August 2015 Archives

I have been recently reading the blog: A Chemist in Langley and only realized earlier today that this is the Langley just thirty minutes across the border from the neighboring town of Sumas.

Blair and his family went through the same storm that we did with much of the same consequences - power outages, lack of resources, etc...

From his post:

Lessons learned from the BC Wind Storm
Like many of my readers I spent much of the weekend dealing with the consequences of the big windstorm that hit the west coast on the weekend. For those of you not aware, what was supposed to be a pretty typical rainstorm ended up being massive wind storm which, at its peak, knocked out power to over 500,000 people in Metro Vancouver. Given our population (about 2.5 million) that means about 1 in 5 households was affected by the power outage. Our house was one of the 500,000 and, unfortunately, we were one of the last of the big substations to be energized so many individual houses in our area still don’t have power 48 hours after the end of the storm. This post is a bit of a post-mortem or as we say in my field a “post-incident analysis” where I will share some of the things I learned from this storm to help prepare our household for “the Big One” (the predicted earthquake that we all know is coming on the west coast). It also ends with some unsolicited advice for our friends at BC Hydro about their communications strategy for the storm.

In my work the way we improve our safety performance is through post-incident safety assessments. Every negative safety incident is accompanied by a post-incident analysis. This involves looking at the incident and asking the question: “what is the worst thing that could have happened”. We then do a root-cause analysis in order to establish and address the root cause of the incident. Ideally in doing this, similar incidents can be avoided in the future. In addition to incidents we also track and investigate every “near miss”. A near miss is an event that could have resulted in an incident but did not. Usually the difference between a near miss and an incident is simply good luck (i.e. a trip that caused a bump but didn’t break a bone). In our industry a near miss is seen as a “free learning”: an opportunity to catch a problem before someone gets hurt.

Without belittling the cost this windstorm had in human hardship and financial losses it pretty much represents a near miss when compared to the Big One. In this case only 1 in 5 households was hit, in daytime, on a weekend, in summer and only power was affected. We have been warned that in the event of the Big One, we have to be in a position to take care of ourselves without outside help for a minimum of 72 hours. That means assuming that the entire lower mainland is affected; that power, water and natural gas supplies will be offline; and we can expect no help of any kind (except from our neighbours) for at least three days.

Looking at our how our family emergency plan held up during the power outage it was clear that while we did a lot of things right, we have some serious holes to address. We have a reasonable store of water and dried goods and while we would be uncomfortable we would not starve nor lack for water for three-to-five days. Now for the biggest holes.

Much more at the site - a good read for those starting to build preparedness into their daily lives. We (by choice) live at the very tail-end of a long chain and the places with concentrated population will get their services restored soon while we get our services restored later. Having the resources to live on our own for a couple weeks without external sources of food, water, heat, fuel, etc... is a good practice to develop. It literally is not a matter of IF

Instead, it is more a matter of WHEN

Some of the periodic events are very much overdue...

Another email scandal - the EPA

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My favorite branch of the Federal Government... From Kimberley A. Strassel writing at the Wall Street Journal:

The EPA’s Own Email Problem
When a government official (think Hillary Clinton) uses a private email account for government work (think Hillary Clinton) and then doesn’t turn over records (think Hillary Clinton), the public has to wonder why. For an example of that why, consider Thursday’s federal-court subpoena of Phillip North.

The North story hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but it is a useful tale for clarifying exactly why we have federal records and sunshine laws. You see, government workers don’t use private email because it is “convenient.” They use private email to engage in practices that may be unsavory, or embarrassing, or even illegal. Let’s be clear about that.

Mr. North was, until a few years ago, a biologist at the Environmental Protection Agency, based in Alaska. Around 2005 he became enmeshed in reviewing the Pebble Partnership’s proposal to develop a mine there. Mr. North has openly admitted that he was opposed to this idea early on, and he is entitled to his opinion. Still, as a government employee his first duty is to follow the law.

More:

The biologist was deeply involved in most of the work on Pebble, and would later brag about his role in killing the project. He had briefed high-level officials; drafted an early “options paper” laying out the veto strategy; and taken a star role in the “science” the EPA would use to justify the 2014 veto. But perhaps Mr. North’s biggest contribution was as serving as a liaison to (and coordinating with) anti-mine activists.

The EPA would ultimately claim that it acted “in response to petitions” filed against the mine in 2010 by Native American tribes. But those petitions didn’t spring from nowhere. According to documents Pebble has given a federal court, Mr. North was working with those outside activists to engineer the petitions—from inside the EPA. He also worked with the activists, including a lawyer representing the tribes, to hone the EPA’s veto strategy. And he did this via a private email address. Why? Because he shouldn’t have been doing any of it.

More:

It gets weirder, in that Mr. North was one of those Obama employees whose government hard drives conveniently crashed. Only after Congress started investigating the Pebble scandal did the EPA inform lawmakers that Mr. North’s crash just happened to wipe out documents from the period in question.

Mr. North has refused to appear before the House Oversight Committee and has left the country - now thought to be in Australia. These people have our best interests at heart...

Cute video - Wire Cutters

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 Hat tip to BoingBoing for the link.

Ho Li Crap - who ordered this?

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Was checking the National Weather Service and this was their special statement for today:

...Snow showers expected above 5500 feet Wednesday through Friday...
A large cool upper level low will move down over western Washington this week. mountain snow levels will lower to 5500 to 6000 feet Wednesday through Friday. During this period areas of showers will move across the region which could drop a few inches of snow over higher mountain elevations.

This is a rather cold weather system for the end of summer so back country travelers should be prepared for unusually early fall-like weather.

Time to turn up the heat a little - feeling a bit chilly.

Back from town - shopping

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Did the usual shopping run for the store only this time, detoured to our dairy vendor to pick up about 18 cases of various milk products - with the power outage, we lost it all. The power is still not fully restored  - one of the legs of our three-phase is double the voltage it should be so we have not turned on the freezer compressor - everything else is on single phase.

It is raining heavily with more expected for the rest of the week. Got the big car show this coming weekend so will see how the weather impacts that.

Here is our local river at its final measuring station in Ferndale - more than double the usual averaged flow:

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I will settle for this:

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Oh... Wait... Dammit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lost two giants this weekend

Obituaries for Oliver Sacks and Wes Craven

Willis Eschenbach has a sobering post at Anthony's:

The Hood Robin Syndrome
There’s a new study out, under the imprimatur of the Energy Institute of the Haas School of Business in Berkeley, California, entitled The Distributional Effects of U.S. Clean Energy Tax Credits.  As the title implies, it looks at who actually profited from the various “green energy” tax credits across the United States. SPOILER ALERT! It wasn’t the poor folks.

How much money are we talking about? Well, the paper says that from 2006 to 2012, the taxpayers have been on the hook for $18 BILLION DOLLARS to fund these subsidies, money that would have otherwise gone into the General Fund.

And just how much money is eighteen billion dollars? Here’s one way to think about eighteen gigabucks, regarding safe, clean drinking water.

Water Wells for Africa reports from their ongoing projects that on average it has cost them about $3.50 per person ($7,000 per well serving 2,000 people) to provide people with clean safe well water. So eighteen billion dollars is enough money to drill drinking water wells for three-quarters of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants. (Yes, I know that’s a gross simplification, some folks don’t live over a subterranean water table, and so on, but it is still enough money to drill the two and a half million wells that would be needed.)

So what did we do with this huge amount of money, enough wealth to truly change the lives of the world’s poor?

Well, following the brilliant policies pushed by the Obama Administration and the climate alarmists, we took enough taxpayer money to truly change the lives of the world’s poor folks … and instead, we gave it to the American rich folks.

No kidding! This is not a joke. This is what passes for moral activism in the liberal American universe. Throwing money at the rich is seen as striking a noble blow for POSSIBLY saving the poor from a tenth of a degree of warming by 2100.

Sadly, it’s no joke at all—the whole war on carbon has been a tragedy for the poor. In this case, the result of these misguided tax subsidies, of the type which have been pushed by climate alarmists for years, has been to create a real climate “hockeystick”. Here is the data from their paper.

Much more at the site - this is our money being paid to subsidize electric cars, wasteful windmills, etc... all in the name of something that only shows up in computer models - global warming. 

I find it ironic that the liberals who support this green movement are also quite vocal in their dislike of the top 1% - the banksters. It must present quite a case of cognitive dissonance for them to realize that they are one in the same people. 

Much more at the site - of all of the guest authors, I always find Willis to be a great read.

The storm - some numbers

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This is the latest alert from Puget Sound Electric:

Service Alert
As of 7:00 p.m., Sunday Aug. 30

Crews made steady progress throughout the day, restoring power to customers in thousands of different locations from Whatcom to Thurston to Kitsap and King Counties. Approximately 50,000 customers remain without power as of 7:00 p.m.

We understand customer’s frustration at the time it takes to investigate damage and estimate when power will be restored. There’s a lot of work to do. This was a widespread and damaging storm that impacted nearly 238,000 customers at its peak.

We’re estimating power will be restored to all customers on or before the following times. We expect most customers to have power restored sooner. Customers in isolated areas or areas with heavy damage will have power restored closer to the estimated time listed below.

South King County: Monday, Aug. 31 at 6 a.m.
Pierce County: Monday, Aug. 31 at noon (due to extensive damage the estimated time of restoration has been pushed back from 6 a.m.)
Thurston County: Monday Aug. 31 at 6 a.m.
Whidbey Island: Monday, Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. (due to extensive damage the estimated time of respiration has been pushed back from 2 a.m.)
Whatcom and Skagit Counties: Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.
North King County: Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.
Kitsap County: Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.
There are delays with adding localized estimated times of restoration to our outage map and our call center. Our outage map and call center have the same information. We’re working to address the situation and provide better information as it becomes available.

Ho Li Crap - 238,000 people without power. A lot larger than I had initially heard. The two linemen who got our power back were running on three hours of sleep. Major kudos to them - they work some long hours at times.

Back online again

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We have been without electricity for two days starting Saturday at around 10:00AM. Massive windstorm with gusts up to 80MPH and tens of thousands of people affected in this county and the county to our South.

The hot dog stand was wildly successful as I had the only hot food for 20 miles around. We were able to raise $83 for the Foothills Food Bank.

Just got power restored. Had to throw out several thousands worth of food at the store as it had gotten up to unsafe temperatures.

More later...

Nothing today either

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Packing up the truck for the hot-dog stand

Raining heavily but the show must go on...

By Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Worvan

Now this will be fun if they pull it off. Amazon is developing a series based on the wonderful 1999 movie Galaxy Quest

From Entertainment Weekly:

Galaxy Quest TV series landing at Amazon
The Galaxy Quest crew has found a new home.

Amazon Studios is developing a series based on the beloved 1999 cult sci-fi hit, EW has learned exclusively.

The streaming outlet is partnering with producer Paramount Television on the project. Last April, media outlets reported that Paramount was shopping a Galaxy Quest title to prospective buyers.

Unlike many high-concept movies, the story behind Galaxy Quest seems as suitable for a TV series as it was for a theatrical film. The original premise: The cast of a cheesy-yet-endearing Star Trek-like series find themselves abducted and forced to run a real starship by a race of embattled aliens that mistook their show for a documentary.

No word on who will be cast for the show but the original writers, director and producer are involved.

A really fun movie if you have not seen it yet.

In The Void

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An immersive virtual reality space being developed in Utah - click the link to visit TECH Insider and see a video trailer.

Looks impressive and still under development.

From an email - the Islamic Bookstore

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I was walking through the mall and I saw that there was a “Islamic Book Store.”

I was wondering what exactly was in an Islamic bookstore so I went in. As I was wandering around taking a look, the clerk stopped me and asked if he could help me.

I imagine I didn’t look like his normal clientèle, so I asked, “Do you have a copy of Donald Trump’s book on his U.S. Immigration Policy regarding Muslims and illegal Mexicans?”

The clerk said, “F*** off, get out and stay out!”

I said, “Yes, that’s the one! Do you have it in paperback?”

Nothing much today

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Getting stuff together for this weekends events - I'm running a hot dog stand outside the store.

Heading out to a mexican restaurant for dinner in a few minutes.

Sure, a public sector union can negotiate great retirement deals but will the entity you worked for have those funds when you are ready for your pension.

Things are not so good  in Illinois - home of big government - from Bloomberg:

Illinois Towns Drowning in Pension Debt From Hundreds of Funds
The pension-funding crisis undermining the stability of Illinois and Chicago is rippling through hundreds of smaller governments, squeezing budgets as officials prop up teetering police and fire retirement funds.

The eastern Illinois border city of Danville has reduced its firefighter ranks by 27 percent in five years to lower retirement costs. The tiny Chicago suburb of Stone Park sold $2 million in bonds last year to bolster the police pension, which had just six cents for every dollar owed retirees.

“Most communities in this state are in no position to continuously meet the pension requirements,” said Tom Weisner, mayor of Aurora, the state’s second-largest city, with a population of almost 200,000.

The squeeze comes from about 650 police and fire pension funds and is largely overlooked in the deepening Illinois and Chicago pension crises. The state is saddled with $111 billion in unfunded liabilities. Chicago and its public school system, with a combined shortfall of almost $30 billion, face the prospect of bankruptcy.

The mayor of Aurora, the state’s second-largest city said the following:

“I firmly believe our police and firefighters should enjoy a good pension, certainly at a higher level than mine,” Weisner said, “but they are reaching well beyond the level of sustainability.”

I agree with him - these people are putting their lives on the line and they deserve to be compensated for it but it needs to be a rational measure. The unions negotiate for the highest they can and the city managers yield knowing full well that they will be out of office when it comes time to pay the piper.

The article goes on to mention that they are having to raise property taxes and cut back on services because of this overextension. Direct result is people moving to different states.

Unions had their place when nobody moved from one city to another and there were only a few employers in each city. The bosses had the workers over a barrel. Unions were great then. Things have changed and unfortunately, unions have not. They only represent less than 5% of the US workforce.

A plague on your houses

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Yikes - the fourth fatality this year for Bubonic Plague. From My Way/Associated Press:

Utah man dies from plague in 4th fatal case in US this year
A Utah man in his 70s has died after contracting the plague, bringing to four the number of deaths from the disease reported in the United States this year, health officials said Thursday.

Officials are still trying to determine how the Utah person contracted the disease, but believe it might have been spread by a flea or contact with a dead animal, according to the state Department of Health.

"That's the most common way to get it," said JoDee Baker, an epidemiologist with the agency. "That's probably what happened, but we're still doing an investigation into that."

Plague is a rare disease that is carried by rodents and spread by fleas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 11 other cases have been reported in six states since April 1. The other three people who died were ages 16, 52 and 79.

Fortunately, it is bacterial and can be treated with antibiotics and care.

Title of the post? A rewording of a line from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Heh - ponies

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This came in from an email:

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Actually, if Sam or Rocky could talk economics or politics, we would have some wonderful discussions long into the night over a couple flakes of hay.

Great quote

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It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.
--Thomas Sowell

Just wonderful - this weekend's weather

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Some people are putting on a big event this Saturday and Sunday and it looks like the weather will be cooperating wonderfully (NOT!)

From the National Weather Service:

Today will be the last day of dry weather with above normal temperatures. Tonight a change in the weather pattern will begin. The dome of high pressure that has prevailed over the region will give way allowing wet and cooler conditions to become established over the area.

Friday through this weekend will be wet across western Washington. Rain will become locally heavy at times especially in the
mountains on Saturday. Rainfall amounts during the two day period ending at 5am PDT Sunday are forecast to be in the 1 to 2.5 inch range for most areas but the south facing slopes of the Olympics and Cascades could receive 3 to 5 inches of rain. This amount of rain will likely end or help reduce the size of the ongoing wildfires in the mountains.

Daytime temperatures will be below normal Friday through this weekend. It is likely that most lowland sites will fail to reach 70 degrees this weekend especially on Sunday.

It will also become locally windy on Saturday due to a strong front moving across the area. Some southerly wind prone places on the coast and in the northwest interior could have gusts in the 45 to 50 mph range.

Those planning outdoor activities in the mountains this weekend should pay close attention to the latest forecasts from the National Weather Service.

Happy happy joy joy...

An open letter to Congress

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From Charlie Daniels - reprinted in full:

I am a proud American who believes that America has held – and still holds – a very sensitive and special place in the affairs of mankind on Planet Earth. I believe that America has been divinely blessed and protected in our two centuries plus of existence.

I believe that America has been a counter balance that has canceled out a lot of tyranny, evil and conquest and, admittedly, we have made a lot of mistakes, but on balance we have exerted a certain Pax Americana in the international affairs of mankind.

It took a lot of old fashioned guts for the Continental Congress to stand up to the world’s mightiest military and tell them that we demanded our independence, even at the peril of going up against a far superior force on land and sea with a ragtag army of untrained citizens, many who had to supply their own firearms.

It took courage above and beyond for Abraham Lincoln to push the country into a Civil War that he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt would divide this nation for decades.

It took guts to give the order for American troops to storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, straight into the face of artillery and machine gunfire, wave after wave being cut to ribbons by German shore emplacements.

The history of this nation is written in the blood and courage of men who stood in the face of overwhelming odds, politicians, soldiers, statesmen and ordinary citizens who sought to do the right thing regardless of the cost or the consequences.

Well, ladies and gentlemen of the United States Congress, it seems that that particular pen has run out of ink. The courageous politicians that once championed this nation have been replaced, for the most part, by a breed of milksop, politically correct, scared of their own shadow, pushover, pathetic excuses for public servants who are supposed to be representing a constituency of citizens who have to live with the circumstances of their timid folly.

You don’t even have the courage to face down an out of control president, even when he makes a deal with the devil. Don’t you bunch of timid capons even care what kind of world you’re leaving to your children and grandchildren, not to even mention the rest of us? Are you really party partisans before you’re parents and grandparents or even human beings?

Be honest with yourselves a minute, go into the bathroom and look in the mirror and ask the person you see this question.

“Do I really believe that Iran will not use the money we’re releasing to them to finance terrorists to kill Americans, and, when, not if, but when, the Iranians develop their nuclear device, will they really use it against America and Israel?”

You can’t hide from the truthful answer to that question forever, an answer will be required of you one day.

You have allowed Obama to tilt the Supreme Court so far to the left that they’re little more than a shameful extension of the Executive Branch.

You have talked for decades about the porous southern border but have done absolutely nothing about it.

You have allowed cities in this nation to declare themselves sanctuary cities where they protect the worst of the worst criminal aliens, American citizens paying an awful price for your silence.

You watch an impossible National Debt balloon completely out of control knowing full well that a day of reckoning is coming that will seriously curtail the quality of life for coming generations.

You allow corrupt government agencies like the IRS to run over the very people you are sworn to protect and allow the entitlement society to expand exponentially while you actually entertain the idea of raising taxes on those who still work and shoulder the burden.

You compose a third of the constitutionally mandated ruling system and you shirk your duty
and allow this nation to move a little closer to the edge every day.

I wish you bunch of sold-out, jaded, burned-out hacks would just go home and let some people who still have some vision and whose consciences haven’t been seared past the point of reminding them when they’re wrong take over and start to claw this nation back on to the path of sanity,

Your ratings are in the single digits, your morals are in the gutter, your minds are on self-preservation and somewhere along the way you traded your honor for political expediency.

You’ve violated your oaths, you’ve betrayed your country you’ve feathered your nests and you’ve sat on your hands while an imperial president has rubbed your noses in the dirt time after time.

You’re no longer men, you’re puppets, you’re caricatures, jokes, a gaggle of fading prostitutes for sale to anybody who can do you a political favor.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

What do you think?

Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels

Amen Brother...

Back from town

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Turns out that everyone was wrong about the propane line. It goes from the tank to the house in a great swooping arc to the North right through where my ground field is located.

Going to rent the dingo next week and carve a new channel for its replacement. The detector also picks up 60Hz power lines and I am betting that the guy who built this place just had a big trench put in and ran everything out through it - there are two power lines that go between the house and the outbuildings and there is also a high-voltage line that comes into the primary transformer we have near the propane tank. I am picking up a lot of 60Hz signal close to the old propane line so I foresee a lot of hand spade work this next week...

Fixing some leftover ham and Hawaiian noodles Lulu (and the dogs) had that for lunch this afternoon - doing a couple New York steaks and some Costco frozen teriyaki chicken bowls (really good!) for dinner and then time to surf...

Dropping off the ground rod driver at our local hardware rental place and picking up a utility pipe locater for the propane pipe. Got the local back-hoe guy calling me Monday to set up a time to excavate.

Also shopping for the Taste of Kulshan event this weekend - I will be running a small hot dog stand from Noon to 6PM.

More posting later this afternoon.

Quote of the month

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Without magic, there is no art. Without art, there is no idealism. Without idealism, there is no integrity. Without integrity, there is nothing but production.
--Raymond Chandler

So true for so many pursuits...

Fun with Bentonite

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I knew that Bentonite clay absorbed water and would swell up but I did not know how much. Pictures were taken 24 hours apart:

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A small handful of Bentonite chips in a water glass.

 

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24 hours later - quite the change.

Trump dealing with a heckler

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Jorge Ramos is a reporter from Univision - a Spanish language television network based in the United States

He was at a press conference that Donald Trump was giving and stood up and started speaking even though there was already another reporter asking Mr. Trump a question. Trump handled it like a boss - some people escorted Mr. Ramos out of the room.

What is not shown on the video is that Mr. Ramos was let back in to rejoin the conference and Trump reached out to him after the event.

One of the commentors to the video nailed it with this:

You are RIGHT ON and this is exactly why the American people are supporting DT
He says exactly what we are all thinking. We are tired of getting walked on, talked down to, and treated like incompetent little children by congressional leaders and the liberal media. 

Ramos was not being professional and Trump responded appropriately. At 7:40PM this was tweeted:

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Trump in the polls

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People seem baffled by Donald Trump's popularity - Frank Luntz is a major Republican pollster/consultant.

From The Blaze:

Pollster Absolutely Astonished By Focus Group Results on Donald Trump: ‘My Legs Are Shaking’
Pollster Frank Luntz was left in absolute astonishment Monday night by the results of a focus group who espoused support for Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, despite watching a series of video clips which some might use to undermine his campaign.

Luntz played for the 29-person focus group a series of videos which showed apparent flip-flops, derogatory comments toward women and his brash manner when laying out policy, Time reported. The group was made up of 23 white people, three black people and three Hispanics — mostly college educated and financially comfortable.

But, despite this, most were still committed to the real estate tycoon — some even more than when they entered the room.

And the reason why is a simple one: 

“I want to put the Republican leadership behind this mirror and let them see. They need to wake up. They don’t realize how the grassroots have abandoned them,” Luntz continued, according to Time. “Donald Trump is punishment to a Republican elite that wasn’t listening to their grassroots.”

The Republicans in Congress were put there because the promised to repeal Obamacare and get this Nation's spending under control. They have failed to do so and they are trying to push the same kind of candidate that has failed for the last couple election cycles.

Time to start listening to We The People...

Yeah - riiiiggghhht

From Breitbart:

EXCLUSIVE: JOE BIDEN’S SON: ASHLEY MADISON ACCOUNT WAS CREATED IN MY NAME BY AMERICA’S ENEMIES
Someone using the name of Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden had a profile on the Ashley Madison dating website for extramarital affairs, Breitbart News has learned.

Hunter Biden tells Breitbart News that the account is not his, but rather was created by one of America’s enemies to discredit him. He thinks it could have been due to his sitting on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, which outraged supporters of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime.

Robert Hunter Biden, known colloquially as Hunter, is a business executive, a husband, a father, and reportedly one of Joe Biden’s closest advisers as the vice president considers launching a presidential campaign. Hunter, who met his wife Kathleen in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, has contacted some of his dad’s supporters in advance of a possible Biden candidacy.

But he insists that he’s not the “Robert Biden” who was a fan of “Anything Goes” relationships with women on the website Ashley Madison, which arranges affairs for married people. Biden confirmed that the email address listed on the account belongs to him. But he thinks his enemies had access to his personal information, possibly through hacking his other online accounts – and that they fabricated the Ashley Madison account in his name.

He could very well be being set up but... My thought is why him? Any enemies of America would be targeting Hillary, not the son of a VP. As John Nance Garner (32nd V.P. and actually quite a good politician) opined:

He famously described the Vice-Presidency as being "not worth a bucket of warm piss".

Also of interest is a screen-cap at Breitbart that shows the account being created well before either Joe's thoughts on running for Prez and the AshleyMadison data hack. As they say, timing is everything....

From Claudia Rosett at PJ Media:

Inspector General Slams Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy’s Embassy as Amateur Hour
When President Obama nominated Caroline Kennedy in 2013 to serve as America’s ambassador to Japan, there were those who had their misgivings. On the celebrity social circuit, Kennedy knows her game — daughter of the lionized JFK, enthusiastic supporter of Obama, and guest earlier this month of the Obama family at their summer holiday enclave on Martha’s Vineyard.

But Kennedy came to her ambassador’s post with no foreign policy experience, no particular background in Japan or Asia generally, and apparently not much skill at running the $93.6 million-per-year operation that is the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

This embassy is one of America’s most important outposts, representing American interests to a strategically vital democratic ally and economic partner in an increasingly troubled region. Japan faces a militarizing, expansionist, and economically roiled China, an aggressively rearming Russia, and a nuclear-arming North Korea.

But almost two years into Kennedy’s ambassadorship, the U.S. Embassy in Japan is a mess.

We are learning this from the report “Inspection of Embassy Tokyo, Japan“, just released by the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General.

Much more at the site - quite the shopping list of problems. Ours has morphed into a culture of celebrity, not hiring the proper people for the job.

Back from coffee - propane woes

The propane line that I thought was a spur to one of the outbuildings turned out to be the main line from the tank to the house. They just took a detour the other way around a big tree and not the direct route.

I have a couple other projects that need a backhoe so gave our local operator a call and he will be out here for a day - also re-attaching a hydrant in the garden (the one I backed over with the truck in 2011) as well as bringing in a couple of yards of gravel to redo the driveway.

Fun fun fun...

Off for coffee

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A friend of mine wanted to borrow my have-a-heart trap to get some feral kittens. Dropping it off and getting a coffee to start my day.

Played around with the Bentonite clay and took some pictures - the stuff expands about three times when wet. Pretty cool!

Working outside most of today - have the propane person coming to repair the line.

Ain't that the truth

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From the wonderful 1990 film Gremlins 2

 

25 years ago - prescient!

Makes complete sense to me...

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Hat tip Blake Northcott

Ripple

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Fascinating video from found materials - watch full-screen:

Ripple from Conner Griffith on Vimeo.

Imagery:
- Google Earth Pro
- Wikimedia Commons
- RISD Picture Collection
- RISD Materials Collection
- Personal Photography
Audio:
- RISD 'Sound Ideas' Library
- Freesound

RISD is the Rhode Island School of Design - they seem to attract some wonderful people.

Lightening the load

An interesting development - something that could be hacked and built in someone's garage. From the Australian Defence Science and Technology Group:

FLEXIBLE SKELETON TAKES THE WEIGHT OFF
The current generation of powered exoskeletons uses a complex system of rigid linkages and mechatronics. They are showing real promise in enabling the wearer to lift and move about with very heavy loads.

However, the design and natural movement of the human body tends to battle with the exoskeleton movement, causing a dramatic increase in the user’s energy cost when walking with a load. These systems tend to be heavy (>35 kg), very expensive and power hungry.

Defence science and technology researchers have developed a simple, lightweight (3 kg) fully-passive exoskeleton. This system uses Bowden cables to attached to a rigid backpack frame. The cables run down the back and legs to the base of the boot and transfer approximately two thirds of the backpack load to the ground. This load force bypasses the user’s body, reducing compression forces from the backpack load through the torso and legs.

The benefits of such a system compared to a powered exoskeleton include: simplicity, no requirements for heavy batteries; low cost; easier to integrate with the user and equipment and redundancy when no longer required – remove and add to pack.

The development is at a proof-of-concept stage with early testing showing encouraging results. However, the biomechanics of the system require extensive refinement to ensure it is integrated optimally with the soldier and truly fit for purpose.

Bowden cables are a wire rope encased in a flexible semi-rigid tube. These allow both pushing and pulling forces to be transmitted around a variable path. One common use is for small engine control - motorcycle and lawnmower throttles, etc... Very clever.

An interesting development - flu vaccine

When people get the flu shot, they are getting a vaccine tailored to what strains the CDC thinks will be active this year - they are usually pretty accurate (I get the shot every September), but since the CDC is guessing six months ahead, they are not guaranteed.

This could be really cool - from the Beeb:

Universal flu vaccine comes closer, scientists say
Researchers say they are closer to developing a vaccine to give life-long protection against any type of flu, after promising trials in animals.

Two separate US teams have found success with an approach that homes in on a stable part of the flu virus.
That should remove the problem with current flu vaccines which must be given anew each year because they focus on the mutating part of the virus.

The proof-of-concept work is published in Science journal and Nature Medicine.

More faster please!

Light posting until this evening

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Have a bunch of things that need my attention and dinnertime is approaching.

The Stock Market in 90 seconds

 

Scared yet? From Michael Haltman

Photography -a few observations

Cherry picking from a this wonderful list by Missy Mwac at DIY Photography: Some Glitterbombs of Truth for Photographers

Here are five that caught my eye:

  • Nobody looks like the person on the magazine cover, not even the person on the magazine cover.
  • The price of a sculpture has nothing to do with the price of the clay.
    The price of a painting has nothing to do with the price of the canvas.
    The price of a photograph has NOTHING to do with the price of the paper.
    The value of art transcends the materials with which it’s created.
    Charge what it’s worth. Charge what YOU’RE worth.
  • No one is going to pass down a USB drive from generation to generation
  • In 50 years, the most photographed generation in history will have no pictures. Print what you want to preserve.
  • People will NEVER pay a lot of money for photography when they can do it themselves at home for less. Now, excuse me while I finish this $5 coffee from Starbucks

With number two, writer Harlan Ellison has a wonderful rant:

A second server? From the Washington Examiner:

Email timeline suggests second server may exist
Conflicting accounts of when data was removed from Hillary Clinton's private server indicate copies of emails known to contain classified information may reside on a device other than the one presently in FBI custody.

She may have printed 55,000 pages of emails for submission to the State Department from a different device than the one presently in FBI custody.

More:

But the Clinton campaign has suggested the former secretary of state did not erase emails she deemed personal until January of this year, raising questions as to where the emails were located when her staff sifted through them to determine which were related to her government service.

A Clinton spokesman did not return a request for comment, nor did an attorney for Platte River Networks.

And:

Dr. Marcus Rogers, head of computer information technology at Purdue University, said the fact that the data was migrated off Clinton's server in 2013 doesn't mean it was erased from the server at that time.

"There's pretty definite time stamps when you move information from one computer to another," Rogers said. "Somebody knows exactly when this happened because those time stamps are there."

Chris Weber, a security expert who co-founded Casaba Security, agreed the data migration might have just been a way of making copies of the emails on Clinton's server, not deleting them.

It is known that she was using Microsoft Exchange and Outlook - maintaining multiple servers and moving emails from one to another is a trivial exercise. Counterfeiting the time and date stamp is not trivial.

My bet is that the people at Platte River either didn't know of the security angle or Ms. Clinton simply did not think to tell them. Either way, this is incredibly stupid and has the potential to be the smoking gun that puts Hillary behind bars.

Got the Dingo cleaned off and loaded on the trailer for return tomorrow - also doing the shopping run for Crossroads. I will be renting the ground rod driver tomorrow so that will need to be returned Tuesday. Shifted the 300 pounds of Sodium Bentonite from the back of the truck to Buttercup the Tractor - need room for tomorrow's merch (mostly bread and stuff from Costco).

Had a successful Ham Radio net tonight - about 75 registered with 41 of them actually checking in tonight. This is a round-table and if a disaster happens, this is the core group of people who will be able to communicate with the outside world and with the emergency workers. We meet for about 20 minutes every Sunday evening.

Been working with someone on a local food and fun festival - that is coming up next weekend. Then, the sixth annual car show where I will be announcing. The following day, we head up to West Kelowna, BC to visit a large surplus electronics store that is having a very major sale - this will be perfect for getting various kibbles and bits for the radio room - plugs, cables, etc...

I never knew that spare time was so exhausting...

Good news - bedrock

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We drilled for the two hitching posts - last project of today.

At the front of the house, I ran into the same scenario as at the back - about 20" of topsoil and then a hard rock-like layer in each of the four holes. Either the previous owner built a secret underground lair much larger than the house or this house is sitting on bedrock.

One of the key problems of living in a valley floor is that during an earthquake, a condition called Soil Liquefaction can occur - ground water mixes with the topsoil and creates a jello-like consistency.

Not here!

Another view of the Goodell Fire

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From Seattle City Light:

20150823-fire.jpg

Thanks to Kurt and Cheryl for sending me the link.

Still bone dry, nighttime temps are high enough that we do not get any morning dew and no rain forecast for the next couple of days. Some showers forecast for Saturday...

More dingo fun

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Sprayed down the six holes this morning with a couple gallons of water each and then went for coffee.

Back home now and the soil in the holes should be a little more cohesive and ready to come out with the auger. When I was drilling before, it was like dry sand and most of the dirt just fell back into the hole. I need to have the hole as clean as possible as I am refilling them with bentonite clay.

Firing up the BBQ for dinner - Hawaiian style - marinated chicken (ginger/soy/sugar/rice vinegar), pot of rice and sautéed (on the grill) rainbow chard with oyster sauce and garlic.

The Emergency Communications group has their weekly net check-in tonight at 7:00PM so need to be on air for that.

Off to surf the Aether

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Heading out to the radio room - tired and stiff from horsing the Dingo around all day - lots of fun though. Useful tool!

Lulu and I came up with a couple other projects while we have it out here tomorrow - two hitching rails and redo a garden fence post that was never set in properly (10" soil and the rest is river gravel that the tractor auger could never penetrate).

Smoke on the water - Portland

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I thought the smoke was bad here. From local meteorological guru Cliff Mass:

Air Quality is Worse In Portland, Oregon Than In Beijing
Portland has been hit by one of the worst air quality events in recent history, with levels of particulates far exceeding those in Beijing.

I just got off the phone from someone in Portland...the air smells like wood smoke, visibility is heavily reduced, and  the sun's rays weak and ineffective. It is something out of a post-apocalyptic disaster world.

Here are the amazing numbers.   Let's look at the concentration of PM2.5, small particles capable of pushing deep into your lungs.  Nasty stuff.  EPA and air quality agencies put out strident warnings when this gets to 100 (Unhealthy levels!)  The current number in Portland is 229!   Very, very bad.

Much more at the site - the reason?

One reason Portland and vicinity is being hit so hard is because of the Columbia Gorge.  There is easterly flow in the Gorge, so some of the eastern Washington gunk is coming down the Gorge at low levels.

The smoke is bad here too - definite smell in the air and looking across 500 feet of pasture to a line of trees, I can see the haze.

We need rain - lots and lots of rain.

Follow the money - climate change

A political agenda has morphed into a very big business - no wonder it will not go away.

From Paul Driessen writing at Watts Up With That:

Climate Crisis, Inc.
No warming in 18 years, no category 3-5 hurricane hitting the USA in ten years, seas rising at barely six inches a century: computer models and hysteria are consistently contradicted by Real World experiences.

So how do White House, EPA, UN, EU, Big Green, Big Wind, liberal media, and even Google, GE and Defense Department officials justify their fixation on climate change as the greatest crisis facing humanity? How do they excuse saying government must control our energy system, our economy and nearly every aspect of our lives – deciding which jobs will be protected and which ones destroyed, even who will live and who will die – in the name of saving the planet? What drives their intense ideology?

The answer is simple. The Climate Crisis & Renewable Energy Industry has become a $1.5-trillion-a-year business! That’s equal to the annual economic activity generated by the entire US nonprofit sector, or all savings over the past ten years from consumers switching to generic drugs. By comparison, annual revenues for much-vilified Koch Industries are about $115 billion, for ExxonMobil around $365 billion.

According to a 200-page analysis by the Climate Change Business Journal, this Climate Industrial Complex can be divided into nine segments: low carbon and renewable power; carbon capture and storage; energy storage, like batteries; energy efficiency; green buildings; transportation; carbon trading; climate change adaptation; and consulting and research. Consulting is a $27-billion-per-year industry that handles “reputation management” for companies and tries to link weather events, food shortages and other problems to climate change. Research includes engineering R&D and climate studies.

The $1.5-trillion price tag appears to exclude most of the Big Green environmentalism industry, a $13.4-billion-per-year business in the USA alone. The MacArthur Foundation just gave another $50 million to global warming alarmist groups. Ex-NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chesapeake Energy gave the Sierra Club $105 million to wage war on coal (shortly before the Club began waging war on natural gas and Chesapeake Energy, in what some see as poetic justice). Warren Buffett, numerous “progressive” foundations, Vladimir Putin cronies and countless companies also give endless millions to Big Green.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg - much more at the site. The links go to corroborating data if you want to check the numbers for yourself.

Some 1% banksters are getting very rich from promoting this climate hysteria - we have to do SOMETHING!!!!! - when in fact, there is zero crisis, the weather is doing what it always does. The sooner we defund these braying ninnies, the sooner we can get back to normal lives.

Keeping cheap energy out of people's hands is the single major cause of world hunger and poverty. We in the first world can afford to wring our hands and gnash our teeth over some fancied shibboleth all the while we are condemning those in the third world to a life of grinding poverty and short lifespan. Even something as simple as a kerosene cook stove would be a godsend to the hundreds of millions of people who cook over wood or dung.

How can the greenies live with themselves. But of course, they do not really care about the brown people, they only care about themselves and how good they feel...

Small world - Jake Shimabukuro

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It is a very small world. I knew that Hawaiian Ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro was on tour and coming through Bellingham in a couple months. I asked Lulu if she knew his music - turns out that Jake went to high-school with Lulu's son. Needless to say, tickets are being purchased and a lei is being ordered.

Electronic music machine - the Crudman

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Meet the Crudman from Crudlabs in Brooklyn, New York.

From their webpage:

Hello. This is the Crudlabs CRUDMAN. It is a monophonic, tape-based instrument designed around a single cassette Walkman. It is not designed to replace a Mellotron and it does not sound like a Mellotron. It's its own thing which has its own sound and features. It is a new instrument and a tool to find new and interesting musical and atonal sounds using the unique characteristics of cassette tapes.

The Crudman is based around a Walkman which has been elaborately hacked so that a tape of a looped or droning sound (or any other sound) can be precisely sped up or slowed down via Midi or 1v/octave CV to accurately hit notes over a range of 3 octaves.

The Crudman can provide endless atonal soundscapes but has been designed specifically to be accurate enough can function as a traditionally melodic musical instrument. You can record anything onto a tape, so if you're a fan of the sound and idiosyncrasies of tape, the possibilities are pretty much endless. If you want to play melodies like any other synthesizer, just put in a tape tuned to C, and you play all the way from C two octaves down, to C one octave up - 3 whole octaves. If you want to make new atonal sounds with the singular qualities of analog cassette tape, just put in a tape with literally any music or sounds on it, and see what happens.

Interesting processing tool - the spoken word comes out quite strange. Lots of samples at the site.

Some photos from today

Here are some photos from today - the orange hue is from smoke from the fires:

20150822-dingo01.jpg

Me on the Dingo - drilling the final (and fateful) hole.

20150822-dingo02.jpg

A dramatic re-enactment of the horrible discovery.

20150822-dingo03.jpg

The propane pipe in question - could not have hit it more squarely if I tried...

20150822-garden01.jpg

Lulu took the camera into our garden and took these - here are Augie and Grace hanging out.

20150822-garden02.jpg

Strawberry bed - just planted these this spring so it will be another year or two before they are in full production.

20150822-garden03.jpg

Peppers and 'Maters

20150822-garden04.jpg

Pumpkins, cucumbers, lettuce and chard all crammed into the one bed - keeps the weeds to a minimum.

20150822-garden05.jpg

Cascade and Chinook Hops - these (and some grapes) are going to be replanted in a new bed next spring.

20150822-garden06.jpg

Bed by the entry to our house - Peas, Nasturtiums, Bergamot and some other edibles.

Our area - a cautionary tale

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One of the reasons I have gotten into emergency preparedness and communication is that this is a very dangerous place to be living. My house is about 12 miles from a fault-line. Our rivers flood routinely, land moves constantly, forest fires happen every year, we live in the foothills of an active volcano, and of course, there is the Cascadian Subduction Zone.

Timothy Egan has a nice writeup in the New York Times:

Living in the Ring of Fire
The West has been on fire all month, with dream homes falling to a combustive punch, wild horses seared by flame and suffocated by smoke, even a rare “firenado” dancing across a landscape in which seven million acres have been burned this year.

It was shocking to be lazing through the rituals of summer at Lake Chelan, one of the world’s most beautiful bodies of water, in Washington’s eastern Cascades, when wildfires arrived with a cannonade of lightning — blazes that have now taken lives and forced towns to evacuate.

But even as eye-tearing smoke, red sun and yellow-shirted firefighters have become a part of life this summer, many of us on the West Coast can’t stop thinking about a greater threat — earthquakes, specifically the Really Big One. The unclenching of two large plates along the Pacific shore from Northern California to Vancouver Island would be, by consensual predictions, the worst natural disaster in North American history.

It happened once, more than 300 years ago, a magnitude 9 shake that was 60 times stronger than the 1906 earthquake that left San Francisco in ruins. It most assuredly will happen again, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps in a hundred years.

Which is why I am taking part in Cascadia Rising excercise next year.

One of the fires near to here is on Goodell Creek. This is very close to Seattle City Light's hydroelectric dam at Newhalem.

Here is from the Seattle City Light Twitter account:

Here is what the Goodell Creek fire near Newhalem
looked like around noon, from a helicopter survey of the damage

20150822-fire.jpg

Those are the power lines that provide the Seattle Metro (Bellevue, Renton, Tacoma, etc...) area with 20% of their electricity.

Well dagnabit!

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I tried drilling with the Dingo outside the radio room and what I thought was construction debris turned out to be bedrock - I tried a bunch of places and hit solid rock about 20" down in every place.

On to Plan B - I moved about 50 feet North and drilled a hole - wooo hooo! Smooth as a baby's bottom. Drilled four more just as easy. The sixth hole, I drilled and started to hear a hissing. Looked down the hole and saw a yellow plastic pipe and started smelling propane.

It seems the previous owner who built the house and outbuildings ran a propane line out to the DaveCave(tm) at one point but never hooked it up to anything. I sure found it! I had the propane people come out and locate the main line leading from the tank to the house but nobody knew about this spur - until today.

Got a call into the propane people for them to come out Monday - fortunately, the only thing running on propane now is the cooktop - the heat pump takes care of any heating or cooling. Photos later today...

Off to work

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Rented a Dingo for today and tomorrow - drilling some holes for the ground rods for the radio equipment as well as loosening up some dirt in a new area we want to plant.

Gorgeous weather for it - just finished lunch and heading out to fire up the Dingo. The internal combustion engine was a wonderful invention.

That explains a lot

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From Gavin Mcinnes:

THE DONALD IS BATMAN
Sitting aboard The Donald’s luxurious private $7 million dollar helicopter, a young Iowan boy asked the leading Republican nominee for President: “Mr. Trump—are you Batman?” The Donald crinkled his face, stared into the young lad’s soul, and replied: “I am Batman.”

Mr. Trump did not wince, or shrink, or think of any probable problems with his answer. He was cool and confident. He was comfortable in his skin, comfortable as the “Rich Guy,” he has what Mitt Romney, (another rich cat) never had: Personality. More importantly: The willingness to show said personality off as a positive trait.

I continue to be quite skeptical of The Donald’s chances: He’s a bit vague in most of his few (actual) policy proposals, but he’s charming the shit out of me and lots of other cons, who’ve tired of the Republican D.C. Bullshit Machine. Peeps sometimes ask me, “Do you think he’s really a conservative?”

I don’t know if The Donald is a true conservative. What I do know is that most people could give a shit about the queers at Vox or the Huffpo. Trump’s rise is against the bespectacled know-it-all-dipshit internet press. (Hello, Ezra Klein). Donald Trump is a billionaire railing against the stupid-ass academic Left, the likes of which live in a bubble of economic theory that will never have an effect on their own lives.

Is Donald Trump, Batman? I don’t know. I can’t promise my vote, but, if he holds Harry Reid by the collar and dangles him off a building and says, “I’m not going to kill you. I want you to do me a favor. I want you to tell all your friends about me.”

I’m intrigued.

Harry Reid: “What are you?”

Trump: “I’m Batman.”

The Donald has been charged with accusations of racism, sexism, and practically every other known –ism: Nothing sticks to The Donald—perhaps he is Batman.

Heh - like I said, this explains a lot!

Their stockholders should ay something - from Communities Digital News:

Apple and Google pour billions down a green drain
Business has been captured by climatism, the belief that humans are causing dangerous global warming. Leading businesses announce plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, purchase renewable energy, use vehicle biofuels and buy carbon credits. But there is no evidence that commercial policies to “fight” climate change have any measurable effect on global temperatures.

Apple and Google, the darling companies of the millennial generation, have spent billions trying to halt global warming. Apple has brought us the Mac personal computer, the iPhone, the iPad and other trend-setting electronic devices, becoming the world’s highest-valued company. Google has been called the most innovative technology company in the world, delivering the Google search engine, which revolutionized use of the internet, Google Books and Google Maps; now it is developing a self-driving car.

But both of these leading companies have swallowed the misguided theory of human-caused climate change, hook, line and sinker.

Apple’s 2015 Environmental Responsibility Report states, “We don’t want to debate climate change. We want to stop it.” Former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson now heads Apple’s environmental efforts. The firm boasts that it measures its carbon footprint “rigorously,” estimating it emitted 34 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents in in 2014. But somehow Apple missed the fact that carbon dioxide is a gas emitted in huge volumes by nature. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, nature puts 25 times as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day as all of the world’s industries.

Much more at the site.

No seriously. His website: Deez Nuts for President 2016

Google yields 4,450,000 hits.

More at The Daily Beast - polling at 9%.

Want to run in 2016? Fill out the FEC Form here (PDF): FEC FORM 2 STATEMENT OF CANDIDACY

Who are you going to believe?

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The people who promote global warming and look at their computer models --or-- the people who promote Snowboarding and look out their windows.

From Transworld Snowboarding:

First Snow of the Season Dusts Colorado High Country
So it begins. The first dusting of snow was spotted in the Colorado High Country on Wednesday morning and the temperature recorded at Denver International Airport dropped to 47 degrees Fahrenheit, setting a new record low for August 19th.

The La Nina is going to make things suck on Mt. Baker but the rest of the world should be just fine. All things are pointing to a long cold period (30-50 years at least).

The EPA at work - Georgia this time

What with the mine disaster, the oil water tanks delivered to the Navajo Nation, now it's a mill site in Georgia.

From Watchdog.org:

Another EPA disaster, this time in rural Georgia
Still reeling from a disaster it created at a Colorado gold mine, the EPA has so far avoided criticism for a similar toxic waste spill in Georgia.

In Greensboro, EPA-funded contractors grading a toxic 19th-century cotton mill site struck a water main, sending the deadly sediment into a nearby creek. Though that accident took place five months ago, the hazard continues as heavy storms — one hit the area Tuesday — wash more soil into the creek.

The sediment flows carry dangerous mercury, lead, arsenic and chromium downstream to Lake Oconee and then to the Oconee River — home to many federally and state protected species.

Lead in the soil at the project site is 20,000 times higher than federal levels established for drinking water, said microbiologist Dave Lewis, who was a top-level scientist during 31 years at the Environmental Protection Agency.

And of course, the EPA is proactively working on remediation:

The Environmental Protection Agency has denied — but now admits — that it funded the cleanup and development project the triggered the catastrophe.

The EPA issued a grant around 2005 to turn the mill and surrounding grounds into a housing complex for the mentally ill, homeless and indigent. Contractors working with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD) have started digging and tearing down the buildings — despite objections by the city of Greensboro and the absence of a plan to deal with the hazardous waste. 

This is what big government does - no accountability and nothing says "caring" like locating housing for the mentally ill on a toxic waste site.

Much more at the site...

How to appeal a parking fine

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A change of seasons

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I was driving home today and a leaf blew up onto my windshield and stuck for a few moments - I noticed that it was yellow. The trees are starting put on their fall colors.

Days are getting noticeably shorter too. Pretty dark at 9:00PM.

Forest fires

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It has been a bad year for fires - not so much the total number but that they have all happened at once.

There is a large fire in our own neighborhood - from the Skagit Valley Herald

Crews battle growing North Cascades fire, call for additional aid
The Goodell Fire in North Cascades National Park near Newhalem continued to grow Thursday.

Park spokeswoman Katy Hooper said Thursday afternoon that the fire had burned at least 250 acres.

Fire crews from the park, Skagit County, Whatcom County, and area cities and towns are battling the blaze. The park has also requested additional assistance, which is expected to arrive Saturday.

The fire’s movement over the past two days has prompted evacuations, closures and cancellations.

An 86-mile section of Highway 20 is closed.

I just got an email from our local emergency communications group to monitor a specific frequency in case they need volunteers to handle communications and radio traffic.

More information can be found at the National Park Service North Cascades site.

The AshleyMadison data dump

Cast a wide net and catch some interesting fish. From My Way/Associated Press:

Cheating website subscribers included WH, Congress workers
Hundreds of U.S. government employees — including some with sensitive jobs in the White House, Congress and law enforcement agencies — used Internet connections in their federal offices to access and pay membership fees to the cheating website Ashley Madison, The Associated Press has learned.

The AP traced many of the accounts exposed by hackers back to federal workers. They included at least two assistant U.S. attorneys; an information technology administrator in the Executive Office of the President; a division chief, an investigator and a trial attorney in the Justice Department; a government hacker at the Homeland Security Department and another DHS employee who indicated he worked on a U.S. counterterrorism response team.

Few actually paid for their services with their government email accounts. But AP traced their government Internet connections — logged by the website over five years — and reviewed their credit-card transactions to identify them. They included workers at more than two dozen Obama administration agencies, including the departments of State, Defense, Justice, Energy, Treasury, Transportation and Homeland Security. Others came from House or Senate computer networks.

 Oops - the lawyers are going to have a field day...

Why am I not surprised - from Albuquerque New Mexico station KOAT:

Navajo Nation seizes EPA tanks after spill, claims water is unsafe
Navajo Nation police have seized water tanks delivered to the Shiprock community in the wake of a devastating Colorado mine spill.

An Environmental Protection Agency-supervised crew accidentally unleashed an estimated 3 million gallons of waste two weeks ago from the abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. The waste, which consisted of high levels of toxic metals, floated out of the mine and into the Animas River, then traveled south into the San Juan River.

Many Navajo farmers and cattle ranchers use the San Juan for crops and livestock. The Navajo Nation has yet to lift water restrictions on the river, so the EPA has been delivering water to communities and storing them in large tanks.

However, President Russell Begaye believes that some of the water that the Navajo Nation is getting is not up to snuff.

Several reports have surfaced from farmers saying that the tank water is oily.

Begaye and other Navajo Nation leaders visited one of the tanks in Shiprock on Wednesday. A photo of Begaye holding a cup of water from the tank and with a black hand was taken and has spread across the Internet.

"I reached my hand into the tank and felt my hand getting oily," Begaye said. "There are these black beads in the water, and when you rub them, black streaks go down your hands."

From station KOB (also in Albuquerque):

Navajo president, Shiprock leaders incensed at dirty crop, livestock water delivered by EPA contractor
A contractor for the Environmental Protection Agency delivered nine large tanks of water to the Navajo Nation Friday, promising fresh, clean water. But the Navajo Nation, already skeptical of the EPA's response to the Gold King mine spill, say the tanks are dirty oilfield tanks and are now even further incensed.

The water in the tanks – intended for crops and livestock – is brown and smells, and the tank it came in is far from clean.

"The EPA told us that these tanks hold only clean water for drinking," said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. "Clearly it is just a lie. Clearly, it is an oil tank. That's what it is."

Disgusting.

Youtube update

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Turns out I needed to reinstall Flash - Flash can represent a security risk and I had been minimizing its use but it is still needed for most of the older Youtube posts.

Just wonderful - Youtube software "update"

Been doing some searching over my 13+ years and 20,000+ posts and the Youtube links for every one I have visited are now broken. They play just fine when I visit the current link but when I right-click on the bottom and select Embed, I get a black screen. Works great with the Google Chrome browser.

Could they not have tested this before releasing this supposed update? Vimo still works great. YouTube is busted flat on IE.

I would not want to be a fly on that wall tonight...

A blast from the past - 2008 - Gerard

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Gerard from American Digest republished an essay of his from 2008 and these six paragraphs really stuck in my mind:

When I came off the freeway exit it was about noon on a Saturday. By noon on a Saturday, anybody in Marin who has a project that requires emergency Mexicans has already been to the Home Depot shape-up, chosen the number they need, negotiated what the pay would be, and driven away with them. Those still left have little hope for a job. But they remain because a small hope for half a day's meager pay is better than no hope at all.

The traffic halted at the intersection and I looked ahead and around and in the rear view mirror. Standing there, many of them looking at me and waving their hands to signal their availability, was a small battalion of around 300 out-of-work Mexican males, mostly young. I thought, "Well, they may be here to 'do the jobs Americans won't do,' but there is clearly not enough work."

Then I thought, "What happens to these men if we arrive at a point, in a recession, where there is a lot less work for them in their many millions? What happens when the American dream starts contracting from the edges and the extra cash that allows us to employ them starts to dry up? They won't be counted as 'unemployed' since they were never legally 'employable' in the first place. Where will they go? Back to a Mexico where a recession in the US will breed a depression in that 3rd World country? Unlikely. Their best shot would still be to stay here. But if they did, what would they do? And how many would there really be? And how hungry and desperate would they get?"

This was just one intersection at one exit from the freeway in San Rafael, California 500 miles north of the Mexican border. And there were about 300 temporarily unemployed illegal residents of San Rafael simply standing about. That would be okay for a day, a week, maybe a month. As long as it was only 300 Mexican males. But if a slump in black-market cash employment became longer, spread and deepened throughout the country, and the numbers of our shadow armies of the blight grew, then.... Well, what then?

The cold fact is that we don't know what "what then" would look like. The issue has not surfaced in the present campaign because it cannot surface. The reality of off-setting our indolence with kindness and cash is too frightening to think about when the extra cash runs dry; when Americans will again do any job just to have a job and woe betide any non-American who seeks to take that job away.

Perhaps we'll discover that we'll have to pay a very large bill for our indolence. And that the bill will not be paid with cash. It will be paid, not for the first time, with the last thing we want to see - the Army in our cities. I don't think we are prepared for that. I don't think we want to find out. I pray we never have to.

Emphasis mine. This is a difficult decision and our elites are waffling and kicking the can down the road. Nope! No leadership here! Keep moving - nothing to see - move along now... We deferred the 2008 recession by putting the next 30 years in hock. The time to pay the piper is fast approaching.

Crap like this is why Donald Trump is leading so highly in the polls.

Cute advertisement

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NOTE: The Tube of You just changed their software and embedded video does not work any more.
The problem was on my end... PEBCAK error

Here is the link to the video - it is really cute: 3M Brand Machine - this will open in a new window.

A classic Rube Goldberg machine.

A good question - the EPA

From Don Surber:

How much prison time for Gina McCarthy?
Freedom Industries President Gary Southern will spend three years in prison and pay a $300,000 fine because his company spilled 10,000 gallons of an industrial alcohol into the Elk River in January 2014.

How much prison time for Gina McCarthy?

Her agency destroyed the Animas River with 350 times as many gallons of pollutants, arsenic and other toxins, turning the white waters of the Animas orange.

How much prison time for Gina McCarthy?

From Fox News:

Still reeling from a disaster it created at a Colorado gold mine, the EPA has so far avoided criticism for a similar toxic waste spill in Georgia. 

In Greensboro, EPA-funded contractors grading a toxic 19th-century cotton mill site struck a water main, sending the deadly sediment into a nearby creek. Though that accident took place five months ago, the hazard continues as heavy storms -- one hit the area Tuesday -- wash more soil into the creek. 

The sediment flows carry dangerous mercury, lead, arsenic and chromium downstream to the Oconee River -- home to many federally and state protected species -- and toward the tourist destination of Lake Oconee. 

Lead in the soil is 20,000 times higher than federal levels established for drinking water, said microbiologist Dave Lewis, who was a top-level scientist during 31 years at the Environmental Protection Agency

Again, how much prison time for Gina McCarthy?

Don's website is a daily read for me - here is a link to his home page: Don Surber

Now this will be interesting to see

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From The Daily Caller:

EXCLUSIVE: Special Operations Vets Call For Kerry To Strip Hillary Of Security Clearance
A group of special operations veterans and intelligence community officials have formally asked Secretary of State John Kerry to strip former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of her security clearance along with three of her top aides, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The organization, called the Special Operations Educational Fund, wrote Kerry August 5 asking that he “immediately suspend the security clearances” because of Clinton’s use of a private unsecured email server and domain name that contains classified information. SOF is a 501 (c) 4 nonprofit group.

The group also asked Kerry to administratively suspend the security clearances of Clinton and aides Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan.

 And the server:

The SOEF claims, “there is ample evidence that this private server was inadequately protected from foreign intelligence penetration and malicious ‘hacking.'”

They also charged that the operation of the email system “is a serious breach our nation’s diplomatic, operational and strategic security.” They urged Kerry to “exercise its administrative authority to suspend any existing security clearances of these four individuals.”

Michael Gregg, CEO of Superior Solutions, a cybersecurity firm that conducts penetration assessment of computer systems, told TheDCNF that Clinton’s server was “very vulnerable. There is a 98 percent certainty that that server was breached somehow.”

To emphasize Clinton’s vulnerability, Gregg noted that the Romanian hacker “Guccifer,” whose real name is Marel Lazar Lehel, was the first to disclose that her emails were on a private server.

 She needs to spend some serious time behind bars but that will never happen with this administration.

Been to the fair

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Had to run into town to pick up the Bentonite clay and decided to swing by the NW Washington Fair for a while - see some critters and eat some food.

I am stuffed - had a couple ears of roasted corn, some Poffertjes (think donut holes with butter and powdered sugar), some pork fried rice and a burger with fries. My gut is stuffed!

Ran into a bunch of people (a dozen at least) that I knew. Home and fed the dog and cat and now to surf for a bit. Got the propane people coming out to the farm tomorrow to indicate where the underground pipeline is - planning to dig near where I think it is and do not want any surprises...

Off to town - Bentonite clay

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Heading into town to pick up 300 pounds of bentonite clay. This is supposed to greatly improve the grounding of any system - it absorbs and holds large quantities of water and is conductive so it will couple the ground rod to the earth very well.

Renting the Dingo this Saturday through the weekend so installing the grounding system then as well as digging up some new garden areas for planting.

Coffee first - got my priorities dammit!

I wonder if someone can be a sitting President while serving 20 years in Federal Penitentiary. That would sure cut down on the travel and golf expenses...

From Breitbart:

David Petraeus Prosecutor on Hillary’s Tail
One of the federal prosecutors who helped bring down former general David Petraeus is now leading the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email use.

Of the two prosecutors in the Department of Justice’s National Security Division tasked with investigating Clinton’s emails, one of them worked on the Petraeus case, according to the Washington Post. Petraeus, pled guilty to giving his biographer and mistress classified information.

The key difference here is that Paula Broadwell was in the Army at the time that their scandal happened and she had the security clearance to receive the papers that Petraeus gave her. It was an extramarital scandal, not a security one. Hillary was putting highly secret documents on a private server, administered by a company with prior security problems and when asked about this, her first response was to have the server wiped clean. With the level of security being employed (security through obscurity only works if you yourself maintain a very very low profile), there is no doubt that the Russians, North Koreans and the Chinese have copies.

Time to do some serious house-cleaning. We the People are being represented by petulant self-centered little brats who have the unfortunate mental pathology to think that they are our elites and that they know how to manage our lives better than we do.

Screw them all. Fire them and get some adults in the room.

The Science is Settled

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Not so much - there seems to be a lack of ethics from some practitioners. From Nature:

Faked peer reviews prompt 64 retractions
A leading scientific publisher has retracted 64 articles in 10 journals, after an internal investigation discovered fabricated peer-review reports linked to the articles’ publication.

Berlin-based Springer announced the retractions in an 18 August statement. In May, Springer merged with parts of Macmillan Science and Education — which publishes Nature to form the new company Springer Nature.

The cull comes after similar discoveries of ‘fake peer review’ by several other major publishers, including London-based BioMed Central, an arm of Springer, which began retracting 43 articles in March citing "reviews from fabricated reviewers".

Nothing to see here people, just keep moving along... Fortunately, other publishers are well ahead of the curve:

Some publishers, such as BioMed Central and San Francisco-based PLoS, have ended the practice of author-suggested reviewers in response to fake peer review.

The scientists who are doing the fake reviews need to be stripped of their tenure and mocked soundly in the community. Make it painful for them to cheat - have serious consequences. How many other scientists will read that paper and base their own works on the content.

Just ran into this today - it allows for incredible stretching of audio tracks, lengthening them by factors of 20X on up. What is a punchy drum beat driven song becomes a pastoral sonic landscape.

Here is the website for Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch

From the Introduction:

This is a program for stretching the audio. It is suitable only for extreme sound stretching of the audio (like 50x) and for applying special effects by "spectral smoothing" the sounds. It can transform any sound/music to a texture. The program is Open-Source and it's released under the version 2 of the General Public License. You can download the source code for Linux or the Windows binaries.

Please note that this is suitable only for extreme time stretching (e.g. if have a melody of 3 minutes and you want to listen it in 3 hours). If you want "less extreme" time stretching, you can use a program which contains the SoundTouch library.

Here is how to use it as a plug-in in Audacity

Very cool stuff - my immediate thought was to process some thunder and stream/waterfall/surf recordings I have on file...

From Breitbart:

Did Black Lives Matter Organizer Shaun King Mislead Oprah Winfrey By Pretending To Be Biracial?
An investigative blogger has accused Shaun King, a key figure in the Black Lives Matter movement, of misleading media icon Oprah Winfrey by pretending to be biracial in order to qualify for an “Oprah scholarship” to historically black Morehouse College. The blogger says King is white and has been lying about his ethnicity for years.

King is a high-profile campaigner against “police brutality” and “justice correspondent” for the liberal Daily Kos website who told Rebel magazine in 2012 that he was biracial, with the magazine reporting that he is the “son of a Caucasian mother and an African-American father.” He has also described himself as “mixed with a black family” on Twitter.

King has been lionized by the press, praised as hero of civil rights and social activism. He has written extensively about a childhood in which he was terrorized by “decades old racial tensions.” He claims to have been “the focus of constant abuse of the resident rednecks of my school.”

Yet, in recent weeks, rumors have been circulating about his ethnicity. A 1995 police incident report lists Shaun King’s ethnicity as white. And blogger Vicki Pate, who has been assembling forensic accounts of Shaun King’s background and family tree on her blog, “Re-NewsIt!,” has published her findings.

 I love it when the social justice phonies get busted.

Rachel Dolezal?

She claims that King is entirely white and says a birth certificate, which Breitbart has since independently acquired from the Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics, names a white man as his father.

King’s case echoes that of Rachel Dolezal, a civil rights activist from Washington who claimed to be biracial while in fact being of caucasian origin. Dolezal continues to insist she “identifies as black,” despite her parents revealing that she is entirely white.

What makes it even better is that King has a real problem with consistency when talking about his life - he has either three daughters or four, a beating he sustained was life-threatening but the police report calls it minor. Lots more at the site. Unraveling as we speak...

From the Associated Press:

AP Exclusive: UN to let Iran inspect alleged nuke work site
Iran, in an unusual arrangement, will be allowed to use its own experts to inspect a site it allegedly used to develop nuclear arms under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work, according to a document seen by The Associated Press.

More:

Without divulging its contents, the Obama administration has described the document as nothing more than a routine technical arrangement between Iran and the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency on the particulars of inspecting the site.

This is John Forbes Kerry's legacy? More like Neville Chamberlain's Munich Agreement.

At least we know which of their sites to bomb first if they are being so squirrelly about outside inspections there...

From Breitbart. More at the Washington Examiner.

This goes beyond sickening - just a small quote from the Breitbart article:

In the latest video produced by the Center for Medical Progress, Holly O’Donnell describes a medical technician using scissors to cut through the face of a newly aborted but nearly fully developed baby boy at a Planned Parenthood facility so that his intact brain could be extracted.

And:

Her colleague called her over and, according to O’Donnell, said, “Hey Holly, come over here, I want you to see something kind of cool, kind of neat.” O’Donnell said she was flabbergasted to see “…the most gestated fetus and closest thing to a baby I’ve seen.”

Her colleague then took an instrument and “tapped the heart and it starts beating.”

Why are our tax dollars being used to fund these ghouls?

Cute idea

Talk about being Spaceman Spiff - from Music Radar:

Roland develops in-car synth to create sounds for electric sports car
It's hard to second-guess what Roland is going to do next at the moment – given previous form, who would have thought that it would be working on a new range of modular analogue gear, for example? - but we certainly didn't expect the company to announce that it's developing an in-car synth system for an electric sports car.

That's what's happening, though; the new vehicle from GLM is set to be Japan's first mass-marketed electric sports car, and the 'driving sound system' will be designed using Roland's SuperNATURAL synth technology.

We're told that the system will provide "dynamic and dramatic sounds that seamlessly change depending on real-time driving situations like acceleration, deceleration, and motor load variances on sloping roads." The synth engine will also provide "ingenious neo-futuristic sounds that will give sports car enthusiasts the experience of driving a space ship on the road."

While environmental concerns mean that electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, the theory is that many drivers - particularly those of high-performance cars - will want inspiring sounds to replace those generated by a traditional engine. Roland says that its synth technology is a better option than sample-based methods, as it can be more responsive.

Sounds will be played through the car's stereo speakers, while the 'driving situation' will be detected in real-time by a car-mounted network that measures speed, pressure on the accelerator pedal and load to the power system. Drivers will be able to select from a range of sounds - we guess there'll also be a market for expansion packs.

 Heh - I love it. Electric cars are unnaturally silent so this is a wide-open area for innovation.

Nothing much tonight

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Playing with some antennas tonight. Because of the construction fill near the house, I am renting a Dingo this weekend to auger through it and install the grounding system - this will go a long way to reduce receiver noise.

The shelf that I built is ready to install (paint is finally dry!) - this will hold my 2-meter rigs up above my HF radio and antenna-line switches. Photos in a day or two - still want to get the electronics workbench moved out of the DaveCave(tm) and into the radio room.

Lulu's nephew Jimmy is out at the farm today so we had some steaks for dinner with a cold salad made with corn, peppers (two kinds) and red onions from the garden with canned black beans and tomatoes. Some fresh oregano from the garden and a squeeze of lime juice. Yummy!

AshleyMadison in the news again

The company was in the news last July when their database was hacked.

The potential for damage is because the company's core business was setting up connections between married people - a dating service for those wanting an affair.

Now, from Wired:

Hackers finally post stolen AshleyMadison data
Hackers who stole sensitive customer information from the cheating site AshleyMadison.com appear to have made good on their threat to post the data online.

A data dump 9.7 gigabytes in size was posted on Tuesday to the dark web using an Onion address accessible only through the Tor browser. The files appear to include member account details and log-ins for the social networking site, touted as the premier site for married individuals seeking partners for affairs. Credit card and other payment transaction details are also part of the dump. AshleyMadison.com claimed to have nearly 40 million users at the time of the breach about a month ago, all apparently in the market for clandestine hookups.

Divorce lawyers are going to have a field-day!

A cheery report from the CNBC:

St. Louis Fed official: No evidence QE boosted economy
The Federal Reserve is putting some of its post-crisis actions under a magnifying glass and not liking everything it sees.

In a white paper dissecting the U.S. central bank's actions to stem the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, Stephen D. Williamson, vice president of the St. Louis Fed, finds fault with three key policy tenets.

Specifically, he believes the zero interest rates in place since 2008 that were designed to spark good inflation actually have resulted in just the opposite. And he believes the "forward guidance" the Fed has used to communicate its intentions has instead been a muddle of broken vows that has served only to confuse investors. Finally, he asserts that quantitative easing, or the monthly debt purchases that swelled the central bank's balance sheet past the $4.5 trillion mark, have at best a tenuous link to actual economic improvements.

Our nation is in the best of hands..

Well that was a big bust

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Drove down to the auction and had it perfectly timed - by the time I had registered, they were about 30 items from the two items I was interested in.

The Acorn Table went for almost $3K - I stopped bidding at $1,100 as any more than that was getting close to new prices and this one was pretty well beat up. There was no way to check for cracks as they laid a sheet of plywood over it and had other lot items piled on top.

New tables (5X5) go for about $2,700 plus freight and this one was a double-wide (5X10) so $5,400.

The other unit was a tapmatic - these sell new for $1,200 and used on eBay with all the fittings for around $500. This one (unknown condition and no fittings) went for $400 - no deal there either.

Did a bit of shopping in town, arranged to rent a Dingo this Saturday and headed back home.

Engineering humor

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From an email list:

Two engineers were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking at its top. A woman walked by and asked what they were doing. "We're supposed to find the height of this flagpole," said Sven, "but we don't have a ladder."

The woman took a wrench from her purse, loosened a couple of bolts, and laid the pole down on the ground. Then she took a tape measure from her pocketbook, took a measurement, announced, "Twenty one feet, six inches," and walked away.

One engineer shook his head and laughed, "A lot of good that does us. We ask for the height and she gives us the length!"

Needless to say, both engineers have since quit their engineering jobs and are currently serving as elected members of Congress.

Dude - you just got killed by a girl!

Heh... Talk about a psychological force-multiplier. I love it!

From the London Daily Mail:

'They rape us. We kill them': Yazidi singer forms all-female fighting unit to take revenge on ISIS for forcing their sisters into sexual slavery and beheading their brothers
The women of an all-female Yazidi battalion is risking death - or worse - to fight back against the ISIS thugs who abducted, raped or murdered thousands of their people.

They were brought together by a renowned Yazidi singer Xate Shingali, who formed the 'Sun Girls' battalion to take on Islamic State on the battlefield in Iraq.

If her troops are ever caught by the enemy, they will either be killed or, more likely, be held by the extremists as their personal sex slaves.

Even the youngest, just 17, brushes off that terrifying prospect, adding: 'Even if they kill me, I will say I am a Yazidi.'

ISIS kidnapped thousands of Yazidi women and very young girls when it stormed their villages in Sinjar province, northern Iraq, in August 2014.

Those who escaped from their clutches have told of how they endured unimaginable cruelty and sexual abuse at the hands of the ISIS fighters they were forced to marry.

A bit more - the Yazidis are a hybrid of Christianity and Islam and a genuinely peaceful people. Except when 9th century terrorism rears its ugly head...

For Haida, and so many other Yazidis, life has been fundamentally changed by ISIS's attack on their community. She said: 'Before I wanted to be a journalist... Now I want to fight with the peshmerga.'

Islamic State fighters slaughtered more than 5,000 Yazidi people and captured up to 500 women and children as they swept across the Sinjar region.

The Yazidis, whose religion has elements of Christianity and Islam, pray to a being known as Melek Taus - which translates to 'Peacock Angel'.

For this reason, ISIS fanatics see them as 'devil worshipers' and under the group's twisted version of Islamic law, give Yazidis the choice to convert to Islam or be killed.

The iteration of Islam as practiced by ISIS and the other terrorists is not a spiritual practice, instead, it is a cult of hate and fear. These people are worshiping a false prophet - they are being lied to by their mullahs.

I love the idea that word will get out that women are killing their dear martyrs to Jihad. Like I said; dude, you just got killed by a girl. That is going to make those 72 virgins Virginians white raisins of incredible purity a bit less palatable in the afterlife...

About that EPA accident a few weeks ago

The one where they accidental spilled several million gallons of toxic mine waste into a river?

They forced themselves onto the property - from Breitbart:

EPA Fails to Acknowledge It Coerced Mine Owner to Grant Access
The Environmental Protection Agency isn’t responding to claims by Todd Hennis, owner of the Gold King mine in Colorado that the agency coerced him to grant access to his property. Once taking over, of course, EPA’s incompetent attempts to remove debris created a massive 3 million gallon toxic waste spill from the mine.

Hennis told the CBS Denver affiliate that unless he allowed the EPA to have access and authority to conduct operations on the site the agency had threatened him with daily fines of $35,000.

“When you’re a small guy and you’re having a $35,000-a-day fine accrue against you, you have to run up the white flag,” Hennis explained.

For some background, go and read this letter to the editor published a week before the whole thing happened. Prescient.

Can you give me one reason why the EPA should not have its funding cut by 80%?

The Breitbart article also cites a number of other cases of EPA overreach. Well worth reading. People need to re-read Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution and remember the words of the Tenth Amendment - the words of both are printed below. Remember, these are the only powers that the Constitution allows the Federal Government to wield:

Section 8.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

  • To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
  • To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
  • To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
  • To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
  • To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
  • To establish post offices and post roads;
  • To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
  • To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
  • To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
  • To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
  • To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
  • To provide and maintain a navy;
  • To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
  • To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
  • To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
  • To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And
  • To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States,or in any department or officer thereof.

And the Tenth:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

That in 1791, We the People had to go back and reinforce Section 8 with the Tenth shows how important this is. An overbearing Federal Government is a tyranny.

We are not being represented by the people we have placed in office.

Unreal - from Slashdot:

Virginia Ditches 'America's Worst Voting Machines'
Computerized voting machines are bad news in general, but the WINVote machines used in Virginia might just have earned their reputation as the most insecure voting machine in America. They feature Wi-Fi that can't be turned off (protected, however, with a WEP password of "abcde"), an unencrypted database, and administrative access with a hardcoded password of "admin." According to security researcher Jeremy Epstein, if the machines weren't hacked in past elections, "it was because nobody tried." But with no paper trail, we'll never know.

Well, after ignoring the well-documented problems for over a decade, Virginia finally decided to decommission the machines... after the governor had problems with the machines last election and demanded an investigation. Quoting: "In total, the vulnerabilities investigators found were so severe and so trivial to exploit, Epstein noted that 'anyone with even a modicum of training could have succeeded' in hacking them. An attacker wouldn't have needed to be inside a polling place either to subvert an election... someone 'within a half mile with a rudimentary antenna built using a Pringles can could also have attacked them.'"

Pringles cans are just the right size to make very good directional WiFi antennas.

The idea that Virginia would ever accept delivery on these machines, that the vendor would ever think that they could get away with it, boggles the mind. Unfortunately, thinking about it some more, it's just business as usual.

Voter's Rights? Naaaa...

Plan C

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Checked the published catalog and the items I want are about halfway through the auction.

I will be spending tonight here and driving down tomorrow morning.

Heading South to the Everett/Mukilteo area. Spending the night in a cheap motel and arriving bright and early for this auction: Vertical Concepts

Bringing the laptop so will post some but I have not been able to find a place with any vacancies so I may be sleeping in the bed of the truck (Plan B). This area has a large Boeing Aircraft plant as well as some other major industries so hotel space is tight. My thought is to check the small places that are not listed on the internet. Plan B is not bad - done it before lots of times so got the routine down.

Off for the day

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Heading out for coffee, picking up pastries for the store from our baker (same place as coffee) and into town for the shopping run.

Back home to pack and then down South for the evening.

Auction tomorrow - bringing the laptop so I will post a bit.

Breaker breaker good buddy

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Dinner was outstanding and we watched Poirot Season three, #1 which is a flashback to when Poirot and Captain Hastings first team up on a case. Wonderful series. It is nice to have corn and broccoli and garlic that actually taste like what they are supposed to...

The ham net came out fine - I was trying a new antenna and was finally able to reach the repeater that is used. It is about 45 miles as the crow flies with some tall mountains between here and there.

Next task is to mount it on the rooftop - right now, I have it about four feet above the ground on a speaker stand. Time to get a wall mount and pole to get it about 20 feet up.

Long day tomorrow as I am doing the store buying run and then heading South to beautiful downtown Mukilteo, WA to attend this auction on Tuesday morning. There are a few items I am specifically interested in but it all depends on who shows up. It could be good or it could be amateur hour with people spending retail prices on clapped out pieces of junk.

A tree in Israel

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Quite the story - from Treehugger:

Extinct tree grows anew from ancient jar of seeds unearthed by archaeologists
For thousands of years, Judean date palm trees were one of the most recognizable and welcome sights for people living in the Middle East -- widely cultivated throughout the region for their sweet fruit, and for the cool shade they offered from the blazing desert sun.

From its founding some 3,000 years ago, to the dawn of the Common Era, the trees became a staple crop in the Kingdom of Judea, even garnering several shout-outs in the Old Testament. Judean palm trees would come to serve as one of the kingdom's chief symbols of good fortune; King David named his daughter, Tamar, after the plant's name in Hebrew.

By the time the Roman Empire sought to usurp control of the kingdom in 70 AD, broad forests of these trees flourished as a staple crop to the Judean economy -- a fact that made them a prime resource for the invading army to destroy. Sadly, around the year 500 AD, the once plentiful palm had been completely wiped out, driven to extinction for the sake of conquest.

Fast forward to the present:

During excavations at the site of Herod the Great's palace in Israel in the early 1960's, archaeologists unearthed a small stockpile of seeds stowed in a clay jar dating back 2,000 years. For the next four decades, the ancient seeds were kept in a drawer at Tel Aviv's Bar-Ilan University. But then, in 2005, botanical researcher Elaine Solowey decided to plant one and see what, if anything, would sprout.

"I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" said Solowey. She was soon proven wrong.

Amazingly, the multi-millennial seed did indeed sprout -- producing a sapling no one had seen in centuries, becoming the oldest known tree seed to germinate.

Today, the living archaeological treasure continues to grow and thrive; In 2011, it even produced its first flower -- a heartening sign that the ancient survivor was eager to reproduce. It has been proposed that the tree be cross-bred with closely related palm types, but it would likely take years for it to begin producing any of its famed fruits. Meanwhile, Solowey is working to revive other age-old trees from their long dormancy.

Very cool project.

Dinner time!

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Fixing dinner. Marinating (minced ginger, shoyu, red pepper flakes, sugar and rice vinegar) a couple of chicken breasts to grill, corn on the cob from our garden, sautéed bow-tie pasta with garlic and broccoli from our garden (really good with lots of olive oil and fresh ground pepper).

Pop open a bottle of wine and we are happy campers.

Ham radio net tonight at seven - trying out a new antenna so see if I can connect.

Came out looking pretty decent

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Check out Taste of Kulshan

Still need to fine tune a few things but overall, I am happy with it.

From The Washington Times:

Obama administration wants to study climate change … indoors
Forget violent storms, raging wildfires and steamy outdoor temperatures, the Obama administration’s war on climate change is heading indoors this time.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday awarded $8 million in grants to nine universities to help better understand the impact of climate change on indoor air quality.

The agency said climate change’s impact on indoor air pollutants like mold, mildew and asthma triggers isn’t well understood.

“Learning how air quality, climate, and energy interact in an indoor environment will help us design buildings that better protect people’s health,” explained Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office

Eight million of our tax dollars for this? First, there has to be a measurable climate change - they are looking for warming and there hasn't been any for over eighteen years despite last-minute reshuffling of data to "prove" otherwise. The pause is plainly visible in their own datasets.

Time to stick a fork in it - Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is over, jumped the shark, was never an issue in the first place. CO2 is the gas of life - without it, we would have no life on this planet as we know it.

Local boy makes good - Chris Pratt

Yes, that Chris Pratt - from The Bellingham Herald:

Chris Pratt's mural graces wall of Granite Falls restaurant
A mural in Barbara Petrakopoulos' restaurant has her juggling phone calls, pizzas and crowds of new customers asking for her by name.

It all started last week when the Internet erupted with the news that Hollywood hero Chris Pratt — star of the blockbusters "Jurassic World" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" — had painted a mural on the wall of his friend's parents' restaurant more than a decade ago, years before millions of fans knew his name.

One such fan spotted the mural while dining at Omega Pizza and Pasta, a family-owned Greek and Italian restaurant at the corner of South Granite Avenue and East Stanley Street in Granite Falls. The fan shared his discovery of the artwork, signed "Chris Pratt," on the social media website imgur. Pratt, 36, confirmed its authenticity on Twitter on Aug. 4.

"Haha! Yes!" he tweeted. "Find my mural at Omega Pizza and Pasta in Granite Falls, WA. Barb will take good care of you."

A bit more:

She and her husband, Kostas, own the restaurant and look forward to celebrating 20 years of business in February. Pratt has been friends with their son, Alex, 36, since the two were kids.

The whole Petrakopoulos family is proud of Pratt, she said, including Alex, his parents and their extended family in Greece and Germany.

"He's a good gentleman, a good friend, a good father, a good husband," Petrakopoulos said. "And he is a good actor now. He has blossomed."

She's always excited to see him when he's in town and has time to stop by with his wife, Anna Faris, another Hollywood star from Snohomish County, and their young son. Pratt grew up in Lake Stevens; Faris in Edmonds.

Granite Falls is about an hour south of here due East of Everett, WA on the Mountain Loop Highway - some gorgeous country. City of Granite Falls

Here is the mural (Photo by Kevin Clark/The Herald): 

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Keynesian economics in Allende’s Chile

The reign of President Salvador Allende was a short one - only three years - but it was disastrous for the people of Chile. Allende was a committed Marxist and Socialist and he proceeded to nationalize and collectivize the nation causing untold hardships and shortages. He was ousted by the military, his office was surrounded, he gave a speech and then committed suicide.

I just ran into this interesting academic paper (PDF):

Designing Freedom, Regulating a Nation: Socialist Cybernetics in Allende’s Chile
Abstract. This article presents a history of ‘Project Cybersyn’, an early computer network developed in Chile during the socialist presidency of Salvador Allende (1970–1973) to regulate the growing social property area and manage the transition of Chile’s economy from capitalism to socialism. Under the guidance of British cybernetician Stafford Beer, often lauded as the ‘father of management cybernetics’, an interdisciplinary Chilean team designed cybernetic models of factories within the nationalized sector and created a network for the rapid transmission of economic data between the government and the factory floor. The article describes the construction of this unorthodox system, examines how its structure reflected the socialist ideology of the Allende government, and documents the contributions of this technology to the Allende administration.

In other words - bad models, stupid theories, political agenda, fail, fail and more fail.

The paper is chock full of gems like this:

At the heart of Beer’s work stood the ‘viable system model’, a five-tier structure based on the human nervous system, which Beer believed existed in all stable organizations – biological, mechanical and social. Allende, having trained previously as a pathologist, immediately grasped the biological inspiration behind Beer’s cybernetic model and knowingly nodded throughout the explanation. This reaction left quite an impression on the cybernetician. ‘I explained the whole damned plan and the whole viable system model in one single sitting - and I’ve never worked with anybody at the high level who understood a thing I was saying.

Emphasis mine - maybe that is because your model is a failure and nobody had the heart to tell you to your face. You were supposed to be a leader in the brand-new field of cybernetics and nobody felt comfortable telling you that your model was a joke.

A bit more:

After Allende’s inauguration in November 1970, the government used the first few months to implement policies grounded in structuralist economics and Keynesian ‘pump priming’, whereby economic growth would be achieved through increased purchasing power and higher employment rates in order to pull the Chilean economy out of the recession that the Allende administration had inherited. Land reform programmes and the inception of government-sponsored assistance to rural workers augmented the purchasing power of individuals in the impoverished agrarian sector, while workers in Chilean factories enjoyed a 30 per cent average increase in real wages during Allende’s first year in office.27 Initially, these initiatives to redistribute income succeeded in creating a growing segment of the population with money to spend, stimulating the economy, increasing demand, raising production and expanding the popular base of support for the UP coalition. In the government’s first year GDP grew by 7.7 per cent, production increased by 13.7 per cent and consumption levels rose by 11.6 per cent.28 These economic policies, however, would quickly return to haunt the UP government in the form of inflation and massive consumer shortages.

Emphasis mine - you pillaged the economy by spending cash willy-nilly and you are surprised to see a short-term gain followed one year later by shortages and inflation? You spent the nations money on bread and circuses that was supposed to be spent on infrastructure and schools and hospitals.

The final two paragraphs seal the fate of this new socialist sicence and go a long way to explain why our Universities are in such trouble these days:

Following the coup, the military made several attempts to understand the theoretical and technological aspects of the Cybersyn Project. When these efforts failed, they decided to dismantle the operations room.

Almost every Cybersyn participant who contributed to this study has claimed that the project changed his or her life. Most now hold high positions in either universities or tech-related industries, and have continued to use knowledge acquired from the project to this day. However, despite Cybersyn’s contribution to Chile’s technological history as well as to the political history of this well-studied period, until very recently it had all but vanished from wider Chilean memory. Like the many other casualties of the Pinochet dictatorship, Cybersyn disappeared.

Any military organization is nothing if not completely practical. Boots on the ground, observations and not theory, facts. Nothing in military is based on theory unless that theory has been backed up by years of practice and verification.

They could not understand it because there was nothing there to understand - it was a philosophical construct - a theory of operation presented by an academic mind to a political mind with neither minds having any real-world experience.

The participants were imbued with the aura of cutting edge science and were treated by outsiders as participants in a noble but failed experiment - we just need to study the theory more... Hence the reason why most Universities are detrimental to common society.

As for Cybersin disappearing - it had no commercial value and the market treated it as such.

And that is it for the night

Heading out to surf the aether and work on some stuff. Built an operating shelf for the ham radio equipment - something to hold my 2 meter rigs and the monitor for my computer. The HF rig is on the desktop. Waiting for the paint to dry on that.

20 meters was open last night - see what the band conditions are tonight.

Also finishing off a website for a local event - should be live mid-morning tomorrow...

Walking on quicksand

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Here is what soil liquifaction looks like:

 

Filmed by Bay Search and Rescue, Morecambe Bay, Lake District England.

Big tip of the hat to Neatorama for the link.

Not a place to go visit these days - from the UK Telegraph:

Yosemite campground shut because of plague-infected squirrels
A second Yosemite National Park campground will be shut down for five days after a pair of dead squirrels were found to be infected with the plague, park and California public health officials said on Friday.

The closure of Tuolumne Meadows Campground comes a week after a child who camped elsewhere in Yosemite, one of America's top tourist destinations, was taken to hospital with the disease.

The case marked the first time a human was known to be infected with the centuries-old scourge, which is carried by rodents and the fleas that live on them, in California since 2006.

A bit more:

The last reported cases of human plague in California occurred in 2005 and 2006 in Mono, Los Angeles and Kern counties, the health department said.

Two people have succumbed to plague this year in Colorado, according to health officials there.

In 2012, another disease carried by rodents, called hantavirus, sickened nine people, killing three of them. Most of those cases were linked to dust from mouse droppings in tent cabins at Yosemite's Curry Village.

Fortunately, the plague responds very well to standard antibiotics. We didn't have those (or basic concepts of sanitation)  in the Middle Ages so the plague was something to be greatly feared. Hantavirus is a different beast entirely - this is a deadly disease and there is no known cure.

Business as usual in Cuba

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The Castro's and their cronies will continue to siphon off any hard currency that comes into their nation while the poor people will continue to live under grinding poverty. Potemkin villages will be erected for the tourists who will unwittingly buy into the party line.

From Yahoo/Reuters:

Cuba says won't move 'one millimeter' to placate enemies in U.S.
Cuba's lead negotiator in talks with Washington told Reuters on Friday that the island's internal affairs would never be on the table and Havana would never move "one millimeter" to placate enemies in the United States.

"Decisions on internal matters are not negotiable and will never be put on the negotiating agenda in conversations with the United States," Josefina Vidal, director of U.S. affairs for the Cuban Foreign Ministry, said in an exclusive interview.

"Cuba will never do absolutely anything, not move one millimeter, to try to respond," she said after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Havana that the U.S. Congress was unlikely to ever lift a punishing economic embargo on Cuba unless the Communist government improved its human rights record.

But they will still be more than happy to take our dollars. Life in Cuba is horrible if you are not one of the elite. We need to be addressing this and not foolishly believing that the Castro's will come around to our way of thinking.

Glad we didn't do that cruise

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Been raining slow and steady - just what we needed. About 0.3 inches so far - not raining now but expect it to resume.

Lulu was up very early so she is in bed. I am headed out to surf the aether for a while and then to bed myself.

Been a wonderful anniversary and hope for many more...

Hillary's server

This just keeps getting more interesting - from the London Daily Mail:

EXCLUSIVE: Tech company which maintained Hillary's secret server was sued for 'illegally accessing' database and 'stealing White House military advisers' phone numbers'
The Internet company used by Hillary Clinton to maintain her private server was sued for stealing dozens of phone lines including some which were used by the White House.

Platte River Networks is said to have illegally accessed the master database for all US phone numbers.

It also seized 390 lines in a move that created chaos across the US government.

Among the phone numbers which the company took - which all suddenly stopped working - were lines for White House military support desks, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, a lawsuit claims.

Others were the main numbers for major financial institutions, hospitals and the help desk number for T2 Communications, the telecom firm which owned them.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of T2 claims that the mess took 11 days to fix and demands that Platte River pay up $360,000 in compensation.

This is not difficult if you have access to the backbone as Platte seems to have had - more just a few bad keystrokes instead of maliciousness. Still, you would expect some measure of doublechecking before going live with a change like that. A lot more at the site.

The Clintons? They are just dirty - there is no other word for it.

A change in plans

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Starting to rain heavy with a lot of thunder so we canceled the harbor dinner cruise. Left over beef stew by candlelight.

I am puttering in the radio room and she is watching a British drama on the ROKU box (that puppy seriously rocks!).

The farrier just came by so Sam and Rocky have had their mani-pedi's - all is good at the farm...

Four years ago today - Lulu

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Jen (my ex-wife) filed for divorce in July 2011. We had been married for eight years. 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 four years ago today. 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 are celebrating by taking dinner cruise around Bellingham Harbor tonight. She got me a nice cutting board and some yummy chocolates. I got her two fig trees.

Cuba in the news again

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Not an opening, a slamming of the door on critics of the Castro administraion.

In other words, one tyrant to another.

From Fox News:

Cuban dissidents say being snubbed from Embassy opening is ‘slap in the face’
José Lino Ascencio López, whose activism for freedom of speech and human rights in his native Cuba has landed him in jail there several times, wants to go the ceremony Friday for the historic opening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

But Lopez and other Cuban dissidents have not been invited by the Obama administration, which does not want to risk angering the Castro regime and ending up with Cuban officials boycotting a ceremony that is meant to be a key emblem of the renewed diplomatic relations between the two long-time adversaries.

“It is nothing less than a slap in the face to the opposition movement in Cuba,” Lopez said in an interview with Fox News Latino. “To explicitly keep away people who have risked their lives – whose blood has been shed, fighting for human rights, challenging the dictatorship of the Castro brothers – is an insult and an utter lack of compassion by U.S. officials.”

And crap like this and the Iran "deal" are supposed to be Obama and Kerry's legacies?

The Great Unlearning

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Bill Whittle says it best

Surprised - relations with Cuba

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Did not take long - from Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Fidel Castro to US: You owe us millions
Fidel Castro marked his 89th birthday Thursday by insisting the United States owes Cuba "many millions of dollars" because of the half-century-old American trade embargo.

Castro spoke out in an essay published in local media a day before US Secretary of State John Kerry makes a historic visit to Cuba to reopen the US embassy as part of the countries' restoration of diplomatic relations.

The trade embargo that the United States slapped on communist Cuba in 1962, three years after Castro seized power by ousting a US-backed regime, remains in effect despite the thaw.

President Barack Obama wants Congress to lift it, although US officials say this will take time and is not an automatic part of the restoration of ties, as it requires congressional action.

Many Republicans, who control both chambers of the legislature, oppose the idea, insisting Cuba has to improve its human rights record and make other democratic reforms.

Cuba is a hell-hole - a perfect example of what a failed Communist government looks like. Havana looks nice but get out into the country and see what grinding poverty looks like.  Cuba used to be the gem of the Caribbean before the communists took over.

The damnably stupid thing is that this administration will probably send millions if not billions for aid and it will all disappear into the Castro's Swiss bank accounts.

Back from town - a good meeting

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Just got back from town - the meeting was a good one, talking about digital modes and there is a state-wide radio exercise on the morning of the 29th that I will be participating in. Probably bring my set from home and set up at the store as it will be a simulation of emergency communications and a good draw for people who might be interested in ham radio.

Surf a bit, glass or two of wine, surf the aether and off to bed.

Lulu's and my 4th anniversary tomorrow - going out on a cruise in the Bellingham harbor.

Another busy day

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Heading into town for some more antenna parts and visiting the bank and grocery store and Costco.

Meeting tonight at 7:00PM for the emergency communications group.

Needless to say, there will be no posting until late tonight...

From the UK Telegraph:

Outrage as city with new £188m library ask readers for help buying books
A council which spent £188million on a state-of-the-art new library has been criticised by readers and authors after it ran out of money and asked the public to donate books.

Libraries in Birmingham have posted notices requesting members donate their new and recently-released books, saying they would be “gratefully received”.

Birmingham City Council confirmed it had placed its own book fund on "pause", after being compelled to make “huge savings” across the board as a result of budget cuts nationwide.

It will now only consider buying new books on a “case by case basis”, depending on demand, and would welcome "any support" from the public, a spokesman said.

And this is just a city library - not like it's a branch of the Library of Congress or the English equivalent. There is a photo of the building - really fugly. Modern architecture at its ghastliest.

Makes me wonder how much public input there was - I doubt anyone would have voted for the building at that cost.

A tip of the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

All the news that is fit to print

An interesting observation from Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters:

Cover-Up: Major Newspapers Keep Hillary's E-Mails Off the Front Page
Four of the country's largest newspapers on Wednesday kept the latest developments in Hillary Clinton's growing E-mail scandal off the front page (one kept it out of the paper completely). The revelation that the Democratic candidate had top secret information on her server was relegated to the bottom of page A13 in the New York Times

The Washington Post managed to place the news that Clinton will finally turn over her server on A2. The Los Angeles Times hid the story on A9. All of these newspapers, however, did better than USA Today, which completely skipped Clinton's scandal in the print edition.

The New York Times's headline charitably portrayed the Democratic frontrunner as just trying to clear things up: "Clinton Directs Aides to Give Email and Thumb drive to the Justice Department." This tone continued in journalist Michael Schmidt's lead sentence: 

Hillary Rodham Clinton has directed her aides to give the Justice Department an email server that housed the personal account that she used exclusively while secretary of state, along with a thumb drive that contained copies of the emails, her presidential campaign said on Tuesday.

He then allowed: 

Earlier on Tuesday, the inspector general for the intelligence community told members of Congress that Mrs. Clinton had “top secret” information — the highest classification of government intelligence — in two emails among the 40 from the private account that the State Department has allowed him to review.

It wasn't until paragraph 18 (of a 19 paragraph story) that Republican criticism was allowed. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa was quoted about Clinton handing over the server: "That’s a long time for top secret classified information to be held by an unauthorized person outside of an approved, secure government facility." 

Much more at the site - the media is not even attempting to conceal its bias. And they wonder why their sales are tanking - they keep pandering to the same crowd.

Hillary's emails

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This Christmas - The Hateful Eight

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Quentin Tarantino's trailer has just been released - score by one of my favorite composers: Ennio Morricone

Being offended

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This ought to do it:

20150812-offend.jpg

Figured as much - EPA not paying fine

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From The Washington Times:

EPA won’t face fines for polluting rivers with orange muck
Unlike BP, which was fined $5.5 billion for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the EPA will pay nothing in fines for unleashing the Animas River spill.

“Sovereign immunity. The government doesn’t fine itself,” said Thomas L. Sansonetti, former assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s division of environment and natural resources.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and other lawmakers have called on the EPA to hold itself to the same standards as it would a private company in the aftermath of Wednesday’s accident, in which an EPA-led crew uncorked a 3 million-gallon spill of orange wastewater from the abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado.

However, “The EPA does not fine itself the way that you would fine an outside company like BP,” said Mr. Sansonetti, who served from 2001 to 2005 under President George W. Bush.

What the EPA can be expected to cover is the cost of the cleanup and compensation for the damage caused, funding that would have to be appropriated by Congress, meaning that the taxpayers will foot the bill.

“That’s going to have to be appropriated because that sort of thing is not included in the EPA’s budget,” said Mr. Sansonetti, now a Denver attorney.

 Defund them now - they have overstepped their charter.

The sixth Planned Parenthood video

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Released today - from Debra Heine at PJ Media:

Sixth Planned Parenthood Video: Organs Harvested Without Patient’s Consent
The sixth investigative Center For Medical Progress video, released today, does not include the graphic images some of the others do, but it may be the most disturbing one yet. Despite Planned Parenthood’s insistence that women are fully informed before human organs and tissues are procured from their abortions, this video makes clear that that is not always the case.

The video features Holly O’Donnell, the pro-life licensed phlebotomist from the first installment, describing the uncaring, assembly-line approach to abortions at the Planned Parenthood clinic she was assigned to in Fresno.

A bit more:

O’Donnell explained that some StemExpress techs would sometimes harvest fetal parts without obtaining consent from the patients: “If there was a higher gestation, and the technicians needed it, there were times when they would just take what they wanted. And these mothers don’t know. And there’s no way they would know.”

“You have to make sure you get her,” O’Donnell’s co worker told her regarding one such patient, but O’Donnell said the woman had refused consent.

“I’m not going to tell a girl to kill her baby so I can get money,” Holly explained. “That’s what this company does. Straight up. That’s what this company does.”

She described how her colleague went in and got a sample from the woman, anyway, without her consent.

“It’s terrifying. Imagine if you were an abortion patient, and someone was going in and stealing your baby’s parts. And half of these women are already on edge as it is. It’s … terrible.”

These ghouls need to have their funding cut. There are community health clinics that can provide these services. No need to waste all our taxpayer dollars on these horrible people.

More information is percolating out about the EPA's disastrous spill of mining waste.into a tributary of the Colorado River.

Now we have this from Tyler Durdin at Zero Hedge:

Did The EPA Intentionally Poison Animas River To Secure SuperFund Money?
A week before The EPA disastrously leaked millions of gallons of toxic waste into The Animas River in Colorado, this letter to the editor was published in The Silverton Standard & The Miner local newspaper, authored by a retired geologist detailing verbatim, how EPA would foul the Animas River on purpose in order to secure superfund money...

"But make no mistake, within seven days, all of the 500gpm flow will return to Cement Creek. Contamination may actually increase... The "grand experiment" in my opinion will fail.

And guess what [EPA's] Mr. Hestmark will say then?

Gee, "Plan A" didn't work so I guess we will have to build a treatment plant at a cost to taxpayers of $100 million to $500 million (who knows).

Reading between the lines, I believe that has been the EPA's plan all along"

A screencap of the editorial in question is here - click for a larger image: 

 20150812_EPA.jpg

And the newspaper in question - The Silverton Standard & the Miner has this to say:

Yes, that letter to the editor about the EPA was published 
Yes this letter was published in the July 30, 2015 edition of the Silverton Standard.

-Mark Esper, editor and publisher.

Rope, Tree, some assembly required. I hope the lawsuits are many and large.

From the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch:

20150811-dipole.jpg

 

Lifelong love of technology has local man doing unique projects
Robert Fischer sees the world differently than most.

When his wife injured her foot a few months ago, she had to be on crutches. When most people see aluminum crutches, they think of the time they too were on crutches and their armpits hurt.

Fischer saw a dipole antenna.

"I have built probably 100 or more antennas of all designs," Fischer said. "After you do that you start looking at all conductors, metal objects, as antennas. You think what would happen if you tried loading up, put a signal into the antenna and radiate it into space. It's something I do subconsciously, something I can't help.

A kindred spirit...

New toy TOOL!

The UPS goddess brought me a Wouxun KG-UV9D today and I just spent the last couple hours programming it. The software leaves a lot to be desired as the data is saved in a proprietary format and there is no way to cut and paste a bunch of frequencies into the unit. Had to enter the data line by line for 190 frequencies. Grrr...

Brand new unit though so someone out there will probably hack something together.

Hardware is really nice - very rugged looking unit and fits into the hand nicely. I am able to hit a couple of the local repeaters with a large rubber duck antenna - I have an adapter to use my outdoor Comet GP-3 antenna and will try that later this week.

A nice feature is that it transmits and receives on the usual ham radio frequencies but it can also listen on AM radio, FM radio, Air traffic, NOAA Weather as well as police, hospital and fire frequencies - I have all the local community services programmed in and am able to get good reception.

This will be a handy unit to throw in the truck when I am heading into town.

Our EPA in the news - the big spill

Interesting followup by the Associated Press:

Fearing stigma, Colorado contested Superfund status for mine
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took full responsibility Tuesday for the mine waste spoiling rivers downstream from Silverton, Colorado, but people who live near the idled and leaking Gold King mine say local authorities and mining companies spent decades spurning federal cleanup help.

They feared the stigma of a Superfund label, which delivers federal money up-front for extensive cleanups. They worried that corporations would kill a hoped-for revival in the area's mining industry rather than get stuck with cleanup costs. And some haven't trusted the federal government, townspeople say.

The EPA pushed anyway, for nearly 25 years, to apply its Superfund program to the Gold King mine, which has been leaching a smaller stream of arsenic, lead and other wildlife-killing heavy metals into Cement Creek. That water runs into the Animas and San Juan rivers before reaching Lake Powell and the lower Colorado River, a basin serving five states, Mexico and several sovereign Native American nations.

And why?

Mining companies don't like to invest in Superfund sites because they're heavily scrutinized and more costly to develop, said Ernest Kuhlman, a San Juan County commissioner and Silverton's former mayor.

Also, the stigma could have scared away rafters and anglers who helped bring $19 billion in tourism money to Colorado last year.

"How many people want to go to a Superfund site for tourism or recreation?" Kuhlman asked.

Now they've got a bigger problem: Last Wednesday, a small EPA-supervised work crew inspecting the Gold King mine accidentally knocked a hole in a waste pit, releasing at least three million gallons of acidic liquid laden with toxic heavy metals. Dissolved iron in the waste plume - familiar to miners as "yellow boy" - turned the area's scenic waterways a shocking orange hue.

The EPA ordered stretches of the rivers closed for drinking water, recreation and other uses at least through Monday. Colorado and New Mexico made disaster declarations. The Navajo Nation declared an emergency, saying that at least 16,000 of its people, 30,000 acres of crops and thousands of livestock survive on water that's now off-limits.

I said before, if this was a private company, they would be pilloried in the news and the people responsible would be behind bars in short order. Government agency? A slap on the wrist.

Technology and Medicine

Nice business model - from the Wall Street Journal:

Startups Vie to Build an Uber for Health Care
Darren Goldhad a stomach virus the first time he used an app called Heal to summon a doctor to his Beverly Hills home. He liked the Stanford-trained doctor who showed up so much that he called Heal again when his 2-year-old son had a fever, and again when the whole family had colds.

The charges—$99 each for the first two visits; $200 for the family—weren’t covered by insurance, but Mr. Gold, who owns a corrugated-box company, says that was still a bargain compared with taking time off work to go to the doctor. “Now, whenever my son bumps himself, he says, ‘Daddy, we need to get the doctor here,’ ” Mr. Gold says.

Heal is one of several startups putting a high-tech spin on old-fashioned house calls—or “in-person visits,” since they can take place anywhere. The services provide a range of nonemergency medical care—from giving flu shots to treating strep throats and stitching lacerations—much like a mobile urgent-care clinic.

The companies use slightly different models. Pager, in New York City, dispatches doctors or nurse practitioners via Uber, for $200. Heal, in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County, Calif., promises to “get a doctor to your sofa in under an hour” for $99. (A medical assistant goes along to do the driving and parking.)

Makes a lot of sense - use this for doctors visits and have walk-in clinics to supplant emergency room services. Allow health insurance companies to bid across state lines and you could reform the health-care industry in a few months.

Who needs Obamacare?

Clinton circles the drain - emails

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From McClatchy News:

‘Top Secret’ emails found as Clinton probe expands to key aides
As pressure builds on Hillary Clinton to explain her official use of personal email while serving as secretary of state, she faced new complications Tuesday. It was disclosed her top aides are being drawn into a burgeoning federal inquiry and that two emails on her private account have been classified as “Top Secret.”

The inspector general for the Intelligence Community notified senior members of Congress that two of four classified emails discovered on the server Clinton maintained at her New York home contained material deemed to be in one of the highest security classifications - more sensitive than previously known.

The notice came as the State Department inspector general’s office acknowledged that it is reviewing the use of “personal communications hardware and software” by Clinton’s former top aides after requests from Congress.

“We will follow the facts wherever they lead, to include former aides and associates, as appropriate,” said Douglas Welty, a spokesman for the State Department’s inspector general.

Direct violation of the Federal Records Act and it is no doubt that the Russians and Chinese have these emails as well - this was an Outlook server located at her home. The Federal government did not know about this so the level of security was most likely not sufficient. 

If this was anyone else, they would have been in jail months ago.

Quote of the day

"Just imagine if you knew nothing of our world, and some over-evolved modern man tried to explain his consumption of meat and the leather he was wearing while damning hunters as murderers. It's complete lunacy. It's ignorance so profound that I can't even begin to understand the thought process."
--Joe Rogan

Full day today

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Working on a website and getting ready for a potluck at 3:00PM

Fortunately, the 7:00PM meeting in town was canceled so this evening should be nice and easy.

More posting then...

The drinks are on me

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Fortunately, for every instance of Muslim barbarism, there are stories like this. From the London Daily Express:

Hero SAS sniper saves father and eight-year-old son from being beheaded by ISIS maniac
The brave British marksman saved the terrified eight-year-old and his father after taking out the crazed jihadi with a head shot from 1,000 metres away. 

The special forces crack shot then killed two other members of the hated terror group, who were also taking part in the sick planned execution. 

ISIS militants had decreed that the little boy and his father must die after branding them "infidels" because they refused to denounce their faith. 

Some more:

Speaking to the Daily Star Sunday, one source said: “There were several decapitated bodies already lying on the ground.

"Through binoculars the soldiers could see that the crowd were terrified and many were in tears."

A man and a young boy were dragged out in front of the crowd and were made to kneel down.

"They were both wearing blindfolds and looked terrified.

"A tall bearded man emerged and drew a long knife.

"He began addressing the crowd and slapping the father and his son around the head and kicking them on to the floor.

"Standing either side of the executioner were two other Isis fighters, both armed with AK47s."

The SAS marksman, using a .50 calibre sniper rifle fitted with a silencer, killed the executioner just in time.

The source added: "The ISIS thug who was about to decapitate the father was shot in the head and collapsed.

"Everyone just stared in confusion. The sniper then dispatched the two henchmen with single shots – three kills with three bullets.

"Someone from the crowd then ran over and untied the father and son’s hands and took their blindfolds off.

"They just stared at the bodies and then ran. They were last seen heading towards the Turkish border in a pick-up truck.

"It was a good day’s work."

Like I said - the drinks are on me. Good riddance to bad scum. Religion of Peace indeed...

What we are dealing with

A great post from Robert Spencer writing at Frontpage Magazine:

Malaysian Mufti Denounces Intellect and Logic
The Malay Mail Online reported Tuesday that the Perak mufti, Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, advised Muslim members of the government “not to go overboard.” He reminded them that “Islam is based on faith… Don’t make any remarks based on the intellect or logic…” Why not? Because “the intellect is governed by desires and it is influence by shaitan (satan). Don’t be ruled by desires and rudderless comments.” Harussani was reflecting an aspect of Islam that runs through its history, but is little remarked upon today by Western analysts: its anti-intellectualism and rejection of reason.

An apocryphal story about the caliph Umar sums up an attitude that has always been prevalent in the Islamic world: Umar, after conquering Egypt, is said to have ordered the burning of the fabled Library of Alexandria. When asked why, he responded: “If the books in it agree with the Qur’an, they are superfluous. If they disagree with the Qur’an, they are heretical.” Only one book was needed – and even if this story isn’t historically accurate, it reflects an anti-intellectualism that has run through Islamic history and persists today.

Robert continues with this:

As St. Thomas Aquinas explained: “Since the principles of certain sciences—of logic, geometry, and arithmetic, for instance — are derived exclusively from the formal principals of things, upon which their essence depends, it follows that God cannot make the contraries of these principles; He cannot make the genus not to be predicable of the species, nor lines drawn from a circle’s center to its circumference not to be equal, nor the three angles of a rectilinear triangle not to be equal to two right angles” (emphasis added).

This proposition of divine consistency was key for the development of scientific inquiry. “The rise of science,” observes social scientist Rodney Stark, “was not an extension of classical learning. It was the natural outgrowth of Christian doctrine: nature exists because it was created by God. In order to love and honor God, it is necessary to fully appreciate the wonders of his handiwork. Because God is perfect, that handiwork functions in accord with immutable principles. By the full use of our God-given powers of reason and observation, it ought to be possible to discover those principles.” That process of discovery became the foundation of modern science. “These were the crucial ideas,” says Stark, “that explain why science arose in Christian Europe and nowhere else.”

Indeed, for an Islamic culture to have affirmed that God’s creation operates according to immutable principles would have been nothing short of blasphemy. Allah’s hand is not fettered by consistency or by anything else. Allah is absolutely free to do anything he wills to do, without any expectations or limitations deriving from logic, love, or anything else. This idea made sure that scientific exploration in the Islamic world would be stillborn. 

I have had the great pleasure to know some wonderful Muslims - my first wife was a Sufi. The people currently occupying the political stage in the middle east, those people who have declared war on the West, are pathetic losers. They are barbarians whose only means of support is through the largess of the oil ticks. Their leadership is condemning their own citizens to a meager and painful existence when they could be flourishing, prosperous and happy.

We Christians had our own dark ages lasting about 400 years but we had our reformation in the 1500's.

Islam's dark ages have been going on for over 1,000 years with no reformation in sight. In fact, it is getting worse.

Pity - there is so much potential being wasted...

 

Case in point: Dad lets daughter die, rather than be touched by 'strange' rescuer

Go and read. Barbaric.

So true - from Jerry Seinfield

"Tell a joke to a liberal. Between your punchline and his laughter, there is a Progressive Comedy Pause. In this second or two, the liberal will process the joke to make sure he is allowed to laugh.

Is that joke racist? He mentioned Obama, but didn’t make light of him, so to speak. He also mentioned Michelle, but I didn’t notice sexism. Is it dismissive of the LGBTQIA community? Latinos? Muslims? Vegans? Will this joke hurt progressive causes? Will my laughter trivialize oppressed communities? Will I appear intolerant? I think it’s okay if I laugh. Yes, I’ll laugh now to signal my appreciation and to indicate that I’m not a joyless liberal scold.

“Ha ha.”"

Jerry Seinfeld, via  How not to make money as a comic on the college campus circuit

Hat tip to Maggie's Farm for the link

Wonderful editorial by Emily Zanotti at Heartland:

EPA Causes Environmental Disaster in Colorado
The Environmental Protection Agency often justifies its own existence by noting that corporations, who see profit as their goal rather than environmental protection, are ill-equipped (or at least, ill-prioritized) to care for America’s natural resources.

It turns out that, perhaps, the EPA might also be ill-equipped to handle toxic waste when it comes to preventing large-scale pollution of our nation’s waterways. In fact, they may have caused, on its own, one of our nation’s greatest environmental disasters. EPA crews trying to collect and contain waste water in the Gold King mine in Durango, Colorado, loosed 1.1 million gallons of “acidic, yellowish” discharge, causing the pollution – which includes levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, aluminum and copper – to flow into the Animas River (an early tributary of the Colorado) at a rate of 1200 gallons per minute.

And a bit more:

The EPA did not have to be on site, to begin with, it seems. The region has a coalition of local organizations called the Animas River Stakeholders Group who have worked together since 1994 to address pollution coming out of nearby mines. The Gold King mine is widely known to be one of the most polluted, leaking around 50 to 250 gallons of waste water per minute. While the group had pushed to find the source of the leak and stem it from there, the EPA went ahead with the project apart from the group, and seemingly without local expertise.

If it was Shell or British Petroleum that was responsible, people would be crying from the rafters insisting that draconian fines be levied, people would be clamoring to have the respective CEOs strung from the nearest trees. Government incompetence? Meh.

The people in charge of this department will be removed from their positions and they will disappear from public sight for six months or so. They will then be appointed to some cushy job somewhere else at the same or higher salary. This is how big government works...

About that little EPA fuck-up in Colorado? From Denver, Colorado station KUSA:

EPA: Amount of mine waste water 3 times original estimate
The Environmental Protection Agency said Sunday the amount of waste water that spilled from the Gold King Mine and turned the Animas River orange was three times its original estimate.

Shaun McGrath, administrator from the EPA Region 8 Office, said three million gallons of the toxic water laced with heavy metals spilled into Cement Creek last Wednesday. McGrath said the agency updated its initial estimate of one million gallons after checking a U.S.G.S. stream gauge on Cement Creek.

Sunday marked five days since an EPA team mistakenly released the waste water from the abandoned Gold King Mine in Silverton. The orange plume was still moving at about 500 feet per minute, thinning as it reached areas near Farmington, New Mexico.

You think that the EPA could have had some mining engineers with them instead of just some bulldozer jockeys. But noooo - our EPA knows best.

Putzes...

Now that is some fancy rigging

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I love to rig stuff to move it - I have moved a full-sized safe, my milling machine, my power hammer and a couple of dairy tanks and a lot of other smaller stuff with nothing but a good respect for Newton's Laws and some webbing, sections of pipe, Buttercup the Tractor, some hydraulic jacks and lots of cribbing.

This is rigging at its finest:

 

Food coma

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The beef stew came out wonderful - I use V8 juice for the stock and that adds a lot of flavor. Deep fry the meat for a little bit and then ten minutes in a pressure cooker. Remove pressure and then add the veggies and adjust seasoning and another ten minutes under pressure. Comes out perfectly tender.

Using the predecessor to a Cuisinart CPC-600. Yes, it is a hundred bucks but I have been using it couple times/month for over five years and have not had any problems. You can start with dry beans and do a ham and bean soup in 30 minutes plus, you do not have to watch it - set the cooking temperature and the duration and walk away.

The brisket just came out of the smoker - fork tender with nice bark. I did a vinegar based mop sauce and brined the meat first - help make the meat more tender. Put some chipotle peppers in the sauce for a kick. Going to serve it with a molasses/tomato BBQ sauce. Gotta try it out for dinner tomorrow - just to be safe...

Little grey cells

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We have been watching the Hercule Poirot series with David Suchet and just started Season Two. They are filming in some wonderful locations and I just found this website: TV Locations U.K.

They have a seperate page for Poirot locations.

Fun stuff!

Taking a break

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Got the radio programmed - there is some Windows software that works great for this so it is not that difficult. There is a different Windows app that has a database of all the repeaters in the US and Canada - handy for travel. The two applications talk to each other so it was just a matter of drawing a 50 mile circle around my home and selecting all.

Came to a good stopping point for the three towers so breaking for the day. Have a shopping run tomorrow so need to get an early bedtime.

Got a beef brisket on the smoker - there is a planning and logistics pot-luck for the upcoming event this Tuesday. Doing pulled brisket sliders on soft pretzel buns and some home-made coleslaw. Smoking it for another five or six hours (been on for five already with constant basting).

Lulu just pulled up - she was in town taking care of some stuff. Time to call it a day...

Not what you think. This is a ball with electronics inside that sense Carbon Monoxide, Propane, Volatile gasses (eg: explosive), temperature and smoke. There is also a speech synthesizer and a small transmitter.

A first responder can toss it into a room and listen to its signal with a generic walkie talkie.

Dead simple to build and cheap components. Hat tip to Hack-a-day for the link.

I am programming one of my 2-meter portable radios to operate on some local repeater frequencies. I have a couple of the popular ones already set up but I want to survey them all and see which ones I can reach from home and from the store. A good thing to know in advance...

Working on the three 30 foot masts - I should have mentioned that I am not using metal conduit, I am using some old PVC conduit from another project. This is a lot lighter, nice and stiff (3" diameter) and non-conductive so it will not interfere with the antenna's radiation pattern.

Finishing off a quick sammich and back to work - beef stew for dinner tonight...

The minimum wage in New York State

I am willing to bet that a significant chunk of New York State would love to separate from New York City. The progressive toxin is seeping out and percolating into State politics and legislation.

From PJ Media:

N.Y. Business Community Outraged by $15 Minimum Wage for Fast-Food Workers
“$15 was a crazy dream. Now it is reality,” Bill Lipton, the director of the New York Working Families Party, tweeted June 22 shortly after the New York’s Fast Food Wage Board recommended increasing the state’s minimum wage for fast-food workers.

Heather Briccetti, the president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, and Melissa Fleischut, the executive director the New York State Restaurant Association, said Lipton’s dream is close to being their worst nightmare.

The proposal approved by the wage board would boost the minimum wage paid to fast-food workers in New York City, incrementally, to $15 an hour on Dec. 31, 2018. Fast-food employees in the rest of the state of New York would see $15 an hour on their paychecks by July 1, 2021.

The minimum wage in the state of New York is $8.75 and was scheduled to go up to $9 at the end of 2015.

Fortunately, there are some limits to where the wage hike will be implemented: 

The Fast Food Wage Board’s decision would only apply to fast-food restaurant chains with at least 30 outlets. Fast-food service is defined as a restaurant where food and drinks are served at counters, and customers pay before taking the food to a table.

So only large chains. And the Governor is all in:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) celebrated the minimum wage hike shortly after it was announced. He said it was “one of the really great days of my administration” — and, just as Briccetti warned, he said the wage board’s decision should seen as a harbinger of bigger paychecks for everyone earning the minimum wage.

“This is not the ending; it is just the beginning because we will not stop until we reach true economic justice and we raise the minimum wage for every worker in every job in this state,” said Cuomo.

A harbinger - otherwise known as the camel's nose under the tent.

It is ironic that since this cost increase is only being implemented at large chain restaurants, it is these businesses that have the deep pockets to develop food automation. Ordering kiosks and robotic burgers are here and being sold and installed. In fact, these people are failing to do their research - European nations had implemented high minimum wages over ten years ago and their restaurants are highly automated.

This story from the Daily Caller:

Panera Bread Will Replace Cashiers With Robots By 2016
Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich supports raising the minimum wage — and he has every reason to.

Panera’s 1,800 nationwide locations are at the forefront of modernizing the way customers experience fast food restaurants. As soon as 2016, the bread and pasta joint will have replaced all of their cashiers with kiosks.

Shaich, who donated $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, told USA Today that the move is part of an effort to “never have a customer wait,” but there is growing evidence that as pressure to raise wages builds, employers will turn to wage-free robots to avoid dramatic payroll hikes.

Fast food establishments in European countries with high minimum wages have already begun to replace some of their workforce with automated employers.

All of McDonald’s locations in France, for example, have installed kiosks to substitute and supplement human employees. The kiosks have  allowed McDonald’s to avoid some of the high payroll costs of dealing with France’s minimum wage, which currently sits at $12.22 an hour in U.S. dollars. The European country is also suffering from an unemployment rate of over 10 percent.

So automation is cost effective at $12.22/hour - it will become even more cost effective at $15.00. The accompanying high unemployment rate just goes without saying.

I am wondering if liberalism is a mental illness. John F. Kennedy was a liberal. He also knew how to run our great nation. Liberals these days are just plain stupid - they do not study their history, so many 'progressive' ideas that have already been tried and have failed.

Cool news from Arizona State University

White lasers! Actually, integrated Red Blue and Green lasers in one die but still... From Arizona State University:

ASU researchers demonstrate the world's first white lasers
While lasers were invented in 1960 and are commonly used in many applications, one characteristic of the technology has proven unattainable. No one has been able to create a laser that beams white light.

Researchers at Arizona State University have solved the puzzle. They have proven that semiconductor lasers are capable of emitting over the full visible color spectrum, which is necessary to produce a white laser.

The researchers have created a novel nanosheet – a thin layer of semiconductor that measures roughly one-fifth of the thickness of human hair in size with a thickness that is roughly one-thousandth of the thickness of human hair – with three parallel segments, each supporting laser action in one of three elementary colors. The device is capable of lasing in any visible color, completely tunable from red, green to blue, or any color in between. When the total field is collected, a white color emerges.

The researchers, engineers in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, published their findings in the July 27 advance online publication of the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Cun-Zheng Ning, professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, authored the paper, “A monolithic white laser,” with his doctoral students Fan Fan, Sunay Turkdogan, Zhicheng Liu and David Shelhammer. Turkdogan and Liu completed their doctorates after this research.

Not a trivial task to grow three colors on a single sheet - these are more efficient than LEDs so look for lighting applications in a few years. Now if they will just mount them on some sharks, life will be good!

Those eeevil Koch brothers

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I think that the left is engaging in ignorant hysteria when they call David and Charles Koch evil. They should take a close look at George Soros - Soros is the chief source of funding for liberal organizations like the Open Society Foundation, MoveOn and the Tides Foundation.

Anyway, Charles gave an interview recently and had this to say about Anthropogenic Global Warming:

Q: Are you worried about climate change?

A: Well, I mean I believe it’s been warming some. There’s a big debate on that, because it depends on whether you use satellite measurements, balloon, or you use ground ones that have been adjusted. But there has been warming. The CO2 goes up, the CO2 has probably contributed to that. But they say it’s going to be catastrophic. There is no evidence to that. They have these models that show it, but the models don’t work … To be scientific, it has to be testable and refutable. And so I mean, it has elements of science in it, and then of conjecture, ideology and politics. So do we want to create a catastrophe today in the economy because of some speculation based on models that don’t work? Those are my questions. But believe me, I spent my whole life studying science and the philosophy of science, and our whole company is committed to science. We have all sorts of scientific developments. But I want it to be real science, not politicized science.

More at The Washington Post - great interview. The guy is wicked smart.

Wonderful news - from Russia Today (and ignored by the mainstream media):

EPA spills 1 mln gallons mine waste, turns river in Colorado orange
The Environmental Protection Agency is warning residents to keep away from a river in Colorado after accidentally spilling mine waste water into it.

The EPA was investigating the abandoned Gold King Mine on Wednesday together with the state Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, when they triggered the release of the waste into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River in San Juan County.

Ironically, the initial goal was to find a safe way to pump out the wastewater and treat it.

And of course, there is the obligatory drone footage:

These people need to get their budget cut by 80% - go back to their core competencies.

Banning guns

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A lot of people think that guns should be banned or the restrictions on ownership be made onerous to discourage people.

Unfortunately, they fail to grasp that the common criminal or mentally ill person will not abide by their wishes or laws. The numbers back this up time and time again.

Here is a list of links from Gerard:

Information anti gun people do not bring up

And this is just a cursory list - again, the numbers back this up that higher gun ownership directly equates to a lower crime rate.

As Robert Anson Heinlein once said: "An armed society is a polite society"

The eternal question

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From an email:

20150808-internet.jpg

Starting to build three 30 foot tall towers for the temporary big antennas - I have a bunch of 3" diameter electrical conduit from another project and these are rigid enough when supported with some guy wires. I am putting some pulleys at the top with a loop of rope so I can raise and lower different antennae. Three towers will give me a North/South and an East/West orientation. I am wanting to get some 60 foot tall telephone poles but these are expensive to buy new and not that common an article to scrounge..

Also cleaning up around the farm - rented a dumpster a few months ago and it has proven to be a Godsend - I have a lot of crap that is of no commercial value, that I have been unsuccessful in giving away and is just cluttering up the place. Time to make it just go away...

Spending tomorrow doing more of the same.

What If Werner Herzog Directed Ant-Man?

 

Hat tip to Zeon Santos at Neatorama

Follow the money - Common Core

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Cui bono? Or in English, Who Benefits.

Common Core is being pushed from the Federal level and pushed hard. It is not that good compared to traditional pedagogy.

I was always wondering who profits from this.

Turns out that the major developer of this new curriculum is Pearson Education.

Turns out that they are an English company - their head office is in London.

Seems that the Obama administration has no problem sending our hard earned dollars outside of our borders for crap of dubious value. Look at the $6 Million Obamacare website debacle. Look at Windpower with most of the turbines coming from European manufacturers - Vestax and Siemens being the two biggies.

I thought that we were trying to stimulate our own economy...

Back home - long day

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Lots of fun - went out for coffee and then spent 90 minutes working on a poster and collateral material for the upcoming Taste Of Kulshan. Kulshan is the native name for Mt. Baker. Also doing the website.

Headed into town to get some parts for a new antenna - I want to get a couple telephone poles and install a large Windom but this will not happen tomorrow. Using some PVC electrical conduit from another project to build three 30' guyed masts and will use these for a couple dipoles. Had to get the hardware for the guy lines.

Went to a new (to me) restaurant and had an excellent hamburger - I will be going back again: Nicki's Bella Marina

Surf for a bit and then to bed.

A friend is promoting an event in this area - working on the flyer at noon. Time to get coffee first.

Heading into town later for some more antenna parts - going to use some PVC pipe for a mast and put up a large dipole.

The retirement party was a lot of fun - introduced Lulu to some members of my new tribe. All wonderful people - CERT and Emergency Communications. She thought that it was fun that so much stuff was crammed into a very nondescript building with only one small sign out front (about the size of a piece of writing paper).

Just the way we geeks like it...

Going to surf the Aether for a while and then to bed. I had been getting up later and later (as well as staying up later and later) so swinging this around over the next week. Want to start getting up by 8:00AM reliably - we are heading into a time of reduced daylight so it behooves me to have as much as possible of this rare commodity.

Did not watch the debates. I'll stream it tomorrow.

From Christopher Monckton of Brenchley writing at Watts Up With That:

The Pause draws blood – A new record Pause length: no warming for 18 years 7 months
For 223 months, since January 1997, there has been no global warming at all (Fig. 1). This month’s RSS temperature shows the Pause setting a new record at 18 years 7 months.

It is becoming ever more likely that the temperature increase that usually accompanies an El Niño will begin to shorten the Pause somewhat, just in time for the Paris climate summit, though a subsequent La Niña would be likely to bring about a resumption and perhaps even a lengthening of the Pause.

20150806-pause.jpg

 

Figure 1. The least-squares linear-regression trend on the RSS satellite monthly global mean surface temperature anomaly dataset shows no global warming for 18 years 7 months since January 1997.

The hiatus period of 18 years 7 months is the farthest back one can go in the RSS satellite temperature record and still show a sub-zero trend. The start date is not cherry-picked: it is calculated. And the graph does not mean there is no such thing as global warming. Going back further shows a small warming rate.

The Pause has now drawn blood. In the run-up to the climate conference in Paris this December, the failure of the world to warm at all for well over half the satellite record has provoked the climate extremists to resort to desperate measures to try to do away with the Pause.

Much more at the site - the measured numbers are a lot different than the forecasts of their computer models. Christopher closes with some observations - here are just a few of them:

Ø Since 1950, when a human influence on global temperature first became theoretically possible, the global warming trend has been equivalent to below 1.2 Cº per century.
Ø The global warming trend since 1900 is equivalent to 0.75 Cº per century. This is well within natural variability and may not have much to do with us.
Ø Compare the warming on the Central England temperature dataset in the 40 years 1694-1733, well before the Industrial Revolution, equivalent to 4.33 C°/century.
Ø The oceans, according to the 3600+ ARGO buoys, are warming at a rate of just 0.02 Cº per decade, equivalent to 0.23 Cº per century, or 1 C° in 430 years. 

Facts not Theory. Science not Agenda. Measurement not Models.

Good news - spicy food/long life

Interesting news from the New York Times:

Eating Spicy Food Linked to a Longer Life
Eating spicy food is associated with a reduced risk for death, an analysis of dietary data on more than 485,000 people found.

Study participants were enrolled between 2004 and 2008 in a large Chinese health study, and researchers followed them for an average of more than seven years, recording 20,224 deaths. The study is in BMJ.

After controlling for family medical history, age, education, diabetes, smoking and many other variables, the researchers found that compared with eating hot food, mainly chili peppers, less than once a week, having it once or twice a week resulted in a 10 percent reduced overall risk for death. Consuming spicy food six to seven times a week reduced the risk by 14 percent.

Rates of ischemic heart disease, respiratory diseases and cancers were all lower in hot-food eaters. The authors drew no conclusions about cause and effect, but they noted that capsaicin, the main ingredient in chili peppers, had been found in other studies to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

That there is a trend line makes it that much more interesting - once a week = 10%, six or seven times/week = 14%.

Time to look at the chemicals in peppers and start extractions and more testing.

Truer words were never spoken

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20150806-media.jpg

Go here and calculate: Pickett N909-ES Slide Rule

They put people on the moon with these. I still have my old Keuffel & Esser Log Log Duplex Decitrig slipstick at my desk and still know how to use it.

Great video from space

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The moon passing in front of our Earth as recorded by NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory:

 

More information can be found here: DSCOVR: Deep Space Climate Observatory

Government efficiency at its finest

The Department of Motor Vehicles in Surprise, Arizona had a problem with lots of people waiting for service. What did they do?

From The Arizona Republic:

Surprise MVD office will reopen Monday after renovations
The state Motor Vehicle Division office in Surprise is about to reopen following renovations that include a near-tripling of the capacity of its customer waiting area.

The Surprise is scheduled to reopen Monday after being closed since April 13.

Arizona Department of Transportation officials say the waiting area will accommodate 188 customers, up from 68 previously.

ADOT officials say the renovations also included upgrading the air conditioning system and restrooms.

So they don't improve the efficiency of their workers, they just increase the citizen warehousing waiting room capacity.

Centralized government at its finest. They could privatize the whole process and put it up for competative bid. Cut costs and lower the waiting time. 

Blessed rain

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Finally getting some decent accumulation - got just over 0.25 inches for today.

The whole county is breathing a sigh of relief. Still a long way to go to clear the fire hazard - dig down a few inches and the soil is bone dry; river level is still very low.

Spent the day in town getting some parts for a different antenna design (Broomstick - optimized for reception (here and here)). I am in a really poor location for long distance communications - in a deep valley blocking any East/West avenue of transmission. Currently using a basic loaded dipole and will be upgrading to a Windom soon. Also want to try Magnetic Loops - requires some specialized construction and components but nothing outside of what I can build - that one will be a long winter project though, too many other irons in the fire currently.

Heading back into town tomorrow - a buddy is retiring and there is a large party at his organization. Bringing Lulu along so she can meet some more people from my new tribe (Emergency Communications).

Barry's new energy policy

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A lot of people are ripping it to shreds on either side of the CAGW fence-line.

From Tony Dokoupil writing at MSNBC:

Obama’s climate policy is ‘practically worthless,’ says expert
President Barack Obama’s by turns tearful and triumphant unveiling of the Clean Power Plan Monday seemed like a turning point in the fight against global warming.

If it survives legal challenges, it could remake the way America generates electricity, accelerate a shift away from coal-fired power plants – the chief source of the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists blame for global warming—and cement Obama’s legacy as the greatest environmental president.

“I don’t want my grand-kids to not be able to swim in Hawaii or not be able to climb a mountain and see a glacier because we didn’t do something about it,” Obama said in the emotional conclusion to his speech. “That’d be shameful of us.”

But for some who study climate change the only shame is this: Obama’s plan does not go nearly far enough. It’s meek and dangerously self-congratulatory, sapping the movement of urgency while doing almost nothing to maintain the future habitability of the earth.

“The actions are practically worthless,” said James Hansen, a climate researcher who headed NASA’s Goddard’s Institute for Space Studies for over 30 years and first warned congress of global warming in 1988. “They do nothing to attack the fundamental problem.”

Hansen and the GISS are a pathetic joke - the Goddard Institute is a small office in New York City allied with Columbia University. The place is crawling with partisan hacks. For them, Anthropogenic Global Warming is a religion and not science. To link them with NASA is to tarnish the great work that the other 99.999% of NASA has done.

On the other side, we have this from Jillian Kay Melchior writing at National Review:

Obama’s Latest Executive Action: Spend Hundreds of Billions to Not Help the Environment
The Obama administration today announced its Clean Power Plan rules, which set limits on carbon emissions from power plants nationwide. At a White House event, President Obama trumpeted the rule as “the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.”

Unfortunately, the Clean Power Plan packs neither the environmental nor diplomatic punch the Obama administration has claimed. Moreover, contrary to the White House’s assertion, it offers states little flexibility and comes at enormous economic expense.

Begin with the impact on climate change. The United States is responsible for only 5 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions. In other words, “even if the United States stopped emitting all CO2 now and going forward, it would only reduce emissions by 0.15 degrees Celsius — that’s all we have to work with,” says the Cato Institute’s assistant director of the Center for the Study of Science, Chip Knappenberger.

Using the EPA’s own climate-model emulator, Knappenberger and his colleague Patrick J. Michaels determined that the Clean Power Plan rules will affect climate by less than two-hundredths of a degree Celsius by 2100, an amount so minuscule that it’s nearly impossible to measure.

It will have an effect though - it will make our energy costs skyrocket. All for nothing. And, this with a cooling trend beginning in 3... 2... 1...

Typhoon Soudelor

Super Typhoon Soudelor is now heading for the coast of China right between Hong Kong and Shanghai.

From the South China Morning Post:

Typhoon Warning Centre downgrades Soudelor but Hong Kong Observatory disagrees
Tropical cyclone Soudelor has been downgraded from a category five typhoon according to the latest forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, but Hong Kong Observatory hasn’t done the same, saying it still warrants a higher rating.

Tropical cyclone Soudelor has dropped slightly in wind speed and been downgraded by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, but it is still the seventh strongest typhoon of the past six years.

Soudelor was downgraded from a super typhoon to a typhoon on Wednesday morning by the centre, but the Hong Kong Observatory said it would be keeping the higher rating.

A bit more:

According to the Hong Kong Observatory, Typhoon Soudelor was the equal seventh strongest super typhoon to hit the region since 2010 and only the fourth highest expected to reach mainland China.

The strongest super typhoon to hit the region in the past five years was Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, which reacher 285km/h and had a devastating impact on the Phillipines.

Hong Kong Observatory forecaster Yeung Wai-Lung said they were keeping the storm ranked as a super typhoon due to the current maximum wind analysis they had conducted.

Its current path puts it just to the North of Hong Kong.

Stiff as a board

Bucking the hay yesterday was not something I do every day. Different muscle groups and they are making their presence known.

Adding an asprin to the morning suplement regimen.

Heading out for coffee and then into town this morning to get some antenna stuff and do some banking - meeting with someone at 6:00PM to design a poster so it will be an early dinner.

Upcoming auctions

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Two auctions are coming up in two weeks.

On the 18th is Vertical Concepts who manufactured parts for elevator systems. There are a few items that look interesting so I will probably drive to Mukilteo and attend.

On the 20th is JM Martinac Shipyard. Do not think I will be attending that one as there is nothing I can use. Still, Martinac is an old-skool shipbuilder in Puget Sound and I am tempted to go just to pay my respects. They did really nice work for a long time. Founded in 1929. Some history here, here and here.

Doxxing the Donald and his response

Doxxing is the act of widely publishing someones private information - personal email or phone numbers with the intent of inconveniencing them or letting people know where they live.

The progressive website Gawker just published Donald Trump's personal cellphone number. And Donald nailed them - perfect retaliation - from The Blaze:

Gawker Published Donald Trump’s Number to Annoy Him — the Next Day, the GOP Candidate Made Sure Their Plan Backfired
A day after Gawker published his personal cellphone number, Donald Trump pulled out a trick of his own to get even.

The billionaire businessman and 2016 Republican presidential candidate tweeted out the number Tuesday to encourage his more than 3 million social media followers to give him a call.

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“Hi, this is Donald Trump and I’m running for the presidency of the United States of America,” Trump says in the greeting. “With your help and support, together, we can make America truly great again. Visit me on Twitter at @realdonaldtrump and check out my campaign website at www.donaldtrump.com. Hope to see you on the campaign trail. We’re going to do it.”

In other words, he turned Gawker’s stunt into a way to reach potential voters with the equivalent of a campaign ad.

That is how you do business. Take lemons and make lemonade. One of the comments was perfect:

Trump is like Tom Sawyer and Gawker is painting his fence ! ! !

Heh - Trump is living inside their head rent-free.

A comment on the Planned Parenthood videos

I have not been writing about these too much because they make me ill to my stomach.

Ran into this comment that chills my blood - I am paraphrasing;

Isn’t humanism gorgeous? Wait till our progressive buddies get to work on the elderly….who are perceived as dead weight and non-contributors to the collective.

This scares me - what with the much denied Obamacare Death Panels and now this - my Dad lived until 94 and I am in much better health than he ever was. What will I be facing 40 years down the road?

Release the minions!

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Took some time to release my 10,000 minions. Little wasps that predate on the common housefly. They don't attack the adults so we have about 20-30 days of dealing with those but it will be great to be finally done with them. It has been a bad summer. Spent 20 minutes walking around the property shaking the cocoons onto the ground near manure piles. Now we just let nature take its course.

I have another 5,000 arriving in September to catch the overwintering fly larvae.

All from Spalding Labs in Reno Nevada. So far, very happy working with them.

Back home again - bills paid

The kids just left to go back to Bellingham. Jimmy has to work tomorrow morning.

Having left-over spaghetti for dinner tonight - trying out  a new bread for dinner. Par-baked and sealed in an Oxygen free package. Shelf-stable - pop in an oven for fifteen minutes and it is ready to go.

Working on the radio room for an hour or two until it is time for dinner. Moving the antenna to North/South orientation for a few days - see what I pick up. Planning to take it up to Artist Point in a few days.

My copy of Mark Levin's new book came in this afternoon. Number one at Amazon. Check out Plunder and Deceit

From The Hill:

Fifth Planned Parenthood video turns to 'intact' fetuses
A Planned Parenthood official discusses the procurement and cost of "intact" fetuses and altering abortion procedures to meet specific needs in a video released Tuesday by an anti-abortion group.

In the fifth of a series of videos from the Center for Medical Progress, a woman identified as Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, discusses contributing to the organization's "diversification of the revenue stream" and the potential to "get creative" with conditions for procurement needs. The video was reportedly filmed in April at a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas.

"Just depending on the patient's anatomy, how many weeks, where it's placed in the uterus ... we're going to potentially be able to have some that will be more or less intact and then some that will not be," she says.

"But it's something that we can look at exploring how we can make that happen so we have a higher chance," she adds.

"And we've had studies in which the company, or in the case of the investigator, has a specific need for a certain portion of the products of conception and we bake that into our contract, and our protocol, that we follow this. So we deviate from our standard in order to do that.

"If we alter our process and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, then we can make it part of the budget, that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. I mean, it's all just a matter of line items," she says.

Just disgusting. These people are so wrapped up in their narrative that they lost touch with their souls - with what it means to be a human being.

Bills...

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Lulu and Jimmy and Jimmy's girlfriend Stephanie are at Silver Lake Park swimming. I am at my office doing much needed paperwork. Bills are backed up about a month so spending today writing lots and lots of checks.

Spent this morning getting in 140 bales of hay off the trailer and bucked into the barn. This is about half of what we will need for all of the critters.

Back to work...

Weather in the Pacific Ocean

Hurricane Guillermo is now downgraded to Tropical Storm Guillermo and is passing to the North of the Hawiian Islands.

Not so much Super Typhoon Soudelor - from USA Today:

Earth's most powerful storm of the year roars across Pacific
Food, water, cots, generators, and other federal emergency supplies  were being rushed Tuesday from Hawaii and Guam to help Saipan after the Earth's most powerful storm of 2015 — Super Typhoon Soudelor — blasted through the tiny U.S. island in the Western Pacific.

The storm continued its violent march through the Pacific Ocean with sustained winds of more than 160 mph and gusts approaching 200 mph — the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said Tuesday.  The typhoon was taking aim at Taiwan, China and some of Japan's southern islands,  though it's expected to weaken to a Category 3 or 4 storm by then, the center said.

The "most powerful storm of the year" epithet is a bit much as we are just now at the beginning of the storm season - any storm will be the most powerful.

The US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) is the go-to place for updates and warnings.

Clearer heads are prevailing

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From the UK Independent:

Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone.

In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government. 

 A bit more:

"The classic welfare state of the second half of the 20th century in these areas in particular brought forth arrangements that are unsustainable in their current form." 

More faster please. I am all for safety nets and helping people out of poverty but these should never be available as a lifestyle choice. There need to be strict guidelines and rules to follow if you want the government cheese.

First formed as the Revenue Cutter Service on August 4th, 1790 - the US Government merged five agencies to form the Coast Guard in 1915.

Lulu served with them - she was originally from California and they stationed her on Hawaii. She remained there for most of the time until her moving to Bellingham in 2010.

From a Texas Newspaper

From a letter to the editor (it's the second letter - scroll down a bit) in the November 18, 2010 Waco, Texas Tribune:

Put me in charge of food stamps. I’d get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for Ding Dongs or Ho Ho’s, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want steak and frozen pizza, then get a job.

Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I’d do is to get women Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligations. Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine and document all tattoos and piercings. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, smoke or get tats and piercings, then get a job.

Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks? You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair. Your “home” will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your own place.

In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or you will report to a “government” job. It may be cleaning the roadways of trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you. We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the “common good.”

Before you write that I’ve violated someone’s rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules. Before you say that this would be “demeaning” and ruin their “self esteem,” consider that it wasn’t that long ago that taking someone else’s money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.

If we are expected to pay for other people’s mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.

Hat tip to Denny at Grouchy Old Cripple for the reference.

Local knifemaker on TV

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From The Bellingham Herald:

Tumwater knife-maker is ‘Forged In Fire’ for History Channel
A Tumwater kitchen knife-maker will be making historical themed weapons on a History Channel reality show airing Monday.

Mareko Maumasi is one of four contestants on “Forged in Fire,” a show where bladesmiths compete against one another to create edged weapons.

Each weapon is tested by a panel of expert judges. In typical reality show mode, the contestants are eliminated one by one until the top blade-maker is left standing and $10,000 richer.

Maumasi’s day job is making culinary knives. Essentially, he’s a blacksmith who specializes in knife-making.

His clients, who pay up to $1,500 for one of his knives, range from professional chefs to enthusiasts who appreciate well made, custom knives.

“I consider myself a tailor of kitchen cutlery,” Maumasi, 30, said. “I talk to (clients) to understand who they are, what their experience is, as well what they are really trying to achieve.”

I have heard of Mareko but not met him. He studied with Bob Kramer who I have met a couple of times and taken some classes with him.

Climatologist Joe Bastardi has an excellent article at The Patriot Post:

All This for .01 Degrees Celsius?
As the president reveals his plan to reduce greenhouse gases to save us from an apocalyptic atmosphere, I wish to remind people of three things:

1.) The true hockey stick of the fossil fuel era: Global progress in total population, personal wealth and life expectancy.

20150803-jb01.png

This is truly amazing. To show how fossil fuels played a roll in expanding the global pie, there are many more people alive today living longer and enjoying a higher GDP. One has to wonder if someone against fossil fuels is simply anti-progress. Ironic since many in the camp of anthropogenic global warming like to label themselves “progressive.” They’re certainly anti-statistic given something like this staring them in the face.

2.) The geological time scale of temperatures versus CO2.

20150803-jb02.png

As much as I struggle, I can’t see the linkage. Maybe it’s like one of those books where you have to stare at it and cross your eyes to see the picture.

3.) EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted that the steps being taken would only prevent .01 degrees Celsius of warming, but it was the example that counted for the rest of the world.

This article sums that up pretty nicely.

This in addition to the fact that, in 2011, she admitted she did not know how much CO2 was in the atmosphere. And its lines of evidence for this are provably false!

Given the facts, I can’t help but wonder: Did policymakers ever take Economics 101, or a course in how to read a chart?

When I see simple questions that can raise doubts, if not outright debunk all this, it’s like watching the opening from the old Twilight Zone Series: “You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

Swiped in full as it is short and to the point. Obama (and McCarthy) are partisan hacks and need to be retired from public service. The damage they are doing to everyone on this planet is incalculable especially now that every indication points to an extended cool period.

Woke up around 6:30am, rolled over and went back to sleep for another hour or so. Woke up five hours later.  OOPS!

Needless to say, the shopping run ran late and I am just getting back from town. Got a couple steaks thawed out and marinating (salt pepper and olive oil with a bit of sugar to add a bit more caramelization).

Serving them up with a couple of baked spuds and homemade coleslaw.

Jimmy is coming out to help buck the hay tomorrow but the people with the trailer have not shown up yet. Oh well...

 

A pleasantly wasted evening

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Had dinner, gave Grace a taste or two of the Pot Roast so she now forgives me for not giving her the whole thing.

I had put in a full day so went out for a couple of pints at my local (five miles away). Finished the new Tom Clancy book - his estate has some excellent writers working for them. The second one out was a real dud but everyone after that has been very readable. The first after his death was from his last unfinished notes - completed by a ghost-writer.

Put on my Notary Public hat earlier today - closed the Business Center last January but kept most of my licensing and it is handy to have in this community.

Surf the Aether for a bit and to bed - shopping run tomorrow and then bucking hay.

Taking a break

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Clearing out the radio room to move in a bunch of the electronics stuff from the DaveCave(c) . Got a really nice electronics workbench (sloped shelf for test equipment, built in anti-static grounding, lots of ourlets, etc...) at auction about ten years ago and a decent collection of test and fabrication equipment. It will be nice to have everything together in one room (albeit small).

Breaking for dinner - finishing off the last of some pot roast with vegies and thick noodles. Grace will be hacked that there is only enough for me - no treats from that bowl...

Got the usual shopping run tomorrow so will not be up that late - want to get an early start as I have a flatbed of hay coming in tomorrow afternoon. I have the trailer for a day or two but want to get it back to its owners ASAP.

Heading out to the garden to pick a salad.

Heh - getting tired of her s%$#

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From The Daily Caller:

The Hillary Email Scandal Just Saw Its ‘Most Significant Legal Development To Date’
A federal judge has ordered Hillary Clinton and two of her top aides at the State Department, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, to attest, under penalty of perjury, that they have turned over all official government records in their possession.

U.S. District Court judge Emmett Sullivan issued the bombshell ruling late Friday, hours after the State Department released its second batch of Clinton emails.

The ruling was issued in the matter of a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department.

The most 'interesting' stuff is always released late on Friday. Gives the mainstream media a perfect excuse to ignore it for the weekend and forget about it by Monday morning.

More:

In his ruling, Sullivan ordered the State Department to “identify any and all servers, accounts, hard drives, or other devices currently in the possession or control of the State Department or otherwise that may contain responsive information.”

The State Department must also request that Clinton, Abedin and Mills “confirm, under penalty of perjury, that they have produced all responsive information that was or is in their possession as a result of their employment at the State Department.”

Looks like Judge Sullivan is getting tired of the royal runaround. If Hillary commits an act of perjury, this could tank her chance at the White House.

Of course, the mainstream media still has their knickers in a twist over Cecil the Lion.

Some cooking videos

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I present for your edification the Vegan Black Metal Chef Project.

Here is Episode 19 - Vegan German Potato Salad and Vietnamese Summer Rolls

 Fun series and good cooking ideas for the Vegans in your life.

 From the website:

The Vegan Black Metal Chef Project has 2 main purposes:

1) Help answer the question "what do vegans eat"/show vegan cooking in the most informative and fun way possible while making some great music to go along with it.

2) Help people bring consciousness to their lives and actions.

The first will be addressed with of course the videos and various articles under the "Feed Your Body" category.

The second will be addressed with a series of articles and videos under the "Feed Your Mind" category.

My Greatest wish is that you find this useful. Thank youall for all of the great support.

Good stuff!

This is how you do it - not so much

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In April of this year, I wrote about the credit card processing company Gravity Payments and how the owner was changing their minimum wage structure. I said:

More at the site - this is how you do it - the power of the free market and pure capitalism (as opposed to crony capitalism which is all to much in vogue these days).

Well, it seems that the free market has spoken and the word is not good. From the New York Times:

A Company Copes With Backlash Against the Raise That Roared
There are times when Dan Price feels as if he stumbled into the middle of the street with a flag and found himself at the head of a parade.

Three months ago, Mr. Price, 31, announced he was setting a new minimum salary of $70,000 at his Seattle credit card processing firm, Gravity Payments, and slashing his own million-dollar pay package to do it. He wasn’t thinking about the current political clamor over low wages or the growing gap between rich and poor, he said. He was just thinking of the 120 people who worked for him and, let’s be honest, a bit of free publicity. The idea struck him when a friend shared her worries about paying both her rent and student loans on a $40,000 salary. He realized a lot of his own employees earned that or less.

Yet almost overnight, a decision by one small-business man in the northwestern corner of the country became a swashbuckling blow against income inequality.

The move drew attention from around the world — including from some outspoken skeptics and conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, who smelled a socialist agenda — but most were enthusiastic. Talk show hosts lined up to interview Mr. Price. Job seekers by the thousands sent in résumés. He was called a “thought leader.” Harvard business professors flew out to conduct a case study. Third graders wrote him thank-you notes. Single women wanted to date him.

But all is not good in the Emerald City

While dozens of new clients, inspired by Mr. Price’s announcement, were signing up, those accounts will not start paying off for at least another year. To handle the flood, he has already had to hire a dozen additional employees — now at a significantly higher cost — and is struggling to figure out whether more are needed without knowing for certain how long the bonanza will last.

Two of Mr. Price’s most valued employees quit, spurred in part by their view that it was unfair to double the pay of some new hires while the longest-serving staff members got small or no raises. Some friends and associates in Seattle’s close-knit entrepreneurial network were also piqued that Mr. Price’s action made them look stingy in front of their own employees.

Then potentially the worst blow of all: Less than two weeks after the announcement, Mr. Price’s older brother and Gravity co-founder, Lucas Price, citing longstanding differences, filed a lawsuit that potentially threatened the company’s very existence. With legal bills quickly mounting and most of his own paycheck and last year’s $2.2 million in profits plowed into the salary increases, Dan Price said, “We don’t have a margin of error to pay those legal fees.”

The market has spoken. Economics is not a bloodless endeavor - for every action, there is an opposite reaction, often bloody, often unexpected. I am very happy with our dealings with Gravity Payments and I hope they can weather this bout of foolishness and continue giving the great service we have been used to.

Once again, socialism does not work - never has, never will. Its core premise is broken...

Happy Birthday - Milton Friedman

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The Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman would have been 103 years old yesterday, July 31st.

John Hawkins writing at Town Hall has put together a list of top 20 quotes. Here is his opening and the first five:

In Honor of His 103rd Birthday, Here Are The 20 Best Quotes From The Late, Great Milton Friedman
Yesterday would have been the 103rd birthday of Milton Friedman, who was one of the most brilliant economists of the last century. In honor of Friedman, here are his 20 best quotes.

And the first five:

1) "I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office."

2) "If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand."

3) "Indeed, a major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it... gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself."

4) "There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income."

5) "Workers paying taxes today can derive no assurance from trust funds that they will receive benefits from when they retire. Any assurance derives solely from the willingness of future taxpayers to impose taxes on themselves to pay for benefits that present taxpayers are promising themselves. This one sided 'compact between the generations,’ foisted on generations that cannot give their consent, is a very different thing from a 'trust fund.' It is more like a chain letter."

 Fifteen more at the site - he was a brilliant mind with an ability for explaining complex things very clearly.

Remember Operation Fast and Furious - this was the absolutely brilliant plan from Attorney General Eric Holder to relax the requirements for gun buying in the Southwest (near Phoenix) with the intent that Mexican Cartel members would buy these guns and we could analyze their movements when these guns were recovered at crime scenes.

Tow of these guns were recovered at the murder scene of United States Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. More here, here and here.

Well, another gun has turned up and not in the hands of a cartel member - from the Los Angeles Times:

Assailant in Garland, Texas, attack bought gun in 2010 under Fast and Furious operation
Five years before he was shot to death in the failed terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, Nadir Soofi walked into a suburban Phoenix gun shop to buy a 9-millimeter pistol..

At the time, Lone Wolf Trading Co. was known among gun smugglers for selling illegal firearms. And with Soofi's history of misdemeanor drug and assault charges, there was a chance his purchase might raise red flags in the federal screening process.

Inside the store, he fudged some facts on the form required of would-be gun buyers.

What Soofi could not have known was that Lone Wolf was at the center of a federal sting operation known as Fast and Furious, targeting Mexican drug lords and traffickers. The idea of the secret program was to allow Lone Wolf to sell illegal weapons to criminals and straw purchasers, and track the guns back to large smuggling networks and drug cartels.

Instead, federal agents lost track of the weapons and the operation became a fiasco, particularly after several of the missing guns were linked to shootings in Mexico and the 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona.

Soofi's attempt to buy a gun caught the attention of authorities, who slapped a seven-day hold on the transaction, according to his Feb. 24, 2010, firearms transaction record, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the hold was lifted after 24 hours, and Soofi got the 9-millimeter.

As the owner of a small pizzeria, the Dallas-born Soofi, son of a Pakistani American engineer and American nurse, would not have been the primary focus of federal authorities, who back then were looking for smugglers and drug lords.

He is now.

In May, Soofi and his roommate, Elton Simpson, burst upon the site of a Garland cartoon convention that was offering a prize for the best depiction of the prophet Muhammad, something offensive to many Muslims. Dressed in body armor and armed with three pistols, three rifles and 1,500 rounds of ammunition, the pair wounded a security officer before they were killed by local police.

More at the site - there is no word just how many more of these guns are out there.

Holder is just not that intelligent - his appointment was a 100% political payback and not because he was the best person for the job. The idea that Fast and Furious would be beneficial to the interests of the United States is ludicrous. Holder was held in criminal contempt (255 to 67) by the US House of Representatives. This is the first time in American history that the head of the Justice Department has been held in contempt by Congress.

Tired - was OK during the day but as soon as my butt hit the chair, it's like someone flipped a switch.

Going to surf the Aether for a bit and then upstairs.

Today will be a day of rest - fine-tuning a website for a local event and paying bills.

Great review of Bono and U2

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Have never been a big fan of U2 and/or Bono - a bit overhyped for my tastes.

Seems like Albert Burneko has the same thoughts - from The Concourse:

Truly I Say To You Today That Bono Is An Asswipe
At the intersection of all the annoying things a rock star can be—messianic, pretentious, vapid, dumb, old, creatively bankrupt, grandiose, utterly bereft of self-awareness, calcified into a grotesque oily wire-rack-in-the-grocery-store knockoff of himself, part of U2, et cetera—there sits Bono in his stupid housefly glasses, playing with his dick. He is, in the words of Deadspin’s own Tim Marchman, “the worst music man of all time.” He is puke, and I want to punch him in the ear.

Here is a sentence: This past Wednesday, Bono spoke at an Amnesty International ceremony at Ellis Island, celebrating the 40th anniversary of John Lennon receiving his green card. Here is another sentence: John Lennon did not immigrate to the United States through Ellis Island, Amnesty International had nothing to do with his immigration to the United States, and Bono never knew him. Nevertheless, a tapestry was unfurled, depicting, with metaphoric incoherence, Manhattan as a Lennon-piloted yellow submarine shining its light on Liberty Island, which is not Ellis Island. Bono spoke, and claimed Lennon and the Beatles as Irishmen—because Lennon’s derelict father may or may not have been descended from the Irish, and for the more important reason that nothing in American culture is better public relations than making a too-big deal of flimsy, possibly spurious Irish heritage.

Come on Albert - tell us what you really think. It just gets better and better and is spot on.

Reminds me of Pat Metheny's comments on Kenny G - wonderful writing and again, absolutely spot on.

Back home again

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Today went as planned and back home again after getting a bite to eat in town and two pints at the North Fork.

I was planning to get the hay delivered tomorrow but that got pushed to Monday - my shopping day. I'll unload the flatbed Tuesday.

Still waiting for my ten thousand minions to hatch so I can put a crimp into the housefly breeding program.

The antique tractor show was a lot of fun - I love steam power. Much nicer than internal combustion but the size of the boiler makes mobile use impractical.

Spent about $100 at Tractor Supply - various critter stuff and a few tools and tractor parts. Nice to have them so close.

Feed the critters, work in the radio room for a bit and then to bed - long day but a day of rest tomorrow...

Busy day - meetings, PSATMA and hay

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Heading out for coffee and then into town to get some stuff, meet with some people and then North to Lynden, WA to check out the final day of PSATMA (Puget Sound Antique Tractor and Machinery Association) annual public fair. Last day today. Then checking out the new outlet for Tractor Supply - they are doing a soft opening today.

Getting some hay for the critters - winter is approaching so time to get it while it is still fresh and relatively cheap.

Finally, August First is the Swiss National Holiday

July 2017

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Wondermark
xkcd


NO WAI! WTF?¿?¿
Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?


Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog


Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
DIYPhotography
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
PetaPixel
photo.net
Shorpy
Strobist
The Online Photographer


Blogrolling
A Western Heart
AMCGLTD.COM
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cobb
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Instapundit
iowahawk
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Neanderpundit
neo-neocon
Power Line
ProfessorBainbridge.com
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Samizdata.net
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Velociworld
Weasel Zippers
WILLisms.com
Wizbang


Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Allah
BigPictureSmallOffice
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
MegaPundit
Masamune
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Publicola
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

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