August 2013 Archives

Wipe out! - no posting tonight

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The car show was a blast -- it was clear and sunny all day. A great turnout including one of the vehicles that was the model for the original Batmobile in the original comic books. Took plenty of photos and will post them tomorrow. I may be starting up another business too -- more on that as it happens. And the rain returns tomorrow night...

Nothing until later today

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Working on some stuff and then heading into town for the Doctor's appointment. Packing up the PA system for tomorrow -- been raining but the most recent forecast has Saturday being a window of clear and sunny with temps in the mid 70's. Sunday is partial showers.

A night on the town

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A busy couple of days. Lulu's son is playing at a local restaurant tonight. We will show up in an hour or so -- stay for a few songs and head back home. Doctor's appointment tomorrow and 4th Annual Mt. Baker Car Show on Saturday. I'll be announcing again -- fun time for everyone, lots of wonderful old cars.

Finally getting released in the USA

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More here - Wiki - here - IMDb - and here - Cinemablend

Mass stupidity - $15 minimum wage

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From Bloomberg:
Fast-Food Strikes Expand Across U.S. to 50 Cities
Fast-food workers in 50 U.S. cities plan to walk off the job today in an attempt to ratchet up pressure on McDonald�s Corp. and Wendy�s Co. to raise wages.

Protests that began in New York last year are spreading to cities including Boston, Chicago, Denver, San Diego and Indianapolis, according to the Service Employees International Union, which is advising the strikers. About 200 workers showed up at the two-story Rock N Roll McDonald�s store in Chicago�s River North neighborhood this morning chanting: �Hey hey, ho ho, poverty wages gotta go!�

The non-union workers are demanding the right to organize and wages of $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum of $7.25. They now make $9 an hour on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By simultaneously targeting the largest chains, including Yum! Brand Inc.�s Taco Bell and KFC, Subway and Burger King Worldwide Inc., organizers want to force a sector-wide response.

�What the workers are trying to do is hold the corporations accountable,� said Mary Kay Henry, SEIU president.
The protesters are stupid pawns being used by Unions like SEIU who are trying to expand their faltering base. Minimum wage was never intended to be a livable take-home pay -- it was to tide you over while you improved yourself such that you would be worth more to your employer. Go to school. Volunteer to take on extra responsibilities. Learn a trade. All this will do is raise the price of a Big Mac to $6 and how many people will eat at McDonalds after that happens. The restaurants will have to let people go and the whole minimum wage thing becomes a moot point.

Wilderness Planning

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There are a series of meetings regarding forest development and roads in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and public input is crucial. Some of the meetings have already happened but there are still three more (Bellingham, Monroe and Everett). From their website:
Each year five million people visit the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. They drive forest roads to get to their destinations, to experience spectacular vistas at places such as Big Four Ice Caves, Mt. Baker, Heather Meadows, Skagit Wild and Scenic River and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. But what does the future hold for these beloved places?

Approximately 2,500 miles of roads crisscross the forest, from the Canadian border to the Mt. Rainier National Park on the western Cascades. The Forest Service can afford to maintain about a quarter of them.

Guided by mandates in the 2005 Travel Management Rule, each national forest must identify a road system by 2015 within budget for safe travel, use, administration and resource protection. To complete this report, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest staff wants to find out what roads are important to the public and why.

Eight meetings are scheduled June through October in Seattle, Sedro-Woolley, Issaquah, Bellingham, Enumclaw, Monroe and Everett. Those who do not attend a meeting will be able to give their input online. Partners and stakeholders representing a broad range of interests, from environmental, timber industry to off-road vehicle groups, have formed a �Sustainable Roads Cadre� to engage the public in the process.
This falls under the category of "Use it or Lose it" These are our lands and our tax dollars go toward the maintenance.

A phone call from our water engineer

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Readers will know that I belong to our local water cooperative (President for the last four years). As part of being a public-run water co-op, the lead engineer has to attend annual training sessions. Ours just came back from the statewide session. There was a contest for best water and our little co-op won top prize. Maple Falls has the best water in the entire state of Washington! I knew our water was very good and we run a really tight ship but this is a wonderful affirmation...

The stupid P.O.S. gets his wish

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From Breitbart:
Military Panel Sentences Hasan to Death for Fort Hood Attack
A U.S. military panel sentenced Major Nidal Hasan to death after only two hours of deliberation. It was a unanimous decision.

Hasan was found guilty on all charges of murder and attempted murder in his trial for the shooting of 13 people, including an unborn child, on November 5, 2009 at the Fort Hood military base. Over 30 people were injured.
The pathetic asshole wanted to be a glorious martyr to the 'cause'. Hope he enjoys his raisins...
From the National Review:
Report: Weiner Hiring Supporters
In an effort to rally support for a dwindling campaign, Anthony Weiner�s camp has been paying actors to stand as supporters, according to a source close to the deal. The New York Post reports that Weiner allegedly hired Crowds for Demand, a California firm, shortly after his second sexting scandal broke last month.

The source told the Post that Weiner surrogates ask that actors appear �like either supporters or people who met him and became supporters as a result of that encounter,� including asking the candidates questions at events and then noticeably approving of his answers and acting convinced. Actors were also asked to confront hecklers, but the firm refused to put actors in potentially dangerous situations for liability reasons. Actors were reportedly paid $15 per hour.
That guy is absolutely pathetic. If he gets elected, the people of New York really deserve what they get.

Happy 30th birthday - MIDI

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MIDI? Musical Instrument Digital Interface -- the system that allows one instrument to act as a controller for other instruments. From The Register comes this three-fer: First: Happy birthday MIDI 1.0: Getting pop stars wired for 30 years Second: Happy birthday MIDI 1.0: Slave to the rhythm Third: MIDI daddy Dave Smith: '30 years of version 1.0 shows we got it right' Fun reading -- a bit of music history.

Doctors visit today

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A couple weeks ago, I was trying to get a dog to go one way and he decided to go the other way. I had a grip on the fur around his collar so my little finger got stoved. Turns out that I suffered a boutonniere injury and it is fixable with a splint and some P.T. Fun fun fun... Fortunately, it is not on my writing hand.

Michelle's lunch menu

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From the Daily Caller:
Kentucky students to first lady Michelle Obama: Your food �tastes like vomit�
Students in a rural Kentucky county � and their parents � are the latest to join a growing national chorus of scorn for the healthy school lunches touted by first lady Michelle Obama.

�They say it tastes like vomit,� said Harlan County Public Schools board member Myra Mosley at a contentious board meeting last week, reports The Harlan Daily Enterprise.

The growing body of USDA meal regulations implemented by the Department of Agriculture under the �Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010″ has long been a signature issue for the first lady.

Denizens of Harlan County don�t much care, though. Their primary concern at the board meeting was a bevy of complaints that local children are starving at lunch � and for the remainder of the school day � because the food on offer in the cafeteria is crappy and there isn�t nearly enough of it.
Kids have much higher metabolisms than adults -- forcing a teenager to comply with a 2,000 calorie diet is utter foolishness.

Stupid Hippies

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Swiped in full from The Ancient & Noble Order of Gormogons:
Guess Who Is Behind the Return of Racist America?
Ah, hippies. They just can�t let it go.

When you�re a loser who was never forced to hear anything sensible, and you experience a long period lacking in self-discipline and with zero social consequences�say the years 1966-1977�you tend to pine for that period when reality keeps pimp slapping you.

And so God how they miss that era. So much so, that when they became old enough to move into the top tiers of the recording industry, you wind up with countless remakes of songs from their youth, but with disco beats. You can hear a boy band on the radio probably right now re-doing a Blondie song.

Clothing, too. As they moved into the fashion world, you wind up with Daisy Dukes, bell bottoms, tie-die, and long, straight hair on girls and long, unkempt hair on boys. Hang out at high schools, as �Puter is wont to do, and you could be at Smoke Valley High, 1973.

Look at retro cars: the Mustang, Camaro, Challenger, Charger...all back with styling cues from that era. Because, again, the hippies are old enough to have management positions in art and marketing departments.

Know where you don�t see hippies? Anywhere where personally accountability rules. You don�t see them in banking, finance, or trading in large numbers, advocating high interest rates, free toasters with new accounts, and charge accounts. No surprise: they would have been fired. But anywhere you see accountability dismissed as outmoded, you will find hippies.

Like all over government! Look how they have crawled out of their hidey-holes to join the man! Of course, now it isn�t the man�Eisenhower and Kennedy, specifically. No, the man is now one of them! Radicals thought in 2008 they have a clear victory, and they became bureaucrats, directors, under-secretaries, and all sorts of decision makers by the thousands. If you are a hippie who wants to relive the glory days of Watergate killing the GOP, endless social welfare giveaways, and environmental protests...hell, there�s no happier place than in Washington.

A curious corollary: one bizarre piece of history may have been forgotten by you younger folks. In the late 1960s, and well into the early 1970s, hippies were always looking to blacks as their personal project. The blacks were put into inner cities, given their own schools and buses, and still things were bad for them. So hippies began to sympathize with what they perceived black culture to be: the Panthers, the Black Islam, and Black Power.

In other words, the very worst of black American culture. And this is doubtless due to inherent racism; see, hippies were not among the working poor of this country, but the children of middle class and upper middle class parents who were overly indulgent. These kids had little exposure to blacks outside of characters on television, and when meeting them for the first time in colleges and universities...well, they white hippie kids naturally assumed the angry, radical, violent blacks there were �their kind,� with the dropping out, the drugs, the rebellion, and moreover this talk of revolution.

We know how it turned out, but we forget that hippies had a very warped view of race that revolved around black America rebelling and revolting against white whatever. So we jump forward 50 years to discover...well, the same thing.

Black-on-black, or black-on-white violence is ignored since this is symptomatic of the problems all blacks face. But white-on-black...or conveniently enough, white-on-black crime (or less conveniently but more accurately, a half-Hispanic-on-black self-defense shooting) and right away it�s Emmett Till, people!. Have we learned nothing???!?!?!

Evidently not. Over the weekend, another March on Washington occurred as a mixed-race but largely hippie crowd came out not to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King�s speech�the one about how one�s heart is more important than his skin color�but to protest that we aren�t spending enough time celebrating skin color. Why?

Hippie nostalgia. In Chicago, the school board voted to close many under-performing schools and send the students to better performing schools nearby. The hippies protested, claiming that the rampant violence in the city will expose these kids to horrible dangers as they walk through scarier neighborhoods. So the Chicago police have formed so-called safe passage areas where the kids will be assured of their safety as they move into another neighborhood. Put those same kids on a yellow school bus, and the hippies are priapistic that it�s Brown v. Board all over again.

No, of course, there have already been shootings in the safe zones. Remember, Chicago is a Democratic-run city so the whole thing is already cocked up. And in case the Czar was not clear enough in his point�the immense progress in the last 50 years on race relations is being subconsciously undone by a generation that thrived on racial chaos and quite seriously gets off on seeing it start up again.

Remember: the faster you can draw a parallel between a current event to some seminal event of the last 50 years, the faster the hippies will celebrate it.

Seriously, the sooner this generation goes away, the better for everyone.
Exactly -- time for a long siesta and let the adults take over...


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A nice article on the woman who takes care of my Llamas. From Colors Magazine:

Beat your intimacy issues
Bellingham Health and Rehabilitation Center in Washington, USA, is a clean, tranquil place that prides itself on its home-like environment. All the residents are recovering from illness, most are elderly, and many have been there for years. Visitors are few and far between. So every few months, Marisco and N.H Flight of the Eagle - showered, dressed up and accompanied by Niki Kuklenski - are welcome guests as they take a tour of the nursing home, stopping at each bed to kiss the patients or have a hug. Marisco and N.H are trained therapists, and they are llamas.

"It's a treat, watching the llamas walk down the hallway," says Jack Houston, one of the residents. "It's amazing that there's another life out there." For some, it's the most cuddling they receive in their time at the center; for others, it's a welcome novelty, relieving the boredom of life in an institution. The llamas leave a profound impression. "I had never met one before," remembers Holly Barto. "It was heaven. Just emotionally - to be able to touch an animal and hold an animal close."

Having the goats were fun but their personality was not compatible with mine -- more Jen's thing.

The llamas I adore -- I would have zero problem with getting a couple more...


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Thanks to reader Jerry who corrected me -- the Washington Stonehenge is not at Marysville, it is at Maryhill. Plus, there is quite a nice observatory in nearby Goldendale.

The Eagle has landed

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Looooong day -- got Lulu and Curtis unpacked at their place and at home here for the night. Doctors appt. tomorrow (nothing serious) and then a bunch of creative projects to try. Very happy we all went to the conference. I'll deal with the eight phone messages tomorrow.

Heading home

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A wonderful long week but time to head back home. Packing up the motel and we will be driving home today. Planning to take a bit of a long way home today -- heading East to Marysville to see the Stonehenge. I was there in 1979 to see the total eclipse of the Sun. From there, it's North to Yakima and East to Ellensburg. From there I will see how we feel and either hot-dog it over Snoqualmie Pass and up I-5 or wend our way through Route 97 to Route 20 and up Route 9. Needless to say, minimal if any posting today. Maybe something late tonight.

Now this will be interesting

From the UK Telegraph:

Volcanic 'geyser' erupts close to Rome airport
Motorists on Saturday were alarmed to notice hot, stinking gas spurting from a newly formed crater in the middle of a roundabout close to the perimeter fence of Rome's Fiumicino airport -- less than 900 yards from the end of a runway.

Spectators gathered around the smoking crater, which measured about six feet wide and three feet deep, before firefighters and vulcanologists arrived to seal off the roundabout to prevent inhalation of the gas, suspected to be a cocktail of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and methane. Tests are now underway.

While initial reports suggested the gas came from rotting organic matter trapped underground, one expert said volcanic activity was more likely.

"From Mount Etna in Sicily up to the Alban hills around Rome there is a good deal of underground volcanic activity," Alberto Basili, a seismologist at the Italian National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology, told the Daily Telegraph.

I am reminded of a similar event in a farmer's cornfield back in 1943 -- Mt. Paricutin grew to over 9,000 feet in a few years.

Herd Immunity - an example

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Measles is a bitch -- getting it hurts. There is a vaccine that was not available when I was a kid and I would have much preferred to get the jab instead of the disease (and yes, I have been vaccinated for Shingles). From the Wikipedia entry on Herd Immunity:
Herd immunity
Herd immunity (or community immunity) describes a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population (or herd) provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity. Herd immunity theory proposes that, in contagious diseases that are transmitted from individual to individual, chains of infection are likely to be disrupted when large numbers of a population are immune or less susceptible to the disease. The greater the proportion of individuals who are resistant, the smaller the probability that a susceptible individual will come into contact with an infectious individual.

Vaccination acts as a sort of firebreak or firewall in the spread of the disease, slowing or preventing further transmission of the disease to others. Unvaccinated individuals are indirectly protected by vaccinated individuals, as the latter will not contract and transmit the disease between infected and susceptible individuals. Hence, a public health policy of herd immunity may be used to reduce spread of an illness and provide a level of protection to a vulnerable, unvaccinated subgroup. Since only a small fraction of the population (or herd) can be left unvaccinated for this method to be effective, it is considered best left for those who cannot safely receive vaccines because of a medical condition such as an immune disorder, organ transplant recipients, or people with Egg Allergies.
Unfortunately, this is playing out in Texas. From USA Today:
Texas measles outbreak linked to church
Measles is making a worrisome resurgence across the USA, with at least 135 documented cases this year.

Measles, once a common childhood infection that killed up to 500 Americans a year, has been officially eradicated in the Western Hemisphere. For many years, the USA's few dozen measles diagnoses were "imported" cases in individuals who traveled from countries where the virus remains common. High vaccination rates largely halted the virus at the North American border.

The country's safety net has become more porous in recent years. Although overall vaccination rates remain high, communities of like-minded parents who refuse immunizations for their children have been vulnerable to outbreaks.

The latest measles outbreak is in Texas, where the virus has sickened 25 people, most of whom are members or visitors of a church led by the daughter of televangelist Kenneth Copeland.

Fifteen of the measles cases are centered around Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, whose senior pastor, Terri Pearsons, has previously been critical of measles vaccinations.
Asshat - endangering your congregation over bad science...

Fun and Games with Windows 8

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From PC World:
Is Windows 8 a Trojan horse for the NSA? The German Government thinks so
The German Government is now deeply suspicious that the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) technology built into a growing number of Windows 8 PCs and tablets is creating a gigantic back door for NSA surveillance, leaked documents have suggested.

Documents from the German Ministry of Economic Affairs obtained by German title Zeit Online uncover the alleged unease of officials at the direction of version 2.0 of the standard being developed under the auspices of the multi-vendor Trusted Computing Group (TCG).

TPM has been marketed as a security technology since its appearance in 2006, but version 2.0 would embed a chip on every PC that has complete control over which programs can and can�t run, a setting that can�t be over-ridden under Windows 8. The chip is also where the cryptographic data is stored for Windows BitLocker and it enables remote administration.

Windows 8 security going forward will be founded on TPM 2.0 and the ability to access or break it would be of huge value to any intelligence service.
Emphasis mine. More reason to move to Linux and to keep using older machines and technologies for as long as possible. I bet some enterprising hacker is looking at ways to block this chip. I do not want my computer telling me what I can and cannot run...

NSA in the news again

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From Russia Today:
NSA bugged UN headquarters - report
The US National Security Agency (NSA) successfully cracked the encryption code protecting the United Nations� internal videoconferencing system, according to documents seen by Germany�s Der Spiegel.

The United States was not just busy spying on the European Union, the report revealed, but had its surveillance apparatus trained on the international body as well.

The publication reported on Sunday that the electronic breaching of the UN, which is headquartered in New York, occurred in the summer of 2012. Within three weeks of initially gaining access to the UN system, the NSA had increased the number of such decrypted communications from 12 to 458.

On one occasion, according to the report, while the Americans were attempting to break into UN communications, they discovered the Chinese were attempting to crack the encryption code as well.
It would be nice if some whistleblower leaked some of these documents -- the United Nations is a corrupt Marxist-leaning body and exposing its failures would be sweet. It could go away and that would make zero difference in the world. Do you want to do real good? Fund groups like Team Rubicon.

Conference picture dump

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Here are a bunch of photos I took from yesterday and today: A Blacksmith is not a Farrier -- we do not work on horses. Many old-time Blacksmiths were also Farriers but the one does not convey the other. That being said, the Conference also hosted a Farrier Competition:

The trucks are always really interesting -- very efficient use of space.

Cute truck plates. The WA State FORGED is my truck.
A knifemaker I know from Seattle, Dave Lisch was working on a project.
Lulu took a class from Mark Aspery -- Curtis and I were planning to but the knifemaking session was rescheduled to the same time. Finally, here are five photos from the Blacksmith Wars event:




The level of craftsmanship was very high -- some gorgeous work. All in all, a great weekend -- our creative juices are recharged and we have a lot of new ideas for projects. Back home tomorrow...

Good Lord - stop stirring the pot

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Talk about being a major prat. From FOX News:
DHS Official Put On Leave For Racist Website
A racist website predicting and advocating for a race war has lead to a DHS employee being put on paid administrative leave.

An acquisitions officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement who deals with small businesses, Ayo Kimathi, operates the website War on the Horizon. It includes descriptions of an "unavoidable, inevitable clash with the white race." Kimathi is black.

Kimathi has been with the department since 2009. He was told Friday that he is being put on paid administrative leave.
A bit more from The Blaze:
As TheBlaze previously reported, his website, �War on the Horizon,� is dedicated to educating black people to prepare for future racial warfare.

�The 21st century will either mark the return of Black resistance to white domination or global white-on-Black genocide leading to our complete extinction,� the website declares. �Warfare is eminent, and in order for Black people to survive the 21st century, we are going to have to kill a lot of whites � more than our christian hearts can possibly count.�
Content of character, not color of skin. This is how we have all been operating. Why is this rhetoric being hyped up in the last five years? Obama is a false messiah -- living conditions for urban black people is much worse now than it was back in 2008. There is a lot more 'free crap' but the unemployment numbers and GDP are substantially lower than before 2008. What will it take to wake people up...

Point / Counterpoint

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It seems that the Muslims in the US aren't getting enough ME-time in the media so they are organizing a march. From Weasel Zippers:
9/11 Truthers To Hold �Million Muslim March� In D.C. To Demand Government Reveal �The Truth� About The Attacks�
Not-so-bold prediction time: They will fall short of their one million goal.

Via US News:
The American Muslim Political Action Committee is hosting what it hopes will be a gathering of one million people in Washington, D.C., on the 12th anniversary of 9/11 to urge the government to reveal �the truth� about the attacks.
Talk about a target rich environment... It seems that some other people have a similar idea -- it will be fun to see the reaction when these two groups collide. From their Facebook Page:
2 Millions Bikers to DC
From their ABOUT Page (edited and case corrected):
To remember those who were killed on 911 and honor our armed forces who fought those who precipitated this attack!

2 Million bikers to DC �purpose�:

The goal and purpose of this ride:
1. We, the American people, will stand by our constitution (as written, not as interpreted by the this or any previous administration), we will stand by our bill of rights (as written) and we stand for America!

2. This event is to our honor and respect those who were killed on 9/11 and their families! It is also in remembrance of those in all our armed forces who fought those who precipitated this attack!

3. We stand against any "fundamental transformation of America" by this administration or any previous administration!

4. We will not stand down we will stand up if need be for our liberties. This is a peaceful "ride�. We are not promoting nor do we condone violence of any kind! We are riding to show our love of America and the shining example of freedom this country provides to the world!

5. Please be aware D.C. Laws prohibit the carrying of weapons of any kind. The administrators of this group & event plan to follow those laws and highly suggest all others do the same! Please remember we are riding to show our love and support for America!

6. We encourage everyone to obey all traffic laws. Do not run red lights or stops signs! We do not want the LEO�s to have a reason to pull anyone over!

7. We will have a designated route to ride. (it will be posted as soon as confirmed.) The ride will entail riding by all Veteran Memorials in the D.C. Area.

8. We will have lead bikes and a final destination. (those details will follow once worked out)

If you agree with the above please join us as we honor all those who perished in 9/11 and all those who died fighting for your liberties!
Now this will be interesting to see...

Dinner tonight

Had a wonderful buffet dinner at Timberline Lodge -- salmon, roast beef and all the trimmings. Best dinner of any Blacksmith conference by far. The announcements were mercifully short and desert was great.

283 people attended the conference -- a good turnout.

Tomorrow is the final session for Blacksmith Wars and an auction.

The next Western States conference will be in Hollister, CA in 2015. Road trip!

New Hobbit trailer

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December 13th release date -- looking forward to it...

Hey buba - hold my beer and watch this

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From the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:
Pilot Study Finds ER Patients Drinking High-Octane Beer
Five beer brands � Budweiser, Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice and Bud Light � were consumed in the highest quantities by emergency room patients, according to a new pilot study from researchers at The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Three of these are �malt liquors� with higher alcohol content than regular beer.

The pilot study, published by Substance Use and Misuse, is the first study of its kind to assess alcohol consumption by brand and type from patients reporting to the emergency department with injury.
Not surprising...

Great image

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Our current administration is trying to balkanize our nation -- to break it up into little factions of us against them so that We, the People are no longer able to present a unified front against the soft tyranny that our government is now practicing. Here is an excellent image that shows this loud and clear:
Trayvon_facts_ not_agenda.jpg
Sharpton and Jackson are doing more harm than good to the 'black' people -- they need to fade away into the background and stop using their pulpit for personal gain. And, speaking of Saint Trayvon, let us never forget this:
Much more here.

Winding down

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Curtis and I finished our knives while Lulu worked with Mark Aspery on a project of hers. We went up to Timberline Lodge and took the tour through the building -- there is some gorgeous architecture and ornamental ironwork. I had been here two years ago but it was a lot of fun to see again and although Lulu had seen the outside of the building, she had never gone inside. There is the closing ceremony tonight and banquet so things are winding down for the weekend. There is some more stuff tomorrow (conclusion of Blacksmith Wars and an Auction) but that is it for this event. Took some more photos and will post them later tonight... At the hotel for a nap before dinner.

Photos from today

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Lulu attended an amazing demonstration by Maria Cristalli while Curtis and I attended another session with Bob Kramer -- today was a very in-depth demonstration of sharpening -- testing a blade, destroying the existing razor's edge (Curtis and I were both cringing) and then restoring it inside of five minutes with a few waterstones and a leather strop. Bob also proceeded to forge-weld a billet of steel plates without using flux. He taught us how.
That was the morning session -- we broke for lunch and then went to the bladesmithing afternoon session. There was a guest appearance from Murray Carter -- I have been subscribed to Murray's email newsletter for quite a few years. He has traveled extensively in Japan and was visiting with some of his Japanese friends -- here he is forging a blade:
More on Carter Cutlery here: Carter Cutlery Murray sat with us for a while -- very outgoing and smart as a whip. Fun person to talk with. I love the slogan on the back of his shirt... Next, Lulu and I and Curtis took turns forging a blade -- Lulu and I paired up while Curtis did his own. These are not done yet -- the session ran long -- but we will finish them off tomorrow afternoon.



We were able to get hands-on session for the three of us with Mark Aspery who is an incredible teacher. I also picked up a copy of his third volume of blacksmithing techniques which was just released. The session starts at 8AM so tonight will be an early bedtime.

Getting ready for day two

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Day two at Government Camp Again, posting will be minimal - 9AM seminar with Bob Kramer and two bladesmiths in the afternoon... We are signed up for a hands-on session with Mark Aspery Saturday morning (he is a really good teacher).

Day One of Western States Conference

The conference is actually a bit smaller than the one two years ago. No grand opening and one less tent for demonstration plus a few of the national vendors did not show this year.

That being said, this one is a lot of fun. A local knife maker Bob Kramer did a wonderful four hour presentation and the Blacksmith Wars started off this evening. The object of the Blacksmith Wars is to build a table with a light. The table needs to be able to hold two drink glasses and a television clicker. Four teams and there will be judging on Saturday with the pieces being auctioned off on Sunday.

Took some photos and will post more tomorrow.

Government Camp

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We have landed in Government Camp -- people are setting up the forges and there are a lot of tents set up through town. Looks like it will be bigger than the conference two years ago. Registration is at 9AM and convocation at 1PM with lots of other stuff happening.

On the road again

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Next stop Government Camp, Mt. Hood, Oregon
Happy 123rd Birthday, Howard Phillips Lovecraft More here. Not light reading but really really good.
The Detroit Institute of Arts is a national treasure. Back when Detroit was the Motor City (1920-1930), the museum was well endowed and it built up a world class collection. Now, after 60 years of Democratic and Union rule, the vultures are circling overhead. From the Detroit Free Press:
Christie's appraisal will reveal value of Detroit Institute of Arts' collection
Art museums treat estimated values of their art like state secrets. In fact, major museums such as the Detroit Institute of Arts don�t even know precisely what all of their multimillion-dollar treasures are worth.

That is about to change in Detroit.

When officials from the New York-based Christie�s auction house finish formally appraising city-owned works at the DIA this fall, the results will open an unprecedented public window into the market value of thousands of artworks at a top American museum. The enormity of the final tally, which is expected to be in the billions, promises to add urgency to the debate over whether the city should sell art to help pay its bills in municipal bankruptcy.
I really hope that the politicians recognize this collection for what it is and not look at it as a pile of other people's money than can be grabbed and spent. A collection this great cannot be brought back together if broken and many pieces will disappear into private hands never to be seen and enjoyed by the general (taxpaying) public. The political masterminds are trying like hell to avoid bankruptcy because then, old contracts are tossed out and everything is re-negotiated. The Unions and Pension holders do not want this but they are the people responsible for killing this fatted calf. Union demands raised the price of domestic automobiles such that the American public voted with their wallets and started buying Honda's and Toyota's. I needed a new truck four years ago and specifically sought out a Ford because Ford was the only domestic manufacturer that did not accept a Government bailout. I was a 30 year Chevy owner before then.
From the Sacramento, CA CBS affiliate:
California Wants Small-Business Owners To Pay Back $120 Million In Tax Breaks
Small-business investors in California were promised big breaks five years ago, but now they�re being told to pay up, instead after a court ruling.

After following the law, many of them are getting hit with tax bills as high as $250,000.

�When we make a promise, we have to uphold it,� said Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Redondo Beach.

But that is not what the state government appears to be doing. Small-business owners are getting hefty tax breaks for tax credits they already got five years ago.

�They relied on California law as it was written, that they would get a tax break if they invested in certain kinds of businesses,� Lieu said.

But a court ruled in December that practice by the state was unconstitutional. Now, the Franchise Tax Board wants its money.
A bit more -- remember, this is a television station writing the article:
Investors who could be hit by the retroactive taxes did not want to go on camera, fearing they would become an easy target for the Franchise Tax Board.
990+ comments all along the line of all of the remaining small businesses moving to Texas. Also, the usual trolls...

Great observation from Steven Kruiser

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From The PJ Tatler:
I�m So Old I Remember When Leftists Didn�t Implicitly Trust The Government
So�a government department investigates itself for wrongdoing and finds nothing and�MOVE ALONG, NOTHING TO SEE HERE?!?!?

In just a few generations, the progressives have gone from �Question Authority� to �Question Nothing�. This speaks to just how powerfully ingrained the misbegotten notion of a benevolent government has become. They have done a 180 on one of their central premises just because the idea of �free� stuff has seduced them.

Creepier every day.
So true -- we are the people we warned others about.

NadiaG on hipster food

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Love her cooking show -- a lot of fun and great food.

A great list - 100 business tips

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From The Altucher Confidential:
The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Starting And Running A Business
No joke. This is going be a bullet FAQ on starting a business. If you're a lawyer, feel free to disagree with me so you can charge someone your BS fees to give the same advice.

If you can think of anything to add, please do so. I might be missing things. If you want to argue with me, feel free. I might be wrong on any of the items below.

There are many types of business. Depending on your business, some of these won't apply. All of these questions come from questions I've been asked.

The rules are: I'm going to give no explanations. Just listen to me.
1) C Corp or S Corp or LLC? C-Corp.
2) What state should you incorporate in? Delaware.
3) Should founders vest? Yes, over a period of four years. On any change of control the vesting speeds up.
4) Should you go for venture capital money? First build a product, then get a customer, then get friends and family money (or money from revenues which is cheapest of all) and then think about raising money, But only then. Don't be an amateur.
5) Should you patent your idea? Get customers first. Patent later. Don't talk to lawyers until the last possible moment.
Ninety-five more at the site -- they are all good. Altucher is someone you need to read if you are involved in business of any kind.

Minimal posting for a day or two

Packing for the trip. Driving in to Lulu's house later today and spending the night there. The three of us (plus the three dogs) will be heading south to Mt. Hood on Wednesday. Looking forward to this conference.

Life in wartime - Egypt

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From Breitbart:
Church Forced to Cancel Mass First Time in 1600 Years
A church in Minya, Egypt cancelled Sunday mass for the first time in 1,600 years. Other churches were forced to cancel prayer services as well due to violence against the country's Christian population. From The Times of Israel:
�We did not hold prayers in the monastery on Sunday for the first time in 1,600 years,� Priest Selwanes Lotfy of the Virgin Mary and Priest Ibram Monastery in Degla, just south of Minya, told al-Masry al-Youm, according to Egypt Independent.

He said supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi destroyed the monastery, which includes three churches, one of which is an archaeological site. �One of the extremists wrote on the monastery�s wall, �donate [this] to the martyrs� mosque,�� Lotfy added.
Coptic Christians only make up 10% of Egypt�s population, but violence against them escalated after the 2011 Arab Spring. Additionally, pro-Morsi rioters have attacked businesses, homes, and almost 58 churches since the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power.
For each church that is harmed in any way, destroy a mosque. They will back down soon enough...
Lulu is heading back to her house tomorrow morning, I will pack and follow later tomorrow afternoon. Wednesday: on the road down to Government Camp, Mt. Hood, Oregon for the blacksmith conference. I will be bringing a laptop and will post but we will all be very very busy.

The Snowden Leaks

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A bunch of stuff has happened recently regarding the Snowden leaks about the NSA spying. Glen Greenwald has this to say at the UK Guardian:
David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face
In a private viewing cinema in Soho last week I caught myself letting fly with a four-letter expletive at Bill Keller, the former executive editor of the New York Times. It was a confusing moment. The man who was pretending to be me � thanking Keller for "not giving a shit" � used to be Malcolm Tucker, a foul-mouthed Scottish spin doctor who will soon be a 1,000-year-old time lord. And Keller will correct me, but I don't remember ever swearing at him. I do remember saying something to the effect of "we have the thumb drive, you have the first amendment".

The fictional moment occurs at the beginning of the DreamWorks film about WikiLeaks, The Fifth Estate, due for release next month. Peter Capaldi is, I can report, a very plausible Guardian editor.

This real-life exchange with Keller happened just after we took possession of the first tranche of WikiLeaks documents in 2010. I strongly suspected that our ability to research and publish anything to do with this trove of secret material would be severely constrained in the UK. America, for all its own problems with media laws and whistleblowers, at least has press freedom enshrined in a written constitution. It is also, I hope, unthinkable that any US government would attempt prior restraint against a news organisation planning to publish material that informed an important public debate, however troublesome or embarrassing.
And a bit more:
And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred � with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. "We can call off the black helicopters," joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.
Emphasis mine -- yes, the hard drives were destroyed. And, I am willing to bet that no, these were not the sole repositories for the data. It has been cast to the four corners of the Earth. One of the 700+ comments was very apropos:
███████████ so and ██████ ██████████ ██████ but █████████ ██████ ███ ██████ if ██████ ██ ████████ government works.
Orwell was 29 years too early.

Trader Joes in the news - Pirates

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I love the Trader Joe's stores and we were lucky that one opened in Bellingham a few years ago. They are not in Canada and since Bellingham is so close to the border, a Canadian gentleman was looking to compensate for this situation. He would buy stock, take it across the border and resell it in his store in Canada. More, from local radio station KGMI:
Trader Joe�s sues �pirate� trader
A Vancouver, B.C. man who resells Trader Joe�s products across the border is being sued by the company.

The popular grocer�s lawsuit accuses Michael Hallatt of copyright infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, injury to reputation and deceptive business practices.

Hallatt says the suit is a red herring.

Hallatt says because he pays full market value for anything he gets at the Bellingham Trader Joe�s, he has the right to do whatever he wants with his �booty� after he�s bought it.

He sells the items at his resell store called �Irate Joe�s�, originally �Pirate Joe�s� in the Kitsilano neighborhood in Vancouver.

He says a manager at the Bellingham Trader Joe�s initially helped him come up with the idea.

He even got help picking the most popular products to buy, but the arrangement turned sour when a regional manager found out.

Hallatt is banned from the Bellingham location and other Trader Joe�s stores farther south are starting to turn him away.
That is just sour grapes on the part of the regional manager. Hallatt obviously is not harming the brand at all -- people recognize it and want it enough to pay full retail plus markup plus cost of transportation. Some people have nothing better to do...

Exporting Rice

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Another example of the joys of socialism -- from Yahoo/Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Rice Farmers Cash In On Venezuelan Socialism
Steve Orlicek, a rice farmer here, is living the American dream. He owns a thriving business; he vacations in the Bahamas.

His good fortune springs from many roots, including an unlikely one: He is a prime beneficiary of the socialist economic policies of Hugo Ch�vez, Venezuela's late president and critic of what he called U.S. "imperialism."

It is a paradoxical legacy of Mr. Ch�vez's self-styled socialist revolution that his policies became a moneymaker for the capitalist systems he deplored. During his 14 years in power, he nationalized large farms, redistributed land and controlled food prices as part of a strategy to help the poor.

But these policies turned Venezuela from a net exporter to a net importer of rice�from farmers like Mr. Orlicek. "The rice industry has been very good to us," Mr. Orlicek said, sitting in his newly renovated home, appointed with a baby grand piano played by his wife, Phyllis.

It isn't just rice. Production of steel, sugar and many other goods has fallen in Venezuela, leading to occasional shortages. Until recently, Venezuela was largely self-sufficient in beef and coffee. Now it imports both.
It never works. Ever. The only places where it appears to work are nations like Norway where there is a large source of income (offshore oil) and a relatively small population. Even Norway is backing away from this as their oil deposits will not last forever. Norway appeared to be a successful socialist government but at the expense of frittering away its legacy and engaging in deficit spending. When the oil runs out, Norway will have an entitled population with no money to pay for it.

The Secret History of the U-2

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An amazing trove of information. Bit and pieces of this have been released before but never the entire load. From the US National Security Archive
The Secret History of the U-2
US Spy Planes Targeted China to Help India; Used British Crews to "Confuse the Soviets" and Overflew French Nuclear Sites
Groom Lake/Area 51 Finally Declassified
Less Redacted CIA History Released Under FOIA
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 434
Posted � August 15, 2013

Washington, D.C., August 15, 2013 � On 21 February 1955, Richard M. Bissell, a senior CIA official, wrote a check on an Agency account for $1.25 million dollars and mailed it to the home of Kelly Johnson, chief engineer at the Lockheed Company's Burbank, California, plant. According to a newly declassified CIA history of the U-2 program obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by National Security Archive senior fellow Jeffrey T. Richelson, the Agency was about to sign a contract with Lockheed for $22.5 million to build 20 U-2 aircraft, but the company needed a cash infusion right away to keep the work going. Through the use of "unvouchered" funds � virtually free from any external oversight or accounting � the CIA could write checks to finance secret programs, such as the U-2. As it turned out, Lockheed produced the 20 aircraft at a total of $18,977,597 (including $1.9 million in profit), or less than $1 million per plane. It was all "under budget," a miracle in today's defense contracting world.

What the CIA released in response to a 2005 Freedom of Information Act request is a substantially less redacted version of a history of two key aerial reconnaissance programs. Written by agency historians Gregory Pedlow and Donald Welzenbach, and titled The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974, the study was published in classified channels in 1992. Subsequently, a heavily redacted version of the U-2 portion was published, in 1998, by the agency's Center for the Study of Intelligence as a book, The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954-1974, in conjunction with a CIA conference on the U-2. The full study, in redacted form, had been released in response to FOIA requests.
Copying this over to a thumb drive to read while we are at the convention. I have always been fascinated by the engineering that went into the U2 and SR-71 spy planes.
So true:
From the London Daily Mail:
Hillary Clinton exploded at a congressman two days after Benghazi for suggesting that the attack was the work of terrorists, says GOP Rep.
An Illinois Republican congressman told constituents at a town hall meeting on Wednesday that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton screamed at a fellow member of Congress two days after a U.S. diplomatic station in Benghazi, Libya was destroyed, merely for saying aloud that the attack was carried out by terrorist groups..

The Obama administration later acknowledged that reality.

But White House officials initially maintained that the deaths of four Americans and the firebomb attack on the State Department mission was the result of a spontaneous protest against a low-budget YouTube film that was critical of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

'Two days after this attack,' said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, 'we were in a briefing with Hillary Clinton and she screamed at a member of Congress who�d dare suggest that this was a terrorist attack.'

'Now we find out that while it was happening, they knew it was a terrorist attack. These are answers that we're going to get to the bottom of.'
A bit more:
The congressman appeared on the Fox News Channel on Friday, recalling Clinton 'basically, in a very loud, angry voice, [saying] "It's irresponsible to even suggest this is a terror attack. This is a YouTube video. We know that there are protests all over, and we need to be very careful how we're saying this" -- and basically chided this member of Congress.'
More here:

Corruption in Alexandria, Virginia

Heading down the same path as Detroit, just a few years later.

From J. Christian Adams writing at PJ Media:

Government Graft, Corruption, and Retaliation in Democrat-Run Virginia
Big wasteful government isn't only a federal phenomenon. And if you're an honest government employee in the city of Alexandria in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., you better watch out. Because if you 'blow the whistle' on inappropriate, unethical, or improper government spending, your bosses will retaliate and fire you for speaking up on behalf of the tax-payers.

All across America, billions of taxpayer dollars are wasted or mismanaged by local governments because of little to no government transparency or accountability. Alexandria, Virginia, provides an example of why.

Ironically, local government, which is arguably the 'closest to the people,' is in many ways shielded and protected from public scrutiny and questioning. Only a select few who either work in local government or watch the actions of their local representatives closely catch these cases of waste, fraud, and abuse. Their stories are often ignored because the media is more drawn to high-profile cases at the state and federal levels.

Take the case of former Alexandria city architect Henry Lewis.

As the project manager on one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken by the city of Alexandria, Lewis was responsible for watching the dollars. Building a high-tech police headquarters, estimated to cost roughly $80 million plus another $20 million for furnishings, required the oversight of a skilled and experienced project manager, and Lewis was handpicked by top city officials to lead the project.

The Howard University-educated architect was a diligent project manager who worked to ensure that this massive project came in on time and on budget and he excelled at this role, receiving several sterling performance reviews and even a pay raise.

However, things began to change after Director of General Services Jeremy McPike got involved.

The rest of the story is an incredible read -- McPike tried to report the graft and was fired for his services. A court awarded him his job back with back pay under the Whistleblower statutes but none of the media are reporting this and the corruption is still ongoing. Democrat Mayor, Democrat City Council.

Measles in Texas

From Tyler, Texas station KYTX:

Texas issues measles alert
Citing four confirmed measles cases in the last month and nine cases for the year, the Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a health alert and is urging immunization against this highly contagious illness.

State health officials are asking health care providers to be on alert for potential exposures and patients with measles symptoms, particularly in the North Texas area. The four most recently confirmed cases are from Tarrant County. Other Texas counties with cases this year include Dallas (2), Denton (2) and Harris (1).

Gee - if only there was a vaccine for that. The idea that people withhold vaccines from their children over the autism scare is unconscionable. The whole scare story came from one Doctor in England, in the pay of a bunch of lawyers. His sample size was twelve children. He had his medical license revoked and the paper in Lancet was redacted. There is zero truth in the story.

The IRS Scandal, Day 100

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Law Professor Paul L. Caron has his The IRS Scandal, Day 100 posted. This is big but none of the media are touching it. Obama used the IRS as a tool to keep Conservative organizations down.

How planes fly

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A tip of the hat to Gerard.

Windpower's dirty little secret

A link to this website came in over the transom:
Energy consumption in wind facilities
Large wind turbines require a large amount of energy to operate. Other electricity plants generally use their own electricity, and the difference between the amount they generate and the amount delivered to the grid is readily determined. Wind plants, however, use electricity from the grid, which does not appear to be accounted for in their output figures. At the facility in Searsburg, Vermont, for example, it is apparently not even metered and is completely unknown [click here]. The manufacturers of large turbines -- for example, Vestas, GE, and NEG Micon -- do not include electricity consumption in the specifications they provide.

Among the wind turbine functions that use electricity are the following:
  • yaw mechanism (to keep the blade assembly perpendicular to the wind; also to untwist the electrical cables in the tower when necessary) -- the nacelle (turbine housing) and blades together weigh 92 tons on a GE 1.5-MW turbine
  • blade-pitch control (to keep the rotors spinning at a regular rate)
  • lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data collection, etc.
  • heating the blades -- this may require 10%-20% of the turbine's nominal (rated) power
  • heating and dehumidifying the nacelle -- according to Danish manufacturer Vestas, "power consumption for heating and dehumidification of the nacelle must be expected during periods with increased humidity, low temperatures and low wind speeds"
  • oil heater, pump, cooler, and filtering system in gearbox
  • hydraulic brake (to lock the blades in very high wind)
  • thyristors (to graduate the connection and disconnection between generator and grid) -- 1%-2% of the energy passing through is lost
  • magnetizing the stator -- the induction generators used in most large grid-connected turbines require a "large" amount of continuous electricity from the grid to actively power the magnetic coils around the asynchronous "cage rotor" that encloses the generator shaft; at the rated wind speeds, it helps keep the rotor speed constant, and as the wind starts blowing it helps start the rotor turning (see next item); in the rated wind speeds, the stator may use power equal to 10% of the turbine's rated capacity, in slower winds possibly much more
  • using the generator as a motor (to help the blades start to turn when the wind speed is low or, as many suspect, to maintain the illusion that the facility is producing electricity when it is not, particularly during important site tours) -- it seems possible that the grid-magnetized stator must work to help keep the 40-ton blade assembly spinning, along with the gears that increase the blade rpm some 50 times for the generator, not just at cut-in (or for show in even less wind) but at least some of the way up towards the full rated wind speed; it may also be spinning the blades and rotor shaft to prevent warping when there is no wind
Could it be that at times each turbine consumes more than 50% of its rated capacity in its own operation?! If so, the plant as a whole -- which may produce only 25% of its rated capacity annually -- would be using (for free!) twice as much electricity as it produces and sells. An unlikely situation perhaps, but the industry doesn't publicize any data that proves otherwise; incoming power is apparently not normally recorded.
Lots of links to corroborating data. If true, these bird-mashers are worse than Papal Indulgences. The entire website is well worth checking out: A Problem With Wind Power

Trouble for Egypt's Coptic Christians

From The Blaze:
Egypt�s Embattled Coptic Church Lashes Out at Western Media for Giving �Political Cover� to �Terrorist and Bloody Groups�
Egypt�s Orthodox Coptic Church lashed out at Western media coverage of the recent violence in its country, saying �read objectively the facts of events and [don't] give international and political cover to these terrorist and bloody groups.�

The church also announced its support for state military and police against the �black terrorism� of the Muslim Brotherhood-led forces supporting ousted former President Mohammad Morsi, according to statement Friday and reported by Al Arabiya.
I think it is incredibly cool that the Egyptian defense minister has ordered the repair and reconstruction of all churches that suffered damage in the country�s violent demonstrations since the Egyptian military removed President Mohamed Morsi from power last month. Morsi is scum and for the United States to cozy up to him shows a stunning lack of awareness on the part of our administration and the media.

Schadenfreude - minimum wage

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From Watchdog:
Center advocating for higher wages sued for failing to pay employees
A workers� center based in New York City that uses protests and other union-organizing tactics to push for an increase in the minimum wage was sued by some of its own employees.

The reason: failing to pay them.
Elitist scum -- fine for thee but not for me...

Long day today

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Was helping out a neighbor designing a website for them, worked in the garden and then ran into town for a few things. A local pottery shop was closing their doors so went and visited with them for a while. Lulu, Curtis and I are headed to this blacksmith conference: Western States Conference so getting prepared for the trip. Taking all three dogs so it should be fun!

Some great news out of Egypt

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From The Last Refuge:
Egyptian Military Chief Vows To Rebuild Coptic Christian Churches Destroyed By Muslim Brotherhood�
EGYPT - The Egyptian defense minister has ordered the repair and reconstruction of all churches that suffered damage in the country�s violent demonstrations since the Egyptian military removed President Mohamed Morsi from power last month.

Defense minister Col. Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi intends to fix the damage to Coptic churches at Rabaa Adaweya and Nahda squares, according to a report by the Mid-East Christian News.

Dozens of churches were attacked and burned in riots after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities to demand the end of what they call military rule, following the removal of Morsi on July 3. Many of Morsi�s supporters have voiced criticism at Egypt�s Christian minority for largely supporting the military�s decision to oust him from office.
Very cool! I am naturally a bit edgy about a Military coup but they are a hella lot better than the Muslim Brotherhood by any sense of the imagination. Establish order, form a Republic and in a couple years, transfer the reins of power to the new President. Our Constitution worked great for about 160 years -- we became a prosperous and great nation until the Progressives (Woodrow (spit) Wilson) started accumulating power and giving free shit to the proles. I have been reading Mark Levin's new book -- The Liberty Amendments -- and it can serve as a guideline to new Nations writing their own Constitution -- pitfalls and checks and balances. He spends a lot of time looking at the writings of the original Founders and their debates over the writing of our own Constitution. A great read (at page 80 of about 200).
From the UK Guardian:
Women who fear being forced to marry abroad told to hide spoon in underwear
A number of women and girls at risk of forced marriage have avoided going abroad by concealing spoons in their underwear at airport security, according to a campaign group.

Karma Nirvana, a Derby-based charity that supports victims of forced marriage, advises people who ring its helpline to hide a spoon in order to set off metal detectors at British airports. The group says that its recommendation has prevented some women from being spirited overseas.

Last week ministers warned that young people were at the highest risk of being taken abroad for a forced marriage during the school holidays. The government's forced marriage unit received 400 reports between June and August last year, out of an annual total of 1,500.
No one knows for sure how many Britons are forced into marriage each year. Estimates range from 1,500 to 5,000. More than a third of those affected are thought to be aged under 16.

Speaking to the AFP news agency, Natasha Rattu, Karma Nirvana's operations manager, said that when worried youngsters ring the charity's helpline, "if they don't know exactly when it may happen or if it's going to happen, we advise them to put a spoon in their underwear.

"When they go through security, it will highlight this object in a private area and, if 16 or over, they will be taken to a safe space where they have that one last opportunity to disclose they're being forced to marry."

The government wants teachers, doctors and airport staff to be conscious of the issue of forced marriages over the summer break.
One third of these women are under sixteen years old. This is a culture that needs to be brought into the 20th century. Mohammed is a false prophet and needs to be reviled.

Obama and green energy

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From FOX News: Obama forges ahead with green energy agenda despite congressional opposition
For the first time since the Carter Administration, solar panels are going up on the roof of the White House. It's part of a mandate towards renewable energy in the federal government, but also a symbolic gesture that the president is plowing ahead with his green energy agenda, regardless of congressional opposition.

It's a policy that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy affirmed Wednesday at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "He said that he wasn't going to wait for Congress, but that he had administrative authorities," she said. "It was time to start utilizing those more effectively, in a more concerted way." Emphases mine. Mmmm... No and No. What he is attempting is against the law and the Constitution.

From The Blaze:

Exclusive Pics: Egypt Meltdown Doesn't Deter John Kerry's Kiteboarding Adventure!
Things have got to be tense at the U.S. State Department as countries like Egypt and Syria continue to spiral into total chaos. More than 700 people have been reported dead since violent clashes began in Egypt on Wednesday, including at least 64 on Friday, and the department will face several key decisions in the near future that will have far-reaching implications for the United States.

So how does the man who heads the State Department unwind during a stressful time like this? He goes kiteboarding in Nantucket, Mass.

TheBlaze has obtained exclusive photos of Secretary of State John Kerry's kiteboarding adventure in Nantucket - and at 69-years-old, you have to admit, his skills are pretty impressive:

A trip into town

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Lulu and son are at the Lake House for a few days so I ran into town to run some errands. Stopped at the new WinCo store. I had been through them a couple times down in California so I was not completely overwhelmed but it took a solid hour to wend my way through the aisles. A lot of stuff. Huge Mexican and Asian selections, decent prices on foods. Killer prices on meat but it is all Select grade -- not the Choice or Prime that I like. I'll have to be a lot more attentive when cooking as not to dry it out. Beer and Wine selection was OK but prices were nothing special. Back home now and fixing dinner.

John Kerry in the news again

Kerry's Brazilian trip is just a gift that keeps on giving.

Talking about his buddy Al Gore's Internet -- from CNS News:

John Kerry: 'This Little Thing Called the Internet ... Makes It Much Harder to Govern'
Speaking to State Department personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil, on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that "this little thing called the Internet ... makes it much harder to govern."

Full transcript here: Meeting With Staff and Families of Embassy Brasilia

It makes it harder for you to govern because we can see your attempts to demagogue and power-grab. We see you for what you are and we tell other people about it. You are naked. Emperor Obama is naked.

You are not acting in our interests and we... WE are the Citizens who elected you to office. WE can see the kind of crap that you are trying to pull and WE do not like it one bit.

Time to get some adults in the room...

Is there no limit to this man's power grab?

From CNS News:

Kerry: Obama Will Act on Climate Change Without Congressional Approval
At a joint news conference with his Brazilian counterpart on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry praised Brazil for its commitment to climate change initiatives, and he promised that the Obama administration also is determined to do something about it.

"So the challenge is ahead of us, for all of us, and I know that the United States has a great commitment under President Obama to take our own initiatives, not even to wait for congressional action, but to move administratively in order to do our part. I know we can continue to work with Brazil on this issue of climate, and we look forward to doing so."

President Obama repeatedly has said he won't wait for Congress to act -- on jobs, recess appointments, immigration, gun control, and other issues -- where "we can act administratively without additional congressional authorization, and just get it done, as he said in October 2011.

I would quote more but I had a nice dinner tonight and I do not feel like vomiting it up.

Gun Rights in Washington State

From The Examiner:

Gun rights win in Bellingham, Mill Creek and Pierce County
Evergreen State gun owners have three things to cheer about this morning, starting with last night's vote by the Pierce County Council to approve a range protection measure, pending final approval of the Department of Ecology.

In addition, the City of Bellingham is paying $15,000 to a man who was confronted by a police officer for legally open carrying in a city park; an incident during which the cop drew his gun and aimed it at the armed citizen.

The third case is a win for the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, as the City of Mill Creek repealed a ban on guns in city parks that violated state preemption, and it took a SAF letter to motivate the change.

In Pierce County, gun ranges will get protection from lawsuits and nuisance complaints, a potential problem this column discussed yesterday. The council set shooting range hours from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. According to the Tacoma News Tribune, the meeting - held at the Orting Lions Club - attracted about 50 people including a couple who were opposed to range protection.

Very cool -- the statistics are strong on this topic: More Guns = Less Crime.

A common criminal is less inclined to mug if there is the chance that their victim is armed.

Very cool - reuseable rockets

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From Popular Mechanics:
SpaceX's Grasshopper Steers Side-to-Side in Cool New Video
We've been tracking the development of SpaceX's Grasshopper rocket, a system designed to fly itself back to the platform and land following a launch, which would make it possible to use rockets again and again. A month ago the Grasshopper reached its loftiest height yet -� about 1000 feet�before landing safely. In a newly released test video, the rocket flies to nearly that high, about 820 feet. But this time SpaceX moved the rocket way from the platform by more than 300 feet, giving Grasshopper the chance to show off its lateral moves as it flies itself back to its landing spot and sets down with a gentle touch.
Vectored thrust is nothing new but quite the feat in a rocket engine.

Market Forces in Viet Nam

Heh -- from ABC News:

Vietnam Offers Free Marxism Degrees to Draw Takers
Market forces are working against college degrees in Marx, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, where the Communist government has resorted to offering free tuition to attract students.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decree last month giving free tuition to students agreeing to take four-year courses on Marxism-Leninism and the thoughts of Ho Chi Minh, the country's revolutionary hero, at state-run universities.

Students have been shunning such degrees because employers are not interested in it, said Pham Tan Ha, head of admission and training at Ho Chi Minh City Social and Human Sciences University. Degrees in subjects like communications, tourism, international relations and English are more popular because students believe "they will have better chances of employment and better pay when they graduate," he said.

A bit more:

Currently, all Vietnamese students must take at least three classes in Marxist-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh studies, but few go beyond that minimum requirement.

Vietnam is run by a Communist regime but embraced free-market reforms in the 1980s. These days, the country's past is mostly apparent in its large and inefficient state-owned sector, a repressive state apparatus, the occasional Soviet-era statue or building and lingering alliances with other leftist countries.

Getting a good job - rather than the nuances of a discredited political and economic ideology that runs counter to the capitalism coursing through the country's towns and cities - is the primary concern of most young Vietnamese and their families.

More than 60 percent of the country's 90 million people are under 30, a demographic sweet spot that can lead to fast economic growth in developing countries. Competition for well-paying jobs on graduation is intense among the around 500, 000 graduates who enter the job market each year.

So the take-home message to the Vietnamese government is Lead or Get Out Of The Way.

It's starting to happen in Seattle

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Obama wanted racial unrest to divide the middle class and create the under-class dependent on government handouts and he is starting to get it. From MYNorthwest News:
Police: Man with gun told victim to apologize to black people
A man has been charged with malicious harassment and second-degree assault after he pointed a gun at a man in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood and demanded that he apologize "for all the things white people did to black people," according to prosecutors.

Chikwanha E. Nyashanu, 35, was ordered held on $100,000 bail Tuesday after King County District Court Judge Arthur R. Chapman called his actions "inexplicable" and deemed him a danger to the community.

"There appears to be no reason for this kind of behavior," he said.

On Thursday, prosecutors will seek to have the bail amount increased to $500,000 based on information that Nyashanu may have threatened as many as three other people with a gun near the Green Lake Community Center on Sunday.

According to court documents, officers were called to 7201 E. Green Lake Dr. around 9:14 p.m. on the report that an unknown male had threatened someone with a handgun.

"Responding officers located a possible suspect in the area and ordered him to the ground," the documents read. "The suspect failed to follow the order. The suspect was tased."

The victim was able to identify the man in custody as the "same person who had just pointed a handgun at him for 15-20 seconds and demanded he apologize for all the things white people did to black people."

In court documents, the victim is described as a white male and the suspect was described by witnesses as a black male.
And Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton are flying into SeaTac airport in 3.. 2.. 1..

The Duck Dynasty crew in New York City

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From The Blaze:
�Duck Dynasty� Brother Reveals Why He Was Kicked Out of a New York City Hotel This Week
The crew of A&E�s hit show �Duck Dynasty� has been on a media tour in New York City this week ahead of the Wednesday-night premiere of their show. And while it�s hard to believe that some across the country can�t pick out the bearded brothers of the Robertson clan from a mile away, Jase Robertson revealed that he was kicked out of a hotel in the city this week after being confused for a homeless man.

�I think it was a facial profiling deal,� Jase joked while describing the incident on �Live with Kelly and Michael.�

�I asked where the bathroom was and he said, �Right this way, sir.� He was very nice,� Jase told a disbelieving Michael Strahan. �He walked me outside, pointed down the road, and said, �Good luck. Have a good day.��
We watch the show occasionally -- a lot of fun.

Keith Olbermann on Al Gore - clod

From TVNewser:

Keith Olbermann: Current TV Co-Founder And Former VP Al Gore Was a 'Clod'
Soon-to-be ESPN2 host Keith Olbermann is the subject of a lengthy profile by THR's Marisa Guthrie. Olbermann talks about how he came to join ESPN, repairing the bridges he napalmed the last time he was there, and also his rather tumultuous end at Current TV.

Guthrie also reveals that ESPN was talking to NBC's Seth Meyers about hosting a late-night show, until he inked the "Late Night" gig at NBC, and that Olbermann met with ABC News president Ben Sherwood as his time at Current neared a close.

Then there are his comments on his former boss, Vice President Al Gore. THR teases it right at the top of the story, "there is name-calling."
"When you're working for somebody whom you admired politically, who turns out to be a clod," says Olbermann, referring to Gore, "the scales fall from your eyes. Sorry. Al underdelivered. I mean that's just simply the case. I don't want to dwell on it, but it's true."

That's going to leave a mark. One commenter - Tom Servo - had this to say:

Hey Olby, the rest of us figured this out about, say, 1988 or so! And then proof was on display continuously through the 90's. But the only way you could notice was when you were personally dumped on?

wow, you're a real geen-i-oos there, Olby.

Kinda sums it up...

Quote of the Day

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"We cannot expect Americans to jump from Capitalism to Communism...But we can assist their leaders in giving them small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have communism"
--Nikita Khrushchev 1959

Heh - WA State Marijuana laws

WA State legalized Marijuana recently and it will make a change in the Police Department. From The Seattle Times::

Seattle cops dealing Doritos at Hempfest
Seattle police will be handing out bags of Doritos at Hempfest on Saturday.

The department confirmed the news on twitter, saying it will be giving out bags of chips with educational information from its now-famous Marijwhatnow FAQ.

Police are having some fun with the unusual assignment.

"Please ignore maliciously false reports that we're giving out Bugles at @seattlehempfest. We would never, ever do that," the department tweeted today.

Called "Operation Orange Fingers" - really - the distribution of one-ounce bags of nacho cheese Doritos will be funded by the private Seattle Police Foundation, according to police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb.

The department expects to give out just 1,000 bags of chips, Whitcomb said. That's likely to lead to some "Dude, where's my Doritos?" queries from the 250,000 folks expected to attend the three-day pro-pot event.

The idea is not to feed people, Whitcomb said, but "to pique their curiosity and get them to go to our FAQ."

Labels on the small bags will direct Hempfesters to "Marijwhatnow," which explains that adults are allowed to possess up to an ounce of weed, and no, you can't get back the pot that cops might have busted you for before voters legalized recreational weed.


Back from the fair

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Had a great time. Lulu had never seen some of the more exotic chickens or draft horses or been close to a beef cow (big!). There was a calf that had been born two days ago and we played with it. Wanted to take it home with us but it was being pretty closely watched... Ate some fair food and I fixed hamburgers for dinner tonight. Long day tomorrow so surf for a bit and to an early bed.

Government Surveillance

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A lot more prevalent than we even imagine -- from Ars Technica:
Lavabit founder, under gag order, speaks out about shutdown decision
Ladar Levison took 10 years to build his company�and he's 32, making that most of his adult life. So when he shut down his encrypted e-mail service, Lavabit, without warning last week, it was like "putting a beloved pet to sleep."

"I was faced with the choice of watching it suffer or putting it to sleep quietly... it was very difficult," he told Democracy Now. "I had to pick between the lesser of two evils."

What was that other choice? "Unfortunately, I can't talk about that," Levison said during today's interview. "I would like to, believe me. I think that if the American people knew what our government was doing, they wouldn't be allowed to do it anymore. My hope is that the media can uncover what's going on without my assistance" and pressure Congress, he said. Together with Lavabit's own efforts working through the court system, he hopes it can "put a cap on what the government is entitled to in terms of our private communications."

The Lavabit shutdown came just a few weeks after a human rights activist revealed that she was contacted by National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden using the service. Within 24 hours after Levison announced he was shutting down, another online security company, Silent Circle, turned off its encrypted e-mail service, too.

Levison is speaking out about his decision to shut down the e-mail service in the hopes that it puts some pressure on Congress to change the laws that put him in this situation to begin with. Levison is legally barred from saying much about what the government demanded from him, but even with that broad gag order in place, he has refused to keep quiet. He's determined to at least let people know that the gag is there and let inferences be drawn.
Email is not secure -- it has never been.

By the numbers - National Debt

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Very curious - from CNS News:
Treasury Ran $98 Billion Deficit in July--But Debt Stayed Exactly $16,699,396,000,000
The Treasury Department's Financial Management Service (FMS), which publishes both the federal government's official Daily Treasury Statement and its official Monthly Treasury Statement, is reporting that in July the federal government ran a deficit of $98 billion but that the federal government's debt remained exactly $16,699,396,000,000 for the entire month.

The FMS said that the deficit went up $98 billion ($97,594,000,000) in the Monthly Treasury Statement for July, which it released on Monday.

At the same time, the FMS said the debt stayed at exactly $16,699,396,000,000 in its Daily Treasury Statements, which are published every business day. The Daily Treasury Statements show the daily value of the federal government debt that is subject to a legal limit set by Congress.

At the static $16,699,396,000,000 level that the Treasury reported for every day of July, the debt was just $25 million below the legal limit of $16,699,421,000,000 that was set in a law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.

If Treasury's daily statements were to declare that the government had borrowed an additional net $98 billion to cover the $98 billion deficit the Treasury declared in its monthly statement for July, the Treasury would be conceding that the government had already surpassed the legal limit on the debt--and has been violating the law by continuing to borrowing additional money.

Instead, even as the Treasury was running up the $98-billion deficit it reported in the July Monthly Treasury Statement, every one of the 22 Daily Treasury Statements published for July said the Treasury had closed out the previous business day with exactly $16,699,396,000,000 in debt.

The Daily Treasury Statement for Aug. 12, released Tuesday afternoon, says the debt remained stuck at exactly $16,699,396,000,000 during the first 12 days of this month, too.

Two years ago today

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An edited repost from this date last year: Two years ago today
Readers will know that I have been through a divorce. Jen (my ex) filed for divorce in July 2011. We had been married for eight years � the first couple of years were really good. Had some fun times. Our personalities were not that good of a match and after the 'honeymoon' it got to where we were awkward roommates more than man and wife. I moved some computer stuff into the DaveCave� and would spend my evenings out there waiting for her to go to bed.

I had some chances for affairs � a couple local ones, a few in Bellingham and on the road but, even though I considered the marriage to be broken, I held true to the vows I gave Jen.

Jen filed the legal paperwork for divorce in August and I knew that a process server would be coming out to my farm on Monday, August 15th 2011 to deliver the first set of paperwork. I ran into town Sunday, August 14th to shop at Costco for some groceries.

I consider myself to have a very stable mind. Not prone to hearing voices in my head or behaving compulsively.

I was sitting in my truck waiting to make the cross-traffic left turn into the Costco parking lot � lots of oncoming traffic. I felt an urge to head North up to the next traffic light and take the turn there. That road leads past a Micheal's art store. I felt an urge to stop in there. Not that I needed anything, just to stop in there.

There is a type of spiral-bound 3X5 file card that I like and I keep them around me for note taking but I don't usually walk around with one. I had this urge to carry one (with a pen) into Micheal's.

So I am walking into the store and there is this drop-dead gorgeous woman walking down the aisle. We look at each other but nothing else happens. I am thinking: �Damn, that is a good looking woman!�

I pick out a couple of glass tea-light candle holders (I like making sconces for lamps) and am at the checkout line when the same woman comes in behind me. Something in me prompts me to ask how her day is going and we start chatting about art and life.

I check out and am walking out the door and have another urge to write down my phone number on one of the 3X5 cards I have in my pocket. I do that and turn around to find that Lulu is writing down her phone number to give to me.

This happened two years ago today. Lulu is taking a shower and we are going to head into a nearby town to the Northwest Washington Country Fair to scratch some critters and gorge ourselves silly on fair food. I cannot imagine a more perfect match � we are both children of the 60's so have a lot of cultural cognates, both devout but not Church-going Christians. Both politically engaged and conservative. Both serious foodies. It is a delight being with her. We both like a lot of personal space � she is a morning person where I am a night-owl so our schedules overlap very well. Lulu is my joy. Lulu � I love you with all of my heart � here's to the next 30 years!
From the White House:
Executive Order -- Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. Chemicals, and the facilities where they are manufactured, stored, distributed, and used, are essential to today's economy. Past and recent tragedies have reminded us, however, that the handling and storage of chemicals are not without risk. The Federal Government has developed and implemented numerous programs aimed at reducing the safety risks and security risks associated with hazardous chemicals. However, additional measures can be taken by executive departments and agencies (agencies) with regulatory authority to further improve chemical facility safety and security in coordination with owners and operators.

Sec. 2. Establishment of the Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group. (a) There is established a Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group (Working Group) co-chaired by the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Secretary of Labor or their designated representatives at the Assistant Secretary level or higher. In addition, the Working Group shall consist of the head of each of the following agencies or their designated representatives at the Assistant Secretary level or higher:
(i) the Department of Justice;
(ii) the Department of Agriculture; and
(iii) the Department of Transportation.

(b) In carrying out its responsibilities under this order, the Working Group shall consult with representatives from:
(i) the Council on Environmental Quality;
(ii) the National Security Staff;
(iii) the Domestic Policy Council;
(iv) the Office of Science and Technology Policy;
(v) the Office of Management and Budget (OMB);
(vi) the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs; and
(vii) such other agencies and offices as the President may designate.
And the meat of the matter - hidden more than halfway down the page in Section 6, paragraph (b):
Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Agriculture shall develop a list of potential regulatory and legislative proposals to improve the safe and secure storage, handling, and sale of ammonium nitrate and identify ways in which ammonium nitrate safety and security can be enhanced under existing authorities.
Emphases mine. This expansion of each of the named Government Agencies is totally outside the scope of the Constitution and the laws currently on the books. This is all about ammonium nitrate. Sure, it has been used to make some bombs. It is also used for fertilizer -- as a source of nitrogen for most of the larger agricultural operations in the world. It is also used as a safe and effective explosive for mining and quarrying. The website Western Rifle Shooters turned me on to this and the blog author had this to say:
From Over The Transom
Obama issued an Executive order on August 1, 2013 that will effectively ban Ammonium Nitrate in the USA. It will become too expensive and create too much possible civil and criminal liability to manufacture, store, or transport it. Clinton did the same thing to Anhydrous Ammonia dealers in 1999. It put most Anhydrous dealers out of business. Obama is imposing the same regs and adding explosives regulations on top of OSHA and EPA regulations. It�s all there if you know how to read bureacratese.

Tannerite will probably be banned outright as soon as DHS & BATFE finish making policy based on this E.O. Whether or not they can criminalize it I don�t know. You can count on it being taken off the market though. The government has had it�s sights on Tannerite for a long time now.

Food and Fuel prices will skyrocket because Ammonium Nitrate forms the basis for almost all nitrogen in granular fertilizers used in American farming. There are no cost and ease of manufacture/use equivalents for ammonium nitrate. Supply and demand economics are going to be the harsh lesson of the day. Crop yields will go down. Corn is the basis for the American food supply and the fuel additive ethanol. A.N. is critical in corn production.

Hope everyone is ready for $12/gallon gasoline and $20 a box corn flakes.
Be sure to read the comments -- this is a very big and stupid bit of Executive malfeasance. A perfect poster child for Obama's grasp of unintended consequences. I would be interested in following the money -- does Monsanto have a non-explosive nitrate fertilizer in the wings???
The gun running scenario looks more and more plausible as things bear out. From the London Daily Mail:
400 US surface-to-air missiles were 'STOLEN' from Libya during the Benghazi attack and are 'now in the hands of Al Qaeda', claims whistleblower
Four hundred American surface-to-air missiles were 'taken from Libya' during the terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, a former U.S. Attorney who represents whistleblowers claimed on Monday.

He added that the U.S. intelligence community is terrified they might be used to shoot down airliners.

Joe diGenova, whose wife Victoria Toensing � a former deputy assistant attorney general � also represents Benghazi witnesses and others with knowledge of the terror attack, told WMAL radio that the loss of those missiles is also one the reason the U.S. State Department shut down 19 embassies across the Middle East last week.

'A lot of people have come forward to share information with us,' he said during the radio station's 'Mornings On The Mall' program Monday morning.

'We have learned that one of the reasons the administration is so deeply concerned' is that 'there were 400 surface-to-air missiles stolen, and that they are ... in the hands of many people, and that the biggest fear in the U.S. intelligence community is that one of these missiles will be used to shoot down an airliner. 400 missiles, surface-to-air missiles, taken from Libya.'

Asked if the missiles are now 'in the hands of al-Qaeda operatives,' DiGenova replied, 'That is what these people are telling us.'
And these could just as easily take out an Embassy building from a nearby building or passing truck. 400 SAMs is a large package -- were these sitting on trucks with keys in the ignition as a payoff for something? There is still waaay too much that we are not being told and this corrupt administration will keep the lid on for as long as possible. This is a hundred times worse than Watergate. A thousand. More.

About that Climate Change Rally

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From the Washington Free Beacon:
OFA Gets Zero Attendance for Climate Change Rally
Not a single person showed up at the Georgetown waterfront Tuesday for a climate change agenda event put on by Organizing for Action, the shadowy nonprofit advocacy group born out of President Obama�s 2012 campaign, the NRCC wrote in its blog.

The event page for the �Climate Change Day of Action Rally� disappeared after rainy weather appeared to drive away whatever people planned to attend. The embarrassing showing follows the news that only one volunteer stayed for an OFA Obamacare event in Centreville, Va., last week to work the phones.
Doesn't fit the agenda? Down the memory hole.

Race matters

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A two-fer Paula Deen - from Breitbart:
Race-based Claims Thrown Out in Paula Deen Lawsuit
A federal judge Monday threw out race discrimination claims by a former Savannah restaurant manager whose lawsuit against Paula Deen has already cost the celebrity cook a valuable chunk of her culinary empire.

Lisa Jackson sued Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, last year saying she suffered from sexual harassment and racially offensive talk and employment practices that were unfair to black workers during her five years as a manager of Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House. Deen is co-owner of the restaurant, which is primarily run by her brother.

But claims of race discrimination by Jackson, who is white, were gutted in the 20-page opinion by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. The judge agreed with lawyers for Deen and Hiers that Jackson has no standing to sue her former employers for what she claims was poor treatment of black workers, regardless of her claims that she was offended and placed under additional stress.

Jackson, at best, "is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination," Moore said in his ruling. "There are no allegations that defendant Hiers's racially offensive comments were either directed toward plaintiff or made with the intent to harass her."
I wonder how much money Lisa Jackson has? Considering how deeply Paula Dean's empire has been shattered, there needs to be compensation... Oprah - from Breitbart:
Race Hoax? Oprah 'Apologizes' After Accused Racist Calls Her a Liar
With hardly any scrutiny or skepticism, the mainstream media allowed one of the most powerful persons in the world to attack a powerless sales clerk as a racist. And now that this anonymous sales clerk has branded Oprah Winfrey a liar, the billionaire media mogul is trying to make it all go away with a non-apology apology.
Much more at the site - Oprah was friends with the store owner and the clerk did not have a good command of English. Her statement:
I didn't hurt anyone. I don't know why someone as great as her must cannibalize me on TV. � If it had all taken place as she claimed, why has she not complained the next day at the wedding of Tina Turner with Trudie Goetz, my boss? She was there also at the Turner wedding as a guest. I don't understand it. ... I spoke to Oprah Winfrey in English. My English is OK but not excellent, unfortunately. ... I didn't know who she was when she came into the store. That wouldn't have made any difference if I had.�
And Oprah's response:
When confronted with the shop girl's charge, Oprah issued a non-apology apology saying she was "sorry" the incident "got blown up."

Well, who blew it up? While promoting the movie, Oprah also shared the anecdote with Larry King. Obviously, this anecdote is part of Oprah's "Butler" promotional tour.

If we had a media worth a damn, it is right about now that they would be all over this.
Much more at the site -- a misunderstanding is one thing but to amplify and repeat it is not classy at all. Not classy.
From Breitbart:
CA Set to Become Strictest Gun Control State with Ammunition Registry
A group of bills moving through California's assembly and senate--including one to create a database for ammunition purchases--could create the strictest gun control laws of any state in the union.

According the San Jose Mercury News, the bills being heard in the state senate on August 12 would create a database of all ammo purchases in the state, "make it crime to have a gun that's not locked up when it's not being carried, and extend the time for which someone is banned from owning a firearm after making a violent threat."

On August 13, another slate of bills will come before the State Assembly. These would ban all semi-automatic rifles with a detachable magazines, would "make it a crime to leave a gun unlocked when you're out of the house, and require those who own high capacity magazines to get rid of them."

A bill adding a 10 percent tax to all ammunition purchases is still moving through the legislature as well, although it seems to have lost momentum.
And people are going to buy ammo at any price to get locked in before these laws take effect driving up the price and scarcity for everyone else. Just as the ammo shortage was relaxing a bit. Seems that everyone is investing in precious metals -- brass and lead.

Polymath - Vaclav Smil

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There are a few very fascinating people on this planet. Just ran into Vaclav Smil -- here is his website. Lots of links on the website.

Lois Lerner in the news again

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From National Review Online:
IRS�s Lerner Used Personal E-mail to Conduct Official Business, Investigators Say
Embattled Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner sent official documents from her government e-mail address to a personal account, according to House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa and his colleague, Ohio congressman Jim Jordan.

�This raises some serious questions concerning your use of a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business,� the GOP lawmakers wrote in a letter to Lerner demanding all documents from her non-official account for the period between January 2008 and the present. �Additional documents related to the Committee�s investigation may exist in these non-official accounts over which you have some control, and the lack of access to this information prevents the Committee from fully assessing your actions,� they explained. Issa and Jordan are requesting that Lerner produce the documents by August 27.

The use of personal e-mail accounts to conduct government work also has the potential to impede federal-records requests by the public because personal accounts are not archived by the government. Controversy erupted, for example, over former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson�s use of a government account under the name Richard Windsor which, like a personal account, would not be captured by records requests relating to Jackson.
Nothing says integrity like trying to circumvent the system. Major potential for security breach as security for personal email is a lot more lax than government systems.

Our national songbird - Michelle

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From Politico:
Michelle Obama releasing rap album (but she doesn't sing)
Michelle Obama is teaming up with some big names in hip hop to help release a Let�s Move! inspired album next month.

Entitled �Songs for a Healthier America,� the record features video cameos (but no singing) of the first lady along with big names like Jordin Sparks, Ashanti, Run DMC, Doug E. Fresh and Monifah.

The 19-track album with song titles like �U R What You Eat� and �Veggie Luv� is being released by the Partnership for a Healthier America, an independent group found in conjunction with Let�s Move.

Ten music videos released with the album are set to be distributed to schools in New York City before being circulated to other major cities.
Needless to say, there are over 1,200 comments pretty much in line with these excerpts:
With each passing day we are looking more and more like the Old Soviets with all the government sponsored PROPAGANDA being pushed on the people ...... especially the Government ... umm Gub ment Educated Children.

And don't forget one of Obungo's all time favorites; "My Reggie Love" (sung to the tune of "My Baby Love")
A great exchange was these two - post and reply:
"My program for educating youth is hard. Weakness must be hammered away. In my castles of the Teutonic Order a youth will grow up before which the world will tremble. I want a brutal, domineering, fearless, cruel youth. Youth must be all that. It must bear pain. There must be nothing weak and gentle about it. The free, splendid beast of prey must once again flash from its eyes...
That is how I will eradicate thousands of years of human domestication...
That is how I will create the New Order."
-�Adolf Hitler, 1933.

Well that's the exact opposite of what Obama has to offer. He prefers a nation of effeminate, uneducated sheep, too timid to smack a mosquito (because mosquitoes are people too)
Two more:
And exactly when did the approval of half-educated children become the benchmark for defining art? Rap is a popculture phenomenon, like troll dolls, poprocks, tattoos, and hula hoops. Yes, it is a popular form of lowbrow self-expression. A family friend who plays cello (and happens to be African-American) has often complained that he finds it full of offensive stereotypes. He says it embarrasses him, and laments that rap gets more attention than serious black musicians such as Thomas Wilkins. Opposition to rap does not indicate hatred of blacks, but rather appreciation for better culture.

Notice how every new program coming out these days is labeled as being put forth by and "independent group" or a "nonpartisan group" whenever it has something to do with government control of what you do?
For her next album, she might want to cover some of these epic hip-hop ballads...

My little phony

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Someone had a lot of fun doing this:

Lying Lois Lerner - IRS

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"The Federal Election Commission can�t do anything about it, they want the IRS to fix it."
That is Lois Lerner in 2010 talking about using her IRS to target conservative groups. She is the Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division and is currently on paid administrative leave. No wonder she pled the fifth. Phony scandal indeed...
I bet he would be great in that post -- from The Minority Report:
Willie Robertson �Duck Dynasty� Star May Run for Louisiana House Seat
Couldn�t think of a better man to represent his district other than, of course, his uncle Si!!!
BATON ROUGE, LA, August 12, 2013 ( � The star of the top-rated reality show on television, Duck Dynasty, may make Louisiana�s pro-life voters happy, happy, happy.

Willie Robertson is considering running for a seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives, according to political insiders.

The seat is being vacated by Rep. Rodney Alexander, a Republican who has ties to the multimillionaire duck call entrepreneurs, so he can take a post in Governor Bobby Jindal�s administration.

The bandana-clad Willie is known for his role as the down-to-earth one on the highest rated program in A&E�s network history.
We need more entrepreneurs and small business people in office -- they know what it is like to cut a paycheck and run a business. The poufters in Washington do not. We need more real people and less ideologues...
From Watchdog:
Feinstein wants to limit who can be a journalist
The most recent congressional threat to the free press in the United States comes from California Democrat U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

In a proposed amendment to a media shield law being considered by Congress, Feinstein writes that only paid journalists should be given protections from prosecution for what they say or write. The language in her proposal is raising concerns from First Amendment advocates because it seems to leave out bloggers and other nontraditional forms of journalism that have proliferated in recent years thanks to the Internet.
So out of touch that she does not realize that more of these citizen journalists will make the world a better place -- not less of them. She is way past her sell-by date and needs to gracefully retire. But then again, she is in favor of using the NSA to spy on American Citizens. Disgusting piece of elite trash...
With all the failed alt-energy companies out there ($535 million of our tax dollars to Solyndra anyone?) the market is being shaken out. One surprise is General Electric whose CEO is best-buds with Obama and who has not paid federal income tax in over a decade. From Yahoo/Associated Press:
GE scraps nation's largest solar panel plant
General Electric Co. is permanently scrapping plans to build the largest solar factory in the U.S. near Denver.

GE blamed the cancellation on a glut of solar panels on the market and falling prices, The Denver Post reported Tuesday.

The factory was to have been bigger than 11 football fields and have an annual capacity of 400 megawatts. State officials said it would create 350 jobs.
A bit more:
At least 10 states were vying for the PrimeStar plant in 2011. GE said it would go to Aurora that fall, and company executives attended the next year's State of the State address by Gov. John Hickenlooper, who personally cited the plant in his speech.
Politics as usual. Hickenlooper probably promised some cushy tax break and subsidy to get the plant. Now? No rewards at all. Good -- the guy is a bad governor.
His family dog gets its own aircraft. Fscking unbelievable... From the UK Telegraph:
First dog Bo is airlifted to Obama holiday home
Rooms have to be found for dozens of Secret Service agents, someone has to carry a selection of presidential basketballs, and of course the family dog needs his own state-of-the-art aircraft.

Arriving in the idyllic coastal retreat of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, Mr. Obama left behind him in Washington DC high profile debates over the budget, government surveillance and his health care reforms. Instead, he will spend the next eight days playing golf, going to the beach, and buying books from the Bunch of Grapes bookstore.

In the air he swapped his suit and tie for khakis and a blue shirt with rolled-up sleeves, while Mrs. Obama wore a yellow-and-white summer dress.

Bo, the president's Portuguese Water Dog, arrived separately on one of two MV-22 Ospreys, a hybrid aircraft which takes off like a helicopter but flies like a plane.

It was the first time the Ospreys have been taken on holiday by a US president.
And the Osprey costs us how much per hour to run? This is coming out of yours and my pockets... A tip 'o the hat to Knuckledraggin My Life Away for the link.


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Swiped from here Lot's more here (original source)

Mexican and South American gangs

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Two great websites that track the Mexican and South American gangs, crime and drug running. First: InSight Crime From their about page:
About InSight Crime
InSight Crime�s objective is to increase the level of research, analysis and investigation on organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, and to raise the level of debate about government efforts to combat it. To this end, InSight Crime has created this website where it connects the pieces, the players and organizations and gives a cohesive look of the region�s criminal enterprises and the effectiveness of the initiatives designed to stop them. InSight Crime�s staff and contributors also write analysis and do field investigations, providing on-the-ground research.
Second: Borderland Beat From their about page:
The Skinny
This blog is a reflection of the issues affected by crime and drugs along the border between Mexico and the U.S. It gives a perspective of issues related to the complicated issues of both neighboring countries and how the activities from one side impact the other. It is important for both sides of the border to understand how mayhem and ruthless violence from organized crime touches the people on the borderland and the misery it brings to every day social conditions we sometimes call civilization. Consider this a huge source of information related to crime on the borderland. Knowledge is power.
The goings on down there are seriously impacting life up here so it is good to be aware. Like the second website said: Knowledge is power.

Got a GPS?

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Welcome to week zero - from the Furuno Website:
Important notice to our customers who use FURUNO GPS receivers for marine use that are affected by GPS week number rollover.
We thank you very much for your trust and continued support.

It is regretful to announce that there is a possibility that some of our GPS receivers and GPS-incorporated equipment (please see the list below) may face GPS positioning errors after 11th of August 2013, due to the problem of GPS week number roll-over. If you happened to spot any GPS positioning error on the equipment listed below, we would like to ask you to take the following countermeasures to resolve the problem. If the problem persisted after having taken the countermeasures, please consult with our sales representative closest to your location. We sincerely apologize for all the inconveniences caused.
A bit more detail:
The GPS system is synchronized to a different time scale than Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and calculates time by counting the number of weeks up to 1,023rd week. After week 1,023, the week number count is reset to zero. This is called "GPS week number rollover". This rollover occurred to some of the GPS receivers listed above on the 11th of August 2013, and the week number was reset to the week 0, that is, 26th of December 1993. Subsequently, the erroneous date information on the GPS receiver clock may result in instability in positioning, causing position errors, including failure of GPS position acquisition, etc.
My three units just checked out fine but I am on an email list dedicated to precise time keeping and many people are having this problem.

Drones in the news

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The original article is behind a stupid newspaper paywall but Resister in the Rockies has this:
I was at the Save the St. Lucie River and Martin County Wildlife protest in Phipps Park in Stuart, FL on August 3, 2013 when this little drone popped in on us. It appeared to zip in over the parking lot over to where the people we gathering to protest peacefully I might add!

My husband and I had just walked in and starting talking to the gal who was taking signatures for the petition to stop Lake Okeechobee discharges into the Indian River. The drone flew straight from the parking lot over to the edge of the gathering/protest where my husband, the petition gal and I were standing and talking. We hear a flapping/fluttering above and the three of us look up and there is a drone that just flew up to us right above us about two stories. We all looked at each other puzzled that there was possibly a drone flying above us. We actually all said...."Is that a drone above us?"

I handed the things I had in my hands over to my husband and started taking pictures. It continued to hover over me while I took pictures for a minute or two. Then the drone did a 180 degree turn and flew back over the parking lot and appeared to fly out of the protest. A gal that I knew that was there in a another location at the protest said it did the same thing to her that day and that others saw the drone as well during the protest.

To say the very least this was most unsettling to me. My privacy felt completely violated. I can't imagine a day where I would be followed by drones in public. It just feels icky.
Photo of drone taken at the Save the St. Lucie River and Martin County Wildlife protest
in Phipps Park in Stuart, FL on August 3, 2013 �Nicole Paquette
Remington Begins Construction on New Ammo Plant in Arkansas
In a move that should make gun owners across the nation happy, Remington just broke ground on their newest ammo plant in Lonoke, Arkansas. This comes at a time where ammunition is scarce and prices are high.

The facility is expected to employ 50 to 100 people when it�s up and running, and should have the space and tooling to manufacture something to the tune of 2 to 3 billion rounds of ammo a year.

If construction goes according to schedule, the facility will be up and running in June of 2014. It will have 35,000 square-feet of floor space and cost Remington $32 million to complete.

�We continue to invest in all of our manufacturing operations because we are committed to ensuring quality, increasing product availability and improving on-time delivery,� said Kevin Miniard, Remington COO. �This significant investment in Lonoke is a testament to that commitment. Our customers can count on Remington to invest in its manufacturing operations in order to ensure that its facilities are state-of-the art and its employees are the best in the industry.�
Heh - Remington's corporate headquarters is in North Carolina, a gun friendly state but part of it's firearm production is in New York state -- decidedly un-gun friendly. Nice to see they are expanding to places where they are wanted. Good jobs and no lack of work... - hands in pockets

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From the UK Telegraph:
Lord Stephen facing questions over wind farm 'empire'
A Liberal Democrat peer was today facing questions over his support for wind farms in the House of Lords after it was reported he is a director of 10 renewable energy companies.
Hmmmm - the hypocrisy is strong with his one...

Growth in America

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An interesting reminder -- the time of the greatest growth in America was not after WW-II, it was after the Civil War. We had a very small government at that time and no Income Tax and no Federal Reserve. From The Economic Collapse:
During The Best Period Of Economic Growth In U.S. History There Was No Income Tax And No Federal Reserve
How would America ever survive without the central planners in the Obama administration and at the Federal Reserve? What in the world would we do if there was no income tax and no IRS? Could the U.S. economy possibly keep from collapsing under such circumstances? The mainstream media would have us believe that unless we have someone "to pull the levers" our economy would descend into utter chaos, but the truth is that the best period of economic growth in U.S. history occurred during a time when there was no income tax and no Federal Reserve. Between the Civil War and 1913, the U.S. economy experienced absolutely explosive growth. The free market system thrived and the rest of the world looked at us with envy. The federal government was very limited in size, there was no income tax for most of that time and there was no central bank. To many Americans, it would be absolutely unthinkable to have such a society today, but it actually worked very, very well. Without the inventions and innovations that came out of that period, the world would be a far different place today.

It is amazing what can happen when the government just gets out of the way. Check out all of the wonderful things that Wikipedia says happened for the U.S. economy during those years...
The rapid economic development following the Civil War laid the groundwork for the modern U.S. industrial economy. By 1890, the USA leaped ahead of Britain for first place in manufacturing output.

An explosion of new discoveries and inventions took place, a process called the "Second Industrial Revolution." Railroads greatly expanded the mileage and built stronger tracks and bridges that handled heavier cars and locomotives, carrying far more goods and people at lower rates. Refrigeration railroad cars came into use. The telephone, phonograph, typewriter and electric light were invented. By the dawn of the 20th century, cars had begun to replace horse-drawn carriages.

Parallel to these achievements was the development of the nation's industrial infrastructure. Coal was found in abundance in the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania south to Kentucky. Oil was discovered in western Pennsylvania; it was mainly used for lubricants and for kerosene for lamps. Large iron ore mines opened in the Lake Superior region of the upper Midwest. Steel mills thrived in places where these coal and iron ore could be brought together to produce steel. Large copper and silver mines opened, followed by lead mines and cement factories.

In 1913 Henry Ford introduced the assembly line, a step in the process that became known as mass-production.
When hard working, industrious people are given freedom to pursue their dreams, great things tend to happen. The truth is that we were all designed to create, to invent, to build, and to trade with one another. We all have something that we can contribute to society, and when families are strong and the invisible hand of the free market is allowed to work, societies tend to prosper.
Much more at the site. You would think that most people could see that the more we meddle, the worse things become.

Norway backing away from Socialism

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There is a large offshore oil reserve off the Norwegian coast and this accounts for one third of Norway's income. When will it run out? From Hot Air:
Norway ponders conservatism and the future of the welfare state
Parts of Northern Europe have had a bit better luck than some other sectors across the pond during the economic troubles of the past decade, but they still have had to deal with the legacy of welfare states and costly entitlement programs. Earlier this year, Mary Katharine looked at Sweden�s attempts to deal with rising debt and costly entitlements, while Erika covered some steps being taken in Denmark to deal with their long term financial issues arising from the same core issues. This sense of realism and worry about the future seems to be spreading across the region, and John Fund has a great analysis of current events in Norway, where conservatives seem poised to take control of the government there for the first time in ages.
If polls taken over the last year are accurate, the eight-year-old Labor-party government of Jens Stoltenberg is headed for a landslide defeat.

Normally, you would think it would be a shoo-in for reelection. Labor�s social democrats have long thought of themselves as the natural party of government � Labor has been the leading party in Norway for all but 16 of the last 78 years. While much of Europe is wracked by recession, Norway�s economy grew by 3 percent last year, and the unemployment rate is only 3.5 percent. Norway�s GDP per capita is now over $60,000 a year.

But Norwegians appear likely to elect a conservative coalition government for the first time in over a decade. Polls show the Conservative party leading with 32 percent of the vote, which should give it 58 seats in the 169-seat parliament, a dramatic increase from 2005, when it won only 23 seats. The Labor party has about 30 percent of the vote, and its left-wing allied parties are floundering. The Progress party � a populist party that supports low taxes and stricter limits on immigration, and that worries about Muslim extremism � has about 16 percent of the vote, and it and the Conservatives, together with their smaller allies, look to have a clear majority in the new Parliament.
Well, it was a nice ride but it is good to have some adults in the room. More at the site and some good comments.

No posting - oops

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Was about halfway into Bellingham when I realized that I didn't pack my laptop. Back home now -- the bartending class was a lot of fun. Lulu's son Curtis hit it off with a couple people his age - phone numbers were exchanged. Back home -- they are coming out tomorrow. Surf for a bit and then an early bedtime -- long day, class started at 9:00am.

Off to town

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Heading into Bellingham -- the Saturday class starts at 9:00am so spending the night at the Lulu's Lake house. No posting until late tonight.
From the New York Daily News:
Gov. Cuomo got $100,000 from developer, then signed law giving it big tax breaks
A top development company donated $100,000 to Gov. Cuomo just days before he signed a bill that quietly showered the firm with lucrative tax breaks.

Two corporations tied to Extell Development each contributed $50,000 to Cuomo�s campaign, which recorded the checks on Jan. 28 � the same day the Assembly passed a housing bill that contained tax breaks for five developers, including Extell, records show.
Crony capitalism at its finest...

Fun times in Egypt - McCain and Graham

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From Raymond Ibrahim at PJ Media:
MSM Blackout? Egyptians Enraged by U.S. Outreach to Muslim Brotherhood
In the eyes of tens of millions of Egyptians, Senators John McCain�s and Lindsey Graham�s recent words and deeds in Egypt � which have the �blessing� of President Obama � have unequivocally proven that U.S. leadership is aligning with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egyptian media is awash with stories of the growing anger regarding this policy.

A top advisor to Egypt�s Interim President Adly Mansour formally accused McCain of distorting facts to the benefit of the Brotherhood. He dismissed McCain�s recent remarks as �irrational� and �moronic.� Ahmed al-Zind, head of the Egyptian Judge Club, has called for the arrest and trial of McCain for �trying to destroy Egypt.� The leader of the youth movement Tamarod (meaning �Rebellion,� against the Brotherhood), which played a major role in mobilizing the June 30 revolution, said: �We reject John McCain and call on the international community to let the [Egyptian] people decide their own fate.�
A bit more:
Most offensive to Egyptians � and helpful to the Brotherhood�s cause � is McCain�s insistence on calling the June 30 revolution a �military coup.� In reality, the revolution consisted of perhaps thirty million Egyptians taking to the streets to oust the Brotherhood. McCain is either deliberately misconstruing the event, or believes the story as told by Al Jazeera and Ambassador Anne Patterson.
Lots more at the site. McCain is Republican in Name Only. I thank him for his service but he is useless as a Senator and needs to retire gracefully.

Horse / Barn Door

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They should have thought of this sooner -- from Reuters:
NSA to cut system administrators by 90 percent to limit data access
The National Security Agency, hit by disclosures of classified data by former contractor Edward Snowden, said Thursday it intends to eliminate about 90 percent of its system administrators to reduce the number of people with access to secret information.

Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, the U.S. spy agency charged with monitoring foreign electronic communications, told a cybersecurity conference in New York City that automating much of the work would improve security.

"What we're in the process of doing - not fast enough - is reducing our system administrators by about 90 percent," he said.

The remarks came as the agency is facing scrutiny after Snowden, who had been one of about 1,000 system administrators who help run the agency's networks, leaked classified details about surveillance programs to the press.

Before the change, "what we've done is we've put people in the loop of transferring data, securing networks and doing things that machines are probably better at doing," Alexander said.

Using technology to automate much of the work now done by employees and contractors would make the NSA's networks "more defensible and more secure," as well as faster, he said at the conference, in which he did not mention Snowden by name.
I wonder how many people are downloading their own 'insurance' packages right now. Wonder what they will call the new system - War Operation Plan Response?
From The Washington Free Beacon:
Chris Christie Signs 10 Gun Bills Into Law
New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed 10 pieces of gun legislation into law Thursday.

Christie, widely seen as a probable GOP candidate for president in 2016, signed off on the slate of bills, most of which were non-controversial, while leaving five more contentious bills still awaiting his signature or veto.

One of the new laws will disqualify any person on the federal terrorist watch list from obtaining firearms identification cards or permits to purchase handguns.

�To the extent that this bill will keep guns out of the hands of known terrorists, or those who have taken active steps to support terrorist activities, my signature on this bill represents my commitment to keeping the citizens of New Jersey safe,� Christie said in a signing statement. �Our diligence against terrorism must never fade.�
Terrorists are by their very nature criminals so Christie is saying that this new law will stop known criminals from acquiring a firearm? This is nuclear-grade stupidity. Cognitive dissonance...

Zombie farmers

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From CNS News:
USDA Paid 'Improper' Subsidies to 1,799 Dead Farmers and Proper Ones to 28,613 Dead Farmers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture made farm subsidy payments to 28,613 dead farmers between 2011 and 2012, of which 1,799 were deemed "improper," according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued in June.

The report, entitled �USDA Needs to Do More to Prevent Improper Payments to Deceased Individuals,� said USDA's Farm Service Agency identified �thousands of deceased individuals who were paid $3.3 million in improper payments after their dates of death, of which FSA has recovered approximately $1 million.�

GAO determined that about 6 percent of the total subsidy payments should not have been sent due to clerical errors or outright fraud.
Our tax dollars at work...

A fun time - bartending class

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We had a blast at the bartending class. The teacher is a firecracker -- very personable and a lot of fun. Class for two more days - we started off with pouring and getting accurate repeatable pours. Going to have to invest in about $50 worth of barware but that isn't much and will be a lot of fun when we entertain. Coming home we ran into a police detour -- the local newspaper had the story:
Two injured in high-speed chase, gun battle northeast of Bellingham
Officers shot and wounded two men suspected of robbing a Bellingham gas station and leading police on a high-speed chase up Mount Baker Highway on Thursday evening, Aug. 8.

Two men armed with a sawed-off shotgun robbed the Shell station, 4240 Meridian St., around 5:50 p.m. The culprits walked into the store, cocked the shotgun and demanded cash, according to a Shell station employee. The men fled in a purplish Honda car.
Some more:
The chase climbed to speeds of 70-plus mph along Mount Baker Highway. Near the intersection with Everson-Goshen Road, the fleeing men fired a shotgun at officers.

Despite the shotgun blasts, police continued the chase.

The Honda sped into the roundabout at Smith Road and crashed in the first curve.

The alleged robbers didn't surrender. Instead, at least one of them continued firing the shotgun at police.

In the ensuing shootout, both men were wounded. No officers were hit.

One of the alleged robbers suffered multiple gunshots. Those on the scene described the injuries as critical. The other man had a flesh wound in the arm. Ambulances were called to the scene to take both men to a hospital.
We just missed this by about 15 minutes...

Light posting today

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Working on a friend's computer and doing some gardening. Heading into town this evening for a class -- there is a fun three-day bartending class at our local technical college. The three of us are taking it.
From Yahoo/Associated Press:
NY firearms maker blames new law for move to Pa.
A firearms manufacturer in New York, partially blaming the state's new gun control law, said Wednesday it's moving its corporate offices � and its plans for expansion � to Pennsylvania.

Kahr Firearms Group of Pearl River is the first gunmaker to announce it's leaving because of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, which was put into law after closed-door negotiations in January. It was the first law in the nation prompted by the killing of 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown, Conn., in December.

"We're looking for a more friendly environment for our business," said Frank Harris, Kahr's vice president for sales and marketing. "Maybe we could have stayed here and built a plant, but the way the bill was passed left us feeling there were a lot of uncertainties going forward."

"Why take a chance when we can be in a state where they're not looking to cause us any problems?" Harris added.

Calls to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office were not immediately returned.
And this isn't just an office or two -- this is a major move:
He said Kahr has purchased 620 acres in Pike County, Pa., and will move its 10-person corporate staff next year after building offices.

Kahr also expects to build a new factory there � with 80 to 100 jobs � within five years. It currently has plants in Worcester, Mass., and Pillager, Minn., Harris said.

Kahr had been close to finalizing a deal for land in Orange County, N.Y., with room for expansion, until the gun control law was enacted, he said.
Very cool -- Kahr makes a nice product.

A market for everything - fake reciepts

From the New York Times:
Coin of Realm in China Graft: Phony Receipts
To begin to comprehend China�s vast underground economy, one need only visit this city�s major transportation depots and watch as peddlers openly hawk fake receipts.

Buyers use them to evade taxes and defraud employers. And in a country rife with corruption, they are the grease for schemes to bribe officials and business partners. Making them and using them is illegal in China. Some people have been executed for the crime. But demand is so strong that a surprising amount of deal-making takes place out in public.

It is so pervasive that auditors at multinational corporations are also being duped. The British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline is still trying to figure out how four senior executives at its China operation were able to submit fake receipts to embezzle millions of dollars over the last six years. Police officials say that some of the cash was used to create a slush fund to bribe doctors, hospitals and government officials.

Signs posted throughout this city advertise all kinds of fake receipts: travel receipts, lease receipts, waste material receipts and value-added tax receipts. Promotions for counterfeit �fapiao� (the Chinese word for an official invoice) are sent by fax and through mobile phone text messages. On China�s popular e-commerce Web site,, sellers even promise special discounts and same-day delivery of forged receipts.

Very cool medical breakthrough

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From Slashdot:
Super-Flexible Circuits Could Boost Smartphones, Bionic Limbs
The microelectronic sensors and mechanical systems built into smartphone cameras and other tiny electronic devices may soon evolve into microscopic, custom-printed versions designed as bionic body parts rather than smartphone components.

Engineering researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a micro-printing process that can build microscopic microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) onto a flexible, non-toxic organic polymer designed for implantation in the human body.

Current-generation MEMS are typically found in the accelerometers in smartphones, or the tiny actuator motors that focus cell-phone camera lenses. Most are made from substrates based on silicon, and built using techniques common to semiconductor fabrication. The new process, as described in the journal Microelectronic Engineering, relies on an organic polymer that is hundreds of times more flexible than conventional materials used for similar purposes.

That flexibility not only makes the units easier to fit into the oddly shaped parts of a human body, it allows them to be made more sensitive to motion and energy-efficient. That alone would give a boost to the miniaturization of electronics, but the stretch and flex of the new materials could also serve as more comfortable and efficient replacements for current prosthetics that sense stimuli from an amputee�s nervous system to power a prosthetic arm, for example, or operate a synthetic bladder. In the datacenter context, super-flexible and sensitive materials could help make the next generation of hardware more efficient.
Very cool -- lots of places where this would be a godsend. I have an artificial hip and it would be nice to have something monitoring the wear. The circuitry could be powered like an RFID chip -- a 'reading wand' would be waved over the joint, power would be sent to the implant through radio frequency waves, the chip would 'wake up', measure and transmit the data. A simple outpatient procedure.
Happening this week in Cave-in-Rock, IL -- fourteenth annual The Gathering of the Juggalos Insane Clown Posse:

Congress gets free ride on Obamacare

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If Obamacare is such a great deal, why are so many businesses and organizations trying to opt-out. Now Congress gets in on the deal -- from Reuters:
U.S. Congress wins relief on Obamacare health plan subsidies
Congress has won some partial relief for lawmakers and their staffs from the "Obamacare" health reforms that it passed and subjected itself to three years ago.

In a ruling issued on Wednesday, U.S. lawmakers and their staffs will continue to receive a federal contribution toward the health insurance that they must purchase through soon-to-open exchanges created by President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

The decision by the Office of Personnel Management, with Obama's blessing, will prevent the largely unintended loss of healthcare benefits for 535 members of the Senate and House of Representatives and thousands of Capitol Hill staff.
Time to boot them all out and start over...

Domestic surveillance

From Reuters:

Exclusive - U.S. directs agents to cover up programme used to investigate Americans
A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defence lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

"I have never heard of anything like this at all," said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the programme sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA programme targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

"It is one thing to create special rules for national security," Gertner said. "Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations."

Unconstitutional to say the least...

The IRS Scandal - day 90

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Remember the IRS brouhaha a couple months ago? Despite dropping from the news, it is still very much ongoing. From Professor Paul L. Caron - The IRS Scandal, Day 90 Lots of links -- this scandal is as big as Benghazi and needs to be talked about.

Perfect example of someone who should dust off their ass and get a job -- from the Boston Herald:

What the hex: OUI suspect charged in wild crash threatened cop with voodoo curse
A Cadillac-driving OUI suspect - charged with running a Boston Globe delivery truck off Interstate 93 and onto the Leverett Connector - was carrying three EBT cards, mocked a cop "for paying for food when she gets it for free" and threatened to put a voodoo curse on him, according to a police report.

"I questioned her as to why she had other peoples (sic) EBT cards and she 
began screaming that I was a 'dumb (expletive)' for paying for food when she gets it for free," trooper William Kokocinski wrote of Vivencia 
Bellegarde, 25, of Everett, noting she had her own electronic benefits transfer card and also the cards of two other people.

"She repeatedly called me a racist and told me she was from Haiti and she was gonna 'put voodoo on my white (expletive),'" Kokocinski wrote. "(She) told me to Google her name and find out who I was '(expletive) with'. She further explained that her name translated means 'give life take life' and she emphasized 'TAKE LIFE'. She then shouted that she was 'coming for all you white (expletives).'"

A spokesman for the state Department of Transitional Assistance, which administers welfare, said in a statement the agency has been notified of Bellegarde's EBT cards "and will take appropriate action."

A bit more:

Surveillance video of the 3:13 a.m. Monday crash shows a car slamming into the Globe truck, forcing it off the roadway and into a frightening 40-foot free fall. The truck came apart on impact with the Leverett Connector 
on-ramp below.

The truck driver, Paul Healy Jr., 35, of Brockton, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was in fair condition yesterday. He declined to comment yesterday through a family member.

Bellegarde told cops she'd left a party prior to the crash, and "didn't care about the guy she hit because he isn't dead and that all she cares about is smoking a cigarette," the report says. Her mood fluctuated greatly during booking, the report says, and at one point she began crying about her 5-year-old child.

Entitlement -- Obama is turning the entire nation into these people. Get them on the government teat and voting democrat.

Geek fun - Gauss Gun

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Nice Gauss Gun:
More here.

RIP - George Duke

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I play keyboards and George Duke was very much an influence for me. From the New York Times:
George Duke, Keyboardist Who Crossed Genre Boundaries, Dies at 67
George Duke, who began his career as a jazz pianist in the 1960s but made his name by crossing musical boundaries, died on Monday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 67.

He had suffered heart complications after being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, said his manager, Darryl Porter, who confirmed the death.

The name of the instrument with which Mr. Duke is perhaps most closely associated also describes his approach to music: synthesizer. While he remained a respected figure in the jazz world, over the years he also played keyboards with Frank Zappa and Michael Jackson, sang lead on a Top 20 single and produced pop and rhythm-and-blues hits for others. His work has been sampled by hip-hop and electronic artists, including Daft Punk.

�I was in a rock band, I played with a bunch of Brazilians, I played R&B with Parliament-Funkadelic and all of that,� he said in an interview before his most recent album, �DreamWeaver,� was released last month. �I mean, I�ve done jazz with Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley. It�s a goulash. It�s a gumbo.�

Jay Leno on Obama

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This while Obama is waiting backstage -- this was tonight and Obama was a guest.

Chi-Town set to follow Motor City

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From Walter Russell Mead writing at The American Interest:
NYT: Chicago The Next Detroit
How much trouble is Chicago in? According to the New York Times front page this morning, this much trouble:
The pension fund for retired Chicago teachers stands at risk of collapse. The city�s four funds for other retired city workers are short by $19.5 billion. At least one of the funds is in peril of running out of money in less than a decade. And starting in 2015, the city will be required by the state to make far larger contributions to the funds, which could leave it hundreds of millions of dollars in the red�as much as it would cost to pay 4,300 police officers to patrol the streets for a year.

�This is kind of the dark cloud that�s coming ever closer,� Mr. Emanuel said in a recent interview, adding that he had no intention of raising his city�s property taxes by as much as 150 percent�the price tag, he says, that it might take to pay such bills. �That�s unacceptable.� [...]
This is what you get when you have years of Democratic and Union rule -- you run out of other people's money...

Our efficient government - Obamacare

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From Reuters:
Obamacare months behind in testing IT data security: government
The federal government is months behind in testing data security for the main pillar of Obamacare: allowing Americans to buy health insurance on state exchanges due to open by October 1

The missed deadlines have pushed the government's decision on whether information technology security is up to snuff to exactly one day before that crucial date, the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general said in a report.

As a result, experts say, the exchanges might open with security flaws or, possibly but less likely, be delayed.
Of course, no one will ever try to game the system -- there will be zero fraud and abuse. And I have some oceanfront property in Colorado to sell you...

Bezos published this open letter yesterday in the Washington Post:

Jeff Bezos on Post purchase
You'll have heard the news, and many of you will greet it with a degree of apprehension. When a single family owns a company for many decades, and when that family acts for all those decades in good faith, in a principled manner, in good times and in rough times, as stewards of important values - when that family has done such a good job - it is only natural to worry about change.

So, let me start with something critical. The values of The Post do not need changing. The paper's duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners. We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we'll work hard not to make mistakes. When we do, we will own up to them quickly and completely.

I won't be leading The Washington Post day-to-day. I am happily living in "the other Washington" where I have a day job that I love. Besides that, The Post already has an excellent leadership team that knows much more about the news business than I do, and I'm extremely grateful to them for agreeing to stay on.

There will, of course, be change at The Post over the coming years. That's essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about - government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports - and working backwards from there. I'm excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention.

This is going to be fun to watch. I cannot imagine a better CEO for the paper as they transition from print to online.

Yikes - H7N9 flu

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Another nasty one out there. From NBC News:
H7N9 bird flu in likely China spread between people, researchers find
The first scientific analysis of probable human-to-human transmission of a deadly new strain of bird flu that emerged in China this year gives the strongest evidence yet that the H7N9 virus can pass between people, scientists said on Wednesday.

Research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) analyzing a family cluster of cases of H7N9 infection in eastern China found it was very likely the virus "transmitted directly from the index patient (a 60-year-old man) to his daughter."

Experts commenting on the research said while it did not necessarily mean H7N9 is any closer to becoming the next flu pandemic, "it does provide a timely reminder of the need to remain extremely vigilant."
We have had viral pandemics before and they wipe out a huge swath of the population. There will be another; we just do not know when. With the ubiquity of air travel, the virus can spread well before symptoms appear.

Obama - an insight

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Great analysis of Obama by Kevin D. Williamson writing at National Review:
The Front Man
Conservatives have for years attempted to put our finger upon precisely why Barack Obama strikes us as queer in precisely the way he does. There is an alienness about him, which in the fever swamps is expressed in all that ridiculous Kenyan-Muslim hokum, but his citizen-of-the-world shtick is strictly sophomore year � the great globalist does not even speak a foreign language. Obama has been called many things � radical, socialist � labels that may have him dead to rights at the phylum level but not down at his genus or species. His social circle includes an alarming number of authentic radicals, but the president�s politics are utterly conventional managerial liberalism. His manner is aloof, but he is too plainly a child of the middle class to succumb to the regal pretensions that the Kennedys suffered from, even if his household entourage does resemble the Ringling Bros. Circus as reimagined by Imelda Marcos when it moves about from Kailua Beach to Blue Heron Farm. Not a dictator under the red flag, not a would-be king, President Obama is nonetheless something new to the American experience, and troubling.

It is not simply the content of his political agenda, which, though wretched, is a good deal less ambitious than was Woodrow Wilson�s or Richard Nixon�s. Barack Obama did not invent managerial liberalism, nor has he contributed any new ideas to it. He is, in fact, a strangely incurious man. Unlike Ronald Reagan, to whom he likes to be compared, President Obama shows no signs of having expended any effort on big thinkers or big ideas. President Reagan�s guiding lights were theorists such as F. A. Hayek and Thomas Paine; Obama�s most important influences have been tacticians such as Abner Mikva, bush-league propagandists like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and his beloved community organizers. Far from being the intellectual hostage of far-left ideologues, President Obama does not appear to have the intellectual energy even to digest their ideas, much less to implement them. This is not to say that he is an unintelligent man. He is a man with a first-class education and a business-class mind, a sort of inverse autodidact whose intellectual pedigree is an order of magnitude more impressive than his intellect.

The result of this is his utterly predictable approach to domestic politics: appoint a panel of credentialed experts. His faith in the powers of pedigreed professionals is apparently absolute. Consider his hallmark achievement, the Affordable Care Act, the centerpiece of which is the appointment of a committee, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the mission of which is to achieve targeted savings in Medicare without reducing the scope or quality of care. How that is to be achieved was contemplated in detail neither by the lawmakers who wrote the health-care bill nor by the president himself. But they did pay a great deal of attention to the processes touching IPAB: For example, if that committee of experts fails to achieve the demanded savings, then the ball is passed to . . . a new committee of experts, this one under the guidance of the secretary of health and human services. IPAB�s powers are nearly plenipotentiary: Its proposals, like a presidential veto, require a supermajority of Congress to be overridden.
A long but excellent read. The 720+ comments are fun too...


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I had a printing business for six years. Two presses and all the other stuff (wish I hadn't sold the process camera). Been into desktop publishing since it first came out -- actually earlier, I was doing true proportional printing using WordStar on a CP/M machine. Ran into a gorgeous set of photographs from the Caslon Letter Foundry. From Spitalfields Life:
At The Caslon Letter Foundry
While researching the work of William Caslon, the first British type founder, whose Doric & Brunel typefaces, newly digitised by Paul Barnes, are being used by David Pearson in The Gentle Author�s London Album, I came upon this wonderful collection of photographs of the Caslon Letter Foundry in the St Bride Printing Library.
Here are three of them:


Many more at the site. Also, ran into this documentary film about the Line-o-Type machine. Check out Linotype: The Film Trailer online for your viewing pleasure.


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Go here and read: BOMBSHELL REPORT: Valerie Jarrett Gave the Orders on 9/11/2012 and Blocked Rescue in Benghazi Read, read and keep reading Starting to unravel...

Something's up with our sun

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This is nothing major -- it happens every eleven years. Sure interesting though. From Watts Up With That:
The sun is about to have a flipping magnetic field reversal
Something big is about to happen on the sun. According to measurements from NASA-supported observatories, the sun�s vast magnetic field is about to flip.

�It looks like we�re no more than 3 to 4 months away from a complete field reversal,� says solar physicist Todd Hoeksema of Stanford University. �This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system.�

A new ScienceCast video anticipates the reversal of the sun�s global magnetic field. The sun�s magnetic field changes polarity approximately every 11 years. It happens at the peak of each solar cycle as the sun�s inner magnetic dynamo re-organizes itself. The coming reversal will mark the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24. Half of �Solar Max� will be behind us, with half yet to come.

Hoeksema is the director of Stanford�s Wilcox Solar Observatory, one of the few observatories in the world that monitor the sun�s polar magnetic fields. The poles are a herald of change. Just as Earth scientists watch our planet�s polar regions for signs of climate change, solar physicists do the same thing for the sun. Magnetograms at Wilcox have been tracking the sun�s polar magnetism since 1976, and they have recorded three grand reversals�with a fourth in the offing.
This four minute video gives a lot more information. The sun is solidly in a cool phase.
I had seen Creedence Clearwater Revisited in concert a few years ago and heard that they were coming to the wonderful Mt. Baker Theater this month. Got a letter from the theater today saying that the show has been canceled. Dang -- we were all looking forward to the show.

Stupid criminals

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Great story from the excellent Not Always Right:
They Should Have Stolen Some Intelligence
(Three shoplifters run out of the store with a bunch of liquor. Our Loss Prevention agent has been watching them, and manages to catch the one holding most of the liquor, but the other two get away. Later in the night, the police come. One officer goes upstairs with the shoplifter, while the other takes quick statements from us. Suddenly, the two other shoplifters who had run off earlier came back inside.)

Shoplifter: �Hey, is our friend still here?�

(I quickly look at the cop right behind me.)

Me: �Uh, yeah, he�s upstairs.�

Shoplifter: �Sweet, can one of you guys go upstairs to get him or something? He has our pot.�

(The cop and I share an incredulous look, while the two shoplifters just stand there.)

Cop: �I think you�re gonna need to come with me.�

(The officer took the shoplifters upstairs, where they were all arrested for possession.)

Jeff branches out

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Jeff Bezos is the guy who founded Amazon. He just started a new hobby -- from The Washington Post:
Washington Post to be sold to Jeff Bezos
The Washington Post Co. has agreed to sell its flagship newspaper to founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos, ending the Graham family�s stewardship of one of America�s leading news organizations after four generations.

Bezos, whose entrepreneurship has made him one of the world�s richest men, will pay $250 million in cash for The Post and affiliated publications to The Washington Post Co., which owns the newspaper and other businesses.

Seattle-based Amazon will have no role in the purchase; Bezos himself will buy the news organization and become its sole owner when the sale is completed, probably within 60 days. The Post Co. will change to a new, still-undecided name and continue as a publicly traded company without The Post thereafter.

The deal represents a sudden and stunning turn of events for The Post, Washington�s leading newspaper for decades and a powerful force in shaping the nation�s politics and policy. Few people were aware that a sale was in the works for the paper, whose reporters have broken such stories as the Watergate scandals and, in June, disclosures about the National Security Agency�s surveillance program.
The article is fairly long (five pages) and has a nice (and favorable) biography of Bezos. This will be interesting to watch.
I knew that two brothers were building custom motorcycles but I did not know that they were aiming for a land speed record. Check out Out of Nothing
They have a kickstarter going to help finish the movie. Nice writeup in the Bellingham Herald.

Social Media web page development

Handy guide for those active in social media.

You want to upload an image but what size should it be?

Here is the definitive guide at LunaMetrics:

INFOGRAPHIC: The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet
In June of this year, we published an infographic listing all of the sizing information for images on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. It was a wildly successful piece of content, totally blowing our expectations out of the water. Unfortunately, while its popularity has flourished, nearly every social network instituted changes to their image sizes, rendering most of the information on the infographic out of date.

We knew we needed to update the information on the cheat sheet, but we weren't comfortable with simply adjusting one or two figures on the blog post and leaving it as-is. We�d also received a lot of feedback, both on the design and information it contained. We decided to redesign the entire sheet and incorporate a few more social networks.

We also decided to permanently redirect the old sheet here, so that shared tweets, pins, likes, and so on, would lead to the correct sizing dimensions. Additionally, as sizing changes are implemented across social networks, we'll actively update this sheet - meaning that if you use the embed code at the bottom to share this sheet on your own site, the image will automatically update with changes as they are rolled out. No more out-of-date information.

So, without further ado, here it is - the ultimate, complete, final social media sizing cheat sheet. As before, you can find a simple text list of the pixel dimensions at the bottom. Save this sucker on your hard drive and never Google "Facebook cover photo size" again.

Very handy!

Swiped from Maggie's Farm
From yNet News:
Religious rebel committee in Syria bans croissants
A sharia committee in a rebel-held area of Aleppo issued a fatwa deeming croissants �haram� (forbidden in Islamic law) because of their �colonial� significance, the Alarabiya website reported.

Croissants� crescent shape celebrates European victory over Muslims, according to the fatwa (religious ruling).

But according to a report by the Huffington Post, which cites a French cookbook from 1938, the croissant's shape is an homage to bakers who foiled a Turkish attack on Budapest in 1686. However, the story was not verified by historians, as the first documentation of the tasty pastry appeared only by 1906.
What a petty thing to do -- and it's not like they did their research on the subject...
From CNS News:
Rep. Ellison: �There�s Plenty of Money, It�s Just The Government Doesn�t Have It�
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) told a gathering of Democrats, �The bottom line is we�re not broke, there�s plenty of money, it�s just the government doesn�t have it.�
The sad thing is that Representative Ellison probably actually believes this Marxist claptrap. Marx's biggest failing is that he thought that there was a fixed pool of capital and that the inequities in the world were caused by improper distribution. This is munitions-grade stupidity. Capital is fungible -- it can be created; it can be destroyed. When Jon Corzine cratered MF Global and lost the tens of billions of dollars of investors money -- where were the trucks that took it away? When a single mom created a multi-billion dollar business* out of thin air, where were the trucks? *J. K. Rowling
We had a lot of fun at this event - here is one of the tractor pull events:
It was very well attended -- lots of displays and vendors. Had dinner at a landmark Lynden restaurant - home for the day and a quiet day tomorrow.
Taking Buttercup into town in a few minutes. Every summer, the Department of Transportation sends a crew out to prune the roadside trees of overhanging and weak branches. This wood is chipped and they give it to anyone who asks. We have been collecting it at the community garden and today, I will be driving Buttercup the tractor down to help people load their trailers -- the pile is pretty big, about ten cubic yards of wood chips. Lulu, Curtis and I will be heading out to the Puget Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery Association show this afternoon.
From Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit:
BREAKING>>> GOP Rep: Obama WH Is Hiding Benghazi Survivors AND CHANGING THEIR NAMES (Video)
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was on with Greta Van Susteren Thursday to discuss the Obama scandals.

This came after Jake Tapper at CNN broke the news that there were �dozens� of CIA operatives on the ground in Benghazi on 9-11 when the consulate came under attack and the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.

Gowdy told Greta the Obama Administration is hiding the survivors, dispersing them around the country, AND changing their names.
�Including changing names, creating aliases. Stop and think what things are most calculated to get at the truth? Talk to people with first-hand knowledge. What creates the appearance and perhaps the reality of a cover-up? Not letting us talk with people who have the most amount of information, dispersing them around the country and changing their names.�
And, at the same time Obama is hiding the survivors around the country he�s calling Benghazi a �phony� scandal.
The truth will come out -- why is the administration so afraid? What are they trying to hide?
From FOX News:
Agents Raid Animal Shelter, Kill Deer Named �Giggles�
The president of a Wisconsin animal shelter is furious after the state Department of Natural Resources raided the facility with armed agents, detained volunteer workers and killed a baby deer named �Giggles.�

�I�m furious,� said Cindy Schultz, president of the Society of St. Francis in Kenosha, Wis. �We are a no-kill shelter. And they killed her. They killed Giggles. I�m furious � furious.�

Schultz told Fox News an Illinois family found a baby fawn that had been abandoned by her mother. The family brought the deer to the Wisconsin shelter.

Staff members nicknamed the deer �Giggles.�

Wisconsin law bans residents or shelters from possessing any live wild animals without a license. Wisconsin does not rehabilitate deer so if they find an abandoned fawn, the creature is left to die, Schultz said.

�We took it of course and we made arrangements to transfer the deer to an animal reserve in Illinois,� she said. �The day before she was supposed to leave, we had the raid.�

On July 15 DNR agents and four deputy sheriff�s staged the surprise raid in what staff workers called a massive and �intimidating� show of force.

According to a state affidavit, the DNR had been conducting aerial and ground surveillance in advance of the raid searching for an �illegally-held live captive Whitetail deer.�

�We didn�t know they were doing surveillance,� she said. �Five days before the raid, a DNR agent was hiding in the woods by our shelter watching the deer walk in and out of the barn.�

Schultz said agents rounded up the shelter�s nine staff members and detained them for nearly three hours as they searched for Giggles.

�They shut down our shelter and wouldn�t let anyone leave,� she said. �Nobody was allowed to use their phones. They were under armed guard.�

A 19-year-old staff member took photographs of the raid, but Schultz said a deputy sheriff confiscated his cell phone and deleted all the pictures.

Agents eventually found Giggles in the barn.

�She was a very scared little deer,� Schultz said. �The poor little thing must have been absolutely petrified.�

According to her version of events, two agents killed the deer in the barn and stuffed her in a body bag.

�It was horrifying,� Schultz said. �Everyone who loved that little deer and wanted to see her go to a wildlife rescue where she could live our her life, saw these DNR thugs haul her out of our no-kill shelter in a body bag.�
If they were operating legally, why did they delete the photographs. They need to have their operating budget cut by 60%

Obamacare - Bill Whittle nails it

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By the pricking of my thumbs

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Something wicked this way comes -- from FOX News:
US to temporarily shut down embassies around the world Sunday amid security concerns
The United States will temporarily shut down its embassies and consulates around the world Sunday -- including those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt -- as a precautionary measure over terror-related concerns, State Department officials said.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf did not say how long the international installations would stay closed -- only that the decision was taken �out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting.� Officials would not describe the nature of the threat.

Sunday is a normal workday in many Arab and Middle Eastern countries, meaning that is where the closures will have an impact. Embassies in Europe and Latin America would be shuttered that day anyway.

�We have instructed all U.S. embassies and consulates that would have normally been open on Sunday to suspend operations, specifically on August 4,� a senior State Department official said Thursday night. �It is possible we may have additional days of closing as well.�
Curious -- glad I do not live in a large city. I thought that Obama had ended terrorism. Wonder where Lurch is these days...

Motor City - bail out?

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From Real Clear Politics:
Dems Favor Federal Bailout of Detroit, But Majority of Public Opposed
A new national poll from Quinnipiac University shows that a majority Democrats believe the federal government should bail out Detroit, but an even larger majority of Americans oppose such a move. Fifty-one percent of Democrats support Washington providing federal assistance to Detroit, which last month became the largest American city ever to seek bankruptcy protection.

Not surprisingly, there is a strong partisan divide on the question of a federal bailout for the Motor City. Seventy-three percent of Republicans oppose a bailout, while only 18 percent support the idea. Independents are nearly of the same mind as Republicans on the issue: 68 percent oppose federal assistance for Detroit and 28 percent support it.
This is what 60 years of progressive Democrat and Union rule does -- this is the end game. It simply does not work -- you will always run out of other people's money.

Thorium in the news - a conference

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Wish I could be a fly on that wall -- from the Thorium Energy Conference website:
The Thorium Energy Conference - ThEC13 in Geneva - will be held in the Globe of Science and Innovation at CERN from October 27 to 31, 2013, in cooperation with a local Thorium Energy organization, which is under the patronage of Prof. Dr. Carlo Rubbia (Nobel Prize Laureate and former CERN Director).

There will be 280 participants, world famous contributors, a visit to the unique detectors at CERN and a banquette at the famous Hotel President Wilson in Geneva. Thorium Energy has just reached the point of true take-off momentum with an ever growing number of national programs and start-ups around the world. The series of ThEC-conferences will continue to grow even further!
Very cool -- the program looks like fun; a big show and tell from the Nations that are working on this. Only a few entries from the USA are on the list unfortunately even though we had the first one back in the 1960's.
From the Washington Free Beacon:
Liberal Foundation Distributed Money from Bermuda to Liberal Nonprofits
A major left-wing foundation has received tens of millions of dollars from a shadowy Bermudan company with ties to wealthy American hedge fund managers and distributed those funds to prominent liberal nonprofit groups.

A sizable portion of the Sea Change Foundation�s revenue since 2011 has come from a single company, incorporated in Bermuda, called Klein Ltd. The company�s only officers are employees of a Bermuda law firm, and neither provided information on what Klein actually does.

Documents filed with the Bermudan government suggest that the company exists only on paper.

The money Klein has donated to Sea Change has been passed on to some of the largest liberal and environmentalist groups in the United States, including the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Center for American Progress (CAP).

CAP, which attacked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2010 for supposedly using foreign money for political purposes, has also received funds from the Bermuda-based Atlantic Philanthropies, as has its 501(c)(4) arm, the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Pot meet kettle. The numbers are a lot larger than anything given by the eeeeevil Koch Brothers.
Trayvon is dead, George Zimmerman was acquitted -- self defense. Trayvon lived the life of a thug, enjoyed Mixed Martial Arts, was a drug user (the drug of choice caused paranoid behavior). Now the fun begins -- from The Last Refuge:
Ben Kruidbos Fires Back � Files A Cause of Action $5 Million Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Against Angela Corey and State Attorney Office
State Attorney Angela Corey fired her office�s information technology director Friday after he testified last month about being concerned prosecutors did not turn over information to George Zimmerman�s defense team in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

On the same day attorneys finished their closing arguments in that nationally watched trial, a state attorney investigator went to Ben Kruidbos� home about 7:30 a.m. to hand-deliver a letter stating Kruidbos �can never again be trusted to step foot in this office.�

The letter contended Kruibos did a poor job overseeing the information technology department, violated public records law for retaining documents, and noted he was questioned in March when the office was trying to determine who had leaked personnel information obtained through a computer breach.
Some more:
His attorney Wesley White � who resigned from the State Attorney�s Office in December and is a critic of Corey � said the firing was aimed at sending a message to office employees �that if they feel like there is wrongdoing,� they should not disclose it or seek legal guidance from a private attorney.

�If they do speak to an attorney, then they are dead,� he said. �The State Attorney�s Office will do whatever is necessary to not only terminate them, but destroy their reputations in the process.�

State Attorney spokeswoman Jackelyn Barnard did not return phone calls or emails for comment.
Much more at the site -- the fools who tried to gin up a racial motive and who hid Trayvon's true nature are going to find this whole thing very very expensive.
Her facial expressions and body language are about as plain as can be. She was not expecting that line of questioning and she is lying. I hope to hell she doesn't play poker -- with a tell that large... Looking forward to watching this unravel -- Hillary wants to run in 2016 and this could put a stop to her plans.

Political correctness in Seattle

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From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
Political correctness: �Brown bag,� �citizens� are out at City Hall
Public affairs officers at Seattle city agencies were advised in a recent memo that use of the phrases �brown bag� and �citizens� are potentially offensive, and that the words must be chosen.

�Luckily, we�ve got options,� Elliott Bronstein of the Office for Civil Rights wrote in a missive entitled �On �brown bags, �citizens� and language�.

�For �brown bag,� try �lunch-and-learn� or �sack lunch,�� wrote Bronstein. �For �citizens,� how about �residents?� (Our Citizens Service Bureau became the Customer Service Bureau a few years ago.) Just thought I�d bring this up. Language matters, and the city has entrusted us with the keyboards.�

What could be the offense of using �brown bag� or �citizens,� especially having witness Mayor Mike McGinn�s special pleasure at the swearing in of new U.S. citizens at the Seattle Center on Independence Day.

�This issue came up in one of the departments and I thought I�d send it around as an fyi for your consideration. We often use the expression �brown bag� to designate a bring-your-own lunch time event. We also use the word �citizens� as a synonym for �residents.�

�Innocuous phrases, right? Mm, not so much for. For some people, the phrase �brown bag� calls up ugly associations with use of the expression �brown bag� to determine if people�s skin color was light enough to allow admission to an event, a home, etc.

��Citizens� is a different case: We sometimes use it as another way of saying �members of the public� � except for all the members of the public who aren�t actually citizens but who live and work here.�
I think that Citizen is exactly the right word to use -- the employees of the City need to remember that it is the Citizens who put them there and pay their salaries. The city employees are public servants. The demonization of brown-bag is just downright silly...

Bob Burnquist

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There is a large skateboard contingent in this neck of the woods -- to the point of building quite the park. Just ran into this video of Bob Burnquist -- amazing stuff:
His website is here.

Benghazi starts to unravel - finally

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I had posted several explanations for why Benghazi happened and what the USA was doing there. We were purportedly running guns -- arming Libyan rebels. There was also the idea that we were working with the Muslim Brotherhood (why else did we give their puppet in Egypt so much cash and arms) and this was a deal brokered to make Obama look like a hero only things did not work out as planned... CNN has been on the ball here -- first (from yesterday) they reported that they had been able to interview a lead suspect in the Benghazi terror attack for two hours. And now this report today:
Exclusive: Dozens of CIA operatives on the ground during Benghazi attack
CNN has uncovered exclusive new information about what is allegedly happening at the CIA, in the wake of the deadly Benghazi terror attack.

Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the assault by armed militants last September 11 in eastern Libya.

Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.

CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency's Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out.

Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency's missions in Libya, have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations, according to a source with deep inside knowledge of the agency's workings.

The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress.

It is being described as pure intimidation, with the threat that any unauthorized CIA employee who leaks information could face the end of his or her career.

In exclusive communications obtained by CNN, one insider writes, "You don't jeopardize yourself, you jeopardize your family as well."

Another says, "You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation."

"Agency employees typically are polygraphed every three to four years. Never more than that," said former CIA operative and CNN analyst Robert Baer.
Congress needs to form a Select Committee and investigate this -- what the hell was going on over there?

Quartz crystals

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Quartz crystals are used for electronic timekeeping and can be found in nearly everything. A nice history of the technology can be found here: A History Of The Quartz Crystal Industry In The USA
With the aid of many of the people who were involved, this paper is an attempt to record the history of the quartz crystal industry in the USA. Although crystal units were in use at least a decade earlier, the beginning of the quartz crystal industry in the USA can logically be dated November 1941 when the Quartz Crystal Section was organized in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.

The history of the industry is traced from its origin with the discovery of Piezoelectricity by the Curie brothers in 1880-81 to the present time. Special emphasis is placed upon the problems which were encountered and overcome in creating an industry capable of meeting the demands of the Armed Services of the United States and their Allies during WW II.

The record of cooperation among the large and small industries, governmental agencies, the armed services, universities and individual citizens inspires confidence that the most critical problem can be solved with cooperation, dedication and effort.
A long and fascinating read. Much more at the site here.

Obama in the news

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From the Associated Press:
Obama stays silent on Dems mired in scandals
When President Barack Obama ran for re-election last year, he and his advisers were quick to condemn comments from Republicans that were deemed offensive or demeaning to women.

But now, with two prominent members of Obama's Democratic Party admitting to lewd online behavior and facing allegations of sexual harassment, the White House is conspicuously silent.

Republicans say that smacks of hypocrisy. But White House officials draw a distinction, saying Obama's comments last year were in response to the policy implications of the controversial views espoused by the two Republicans who were, at the time, running for Senate.
ie: Fine for me but not for thee. Little bit of a double-standard there...

Snowden granted asylum

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From Reuters:
Fugitive Snowden granted a year's asylum in Russia, leaves airport
Fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden slipped quietly out of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Thursday after being granted a year's asylum in Russia, ending more than five weeks in limbo in the transit area.

Russia's decision to help the American, and ignore U.S. requests to send him home to face trial for leaking details of government surveillance programs, is sure to anger Washington and increase doubts that a summit between presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin will go ahead in Moscow in September.
Heh -- if we had a real President and a real Secretary of State, Moscow would have handed him over in the first week. Time to get some adults in the room...

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