technology is mature, China and India are building them, there are thousands of years worth of Thorium in the Earth's crust and this reaction can 'burn' the spent waste from our conventional nuke plants -- waste storage problem solved. The reactors are intrinsically safe -- they cannot melt down or suffer a critical accident. If you are concerned about our energy future, please visit and vote.

Turnabout is fair play

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From Ann Althouse:
The lawyers who denounced Bush's claim of presidential war power were "uneasy" when it was their task to define Obama's war power.
Back in 2008, David Barron and Martin Lederman had published � in the Harvard Law Review � a "definitive denunciation" of President Bush's approach to war powers. Now, they were writing a secret memo in support of Obama's power:
It preliminarily concluded, based on the evidence available at the time, that [Anwar al-]Awlaki was a lawful target because he was participating in the war with Al Qaeda and also because he was a specific threat to the country....

But as months passed, Mr. Barron and Mr. Lederman grew uneasy. They told colleagues there were issues they had not adequately addressed, particularly after reading a legal blog that focused on a statute that bars Americans from killing other Americans overseas....

Their labors played out against the backdrop of how some of their predecessors under President George W. Bush had become defined by their once-secret memos....

Nearly three years later, a version of the legal analysis portions would become public in the �white paper�... Divorced from its original context... the free-floating reasoning would lead to widespread confusion....
Karma's a bitch!
Our cultural betters sometimes do get hoist by their own petard. Fun to watch. Will the MSM pick up the story?
. . .
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crickets
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From Breitbart:
Gabby Giffords's Husband Buys AR-15
Mark E. Kelly, gun-control proponent and husband to former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, recently purchased an AR-15 (an "assault weapon," he called it)�which he now says he intended as an illustration of the need for more stringent gun laws.

Kelly reportedly bought the AR-15 and a 1911-style semi-automatic pistol at a gun store in Tucson, Arizona.

Breitbart News received a tip on this when Neil McCabe, editor of Guns & Patriots newsletter, contacted us on March 7 and said:
Mark E. Kelly, made purchases which included an AR-15--sometimes described as an "assault rifle"--at 3:30 pm on the afternoon of March 5 at Diamondback Police Supply, 170 S. Kolb Street, Tucson, AZ.
According to McCabe, witnesses to the purchases claimed Kelly purchased "high capacity" magazines as well.
He later said on his Facebook page that he was going to donate it to the Tucson Police Department. After some public WTF? Don't blame him for getting one -- they are a lot of fun to shoot...

A Global Warming Climate Change two-fer

First from Yahoo News:
Hey Deniers, Take a Long Look at the Faces of Climate Change
The impacts of a changing climate often seem so big, so complicated, and so global that they're often impossible to truly understand�much less slow.

The ability to miniaturize�to bring the impacts of things like rising sea levels and ocean acidification, the loss of snowpack and habitat loss�down to the individual, local level is hard, and an often overlooked story.

There are dozens of papers published each year focused on forecasting what the world will be like as temperatures and pollution continue to grow. But putting faces to the people and communities already being impacted�real people, experiencing real change�may be the best way to help us focus on what�s happening right now.
And this goes on and on and on and on for fifteen more paragraphs. The author -- Jon Bowermaster -- is a well-known climate changer. What is fun is the 490+ comments taking his 'logic' apart. Some examples:
The planet has been warming and cooling for centuries....that is a fact. The amount of rain and snow recently on the East Coast was worse during the same period in 1985...it is only a major news story because of the damage to the homes built on the ocean front, at sea level, that were beaches decades ago. Most of these idiots couldn't get flood insurance when they built, now they are finding out why!
And:
No one denies that the world climate is not static. Why don't you "believers" try an honest debate for once?
And:
Since the last ice age peaked 18,000 years ago, the earth has been warming. Nobody seriously denies this. The debate centers on whether this warming is natural vs man-induced. For example, I "deny" that it is 100% man-induced. Does that make me a denier?
Lots more at the site... Second up, we have this from Pete McMartin writing at The Vancouver Sun:
Global warming�s new frightening deadline
In April 2009, the science journal Nature published a paper entitled Greenhouse-Gas Emission Targets for Limiting Global Warming to 2 C.

Its subject was the end of the modern world.

At the time, it attracted little notice. It was a half-dozen pages long. For laymen, its technical content was impenetrable.

The purpose of the paper � researched and written by a team of European scientists headed by Malte Meinshausen, a climatologist with Germany�s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact � was to determine just how much time mankind had left before our burning of fossil fuels would cause catastrophic global warming.

The marker for what would be considered �catastrophic� warming was generally agreed to be anything above a rise of two degrees Celsius in global temperature.
Meinshausen is very much a peripheral character in the pro Anthropogenic Global Warming camp. Anthony Watts runs a website called Watts Up With That that although being a "denier" website, his authors review all the major published work and examine it for statistical accuracy (Micheal Mann's 'trick' to hide the decline) as well as to see how well the models presented track actual boots-on-the-ground measurement. This site has been in continuous publication since November 2006 and has been twice awarded Best Science Blog. I went to the site and searched for Meinshausen and got one hit for this article: Commitment studies belie �consensus� claim that a persistent high level of temperature forcing cannot cause continued warming in which a brief reference to a 2011 communication is made in re the IPCC AR5:
AR5 commitment estimates are higher still, presumably because they project 2010 GHG levels. From the Second Order Draft (p. 12-60):
�Constant emission commitment� is the warming that would result from keeping anthropogenic emissions constant and is estimated for example at about 1�2.5�C by 2100 assuming constant (year 2010) emissions in the future, based on the MAGICC model calibrated to CMIP3 and C4MIP (Meinshausen et al., 2011a; Meinshausen et al., 2011b) (see FAQ 12.3).
Meinshausen is a nobody -- worse, he is a blatant Malthusian. To base a whole hand-wringing column in a major newspaper on O.M.G., we have to stop using fossil fuels NOW to save the planet shows the lack of Pete McMartin's understanding. Only 20 comments but there are some good ones. Climate Change is not about the Earth's Climate, it is about making a few people very very wealthy.

Life in the Chemistry Lab

Chemist Derek Lowe has a fun post about pilferage in chemistry labs:
I'll Just Take a Tour of Your Lab Drawers Here
I enjoyed this from postdoc JesstheChemist on Twitter: "Busted. Just caught someone (who doesn't work in my lab) going through my lab drawers." Now that's a real-life lab comment if I ever saw one. It's a constant feature in academic labs, where there's usually limited equipment of one sort of another. There's less of it in industry, where we're relatively equipment-rich, but it certainly doesn't go away.

Glassware gets rummaged through, whether for that one tiny Dean-Stark trap, a funny-sized ground-glass stopper, or something as petty as a clean 25 mL round bottom. Run out of that fancy multicolor pH paper? The guy next to you keeps it in the second drawer. One-mL syringes ran out, and you need to dispense something right now? Third drawer.

I've seen people borrow things while they're in use. In grad school, I once had a short-path vacuum distillation going, with the receiving flasks cooled in a bath supported by a lab jack. I left for a few minutes while things were warming up, only to find my lab jack pilfered and replaced by a ragged stack of cork rings, which was not what I had in mind. Peeved, I hunted through the labs until I found the jack in the hood of a post-doc who was running something of his own. "I didn't think you were using it", was his response, which prompted me to ask what it looked like when I was actually using it.

Then you have reagent burgling, which is epidemic at all levels of bench chemistry. No one has everything to hand, and you always run out of things. The stockroom may be some distance away, or take too much time, or there may be only one bottle of 2-methyl bromowhatsicene in the lab (and you don't have it). This can be innocent, as in taking 500mg of some common reagent out of a large bottle that someone has handy. Or it can be more serious (but still well-intentioned), in the "I'm going to bring it right back" way. Further down the scale, you have plain nastiness, of the "I need this and screw the rest of you" kind. I told the story here of having had most of a fresh bottle of borane/THF jacked from me, and you know, that happened in 1986 and I'm still a little cheesed off about it. Many readers will have experienced similar sensations.
The comments are a must-read too as people chime in with their own stories and what they did to prevent this 'shrinkage'. Majored in Marine Biology and Physical Oceanography in college (Boston University) and have spent many an hour in the labs pondering something bubbling in glassware.

Oh hell no - Susan Rice in the news again

This idiot just needs to fade away gracefully. From The Washington Post:
Susan Rice as national security adviser? U.N. ambassador said to be front-runner.
Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who lost out in a bruising bid for the job of secretary of state, may have the last laugh.

Rice has emerged as far and away the front-runner to succeed Thomas E. Donilon as President Obama�s national security adviser later this year, according to an administration official familiar with the president�s thinking. The job would place her at the nexus of foreign-policy decision making and allow her to rival the influence of Secretary of State John F. Kerry in shaping the president�s foreign policy.
Talk about dumb and dumber... A bit more:
The appointment would mark a dramatic twist of fortune for Rice, whose prospects to become the country�s top diplomat fizzled last year after a round of television appearances in which she provided what turned out to be a flawed account of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
She out and out lied. It has been six months and the 30+ survivors have not been seen or heard from. Where are they? Why haven't they been interviewed? Rice was complicit in the coverup and now, six months down the road, here is her piece of candy for participating and taking the heat. She was barely competent as the United Nations ambassador, she will be way over her head in this new role...

From CNS News:

Number Of U.S. Gun Makers Refusing Sales To Gov't In 'Firearms Equality Movement' Triples In Two Weeks
On February 22, "Right Views" reported that a growing number of firearm companies have suspended the sale of guns to states, counties, cities and municipalities that restrict their citizens' rights to own them.

In just two weeks, the number of companies participating in what has been named the "Firearms Equality Movement," has more than tripled from 34 companies to 118.

The Police Loophole lists every company and links to the statements that each has released regarding their new policies.

Wilson Combat, a custom pistol manufacturer located in Berryville, Arkansas, joined the movement on February 28 stating the following:
"Wilson Combat will no longer provide any products or services to any State Government imposing legislation that infringes on the second amendment rights of its law abiding citizens. This includes any Law Enforcement Department, Law Enforcement Officers, or any State Government Entity or Employee of such an entity. This also applies to any local municipality imposing such infringements."

Nice to see the manufacturers stepping up to the plate -- makes it very simple to choose what guns I buy in the future.

Poor Senator Feinstein

From Bob Owens:

California's Senator Dianne Feinstein: It's legal to hunt humans with high-capacity magazines
San Francisco's senior senator has apparently taken a sad psychiatric turn. Always questionably progressive, she's now also apparently starting to suffer the effects of some sort of degenerative mental condition. Why else would the old girl say something like this?
The time has come, America, to step up and ban these weapons. The other very important part of this bill is to ban large capacity ammunition feeding devices, those that hold more than 10 rounds. We have federal regulations and state laws that prohibit hunting ducks with more than three rounds. And yet it's legal to hunt humans with 15-round, 30-round, even 150-round magazines.
Perhaps the poor dear is misremembering the Richard Connell short story she read in Collier's Weekly in early 1924. This was apparently part of the same rant when she claimed George W. Bush created PTSD and asserted that all veterans were dangerously mentally ill, so maybe she was just in the middle of having a dissociative episode.

I remember being very sad when I first heard about President Reagan's battle with Alzheimer's, so I feel very sympathetic to the supporters of Senator Feinstein. Of course, that assumes they have the capacity to discern progressive political thought from dementia.

Perhaps they find her "inspiring."

And the scary thought is that compared to her colleague, Senator Barbra Boxer, Feinstein is supposed to be "the smart one"

To be taken with a grain of salt

But... From the Western Center for Journalism:
Obama Poised To Carry Out Hostile Military Takeover Of US
I�ve been told by a number of people that it would be impossible for any person to stage a military or hostile takeover of the United States. Ten years ago, I would have agreed with them, but not now.

In the past year, President Obama has taken a number of actions that when added together clearly indicates his plans for a military or hostile takeover of the United States. And for the first time in my life, I not only believe it could happen, but I am firmly convinced it�s going to happen before the 2016.

To begin with, Obama has been tailoring the US military to his personal agenda. He is filling the ranks with gays and lesbians who will now follow him to any extreme because he is their champion. He has all but shackled chaplains from preaching Christianity to the troops, who by the way, aren�t even allowed to have Bibles in some areas in the Middle East or any other semblance of Christianity. For the military coup de gras, he has been tailoring his top military leaders by asking if they are willing to shoot Americans. Those that answer yes, are put in key positions while those that answer no are basically seeing the end of their military careers.

Next, the Department of Homeland Security has been stockpiling millions of weapons and billions of rounds ammunition. The federal government even has NOAA stockpiling weapons and ammunition and they aren�t going to be using it to predict the weather. This is unprecedented in American history and has no purpose or basis other than the use against the American people.

The massive push for gun control has only one purpose and that is to disarm the American people. There are more guns in private ownership than there are people in the US. That would make a hostile takeover more difficult, costly and time consuming. However, the stockpiles of weapons and ammunition are just for that purpose, because Obama knows that there are a lot of Americans who will not give up their guns so easily. Attorney General Eric Holder has already warned gun owners to cower like smokers.
Does no harm to prepare -- worst case scenario, you have a couple months worth of food sitting around...

Windows 8

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Have not installed it here and plan not to. The word on the street was not good and this article at Extreme Tech corroborates:
Four months in: Windows 8 adoption is almost at a standstill
It has now been four months since Windows 8 was released, and the latest figures show that its growth � in terms of market share, mind share, and the number of apps in the Windows 8 Store � is almost at a standstill.

In the month of February, according to Net Applications, Windows 8 gained 0.4% of the desktop market, moving from 2.26 to 2.67%. In comparison, Windows 7 had a market share of over 9% after four months of public availability. A growth rate of 0.4% is absolutely horrendous, and � if we assume that PCs are replaced every five years � actually below the natural attrition/replacement rate. If growth of 0.4% wasn�t bad enough, it�s also worth pointing out that it�s down from 0.5% in January � yes, Windows 8 adoption is slowing down. Windows 7, after a small dip last month, actually gained market share in February.
A bit more:
At this point, it isn�t entirely clear how Microsoft intends to spur the adoption of Windows 8. It�s a bitter pill to swallow, but Windows Vista actually enjoyed faster growth than Windows 8 � and we know all too well how the Vista story played out.
Wince -- that is going to leave a mark. A bunch of managers at MSFT aren't going to get their bonuses that is for sure...

Comet season

We may be up for a spectacular comet later this year (ISON) but L4 PANSTARRS should not be a slouch. From NASA:
Comet PANSTARRS Rises to the Occasion Mid-March
Comets visible to the naked eye are a rare delicacy in the celestial sm�rg�sbord of objects in the nighttime sky. Scientists estimate that the opportunity to see one of these icy dirtballs advertising their cosmic presence so brilliantly they can be seen without the aid of a telescope or binoculars happens only once every five to 10 years. That said, there may be two naked-eye comets available for your viewing pleasure this year.

"You might have heard of a comet ISON, which may become a spectacular naked-eye comet later this fall," said Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator of NASA's NEOWISE mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and self-described cosmic icy dirtball fan. "But if you have the right conditions you don't have to wait for ISON. Within a few days, comet PANSTARRS will be making its appearance in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere just after twilight."

Discovered in June 2011, comet 2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) bears the name of the telescopic survey that discovered it -- the less than mellifluous sounding "Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System" which sits atop the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii.

Since its discovery a year-and-a-half ago, observing comet PANSTARRS has been the exclusive dominion of comet aficionados in the Southern Hemisphere, but that is about to change. As the comet continues its well-understood and safe passage through the inner-solar system, its celestial splendor will be lost to those in the Southern Hemisphere, but found by those up north.

"There is a catch to viewing comet PANSTARRS," said Mainzer. "This one is not that bright and is going to be low on the western horizon, so you'll need a relatively unobstructed view to the southwest at twilight and, of course, some good comet-watching weather."
Got some rain moving in for the next couple of days but we will keep an eye out... More on Comet ISON here

Attention whore

Sweet Baby Jesus -- will this man just go away... From Chicago's NBC affiliate:
Rev. Jesse Jackson Attends Hugo Chavez Funeral
Of all the people attending Hugo Chavez's funeral Friday in Caracas, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is among them.

The father of disgraced former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. confirmed his attendance on Twitter. He reportedly arrived Thursday night in Venezuela and will lead a delegation organized by his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

Rev. Jackson told Fox News he knew the Venezuelan president "in a direct and personal way" and says he is "deeply saddened by his passing." Chavez presented Jackson with the Liberator's Award in 2005.
Chavez was a confirmed enemy of the United States. When we see all of these people fawning over his cold corpse, it only serves as a reminder of who we should patronize and who we should shun. Jackson has lost any credibility that he had. Some fun comments at the site -- here is just one of them:
Don't be deceived. Reverend Jackson is in Venezuela on the hunt for new patrons to subsidize his lifestyle who will happily stuff ducats in his pocket just to irritate the U.S. Watch and see if the low-rent grifter doesn't try to put the touch on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a "contribution" in the spirit of solidarity. Surprised that Louie is not joining him on this begging mission given that Louie's ace benefactor, Muammar Gaddafi, left the planet.
Spot on... Anyone that sees this person as a "leader" is in a serious delusional state.

Very cool move by George Lucas

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From The Fire Wire:
George Lucas Art Museum Is Coming To San Francisco
Just months after selling Lucasfilm to Disney, George Lucas is setting his sights on a new project: a San Francisco-based art museum.

�Star Wars was there to inspire young people to imagine things,� Lucas told CBS This Morning. The museum will serve a similar purpose.

An avid collector, Lucas� first art purchase was a comic book illustration costing about $25. His current collection consists of pieces from Maxfield Parrish, N.C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell. He has more than 1,000 works of art, enough to rotate a gallery collection every six months for six years, CBS reports.

Lucas plans to build the museum on piece of land overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

In addition to displaying art, the museum will teach young people about the craft of storytelling. He hopes to explain the process of designing sets, characters and costumes to visitors.
That would be worth a road-trip if I found myself in the vicinity... A tip of the hat to James Gurney for the link.

Stupid criminal - Chicago school busses

There needs to be a special category for stupid Chicago Criminals -- there are so many of them.

From the Chicago Tribune:

8 school buses stolen, shredded into 'big pile of scrap'
Eight school buses were stolen from the Far South Side overnight and driven to a salvage yard, where they were cut apart and shredded into a two-story pile of scrap, police said.

The name of the Sunrise bus company could be seen among the shards of metal at SRV Metal Scrapper, 3405 S. Lawndale Avenue, police said. Four people were taken into custody, including the owner of the company.

Heh -- a bit more:

The buses were all equipped with GPS tracking devices, and police were able to track "their entire movement" to the scrap yard on the West Side, police said.

When officers arrived, several people who apparently worked in the scrap yard ran into a building, police said. Officers initially apprehended one person and later took two others into custody. The owner was arrested in the afternoon.

The loss to the bus company is about $250,000 -- the scrap value is $1,500 to $3,500.

These mokes need to spend ten years in jail to ponder their life's accomplishments...

From emptywheel:
John Brennan Sworn in as CIA Director Using Constitution Lacking Bill of Rights
According to the White House, John Brennan was sworn in as CIA Director on a �first draft� of the Constitution including notations from George Washington, dating to 1787.
Vice President Joe Biden swears in CIA Director John Brennan in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 8, 2013. Members of Brennan�s family stand with him. Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution, dating from 1787, which has George Washington�s personal handwriting and annotations on it.
That means, when Brennan vowed to protect and defend the Constitution, he was swearing on one that did not include the First, Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Amendments � or any of the other Amendments now included in our Constitution. The Bill of Rights did not become part of our Constitution until 1791, 4 years after the Constitution that Brennan took his oath on.

I really don�t mean to be an asshole about this. But these vows always carry a great deal of symbolism. And whether he meant to invoke this symbolism or not, the moment at which Brennan took over the CIA happened to exclude (in symbolic form, though presumably not legally) the key limits on governmental power that protect American citizens.
Some fun comments at the site. This regime is very careful to project the right symbolism despite it's constant lying. Reminiscent of another regime which we dispatched seventy years ago.

Military cuts

Obama's constant gutting of our Military is having long-reaching consequences. He demagogues the creation of jobs but he has just done a major step to deny them to our Servicemen. From Stars and Stripes:
Army suspends tuition assistance program for troops
The Army announced Friday it is suspending its tuition assistance program for soldiers newly enrolling in classes due to sequestration and other budgetary pressures.

�This suspension is necessary given the significant budget execution challenges caused by the combined effects of a possible year-long continuing resolution and sequestration,� Paul Prince, an army personnel spokesman at the Pentagon, wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes. �The Army understands the impacts of this action and will re-evaluate should the budgetary situation improve.�

The Army�s announcement follows a similar move by the Marine Corps.

The Army�s tuition assistance program was available for troops to complete a high school diploma, certificate program or college or master�s degree. Under the program, the Army paid 100 percent of the tuition and authorized fees charged by a school up to established limits of $250 per semester hour or credit hour or up to $4,500 per fiscal year.
People who sign up hoping to get an education after their service are screwed. This will impact the careers of every soldier out there after their time of service.

Our quiet sun

I have been writing that our sun is going through an unusually quiet time and that we may be in for another Maunder Minimum (actually, Jack Eddy's name has been sugested for this). Now, the boffins at NASA are finally talking about this -- from the London Daily Mail:
The calm before the solar storm? NASA warns 'something unexpected is happening to the Sun'
'Something unexpected' is happening on the Sun, NASA has warned.

This year was supposed to be the year of 'solar maximum,' the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle.

'Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent,' the space agency says.
They offer an idea:
However, Solar physicist Dean Pesnell of NASA�s Goddard Space Flight Center believes he has a different explanation.

'This is solar maximum,' he says.

'But it looks different from what we expected because it is double-peaked.'

'The last two solar maxima, around 1989 and 2001, had not one but two peaks.'
Yeah but we don't really know what is happening. My bet is on the Eddy Minimum -- a couple hundred years of lower than normal solar output and cooler than normal earth temperatures.

Animal communication

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Like this is anything new -- from Science Blog:
New form of animal communication discovered: Sniffing
Researchers have long observed how animals vigorously sniff when they interact, a habit usually passed off as simply smelling each other. But Daniel W. Wesson, PhD, of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, whose research is published in Current Biology, found that rats sniff each other to signal a social hierarchy and prevent aggressive behavior.

Wesson, who drew upon previous work showing that, similar to humans, rodents naturally form complex social hierarchies, used wireless methods to record and observe rats as they interacted. He found that, when two rats approach each other, one communicates dominance by sniffing more frequently, while the subordinate signals its role by sniffing less. Wesson found that if the subordinate didn�t do so, the dominant rat was more likely to become aggressive to the other.
My Llamas do this all the time to Lulu and me and to people visiting the farm. People really like it -- very gentle souls...

System rescue CD-ROM disks

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Been spending a few days trying to rebuild the store's video rental computer. Using Hiren's BootCD has saved a lot of time. Lifehacker has a nice list of five disks with reviews:
Five Best System Rescue Discs
When your computer starts behaving strangely, won't boot, or you start getting strange errors that you can't pin down, a great way to troubleshoot the problem is to boot to a rescue disc and see if you can isolate the problem. It might be your operating system, it could be hardware, but you'll never know until you boot to some other media to take a look. That said, there are tons of great system rescue discs to check out if you want a tool to save your ailing system. This week we're looking at five of the best, nominated by you, our readers.

Carey Orr

Yesterday, I posted an editorial cartoon from the 1934 Chicago Tribune. Spent some time looking up the cartoonist -- Carey Orr The majority of his work was donated to the Syracuse University Library which has a few cartoons available online. Here are three of them:

orr_state

orr_meast

orr_foraid

This is a real eye-opener. We are dealing now with the same exact political crap that we dealt with ninety years ago and we have not learned a thing...

Some people are making too much money off people's gullability -- from Businessweek:
Investors Seek Ways to Profit From Global Warming
Investing in climate change used to mean putting money into efforts to stop global warming. Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS), and other firms took stakes in wind farms and tidal-energy projects, and set up carbon-trading desks. The appeal of cleantech has dimmed as efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions have faltered: Venture capital and private equity investments fell 34 percent last year, to $5.8 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Now some investors are taking another approach. Working under the assumption that climate change is inevitable, they�re investing in businesses that will profit as the planet gets hotter. (The World Bank says the earth could warm by 4C by the end of the century.) Their strategies include buying water treatment companies, brokering deals for Australian farmland, and backing a startup that has engineered a mosquito to fight dengue, a disease that�s spreading as the mercury climbs.
This will be fun to watch as we cool off -- eggs, basket and all that...

Aaaand off he goes

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Barry is taking a little much-needed vacation. Again. From Politico:
Source: Preparations underway for Obama vacation on Martha's Vineyard
President Obama and his family are likely headed to Martha's Vineyard for a summer sojourn again this year.

A source tells POLITICO that the Secret Service has started booking accommodations on the toney island off the Massachusetts coast.

So far, the White House isn't saying anything, but the Vineyard is abuzz with the news. The first family is expected toward the end of August, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
More at the site. With all the cutbacks from Obama's Sequester, you would think that he would demonstrate some leadership and visit Camp David instead of making us fork over several million of our hard earned tax dollars for his leisure. Sure, President Bush spent a lot of time in Crawford but his house was set up as a second White House and he received a lot of Foreign Dignitaries there. 600+ comments -- the ones I read were about 90% condemnation...
The cartoonist was warning against the same crap we are dealing with now. The plan of action in the lower left is the same thing the current Obama regime is doing today:
Plan of Action for U.S.
SPEND! SPEND! SPEND
Under The Guise of Recovery - Bust the
Government - Blame
the Capitalists for
the Failure --
Junk the Constitution
and Declare
a Dictatorship
chicago-tribune-1934
Click to embiggen…

Hat tip to the 1389 Blog

Heh - Al Gore in court

Don't know if he will actually be showing up on the witness stand but he is being sued. From The Hollywood Reporter:
Al Gore Sued Over Current TV Sale to Al Jazeera (Exclusive)
Current TV's $500 million sale to Al Jazeera has prompted a lawsuit that claims co-founder Al Gore originally was opposed to the deal but had a "change of heart" on selling his cable network to oil-rich Qataris.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court by John Terenzio, who presents himself as a highly regarded media consultant, executive and TV producer who conceived the idea for the distribution of an American version of Al Jazeera.

Now, Terenzio claims that he has been cut out of the lucrative deal.

Read the full lawsuit here (PDF).
And it gets better:
Terenzio, who says in the suit he created China Central Television and reprogrammed it for American audiences, alleges that in late 2011, he presented a proposal for Al Jazeera titled "Path to U.S. Distribution" by Richard Nanula, a principal in Colony Capital. The purpose of the presentation was to explore potential financing and joint venture partners for the project.

Terenzio says that in June, he identified Current TV as a potential acquisition target for Al Jazeera given its vast distribution network and well-publicized financial woes.

At Terenzio's direction, Nanula is said to have approached Richard Blum, a member of Current's board of directors (and the husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein), who was interested because "he and other Current investors were concerned about the prospect of losing their shirts in the financially troubled Current."

Terenzio says he met Blum in July and presented "a step-by-step approach for making the sale of the liberal media outlet to Al Jazeera palatable to U.S. lawmakers, pro-Israel factions, cable operators and, most importantly, the American public."

The lawsuit claims that the structure proposed and the strategies developed were the same ones developed by Terenzio for CCTV and that there was a "mutual understanding that Terenzio would be compensated if Current TV utilized his idea to consummate a sale to Al Jazeera."
Business as usual in Washington D.C. I do not have any 'skin in the game' but it would be nice to see the crazed poodle get taken down a notch or three...

Some cheery words

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Richard hits it out of the park with a view forward to our (possibly) dystopian future. From The Belmont Club:
Your Card Has Been Debited
Since it is unlikely that Dr. Henry Kissinger has been lurking on this site any similarity between Kissinger�s recent observations and the familiar analysis of nuclear weapons offered here on the Belmont Club must be due to an earlier shared source. Dr. Kissinger is reported as saying on the BBC that what 7 American Presidents spent 40 years preventing may now have been achieved by the current incumbent.
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has warned that a crisis involving a nuclear Iran is in the �foreseeable future��

The consequences of Tehran�s programme, he said, would be that other countries in the region would also want nuclear arms.

�The danger is that we could be reaching a point where nuclear weapons would become almost conventional, and there will be the possibility of a nuclear conflict at some point� that would be a turning point in human history,� he said.
That�s right. The world isn�t going to buy everyone a Coke. And the earlier shared source? Why a hundred year old book which claims that reality eventually punctures fiction. �For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.� And separately, �for they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.�
Richard then brings up the succession of power in Argentina and the huge housing bubble underway in China. We seriously need some adults in the room if we are to weather the next decade with any measure of financial security.
They should privatize and start making civilian rounds. From The Kansas City Star:
Lake City employees are offered voluntary layoffs
Hourly workers at the federally owned Lake City Ammunition Plant in Independence have been given voluntary layoff offers as part of a plan to reduce the workforce of 2,600.

The cutbacks result mainly from modernization efforts during the last eight years, according to Bryan Kidder, a spokesman for Alliant Techsystems, which operates the facility for the U.S. Army.

Previously, the Army had said the plant�s 30 government employees could see cutbacks as part of the broad federal spending cuts known as sequestration. Kidder, in an email, said the layoff plans are not related to sequestration.

Kidder said that the number of expected job cuts and their timing is unknown but that an involuntary layoff probably will follow the voluntary departures.
Civilian ammo is back-ordered for several months at any price. What stuff I do see on the shelves is limited to a box or two purchase and is three times the cost of six months ago. Wal-Mart shelves are bare of the common calibers, ditto my local gun shop. Seriously, privatize and your crew will be working 24/7 for the next year or two.
An interesting dataset from NASA -- from Ken Gregory writing at Watts Up With That:
NASA satellite data shows a decline in water vapor
An analysis of NASA satellite data shows that water vapor, the most important greenhouse gas, has declined in the upper atmosphere causing a cooling effect that is 16 times greater than the warming effect from man-made greenhouse gas emissions during the period 1990 to 2001.

The world has spent over $ 1 trillion on climate change mitigation based on climate models that don�t work. They are notoriously poor at simulating the 20th century warming because they do not include natural causes of climate change � mainly due to the changing sun - and they grossly exaggerate the feedback effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

Most scientists agree that doubling the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, which takes about 150 years, would theoretically warm the earth by one degree Celsius if there were no change in evaporation, the amount or distribution of water vapor and clouds. Climate models amplify the initial CO2 effect by a factor of three by assuming positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds, for which there is little direct evidence. Most of the amplification by the climate models is due to an increase in upper atmosphere water vapor.
CO2's effect on warming has been shown to be minuscule yet it is the keystone to all plant life on earth. CO2 and Sunlight drive Photosynthesis and without this, there would be no plants. The climate models being used by the AGW people are seriously flawed. We have a good 200 years of weather records and when you plug that data into these models, they do not hindcast the current weather at all. If they don't hindcast, how can we expect any accuracy from their forecasting? They aren't accurate for either all the while, boots-on-the-ground observation shows no warming for the last 17 years.

Sequestration in the White House

With all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the White House is paying $277,050 to hire three... three... three Calligraphers.

From The Weekly Standard:

Chief White House Calligrapher Gets Paid $96,725 Per Year
With the White House closing its doors to public tour groups in order to save money for the sequester, it's worth remembering some of the other costs the White House incurs annually.

Like the "Chief Calligrapher," Patricia A. Blair, who has an annual salary of $96,725, and her two deputies, Debra S. Brown, who gets paid $85,953 per year, and Richard T. Muffler, who gets paid $94,372 every year.

In all, the White House appears to employ 3 calligraphers for a yearly total of $277,050.

For 95% of the work, there are some really nice calligraphic fonts available for the secretary to use.

For the other 5% (documents to heads of state, etc...) they should outsource the work.

Curious doings in Maryland

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Yikes -- sounds like someone had a nice little kingdom down there for a while. From the Baltimore, Maryland CBS affiliate:
New Anne Arundel Co. Executive Probes Suspicious Cameras In County Council Offices
A stunning find in Anne Arundel County: hundreds of security cameras unknown to the police department. Now the new county executive is ordering a full investigation.

Only one man monitored those cameras and he reported to former County Executive John Leopold, who resigned in disgrace.

At the end of a long hallway in Anne Arundel County�s main government building, the contents of room 170 were secret�until now. Five video monitors took in the feeds from not a few security cameras and not even a few dozen. Instead, more than 500 cameras, which covered just about every corner of every major government building.

�To say it�s unconventional is an understatement,� said new County Executive Laura Neuman.

Neuman says the most alarming part is that the cameras apparently served one person alone.

�Those cameras were monitored by a contract employee who was not reporting to the police department but rather the county executive,� Neuman said.

That�s former County Executive John Leopold, who resigned last month after he was found guilty of misconduct in office. Leopold not only spied on his political opponents but also misused resources to engage in sexual encounters.
How could the people in that building overlook the installation of 500 cameras. That is major. How much taxpayer money was used?
His admirers should tell you about him. From Reuters: Iran declares day of mourning for anti-U.S. ally Chavez From France 24: Oliver Stone, Sean Penn hail 'hero' Chavez There is hope. From Reuters: Venezuela's Capriles set for second shot at presidency A man of the poor. From Celebrity Net Worth: Hugo Chavez was a Venezuelan politician who had a net worth of $1 billion at the time of his death on March 5th 2013. That's it -- I am done with this corrupt fool.

Heh - cut it where it hurts

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From The White House Dossier:
Congressman Offers Amendment Defunding Obama�s Golf
Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) introduced an amendment to the fast-moving continuing resolution spending bill that would bar funding for President Obama�s golf outings until the White House reopens for public tours.

Gohmert, who announced his amendment from the floor of the House, said Americans, whether Republicans or Democrats, will be greatly disappointed to come to Washington and not be able to get their tours of the White House. Many tours are planned well in advance.

The amendment states:
None of the funds made available by a division of this act may be used to transport the president to or from a golf course until public tours of the White House resume.
Gohmert cited an estimate by Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, that 341 federal employees could have avoided being furloughed had Obama not traveled to Florida for a three-day golf extravaganza.
Brilliant -- hit him where it hurts...

Senator Rand Paul in the news

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His dad may be a bit of a nutcase but the son is fantastic. From The Washington Times:
Rand Paul filibusters Brennan nomination for CIA director
Sen. Rand Paul took to the floor of the U.S. Senate just before noon Wednesday and vowed to stay there �at length� in order to filibuster John O. Brennan, whom President Obama has nominated to be the next CIA director.

Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, has said he will hold up the nomination until he gets more information about the U.S. drone execution program, which has become a major sore point for many lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

�I will speak today until the president responds and says, �No, we won�t kill Americans in cafes. No, we won�t kill you at home at night,�� Mr. Paul said early on in the filibuster, which began at 11:47 a.m. and by early afternoon showed no signs of slowing down.

Speaking from his corner desk, Mr. Paul, in red tie and gray suit and with a glass of ice water at the reach, spoke about political history and the origins of key constitutional precepts.

He was armed with binders full of information but rarely glanced at them as he rattled off important Supreme Court cases and names of lawyers involved in landmark race relations lawsuits.
Good news -- Brennan is another central planning/big government a**hole just like Holder and Obama. He should not be able to gain control of the CIA. While Senator Paul is at this, maybe he should bring up the government's massive ammunition purchases and the illogical new gun laws being rammed though...
From Bloomberg:
U.K. Natural Gas Stores May Empty in Two Weeks
U.K. stores of natural gas, pushed to record lows by a dearth of tanker imports, will be exhausted in about two weeks unless temperatures rise, reducing demand for the heating fuel.

Inventories at Rough, the U.K.�s largest gas-storage facility, are at the lowest level on record for the time of year. There were 6,490 gigawatt-hours of gas in storage yesterday, which will be depleted in 15 days if the average rate of withdrawal over the past two weeks continues, according to National Grid Plc (NG/) data.

U.K. gas prices, a benchmark for Europe�s 800 billion-euro ($1 trillion) market, are susceptible to sudden moves after imports of liquefied natural gas slumped by 53 percent in the five months through February from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gas for same-day delivery jumped 64 percent to a seven-year high of 115 pence a therm yesterday as unplanned maintenance cut supplies from Norway.
So energy prices will skyrocket (where have we heard that before) and the poor people will suffer because they are the least able to afford to pay for heating. This is all because of some stupid political claim of Global Warming and the even more stupid push for green energy as opposed to developing nuclear and traditional energy sources. The sad joke is that England has massive oil shale deposits -- a bit of fracking and they would be an energy exporter. A tip of the hat to Bishop Hill for the link.
Looks like things are going favorably for Zimmerman -- they should as this was a classic case of self-defense and Martin was procuring the components for Lean (here, here and here)when he was shot. From the Orlando, FL Sentinel:
Lawyer: State's main witness in George Zimmerman murder case lied
Trayvon Martin's girlfriend, the state's most important witness in the George Zimmerman murder case, was caught in a lie, it was revealed Tuesday.

It was not the first piece of misinformation tied to her, but it was the most damaging to date and left prosecutors in a very awkward position.

They had to publicly acknowledge that their star witness had lied under oath and had to answer questions about what they intend to do about it.
Oopsie... The links for Lean show that he was actively drugging and that he stopped at the convenience store to get more ingredients. This is not an innocent child.

Heh - instant karma near Portland, Oregon

From Portland, Oregon station KGW:

W. Salem man accidentally killed by AR-15 he had just stolen
A man was killed when an AR-15 rifle he had just stolen from a Polk County farm discharged Sunday morning, police said.

Deputies responding to the report of a gunshot victim in the 5600 block of Halls Ferry Road found the suspect, 19-year-old Genaro Hernandez Mendoza of West Salem, dead inside a farm truck, said Polk County Sheriff's Office Detective John Williams.

Investigators learned that the truck had been stolen from a home on Independence Highway earlier that morning, along with a rifle, a shotgun and several other items.

"The evidence showed that while Hernandez Mendoza was driving away from the scene he was the victim of an accidental, self-inflicted gun shot wound from the rifle he had just taken," Williams said.

Williams added that the AR-15 rifle and the shotgun were both angled with their butts on the floorboard and their barrels pointed upward, toward the driver's seat. On the bumpy farm road, the bolt head of the shotgun apparently bumped against the rifle's trigger, firing one shot that hit the suspect and exited through the roof.

The suspect seemed to have acted alone in the burglary, Sheriff Bob Wolfe said.

The placement of the guns in the truck was absolutely stupid. No word as to the immigration 'status' of Mr. Mendoza -- lots of illegal agricultural workers in that part of the country.

And a tip 'o the hat to Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

From The Seattle Times:

Changes loom for Washington state pension system could be short, fewer words
As public pension plans come under fire around the country for being overgenerous, underfunded, loosely managed budget-busters, Washington state's massive system looks pretty good by comparison.

But that may not be good enough.

An analysis by The Seattle Times suggests that the system's promised benefits are much bigger, and its real assets smaller, than official numbers indicate.

The analysis, using market-based data and methods, pegs the total gap between the present-day value of future benefits and assets on hand at more than $31 billion.

By that measure - one advocated by many outside experts and economists - the system's nine major defined-benefit plans together have only about 64 cents in assets for every dollar of liabilities, rather than being 100 percent funded as the official figures indicate.

A thorough analysis -- does not look good for future retirees...

Good riddance - Hugo Chavez

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From the Associated Press:
Hugo Chavez, fiery Venezuelan leader, dies at 58
President Hugo Chavez was a fighter. The former paratroop commander and fiery populist waged continual battle for his socialist ideals and outsmarted his rivals time and again, defeating a coup attempt, winning re-election three times and using his country's vast oil wealth to his political advantage.

A self-described "subversive," Chavez fashioned himself after the 19th Century independence leader Simon Bolivar and renamed his country the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

He called himself a "humble soldier" in a battle for socialism and against U.S. hegemony. He thrived on confrontation with Washington and his political opponents at home, and used those conflicts to rally his followers.
Chavez named Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his chosen successor -- we will see if things turn out better for the poor Venezuelan people. He stole the oil money and gave them bread and circuses. The national infrastructure is crumbling because he would invite foreign companies in to modernize things and then he would nationalize those companies when things were done -- telephone, electrical, highways, etc...

Even worst than the old one. From the Wall Street Journal:

Carbon Power Politics
President Obama gave his second-term global warming agenda a lot more definition Monday with a new Environmental Protection Agency chief to replace Lisa Jackson. Picking Gina McCarthy, one of her top lieutenants and the architect of some of the agency's most destructive carbon rules, is a sign he intends to make good on his vow of "executive actions" if Congress doesn't pass cap and tax.

Over the last four years running the EPA's air office, Ms. McCarthy has been a notably willful regulator, even for this Administration. Her promotion is another way of saying that Mr. Obama has given up getting Congress to agree to his anticarbon agenda, especially given the number of Senate Democrats from coal or oil states. The real climate fight now is over the shape of forthcoming rules that could be released as early as this summer, and a brutal under-the-table lobbying campaign is now underway.

The main target, as usual, is the U.S. power industry, which accounts for 40% of U.S. carbon emissions and about one-third of greenhouse gasses. Last year Ms. Jackson and Ms. McCarthy imposed a moratorium on new coal-fired plants, plus other rules that are forcing utilities to shut down older plants and invest billions of dollars to upgrade everything else. The agency is about to go after the leftovers.

And they wonder why the economy is in the tank. Time to defund the EPA and let's get back to work.

All this fuss over a gas that is essential to life on this planet...

Eric Holder in the news again

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He really needs to be replaced now. From The Washington Examiner:
Eric Holder: Drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil are legal
Attorney General Eric Holder can imagine a scenario in which it would be constitutional to carry out a drone strike against an American on American soil, he wrote in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

�It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,� Holder replied in a letter yesterday to Paul�s question about whether Obama �has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.�

Paul condemned the idea. �The U.S. Attorney General�s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening � it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans,� he said in a statement.
Completely unconstitutional. I live a couple miles from the Canadian border -- I watch for drones from time to time. Haven't seen them yet but I don't doubt they will appear.

The town of Villa Epecuen

Fascinating story from Amusing Planet:
Villa Epecuen: The Town That Was Submerged For 25 Years
Back in the 1920s, a tourist village named Villa Epecuen was established along the shore of Lago Epecuen, a salt lake some 600 kilometers southwest of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lago Epecuen is like most other mountain lakes, except for one important difference. It has salt levels second only to the Dead Sea, and ten times higher than any ocean.

Lago Epecuen�s therapeutic powers have been famous for centuries. Legend holds that the lake was formed by the tears of a great Chief crying for the pain of his beloved. It is said that Epecuen � or �eternal spring� � can cure depression, rheumatism, skin diseases, anaemia, even treat diabetes.

By late nineteenth century, the first residents and visitors started to arrive to Villa Epecuen and set up tents on the banks. Villa Epecuen transformed from a sleepy mountain village to a bustling tourist resort. The village soon had a railway line linking it to Buenos Aires. Before long, tourists from all over South American and the World came flocking, and by the 1960s, as many as 25,000 people came every year to soak in the soothing salt water. The town�s population peaked in the 1970s with more than 5,000. Nearly 300 businesses thrived, including hotels, hostels, spas, shops, and museums.

Around the same time, a long-term weather event was delivering far more rain than usual to the surrounding hills for years, and Lago Epecuen began to swell. On 10 November 1985 the enormous volume of water broke through the rock and earth dam and inundated much of the town under four feet of water. By 1993, the slow-growing flood consumed the town until it was covered in 10 meters of water.

Nearly 25 years later, in 2009, the wet weather reversed and the waters began to recede. Villa Epecuen started coming back to the surface.

No one returned back to the town, except 81-year-old Pablo Novak who is now Villa Epecuen�s sole resident.

�I am OK here. I am just alone. I read the newspaper. And I always think of the towns golden days back in the 1960s and 70s,� Novak says.

In 2011, AFP photographer Juan Mabromata visited the ruins of Villa Epecuen, met its sole inhabitant, and returned with these images.
Visit the site for the images -- if I ever get back down to South America, this will be on the itinerary for sure.

United Nations - this explains a lot

From Foreign Policy:

U.S. to U.N. diplomats: stop getting drunk during budget talks
The U.S. ambassador for management and reform at the United Nations, Joseph Torsella, scolded his U.N. colleagues today for excessive drinking during delicate budget negotiations.

The unusual censure reflected lingering American frustration with its counterparts' conduct in budget negotiations in December, which one U.N.-based diplomat compared to a circus.

"There has always been a good and responsible tradition of a bit of alcohol improving a negotiation, but we're not talking about a delegate having a nip at the bar," said the diplomat who recalled one G-77 diplomat fell sick from too much alcohol.

As the United States sought to rally support for a proposal to freeze U.N. staff pay in December, it found that key negotiating partners, particularly delegates from the Group of 77 developing countries, were not showing up for meetings. When they did arrive, they had often been drinking.

A bit more:

"It's all about the last one standing is the winner," said one Security Council diplomat who has participated in many U.N. budget negotiations. "After three weeks together and 20 hours a day, people start to get really comfortable enough. But if you are dumb enough to get so drunk you can't negotiate, then you deserve [to get out played]."

"By the way, it's not just Africans. The Russians do it," the delegate continued. "There's nothing new or surprising about this. Canada used to bring whisky. The French used to bring bottles of wine," said the diplomat.

Another official, however, came to Russia's defense, saying it was true that Moscow's diplomats shared a bottle of vodka with their negotiating partners, but that they did so after the proceedings were concluded.

The United Nations is a perfect example of where the United States could save several billion dollars/year. Defund it and make them find some other place to meet. That's some really valuable real-estate they have. There are a few good programs that they have but these can be reincorporated as independent entities. End the corruption.

Somebody needs to get Dr. James Hanson off the public payroll. From the New York Times:
A Scientist�s Misguided Crusade
Last Friday, at 3:40 p.m., the State Department released its �Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement� for the highly contentious Keystone XL pipeline, which Canada hopes to build to move its tar sands oil to refineries in the United States. In effect, the statement said there were no environmental impediments that would prevent President Obama from approving the pipeline.

Two hours and 20 minutes later, I received a blast e-mail containing a statement by James Hansen, the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA � i.e., NASA�s chief climate scientist. �Keystone XL, if the public were to allow our well-oiled government to shepherd it into existence, would be the first step down the wrong road, perpetuating our addiction to dirty fossil fuels, moving to ever dirtier ones,� it began. After claiming that the carbon in the tar sands �exceeds that in all oil burned in human history,� Hansen�s statement concluded: �The public must demand that the government begin serving the public�s interest, not the fossil fuel industry�s interest.�

As a private citizen, Hansen, 71, has the same First Amendment rights as everyone else. He can publicly oppose the Keystone XL pipeline if he so chooses, just as he can be as politically active as he wants to be in the anti-Keystone movement, and even be arrested during protests, something he managed to do recently in front of the White House.

But the blast e-mail didn�t come from James Hansen, private citizen. It specifically identified Hansen as the head of the Goddard Institute, and went on to describe him as someone who �has drawn attention to the danger of passing climate tipping points, producing irreversible climate impacts that would yield a different planet from the one on which civilization developed.� All of which made me wonder whether such apocalyptic pronouncements were the sort of statements a government scientist should be making � and whether they were really helping the cause of reversing climate change.
Sometimes, I really wonder how Hansen feels -- there is enough of a body of evidence that global warming is an absolute scam that some of it has to have trickled into his brain. How does it feel to be a complete tool?

Long day today

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Did the store buying run, came home at 5PM and fixed dinner for Lulu and me. Sitting down for an hour or two of surfing and then to bed -- sleep late tomorrow...

A perfect example of why our "political betters" need to get a real life.

From the Seattle Bike Blog:

State lawmaker defends bike tax, says bicycling is not good for the environment
Representative Ed Orcutt (R. Kalama) does not think bicycling is environmentally friendly because the activity causes cyclists to have 'an increased heart rate and respiration.'

This is according to comments he made in an email to a constituent who questioned the wisdom of a new bike tax the legislature is considering as part of a large transportation package.

We spoke with Rep. Orcutt to confirm the email's authenticity and to get further clarification.

"You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car," he said. However, he said he had not "done any analysis" of the difference in CO2 from a person on a bike compared to the engine of a car (others have).

"You can't just say that there's no pollution as a result of riding a bicycle."

First of all, Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant. It, literally, is the gas of life. Without CO2, there would be no plant life on this planet. None. It is a key element of photosynthesis. Next, the amount of CO2 given off is minuscule compared to a single driver (still breathing but not as much) driving a 2,000 pound vehicle. The wonderful people at Slashdot picked up the story-- the comments are a fun read. My fave?

By his own reasoning, Rep Ed Orcutt needs to lower his CO2 production by keeping his mouth shut. He would do both the planet and his colleagues a favor.

Word...

All the while that Obama's sequestration is causing pain, John Forbes Kerry is visiting Egypt and handing out fistfuls of money to a regime that funds terrorism. From the Associated Press:
Kerry says US releasing millions in aid to Egypt
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday rewarded Egypt for President Mohammed Morsi's pledges of political and economic reforms by releasing $250 million in American aid to support the country's "future as a democracy."
A quick political lesson. Morsi is a major player in the Muslim Brotherhood. From this page:
Though many claim the organization decries violence, the Brotherhood is often viewed as the root source of Islamic terrorism.
From their published Credo:
Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.
And these are not 'outsiders' either -- the Muslim Brotherhood began in Egypt in 1928 -- they were closely allied with Hitler. The 'Grand Mufti' was a close ally with Germany before WWII Scum then, scum now and for Kerry to give them so much money beggars belief...

Good news -- from Jammie Wearing Fools:

Bloomberg Flees Rockaway St. Patrick's Parade After Locals Boo Him
We hope someone opened up a 64 oz. bottle of soda just to annoy him.
Mayor Bloomberg was booed yesterday as he walked in the annual St. Patrick's Parade in the hurricane-ravaged Rockaways.

The jeers grew so loud toward the end of the Queens parade that mayoral candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn appeared to break away from the mayor to march separately.

A spokesman for Quinn later said she always intended to walk separately from the mayor.

A bit more:

"We've been dying down here, up to our ears in muck trying to rebuild, get back to a regular life," one heckler told The Post.

"For the politicians to come down here and try to take our celebration and make it their thing . . . it's disgusting."

And Chuck the Schmuck Schumer got some lovin' too:

Revelers heckled Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer after he cheered through a bullhorn, "Let's hear it for the Rockaways."

"Send money, pal. Send money!" one heckler yelled back. "Talk is cheap!"

Nice to see We The People push back against our minders; those cultural elites that know how we should live. Schumer is a classic case -- went into politics straight out of law school. Completely out of touch...

An interesting look at Cuba

I have always had a soft spot for Cuba.

They used to be a great friend of the USA until Castro, Che (don't get me started) and Batista collapsed the government and turned it into the workers paradise it is now. Things were OK for Cuban citizens until Reagan outspent the Soviets and the Russian Communist Party died and Cuba stopped getting Russian support -- Cuba ran out of other people's money. I have known a couple Cubans and they still love their country, just not their government.

An interesting post-Castro idea from Walter Russell Mead:

Cuba After Castro
Last year for the first time Cuba's government allowed a private party to sell real estate property to another private party, and now the country's real estate market is thriving. Prices are up, and the number of houses for sale keeps growing, according to a recent article on the New America Media site.

The new properties are drawing interest from Mexicans looking to live in Cuba, and also from Americans:
"I'd love to have a vacation house in the Vedado, or a beachfront property in Mirarmar," said David, a long-time California resident whose wife is Cuban. David, who asked that his last name not be used, added he is hopeful that through his wife's family in Cuba he will be able to find an investment property.

A bit more:

If the US loosens restrictions on American travel to Cuba, and Cuba adopts something like Panama's special discount program for retirees, the country could experience an expat-driven financial boom.

Relax the restrictions and let these wonderful people flourish.

Stuffed

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The meeting was a huge sucess. About 20 people representing eight vendors showed up -- food was eaten, plans were made. Looking forward to starting the market -- mid-June through Labor Day.

Pot Luck

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The Farmer's Market pot-luck meeting/party is a half-hour away. It should be fun -- did a big pot of chili, some shrimp and some crostini. Time to change out of my grubbies and set the table.

Nuclear hotness - Chili seeds

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Have not done business with this company but their products look really interesting. Check out Australia's The Hippy Seed Company They sell hot chili peppers. How hot? One of their plants (the ButchT Trinidad Scorpion) holds the Guinness Record at 1,463,700 Scoville Units.

Fun times in the Middle East - a two-fer

First - Egypt - from Israel National News:

Egypt Struck by Swarm of Locusts Ahead of Passover
As a reminder to those who thought the account related in the Passover Haggadah might have been an exaggeration - think again. Millions of locusts have swooped down in a swarm from the sky on to the land of Egypt.

The locust plague struck over the weekend in the Giza region, home to a cluster of famous pyramids, according to reports in Arab media.

Next - Afghanistan - from Le Monde diplomatique:

The new normal in Baghdad
After violence that shattered hundreds of thousands of lives and left nearly everyone with a tragic story to tell, life in Iraq has settled into a strange normality - with no discernible direction or clear future. "How do you make sense of the last ten years?" said a novelist, who is trying to do just that. "The problem is not the starting point, but where to end. To write the history of the Algerian civil war, you had to wait till it was over. Here, we are still in the middle of a sequence of events whose outcome we cannot see." The structure of his novel, in which each chapter relates to a different year, means he remains hostage to a political system that continues to keep the country in suspense.

A decade after the US invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, Iraq remains in crisis, although you wouldn't know it from visiting Baghdad. The suicide attacks, car bombs and other explosive devices used, and abused, by the resistance and sectarian militias are much rarer than they were a few years ago, leading the world's media to lose much of its interest in Iraq.

More - Obama's quick pull-out:

All these mistakes could have been gradually corrected, but the US sinned above all by omission. It ignored the objectives it had set itself and withdrew before agreement had been reached on the issues that will continue to haunt Iraq for years: revision of the constitution, allocation of disputed territories, distribution of resources, relations between central and regional government, the prime minister�s prerogatives, the institutionalisation of counter-powers, the bylaws of parliament, the structure of the security forces, etc. Everything has yet to be negotiated and renegotiated, from one political crisis to the next.

A bit more:

The US turned Iraq into a parody of itself by projecting a simplistic vision of society, imposing crude concepts of Ba'athism, Saddamism, terrorism, sectarianism and tribalism, and building a political edifice founded on these cliches. Such self-fulfilling stereotyping is reminiscent of the colonial mindset, even though the US invasion was never meant to colonise.

A long and sobering read -- we went in -- we should have stayed in to finish the job.

On eBay - in Holland and current bid is only $10,900 If I had the disposable income, I would so snap this puppy up. Only one more day for bidding...

Speaking truth to power - We The People

From Og at Neanderpundit

His stuff is always good but today, it is out of the park:

You're not the boss of me!
Well, yes, actually, I am.

I hear this attitude a lot from government employees, and it always torques me off.

If you run a business, you know damned well that you have to cater to the customer, and that means at the individual customer level. Sometimes that means going far beyond the norm for an individual customer who has gone out of his way to be cranky that day, and sometimes it means losing money on a customer to keep them happy.

In realworldland, this happens all the time. Any time a business is dependent upon it's customers to make payroll, everyone works a bit harder and goes the extra mile to make sure that each customer is satisfied, and that goes double for the 'Problem' customers. Sure, you take care of the good customers, who aren't assholes, but you pay extra special attention to the problem children, because they make up a good portion of your income as well. Difficult customers are the prodigal sons of free enterprise, to be pampered and coddled and welcomed back into the fold whenever they return. because they will return. And they carry something with them that you will, if you run a business, go through a good deal of shit for. Ca$h.

The larger a company gets, the more likely you are to have a group of people who will be tickled to spend their workday fucking off, but will go out of their way to make sure they look busy and appear to be accomplishing things when anyone important is around. In small business these don't last long, as a general rule, because sooner or later someone is going to rat them out to the boss- and unless it's the boss' layabout nephew, that employee will be looking for a new gig. In bigger businesses, generations of professional layabouts have been warning one another to 'look busy!' when the boss is headed their way, and by making sure they are never caught fucking off, they have avoided dismissal. Think of this as the Homer Simpson syndrome. Eventually, unions came along and turned fucking off into a lucrative occupation, with great benefits and an excellent retirement package.

Og segues into Civil Service and has this to offer:

Eventually those civil servants learned something. Since they had gotten their gigs, a lot of the time, by being politically connected to someone, they discovered they could be surly, inefficient, lazy, and keep their gigs. Sure, a lot of people would complain, and they basked in the satisfaction of being out of reach of those people whose lives they made hell. And this situation is at it's very pinnacle today.

On the County level, we have some fantastic people and a few really crappy people. State level, the ratio of fantastic to crappy is a lot lower and on the Federal level, the number of fantastic people can be counted on one hand and you still have your pinkie free to hold your doughnut while you drink your coffee. Read the whole thing and talk about it with your friends -- we can climb out of this cesspit but there needs to be a lot of communication taking place before 2016.

President Carter's biggest downfall was the sense of malaise that people felt after his first term.

We have that now on steroids. It is time to recover from the ground up. Local, County, State and then Federal. Hold their feet to the fire -- these people work for us.

From AGBeat:
Aerial photography ban proposed for all but government
Neal Kurk R-NH, member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 1986 has recently sponsored HB 619-FN to make aerial photography illegal in their state, which many are considering a look into the future. States are currently struggling with how to deal with advances in drone technology, particularly mini-drones, fueled by fears not only that the federal government is using drones on U.S. soil, but are using them abroad not only to take out terrorists, but suspected terrorists, even if American.
More:
New Hampshire�s proposed aerial photography ban states the following:
A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if such person knowingly creates or assists in creating an image of the exterior of any residential dwelling in this state where such image is created by or with the assistance of a satellite, drone, or any device that is not supported by the ground. This prohibition shall not apply where the image does not reveal forms identifiable as human beings or man-made objects. In this paragraph, �dwelling� means any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more individuals.
As one of the 150+ commenters said:
Amateur-hour and embarrassing. The fact that people like this get elected explains why our country is in such dire straits. Local and state governments don't control airspace. That's the domain of the federal government and ONLY the federal government.

Everything about this reeks of ignorance. "Human beings or man-made objects"? So you can only take an aerial picture if there's not a single person, building, boat, road, power line, or trash can in it? How about man-made lakes? Not to mention that this is totally arbitrary. Why are aerial pictures prohibited but not ground pictures? Is it based on some theory that people can hide behind trees or other foliage? What about those in barren areas who are just as visible from the ground as from the air?
Mr. Kurk has had a nice long run in politics. Time for him to step down and go home and spoil his grandchildren. A tip of the hat to Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing for the link.

And the costs keep mounting

From the New York Business Journal:

South Ferry station repair estimate: 3 years, $600 million
The Manhattan subway station closed after Hurricane Sandy will take a lot longer to repair than originally estimated, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

In November, officials tentatively assigned a $600 million price tag to rebuilding the station, and as late as mid-December there was still no timeline on the project. Now, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials say they will secure contractors to rebuild the station sometime this year, and that full repairs could take as long as two more years after that, according to the Journal.

The $600 million estimate has not moved, the Associated Press added, specifying $350 million for 'physical repairs', $200 million to replace salt-corroded signals, $30 million for the station's third rail, and $20 million for 'line equipment'.

Well no problem then -- they can just take it out of their contingency fund. You know, the money that they set aside for events like this?

Wait - what? So they expect the rest of the United States to bail them out.

They built the infrastructure in the first place -- they should have provided for the occasional extraordinary repair.

And a very major gripe - so called "Hurricane Sandy" was not a Hurricane at all when it hit the US coastline. A Hurricane has to have winds of 74 MPH or greater (Force 12 on the Beaufort Scale). It was a Category 2 Hurricane when out at sea but weakened after crossing over Cuba and was a Tropical Storm when it hit New Jersey. This is not to belittle the horrible impact -- what made Sandy so bad was its size and the fact that it made landfall at the same time that a full moon was raising the tides.

Our quiet Sun

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We have known for a while that our sun's 11-year cycle has derailed and its current activity is a lot lower than what it should be. NASA is saying the same thing. From NASA Science News:
Solar Cycle Update: Twin Peaks?
Something unexpected is happening on the sun. 2013 is supposed to be the year of Solar Max, the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle. Yet 2013 has arrived and solar activity is relatively low. Sunspot numbers are well below their values in 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent for many months.

The quiet has led some observers to wonder if forecasters missed the mark. Solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center has a different explanation:
"This is solar maximum," he suggests. "But it looks different from what we expected because it is double peaked."
Conventional wisdom holds that solar activity swings back and forth like a simple pendulum. At one end of the cycle, there is a quiet time with few sunspots and flares. At the other end, Solar Max brings high sunspot numbers and solar storms. It�s a regular rhythm that repeats every 11 years.

Reality, however, is more complicated. Astronomers have been counting sunspots for centuries, and they have seen that the solar cycle is not perfectly regular. For one thing, the back-and-forth swing in sunspot counts can take anywhere from 10 to 13 years to complete; also, the amplitude of the cycle varies. Some solar maxima are very weak, others very strong.

Pesnell notes yet another complication: "The last two solar maxima, around 1989 and 2001, had not one but two peaks." Solar activity went up, dipped, then resumed, performing a mini-cycle that lasted about two years.
Or we could be heading for another grand minimum similar to the one that caused the Maunder Minimum with profoundly cooler weather over the entire Earth. This is my bet but I would be happy to be proven wrong...

A DHS two-fer

It's Sequester Silly Season all over the place. Nobody is cutting the real waste -- everyone is cutting very publicly visible programs designed to annoy the citizens. This is all a PR scam to keep the government growing. Take the Department of Homeland Security for instance -- first from the Miami Herald:
DHS freed over 2,000 immigrants since February
The Homeland Security Department released from its jails more than 2,000 illegal immigrants facing deportation in recent weeks due to looming budget cuts and planned to release 3,000 more during March, The Associated Press has learned.

The newly disclosed figures, cited in internal budget documents reviewed by the AP, are significantly higher than the "few hundred" illegal immigrants the Obama administration acknowledged this week had been released under the budget-savings process.
A bit more:
The White House has said it was not consulted about the releases, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has acknowledged they occurred in a manner she regrets.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Wednesday said the government had released "a few hundred" of the roughly 30,000 illegal immigrants held in federal detention pending deportation proceedings. Carney said the immigrants released were "low-risk, noncriminal detainees," and the decision was made by career ICE officials.
But of course, a head rolled -- from The Weekly Standard:
Chief of Staff Out at DHS
In a late Friday afternoon email, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano notified staff that her chief of staff was leaving.

"I extend my deepest appreciation to DHS Chief of Staff Noah Kroloff for his over four years of service to the Department of Homeland Security and his eight years of service to me while I served in Arizona as Governor and Attorney General. Noah has been a trusted advisor, a good friend, and a superb Chief of Staff to this department. Since January 2009, he has been instrumental in establishing and guiding many of the department's key initiatives," wrote Napolitano, according to the email obtained by Mike Allen.
Emphasis mine -- these sorts of actions are always publicized on late Friday afternoon. Our betters in Washington have the media in the tank so by releasing it on late Friday, they can be guaranteed that nothing will be said over the weekend (no real news happens on the weekend) and then on Monday, this story will rate a couple of lines on page 27 if that. Funny though -- a lot of people have taken to watching what comes out of Washington on late Friday -- these are usually the more interesting news items...

Lies, damned lies and statistics

Excellent essay on how statistics can be used to skew the results of a given sample. Specific examples from Government agencies like the EPA From John Brignell at Numberwatch:
The statistical bludgeon
In the dark ages literacy was a secret jealously guarded by the senior clerics. It gave them power in the monopoly of handing down the written and immutable law; and, incidentally, enabled them to conceal their errors (and perversions) of interpretation. The lower clergy were only able to copy documents as arrays of symbols without intrinsic meaning, but God-given, and their errors propagated (such as confusing the Gothic long �s� with �f�).

In these days of almost universal literacy (of sorts) there is an analogy in the case of statistical literacy, though not one to be taken too far. The senior clergy understand statistics (to a patchy extent) and use or abuse them at will. The junior clergy put in numbers and extract them from computer packages, without understanding, and pass them on. The laity know their place, but are impressed.

Uncertainty is not an easy concept to accept. You are accustomed to getting your exercise book back from the teacher, with a tick against the sums that are right and a cross against the ones that are wrong. When someone tells you that there is a ninety percent probability that the answer is A and a ten percent probability that it is B, it is a bridge too far for many. They are grateful when an authority (say the EPA) saves them from crossing this pons asinorum by asserting that 90% = right and 10%=wrong. Therein lies a tale of grand deceit and devilry. The uncertainty has been removed at the cost of understanding.

Just as the mediaeval clergy used their own privileged interpretations of the written laws to bludgeon the laity into conformity, so the modern numerical necromancers use their interpretations of numbers to the same end. In both cases the penalty for indiscipline is the threat of pestilence, hell-fire and damnation; while the cost of conformity is a simple but substantial tithe on your income.
A bit more:
You could write not just a book but a whole set of encyclopaedias on the statistical abuses carried out by the global warming industry. Globally it is a trillion dollar business, many people (some notorious but most invisible) making themselves multi-millionaires from its manifold branches. It is justified by reference to an alleged consensus, a word that is foreign to scientific argument. The cost is borne by ordinary people, be they Africans locked into primitive and unhealthy life styles or Europeans thrust into fuel poverty by onerous stealth taxes. It also provides a power base for ambitious politicians and bureaucrats. There are virtually no dissenters among the ruling political classes, though there are growing numbers in the general populations.
The smoking gun:
It is fairly safe to assume, for example, that anything coming out of the USA EPA is fraudulent. Ever since their first and greatest coup, the �metastudy� on environmental tobacco smoke (involving at least five gross statistical frauds), was embraced by authoritarian politicians, they have been given carte blanche to ignore the methods and laws of science. They ruthlessly exploit this licence for purely political ends.

The EPA does not now even bother with generation of fraudulent statistics: it makes ex-cathedra pronouncements that defy the laws of science. For example: anything they arbitrarily choose to declare as a poison kills with no lower limit of dosage, contrary to the first law of toxicology (that the poison is in the dose).

The EPA has evolved into a congress-bypass operation, enabling an administration with water melon tendencies to mount attacks on essential indigenous industries, such as energy. It is virtually unmonitored in its activities, yet disposes of nearly a billion dollars of taxpayers� money annually. A fine and trenchant essay by Henry I Miller on Investing in bad science includes the remark:
�For some reason I was favored with periodic reports of the research funded by the epa. The overwhelming majority of it was shoddy, irrelevant, and unpublishable.�
which just about sums it up.
Much more at the site. Excellent resource...

Waterboarding

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The water board annual general meeting went a little long -- last year was a bit over one hour, this year was a bit over two. Last year, we did not raise the rates and this year we did so there was a lot of discussion back and forth. Got voted back in as President (woo-hoo!). A good meeting overall.

Gun grabbing

From the Denver, Colorado CBS affiliate:

Popular Standard Shotgun Could Be Banned Under Proposed Bill
A popular hunting shotgun could be banned under one of the bills moving through the state Capitol.

A pump or semi-automatic shotgun is the gun most hunters in Colorado use. It's a gun state Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, says could be banned under a bill that's already passed the House and Gov. John Hickenlooper says he'll sign.

"They're coming after the standard shotgun," Brophy told CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd.

The part in question:

Brophy points to a section of the bill that defines a high-capacity magazine as one capable of accepting or - that can be readily converted - to accept more than 15 rounds or eight shotgun shells.

"This is where shotgun shells go inside this tube here," Brophy showed Boyd, "You can screw this part off the top and screw on an extender to this tube to allow it to hold more than eight rounds. It is readily convertible, which by definition in the bill, makes the whole thing a high-capacity magazine."

I could see something like this on the East Coast or maybe Illinois but Colorado? A bit more:

"The law is specific as of July 1. You can keep it, but only if you maintain continuous possession of it," Brophy said. "If it breaks, you can't give to a gunsmith even to fix it. You can't hand it to your son to use. It's all now outlawed because of this 1224, the bill that Gov. Hickenlooper says he's going to sign - this is most extreme thing anybody's ever done related to firearms."

Yikes! Wonder if the governor will be elected next time around.

Fill 'er up with Ethyl

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Interesting correlation between environmental lead and poverty, mental disabilities and crime. From Kevin Drum writing at Mother Jones:
America's Real Criminal Element: Lead
When Rudy Giuliani ran for mayor of New York City in 1993, he campaigned on a platform of bringing down crime and making the city safe again. It was a comfortable position for a former federal prosecutor with a tough-guy image, but it was more than mere posturing. Since 1960, rape rates had nearly quadrupled, murder had quintupled, and robbery had grown fourteenfold. New Yorkers felt like they lived in a city under siege.

Throughout the campaign, Giuliani embraced a theory of crime fighting called "broken windows," popularized a decade earlier by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in an influential article in The Atlantic. "If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired," they observed, "all the rest of the windows will soon be broken." So too, tolerance of small crimes would create a vicious cycle ending with entire neighborhoods turning into war zones. But if you cracked down on small crimes, bigger crimes would drop as well.

Giuliani won the election, and he made good on his crime-fighting promises by selecting Boston police chief Bill Bratton as the NYPD's new commissioner. Bratton had made his reputation as head of the New York City Transit Police, where he aggressively applied broken-windows policing to turnstile jumpers and vagrants in subway stations. With Giuliani's eager support, he began applying the same lessons to the entire city, going after panhandlers, drunks, drug pushers, and the city's hated squeegee men. And more: He decentralized police operations and gave precinct commanders more control, keeping them accountable with a pioneering system called CompStat that tracked crime hot spots in real time.
And now it gets interesting -- some more:
But even more remarkable is what happened next. Shortly after Bratton's star turn, political scientist John DiIulio warned that the echo of the baby boom would soon produce a demographic bulge of millions of young males that he famously dubbed "juvenile super-predators." Other criminologists nodded along. But even though the demographic bulge came right on schedule, crime continued to drop. And drop. And drop. By 2010, violent crime rates in New York City had plunged 75 percent from their peak in the early '90s.

All in all, it seemed to be a story with a happy ending, a triumph for Wilson and Kelling's theory and Giuliani and Bratton's practice. And yet, doubts remained. For one thing, violent crime actually peaked in New York City in 1990, four years before the Giuliani-Bratton era. By the time they took office, it had already dropped 12 percent.

Second, and far more puzzling, it's not just New York that has seen a big drop in crime. In city after city, violent crime peaked in the early '90s and then began a steady and spectacular decline. Washington, DC, didn't have either Giuliani or Bratton, but its violent crime rate has dropped 58 percent since its peak. Dallas' has fallen 70 percent. Newark: 74 percent. Los Angeles: 78 percent.
Smoking gun:
Experts often suggest that crime resembles an epidemic. But what kind? Karl Smith, a professor of public economics and government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has a good rule of thumb for categorizing epidemics: If it spreads along lines of communication, he says, the cause is information. Think Bieber Fever. If it travels along major transportation routes, the cause is microbial. Think influenza. If it spreads out like a fan, the cause is an insect. Think malaria. But if it's everywhere, all at once�as both the rise of crime in the '60s and '70s and the fall of crime in the '90s seemed to be�the cause is a molecule.
And it is leaded gasoline:
That tip took Nevin in a different direction. The biggest source of lead in the postwar era, it turns out, wasn't paint. It was leaded gasoline. And if you chart the rise and fall of atmospheric lead caused by the rise and fall of leaded gasoline consumption, you get a pretty simple upside-down U: Lead emissions from tailpipes rose steadily from the early '40s through the early '70s, nearly quadrupling over that period. Then, as unleaded gasoline began to replace leaded gasoline, emissions plummeted.

Intriguingly, violent crime rates followed the same upside-down U pattern. The only thing different was the time period: Crime rates rose dramatically in the '60s through the '80s, and then began dropping steadily starting in the early '90s. The two curves looked eerily identical, but were offset by about 20 years.
There is a lot more at the article -- the lead is still with us (trapped in the top layers of the soil) but the cost of remediation is several times less than the expense of caring for these chemically induced hoodlums. Good bit of forensic detective work!

From The Washington Post:

Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy
PALERMO, Italy - Inside a midnight-blue BMW, a Sicilian entrepreneur delivered his pitch to the accused mafia boss. A new business was blowing into Italy that could spin wind and sunlight into gold, ensuring the future of the Earth as well as the Cosa Nostra: renewable energy.

"Uncle Vincenzo," implored the businessman, Angelo Salvatore, using a term of affection for the alleged head of Sicily's Gimbellina crime family, 79-year-old Vincenzo Funari. According to a transcript of their wiretapped conversation, Salvatore continued: "For the love of our sons, renewable energy is important. . . . It's a business we can live on."

And for quite a while, Italian prosecutors say, they did. In an unfolding plot that is part "The Sopranos," part "An Inconvenient Truth," authorities swept across Sicily last month in the latest wave of sting operations revealing years of deep infiltration into the renewable-energy sector by Italy's rapidly modernizing crime families.

The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming that huge state incentives created excessive profits for companies and a market bubble ripe for fraud. China-based Suntech, the world's largest solar panel maker, last month said it would need to restate more than two years of financial results because of allegedly fake capital put up to finance new plants in Italy. The discoveries here also follow "eco-corruption" cases in Spain, where a number of companies stand accused of illegally tapping state aid.

Because it receives more sun and wind than any other part of Italy, Sicily became one of Europe's most obvious hotbeds for renewable energies over the past decade. As the Italian government began offering billions of euros annually in subsidies for wind and solar development, the potential profitability of such projects also soared - a fact that did not go unnoticed by Sicily's infamous crime families.

All those tax dollars for subsidies. They would be stupid not too -- after all, why leave something this rich to the amateurs. Launder through a couple false fronts and a construction company or two. Easy picken's. No way is this sustainable in the long run -- poor economic model but get in early, extract the money and sell the facility to someone for such a deal...

Curious news from The Daily Caller:

Employees: Obama donor in process of buying up and "destroying" America's top pro-gun media outlets
Employees of Obama donor Leo Hindery Jr.'s media conglomerate Intermedia Partners, which now owns most of the top gun-culture media outlets in the country, believe that Hindery plans to gut and destroy all of them as part of a business plan that has already led to numerous layoffs and the virtual shuttering of prominent television production facilities in Minnesota and Montana.

Hindery, who was in consideration to be President Barack Obama's secretary of commerce, is managing partner of Intermedia Partners. The New York-based media private equity fund owns Intermedia Outdoor Holdings, which publishes 17 hunting, fishing, and shooting magazines, including Guns & Ammo, Handguns, Gun Dog, Rifle Shooter and Shooting Times.

InterMedia Outdoor Holdings purchased the pro-gun hunting and fishing network the Sportsman Channel in 2007, and is now in the process of acquiring the Outdoor Channel, pending the federal government's approval of last month's merger between InterMedia Outdoors and Outdoor Channel Holdings.

InterMedia employees believe that Hindery, a Huffington Post blogger who has contributed to numerous Democratic politicians including Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren, is in the process of consolidating all of America's leading gun-culture media outlets and stripping them down to virtual destruction.

Prior to its acquisition by InterMedia, the media brand Petersen's Hunting, the television arm of which is broadcast by the Sportsman Channel, was housed in a "beautiful" facility in Baxter, Minnesota, overlooking the Mississippi River. The facility had approximately 60 employees, a massive studio, at least nine editing bays and fully-wired machine rooms and was conducting about four studio shoots per year with a full production crew.

That facility now mostly consists of about 12 employees - basic administrative types, - who think every day they go into work is going to be their layoff day, according to an InterMedia employee who spoke on condition of anonymity.

I am not a big magazine person -- 99% of the stuff is on the web already and a new 'zine will last me 20 minutes at most. Still, these are some very familiar titles with a long legacy -- it would be a shame to lose them. #A bit more:

"Now that Hindery has the Outdoor Channel, he's in a position to consolidate all of the major pro-Second Amendment media titles in this country, strip them down, and destroy them, like venture capitalists do sometimes," the employee said.

Many Outdoor Channel producers are "scared shitless," realizing that the careers they built are now in the hands of an Obama donor who is in the process of breaking apart pro-gun media companies.

460+ comments -- a few moonbats but mostly people like you and me...

Big tip 'o the hat to the Dutchman at Sipsey Street Irregulars.

DOH! - stupid 'Hamster

From the Bellingham Herald:

Charges: Bellingham teen caught with helmet cam footage of himself tagging graffiti
A teenager accused of having GoPro camera footage of himself tagging graffiti in a Bellingham park has been charged with causing more than $7,000 in property damage.

Prosecutors allege Alexander Wilson Large, 18, hit buildings owned by a motorcycle repair shop, a coin laundry, the city of Bellingham and many other properties - a total of 19 documented cases - each time leaving behind tags with variations of the word "atrophy."

In late January, police interviewed another graffiti artist who confirmed Large had tagged "atro" and the initials "BUC" around Bellingham, according to charging documents filed last week in Whatcom County Superior Court. That lead helped police to obtain a search warrant for Large's apartment on Lakeway Drive.

In his bedroom, officers said they found spray paint, slap tags (homemade stickers with a graffiti tag), sketches of graffiti art and video from a GoPro camera. The footage showed Large "actively spraying structures in the area of Little Squalicum Beach," wrote Deputy Prosecutor Shannon Connor.

His parents must be proud of their widdle snowflake. The only atrophy is between Large's ears...

Andrew Breitbart passed away suddenly one year ago today.

Larry Solov knew Andrew since they were kids and he has a nice memorial at Breitbart.com

Andrew: One Year Later
"The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long."
--Lao Tzu
The funny thing is, Andrew would give me an endless hard time for quoting Lao Tzu--pretentious, he'd say.

But Andrew did live larger than life--which made his sudden passing so truly hard to believe and accept. He was a flame that burned twice as bright. It was in his DNA. I know. I knew him since he was less than one year old. (Some pictorial proof below.)

But if Andrew's flame burned half as long, his legacy will never burn out. To the contrary, it will only burn brighter and brighter. It is one of love and laughter, of an amazing family consisting of his widow Susie and their four extraordinary young children, and of a friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.

It burns in my heart and the heart of all those who loved him and whom he so deeply affected.

It also burns as his mission continues and expands at Breitbart News Network.

We are all Breitbart!

Our Federal Senators and Representatives enjoy a wide range of mental facilities. Representative Maxine Waters is a sterlig example of the shallow end of the pool. From Doug Powers writing at Michelle Malkin:
Maxine Waters: Sequester will cost 170 million Americans their jobs
There are around 150 million people employed in the United States at the moment. According to Rep. Maxine Waters, the sequester will have such a devastating impact that all of those people will lose their jobs, and 20 million of them will lose their jobs twice:
Yesterday we did have Mr. Bernanke in our committee and he came to tell us what he�s doing with quantitative easing and that is trying to stimulate the economy with the bond purchases that he�s been doing because he�s trying to keep the interest rates low and jobs � and he said that if sequestration takes place, that�s going to be a great setback. We don�t need to be having something like sequestration that�s going to cause these jobs losses, over 170 million jobs that could be lost � and so he made it very clear he�s not opposed to cuts but cuts must be done over a long period of time and in a very planned way rather than this blunt cutting that will be done by sequestration.
That would be this Maxine Waters. Talk about a dim bulb.
From Chris Wysocki at WyBlog:
California is "greening" itself toward a third world electrical grid
The "greening" of California's energy infrastructure is producing some unforeseen consequences.

Solar power doesn't work very well at night. Or on cloudy days. Wind power tends to operate intermittantly.

A robust power grid takes those factors into account, usually by having natural gas turbine generators on standby. Alas, California's ecotwits have forced most of the state's fossil fueled power plants into mothballs. The ones that are still limping along will likely be shuttered by 2020 thanks to onerous and prohibitively expensive upgrades required under the Clean Air Act.

So what will happen on cloudy, windless days?

Rolling blackouts.

In 21st Century America. California will join the third world.
It's fun to discuss alt.energy with a low-information voter. They do not get the fact that neither wind nor solar can serve as a baseload generating capacity. For every megawatt of wind turbines you install, you must also install a megawatt of gas turbine generation running on hot-standby (so it can start quickly when the wind dies down). Or live with the rolling blackouts...

No Ordinary Pig

Fun story at the New York Times:
An Iowa Farmer�s Quest for No Ordinary Pig
There once was a young boy who built motorcycles with his father, raised pigs for Iowa county fairs and eventually fell in love with computers when his fingers first tapped on a Teletype portal in middle school. He would write programs to help with eighth-grade algebra and use ASCII code to create images resembling Playboy centerfolds.

When he grew up, he would parlay his ingenuity into a career of building Internet portals for cities and computer networks for big companies. He would spin another business from a whim and a joke � building aquariums out of old Macintosh computers. And when he reached his mid-40s, rather than settle into his career, he embarked on a new unconventional endeavor, one he hopes will revolutionize an industry.

Carl Edgar Blake II has tried to breed the perfect pig. Fatty and smooth. Meaty and flavorful.

He crossed a Chinese swine, the Meishan, with the Russian wild boar � emulating a 19th-century German formula created when King Wilhelm I imported the fatty Meishan to breed with leaner native wild pigs in what is now the state of Baden-W�rttemberg. They called that one the Swabian Hall. With dark and juicy meat, it assumed a place among Europe�s finest swine.

Mr. Blake, 49, has bet that his 21st-century American version � the Iowa Swabian Hall � can be equally delectable.
Sounds like a fun project. Plus, one of the end results is Bacon. Mmmmm Bacon... His website is here: Rustik Rooster Farms

The coming Ice Age

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Anthony has done a wonderful compilation of links to articles from 1970 through 1979. The overall theme is coming Ice Age and the hyperventilation is the same as what passes for scientific discourse on the current Anthropogenic Global Warming scam. A fun walk down memory lane...

From the UK Telegraph:

Lecturer fined £28,000 after scratching graffiti into cars
Stephen Graham, a professor of cities and society at Newcastle University, was fined £28,000 after damaging 27 cars with his screwdriver during the two-hour escapade.

The 48-year-old was said to have been in a "dissociative state" when he got out of bed and strolled outside in the early hours of the morning. He left his front door wide open and was dressed in only underpants, trainers and a suit jacket, with a sleep mask pushed up on his forehead.

A bit more:

Mr Graham, who had no recollection of the events, had previously stated that he did not agree with people driving large 4x4s, otherwise known as Chelsea tractors, in cities.

However, the judge accepted that this was not the motivation for the vandalism. Only ten of the vehicles he scratched were 4x4s. Others included a red Audi A1, a grey Volvo, a Mercedes and a promotional Mitsubishi 4x4 for the Metro Radio station.

Words he carved into the paintwork included "arbitrary", "wrong", "very silly" and "twat".

The court heard that Mr Graham had enjoyed a distinguished academic career. He was "highly-respected" in his field and had received glowing references.

Doesn't like 4X4's? Give me a good reason why. Pot meet kettle -- arbitrary, wrong and twat indeed...

About that economy

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A two-fer. First from Forbes:
JPMorgan To Slash 15,000 Mortgage Jobs By End Of 2014, Save $3B
The U.S. housing market may be on the mend, but that isn�t stopping Jamie Dimon from belt-tightening in JPMorgan Chase�s mortgage business.

Ahead of Dimon�s remarks at the bank�s investor day in New York Tuesday, a presentation on the firm�s consumer and community banking business (CCB) indicates the mortgage unit is targeted for $3 billion in cost savings and between 13,000 and 15,000 job cuts by the end of 2014. The expenses tallied $9.1 billion in 2012.

That figure is on top of a planned reduction of 3,000 to 4,000 workers in CCB at large, though in the broader segment expenses are expected to increase modestly as the bank invests in the business.
Next up -- from Business Insider:
Best Buy Is Cutting Hundreds Of Workers At Its Headquarters
Best Buy is cutting 400 jobs at its headquarters in Richfield, MN., the company announced today.

When new CEO Hubert Joly took over late last year, he promised to cut $725 million in annual costs, and job cuts were part of that plan.

Best Buy said that this is the "first phase" of that initiative.
Beginning of the end. People come in to look at different models of something and then shop online.

Heading into town again today

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Missed a few places yesterday so heading in again today. Next couple of days are nuts...

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