February 2016 Archives

Interesting news from Massachusetts

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Massachusetts is a very liberal state. High taxes, state-run healthcare system, lots of social services and corresponding debt. Change is in the winds though - from the Boston Herald:

Amid Trump surge, nearly 20,000 Mass. voters quit Democratic party
Nearly 20,000 Bay State Democrats have fled the party this winter, with thousands doing so to join the Republican ranks, according to the state’s top elections official.

Secretary of State William Galvin said more than 16,300 Democrats have shed their party affiliation and become independent voters since Jan. 1, while nearly 3,500 more shifted to the MassGOP ahead of tomorrow’s “Super Tuesday” presidential primary.

Galvin called both “significant” changes that dwarf similar shifts ahead of other primary votes, including in 2000, when some Democrats flocked from the party in order to cast a vote for Sen. John McCain in the GOP primary.

Stop listening to We The People and this is what eventually happens. About time!

C'mon you little buggers - squirm

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The Donald Trump ascendancy is giving the establishment RINOS (Republicans In Name Only) conniptions. From the New York Times:

Inside the Republican Party’s Desperate Mission to Stop Donald Trump
The scenario Karl Rove outlined was bleak.

Addressing a luncheon of Republican governors and donors in Washington on Feb. 19, he warned that Donald J. Trump’s increasingly likely nomination would be catastrophic, dooming the party in November. But Mr. Rove, the master strategist of George W. Bush’s campaigns, insisted it was not too late for them to stop Mr. Trump, according to three people present.

No, what has happened is that Rove et. al. have sold out the party to special interests with money. They stopped listening to We The People all the while Trump is appealing directly to We The People. More:

Despite all the forces arrayed against Mr. Trump, the interviews show, the party has been gripped by a nearly incapacitating leadership vacuum and a paralytic sense of indecision and despair, as he has won smashing victories in South Carolina and Nevada. Donors have dreaded the consequences of clashing with Mr. Trump directly. Elected officials have balked at attacking him out of concern that they might unintentionally fuel his populist revolt. And Republicans have lacked someone from outside the presidential race who could help set the terms of debate from afar.

Heh - Schadenfreude writ large. What is especially telling is that the article only mentions Ted Cruz once in passing as being a problem for Marco Rubio's campaign. Both houses need to be burned down and rebuilt from the ground up. The rot is deep and beyond repair.

Back home again

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Long day in town - got three bags of crap for the dumpster and sorted through a lot of other stuff making piles for Goodwill, eBay, yard sale and to send to a cousin who collects family stuff (old photos, etc...) I'll scan the photos first but Melanie works for a county museum in the area where my Mom was born and would be a better caretaker of these things.

Had kind of a long start to the morning - allergy season is kicking in and took two benedryls last night before going to bed. Slept well with a dry nose but was really groggy most of this morning.

Found a couple of custom-pressed records featuring music from my Dad's Physics Department at Pitt. Going to have to find a place to transcribe these into an OGG file and put them on the net.

Had dinner in town and a couple pints of hard cider at Crave'n - surf for a bit and then to bed.

Happy Leap Day

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2016 is a leap year.

Celebrating by doing the usual stuff. Spending the bulk of today in town working on the condo.

Happy leap year to everyone!

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Got an extra day tomorrow - a busy one for me.

Off to bed - to sleep...

Our nation is in the best of hands

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From CNS News:

U.S. Has Record 10th Straight Year Without 3% Growth in GDP
The United States has now gone a record 10 straight years without 3 percent growth in real Gross Domestic Product, according to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The BEA has calculated GDP for each year going back to 1929 and it has calculated the inflation-adjusted annual change in GDP (in constant 2009 dollars) from 1930 forward.

In the 85 years for which BEA has calculated the annual change in real GDP there is only one ten-year stretch—2006 through 2015—when the annual growth in real GDP never hit 3 percent. During the last ten years, real annual growth in GDP peaked in 2006 at 2.7 percent. It has never been that high again, according to the BEA.

And of course:

The longest consecutive stretch of years in which the United State saw real GDP grow by 3.0 percent or better was the seven year period from 1983-1989, during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

These facts are well recorded but nobody seems to want to recreate the Reagan years. It was a time of incredible prosperity for everyone. And then, the Bush dynasty thought it was their turn to run things for a while...

From Yahoo/Reuters:

Deepening default fears cast shadow over Venezuela's oil flows
As Venezuela grows closer to exhausting nearly every means of paying its debt, some oil market participants are seriously pondering the possible implications of an unprecedented event: the default of a major crude producing company.

State-run firm PDVSA faces around $5.2 billion in payments to bondholders in 2016, much of it in October and November, a sum that some experts say it will be hard-pressed to meet after the government used nearly all of its available cash reserves to pay $1.5 billion in maturities last week.

A default could curtail some of the OPEC member's exports by crippling its ability to import crude and fuels used to blend its extra heavy oil, experts and sources say. It could also degrade the quality of domestic gasoline by limiting purchases of necessary components.

Something I did not know - Venezuela's oil is heavy crude and they need to import much lighter oils to blend with it before it is usable in normal internal combustion engines. Can't do much of that if they are too overspent with bread and circuses. Again, the oil and mining industries used to be in private hands and they made Venezuela a very wealthy nation. Chavez literally killed the golden goose by nationalizing these businesses and failing to perform basic maintenance.

He could have spent the profits on infrastructure, basic research, schools and hospitals but no, the money went to free shit from the government to buy votes.

Busy night tonight

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Water board meeting in 90 minutes. I picked up a Costco roti chicken yesterday and having that with cranberry sauce, a salad and mashed spuds.

Come home for the WECG emergency net at 7:00PM

Busy day tomorrow so getting to sleep at an early hour.

If McDonald's advertised like Apple

Spot on:

Tip of the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man

Venezuela's power grid

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Another example of the end-game of socialism. From Venezuela's EL UNIVERSAL:

National power grid nearing collapse
Power rationing is not new for Venezuelans. Over the past fifteen years there have been some crises, such as that of 2009-2010, that have forced Venezuelans to adapt their lifestyle to power outages. What is new, however, is the seriousness of the current situation which, according to some experts, is expected to get worse over the next two months if the necessary measures are not taken immediately.

To major general Luis Alfredo Motta Domínguez, the Minister of Electricity and President of the National Electricity Corporation (Corpoelec) - a state-owned holding company created in 2007 to consolidate the power sector - the current crisis is a one-off problem due to the extensive drought associated with the recurring weather phenomenon commonly known as El Niño, which has caused water levels in the Central Hidroeléctrica Simón Bolívar (aka the Guri Dam) to drop to record-low levels.

The term holding company is a polite way of saying that the Venezuelan government nationalizing the whole thing - kicking out the foreign corporations who had built the grid and who were successfully maintaining it. A bit more on the root problems:

According to a diagnostic assessment of the electricity sector submitted to the National Assembly last February 5 by engineers with the Ricardo Zuloaga Group – a team of experts  dedicated  to  the  analysis  of  the  behavior  of  the national electricity system - the crisis that has started over the years of revolution has evolved to the point that the electricity sector went from providing a continuous, reliable service in 1999, the year when the current regime came to power, to deterioration in service with frequent power outages and interruptions in 2007, and finally to a scenario of continued power rationing in 2016.

The government is not operating on a basis of reality. They had a great source of income from their oil deposits. The problem is that they gave away all of this money as free shit to the people in exchange for votes. They did not spend on penny on infrastructure - always kicking that can down the road.

Now that oil prices have gone down, they no longer have the revenue stream but their population still demands the free shit and will get angry if it does not come.

20 years ago today

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From bulbapedia:

Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Green Version were the first Pokémon games ever released to the public, in Japan on February 27, 1996.
Introducing the gameplay concepts that went on to provide the standard for games in the core series, these games were eventually localized and released worldwide as Pokémon Red and Blue Versions, using a combination of the engine from the Japanese Pokémon Blue Version and the obtainable Pokémon from Red and Green. Much as would become standard, Red and Green were later joined by a solitary version, the aforementioned Blue, which slightly improved upon their features and provided the code for the international releases (Red and Blue), and eventually Pokémon Yellow, a second solitary version based on the anime.

Party on little pocket monsters!

Sad really

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Bad enough that the students are so unaware but this group is from George Mason University in District of Columbia.

Cool new technology for sea-level mapping

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From England's University of Southampton - The National Oceanography Centre

Sea level mapped from space with GPS reflections
The GPS signal used for ‘sat-navs’ could help improve understanding of ocean currents, according to new research published in Geophysical Research Letters by National Oceanography Centre (NOC) scientists, alongside colleagues from the University of Michigan and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

As part of this research, sea surface height has been measured from space using GPS signals reflected off the sea surface for the first time. Information from these GPS signal reflections can be potentially used by scientists to monitor ocean currents by measuring the slopes currents cause in the ocean’s surface.


Ocean surface height measurements are routinely made from space by radar altimeters, but this new study is the first that uses the GPS reflections. The data for this research was acquired from the TechDemoSat-1 satellite, launched in 2014 by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

Dr Paolo Cipollini from NOC, who co-authored this research, said “the sea surface is not flat at all, especially when looked at over long distances. The largest ‘bulges’ are due to variations in the Earth’s gravity field. On top of those there are smaller, shorter variations due to sea surface currents. We are really encouraged by our results since it demonstrates for the first time that we are able to map the overall sea surface height from space using the GPS-reflections technique. This leads us to think that in the near future we should be able to map currents from space by detecting even smaller variations in sea surface height.”

GNSS-Reflectometry (GNSS-R) is the general term for reflectometry using navigation signals, including GPS as well as the European equivalent Galileo. The advantage of using GNSS-R is that it uses the GNSS transmitters already in orbit, and the lightweight, low-power receivers can be launched into space relatively cost-effectively. Existing satellite altimeters, although very accurate, are not in enough number to sample the ocean well at scales below 100 km. A constellation of GNSS-Reflectometry receivers would provide a thirty-fold improvement on the amount of data that could be gathered. Such a constellation will be launched in late 2016 as part of the NASA CYGNSS mission, to watch an animation of this follow this link https://youtu.be/sbQ0m5lxLD8.

No mention of the resolution but it will be interesting to see what they are able to see. I remember when the TOPEX/Poseidon system went live 1992 - one of the observations were long wake-like ripples. These were discovered to be tracks from submerged submarines and the high resolution data was subsequently 'edited' for content. It did great work during the 1987-1988 El Niño season. Unfortunately, the satellite died in January 2006. More at Wikipedia

Make sure you aren't drinking anything and then go here: Modern Solo Adventures

Kylo Ren is in his teens and still living with Han and Leia

About that minimum wage in Seattle

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Chickens coming home to roost - from Mark Perry at American Enterprise Institute:

New evidence suggests that Seattle’s ‘radical experiment’ might be a model for the rest of the nation not to follow
Seattle’s city council made history in June 2014 by unanimously passing legislation that will eventually bring the city’s minimum wage up to $15 an hour, the highest in the nation. Washington State already had the distinction at that time of having the highest state minimum wage in the country at $9.32 an hour. The first increase to $10 an hour for some Seattle businesses and $11 for others took place on April 1, 2015. Additional increases to $12.00, $12.50 or $13 an hour took effect for most employers on January 1, 2016. Further increases will continue until the city’s minimum wage reaches the full $15 an hour, which will happen on the first of the year in either 2017, 2018 or 2019 for most employers and as late as January 2021 for some small businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

And a drum-roll please (ripping open the magic envelope)

Early evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Seattle’s monthly employment, the number of unemployed workers, and the city’s unemployment rate through December 2015 suggest that since last April when the first minimum wage hike took effect: a) the city’s employment has fallen by more than 11,000, b) the number of unemployed workers has risen by nearly 5,000, and c) the city’s jobless rate has increased by more than 1 percentage point (all based on BLS’s “not seasonally adjusted basis”). Those figures are based on employment data for the city of Seattle only (not the Seattle MSA or MD), and are available from the BLS website here (data are “not seasonally adjusted”).

Not surprised one bit - that extra money has to come from somewhere and it will either be staffing reductions or an increase in prices leading to a decrease in sales.

The minimum wage was never meant to be a sustainable wage - it was to get you started as you worked on improving yourself and making yourself more valuable to your employer. Once you do this, you can request a higher wage and get it.

Much more at the site.

And now the smearing begins - Trump

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Both the Republican kingmakers and the Democrats are ramping up to smear Trump - so transparent it's funny. This is from the New York Daily News:

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A usual day

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Back from town - did some electrical work at the condo. Added two new ceiling fixtures - the original ones were pretty dim. Also corrected a goof I made with some other lighting. I had gotten a bunch of LED bulbs from Costco and half of them were warm (2,700°K) and the other half were bright white (5,000°K). Major difference between the two so picked up some more warm bulbs and swapped them out.

Had some chinese takeout from Panda Express - mediocre but quick and cheap.

Couple ciders @ Crave'n and home for the evening.

Critters in the news - Salem, Oregon

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From the Salem, OR Statesman Journal:

Salem gives goats the boot
The city's experiment with getting goats to do its dirty work has failed the smell test, literally.

It seemed like an environmentally good idea at the time: Set 75 rented goats loose on 9.1 acres of city park to chomp and chew invasive plants such as Armenian blackberry and English ivy that were choking native flora out of Minto-Brown Island Park.

So the city, responding to community interest, launched a pilot project last October, contracting with Yoder Goat Rentals out of Molalla to remove the invasive species. But in a report submitted this week to the Salem City Council, the public works department revealed that the six-week project cost the city almost five times what it would normally have spent had it removed the vegetation using more conventional, and less odoriferous, methods.

A bit more:

In addition to being more expensive and a tad pungent, the goats also caused a few problems. While the targeted grazing was successful with the goats removing ivy from the trees and ground and leaves from blackberry canes, they were not selective about what they ate.

The report indicates the goats devoured native plants along with invasive species, and they were drawn to the bark of certain trees including maples and hazelnut trees, which they ate and damaged. Becktel said the native plants were "nibbled to the ground, but are expected to grow back in season."

I had goats for a while too - they would eat the soft tasty stuff and leave the weeds. Found a new home for them about 40 miles South of here. I like the llamas and horse and mule (and landscaping) a lot better.

S*it you see on the range

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So true - so painfully true:

Tip of the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man

Yet another reason that Apple sucks

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From the Los Angeles Times:

While it defies U.S. government, Apple abides by China's orders — and reaps big rewards
Apple Inc. has come out swinging in its pitched battle with the government on its home turf.

But when it comes to its second-largest market, China, the Cupertino, Calif., company has been far more accommodating.

Since the iPhone was officially introduced in China seven years ago, Apple has overcome a national security backlash there and has censored apps that wouldn't pass muster with Chinese authorities. It has moved local user data onto servers operated by the state-owned China Telecom and submits to security audits by Chinese authorities.

The approach contrasts with Apple's defiant stance against the FBI, which is heaping pressure on the company to decrypt an iPhone that belonged to San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.

Fscking hypocrites.

There is a rumor that we may be getting a cell tower out here. If this happens, I will be getting a smartphone. Android. I have not liked Apple for a long long time.

Having way to much fun - shop construction

Figured as much - airline seating

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Only reason to get on an airplane would be a trip to Hawaii - I hate flying. The 'security' is pure Kabuki - a joke.

I had written about it here and here. Now this from Inhabitat:

Damage report reveals LA methane leak is one of the worst disasters in US history
A week after the ruptured natural gas well in Aliso Canyon was finally declared sealed, we have a full account of the environmental damage — and it doesn’t look good. A new paper published in the journal Science declared it to be one of the largest environmental disasters in US history. In total, 97,100 metric tons of methane were released into the atmosphere over the course of 112 days, equal to the greenhouse gas emissions of over half a million cars.

A bit more - measurements made from airplanes high above the site:

The levels of airborne methane were so high that the Conley’s team assumed there was something wrong with their instruments — the background concentration of methane in the air is typically about 2 parts per million, but the aircraft registered concentrations as high as 50-60 ppm. It wasn’t until researchers tested levels on the ground using a different instrument that they realized the frightening readings were accurate.

But of course, this was just a one-off fluke - never happen again in a million years:

Perhaps the most worrying finding is this: the Aliso Canyon leak is unlikely to be an isolated incident.  The leak in question began due to an old, 1950s-era pipe that had never been upgraded to incorporate a safety valve. It was an entirely avoidable failure, and one that could happen again — the Aliso Canyon facility alone contains 115 other wells which could potentially fail, and there are around 400 other underground natural gas storage facilities across the US, many of which also contain old, deteriorating pipes. If we want to prevent another disastrous gas leak like the one that happened in California, the federal government is going to have to step up and start regulating the industry.

The Federal Government is going to have to step up and start regulating the industry. Don't these words just send chills up your spine. Who better to regulate the industry than the flawless EPA. Yikes!

The Science article is behind a paywall. Here is a link to the abstract: Methane emissions from the 2015 Aliso Canyon blowout in Los Angeles, CA

It was well attended - had a lot of groups with tables there. Healthcare, insurance, food bank, Habitat for Humanity, utilities, counseling, early education, etc. The gamut of needs out here. Good to get everyone together.

Lots of interest in CERT and BERT and having the ham radio set up attracted some good attention.

Long day tomorrow. Working on the condo in town, setting up a computer and camera to start eBaying a lot of the stuff. I still have tons of new cardboard boxes left over from my UPS and FedEX business so packing costs will be minimal (already deducting them as a business loss).

Long day today

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Our local community center is having their 4th annual Community Connections Fair today from 4:00PM to 7:00PM. I have been going to this event for all of the years (that is me at the second link, bottom left photo - the one with the '8' and a map on the wall - I am third from the left).

I will be bringing my PA system for them to use as well as a ham radio station to demonstrate emergency communications at the BERT booth.

Out for a shower (watching for the horse and mule this time), some coffee and back home to load up the truck...

The investigation took place from 2010 through 2015 and the story broke in June of 2015 but I am just hearing about it now. The Miami Herald did an excellent job of reporting.

This is a five-part series with a sixth page for videos and a final post on December of 2015

Here is the home page for the main reporting: License to Launder - Cash, Cops and the Cartel

It began in a trailer in the shadows of one of Florida's most elegant malls, a brazen plan by two small police agencies to take on the hemisphere's most dangerous drug cartels. Forming their own task force, members of the Bal Harbour police and Glades County Sheriff's Office struck deals with criminal organizations across the country in what grew into the largest state undercover money-laundering investigation in years.

Posing as launderers, the task force took in $55.6 million from the criminal groups, keeping thousands each week for themselves for laundering the money. They spent lavishly on first-class flights and five-star hotel stays. They bought Mac computers and submachine guns.

In the end, they made no arrests of their own, and ended up returning all the money they laundered to the criminal groups. They also withdrew $1 million in cash with no records to show where the money went – and struck millions in additional money-laundering deals that were never disclosed.

Here is the December piece with a January 2016 update.

What did they think their exit strategy would be? These things never end gracefully. Bad cop - no donut...

Chagrined. It was getting dinnertime and didn't feel like cooking so I went out to a local Mexican restaurant for Polo en Mole - I am fussy about my Mole and these people do a good job of it.

Was opening the gates to drive off the farm and a large white shape streaked past. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to slam the two gates closed before the brown shape was able to escape as well. Rocky is an Appaloosa/Morgan cross and a really sweet horse but sometimes he gets a hair up his butt and will take himself for an adventure.

The good news is that I still had Sam the Mule in the paddock and they are the best of buddies - Rocky just went over to my neighbors yard across the street. Had both of them gotten out, they would have trotted down the road for a couple miles - they have a couple places where they usually wind up.

It is amazing what you can get a horse to do when you have a handful of oats in a bucket...

Dinner was excellent!

Finally - done with the meds

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I had an infection in my foot and have been on some fairly strong antibiotics for the last three weeks. Needless to say, my gut has been seriously impacted.

Took the last of them this morning. Time to start doing some heavy probiotics and get back to whatever passes for normal...

Windows 10 is a free upgrade

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Microsoft has changed their business model - they are now selling your desktop to the highest bidder. From PC World:

Windows 10 lock screen ads begin with Rise of the Tomb Raider push
With more than 200 million systems running Windows 10—many of them having upgraded from an earlier version for free—Microsoft has decided it’s time to monetize the lock screen.

Over the past few days, Windows 10 users have reported having their lock screens taken over by advertisements for Rise of the Tomb Raider. Microsoft started selling the game through the Windows Store last month, in what might be the start of a much bigger push into PC gaming.

Microsoft hasn’t hid its intentions to use the Windows 10 lock screen as a commercial billboard, having first discussed its plans during last year’s Build developers conference. Now, Microsoft appears to be making good on those promises, with How-To Geek’s Chris Stobing and at least one Reddit user having seen the Rise of the Tomb Raider ads themselves.

Win10 also sends a lot of data back to servers at Microsoft - all your data are belong to us...

The Flint water crisis in one picture

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The dark side of Marco Rubio

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Rubio is a republican in name only (RINO). John Fonte writing at National Review did some digging and has come up with quite the dirt:

Marco Rubio’s Immigration Dilemma
What would a President Marco Rubio do about immigration? To attempt to answer this question, let us review the past, analyze the present, and prognosticate about the future.

The core framework of the Schumer–Rubio immigration bill (S-744) of 2013 was first developed in the failed Kennedy–McCain legislation of 2005. For example, on amnesty, Kennedy–McCain proposed an immediate “Z visa” for illegal immigrants, while Schumer–Rubio granted immediate “provisional” status. Although technically on “probation,” the illegal immigrants were essentially granted immediate amnesty under both bills (including work permits and Social Security cards) before any guarantee of border security was put in place.

Chris Crane, the head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) union, told Breitbart News that Schumer–Rubio was actually “weaker” than current law. There were over 1,000 waivers, which gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the power to bypass enforcement. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, which represents 12,000 federal employees, denounced Schumer–Rubio, declaring: “It was deliberately designed to undermine the integrity of our lawful immigration system.”

Further, the ICE Officers Council stated: “The 1,200-page substitute bill before the Senate will provide instant legalization and a path to citizenship to gang members and other dangerous criminal aliens.” Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office declared that S-744 would not stop most illegal immigration. The CBO forecast that Schumer–Rubio would reduce illegal immigration by only one-third to one-half. And the bill would almost double legal (overwhelmingly low-skilled) immigration. This is a much larger increase than under Kennedy–McCain.

Much more at the site - Rubio is a trojan horse. He would not make a good president. Cruz is my choice, Trump second.

From The Daily Caller:

The Gun Grabbers Are Coming! Lexington Massachusetts Now Faces Semi-Automatic Gun Confiscation
Lexington, Massachusetts.  Does the name of that quaint New England town ring a bell for anyone?  It should, Lexington, MA, is where American independence was kicked into high gear.  On April 19, 1775, the British “red coats” marched out of Boston, heading for Concord, intending to seize caches of arms stored by local militias.  They were first met on the Lexington town green and the skirmish was on, the rest as they say is history.

Fast-forward almost 240 years to the day and some of the residents of Lexington have come full circle.

They are now advocating for the government to seize legally owned firearms from the town’s residents.

The town of Lexington utilizes an annual town meeting to set policy, bylaws and approve things like the town budget.  The residents do not vote directly; instead they have approximately 200 “town meeting members” who vote in representation of their constituents.

One such town meeting member, a Harvard professor named Robert Rotberg has taken it upon himself to enact, what he hopes will be “a movement against assault weapons that would capture the state and therefore maybe explode to reach the country.”

He has seized upon the recent ban enacted in Highland Park, IL, and has modeled his own ban, almost copying the language verbatim.  Filing it to the town meeting warrant as Article 34.

Among other things, Article 34 includes any firearm that is semi-automatic and can accept a magazine that will hold more than 10 rounds.  It also includes any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds.  The article also has a provision in which Lexington’s licensed gun owners who own firearms included in the ban would be forced to sell, render inoperable, or have them seized and destroyed by the police department.

Of course the moke is a Harvard professor (retired) - he is 80 and completely out of touch with the real world. If this passes, I wonder how many guns will be reported as having been stolen...

Quote of the month

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"Socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that today is at the basis of all human labor and effort, enterprise and new activity."
--William Taft

Now this looks like fun

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A boat race from Port Townsend to Ketchikan, Alaska with no motors and no outside support.

From the website:

RACE TO ALASKA
DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?
The physical endurance, saltwater know-how and bulldog tenacity to navigate the 750 cold water miles from the Lower 48 to Alaska.

We’ll guarantee blisters, mild hypothermia, and the cathartic elation that comes from accomplishing something others would call impossible.

First prize is $10,000, second prize is a set of steak knives.

I love Port Townsend - was seriously thinking of moving there 20 years ago. I love the farm more - much much more.

Another day in paradise

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Looks like a gorgeous day and the rest of the week is forecast to be clear and warm as well.

Springtime is probably my favorite season - everything waking up. 17 days until daylight savings

Now this explains a lot - a meeting

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Originaly from Terry Bisson

Homeopathy - turning water into a placebo

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The only thing that it does do - a great writeup from Ars Technica:

Homeopathy successfully turns water into a placebo
After a thorough evaluation of 57 scientific reviews that encompassed 176 studies on 68 illnesses, a panel of health experts has once again concluded that homeopathy is at best a placebo (when it's not being potentially harmful).

Homeopathy, which one of the panel members referred to as a “therapeutic dead-end,” is based on the idea that “like cures like” (a questionable proposition to start with). Thus, its practitioners claim that if you take a substance that causes a sickness or similar symptoms of a sickness, then dilute it—to the point where the result is plain water—you create a cure. There's no mechanism that can possibly explain this, but some tout the idea that water has memory that can retain therapeutic information after dilution has removed every last molecule of the “healing” substance.

The down side:

But there is potential for homeopathy to injure patients, according to the expert panel, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

“People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness,” the NHMRC concluded.

In a blog post, one of the NHMRC members, evidence-based medicine expert Paul Glasziou of Bond University, said he was “shocked” that homeopathic practitioners promote homeopathy treatments for infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria.

I have met some homeopathic physicians and I always ask them if they feel any remorse for pushing such a worthless system of healing. Do they not feel shame for delaying or preventing the successful medical treatments of their patients. Delaying their treatment until the disease just gets worse.

There are a lot of alternative medical systems out there that just simply work. I have had successful treatment with Chinese medicine - drugs and acupuncture. I am learning about (and growing and making) herbal remedies. The idea of using diluted toxins in water is simply ludicrous...

The Setup Wizard

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Brilliant new blog from the Muggle IT Guy at Hogwarts. Here is the first post:

First day on the job.
Where in the world do I begin? Hello, my name is Jonathan Dart and, as of today, I am officially the IT guy at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

You read that correctly. It took them until 2016, but both students and staff alike have finally caved and demanded that their cell phones work on school grounds, and with that request they had to find a “muggle” (a term I’m quickly learning to detest) to install wifi and maintain any technology that functions on school grounds.

So let’s make this clear to any wizards, witches, or IT muggles allowed into their circle out there. I just entered this “wizarding world” 3 days ago. This is all entirely new to me. I’m writing this because I’ve learned through the grapevine that other magical schools are planning on making the same jump, and I’m hoping my experiences can help other outsiders down the road.

As its my first day I really don’t have much advice to give. All I can do is stand here and wonder to myself what the hell I was thinking. For the record, I’m typing this on my iPhone while I ride a magic staircase. They better have beer in this world because I’m going to need a drink tonight.

This link starts from this first post: First day on the job

This link starts from the last post (normal blog reading): The Setup Wizard

You can give away 'free shit' but you actually have to pay for it. Canada is learning that lesson. From Bloomberg Business:

Trudeau Drops Campaign Promises and Goes All In With Deficits
In for a penny, in for a pound.

With falling oil prices eroding Canada’s revenue base, newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is fully embracing deficits, with his finance minister hinting Monday the country will run a deficit of about C$30 billion ($22 billion) in the fiscal year that starts April 1.

It’s one of the biggest fiscal swings in the country’s history that, in just four months since the Oct. 19 election, has cut loose all the fiscal anchors Trudeau pledged to abide by even as he runs deficits. The government’s bet is that appetite for more infrastructure spending and a post-election political honeymoon will trump criticism over borrowing and unmet campaign promises.

“It looks like the Liberals want to front load as much bad news as possible in the hope when the election occurs in four years things will be better,” said Nik Nanos, an Ottawa-based pollster with Nanos Research Group.

Trudeau swept to power in part by promising to put an end to an era of fiscal consolidation the Liberals claimed was undermining Canada’s growth, which has been lackluster since the recession in 2009. Still, he has tried to temper worries by laying out three main fiscal promises: annual deficits of no more than C$10 billion, balancing the budget in four years and reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio every year.

Of course, the people who actually crunch the numbers on a daily basis have a different story to tell:

On Monday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau indicated none of those three promises will be met. A fiscal update -- released a month before the government’s first budget is due -- showed Canada’s deficit in the year that begins April 1 is on pace to be C$18.4 billion, even before the bulk of the government’s C$11 billion in spending promises and any other stimulus measures are accounted for.

The same document shows the nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio will be rising in the coming fiscal year, not falling. Morneau also reiterated that balancing the budget in the near term would be “difficult.”

“They’re trying to justify breaking a campaign promise by somehow suggesting it’s not their fault,” Rona Ambrose, leader of the main opposition Conservative Party, told reporters in Ottawa.

It will be interesting to see if the voters wake up four years from now or if they latch on to getting their free shit and ignore the costs being passed on to future generations.

Now the fun begins - Hillary

From The Washington Post

U.S. judge orders discovery to go forward over Clinton’s private email system
A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that State Department officials and top aides to Hillary Clinton should be questioned under oath about whether they intentionally thwarted federal open records laws by using or allowing the use of a private email server throughout Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington came in a lawsuit over public records brought by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group, regarding its May 2013 request, for information about the employment arrangement of Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide.

A State Department official said that the department is aware of the order and that it is reviewing it but declined to comment further, citing the ongoing litigation. Discovery orders are not readily appealable. An attorney for Abedin declined to comment.

There is a lot more at the site - the discovery process can be a bitch. The defendants are required under oath to release anything that the prosecutors ask for. Refusal is considered to be perjury.

Long day - just got back home

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Truck is running fine - really like the dealership's service department.

Spent a couple hours working on the condo. Got all the blinds back up on the windows and two bags of stuff for the dumpster. A lot of things for Goodwill, for eBay, treasures for home and junk for the dumpster. All commingled. It will be a couple months of fun sorting out. Then I get to start on the two full storage lockers...

Tired - did not sleep well last night and had to get up early this AM

Early day

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Have to get the truck in for routine service at 10:30 this morning so got up a few hours early.

Tended to the critters and now off for shower, coffee and pastry delivery to the store.

Should be back early afternoon...

Lulu and I spent a few days in Moab last spring on our trip through the Southwest. Loved it. Turns out that the City Manager Rebecca Davidson is a real trainwreck.

Great bit of investigative journalism from Jim Stiles at The Canyon Country Zephyr:

“What’s Past is Prologue.” Three Small Towns & Their Common Bond–City Manager Rebecca Davidson…by Jim Stiles
NOTE:  In preparing this article about Moab’s city manager Rebecca Davidson, the Moab City Council’s actions re: Ms. Davidson and the subsequent “restructuring” of Moab government, The Zephyr sought information from a variety of sources. We filed Freedom of Information Act requests, via the Wyoming Sunshine Laws, with the City of Kemmerer, Wyoming and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation. We filed a Government Records Access request (GRAMA) with the City of Moab, and we conducted interviews with numerous people personally involved in the issues raised here. We also contacted reporter Trevor Hughes, now of USA Today, who wrote a comprehensive article about the current Moab City manager’s tenure as city manager in Timnath, Colorado.

On January 11, we sent 15 questions to city manager Rebecca Davidson, in an effort to “clarify and resolve” issues raised in this article. She did not respond (Those questions are available to the reader elsewhere in this issue). Finally, we contacted the Moab City Attorney, Christopher McAnany, to seek clarification on the process used to fulfill our GRAMA request with Moab City. His January 24 response, which he noted was, “in lieu of any further response from  Ms. Davidson,”  is included elsewhere in this issue, and excerpted later in this article. Finally, we offer the City of Moab the opportunity to reply. But please note that all correspondence with this publication will be regarded as ‘on the record.’…JS

This is a very long article - about 20 minutes reading but it is excellent reporting and a stunning story of greed, malfeasance, and cronyism.

Ms. Rebecca Davidson? Welcome to the Streisand Effect

Not that much information (YET!) but still, I got goosebumps... From Czech Physicist Luboš Motl:

Fermi saw gamma rays 0.4 seconds after the LIGO merger
Ted has informed us about a fascinating new paper by the Fermi gamma-ray telescope previously known as Glast,

Fermi GBM Observations of LIGO Gravitational Wave event GW150914 (arXiv; NASA copy)
Some 0.4 seconds after the gravitational wave from the black hole merger detected as gravitational waves in LIGO, Fermi saw a signal of gamma rays above 50keV50keV with the false positive probability of 0.2%.

Note that 0.4 seconds is 10-17 times 1.3 billion years. So if you believe that the gamma-ray and gravitational-wave signals came from the same event, this represents a test of the equality between the speed of light and the speed of gravitational waves whose relative precision is approximately 10−17.

The coorelation between the two events is pretty good and we know that gamma rays travel at the speed of light. Do we now think that gravitational waves also travel at the speed of light?

Like I said - goosebumps...

Long network tonight

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We are branching out beyond just the normal check in. Tonight's session was position reporting in preparation for a simplex communication drill - point to point as opposed to using a broad-area repeater.

Again, this is useful practice for when it all hits the fan and point to point is our only means of communication.

Fun stuff!

Heh - punk'd Iranian media

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Russia Today has a two-minute video of a team of crack Hezbollah snipers from Lebanon taking out a nest of six ISIS thugs. This video was shown on the Iranian State Television channel as well as its website and other Iranian media outlets.

Slight problem. There is a long-range sniping scenario in the Medal of Honor video game that looks identical.

The Russia Today link has both videos so you can see for yourself. Someone just got punk'd by a stupid video game!

Now this is a BBQ Grill

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From the English/Russia website comes this Cool Submarine Brazier

20160221-sub-grill.jpg

 

I love the bollards at each end of the shelf - such attention to detail. More photos at the site.

I want one!

Good news from Harvard

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One of their donors is punching back twice as hard. From Yahoo/Finance:

After Palestine talk, Harvard donor stops sponsoring events
A major backer of Harvard Law School has stopped sponsoring student events after its donation helped pay for a discussion on Palestine.

In 2012, the international law firm Milbank promised Harvard $1 million over five years to pay for scholarly conferences organized by law students. But after the money was used to support an event hosted by the student group Justice for Palestine, the law firm asked Harvard Law School to use the money for other purposes.

Perfect - if the little shits want to bash Israel, let them do it on their own dime. I have written before about the true origins of the palestinian people as a KGB attempt to destabilize the area.

Harbingers of spring

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Was looking in the back garden and the bulbs are just starting to come up - about one inch of leaf for now.

Yay!

Ho Li Crap - OK Go's newest video

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Filmed in zero gravity:

More here: UPSIDE DOWN & INSIDE OUT FAQ & CREDITS

Behind the scenes video here

Here is one of their other videos: This Too Shall Pass

Fun stuff!

Medicaid - something to watch out for

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Medicare is great - the cost of the supplemental insurance is only about $200/month. Quite a bit less than before I was eligible - a decent policy then was over $800/month.

Medicaid is something quite different as this Seattle Times article points out:

Expanded Medicaid’s fine print holds surprise: ‘payback’ from estate after death
It wasn’t the moonlight, holiday-season euphoria or family pressure that made Sofia Prins and Gary Balhorn, both 62, suddenly decide to get married.

It was the fine print.

As fine print is wont to do, it had buried itself in a long form — Balhorn’s application for free health insurance through the expanded state Medicaid program. As the paperwork lay on the dining-room table in Port Townsend, Prins began reading.

She was shocked: If you’re 55 or over, Medicaid can come back after you’re dead and bill your estate for ordinary health-care expenses.

The way Prins saw it, that meant health insurance via Medicaid is hardly “free” for Washington residents 55 or older. It’s a loan, one whose payback requirements aren’t well advertised. And it penalizes people who, despite having a low income, have managed to keep a home or some savings they hope to pass to heirs, Prins said.

A bit more:

Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the politically conservative Association of American Physicians and Surgeons,
writing in the The Washington Times, called the recovery provision “a cash cow for states to milk the poor and the middle class.”

“People will think this is wonderful, this is free insurance,” Orient said in an interview. “They don’t realize it’s really a loan, and is secured by any property they have.”

This administration's war against the middle-class writ large for all to see. If they don't get you with an estate tax, they will get you with this. Confiscate the money so the heirs will have to be complacent wards of the state.

News you can use - coffee and booze

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From Reuters:

Drinking more coffee may undo liver damage from booze
Drinking more coffee might help reduce the kind of liver damage that’s associated with overindulging in food and alcohol, a review of existing studies suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from nine previously published studies with a total of more than 430,000 participants and found that drinking two additional cups of coffee a day was linked to a 44% lower risk of developing liver cirrhosis.

“Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such,” said lead study author Dr. Oliver Kennedy of Southampton University in the U.K.

A bit more:

In eight of the nine studies analyzed, increasing coffee consumption by two cups a day was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of cirrhosis.

In all but one study, the risk of cirrhosis continued to decline as daily cups of coffee climbed.

Compared to no coffee consumption, researchers estimated one cup a day was tied to a 22% lower risk of cirrhosis. With two cups, the risk dropped by 43%, while it declined 57% for three cups and 65% with four cups.

The actual paper can be found here: Systematic review with meta-analysis: coffee consumption and the risk of cirrhosis

Of course, in two weeks someone will publish a paper that says the exact opposite. Dietary science is a very fluid subject.

About that influx of refugees

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From Canadian site The Rebel:

REVEALED at Public Safety Committee: Most "refugees" weren't in danger
Shocking testimony today at the Public Safety Committee of the House of Commons about the fact that of the 21,000 refugees that have been screened and are either in Canada or in transit to Canada, almost none of them came from camps.

That’s right. They weren’t living in camps or living in squalor as we had been told and this was NOT about helping the most vulnerable

If you’ve been following our coverage of this story, this should confirm that the Liberals don’t know what they’re doing other than rushing people through the door as fast as they can, then warehousing them in hotels at tremendous expense to taxpayers.

This project has been a disaster from beginning to end and this latest revelation that we’re not bringing in people from squalid camps, just gives more proof to what we’ve been saying all along - that this whole costly exercise was just a vanity project for Justin Trudeau and a way to create future voters for the liberal party.

But we can just raise taxes on the rich to pay for it all... Laffer curve anyone?

I use a lot of third-party applications and this is a deal-breaker if it is not fixed stat. I am running two systems with Win10 and it is OK but I prefer the clean interface of Win7.

From InfoWorld:

Windows 10 forced update KB 3135173 changes browser and other defaults
If you have Chrome as the default browser on your Windows 10 computer, you'd better check to make sure Microsoft didn't hijack it last week and set Edge as your new default. The same goes for any PDF viewer: A forced cumulative update also reset PDF viewing to Edge on many PCs.

Do you use IrfanView, Acdsee, Photoshop Express, or Elements? The default photo app may have been reset to -- you guessed it -- the Windows Photos app. Music? Video? Microsoft may have swooped down and changed you over to Microsoft Party apps, all in the course of last week's forced cumulative update KB 3135173

Much more at the article including a link to a registry hack to defeat this. If this was a mistake, OK. If this was intentional, a lot of people (myself included) are going to be very pissed.

One of my Win10 machines is one that I am building out for processing and printing photographs. This system uses none of the 'default' MSFT applications and if they touch my settings, it would be a matter of several hours for me to restore them to what I want. I would use Linux but several of these apps do not run well under WINE or other Windows emulation.

Talk about a royal fustercluck - from the UK Telegraph:

US-backed militia groups now fighting each other in Syria
If anywhere can show the consequences of American foreign policy under President Barack Obama, it may be the small town of Marea, north of Aleppo.

In the course of the last five years, it has seen Assad regime tanks roll through from the south, firing shells through its houses.

It has been repeatedly attacked from the east by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). On occasion it has been bombed from the air by the regime and shelled from the ground by Isil on the same day.

Now its rebel defenders are fighting Isil, the regime, Russian bombers, and a new enemy, the Syrian Kurdish militia the YPG, all at once.

And the root cause?

Analysts – and many American diplomats who have left the administration, some in disgust – say that the mess is a consequence of President Obama’s decision to support the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad, but only half-heartedly.

He sent in weapons to support the rebels – including in Marea. But he also refused to confront Russia and the regime, who had far more weapons, leaving the rebels lightly armed sitting ducks.

Then he also decided to support the Kurds. He wanted them to fight Isil, which they did, but they also took on anyone else who stood in the way of a Kurdish mini-state in northern Syria, and that now means rebel areas like Marea, north of Aleppo, which is between that mini-state’s western and eastern halves.

As a result, the town is being fought over by two western proxies. It is not surprising that Mr Obama wants a ceasefire.

If I were President? Support the Kurds - they are our true friends in the area but they have their own battles to fight too. Topple the Assad regime - he is a sponsor of terrorism and before we invaded Iraq, Saddam moved much of his WMDs to Syria and Syria is using them now. Face up to Putin and tell him to clear out and back those words up with actions.

The residue of Obama, Clinton and Kerry's actions is that the original Iraq war was wasted - when Barry pulled out, it left a power vacuum and the radicals stepped in and took over again. 90% of the turmoil in that area is directly the fault of the three people named in the previous sentence.

Thomas Sowell on Donald Trump

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Worth 1,000 words:

20160221-sowell.jpg

A bit of a nip in the air

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Got down to 26.2°F last night - clear skies so radiation cooling.

Working on some stuff at home - Water Board meeting tonight at 6:00PM (Whoops - next Sunday) and WECG Emergency network at 7:00PM.

Picked up a Costco rotisserie chicken yesterday so that is dinner.

All 142 episodes now available at PBS

Well worth watching if you are into woodworking.

Long day in town - working on condo

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Spent the day working on sorting through stuff at my Mom and Dad's condo.

Brought over a load of laundry to do - still waiting to hear from the well people about getting a new pump for the house.

Probably be doing the same tomorrow and Monday, I bring the truck in for routine servicing in the morning.

His original anti-virus software was amazing and he built a great company. He sold out to the highest bidder (way to go John!) and now the software is crap but he is still excellent.

He has offered to hack the cellphone of one of the San Bernardino terrorist murderers and had this wonderful comment about the state of hacking at our FBI:

The fundamental question is this: Why can't the FBI crack the encryption on its own? It has the full resources of the best the US government can provide.

With all due respect to Tim Cook and Apple, I work with a team of the best hackers on the planet. These hackers attend Defcon in Las Vegas, and they are legends in their local hacking groups, such as HackMiami. They are all prodigies, with talents that defy normal human comprehension. About 75% are social engineers. The remainder are hardcore coders. I would eat my shoe on the Neil Cavuto show if we could not break the encryption on the San Bernardino phone. This is a pure and simple fact.

And why do the best hackers on the planet not work for the FBI? Because the FBI will not hire anyone with a 24-inch purple mohawk, 10-gauge ear piercings, and a tattooed face who demands to smoke weed while working and won't work for less than a half-million dollars a year. But you bet your ass that the Chinese and Russians are hiring similar people with similar demands and have been for many years. It's why we are decades behind in the cyber race.

Heh - the last paragraph absolutely nails it...

Venezuela hits bottom

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The end game of socialism is being played out in Venezuela. For years, Hugo Chavez and now Nicolas Maduro have been using the income from Venezuela's large oil fields to build a workers paradise - subsidizing everything in order to win the popular vote. Over time, they added more and more to their subsidies because the population, accultured to getting their free shit from the government started demanding more and more of it. The Bolivarian Revolution. Strapped for cash, they started nationalizing large industries - power, telecommunications and oil - and staffing them with political appointees. End result is that they have intermittent power, crappy telephone service and the oil output is unreliable. Their economy is in the tank.

Now, the price of oil has tumbled and their house of cards is falling fast. No savings, no safety net. This is going to suck.

Now this from International Business Times:

Venezuela Hikes Fuel Prices By 6,000%, Devalues Currency To Tackle Economic Crisis
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday announced a staggering 6,000 percent hike in petrol prices and a sharp devaluation of the currency to shore up the oil-rich nation’s battered economy. Venezuela, which gets 95 percent of its export revenue through oil, has been hit hard by the collapse in the price of the commodity, which has fallen to $34 a barrel from $90 a barrel two years ago.

The move would raise the price of premium gasoline to 6 bolivars a liter from 0.1 bolivar a liter, and regular gasoline to 1 bolivar a liter from 0.07 bolivar. Additionally, starting Thursday, the official exchange rate used for food and medicine imports will be weakened to 10 bolivars per dollar from the current 6.3, while a second parallel floating rate will be allowed to operate alongside.

More:

Maduro also said that the revenue generated from the new fuel prices would be used to bolster social programs such as housing, health services and education.

“Faced with a criminal, chaotic inflation induced a long time ago, we must act with the power of the state to control and regulate markets,” Maduro reportedly said.

Emphasis mine - he will never take the blame. This criminal inflation is not the end result of socialism - this was all the fault of those wascally capitalists before Chavez was able to seize power and save the day for the Venezuelan people...

Back in my bucolic little village

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Did this usual routine this morning - critters, shower, coffee and being Friday, pastries.

Went into town to take care of some things (looking to build two antennas for the ham radio)  and work a bit on my parent's condo.

Back at my office and heading out to Crave'n for one of their smoked tri-tip French Dip sandwiches. Couple of pints too.

More in a couple hours...

It's morning again in America - a new video from Marco Rubio features a waterfront scene complete with Vancouver BC's Vancouver Lookout and Canadian flags on the boats in the harbor.

Comparing to the quality of Ted Cruz's videos this is unreal. I know that there is a lot of use of stock photography but could someone please check the location? Really...

More at The Washington Post including the video (cannot embed for some reason).

Shredding a guitar - two ways

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The people at SSI Shredding in Wilsonville, Oregon (off I-5 about 30 miles South of Portland) are having way too much fun.

Here is the trailer - show starts tomorrow February 19th.

A great list - originated in a tweet from Tom Nelson, picked up and amplified by Don Surber.

The list:

Why they fell for the global warming hoax.

    1. The pseudo-intellectuals fell for it because none of them cracked a science book.
    2. The policy wonks fell for it because it gave the government more control.
    3. The bleeding hearts fell for it because they always want to save the Earth.
    4. The communists fell for it because it portrayed the capitalists as wanting to destroy the Earth to make money.
    5. The capitalists fell for it because they saw it as a new way to make money.
    6. The Hollywood crowd fell for it because championing the cause gave meaning to their pampered lives.
    7. The trust fund babies fell for it for the same reason.
    8. The newspapers fell for it because it was new.
    9. The teachers fell for it because it was a new thing to teach kids instead of the boring old lessons.
    10. The kids fell for it because they wanted to please their teacher.
    11. The parents fell for it because their kids got A's in it.
    12. The utility companies fell for it because they can raise rates when they sell more expensive alternate forms of energy.
    13. The Nobel Peace Prize committee fell for it because they wanted to give Al Gore a consolation prize for losing in 2000.
    14. The Oscar voters fell for it because they felt Al Gore was gypped in 2000.
    15. The Grammy voters fell for it for the same reason.
    16. The scientists fell for it because even though it was not in their field of expertise, they wanted to show solidarity.

100% spot on. Nobody really bothered to go outside with a thermometer or to analyze the real reasons for certain phenomena. Now that there was this universal bogeyman, it was so easy to blame everything on it.

Back home again - long day

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Was planning to get to the Doctor this morning but he was busy and the earliest I could get in was 4:10PM. Picked up some things in town and had a nice breakfast.

Got the lab results back and everything was great - Liver, Kidneys, Thyroid, Blood Chemistry (including sugar), all good. Testosterone was low so the Doc prescribed a gel for application on the skin. I have recently become covered by Medicare but have yet to get a supplemental policy for . The gel was going to cost me $570 for a 30 day supply. I think not. Will be calling the good Doc on Monday to get a prescription for the injectable version. I hate needles but I can tolerate a lot for a couple hundred dollars each month...

Testosterone and Insulin are broken down in the human digestive tract so oral versions of these are not possible.

Still a bit full from breakfast so just having a bowl of soup and some crackers for dinner - a couple glasses of wine and surf for a bit...

Victoria is on Vancouver Island - a little to far for just a casual visit. I would have to drive to Vancouver and take the ferry - $55 for Thunderbunny and $17 per person and 90 minutes each way. It is a gorgeous trip and Vancouver Island is definitely worth a couple weeks of exploration. That being said, the Royal British Columbia Museum has something fun on display for the next few months.

From the CBC:

John Lennon's Rolls Royce on display at Royal B.C. Museum
If there ever was an example of a man's car reflecting his colourful personality, this would be it.

John Lennon's famed Rolls Royce adorned in a kaleidescope of colours is back on display at the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria.

This was the car the Beatles rode to Buckingham Palace in 1965 to receive medals from the Queen.

Back then it was a demure black, but Lennon decided to jazz it up with custom paintwork in a Romany Gypsy style in 1967.

She's a beaut:

20160218-rolls.jpg

On my playlist - SCRAPPER

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Looks like an interesting film - here is the trailer (3.4 minutes):

Here is the whole thing (90 minutes):

The synopsis (from here):

'Scrapper' explores a darkly enigmatic and brazen American outlaw subculture - a small clutch of survivalists and wild-eyed iconoclasts who earn a dangerous living scavenging bombs, missiles and other combat ephemera from the US Navy's Chocolate Mountain Aerial Bombing and Gunnery Range in Southeastern California. Rummaging over the 670-square mile live bombing range for spent ordnance, the scrappers find high-grade metals--aluminum, brass and copper--that are turned into cash at salvage yards. Often, this funds another week long meth binge. Inside their survivalist compounds and trailers, the scrappers share their insights into the dangers of scrapping, territorial disputes, national priorities, and the Chocolate Mountains' slide into a smuggling corridor for Mexican narcotrafficantes and coyotes (human traffickers). In sum, 'Scrapper' is an excursion into a lawless and militarized post-apocalyptic wilderness.

Our food chain - Parmesan Cheese

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Just wonderful - from Bloomberg:

The Parmesan Cheese You Sprinkle on Your Penne Could Be Wood
The cheese police are on the case.

Acting on a tip, agents of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration paid a surprise visit to a cheese factory in rural Pennsylvania on a cold November day in 2012.

They found what they were looking for: evidence that Castle Cheese Inc. was doctoring its 100 percent real Parmesan with cut-rate substitutes and such fillers as wood pulp and distributing it to some of the country’s biggest grocery chains.

One might be tempted to think of this as a ripped-from-the-headlines episode of “NYPD Bleu,” except that the FDA wasn’t playing. Some grated Parmesan suppliers have been mislabeling products by filling them with too much cellulose, a common anti-clumping agent made from wood pulp, or using cheaper cheddar, instead of real Romano. Someone had to pay. Castle President Michelle Myrter is scheduled to plead guilty this month to criminal charges. She faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Good that the penalty is so draconian - an example needs to be set - pour encourager les autres.

Bill Moyers - The End Game for Democracy

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I don't usually agree with him but he nails it:

Back home again

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Had to go into town to pick up some stuff I had ordered for the store - had dinner there (Olive Garden) and stopped at Crave'n for two pints on the way home. Feeling nicely hydrated.

About that global warming

One of the major problems with temperature measurement is that the area surrounding the thermometers gets built up over time. A Stevenson Screen at a small country airport with suffer as the airport gets paved with blacktop and air conditioners get installed in the terminal. Here is one perfect example of an official temperature measurement station at Picacho Peak State Park in Arizona.

From Watts Up With That:

How not to measure temperature (or climate change) #96
From the “global warming data looks better with heat-sinks and air conditioners” department.

Dr. Mark Albright, of the University of Washington writes:

Here is a great example of how NOT to measure the climate! On our way back to Tucson from Phoenix on Monday we stopped by to see the Picacho 8 SE coop site at Picacho Peak State Park. Note the white MMTS temperature monitor 1/3 of the way in from the left. The building is surrounded by the natural terrain of the Sonoran Desert, but instead the worst possible site adjacent to the paved road and SW facing brick wall was chosen in 2009 as the location to monitor temperature.

Here is a view looking Northeast:

Anthony posts a bunch of pictures, here are two of them. The sensor is in the small box on a pole.

20160217-temp01.jpg

20160217-temp02.jpg

Note the air conditioning compressors about ten feet away. No wonder this sensor is showing an increase in temperature. The satellite air temperature is the most accurate and unbiased measurement for the last 30 years and for the last 18 years, it has been showing cooling.

Going to be 10TB soon - from Hot Hardware:

Intel’s Partnership With Micron To Soon Birth 10TB SSDs For Enterprise Market
Everyone who builds a PC from the ground up faces several decisions along the way, one of which relates to storage—do you go with a fast solid state drive, or stretch your dollar-per-gigabyte with a capacious hard drive? In the end, most of us settle on a modestly sized SSD for the OS and a beefy HDD for storage chores, but what if you could have the best of both worlds? The industry is heading in that direction.

Intel and Micron have been tag-teaming various storage and memory technologies, like 3D XPoint (pronounced "cross point") memory, and word on the web is that the fruits of that partnership is a 10-terebyte SSD that's right around the corner—yes folks, 10 freaking terabytes. Talk about reaching parity with HDDs (in terms of capacity, no pun intended).

The largest SSD in Intel's stable at the moment is 4TB, which itself is pretty large. But the bump to 10TB is more than twice as capacious, a feat that's made possible by advancements in Micron's 3D NAND flash memory.

No word yet on pricing and availability but this is a very big deal. I have two systems that boot off an SSD and it takes about fifteen seconds. Application loading is lightning fast as well.

Snickers advertising

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Snickers has been doing some wonderful advertising, their videos are a lot of fun. Here is an image from their new print campaign:

20160217-snickers.jpg

Tip of the hat to DIY Photography which has another image.

BZZZZT! Update below

From The Daily Caller:

Energy Dept Spends $7 Million On North Alaska Solar Power, Except It’s Dark 24/7
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced Monday it will provide $7 million in technical support for solar power to Native Alaskan tribes, especially those in the far north.

The parts of Alaska where the DOE intends to spend the cash have nearly 24 hours of darkness in the winter, which is precisely when Alaskans need the most electricity. Alaska has nearly 24 hours of sunlight during the summer, but that’s when demand for power is at its lowest point as there’s no need to crank up the heat. Alaska’s harsh winters make the state’s per capita energy consumption the third highest in the nation.

The villages which will receive the cash influx don’t actually have much demand for power and are currently reliant upon diesel generators.

Why am I not surprised - this is just pure pork.

 

UPDATE: Many thanks to reader DOuglas2 who pointed me to the source document here: ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INTER‐TRIBAL TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ENERGY PROVIDERS NETWORK

The program is not solar specific - it is for upgrades, improvements to existing generator stations as well as possible wind and solar installations. General energy projects. Makes much more sense.

The three branches of Government

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Tell me about it...

20160217-branches.jpg

No attribution for the cartoonist.

The usual

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Got hay out to the critters, heading in for a shower and coffee and back to the farm to work on a couple projects.

More later

Cape Breton Island

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Interesting website - CAPE BRETON IF DONALD TRUMP WINS

Hi Americans! Donald Trump may become the President of your country! If that happens, and you decide to get the hell out of there, might I suggest moving to Cape Breton Island!

We are an island about the same size as the Hawaiian Big Island, on the East Coast of Canada.  We always rank high on travel magazine lists of beautiful islands.  But we are experiencing a bit of a population problem at the moment.  We need people.  We need you!

This is not a joke!  See for yourself, you belong here with us on Cape Breton Island, where health care is free, you know your neighbours and they look out for you, and nobody has a hand gun!

I might consider a move there if either Sanders or Clinton win - the area is drop-dead gorgeous. Spent a couple of months traveling through there and Newfoundland back in the early 1980's and had a lot of fun. Don't know about the no hand gun thing through - I like to shoot.

Off to town for dinner

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Lulu and I are celebrating Valentine's Day today so off to town for a nice dinner at our favorite restaurant.

Doing a couple shopping trips before we meet up.

No known cure - from Yahoo/Agence France-Presse:

Growers despair as disease ravages timeless olive groves of Italy
Italian olive grower Federico Manni is at the end of his tether.

"You see this one," he says, waving in the direction of a majestic but diseased olive tree on his property near Gallipoli on the Salento peninsula on Italy's heel.

"It is over one thousand years old. Fires and wars failed to kill it, but that's what xylella is doing."

Manni's wedding pictures were taken underneath this particular tree. And he is filled with dread at the prospect of its imminent demise at the hands of a bacterial infection thought to be behind an outbreak of dessication ravaging the olive groves of this fertile corner of southern Italy.

The extent of the problem:

The reason for Manni's despair is xylella fastidiosa, a deadly bacterial pathogen that has no known cure and, for reasons experts have so far been unable to explain, began infesting olive trees in Salento at the end of 2013.

More than a million trees, 10 percent of Salento's total, are estimated to have been infected in a region where abundant olive groves are synonomous with the timeless landscape.

And it gets worse:

What is clear is that the potential damage is huge: xylella does not harm humans but can kill over 200 types of plant, including fruit trees and grape vines. "It is an environmental disaster," says Manni.

Emphasis mine - its vector are various insects so hard to stop. It is found in the USA where it affects peaches. First spotted in Italy in 2013; arrived in France in 2015. More here and here.

Satan in drag

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Great editorial cartoon from Jake Fuller:

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A picture is worth 1,000 words

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Project Omote

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Very clever use of existing technology. Place fiducial markers on the face to track the features and then project video onto the face.

The Baltic Dry index

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I had written about it one month ago - January 15th, 2016 - when it dropped below 400

This is the cost to ship a volume of dry goods. Since these are generally the components for a finished product, it is a good measure of the demand for new goods. A good pulse of the world economy.

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It has now dropped below 300 - there is more here, and here. Interesting how everyone says the world's economy is fine but the underlying numbers do not show it.

The Rahn Curve and Pizza slices

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A two-fer:

First - I posted a chart from Dan Michell's website earlier today and have been poking around and liking what I see.

Here is Dan explaining the Rahn Curve - similar to the Laffer Curve but looking at government spending v/s GDP instead of taxation:

 

Good stuff!

Second - from Dan's website. This explains what happens when the rich are taxed and the money redistributed to the poor:

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A bit of a workplace accident

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From the London Daily Mail:

ISIS executioner 'is beheaded by SAS sniper's special bullet as he demonstrated how to decapitate prisoners'
A SAS sniper has beheaded an ISIS executioner with a single shot while the militant was teaching jihadis how to decapitate prisoners, it has been reported.

Some 20 Islamic fighters were taking part in the executioner's outdoor lesson when he was killed by the elite British soldier - hiding 4,000ft away and using specially-designed 'wounding' bullets.

A witness said the entire group of student jihadis then fled, deserting their cause after the ill fated training session at a small village in northern Syria.

A bit more:

The source said: 'One minute he was standing there and the next his head had exploded.

'The commander remained standing upright for a couple of seconds before collapsing and that’s when panic set in.

'He was an extremely sadistic and ruthless individual, feared by the locals and the jihadis alike.'

Talk about the finger of God - the sniper was 4,000 feet away - some good shooting.

The Bernie Sanders drinking game

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Each time he mentions getting something for free, you have to drink some other guy's beer.

Computer security in today's world

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There is a long post over at Musings from the Chiefio regarding the state of computer security.

It defies excerption, just go there and read. The take-away is that most of the devices we have in our networks have serious problems with backdoors and hidden passwords.

Just wonderful - Arabs looking for nukes

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From the UK Telegraph:

Arab states are seeking nuclear weapons to counter Iran, Israel warns
Israel has picked up signs of the beginning of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East as Arab states seek nuclear weapons to counter Iran, the Israeli defence minister has warned.

Moshe Ya'alon said Sunni Arab nations were not reassured by last year's nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers and were making their own preparations for nuclear weapons.

"We see signs that countries in the Arab world are preparing to acquire nuclear weapons, that they are not willing to sit quietly with Iran on brink of a nuclear or atomic bomb," Mr Ya'alon said.

Had Kerry shown a bit of spine during the negotiation, things would not have gotten so out of hand.

No leadership at all...

Drunken sailor

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Heh...

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About those 1%

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Many people are saying that the rich are to blame for the ills of civilization.

I prefer to look at free market capitalism versus crony capitalism.

This chart from Dan Mitchell sums it up perfectly:

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Not quite flood stage but really close

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Had a lot of rain last night - the river is almost at flood stage. The temps are high as with all atmospheric rivers so Mt Baker is not the powder heaven that it has been this winter but the weather is expected to cool somewhat by mid-week. The 30th Legendary Banked Slalom is this Thursday through the weekend. Should be a lot of fun.

Out for shower, coffee, pasteries and back home to work on some stuff.

And World War III starts heating up

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From Reuters:

Damascus says believes some Turkish forces entered Syria
The Syrian government says Turkish forces were believed to be among 100 gunmen it said entered Syria on Saturday accompanied by 12 pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, in an ongoing supply operation to insurgents fighting Damascus.

"The operation of supplying ammunition and weapons is continuing via the Bab al-Salama crossing to the Syrian area of Azaz," the Syrian foreign ministry said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council published by state news agency SANA.

It said the pick-up trucks were "accompanied by around 100 gunmen some of whom are believed to be Turkish forces and Turkish mercenaries".

The same letter also criticised Turkey for shelling areas of northern Syria. Azaz is north of Aleppo near the Turkish border.

The Saudis could shut this down in five minutes but they are not. Not many people know that it is Saudi money that is funding the building of tens of thousands of mosques around the world and the printing of radical muslim literature for these temples of indoctrination mosques. More here, here, and here.

As a reminder, Turkey has been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since 1952 - an organization to which neither Russia nor Syria belong. Under the bylaws, when one NATO nation is attacked, it is incumbent for the rest of the NATO nations to respond. This includes the USA and Canada. Russia was running on oil revenues - now that the price is a fraction of what it used to be, Putin is stirring the pot.

Yet another perfect example of the socialist/communist end-game - running out of the cheap money.

Hard rain's gonna fall

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The atmospheric river has arrived - it was nice and dry all day but now it is coming down.

National Weather Service has this little bit of joy:

Heavy rain is forecast along the west slopes of the cascades tonight through Tuesday morning as strong westerly winds steer a plume of moisture over western Washington. Snow levels will remain high and models show several inches of rain over this period possibly up to 5 to 7 inches. Rivers flowing off the west slopes of the cascades will see rises with river flooding possible.

Now this will be interesting to follow

No hard data yet but still... From GM Watch:

Argentine and Brazilian doctors name larvicide as potential cause of microcephaly
A report from the Argentine doctors’ organisation, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, challenges the theory that the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil is the cause of the increase in the birth defect microcephaly among newborns. 

The increase in this birth defect, in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head and often has brain damage, was quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. However, according to the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, the Ministry failed to recognise that in the area where most sick people live, a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen, is used in a State-controlled programme aimed at eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes.

The Physicians added that the Pyriproxyfen is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese "strategic partner" of Monsanto. Pyriproxyfen is a growth inhibitor of mosquito larvae, which alters the development process from larva to pupa to adult, thus generating malformations in developing mosquitoes and killing or disabling them. It acts as an insect juvenile hormone or juvenoid, and has the effect of inhibiting the development of adult insect characteristics (for example, wings and mature external genitalia) and reproductive development. It is an endocrine disruptor and is teratogenic (causes birth defects), according to the Physicians.

The Physicians commented: “Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added Pyriproxyfen to drinking water are not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on the Zika virus for this damage.”

They also noted that Zika has traditionally been held to be a relatively benign disease that has never before been associated with birth defects, even in areas where it infects 75% of the population.

Pretty damning... It will be interesting to see how Monsanto and Sumitomo react to these allegations. We are starting to see cases of Zika in the USA - any cases of microcephaly will toss this theory out on its ear. Successful gestations and births will give it a lot of weight.

I would expect nothing more

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Our President - always classy. From Breitbart:

White House Issues Statement in Reaction to Justice Scalia’s Death While Obama Golfs
President Obama was on the golf course this afternoon when the news broke that Justice Antonin Scalia had passed away.

He arrived at the renowned TPC Stadium Course golf course in La Quinta, California this afternoon at around noon pacific time with his three golfing partners Greg Orme, Bobby Titcomb, and Mike Ramos. The president’s golf games traditionally last 5-6 hours.

While he was on the course, the White House issued a statement from Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz.

And:

There was no movement away from the golf course, according to the White House Press traveling pool, which monitors the president’s movements.

What would it have taken to interrupt the game for a brief statement - this President has no class at all. Self-centered narcissist.

From Doug Ross:

TIME FOR SOME PAYBACK: In 2007, Chuckie Schumer Called For Blocking All Bush Supreme Court Nominations
During a Sunday morning appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer decried the intent of many Senate Republicans to prevent President Barack Obama from appointing the successor to deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

But less than a decade ago, Schumer advocated doing the same exact thing if any additional Supreme Court vacancies opened under former President George W. Bush.

More on Schumer's actions in this article in Politico from July 27, 2007:

Schumer to fight new Bush high court picks
New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush “except in extraordinary circumstances.”

Typical politician - wants it both ways and will squeal like a stuck pig when called on it...

Happy Valentine's Day

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Lulu - I love you with all my heart!

Just a couple more hours to go

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Are you prepared?

From Ghostbusters II

BOHICA

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BOHICA - kind of a nice Caribbean sound to the word.

It is actually an acronym for: Bend Over Here It Comes Again. We are in for rain and a lot of it.

Cliff Mass has a satellite image of what we can look forward to over the next couple of days:

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Holy Crap! Not surprisingly, the National Weather Service has issued a flood warning.

Time to batten down the hatches...

He seems to be actually growing a pair

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Mitch McConnell just surprised me - from The Washington Times:

Mitch McConnell rules out replacing Antonin Scalia until new president is elected
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that the Senate should wait until a new president is elected to confirm a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, whose sudden death Saturday shook Washington and threatened to reshape the 2016 presidential race.

Democrats said that with 11 months left in Mr. Obama’s tenure, the Senate has enough time — and indeed an obligation — to confirm a replacement.

Mr. Go-along-to-get-along seems to actually be standing up for his party and not caving to the power brokers. Good on him - I hope we see more of this.

From ABC News:

This article at The Federalist makes for some interesting reading: How Close Was Donald Trump To The Mob?

Crap - RIP Justice Antonin Scalia

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From My San Antonio:

Senior U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia found dead at West Texas ranch
Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas, federal officials said.

Scalia, 79, was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa.

According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.

Now Barry gets to pick another liberal - fortunately, with the number of Republicans in the Senate, the confirmation process will be more careful.

Cool technology for GPS location

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Technology just keeps getting better and better. From Gizmodo:

A New Technique Makes GPS Accurate to an Inch
GPS is an utterly pervasive and wonderful technology, but it’s increasingly not accurate enough for modern demands. Now a team of researchers can make it accurate right down to an inch.

Regular GPS registers your location and velocity by measuring the time it takes to receive signals from four or more satellites, that were sent into space by the military. Alone, it can tell you where you are to within 30 feet. More recently a technique called Differential GPS (DGPS) improved on that resolution by adding ground-based reference stations—increasing accuracy to within 3 feet.

Now, a team from the University of California, Riverside, has developed a technique that augments the regular GPS data with on-board inertial measurements from a sensor. Actually, that’s been tried before, but in the past it’s required large computers to combine the two data streams, rendering it ineffective for use in cars or mobile devices. Instead what the University of California team has done is create a set of new algorithms which, it claims, reduce the complexity of the calculation by several order of magnitude.

More here: Computationally Efficient Carrier Integer Ambiguity Resolution in Multiepoch GPS/INS: A Common-Position-Shift Approach

Minor nit - GPS does not work by measuring time of flight, it measures the doppler shift in the recieved signal.

Yikes - e-cigs not harmless after all

Nothing absolute yet but the preliminary does not look good. From arsTechnica:

E-cigs shut down hundreds of immune system genes—regular cigs don’t
It’s widely assumed that swapping cigarette puffing for vapor huffing is better for health—after all, electronic cigarettes that heat up and atomize a liquid concoction can skip all the hazards of combustion and smoke. But researchers are still scrambling to understand the health effects of e-cig use (aka vaping) and to track down the variable and undisclosed components of those vaporized mixtures. The most recent data hints at unexpected health effects unique to e-cig use.

After comparing genetic information swabbed from the noses of smokers, vapers, and non-users of both, researchers found that smoking suppresses the activity of 53 genes involved in the immune system. Vaping also suppressed those 53 immune genes—along with 305 others. The results were presented Friday at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington.

Though research on the significance of that gene suppression is still ongoing, the initial results suggest that e-cig users may have compromised immune responses, making them potentially more vulnerable to infections and diseases.

The abstract to the paper can be found here: New and Emerging Tobacco Products: Biomarkers of Exposure and Injury

More research is needed but still - a cautionairy tale...

A bit of excitement this morning

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A bus full of skiers overheated and caught fire as it was heading up Mt. Baker.

From the Bellingham Herald:

Skiers’ bus burns on Mount Baker Highway
A bus full of middle school-aged youths headed to the Mt. Baker Ski Area caught fire and burned near summit Saturday morning, Feb. 13.

A witness, Cameron Hamilton, 28, said he was driving up the Mount Baker Highway near the last big switchback before the ski area around 8:30 a.m. when he noticed traffic backing up. He rounded the corner to see flames shooting high into the air from a tour bus.

He saw about 40 to 50 middle school-age children had been evacuated from the bus.

Cameron took this photo - quite spectacular: 

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Bill Whittle on being

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Great essay - this guy is a national treasure:

Happy 207th birthday

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Charles Darwin was born on this day 207 years ago.

Great idea for an app

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From the Los Angeles Times:

Scientists develop new app that uses your cellphone to detect earthquakes
When the earth shakes in California, the first place you are likely to hear about it is on social media.

"Earthquake!" "Did you feel that?" "How big?" are common messages on Twitter and Facebook as Californians try to share information on their mobile phones in real time.

Now, UC Berkeley scientists are hoping to capture that sharing impulse in a massive science experiment: Using cellphones to detect earthquakes as soon as they start. They hope that by turning mobile phones into vast data collection points, they can quickly glean information about the quakes and warn those farther away from the epicenter that shaking is on the way.

A bit more:

Users who download the app will be sending data to scientists when an earthquake as small as a magnitude 5 hits.

By harvesting information from hundreds of phones closest to the earthquake, scientists will be able to test a computer system that could, in the future, dispatch early warnings that shaking is seconds or minutes away to people farther away from the earthquake’s origin. For instance, if a quake started in San Bernardino, cell phones there could register the quake and quickly help send warnings to smartphone users in Los Angeles.

“This is a citizen science project,” said Richard Allen, director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory at UC Berkeley. “This is an app that provides information, education, motivation — to the people who’ve downloaded it — to get ready for earthquakes. Those same people are contributing to our further understanding of earthquakes, because they’re collecting data that will help us better understand the earthquake process.”

A very clever idea - cell phones already have g-force and orientation sensors; a simple matter to tap into these and look for a specific kind of signal.

A new Ted Cruz video

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His videos are great - spot on and a single message strongly delivered:

Inspired by this classic scene from Office Space.

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A tip of the hat to Maggie's Farm for the image.

You might want to go back and re-watch Bill Whittle's video on the matter - the great stuff starts at 7:40 if you are pressed for time.

Also Jimmy Carter's wonderful endorsement of Ted Cruz.

Turned out to be a nice day for a change

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The rain let up around 2:00PM - started again this evening but it is just spitting and not serious precipitation.

River is now four times normal flow and no sign of letting up - we have an inversion with unseasonably warm temperatures at high elevations and this is causing a lot of snowmelt - what we know as Cascade Concrete.

Potential for flooding when the additional forecast rain comes Sunday and Monday:

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Did most of everything I needed to in town, went to the store, worked in the office there for a bit and then decided to go out for Mexican in a nearby town.

Surf for a bit and then to bed - long day tomorrow.

Rain rain go away

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Coming down heavy - the river is about three times normal flow. Same is forecast for the next couple of days.

Arrgggghhhh... This is getting old.

Heading out the door

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A shower at the apartment, coffee and pick up the Friday pastry order and then to town for some banking. Back this afternoon...

The refugees in Germany

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The million refugees in Germany have been highly vetted and all have a genuine compassionate need to escape the brutality in Syria.

The refugees in Germany are not trying to establish a caliphate in Germany.

From the Security Intelligence newsletter:

‘Islamic State Commander’ Found Living As Refugee In Rural German Village
In the latest of a series of raids, German police have searched two homes in a rural village after a television channel interviewed a suspected Islamic State commander living there as a refugee.

Sankt Johann is a small village in the south west German state, Rhineland-Palatinate. Something of a rural idyll, its 800 residents live between vineyards in the shadow of a 14th century Gothic church. And yet, as SPIEGEL TV reports, this weekend it was the scene of police raids on two Islamic State-linked suspects living in refugee housing.

But he really is a nice guy - just misunderstood:

They had identified him as a man called Bassam, a notorious commander said to be responsible for the deaths of dozens of people.

A 32-year-old man, he allegedly fought in the ranks of Islamic State fighters in the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor before leaving via Turkey to seek asylum in Germany. Starting his fighting career with rebel jihadists in Al Kasra, the man in question is understood to have joined Sunni Islamist militias fighting the Syrian Government as part of the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front, before graduating to the even more extreme Salafi jihadists of Islamic State.

His original ambition had been to be a suicide bomber, but his brother had used his position as a Sharia judge to secure him his officer’s role. In late summer last year Bassam was captured at a checkpoint north of Aleppo by Free Syrian Army soldiers following intelligence that he was fleeing to Turkey with tens of thousands of dollars in cash. For reasons unknown he was released after 20 days, with a memory card for a telephone holding masses of Islamic State propaganda but without his money.

Europe is signing its own death warrent by letting so many radicals into their cities. Again, the US and Canada should go over there to rescue the artwork before things get out of hand. This is serious...

Meet Tregoweth Edmond "Treg" Brown

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Treg Brown? Sound effects editor for Warner Brothers - Looney Tunes cartoons.

From 2004 - really nice documentary. Parts one and two:

And not to forget Carl Stalling - handled the orchestral side of things.

England gradually waking up

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Thank God! From the Express:

100,000 say NO to the EU: Poll says Britons wants Brexit vote
An online poll for Express.co.uk has now seen more than 100,000 people vote to end years of centrist control by Brussels and set Britain free to manage its own affairs.

Of 111,027 who have voted 102,144 – or 92 per cent – said they wanted Britain to end its membership of the 28-member bloc.

Just seven per cent said they wanted Britain to remain a member and one per cent was undecided.

The exclusive poll result follows disappointment at David Cameron’s attempts to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU - a deal which will see migrants still paid benefits, no return of control of our borders and no guarantee that Parliament will regain its sovereignty.

Coming to their senses finally. Multiculturalism is evil and it is dying. The Frankfurt School has done incalculable damage to the Western world and it needs to be tarred, feathered and driven into the river once and for all. Giving academics control over our daily life is the height of folly and will result in failure every single time.

Ted Cruz video - pulled

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Dang - it was a good video but it turns out that one of the actors had worked in the porn video industry for a while. Not exactly a role model.

She has found her faith and is now a conservative Christian but still...

Fortunately, a copy has been saved at the link above:

A fun meeting

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I like the emergency communications meetings because they stretch my mind - always learning new stuff.

We are participating in a National Field Day event this June and also in the Cascadia Rising earthquake drill (also in June - busy month!) so a lot of stuff to cover in a short period of time.

Off to town

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Got a WECG meeting tonight at 7:00PM so heading in a bit early to get some dinner.

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More on Al Sharpton not paying taxes from the New York Times: As Sharpton Rose, So Did His Unpaid Taxes

More on Bernie from Investor's Business Daily: Bernie Sanders, The Bum Who Wants Your Money

Another Ted Cruz advertisement

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Whomever is running his advertising is brilliant:

Talk about poor sitrep

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From Seattle station KOMO:

Driver T-bones moving Amtrak train in Burlington
Police say a woman drove around the crossing arms and T-boned a moving train Wednesday night in Burlington.

The woman was driving eastbound in the 400 block of Greenleaf Avenue at about 8:15 p.m. when she went around the railroad crossing arms and crashed into the side of an Amtrak train, according to Sgt. Kyle Spevacek with the Burlington Police Department.

The Amtrak engineer didn't initially realize the train had been hit and continued on roughly 30 miles before he noticed a part of the woman's car stuck in the side of the engine. The train finally stopped near Marysville to be inspected.

Police say the car was totalled in the crash, but the driver didn't appear to be seriously injured. Officers found her walking several blocks away and drove her to a nearby hospital to get checked out.

Spevacek said police plan on serving a search warrant at the hospital for a blood draw to determine if the woman was impaired at the time of the crash.

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I am betting that the blood draw will show something. Geeeezzz - not noticing a moving train especially after driving around the barrier arms.

From Caltech's website:

Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years After Einstein's Prediction
For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

The gravitational waves were detected on September 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (09:51 UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA. The LIGO Observatories are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and were conceived, built, and are operated by Caltech and MIT. The discovery, accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters, was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (which includes the GEO Collaboration and the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy) and the Virgo Collaboration using data from the two LIGO detectors.

Based on the observed signals, LIGO scientists estimate that the black holes for this event were about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun, and the event took place 1.3 billion years ago. About 3 times the mass of the sun was converted into gravitational waves in a fraction of a second—with a peak power output about 50 times that of the whole visible universe. By looking at the time of arrival of the signals—the detector in Livingston recorded the event 7 milliseconds before the detector in Hanford—scientists can say that the source was located in the Southern Hemisphere.

According to general relativity, a pair of black holes orbiting around each other lose energy through the emission of gravitational waves, causing them to gradually approach each other over billions of years, and then much more quickly in the final minutes. During the final fraction of a second, the two black holes collide into each other at nearly one-half the speed of light and form a single more massive black hole, converting a portion of the combined black holes’ mass to energy, according to Einstein’s formula E=mc2. This energy is emitted as a final strong burst of gravitational waves. It is these gravitational waves that LIGO has observed.

Very cool - might have to do a road trip out to the Hanford, WA detector.

It is easy to run several different applications simultaneously on a computer - this is especially true with servers. One server can host multiple email accounts and web sites.

It seems that Hillary's server was doing this - from FOX News:

Official: Top Clinton aides also handled ‘top secret’ intel on server
At least a dozen email accounts handled the “top secret” intelligence that was found on Hillary Clinton’s server and recently deemed too damaging for national security to release, a U.S. government official close to the review told Fox News. 

The official said the accounts include not only Clinton’s but those of top aides – including Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines – as well as State Department Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy and others.  There is no public evidence they were authorized to receive the intelligence some of which was beyond Top Secret.

A second source not authorized to speak on the record said the number of accounts involved could be as high as 30 and reflects how the intelligence was broadly shared, replied to, and copied to individuals using the unsecured server.

“My contacts with former colleagues and current active duty personnel involved in sensitive programs reveal a universal feeling that the HRC issue is more serious than the general public realizes,”  Dan Maguire,  a former strategic  planner with Africom, and with 46 years combined service, told Fox.  “Most opine they would already be behind bars if they had apparently compromised sensitive information as reported.”

A bit more:

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey told Fox, “It is counterintuitive to suggest that they (Clinton’s aides) all had authorization and access through a non-secure server to information of that sensitivity.” 

The State Department recently confirmed that the messages in question include the most sensitive kind of intelligence. On Jan. 29, Fox News first reported that some emails on Clinton’s server were too damaging to release in any form. The State Department subsequently announced that 22 “top secret” emails were being withheld in full; these were the messages being handled by more than a dozen accounts.

The downside with having many accounts on one server is that if someone is able to hack into the core level of the server (gaining root access), all of the accounts are visible. We know that the Russians and the Chinese had access - how much more did they get beyond Hillary's emails.

A day at the farm

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Waiting for the well people to show up.

Heading out for coffee and then back home.

Meeting of my emergency radio communications group later tonight.

Another day at the office

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From New Zealand - the subject is a nest of non-native invasive wasps. From the Video:

This is a video of me digging an invasive German wasp (Vespula germanica) nest for my research. I have many years of experience and use specialized equipment to do this and still get the odd sting, so please don't try to dig an active nest yourself! as you can see from the copious amount of venom on the camera lens, these wasps meant business.

Here is a website explaining more: New Zealand Department of Conservation

I totally appreciate the desire and need to study and the extracted nest is gorgeous but the greater part of me is screaming out to nuke it from high orbit.

Carl Bernstein on Hillary

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From The Daily Caller:

Watergate Reporter: ‘Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy’ Didn’t Put Hillary’s Server ‘In Her Damn Closet’
Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein called out Hillary Clinton on Wednesday for continually blaming a “vast right-wing conspiracy” for her campaign woes.

“I think she has to acknowledge she’s made some terrible misjudgments and errors, particularly on the server,” Bernstein said during an interview on CNN.

“The vast right-wing conspiracy didn’t put the server in her damn closet. She’s going to have to get by this thing, and she’s going to have to acknowledge a terrible misjudgment it seems to be here.”

Bernstein, who gained fame after breaking the Watergate story with fellow Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, said that Clinton’s massive loss to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary was a testament to the low levels of trust voters have in her.

Heh - when you lose people like Bernstein, you have lost the race. Don't let the door hit 'ya where the good Lord split 'ya...

Hillary and Bernie

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Hey - remember waterbeds?

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I had one when I was a student in Boston - loved it. From Mental Floss:

What Ever Happened To Waterbeds?
For kids and adults alike, waterbeds used to be the coolest—until suddenly they weren’t. After a heyday in the late 1980s in which nearly one out of every four mattresses sold was a waterbed mattress, the industry dried up in the 1990s, leaving behind a sense of unfilled promise and thousands upon thousands of unsold vinyl shells. Today, waterbeds make up only a very small fraction of overall bed and mattress sales. Many home furnishing retailers won’t sell them, and some that do say it’s been years since they last closed a deal.

So what happened? Although they were most popular in that decade of boomboxes and acid-washed jeans, waterbeds had been gaining steam since the late 1960s, and in retrospect seem to have more substance to them than other notorious fads. How did our enthusiasm for sleeping atop gallons and gallons of all-natural H2O drain away so quickly?

Lots more at the site including some wonderfully cheezy advertisements from the 1980's. The article also goes into the history which dates back quite a long time.

A real mystery - single human feet

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From Seattle station KOMO:

Hiker finds another mystery foot on Vancouver Island beach
British Columbia's coroners' service has confirmed that a foot discovered recently on a Vancouver Island shoreline is in fact human.

A hiker exploring Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew on Sunday afternoon came across a running shoe containing a human foot in a sock.

B.C. Coroners Service spokeswoman Barb McLintock says an investigation is under way to determine whose foot it is and the cause of death.

She says so far there is no suspicion of foul play.

This is the 13th foot found washed up on the British Columbia coast since 2007. McLintock says of the 12 previous instances, coroners have been able to identify 10 of the feet, belonging to seven people. Most of the feet were from men, but at least one of them was a woman's foot.

Several other human feet have also been found on beaches along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound in Western Washington.

For some unexplained reason, almost all of the feet discovered so far have been right feet.

A very sick person out there - this has been going on for the last eight years. With such a fixed M.O. I am surprised that nobody has been caught yet.

Long day

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Went into town to do some banking and to get some cartons from a storage locker and take them to my Mom and Dad's condo to sort through. My Mom was a bit of a hoarder so there is a lot of really great stuff mixed in with abject trash. One example - she saved the utility bills and bank statements but also the blow-in advertising and the empty envelopes - in the same box I also found some stock certificates.

It has been five years since my Dad passed so it is time to start ploughing through the crap and not spending money on two storage lockers ($4,200/year for both)

Had a BERT meeting tonight - only six people in attendance. People really like the idea of what we are doing but getting them to commit to a monthly meeting is like pulling teeth. We are going to be doing a lot of outreach this spring so see what happens - it is not IF, it is WHEN...

I am not surprised. This is a video from a German Refugee camp - a walk-through after lunch:

Feral idiots - they think that their culture is superior and they will do nothing to learn other cultures. Meanwhile, the left bends over backwards to accommodate their barbarity.

A good dose of Islamic occupation is what may well be needed to wake the European and American left  up to the reality of the world. These are a bunch of 9th century thugs worshiping a false prophet. They will not assimilate. They will not contribute to society, art or culture.

How many Muslim Nobel Prize winners are there? Twelve. Eight peace, two literature and one each Chemistry and Physics.

How many Jewish Nobel Prize winners are there? Go here and scroll and scroll and scroll. Hundreds.

Again, I think that we (as Americans and Canadians) need to go over there and retrieve the art collections from Europe for safekeeping. It is going to get darker before the dawn...

Sometimes the good guys win one

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From FOX News:

Supreme Court puts Obama's power plant regs on hold
A divided Supreme Court on Tuesday abruptly halted President Obama's controversial new power plant regulations, dealing a blow to the administration's sweeping plan to address global warming.

In a 5-4 decision, the court halted enforcement of the plan until after legal challenges are resolved.

This would have forced states to cut power plant CO2 emissions by one third by 2030 - something that would cost billions to implement. But of course, nobody wants to back nuclear.

Heh - latest Ted Cruz advertisement

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He has some good media people working for his campaign:

Star Wars

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It was getting close to being pulled from the IMAX theater so Lulu and I went in to see it today.

Just wonderful - they were very respectful of the original canon and it was great to see the Millennium Falcon take to the skies once again.

It was a lot of fun to see Andy Serkis playing the role of Supreme Leader Snoke - he really brings these characters to life. His portrayal of Gollum was the first digital character that I saw actually acting.

Also very happy to see a new Alice in Wonderland coming out soon with the same cast. The 2010 movie was a delight and they NAILED the Cheshire Cat.

Had a nice dinner at Luna's Bistro - the food was excellent.

Oh hell no - the EPA overextends itself

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From SEMA:

EPA SEEKS TO PROHIBIT CONVERSION OF VEHICLES INTO RACECARS
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a regulation to prohibit conversion of vehicles originally designed for on-road use into racecars. The regulation would also make the sale of certain products for use on such vehicles illegal. The proposed regulation was contained within a non-related proposed regulation entitled “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles—Phase 2.”

The regulation would impact all vehicle types, including the sports cars, sedans and hatch-backs commonly converted strictly for use at the track. While the Clean Air Act prohibits certain modifications to motor vehicles, it is clear that vehicles built or modified for racing, and not used on the streets, are not the “motor vehicles” that Congress intended to regulate.

“This proposed regulation represents overreaching by the agency, runs contrary to the law and defies decades of racing activity where EPA has acknowledged and allowed conversion of vehicles,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Congress did not intend the original Clean Air Act to extend to vehicles modified for racing and has re-enforced that intent on more than one occasion.”

SEMA?

SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, represents the $36 billion specialty automotive industry of 6,633 member-companies. It is the authoritative source for research, data, trends and market growth information for the specialty auto parts industry.

The standoff in Malheur County

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I avoided posting about it because the signal to noise ratio was so bad. Now the facts are starting to leak out - some of them posted in full public view.

The primary issue was using Federal lands for grazing cattle. From the Bureau of Land Management website:

Uranium on BLM-Administered Lands in OR/WA
In September 2011, a representative from Oregon Energy, L.L.C. (formally Uranium One), met with local citizens, and county and state officials, to discuss the possibility of opening a uranium oxide ("yellowcake") mine in southern Malheur County in southeastern Oregon. Oregon Energy is interested in developing a 17-Claim parcel of land known as the Aurora Project through an open pit mining method. Besides the mine, there would be a mill for processing. The claim area occupies about 450 acres and is also referred to as the "New U" uranium claims.

Emphasis mine - Uranium One is the company that was purchased by Russia - Russia now owns 20% of the United States Uranium production. The person who brokered the deal? Hillary after a $2.35 million donation to the Clinton Foundation. The New York Times wrote about it on April 23, 2015

More at Bloomberg and Russian news agency TASS

The other shoe drops - Hillary

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The FBI finally confirmed that they are investigating Hillary's email server - from MSNBC:

FBI formally confirms its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server
In a letter disclosed Monday in a federal court filing, the FBI confirms one of the world’s worst-kept secrets: It is looking into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Why say this at all, since it was widely known to be true?  Because in August in response to a judge’s direction, the State Department asked the FBI for information about what it was up to.  Sorry, the FBI said at the time, we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation.

Now, in a letter dated February 2 and filed in court Monday, the FBI’s general counsel, James Baker, notes that in public statements and congressional testimony, the FBI “has acknowledged generally that it is working on matters related to former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server.”

She really needs to go to jail for this breach - the Russians and Chinese had access to her email all the time she was Secretary of State.

Interesting software development

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New Software Can Actually Edit Actors' Facial Expressions
Shooting a scene in a movie can necessitate dozens of takes, sometimes more. In Gone Girl, director David Fincher was said to average 50 takes per scene. For The Social Network actors Rooney Mara and Jesse Eisenberg acted the opening scene 99 times (directed by Fincher again; apparently he’s notorious for this). Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining involved 127 takes of the infamous scene where Wendy backs up the stairs swinging a baseball bat at Jack, widely considered the most takes per scene of any film in history.

A new software, from Disney Research in conjunction with the University of Surrey, may help cut down on the number of takes necessary, thereby saving time and money. FaceDirector blends images from several takes, making it possible to edit precise emotions onto actors’ faces.

There is a seven video demonstrating this application:

Interesting - heading towards the uncanny valley

Percussive disassembly

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From Bayou Renaissance Man:

Boys and their highly explosive toys
This is what happens when a 1998 Nissan Maxima is loaded with 49 pounds of Tannerite and detonated with a bullet.

Nice shooting too...

A better mousetrap

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From the University of Reading - Museum of English Rural Life.

155-year old mouse trap claims its latest victim
After logging onto their computers today, staff here at the MERL were greeted by an unusual email from the Assistant Curator:

‘There appears to be a dead mouse in this mousetrap…’

It began.

‘…which is not described as being there on the database.’

So, this retired rodent had managed to sneak past University of Reading security, exterior doors and Museum staff,  and clambered its way up into our Store. Upon finding itself there it would have found the promised land; a mouse paradise laid before it full of straw, wood and textiles. Then, out of thousands of objects, it chose for its home the very thing designed to kill it some 150 years ago: a mouse trap.

The trap itself was not baited, but this did not stop our mouse from wriggling inside and, finding itself trapped, meet its demise. The trap was manufactured by Colin Pullinger & Sons of Silsey, West Sussex and although we don’t know the exact date this one was made, the trap itself was patented in 1861. It is a multi-catch trap with a see-saw mechanism, and you can see its object record here. It is known as a ‘Perpetual Mouse Trap’ and proudly declares that it ‘will last a lifetime’. How apt.

Much more at the site including a diagram of the mouse trap. Brilliant design. One of the comments to this post is as follows:

Colin Pullinger was my Great,Great Grandfather. Have 2 business cards of his showing all the things he did,plus all his legal documents relating to land acquisitions etc,all on parchment. There is a blue plaque to him in Selsey. He was at the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park,1851, and sold 1.5 million traps worldwide! My Grandad,his grandson,went to Upper Norwood to watch the Crystal Palace burn down in 1936. My Dad watched from his bedroom window. My Dad is thrilled the mousetrap still does its job after all this time!!

Just wow!

More here: How a mouse died in our Victorian mouse trap

Buy Me Once

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Great little website - they list items that are either so well made they do not wear out or items that have a zero-quibble lifetime guarantee. Some items cannot meet these standards (a toothbrush) but they are listed because they are sustainably and well made.

Prices to match but really nice stuff - check out Buy Me Once

The meeting segued into a Chamber board meeting and after about ten minutes, I raised my hand and asked the President if I really needed to be there - they just needed a couple member votes for a quorum on two by-law amendments.

I was told no and a couple of us scurried for the door - Chamber meetings are run well but there is a lot to cover and they can run longish.

Went out to Crav'n and had two pints of Kulshan Irish Red and read for a bit. Home again.

Got the Chamber meeting in 20 minutes - they want to change some of the by-laws and need a quorum of members. For such a small community, there is a lot going on.

Gorgeous spring day today - in town it got up to 57, will have to check the weather station at home. Only 33 days until Daylight Savings takes effect.

The usual activities

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Took care of the critters, running out for coffee and to pick up the pasteries for the store.

Pay some bills, make some phone calls.

Working at the house and then in town (bringing some work tables to my Mom and Dad's condo - time to start sorting out all their stuff), back for a 6:00PM meeting with our local Chamber of Commerce.

They had Youtube take down Lady Gaga's stunning rendition of the National Anthem.

Talk about being a Dik Hayd...

Here is a different video - missing the first 20 seconds and crappy quality but it still packs the same emotional punch. Great stuff!

Streisand Effect? Here. Now we know not to buy anything associated with Dik Hayd...

The Superbowl commercials

I did not watch the game today - in town, in a meeting and on the air.

Fortunately, Rolling Stone compiled all twenty commercials on to one page.

Link here: Watch 20 Leaked Super Bowl Commercials Before the Big Game

Some Superbowl fun

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Our Sunday Net has about 70 people on its roster - we check in and practice passing traffic and such. Generally about 80% of the roster is on the air.

Tonight it was more like 30% - wonder why? Go Broncos!!!

News you can use - Ham Radio

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From Southgate Amateur Radio News:

Earthquake in Taiwan
An earthquake measuring 6.4 has hit Taiwan, and caused buildings to collapse.

HARTS (Hong Kong Amateur Radio Transmitting Society) has received a weak voice signal from the CTARL Taiwan (Chinese Taipei Amateur Radio League) that asks that the following frequencies be kept clear.

HF frequencies used in Taiwan are voice: Main is 7.060 MHz with backup 7.050 MHz and 3.560 MHz. Short range frequencies are on VHF and UHF.

At least four buildings have collapsed in the south of the island.
Dozens of residents are reported to be trapped in the city of Tainan, those houses nearly two million people.

So often, amateur radio is the only method of communication after a disaster. Even in a place with decent infrastructure such as New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, with the power out, cell service only lasted for as long as the fuel for the towers backup generators - one day to three days. Ham Radio can operate off a car battery, solar panels or a small generator. During the horrible quake in Nepal, the first communications out of that Nation were through nine ham radio stations.

It is not if, it is when...

Off to the Water Board meeting.

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Meeting and then Ham Radio net for these people: WECG

Got a bite to eat in town - had a lot of stuff to take to the recycler...

From the Toronto Sun:

Trudeau's mission impossible
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers meet next month to develop a national strategy for fighting climate change an all-powerful force will defeat them. It’s called math.

That’s because the math applies no matter how many times Trudeau and the premiers tell us how great it is that they are all meeting and talking about climate change.

It’s also because you can’t change the math, no matter how many press releases you release, or speeches you give, or how many joint press conferences you hold.

Simply, put, when it comes to reducing industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to climate change, the numbers don’t lie. They can’t be fudged, or avoided. Here’s why.

Much more at the site but here are some of the inconvenient truths:

Reducing our emissions by 127 Mt would mean the equivalent of shutting down all of Canada’s electricity sector (85 Mt) plus half of the building sector (43 Mt), in less than five years.

Achieving the mid-level reduction of a 146 Mt reduction would mean shutting down the equivalent of Canada’s agriculture sector (75 Mt) and most of our emission-intensive and trade-exposed industries (76 Mt), in less than five years.

Achieving the high-level reduction scenario of 168 Mt would mean shutting down the equivalent of Canada’s entire transportation sector (170 Mt), in less than five years.

The idea any of this is going to happen is absurd.

Another example of Liberals pursuing the narrative instead of the data. Doesn't work.

Japan said that if the path of the missle crossed Japanese territory that they would shoot it down. It did. They didn't

From Reuters/Yahoo:

Japan did not try to shoot down North Korean rocket: NHK
Japan did not take action to shoot down a rocket launched by North Korea on Sunday, though it flew over Japan's southern Okinawa prefecture, public broadcaster NHK said.

North Korea launched the long-range rocket carrying what it has said is a satellite, South Korea's defense ministry said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that the launch of the "missile" was unacceptable.

I am sure we will find out more in the weeks to follow.

She sung our National Anthem today for Superbowl 50 and just nailed it:

Nothing much to report

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Got the critters fed and happy, heading out for coffee and then a quick run into town.

Water Board meeting at 6:00PM tonight and then a ham radio emergency communications net at 7:00PM

Another domestic terrorist

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From NBC News:

Michigan ISIS Supporter 'Tried to Shoot Up' 6,000-Member Church, FBI Says
Federal authorities have arrested a Michigan man they say is an ISIS supporter who wanted to carry out an attack on a 6,000-member Detroit church.

Khalil Abu-Rayyan, 21, of Dearborn Heights, allegedly had guns and a large knife and told an undercover FBI agent that he "tried to shoot up a church one day."

The good news:

But according to authorities, he said his plan was foiled when Abu-Rayyan's father discovered his gun, ammunition, and a mask he was going to wear before he could carry out the attack.

The guy is a real turd:

"Honestly I regret not doing it. If I can't do jihad in the Middle East, I would do my jihad over here," he allegedly said.

He also had armed himself with a knife and told the undercover agent, "It is my dream to behead someone," authorities said.

And of course, when he goes to prison, he will become even more radicalized. These people are a pox on civilization.

Great quote re: Bernie Sanders

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From Jerry Pournelle's website - just an excerpt:

I recently listened to a Bernie Sanders stump speech and found myself surprised. I agree with him on the problem: The US middle class has been under prolonged attack, is already seriously damaged, and it’s only getting worse. (Mind, the moment Sanders started proposing solutions, I was reminded of H.L.Mencken:
For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong”.)

Words to remember

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The Reverend Hale was quite an interesting person - here, and here

Curious happenings in Japan

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From The Asahi Shimbun:

Taxi drivers report 'ghost passengers' in area devastated in 2011 tsunami
In early summer 2011, a taxi driver working in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, which had been devastated by the tsunami a few months earlier, had a mysterious encounter.

A woman who was wearing a coat climbed in his cab near Ishinomaki Station. The woman directed him, “Please go to the Minamihama (district).” The driver, in his 50s, asked her, “The area is almost empty. Is it OK?” Then, the woman said in a shivering voice, “Have I died?”

Surprised at the question, the driver looked back at the rear seat. No one was there.

A Tohoku Gakuin University senior majoring in sociology included the encounter in her graduation thesis, in which seven taxi drivers reported carrying "ghost passengers" following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Yuka Kudo, 22, went to Ishinomaki every week in her junior year to interview taxi drivers waiting for fares. She asked them, “Did you have any unusual experiences after the disaster?”

She asked the question to more than 100 drivers, and many ignored her. Some became angry. However, seven drivers recounted their mysterious experiences to her.

And the drivers reactions:

What impressed Kudo was that the drivers did not have any fear toward their ghost passengers, but held them in reverence. They regarded the encounters as important experiences to be cherished.

The taxi drivers were feeling the daily sorrow of residents in Ishinomaki where many people were killed by the tsunami. One said that he lost a family member in the disaster.

Another said, “It is not strange to see a ghost (here). If I encounter a ghost again, I will accept it as my passenger.”

So many things that we do not know - things that float past us without our ever being aware of them.

Meet Nora

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Cute factor off the charts:

Nora lives at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio.

Awwwww... Readers will know that I really love bears - would love to get a bear cub as a pet.

What a wonderful idea

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Don't know if they will actually go through with it - this is going to be really expensive but... From gCaptain:

SS United States: Crystal Cruises Planning Return of Historic Transatlantic Liner
A major development today in the ongoing saga to save the SS United States from a trip the scrapyard.

Los Angeles-based Crystal Cruises says it has signed a purchase option for the historic – yet weathered – transatlantic steam ship with the plan to refurbish the vessel and return it to oceangoing service as a modern luxury cruise ship.

The announcement was made Thursday by Crystal Cruises together with the SS United States Conservancy preservation group at a press conference at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in New York City.

About her:

The SS United States was launched in 1952 for United States Lines at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. The ship quickly made a name for itself, capturing the transatlantic speed record on her maiden voyage – a record that still holds to this day. Not only was the vessel designed for luxurious transatlantic service, the steam ship was built so that it could easily be re-purposed into a naval troop transport in the event of a war, with the ability to carry 15,000 troops and a 240,000 shaft horsepower propulsion plant capable of traveling 10,000 nautical miles without refueling.

A very beautiful ship - she deserves to be returned to service.

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For the alt.energy files

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The L.A. Gas leak gets even better

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There is a very large natural gas leak near Los Angeles - I had written about it last December

It turns out that there is another dimension to this catastrophe - from Tyler Durden writing at Zero Hedge

"Fukushima Class Disaster" - L.A. Gas Leak Spewing Lethal Levels Of Breathable Nuclear Material
In a breaking development that has been completely ignored by mainstream news sources, the leaking natural gas well near Los Angeles, California is now reportedly spewing lethal levels of radioactive material, according to a report from Steve Quayle and a group with expertise in nuclear material.

A leaking natural gas well outside Los Angeles is spewing so much naturally-occurring Uranium and Radon, that “breathable” radiation levels have hit “lethal levels” according to a Nuclear Expert group.

Hal Turner of Super Station 95 reports that the well is releasing 1.91 Curies (Ci) of radiation per hour.

This rogue well is spewing huge amounts of natural gas and about 1.91 curies an hour of natural radioactive material in the natural gas… 1.91 curies an hour is about 45.9 curies per day… It’s a really, really big leak.

And this wonderful little bit of information:

In short, the leak is massive and researchers at UC Davis have indicated that they have never encountered as much methane in the air as they have over suburban Los Angeles in recent months.

While resident complaints of feeling ill, vomiting and nausea have been chalked off by officials as the result of breathing in the natural gas, it is quite possible and increasingly likely that what they are experiencing is actually radiation poisoning.

Where is the EPA on this? This is what they should be doing, not taking over people's water and ruining rivers.

Just wonderful - North Korea

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From the Yonhap News Agency:

Satellite imagery shows fuel tanker trucks at N. Korea's rocket launch pad
Recent satellite imagery shows the arrival of tanker trucks at the launch pad of North Korea's rocket site in an indication that the communist nation is forging ahead with a planned rocket launch, a North Korea-monitoring website said Friday.

The imagery taken of the North's Sohae or Dongchang-ri site on Wednesday and Thursday showed the tanker trucks at the old fuel and oxidizer bunkers, 38 North said in a report, adding that the trucks' presence more likely indicates the filling of tanks within the bunkers than the fueling of the rocket.

"In the past, such activity has occurred one to two weeks prior to a launch event and would be consistent with North Korea's announced launch window," 38 North said.

North Korea has informed international organizations it will launch an earth observation satellite between Feb. 8-25, confirming widespread concern it is readying for a banned long-range rocket launch just weeks after its fourth nuclear test.

The North has long argued its rocket launches are aimed at putting satellites into orbit, claiming it has the right to the peaceful use of space. But Pyongyang is banned from such launches under U.N. Security Council resolutions as it has been accused of using them as a cover for testing intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Nobody here but us chickens - just launching a peaceful satellite. It is good that Japan has declared their intent of shooting down this missile if it ventures near their nation. One of these days Lil' Kim will go to far.

A late start to the day

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All the lights came on at 2:00AM this morning when the power was restored. Couldn't get back to sleep for a couple hours and just woke up.

Out for coffee and working at the house today...

Supposed to be nice weather for the next couple of days - big high pressure ridge settling over the area tomorrow.

Finally...

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Lost electrical power around 3:00PM - just got it back.

Joys of country living...

From 2013

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Prescient... From the reboot of England's TV show: Yes, Prime Minister

Seriously - WTF???

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From the White House:

FACT SHEET: President Obama’s 21st Century Clean Transportation System

Boy oh boy - more pork for the 1%!!!

As President Obama has repeatedly said, “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” At the same time, the President has made clear that taking steps to reduce carbon pollution presents an enormous opportunity to strengthen the economy, drive innovation, and create new jobs.

Bullcrap - you are talking about anthropogenic (human caused) global warming and this has been shown to be fallacious. When the evidence of this became widely known, you changed the subject to climate change. Hey Barry - the climate changes constantly - that is what it does - right now, temperatures have been stationairy and cooling for the last eighteen years and there is every indication that we are headed for another mini Ice Age.

A key step in that effort is making smart and strategic investments to create a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system. Today, our transportation sector accounts for 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. A new approach to our transportation system can help to speed goods to market, expand transportation options, and integrate new technologies like autonomous – or self-driving – vehicles while at the same time reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, cutting carbon pollution, and strengthening our resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Here comes the pork. Big companies contribute to the Democratic party and the Democratic party gives large subsidies to the big companies. Crony capitalism and We the People are left with a big sucking hole in our wallets and really stupidly designed products being forced down our throats.

The money quote:

That is why we are proposing to fund these investments through a new $10 per barrel fee on oil paid by oil companies, which would be gradually phased in over five years.

That is really going to help our economy recover. Is there anyone in Washington D.C. with a functioning brain? I mean really... Bueller?

A canonical list

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Great fun - from BuzzFeed:

24 Things You’ll Find In Every Hipster Restaurant

1. A name that doesn’t give any clues about the type of food they actually serve.
2. A hilarious sign outside for people to Instagram.
3. Exposed red brickwork.
4. Tables that were never meant to be tables.
5. Uncomfortable chairs.

Nineteen more at the link - each thing comes with photo and brief amplification.

Too true...

Back home again

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Went to the doctors for a fasting blood draw this morning - now that I am on Medicare, we are doing a complete physical over the next couple months. Both of my parents lived nice long active lives and I am healthier than they were but still... Check it out and nip anything in the bud.

Had breakfast as I was starving - not able to eat dinner the night before. Then coffee - sweet sweet coffee - nectar of the gods!

Back home to work on some stuff and then out to dinner - tried a new restaurant and was kinda disappointed. One of these places that tries to do too many things.

Home now - fed the critters and spending the next hour or two with a glasss of wine and the intartubes...

From Iowa's The Des Moines Register:

Editorial: Something smells in the Democratic Party
Once again the world is laughing at Iowa. Late-night comedians and social media mavens are having a field day with jokes about missing caucus goers and coin flips.

That’s fine. We can take ribbing over our quirky process. But what we can’t stomach is even the whiff of impropriety or error.

What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy.

The Iowa Democratic Party must act quickly to assure the accuracy of the caucus results, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

First of all, the results were too close not to do a complete audit of results. Two-tenths of 1 percent separated Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. A caucus should not be confused with an election, but it’s worth noting that much larger margins trigger automatic recounts in other states.

The Democrats always cheat on votes. In 2008 when Obama was elected, there were precincts that returned 100% votes for Obama and some others that returned greater than 100% of voter turnout. The outcry?

 * * * crickets * * *

And then, there is this - from Breitbart:

Microsoft’s Iowa Vote-Count A Dry Run for Bigger Corporate Role In U.S. Election Process
The use of Microsoft’s vote-counting technology in Monday’s Iowa Caucus may foreshadow a future in which corporate technology plays a central role in U.S. elections, raising concerns about the possibility of private firms skewing the democratic process.

In a disclosure largely unreported by the news media last year, President Obama’s Special Commission on Election Reform recommended that commercial software and computers, such as iPads, be used to accurately record and count Americans’ votes — even though companies’ financial interests can be helped or hurt by the outcome of those elections.

Following election issues that plagued the Iowa Caucus in the 2012 presidential race, Microsoft partnered with the technology firm InterKnowlogy as well as the Democratic and Republican parties to develop and deploy an electronic reporting system used in the caucus on Monday. But now questions have been raised as to the effectiveness of the Microsoft volunteer effort.

This opens up a whole can of worms. One or two people could skew the data - who holds these corporations accountable?

Flint Michigan in one image

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From Investor's Business Daily:

Minimum Wages Surged In 6 Cities Last Year; Then This Happened
Hiring at restaurants, hotels and other leisure and hospitality sector venues slowed markedly last year in metro areas that saw big minimum-wage hikes, new Labor Department data show.

Wherever cities implemented big minimum-wage hikes to $10 an hour or more last year, the latest data through December show that job creation downshifted to the slowest pace in at least five years.

Liberals fighting for a dramatic increase in the minimum wage have insisted that there would be a negligible impact on job creation. Though the data are preliminary and overly broad, Washington D.C., Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago seem to be finding out that the reality isn’t so benign.

A lot more at the site - what is it that makes people ignore the simple economics of free-market capitalism.

Tip of the hat to Small Dead Animals for the link.

An elegant solution to gun control

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From an email:

    • In 1865, a Democrat shot and killed Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States.
    • In 1881, a left wing radical Democrat shot James Garfield, President of the United States - who later died from the wound.
    • In 1963, a radical left wing socialist shot and killed John F. Kennedy, President of the United States.
    • In 1975, a left wing radical Democrat fired shots at Gerald Ford, President of the United States.
    • In 1983, a registered Democrat shot and wounded Ronald Reagan, President of the United States.
    • In 1984, James Hubert, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 22 people in a McDonalds restaurant.
    • In 1986, Patrick Sherrill, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 15 people in an Oklahoma post office.
    • In 1990, James Pough, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 10 people at a GMAC office.
    • In 1991, George Hennard, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 23 people in a Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, TX.
    • In 1995, James Daniel Simpson, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 5 coworkers in a Texas laboratory.
    • In 1999, Larry Asbrook, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 8 people at a church service.
    • In 2001, a left wing radical Democrat fired shots at the White House in a failed attempt to kill George W. Bush, President of the US.
    • In 2003, Douglas Williams, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 7 people at a Lockheed Martin plant.
    • In 2007, a registered Democrat named Seung - Hui Cho, shot and killed 32 people in Virginia Tech.
    • In 2010, a mentally ill registered Democrat named Jared Lee Loughner, shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed 6 others.
    • In 2011, a registered Democrat named James Holmes, went into a movie theater and shot and killed 12 people.
    • In 2012, Andrew Engeldinger, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 7 people in Minneapolis.
    • In 2013, a registered Democrat named Adam Lanza, shot and killed 26 people in a school in Newtown, CT.
    • As recently as Sept 2013, an angry Democrat shot 12 at a Navy ship yard.

Clearly, there is a problem with Democrats and guns.

Not one NRA member, Tea Party member, or Republican conservative was involved in any of these shootings and murders.

SOLUTION:

It should be illegal for Democrats to own guns.
We don't need gun control, we need Democrat control.
Guns don't kill people, Democrats do!

From the Washington Examiner:

Border agent: 'We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether'
In a shocking reversal of policy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are being told to release illegal immigrants and no longer order them to appear at deportation hearings, essentially a license to stay in the United States, a key agent testified Thursday.

What's more, the stand down order includes a requirement that the whereabouts of illegals released are not to be tracked.

"We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether," suggested agent Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council.

A bit more:

"The willful failure to show up for court appearances by persons that were arrested and released by the Border Patrol has become an extreme embarrassment for the Department of Homeland Security. It has been so embarrassing that DHS and the U.S. attorney's office has come up with a new policy," he testified before the immigration subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

Where am I and why am I in this handbasket...

Seeing the light - Australia

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The government in Australia is cutting back on the climate wing of CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization). Deep cuts and the scientists are hacked off.

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

Climate science to be gutted as CSIRO swings jobs axe
Fears that some of Australia's most important climate research institutions will be gutted under a Turnbull government have been realised with deep job cuts for scientists.

Fairfax Media has learnt that as many as 110 positions in the Oceans and Atmosphere division will go, with a similarly sharp reduction in the Land and Water division.

Total job cuts would be about 350 staff over two years, the CSIRO confirmed in an email to staff, with the Data61 and Manufacturing divisions also hit.

The cuts were flagged in November, just a week before the Paris climate summit began, with key divisions told to prepare lists of job cuts or to find new ways to raise revenue.

"Climate will be all gone, basically," one senior scientist said before the announcement.

20 years ago, they got really strident about the warming and got funding to do a lot of additional research. When inconvenient data started accumulating, when other scientists started debunking the predictions, when new evidence started showing up, those scientists did not change their theories, they just doubled down and got even more strident. AGW is now a political movement and not a scientific theory. Maybe the scientists can get hired in Canada what with their new PM being all green and such...

Time to stick a fork in it - Anthropogenic Global Warming is dead. Tip of the hat to Eric Worrall for the link.

North Korea and Japan

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Things may be coming to a head - from Austin Bay writing at Strategy Page:

Japan Takes Hard Line on North Korean Missile Threat
North Korea's nuclear extortion drama, the repeated threat of nuclear attack followed by demands for food and financial aid, has exhausted South Korean and Japanese diplomatic patience.

Last year, Japan indicated that North Korea should expect more than expressions of anger the next time it put a ballistic missile on a launch pad in preparation for a test. Pyongyang's threat theater often starts with erecting a missile and announcing a test flight. Alternatively, Act 1 begins with a nuclear test. North Korea allegedly conducted a nuclear test on January 6.

Weapon range and reliability play a role Tokyo's and Seoul's loss of patience. As Pyongyang's missile and nuclear warhead technologies improve, the threat to East Asia becomes more immediate. The threat also extends beyond East Asia. The U.S. is considering deploying land-based anti-missile systems in Hawaii (Aegis Ashore). In March 2013, North Korea revealed that Austin, Texas (where South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. has a manufacturing facility) is on its target list. North Korea can't hit Texas -- yet.

More at the site. Japan previously has been a lot less confrontational with Nork's bluster but now that they are starting to gain technology sufficient to mount an attack on Japan, they are getting a lot more hard-nosed about it. Good!

Two images that sum up Washington State

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Found on Facebook:

20160203-others.jpg

20160203-hipster.jpg

We really need to simplify our tax code, cut the business tax rate (currently highest in the world) and eliminate the many loopholes that corporations have lobbied for. We need to level the playing field.

Case in point - Microsoft. From the Seattle Times:

How Microsoft moves profits offshore to cut its tax bill
When someone buys a copy of Office at the Microsoft Store in Bellevue Square, that cash doesn’t take the short route to the company’s Redmond headquarters four miles up the road.

Instead, after accounting for state taxes, the profit goes to a Microsoft sales subsidiary in Nevada.

From there, much of that money begins a complicated global trek that ultimately leads across the Atlantic, with two stops on the island tax haven of Bermuda.

Microsoft in the past 20 years built that network of subsidiaries in part to minimize the taxes it pays to governments worldwide.

The company is hardly alone. Many multinational corporations have set up similar structures, in some cases reducing their tax burden to near zero.

But a court fight this year between Microsoft and the Internal Revenue Service brought to light new documents outlining the deals that set up the company’s structure. Additional court papers, corporate filings and tax records from four continents offer a rare, detailed look at the business of avoiding taxes.

In the case of the Office purchase at Bellevue Square, after paying state taxes, the company sends the money to the subsidiary in Reno, Nev. After landing in Nevada, more than half the cash from the sale goes to a Puerto Rican entity.

The Puerto Rican company, after paying a 2 percent local tax and accounting for a share of Microsoft’s research costs, passes a portion of the remaining cash to an Irish company.

The final stop is an entity called RI Holdings. Its headquarters is a law firm in Hamilton, Bermuda, a United Kingdom territory that charges no corporate tax.

Similar structures cover Microsoft’s operations across the globe.

A long article but an interesting read. A perfect example of crony capitalism at work - it is all legal but not ethical. The article also covers Amazon, Boeing and Starbucks.

Best bakery

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Nice endorsement for my favorite place for pastries and coffee - from Bellingham radio station KISW:

Best Bakeries by Taryn Daly
I never pass up a chance to satisfy my sweet tooth, and when it comes to great bakeries, the PNW has MANY! As you know I'm a big skier, and two of the bakeries I love just happen to be on the way to/from the mountains I love to shred. How convenient?!

1.  Wake 'N Bakery: Glacier, WA - With a tagline like "Get Sconed", you know it's the good stuff. We stopped in on Sunday as we headed home from a weekend at Mt. Baker. A little taste of the menu: Lemon Bars, Caramel Frosted Sugar Bombs, Apple Crisp, Cinnamon Rolls... The shelves are FILLED with delightful treats! They serve up amazing coffee, too!

A good bit of publicity for a wonderful business.

Quite the difference in two months

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El Niño has done a great job of refilling California's reservoirs. FOX40's Kristina Werner posted these photos:

20160203-folsom.jpg

Sliding into the abyss

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Good Lord! From the Associated Press:

DC bill would pay people stipends not to commit crimes
They say crime doesn't pay, but that might not be entirely true in the District of Columbia as lawmakers look for ways to discourage people from becoming repeat offenders.

The D.C. Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a bill that includes a proposal to pay residents a stipend not to commit crimes. It's based on a program in Richmond, California, that advocates say has contributed to deep reductions in crime there.

Under the bill, city officials would identify up to 200 people a year who are considered at risk of either committing or becoming victims of violent crime. Those people would be directed to participate in behavioral therapy and other programs. If they fulfill those obligations and stay out of trouble, they would be paid.

The bill doesn't specify the value of the stipends, but participants in the California program receive up to $9,000 per year.

This is just unreal. Throwing good money after bad.

Project Natick

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Datacenter servers are very compact and produce a lot of waste heat. Microsoft is experimenting with building the servers into a giant tube and resting it on the ocean floor.

Clever idea - project website is here: Project Natick (Natick is a town in Massachusetts)

Environmental news from Yellowstone

A change in policy - from Yellowstone Gate:

Petition seeks return of Yellowstone jackalope to public lands around parks
Federal wildlife managers say they are in the early phases of reviewing a petition that seeks to reintroduce the gray prairie jackalope to the greater Yellowstone area, but they have not set a deadline for acting on the filing.

Attorneys for the Biological Equality Foundation on Friday submitted the petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to agency spokesman Craig Jimmeson, who declined to comment in detail on the petition.

Citing more than a dozen state and federal wildlife and habitat studies dating back to 1992, the Colorado-based Biological Equality Foundation stated in its petition that the “Yellowstone jackalope has been reduced to pockets of isolated population groups across a tiny fraction of its historic range.”

20160203-jackalope.jpg

A bit more:

Terrence Rovak, spokesman for the Biological Equality Foundation, said thriving jackalope populations in northern Australia and southwestern Canada have proven beneficial to their habitats, restoring native forbs and slowing the spread of dalmation toadflax and other noxious weeds. Rovak said the same result is likely in the greater Yellowstone area if jackalopes are allowed to propagate freely.

“Hunting, trapping and poisoning the jackalope to the brink of extinction has had widespread negative effects on large-scale ecosystems across the Rocky Mountain region, and it’s high time we took steps to reverse that sad state of affairs,” Rovak said.

The Jackalope:

Early white explorers to the West told of encounters with reclusive but fearless large rabbits with antlers or horned protrusions. But the reports were dismissed as tall tales until confirmation of a Yellowstone jackalope by the Hayden expedition to the Yellowstone area in 1871. Expedition photographer William Henry Jackson captured the jackalope on film, proving the myth to be a reality.

Needless to say, this is an article that was initially published on April First, 2012.

Always fails. From Bloomberg:

Latin America Shows No Sympathy for Venezuela
When Venezuela's head of state arrived in Quito, Ecuador, last week for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit, his pitch was almost unrecognizable. Gone were the encomiums to 21st-century socialism and the late President Hugo Chavez's set-piece barbs against yanqui imperialism. In their place were contrition and beseeching.

"Venezuela is in a very difficult situation; I've come to hold a series of meetings with our brother countries, brother presidents," President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's successor, said on Jan. 27, prior to the opening of the regional meeting. "I've come to propose a series of possible measures for Latin America to respond to Venezuela's economic emergency, to boost free trade, to increase complementarity and solidarity."

Later that day, Maduro enjoined leaders to embrace "a common plan" to confront "the current economic crisis" facing the region, but there was little doubt which country he wanted embraced.

Very difficult situation indeed - Venezuela's chief source of income is oil and with oil prices in the shitter, they are rapidly going broke. The citizens of Venezuela benefited from all the socalist programs that Chavez and now Maduro were running but when there is no money,things get very dodgy very fast. A nation that cannot supply toilet paper to its citizens? Come on now...

A bit more - this is what the end-game of socialism looks like:

After almost 17 years of autocratic excess and economic trial and error, it's hardly surprising that South America's most oil-dependent economy is in miserable shape. Inflation may be racing toward more than 700 percent, and crime has exploded. Venezuela placed last in Latin America on Transparency International's latest index on perceived public-sector corruption. U.S. prosecutors have indicted Venezuelan officials and arrested two of the president's relatives on drug trafficking charges, and the country just forfeited its right to vote at the United Nations General Assembly for failing to pay its dues.

Yeah - we want America to be just like this. Socialism always runs out of other people's money and it always fails - painfully.

Beautiful five minute video of Steve Erenberg and his collection

Steve's Website and Blog

A letter to Dear Abby

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People send me stuff...

Dear Abby,

My husband hasn’t worked for the last 14 years. All he does is get dressed in the morning and hop in his fancy car to visit his cronies. I know he’s cheated on me many times with young girls who could be his grand-daughters. I know this because he brags about this to me. He smokes fancy cigars and drinks the most expensive champagne day and night. We sleep in separate beds because he tells me he knows I am a lesbian and my varicose veins and fat behind turns him off. Should I clobber him with a frying pan, or should I just leave him?

Your advice would be appreciated.

Sincerely,
Mad as hell

********************
Dear Mad as hell,

You don’t have to take that kind of treatment from any man.  I suggest you pack your bags and move out ASAP.

Don’t resort to clobbering him with the frying pan - try to act more like a lady.

Remember…you are running for President of the United States, so try to act like it!

Best of luck to you.

Signed,
Abby

Yikes - Seagate hard drives failing

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And a class-action lawsuit - from DIY Photography:

PROTECT YOUR DATA: SEAGATE HIT WITH CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT FOR CONSISTENTLY FAULTY HARD DRIVES
When it comes to hard drives, failure rates are usually separated by mere percentages. This means the decision usually comes down to personal preference and availability of the speed and size you’re looking for.

If you’ve opted for any Seagate hard drives as of late though, specifically the 1.5TB and 3TB models, you might want to listen up, because these break the usual percentages and are failing at incredibly high rates, some not lasting more than a day.

As a result, Seagate is now on the defending side of a class action lawsuit due to the high failure rate and failure to replace the broken drives with working ones.

Just how bad were the failure rates? According to online backup service Backblaze, who has a history of thoroughly testing hard drives, upwards of 10% of 3TB drives and 13% of 1.5TB drives failed, a whopping five times higher than competitive drives.

And the lawsuit:

It’s for this reason that law firm Hagens Berman and Sheller has filed a class action lawsuit claiming Seagate didn’t properly hold its end of the warranty deal by replacing broken drives with equally faulty ones.

The Hagens Berman and Sheller website is here: Consumers File National Class-Action Lawsuit Against Seagate for Defective Hard Drives

Groundhog Day

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Looks like an early spring - good news!

And, at least the Groundhog lived another day - from the New York Post from September 25, 2014

Zoo in coverup after groundhog dropped by de Blasio dies
Mayor Bill de Blasio has groundhog blood on his hands!

A week after Hizzoner dropped Staten Island Chuck in front of a crowd of spectators on Feb. 2, the winter-weather prognosticator died of internal injuries — and then the coverup began, The Post has learned.

Staten Island Zoo officials went to great lengths to hide the death from the public — and keep secret the fact that “Chuck” was actually “Charlotte,” a female impostor, sources said Wednesday.

The stand-in was found dead in her enclosure at the Staten Island Zoo on Feb. 9 — and a necropsy determined she died from “acute internal injuries,” sources said.

She had fallen nearly 6 feet when the mayor lost his grip during the Groundhog Day photo op. Sources said her injuries were consistent with a fall.

People unclear on the subject

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From the Associated Press:

Man accused of trying to sell drugs in traffic court
Authorities say a Pennsylvania man tried to sell drugs in a Pittsburgh traffic court.

Officials say 35-year-old Christopher Durkin spoke to a man in court after he appeared Monday to face charges of driving under suspension. A deputy told Durkin to leave.

The other man told deputies Durkin attempted to sell him Suboxone pills.

Deputies searched Durkin and he was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver.

He is awaiting arraignment and it's not known if he has a lawyer.

The mind boggles...

Idiocracy

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Just got off the phone with someone wanting to sell me a service for one of my businesses.

All of my numbers are listed with the Federal Do-Not-Call register.

Who in their right mind would ever do business with any company that violates federal law and who spams - that right there destroys any credibility they might have.

Caucus results

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Nice to see that Ted Cruz won. No surprise that the media is not trumpeting a win for Hispanics. If Cruz was a Democrat, their narrative would be very different.

Also interesting that the Hillary/Sanders race is so close - a lot of low information voters out there who just want their free stuff...

This about sums it up

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The Iowa Caucus:

20160201-iowa.jpg

From Eric Worrall writing at Anthony's:

President Obama’s hidden EPA Enabling Act
h/t JoNova – a group of lawyers at Columbia Law School have urged President Obama that he invoke a little known clause in the Clean Air Act, which the advocates claim would allow the EPA to immediately seize direct control over state economies, with a view to forcing down CO2 emissions.

… Fortunately for the president, there’s a new way for him to right the U.S.’ greenhouse gas trajectory before leaving office: Buried in the Clean Air Act is an extremely powerful mechanism that effectively gives EPA carte blanche to tell states to make drastic cuts to their emissions.

This provision, which can now be used thanks to the completion of the Paris climate deal, raises important questions about national sovereignty and states’ rights — questions that Republicans would undoubtedly use to try and kill such a proposal. But the benefits of using this mechanism dwarf those concerns.

A few weeks ago, a group of 13 prominent environmental law professors and attorneys released a 91-page report outlining this new approach, which would allow EPA to use existing laws to quickly and efficiently regulate all pollution sources, in all states — not just power plants and cars. The experts concluded, “It could provide one of the most effective and efficient means to address climate change pollution in the United States.”

Much more at the site - this is worth a few minutes of your time to contact your congresspeople. This is such a venal Orwellian power grab it makes my head spin.

Back home again

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Might have to run into town tomorrow. Got an infection on my foot and got a prescription. I use the Costco pharmacy and my Doctor is about 30 miles away. No time to pick it up tonight so heading in tomorrow.

I had been diagnosed with MRSA in 2006 so he took a swab for culture - see what we are dealing with. And while I was there, he mentioned that I was seriously overdue for a checkup. I go in Thursday morning for a fasting blood draw. Fun fun fun...

The usual

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Coffee, deliver the pastries and then off to town.

More later...

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