March 2017 Archives

Crap - doing what they loved

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Sad news from AccuWeather:

3 storm chasers die in car wreck
A fatal car crash occurred on Tuesday afternoon near Spur, Texas, involving three storm chasers amid a severe weather outbreak.

Kelley Williamson, 57, Randy Yarnall, 55, and Corbin Jaeger, 25, were killed upon impact, according to police. Williamson and Yarnall, both of Cassville, Missouri, were contractors for The Weather Channel, featured in the network's special program Storm Wranglers.

The two cars collided at a rural crossroad as the chasers were in the middle of a livestream. Investigators believe that one of the two vehicles ran a stop sign.

No word on who the other vehicle's driver was - these guys were major stars in the extreme weather community. Pushing the boundries of weather photography - they left behing an awesome body of work and they went out doing what they loved. I only hope it was fast.

And I profoundly apologize to all of the wonderful and gracious morons out there - from Scotland's The Express:

EU could BREAK UP the US: Juncker in jaw-dropping threat to Trump over support for Brexit
European Union boss Jean-Claude Juncker this afternoon issued a jaw-dropping threat to the United States, saying he could campaign to break up the country in revenge for Donald Trump’s supportive comments about Brexit.

In an extraordinary speech the EU Commission president said he would push for Ohio and Texas to split from the rest of America if the Republican president does not change his tune and become more supportive of the EU.

The remarks are diplomatic dynamite at a time when relations between Washington and Brussels are already strained over Europe’s meagre contributions to NATO and the US leader’s open preference for dealing with national governments.

Sod off you unelected odious little man - you represent all that is wrong with Europe these days. Europe used to be the cradle of Western civilization. Now? Sad.

Another day, another 2¢

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Got hay out to the critters and heading out for coffee shortly.

Had another quarter inch of rain last night and the water is still very high - bringing my camera to take photos of a couple of bridges for the CERT people.

Still forecast for sunny tomorrow - crossing my fingers and knocking on wood...

Actually got nice today for a while

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Supposed to be showers tonight though - Friday looks good. So far, we have had just over one inch of precipitation in the last 24 hours. We have had worse but not very often. Water is high all over the place. I took some photos a few days ago of "tender" bridges in the area - going out to re-shoot them tomorrow when I go for coffee.

Where there is smoke

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Talk about a bit of an over-reaction - this is about the John Podesta piece from the 27th regarding his ties to a Russian business. From the Washington Examiner:

John Podesta slaps the Daily Caller with a cease-and-desist letter
John Podesta slapped the Daily Caller with a cease-and-desist letter on Wednesday after the conservative news outlet published a story about the former Clinton campaign chairman and Obama counselor.

The letter sent to publisher Neil Patel, sent by Podesta's counsel, Marc Elias, singles out a March 26 article titled, "EXCLUSIVE: John Podesta May Have Violated Federal Law By Not Disclosing 75,000 Stock Shares." In it, reporter Richard Pollock wrote that Podesta "may have violated federal law by failing to disclose the receipt of 75,000 shares of stock from a Kremlin-financed company when he joined the Obama White House in 2014."

A bit more:

The letter demands the Daily Caller "immediately cease publication of these false and libelous claims." It also demands that a correction to the story be published, clarifying that Podesta met his financial obligations.

Well, the article was still up at the Daily Caller a few moments ago with no update, change or retractions so they must have a smoking gun. A cease-and-desist seems to me to be quite the over-reaction. Must be something in Mr. Podesta's life that he does not want uncovered...

From Breitbart:

J Scott Armstrong: Fewer Than 1 Percent Of Papers in Scientific Journals Follow Scientific Method
Fewer than 1 percent of papers published in scientific journals follow the scientific method, according to research by Wharton School professor and forecasting expert J. Scott Armstrong.

Professor Armstrong, who co-founded the peer-reviewed Journal of Forecasting in 1982 and the International Journal of Forecasting in 1985, made the claim in a presentation about what he considers to be “alarmism” from forecasters over man-made climate change.

“We also go through journals and rate how well they conform to the scientific method. I used to think that maybe 10 percent of papers in my field … were maybe useful. Now it looks like maybe, one tenth of one percent follow the scientific method” said Armstrong in his presentation, which can be watched in full below. “People just don’t do it.”

The video is the full record (8+ hours) of the most recent Heartland International Conference on Climate Change (their 12th). Professor Armstrong's talk is about 25 minutes long and the video is cued up to the beginning of his presentation.

Wiretapping the Trump Team

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It is Watergate all over again - despite the fake news and all of the denials, information is starting to come forward. From FOX News:

Former Obama official discloses rush to get intelligence on Trump team
A former top Obama administration official has acknowledged efforts by her colleagues to gather intelligence on Trump team ties to Russia before Donald Trump took office and to conceal the sources of that intelligence from the incoming administration.

Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense under Obama, made the disclosure March 2 while on the air with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski.

“I was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration,” Farkas, who is now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said. 

“Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left, so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy ... that the Trump folks – if they found out how we knew what we knew about their ... the Trump staff dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence.” 

Time for some people to be fired and some people to spend a couple years in jail.

Buckets

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Checked and we got almost one inch of rain last night. Heading out for coffee in a few minutes (working at home today) so will check the rivers. A very wet spring.

Mt. Baker got 19" of fresh snow in the same period.

Freedom

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Woke up this morning to a free England. Brexit is official.

From teh internetz

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Our tax dollars at work

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From The Washington Free Beacon:

Feds Spending $149,927 Studying Bigfoot
The National Park Service is spending $149,927 researching Bigfoot, sea monsters, unexplained lights, and other paranormal activity.

Kawerak Inc., a nonprofit group that serves people of Eskimo, Aleut, or American-Indian descent in the Bering Strait region between Alaska and Russia, received the grant last year. The organization illustrates its project with a picture of "Hairy Man," a mythical Bigfoot-like creature.

The group is not just interested in researching "Hairy Man," but a whole host of "supernatural" creatures.

OK so this is pork, pork, more pork, even more pork and an egregious handout just because they can. Does this serve any useful purpose except to shift our money from a Federal agency who should know better to some corporation in the arctic? No.

Do you really wonder why President Donald Trump won with so many states backing him? It is not just this one case, it is the fifty thousand cases just like this that are bleeding our next generation dry - our National Debt went from 10 Trillion to almost 20 Trillion in the last eight years. Time to tighten our collective belts as we cannot continue to live on this borrowed money any longer.

Heh - President Trump's EPA rollback

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From Springer's blog - somebody's rice bowl is being taken away and they are not happy:

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The fish and chips was yummy

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Two pints of cider and back home again. Great call, nice to get out after working at home most of the day. The rain let up a little bit but is now pouring down. Friday is supposed to clear up but we will see...

From NBC News:

Embattled DNC Asks All Staffers For Resignation Letters
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has launched a major overhaul of the party's organization, which has been stung by recent crises — and the DNC has requested resignation letters from all current staffers.

Party staff routinely see major turnover with a new boss and they had been alerted to expect such a move. However, the mass resignation letters will give Perez a chance to completely remake the DNC's headquarters from scratch. Staffing had already reached unusual lows following a round of post-election layoffs in December.

A bit more - the Schadenfreude is delightful:

Perez is the party's third leader in the past year, which was one of its most difficult on record.

It began with accusations that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, continued with the wrenching exposure of hacked emails and the abrupt resignation of former chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and concluded with the shocking defeat of its presidential nominee and a divisive race for the new party chairman.

And my bet is that they will just install a new crop of fresh faces from within the same old bubble and that nothing will fundamentally change. Their thought processes are broken, their system requires a large level of corruption to even function - their ideas do not stand on merit, they have to use voter fraud to get elected.

If they were able to find a John Fitzgerald Kennedy, things would be a lot different but I bet if he knocked on their door today, he would be turned away.

Rock and roll in our community

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One of the byproducts with all the rain is that the earth starts moving - from The Bellingham Herald:

Recent landslides could be just the start in Western Washington
A forecast of heavy rain Tuesday and Wednesday is prompting the National Weather Service to issue a landslide warning for lowland Western Washington, including Whatcom County.

An inch or more of rain is forecast through Wednesday, further undermining soil that is “unusually saturated” for March, meteorologists said in a weather statement issued Tuesday morning.

Some 4.82 inches of rain has fallen so far this month, according to National Weather Service figures through Monday, compared with a normal figure of 2.79 inches.

Landslides have blocked two major Whatcom County roads this month already.

What happpens if you are unable to get to a supermarket for 10-15 days? Will you be able to cope? Pet food? Medicines? Water? Boredom? It is a lot better to spend some time educating yourself and developing a prepper kit than to panic when (not IF, WHEN) this or something else happens.

I think I will head out to Graham's for dinner instead - haven't been there for a while and do not feel like cooking. Pot roast will still be an hour out for cooking the spuds and onions.

Been trying to find a particular style of insulator for my electric fence and nobody stocks them any more. Superior engineering but for some reason, people do not carry them. Amazon scored though - the were made by Gallagher and although the Gallagher catalog did not list them, Amazon did and when I searched the Gallagher website with the part number, the same insulator showed up.

The nice thing with this insulator is that it has a pin lock to secure the electric wire - others just slip it into a notch and be done with it - this way, the conductor is locked in place. Also nice is that there are slots for a tie-wrap to secure the insulator to the T-Post. Also nice is that the same insulator fits the T-Post both ways - other insulators do not and I have a mix of fencing that i am dealing with.

Finish unloading the truck and then off for dinner.

Off for coffee

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Thawing out a pot roast for dinner tonight

And the lamentations begin

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From Anthony Watts:

And, the wailing begins over Trump killing Obama’s overreaching climate regs
From SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY and the “department of lost funding” comes this gloomy prediction.

Trump Action on Clean Power Plan threatens air quality, health, and economic benefits
The Trump Administration signed an executive order on Tuesday March 28, 2017, directing the EPA to roll back the Clean Power Plan.

In response, Dr. Charles Driscoll, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Systems Engineering at Syracuse University & member of the National Academy of Engineering, made this statement:

“Our research shows that a power plant standard like the Clean Power Plan could save thousands of lives in communities across the United States every year. The health gains from a standard like the Clean Power Plan yield net economic benefits that would far outweigh the costs. The economic benefits tend to be greatest in highly populated areas near or downwind from coal-fired power plants that experience a shift to cleaner sources with the standards. If we overturn the Clean Power Plan we will forfeit important health benefits and undermine the longstanding American tradition of energy innovation and clean air progress, at a time when we need it most.”

Dr. Driscoll led a 2015 study on air quality and health benefits of carbon standards similar to the Clean Power Plan, published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

I just love the comment about "department of lost funding" - that is really what this is all about after all. Global Warming is a political agenda and not a scientific one. Look at the actual numbers being gathered by reliable sources and you will see a completeley different story compared to the numbers produced by the computer models and projections of the climate grifters scientists.

Rain again

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Woke up to rain this morning and rolled over until 90 minutes ago. The sound of the rain on the metal roof is wonderful and I have still been sleeping poorly. I sleep well when I get there but it takes me until 2:00AM or so to drop off even though I get tired around 11:00PM. I can take some meds but am groggy the next day so don't like to use them.

Working at home most of today - coffee first and check in at the store.

Had an excellent opportunity for aurora borealis last night but the sky was socked in. There was a coronal hole in the sun which directed a blast of the solar wind our way last night - the Planetary K-Index was nice and high but clouds...

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The guy is showing some signs of stress - from New York's Page Six:

Schumer loses cool with Trump supporter at swanky restaurant
Sen. Chuck Schumer caused a scene at a Manhattan restaurant when he began yelling at a wealthy and well-connected Donald Trump supporter that the POTUS is “a liar.”

Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, lost his cool on Sunday night at Upper East Side restaurant Sette Mezzo, according to witnesses.

He was dining with friends when he encountered Joseph A. Califano Jr. — the former US secretary of health, education and welfare under President Jimmy Carter and domestic policy adviser to President Lyndon B. Johnson — and his wife, Hilary, who were having a quiet dinner.

Onlookers said Schumer was incensed that Hilary — the daughter of William S. Paley, the founder and chairman of CBS — had voted for Trump, even though her husband, Joseph, is a well-known Democrat.

One witness said of the restaurant rant, “They are a highly respected couple, and Schumer made a scene, yelling, ‘She voted for Trump!’ The Califanos left the restaurant, but Schumer followed them outside.” On the sidewalk, Schumer carried on with his fantastical filibuster: “ ‘How could you vote for Trump? He’s a liar!’ He kept repeating, ‘He’s a liar!’ ”

Hilary confirmed the confrontation, telling Page Six, “Sen. Schumer was really rude . . . He’s our senator, and I don’t really like him. Yes, I voted for Trump. Schumer joined us outside and he told me Trump was a liar. I should have told him that Hillary Clinton was a liar, but I was so surprised I didn’t say anything.”

Always classy - Schumer went to public school, Harvard law but never practiced, and then went into politics. He has never held an "honest" job in his life and lives entirely in the progressive bubble. How he can claim to represent the interests of New York State is beyond me.

And the craziness begins - a three-fer

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Now that President Trump is cracking down on Sanctuary Cities, three cities are pushing back. Here are three links to stories:

It will be interesting to listen to their tune a year from now when that sweet Federal money has dried up for their pet projects - their bread and circuses.

90% of the people coming in are fine and just want to make a better life for them and their families. The other 10% comprise a significant security threat - they are criminals who repeatedly offend, are deported only to come back and re-offend. These mokes need to be treated differently.

The guy needs to go down - there are enough rumors surrounding his sexual preferences (very young) that there has to be some measure of basis. And then, there is this - from The Daily Caller:

EXCLUSIVE: John Podesta May Have Violated Federal Law By Not Disclosing 75,000 Stock Shares
John Podesta, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 national campaign chairman, may have violated federal law by failing to disclose the receipt of 75,000 shares of stock from a Kremlin-financed company when he joined the Obama White House in 2014, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

Joule Unlimited Technologies — financed in part by a Russian firm —  originally awarded Podesta 100,000 shares of stock options when in 2010 he joined that board along with its Dutch-based entities: Joule Global Holdings, BV and the Stichting Joule Global Foundation.

When Podesta announced his departure from the Joule board in January 2014 to become President Obama’s special counsellor, the company officially issued him 75,000 common shares of stock.

The Schedule B section of the federal government’s form 278 which — requires financial disclosures for government officials — required Podesta to “report any purchase, sale or exchange by you, your spouse, or dependent children…of any property, stocks, bonds, commodity futures and other securities when the amount of the transaction exceeded $1,000.”

Podesta’s form 278 Schedule B is blank regarding his receipt of any stock from any company.

For more on his penchant, just Google Podesta Artwork - both John and his brother Tony have very creepy tastes. From a subsequently deleted Washington Post article - captured here:

“Folks attending a house tour in the Lake Barcroft neighborhood in Falls Church earlier this year got an eyeful when they walked into a bedroom at the Podesta residence hung with multiple color pictures by Katy Grannan, a photographer known for documentary-style pictures of naked teenagers in their parents’ suburban homes.”

Smoke - Fire. More here.

Why the fsck would a dishwasher need to be connected to the internet? From Motherboard:

A Hackable Dishwasher Is Connecting Hospitals to the Internet of Shit
If it's connected to the internet, it can be hacked. In an age where manufacturers are rushing to put any kind of device onto the internet, we're quickly finding out that how adage holds true. Crock-potslight bulbsthermostatsGPS trackers for kidsbillboards, and even teddy bears have all been hacked recently.

Alas, that's not stopping anyone from connecting stuff to the internet. The German domestic-appliance giant Miele decided to make a dishwasher that can be connected to the internet and, of course, someone found out it has a bug that allows hackers to break into it, infect it with malware, and give them the opportunity to use it as leverage to hack other devices on the network.

The worst part of all this is that this ain't your average dishwasher. This is a "washer-disinfector" that's mostly used in hospitals or medical facilities and labs. So it can be a good target if your end goal is to steal private medical information or maybe hold the hospitals' computers for ransom.

Jens Regel, a security consultant, found a "web server directory traversal" bug in the Miele PG 8528 when he was prodding a network for vulnerabilities during a consulting gig, what's known in the industry as a penetration test or "pentest." That kind of vulnerability allows an unauthorized attacker to gain access to the file system of the server to which the machine connects to.

Unreal - and there is no patch forthcoming from Miele. Another example of this is the Pyxis Supplystation from Carefusion - from last March's article in BoingBoing:

Automated drug cabinets have 1400+ critical vulns that will never be patched
The Pyxis Supplystation from Carefusion is an automated pharmaceutical drug cabinet system that's still widely used despite being end-of-lifed by its manufacturer -- a new report from CERT discloses that independent researchers Billy Rios and Mike Ahmadi have found over 1,400 critical remote-attack vulnerabilities.

Many of the vulnerabilities need very little skill to exploit and the researchers say they believe they're already being exploited in the wild, with exploits being publicly available.

The cabinets are based on Microsoft's discontinued Windows XP/Server 2000 products. Carefusion will not issue patches for the old systems, but they have provided some advice to help customers mitigate the risk from these bugs (things like using VPNs, having a firewall, etc).

The ICS-CERT (different CERT than what I am doing out here) report is here: Advisory (ICSMA-16-089-01) CareFusion Pyxis SupplyStation System Vulnerabilities

Christ on a Corn Dog - how many people will be seriously injured with crap like this. I am reminded of the Therac-25 from the 1980's. Next time I am at the hospital visiting anyone, I'm bringing my laptop with nmap and some other goodies installed.

Heh - another video

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The same people that did the Rap Battle earlier today have a lot of other videos out. Here is another one that caught my eye:

Home again - good meeting

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Whatcom County is running an Earthquake Drill April 13th and a bunch of CERT and amateur radio people are participating. When I first heard about this, I checked with my local Fire Department to see if they wanted to participate and the response was very enthusiastic.

We will not be doing the same drill that Bellingham is but we will be going around with our radios looking at a couple "fragile" structures and reporting on potential for damage. A part of this exercise, we will be compiling a fragile infrastructure list for future use by the department and we will build off this for next October's Cascadia Rising drill.

This is going a bit more slowly than I like (Lord, grant me patience and I want it NOW!) but the people in Bellingham will be busy with their drill and this gives us time to scale up our abilities to communicate.

Got nothing today

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It was not raining this morning so working on a couple of projects outside.

Heading in to town shortly - coffee and then a CERT meeting later - getting dinner in town. Back around 10PM

From USA Today:

To recognize war heroes, Trump resurrects long-neglected 'Medal of Honor Day'
President Trump hosted the nation's most decorated war heroes at the White House Friday as part of a recognition of the rarely celebrated Medal of Honor Day.

"Each of you has risen above and beyond the call of duty in defense of our country, our people, and our flag. You have poured out your hearts, your sweat, and your tears like few others, and your blood — most importantly your blood — for the United States of America," Trump told about 25 Medal of Honor recipients in the Oval Office.

"You are the soul of our nation, and a grateful republic salutes you," he said.

In commemorating a day for Medal of Honor recipients — which technically falls on Saturday — Trump was resurrecting a holiday designated by Congress in 1990 but only officially observed once, on March 25, 1991. That was the anniversary of the first Army medals being presented in 1863 by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to to six members of “Andrews Raiders” for volunteering for a daring locomotive chase through Georgia during the Civil War. Except for a visit to Arlington National Cemetery by President Barack Obama in 2009, the day has been largely ignored by recent presidents.

The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor the nation can bestow — so high that even higher ranking officers salute those who wear the medal. There are now 75 living Medal of Honor recipients, a number that has declined over the years as heroes of past wars have died and presidents have presented fewer medals to service members from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Trump enjoyed endorsements of some Medal of Honor recipients during his campaign, and Friday's event could signal that he hopes to elevate the annual recognition.

"This is a great honor for me. These are very, very brave people standing behind me," Trump said. "I can say officially they are much braver than I am, O.K.? Do you agree with that, General?"

"I do, Mr. President," responded Defense Secretary James Mattis, a retired Marine general.

I love it - the House Joint Resolution was passed during the administration of G.H.W. Bush. I am surprised that G.W. didn't carry on the tradition. Not surprised that the other Administrations swept it under the rug.

I also love that President Trump subsequently discussed other things with the gathered press but he had the Medal of Honor recipients leave the room first so there could be zero implication that he had them there for political gain. This was their moment.

Heh - Rap Battle

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Epic Rap Battle: Gun Owner vs Liberal:

Back home in time to make a salad, heat up a pot of water for noodles and have some left-over spaghetti for dinner. before the waterboard meeting at 6:00PM.

Surf while I eat.

Need some more insulators for the fence so heading into a nearby town to get them. Waterboard meeting tonight and ham radio network after.

Back in a couple of hours - working at the store too.

Rain again

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Got another 0.2" last night - it is wet out there. Winter Weather Advisory for Mt. Baker - more snow. They have had 20" in the last 24 hours - great time for skiing!

Judge Jeanine Pirro - Paul Ryan

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I think I am in love. Great rant - totally spot on:

What makes it even better is this tweet a few hours before this aired:

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If you want to define the word "excoriation" - this is a good start. Time to go Paul.

Building a sound studio

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Excellent two-part article on building a personal sound studio. I am involved in a very similar project although much smaller in scope than Ed's - still, Ed posts lots of links to theory, materials for acoustic treatment and some great references.

Building a Dedicated Music Project Studio Control Room and Isolation Booth, Part One

Building a Dedicated Music Project Studio Control Room and Isolation Booth, Part Two of Two

Harbingers of spring

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Been noticing more and more of them - skunk cabbage is coming up in the marshes, the frogs are peeping at dusk, the trees are starting to bud, bulbs poking their heads above ground.

Driving back from shooting today, i saw a couple barn swallows orbiting around the critter barn. Very cool - another year is starting.

Off shooting today

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Our county is doing an Earthquake drill this April and our local prepper group is working with our local Fire Department on an excercise out here. There are several weak points in our infrastructure and I am heading out today to take some photos so we can make plans for the excercise - bridges out, buildings collapsed, etc...

The rain has let up but we have had about 0.4 inches in the last 24 hours so the streams and rivers will be pretty high.

Working for free exposure

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Nails it plus a classic from Harlan Ellison:

And from the master:

About California's snowfall

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We all know about the Oroville Dam and the intense rainfall - California has also had some problems with snow. From the Los Angeles Times:

Mammoth got so much snow this winter it called in the National Guard for help
Hey, Mammoth Lakes, add this group shot of the National Guard to your winter scrapbook.

Burdened with removing the 44 feet of snow that had fallen this season, the village of 8,200 called in the National Guard earlier this month to help cart 4,000 tons of it away. The five-day offensive, involving 17 air and Army troops, will be just one of the many memories in this winter of monster, record-setting snows.

The SOS — shovel our snow — was issued after the village and Mono County declared a state of emergency to seek help in handling the piles that lined homes and streets. A request for snow removal assistance was passed along to the state Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), which then called in the Guard.

Though not unheard of, it’s highly unusual for the National Guard to race to rescue towns socked in by snow.

Wonder what will happen next year. This snowfall still only comes to less than one half of what the record snowfall at Mt. Baker ( 1,140 inches or 95.0 ft) in the 1998-1999 season. That particular snowfall followed a large El Niño pattern the previous summer. Hmmmm...

From The Weather Channel (which has been beating out the National Weather Service for forecasts for my area):

El Niño's Odds to Return By Late Summer or Fall Increasing
The odds of El Niño's development by the late summer or early fall have increased, according to the latest output from forecast model guidance.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) officially declared La Niña's end in early February as sea temperatures have steadily warmed in the equatorial region of the central and eastern Pacific, and we're now in the neutral phase of the oscillation. Neutral means that neither La Niña or El Niño conditions exist.

As shown below, models currently suggest we'll be in the neutral category through the spring and into the early summer months (April-May-June, or AMJ), but after that, sea temperatures could be warm enough for El Niño conditions to take over.

More at the site - our greater than normal snow and precipitation was caused by last summer's El Niño - two in a row?

The Science march on Washington

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Classic Dunning–Kruger effect - they believe that because they are so smart in their own field, that they are just as smart in other fields - including march organization. From Stat News:

Science march on Washington, billed as historic, plagued by organizational turmoil
It may be the largest rally in support of science ever. Hundreds of thousands of people have joined the Facebook group for the upcoming March for Science, and tens of thousands have offered to volunteer. Beyond a march in Washington, more than 400 cities worldwide will host simultaneous events on April 22 to repudiate science policies of the new White House and Congress.

Yet for all the excitement, STAT has found, plans for the march are plagued by infighting among organizers, attacks from outside scientists who don’t feel their interests are fairly represented, and operational disputes. Tensions have become so pronounced that some organizers have quit and many scientists have pledged not to attend.

What was billed as science advocates speaking with a unified voice, then, has instead surfaced long-lingering tensions within the scientific community.

Sad to say, scratch an academic and you find a progressive:

Jacquelyn Gill, a biology and ecology professor at the University of Maine, told STAT that she quit the organizing committee in recent weeks because of leaders’ resistance to aggressively addressing inequalities — including race and gender.

“We were really in this position where, because the march failed to actively address those structural inequalities within its own organization and then to effectively communicate those values outward, we carried those inequalities forward,” Gill said. “Some of these problems stem from the march leadership failing early on in its messaging.”

Hey Jacquelyn, this is not about your personal soapbox, this is about, you know, Science.

Much more at the site - shows you just how much partisan politics has infected the academic community. It used to be pure but is now a cess-pit.

I've got friends in safe spaces

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Spot on - over one million views:

Their storage dump at Balakliya went Ka-Boom - from Russia Today

Large munitions depot up in flames in Ukraine, nearly 20,000 evacuated
Thousands of people are being evacuated from Balakleya in the Kharkov region of Ukraine, as a massive fire has broken out at a munitions depot, which is said to be the largest in the country. There are reports of explosions and shattered windows.

Chaotic scenes with hundreds of vehicles stuck in traffic jams were reported on social media after the Balakleya city administration ordered an emergency evacuation of most of the city.

Turning tables on the left

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It seems the conservatives have studied the liberals well - from Gavin McInnes writing at Taki's Magazine:

God Bless the Right-Wing Social Justice Warriors
“Invent a weapon,” Jordan Peterson said on Tuesday, “and your enemies will have it within one generation.” He was talking about Gamergate feminist Brianna Wu, who was learning the hard way that YouTube’s Restricted Mode was hurting the gays it was supposed to protect. You may be thinking, “Wu who?” right now, but you should be saying, “Woo-hoo!” because Peterson’s observation is profound. Not only are the bots turning on their creators, we are too. We’ve taken Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and turned it into our guidebook. We are the Social Justice Warriors now, and we’re way better at it than they ever were.

Right now, a man in a MAGA hat is suing a bar in New York called The Happiest Hour for booting him out solely because he loves Trump. Getting kicked out of bars is pretty common for people in MAGA hats above the Mason–Dixon line. The old right would venerate the entrepreneur and quietly take the high road out of the bar. Not anymore. Since the lawsuit was announced, Trump supporters have been flooding the bar. One MAGA woman was just paid $150 to get lost.

The new right wing does more than just get petty when the going gets rough. We appropriate. When you attack us, we turn it into a slogan. Hillary’s “basket of deplorables” made us into The Deplorables. Her “fake news” now defines all the news that lies about us. We even got her freaking out about a green frog. Since then, we’ve convinced them that everything from an “OK” gesture to a bobbing purple dove to a glass of milk is a secret Nazi code. It’s so easy to turn them into a dizzy Chihuahua frantically chasing his own tail that it’s almost cruel—almost.

Heh - much more at the site. Political Aikido - use the opponent's movement and inertia against them.

Twelve links - connecting the dots

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Great piece by John Nolte at The Daily Wire - all of the information was out there, it just took some effort to connect the dots:

12 Pieces Of Proof: The MSM Knew Obama Spied On Trump and LIED To Cover It Up
What I am about to present to you is what really happened. All the proof is linked below, but what I'm about to do is what I call "Revealing the Matrix," showing you the truth backed by incontrovertible fact and the media's own words. Not my words. Not President Trump's words. The media's words.

We're gunna cut through all the code, all the spin, all the fog, all the lies, and all the Coordinated Narratives used by our media to obscure Truth.

The media was having a field day and then, March 4th, 2017:

In fact, the media was actually having a big public party using Obama's spying. Hoo-hah here's a scoop! Whee-hee Flynn said this! Woo-woo palace intrigue! Ha-haaah here's what so-and-so said! Tra-la-la here's what so-and-so did!

And then on March 4, in a series of tweets that had the exact same effect as political nukes, Trump himself confirmed what the media had already told us, that the Obama administration had spied on him and his team. Trump's brilliance was focusing on the sleazy and illegal act of the actual spying. And this is when the media realized that all their ha-has and tra-la-las were about to backfire. Their Precious Barry was now at risk, and so the shameless cover up and lying began …

Suddenly, right around 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 4, the conventional wisdom and public knowledge that the Obama administration had spied on Trump, was surrounded by the media's semantic wagons which were manned by lying journalists armed with hair-splitting. I don't want to go through all that again, so you can read why Trump told the 100% truth in the first section of this piece. The bottom line, though, is this …

Trump accused Obama of spying on him.

John then offers twelve links to stories in media outlets all of which corroborate the story that the Obama administration was wiretaping Trump and his Transition Team.

Line item number one:

1. Heat Street - November 7, 2016

EXCLUSIVE: FBI ‘Granted FISA Warrant’ Covering Trump Camp’s Ties To Russia

Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.

So let's stop for a moment to make a couple of things clear. The FBI reports to the Department of Justice, which at the time was run by Obama's highly politicized Attorney General, Loretta Lynch. The author of this piece, Louise Mensch, despises Trump, and if you'll look at the publication date, she dropped this supposed bombshell the night before the election, and did so for reasons I should not have to explain.

Eleven more at the site - there is a lot of information here and if President Trump and his administration wanted to, heads would be rolling and highly placed people would be spending time in jail. This story will break and when it comes out, it will be big. I hope they choose to send a message - there is a lot of corruption in both parties and it needs to be rooted out. Make America Great Again is Trump's rallying cry - time to start doing this for real.

And the rain is back

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Pouring down very heavily now - forecast for new precip is 0.10 to 0.25 inches. I will check the gauge tomorrow and see what we got.

Surfing the web and watching some more welding videos. Got a couple of projects that I want to do this spring and summer.

It will take a day or two to fully analyze what just happened today but I think that President Trump made damn sure that the failure of Speaker Ryan's compromise healthcare bill hangs solely around Speaker Ryan's neck and that he is out on his ear.

Good news if this is true - Ryan was never behind Trump, only coming on board when it was an inevitability and then, he was a pure RINO - Republican in Name Only.

Now that we have identified the people who supported Ryan and (possibly) who leaked President Trump's confidential communications to the press, it is time to clean house and start over again.

Done with dinner

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Started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - the science is very hokey but it is fun fluff and there are a couple of seasons worth of shows to keep us entertained.

The Chinese food was excellent as usual - The Lucky Panda is not that much of a dine-in establishment. They have a couple tables in the front but no real ambiance - unless you happen to like looking at a large commercial kitchen which is fine with me. I have always enjoyed their take-out food though. Great for a quick sit-down lunch if you are in a hurry or you can get the food to go and walk across the street to the Kulshan Brewery and enjoy a pint with your meal.

Back home again

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Later than expected but got everything done that I needed to. Brought home some Chinese food and Lulu made a fresh pot of rice so dinner in a few minutes along with some television.

More spew in an hour or two...

On the road again

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Heading out to town - back around 4:00PM or so. Picking up some Chinese food for dinner tonight.

More posting later.

Obamacare - nothing much

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The Congress-critters are saying that they do not have the votes. I find it interesting that President Trump let Paul Ryan drive the formulation of this bill. Ryan was vociferously anti-trump at the beginning of the campaign. Is President Trump giving him enough rope to hang himself?

I read Art of the Deal a number of years ago and remember that Trump considers deals to be a negotiating process - vote something down, propose something else and see if that works - a Deal is an act of constant refinement towards a shared goal. Maybe we will see a decent healthcare plan in another four months or so.

From Ars Technica:

Feds: We’re pulling data from 100 phones seized during Trump inauguration
In new filings, prosecutors told a court in Washington, DC that within the coming weeks, they expect to extract all data from the seized cellphones of more than 100 allegedly violent protesters arrested during the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Prosecutors also said that this search is validated by recently issued warrants.

The court filing, which was first reported Wednesday by BuzzFeed News, states that approximately half of the protesters prosecuted with rioting or inciting a riot had their phones taken by authorities. Prosecutors hope to uncover any evidence relevant to the case. Under normal judicial procedures, the feds have vowed to share such data with defense attorneys and to delete all irrelevant data.

"All of the Rioter Cell Phones were locked, which requires more time-sensitive efforts to try to obtain the data," Jennifer Kerkhoff, an assistant United States attorney, wrote.

Such phone extraction is common by law enforcement nationwide using hardware and software created by Cellebrite and other similar firms. Pulling data off phones is likely more difficult under fully updated iPhones and Android devices. John Adams, a former security official at Twitter, told Ars that older devices are likely more susceptible.

Good news - I hope they gather names and contact information and proceed to roll up this organization. This was not a peaceful protest, this was organised violence by people who were hired for the job. The rioters are criminals and need to be prosecuted.

Another day in paradise

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Slept in a bit today too - stomach still a little bit off. Heading into town after breakfast and coffee.

Got nothing tonight

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Nothing on the internet - surfing a couple of youtube sites - welding (specifically TIG) and blacksmithing as well as catching up on email.

A bit under the weather - had an upset stomach last night and been low energy all day today. Hope I am not coming down with anything...

About those peaceful immigrants

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From the Associated Press:

Police: Repeatedly deported MS-13 gang member abused child
A member of the MS-13 street gang who had been deported from the U.S. four times stabbed two women and sexually assaulted a 2-year-old girl in a New York City suburb, police said Thursday.

Tommy Vladim Alvarado-Ventura, 31, of Hempstead, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail Thursday. His court-appointed attorney declined to comment.

A real choirboy:

Authorities said that Alvarado-Ventura had been in the home with the child late Tuesday night before going to a nearby bar, where he argued with a woman over a marijuana deal and then stabbed her in the parking lot. The woman, who was not identified, suffered a collapsed lung, police said.

He then returned to the apartment where the child lived, police said. When the child's mother returned home from work at about 4:15 a.m. Wednesday, she discovered injuries to her child and argued with Alvarado-Ventura. During that argument, he stabbed the woman, Krumpter said.

He needs to spend his life in prison - in El Salvador, his home nation.

Bugging President Trump

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As the fake news dissipates, the real news surfaces:

Just wonderful - Wikileaks release

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From Wikileaks - Vault 7:

Dark Matter
Today, March 23rd 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 "Dark Matter", which contains documentation for several CIA projects that infect Apple Mac firmware (meaning the infection persists even if the operating system is re-installed) developed by the CIA's Embedded Development Branch (EDB). These documents explain the techniques used by CIA to gain 'persistence' on Apple Mac devices, including Macs and iPhones and demonstrate their use of EFI/UEFI and firmware malware.

Among others, these documents reveal the "Sonic Screwdriver" project which, as explained by the CIA, is a "mechanism for executing code on peripheral devices while a Mac laptop or desktop is booting" allowing an attacker to boot its attack software for example from a USB stick "even when a firmware password is enabled". The CIA's "Sonic Screwdriver" infector is stored on the modified firmware of an Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter.

Compelling reason to run Linux on a machine you build yourself. All your Macs are belong to us to borrow a classical allusion.

Lazy day today

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I hearby proclaim this to be a national day of sloth.

Seriously slept in and have not even been out for coffee yet. Headuing out now - stop at the store and check the mailbox.

A very good word - the people on the streets these days are being bought and paid for by employees of rich white men and neither the employees nor the r. w. men will ever answer to the violence these poor stooges will be arrested for. These pwecious widdle snowflakes are being bought and paid for without their comprehension. Chattel.

From Anonymous:

I do not think that anarchy is a useful tool but I really respect the people behind Anonymous - they are able to see the societal problem and they stay on point. Their computer security is excellent too - got some good people working for them. Their credo starts at 4:55

The new Festival Wynd pedal

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I am a member of a facebook group for music modifying pedals - fuzz boxes, phasers, wah-wah, etc... Design and Construction. Someone posted about this one - looks great except for that little switch on the far right:

Actually a real product from these people: DEIODE Home-Fried Effects

Shows you how in tune I am with the world of air travel - this was news to me. From The Seattle Times:

Alaska will fold Virgin America brand within two years
Alaska Air Group said Wednesday it will eventually drop the Virgin America brand name, a decision that may test the loyalty of Virgin customers who prized the airline’s hip and irreverent sensibility.

Seattle-based Alaska, which late last year completed its $4 billion acquisition of San Francisco-based Virgin America over the protests of founder Richard Branson, said the change will be made “likely sometime in 2019.”

The company said in a statement that the combined Alaska Airlines “will adopt many of the brand elements that Virgin America enthusiasts love about their favorite airline, including enhanced in-flight entertainment, mood lighting, music and the relentless desire to make flying a different experience for guests. The goal is to create a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe.”

The two are a good fit - both companies think outside of the box (to use a marketing buzzword). Alaska started in the 1930's with one plane flying out of Anchorage and quickly expanded to 22 aircraft. A fun pioneering history. Virgin America is a real newcomer - founded in 2004 with its first flight in 2007. Sir Richard Branson is sad to sell but he will make a lot of money - one estimate is $786 Million (Alaska Air is paying $2.6 Billion for the line)

Ho Li Crap - Kazu Kokubo

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From Snowboard Magazine:

Every time we see new footage from Kazuhiro Kokubo we are blown away. In Kazu’s most recent full part from the Union movie, STRONGER and remixed for Casio’s G-Shock MUDMASTER GWG-1000-1A9ER Watch, Kazu destroys everything from massive cliff drops to road gaps and spines. Buckle-up prior to watching, this isn’t your average backcountry edit.

More on Kazuhiro at Infogalactic - turned Pro at age 11

From Starving the Monkeys - the author was attending a food trade show to help a friend launch a new product.

No Fructose Corn Syrup
At the trade show last week, no outside food or beverages were allowed. Instead, vendors inside were giving food and beverages away to promote their products to the attendees. Because our family had stopped drinking sugared beverages a long time ago, I asked the show operators if we could bring in water. The operators said no, that there would be vendors with water in the show. Sure enough, two major soft drink makers were there, and had a high percentage of their own bottled water brands. It turned out that this high percentage wasn’t high enough.

Now, remember, that all the food and drinks inside were free, so what happened next was as much a pure scientific experiment in choice as is possible. With all the boutique options available from both vendors, plus a large number of coffees of all types, slushies, cappuccino, refrigerated fruit mixes, you name it, from smaller vendors, the one thing that ran out first, in about three hours, was simple bottled water. One stand nearby was practically shoving out high fructose slushies at people. Most people who accepted them took a polite sip, and then tossed the rest into the trash. Many people examined the ingredients (HFCS was on the top of the lists of most vendors, I checked) and made a face. The trash cans turned into slushie and sugared coffee soup.

After the water ran out, it still didn’t make any difference. All of that HFCS crap was still considered more or less undrinkable. People would open up some boutique thing, take a few swigs, and then toss the rest. It was a blood-bath. They literally could not give that stuff away. We wound up sneaking out of the venue every so often and chugging a couple of pints of distilled water we bought at Walmart by the gallon. I budget about a gallon per day per person on trips and then we stock up when we arrive at the target location. We refill our bottles from those gallon jugs just for the convenience. We also stop at Zaxby’s  on trips and get chicken strips. We like drinking water there because the filtration on their soft drink machines is awesome, and top off our cups before leaving. There’s a pattern here, somewhere.

In the face of all of that zero-cost market data from the trade show, it would be completely astonishing if these major brands didn’t start making soft drinks with real sugar instead. Any brand that did this would probably take off like a rocket. Until they do, plain old water is going to continue to be the growing #1 beverage of choice.

There is hope yet. My favorite soft drink is Mountain Dew Throwback - the original formula and made with real cane sugar. You can definitely taste the difference.

Three years ago today - Oso

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A tragic landslide happened three years ago today. From The Bellingham Herald:

Three years later, families, officials and scientists wrestle with lessons learned from Oso landslide
Deborah Farnes looked forward to the day she would testify about the March 22, 2014, Oso landslide that killed her husband, Tom Durnell, while she was away at work at a hospital in Everett.

She hoped to share her grief over the loss of her spouse and 42 other people, and the anger that followed as she learned – for the first time – about the scope of the hazards posed by the hillside that came crashing down during that awful spring day three years ago.

“I wanted this to go to trial, and for this information to be made public. That there was this danger that existed,” Farnes said. “ I didn’t know about that until after everyone died, and it was too late.”

The trial was forestalled by $60 million in settlements reached just before the Oct. 10, 2016, scheduled start of opening arguments. But the years of legal sparring that led to that resolution put a spotlight on landslide risks in the Pacific Northwest, and the uneasy interplay between scientists who have the knowledge to assess that potential and government officials who must decide what – if anything – to do to protect the people who may live in harm’s way.

The civil case, involving 29 plaintiffs, some with multiple claims, had loomed as one of the largest tort cases in Washington history. It was brought by Farnes and other survivors who alleged that the state and a timber company – Grandy Lake Forest Associates – had taken actions that increased the risks of a catastrophic slide and failed to inform their neighbors in Steelhead Haven along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish about that potential.

The instability of the land was already known and there had been talk about buying the residents out and having them re-locate:

“If you are dealing with landslide hazards … you at some point, implicitly or explicitly, have to decide what level of risk is acceptable, and most decision-makers have to rely on people like me in order to do that,” said Dan Miller, a geomorphologist who wrote some of the early reports warning about Oso’s deep-seated landslide formation. “So what kind of information are they getting?”

1999 study prepared by Miller for the Army Corps of Engineers cited the potential for a catastrophic failure of what was known as the Hazel Landslide formation, and a 2000 study for the corps listed buying out the residents of Steelhead Haven as an option to reduce the risks of loss of life.

And the whole valley is unstable:

Since the slide, new research has documented a history of more than 200 other deep-seated landslides along a 15.5-mile stretch of the North Fork of the Stillaguamish that includes the Oso site. Many occurred from a few hundred to a few thousand years ago, and some had enough power to move across the river.

“The valley’s geomorphology shows that it is capable of failing in a big catastrophic fashion, but predicting where it will fail is not easy,” said Sean LaHusen, a University of Washington researcher, a co-author of the study that was published this year in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

I already had my amateur radio license but it was Oso that prompted me to get more involved with Emergency Communications and CERT. Our own little hamlet has its share of risks - volcano, earthquakes, lahar, landslide, forest fire. That and we are at the end of a long and thin supply line - anything that disrupts traffic for more than a couple of days and people will start running out of food and supplies.

Quite the find - Shipwreck

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From Haaretz:

Crusader shipwreck, gold found by diving archaeologists in Israel
The long-lost wreck of a crusader ship and sunken cargos dating to the 13th century C.E. have been found in the bay of the crusader stronghold city Acre, in northern Israel.

Gold coins dating to the destruction of the crusader bastion in 1291 C.E., when the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt stormed it in a struggle to wrest the Holy Land from the crusaders, were also found in the water by the archaeologists, led by Dr. Ehud Galili and Prof. Michal Artzy from Haifa University.

Meanwhile, on land in Acre, an excavation led by Haifa University's Prof. Adrian Boas has found the long-lost headquarters of the Teutonic Order on the eastern side of the city, outside the Ottoman walls.

A fascinating article - goes into a lot of the history. Use the Google Trick if the page does not load and asks you for a subscription.

How about that economy? From Investor's Business Daily:

California's Carl's Jr. Says So Long, Golden State
To hear Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, you'd think that taxes can go up to 60% or even 80%, and businesses and investors will just ... pay up. But the growing number of businesses stampeding out of high tax areas suggest that they're very wrong.

We got more evidence of that this week when CKE Restaurants, the corporate parent of Hardee's and Carl's Jr. restaurants, announced that they are relocating to Nashville, Tennessee.

Hardee's will move its headquarters from St. Louis, Missouri, to Nashville, Tennessee, one of America's fastest growing states.

Oh, and did we mention that the state has no personal income tax?

Meanwhile, the Carl's Jr. move puts more egg on the face of California and the political class in Sacramento. Hamburger fast food chain Carl's Jr. was founded in California and for years has been headquartered in Carpinteria, California. The highest income tax rate in California is 13%, so moving to Tennessee, where the tax rate is zero, will save the company millions of dollars on taxes a year.

Yes, we know that CKE's official line is that the firm is relocating because it has less need for office space as it consolidates operations. But the company executives say this with a wink. Tax savings are a big factor, as is the stifling regulatory environment on the left coast, where businesses are treated like villains and rich people as cash dispensers for big government programs. It's not a coincidence that CKE's CEO Andy Puzder has been one of the leading critics of high taxes and onerous rules in Washington D.C. and Sacramento.

As the great Margaret Thatcher once said: The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.

Governor Moonbeam should review the fable of The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs

With all the scrutiny that Judge Neil M. Gorsuch is getting, it is interesting to look at the scrutiny that Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg received at her Confirmation Hearing. The previous link is a C-Span video of whole procedure - four hours long. The fine folks at the Judicial Crisis Network have distilled this down to one minute of Judge Ginsburg waffling and the Democrats letting her skate.

Judge Ginsburg declined to answer questions on more than 60 occasions during her hearings. Double standards anyone?
Tip of the hat to Gerard for the link.
Judicial Crisis Network has a good backgrounder: The Ginsburg Standard and the Schumer Double Standard

And the day begins

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Finished breakfast and heading out for coffee, taking some photographs for the upcoming earthquake drill and stopping in at the store.

Working at home this afternoon.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is profoundly liberal / progressive. Based in San Francisco it has the distinction of being one of the most overturned courts in the United States. In 2012, the US Supreme Court overturned 86 percent of the rulings it reviewed from the 9th

That makes this that much more curious - from Tyler O'Neil writing at PJ Media:

Five 9th Circuit Judges Eviscerate the 'Fundamental Errors' in Ruling Against Trump's 'Muslim Ban'
Five judges of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals went out of their way to denounce the "fundamental errors" in the February decision of a three-judge panel which effectively stopped President Donald Trump's first executive order temporarily halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, attacked as a "Muslim Ban." The five judges denounced the panel's ruling as a "clear misstatement of law," and argued that they had an "obligation to correct" it for the record.

"We are judges, not Platonic Guardians. It is our duty to say what the law is, and the meta-source of our law, the U.S. Constitution, commits the power to make foreign policy, including the decisions to permit or forbid entry into the United States, to the President and Congress," the judges declared. They argued that the panel's February ruling constituted clear judicial activism which undermined the separation of powers.

Very cool - welcome to reality folks! I love that line: We are judges, not Platonic Guardians

Ideology and partisanship have no place in the courtroom. Glad to see that some of the judges realize this...

Immigrants in Maryland

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A twofer.

First - from FOX News:

New details emerge in alleged school rape of teen by illegal immigrants
New, brutal details emerged Monday in the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl at a Maryland high school by two male students, at least one of whom was in the country illegally.

The unidentified student at Rockville High School in Rockville, Md. was violently raped, sodomized and made to perform oral sex in a campus bathroom stall by the two males, according to court records.

Jose O. Montano, 17, from El Salvador, and Henry E. Sanchez-Milian, 18, from Guatemala, were charged with first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual offense after they allegedly attacked the girl at 9 a.m. last Thursday.

Alleged? The a**holes streamed it live on Facebook.

Second - from the Washington Examiner:

Maryland moves to be 'sanctuary state’
Maryland Democrats this week took a major step to becoming a "sanctuary state," drawing outrage from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and concerns it would protect an 18-year-old illegal charged with raping a 14-year-old girl in a school bathroom last week.

The Democratically-controlled House of Delegates voted 83-55 to OK the Maryland Law Enforcement and Trust Act. Generally, it would bar state and local law enforcement from helping federal immigration officials seeking illegals, including requests to detain inmates for deportation.

Good God! Talk about being a clueless ninny. All the Dems are interested in is holding on to their power and getting more votes. Do they not see the writing on the walls. 2018 is going to be very 'interesting' for them when they find themselves out of office. Good riddance.

Aaaand that is it for the night

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Heading upstairs. Been having some sleep issues the last couple of days and slept well last night but had really strange dreams so heading upstairs to see what tonight will bring.

Working at home tomorrow plus running a couple local errands and a project or two at the store.

A look at Mars

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An amazing video - three months in the making:

From DIY Photography:

PHOTOGRAPHER CREATES STUNNING VIDEO OF MARS FROM NASA IMAGES
One day, humans will probably land on Mars and take photos, like Apollo astronauts did on the Moon. But probably not in our lifetime. So photographer and videographer Jan Fröjdman created a fictive flight above Mars using real images of the “red planet”. He has hand-picked reference points on anaglyph images from the HiRISE camera. It took over 33,000 reference points and 3 months to create the film, but it was worth it. Jan has created a mesmerizing video.

For the video, Jan has taken the images from HiRISE camera, which are available online for everyone. This camera has taken over 50,000 high-resolution stereo images of the Martian terrain from the planet’s orbit. It has created anaglyphs anyone can view in 3D using special glasses. However, the 3D glasses aren’t always handy or available, and Mars’ varied topography is certainly more impressive in the video.

As I mentioned, it took Jan 3 months of work and over 33,000 reference points to create this video. He needed to color grade the clips because the anaglyphs are based on grayscale images. He points out that the video is not scientific, but he only tried to visualize the planet his way as a space enthusiast.

Jan's website is here - gorgeous work: Jan Fröjdman

Ran a bunch of errands in town - bank, hardware store, box store, Harbor Freight. Had dinner in town and the meeting was excellent. The Digital Group is my favorite of the four groups I meet with - people actually doing stuff and pushing the envelope.

We have been exploring APRS - Automatic Packet Reporting System using the Raspberry Pi single-board computers over the last six months or so. For the applications, we started with Dire Wolf, then Xastir running on top of Dire Wolf - from their About page:

Xastir provides mapping, tracking, messaging, weather, weather alerts, and Search & Rescue features over radio or internet and runs on a variety of platforms.

Xastir serves as a 'front-end' for Dire Wolf offering a graphical interface with mapping functions and display of position and data.

Tonight, we started working with Fldigi - Fast Light Digital Modem Application, pronounced “F L digi”, a cross-platform modem program that supports most of the peer-to-peer (live keyboard) digital modes used on the amateur radio bands. Fldigi is one member of a group of software for NBEMS or Narrow Band Emergency Messaging Software. This allows you to send error-free text messages from one station to another.

These various applications are amazing - this is coming together to be a solid and reliable emergency communications platform. Entry cost is an amateur radio license, a cheap computer (under $100) a cheap radio (under $100) and a charged car battery.

Fun time to be alive!

Usual stuff - coffee and then

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In to town for some stuff with a radio meeting at 7:00. Get home late today so minimal posting if anything.

Perfect example of overreach by a government agency - from the Miami, Florida NBC affiliate:

Court: Florida Dairy's Skim Milk is Skim Milk, Not Imitation
An all-natural diary fighting to call its skim milk "skim milk" against the wishes of the Florida Department of Agriculture won a victory in federal appeals court.

A three-judge panel on Monday struck down a decision that allowed the state to ban the Ocheesee Creamery from labeling its skim milk as skim milk because it doesn't add vitamins to it. The state wanted the creamery to call it imitation skim milk.

While the state defines skim milk as skim milk with Vitamin A added, the appeals court in Jacksonville said most people think of skim milk as the dictionary defines it: milk with cream removed.

The court said the Panhandle creamery isn't deceiving people when by calling the product skim milk and sent the case back to the district court.

At least sanity prevailed but I hate to think of how much it must have cost the dairy - legal fees plus having to reprint their labels. Dairy website is here: Ocheesee Creamery

It seems people are having trouble getting a good night's sleep - from Yahoo News:

Sleepless in Seattle, and other places: Trump-induced insomnia stalks blue-state America
Susan Rogers, a poet and attorney in California, is “hurtling through space with no direction” on a plane that, she discovers with horror, has no pilot.

Alicia Bowman, a journalist from East Penn, Pa., is racing frantically through a train that is heading the wrong way, flinging off her belongings so she can run faster, calling frantically for her son, who is transgender.

Rachelle Pachtman, who does canine rescue on New York’s Upper West Side, is searching fruitlessly through her refrigerator for something to serve Michelle and Barack Obama, who have just happened to drop by for lunch.

And Allison Graham, a Los Angeles publicist, is in a hotel suite near her old Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan, being interviewed by Donald Trump for a job as a supervisor on one of his big construction projects.

“But I don’t know anything about real estate; I have no qualifications or experience,” she tells him.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be great,” he says.

Then they all wake up.

Blue America is having trouble with sleep — tossing and turning as they lie awake, then falling into nightmares. And those who are suffering tend to blame the 45th president of the United States.

My hope is that a couple weeks of sleeplessness will force them to address their cognitive dissonance and see that Trump is doing what is needed for the majority of America. Jobs are up, the National Debt is down, the Stock Market is up. This in just two months.

Someone needs to check the history of this adviser - from the Washington Examiner:

Author of key Ryan tax reform plank is Berkeley professor who advised Kerry
House Speaker Paul Ryan's ambitious tax overhaul relies on an import tax concept originally developed by a Berkeley economist who once advised Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Alan J. Auerbach is the director of the Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance at the University of California, Berkeley. He served as an economic counselor to Kerry during his 2004 presidential campaign.

He also happens to be known as the godfather of "border adjustability," the linchpin of the tax reform plan that Ryan, a conservative Wisconsin Republican, is attempting to sell to the White House and push through the GOP Congress.

Not that Auerbach is stupid or anything but Senator Ryan should be careful about where he gets his advice. I would find someone at the Mises Institute.

Spent an hour or two cutting checks and doing some paperwork. Planning a couple of other projects for the store so will pick up parts for them tomorrow in town.

Making spaghetti sauce for dinner tonight - yum!

The Best Korea

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Stilton reminds us of something - and remember, this woman was almost elected to be our President:

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Specifically:

As you may recall if you don't get all your news from mainstream media, Hillary "That Glass Ceiling Is Thicker Than It Looks" Clinton and her husband raised tens of millions of dollars for their (ahem) "charitable foundation" by peddling State Department access and favors, as well as signing off on highly questionable deals like selling 20% of America's uranium reserves to Russia.

But this was hardly new behavior for the gruesome twosome. Way back in 1996, when the Clintons were actually renting out the Lincoln bedroom for sleazy celebrity romps in return for campaign contributions, Bill struck a controversial deal (again for hefty campaign donations) to let the Loral Corporation sell advanced missile guidance technology to China.

After which, in a spontaneous burst of unbridled capitalism, China sold the technology to the lunatics running North Korea - a terrifying and entirely predictable outcome which the Clintons didn't give a flying damn about as long as their illicit checks cleared. Some things never change.

Hat tip to the Bayou Renaissance Man for this story (which I swiped in full):

About that Hawaii judgment against President Trump's executive order . . .
According to The Astute Bloggers, US District Court judge Derrick K. Watson had lunch on March 15th, in Hawaii, with former President Obama.  Their rendezvous was documented in a photograph on the restaurant's Facebook page.

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Later that same afternoon, Judge Watson ruled against President Trump's latest executive order concerning immigration.

I'm not saying that former President Obama had anything to do with Judge Watson's ruling . . . but we can't rule that out, can we?  Their meeting appears to have been at least as ill-advised as the notorious encounter between former President Clinton and the Attorney-General last year, of which a CBS reporter said that "the appearance of impropriety is just stunning".

Under the circumstances, their lunch date was, at the very least, breathtakingly poor judgment on the part of both the former President and the Judge.  It certainly appears to contravene Hawaii's Revised Code of Judicial Conduct, and therefore calls into question the propriety of Judge Watson's ruling.  He should, at the very least, have recused himself from the case, in the light of his meeting with the former President.  At worst, the situation might even be construed as an impeachable offense by the judge.

Why has the mainstream media not picked up this story?

A very good question. Thank you Peter for asking.

A toxic work environment - the EPA

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Must be absolute hell for a Trump appointee but please, stick it out and turn the place around. From The Daily Caller:

‘I Will Name Names’: Infighting At EPA Drives Top Official To Resign
A senior member of the Trump administration’s beachhead team at the EPA unexpectedly resigned over concerns of the “integrity” of political appointees and career employees.

David Schnare was expected to take a top post at EPA, but he abruptly resigned March 15. It wasn’t for personal reasons, but over what he called a “question of integrity.” Schnare resigned with the title of assistant deputy administrator.

“This wasn’t about me being angry or upset,” Schnare told The Daily Caller News Foundation, saying his resignation had a “much deeper story” than he was willing to disclose at the time.

Schnare didn’t go into detail, but said he would soon write about the events that led to his resignation. His comments, however, suggested infighting at EPA between transition officials, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s inner circle and career employees.

“When the time comes I will name names and go into specifics, “ Schnare said. When asked if the details would be “eye-opening,” he responded: “Oh, I think so.”

Good - name names and get those people out of power. They are what is wrong with our Government, caring more for personal power and their own fifedoms rather than what is good for this Nation and its Citizens. I wish tarring and feathering was still in practice.

In other astronomy news

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Our sun is in a marked quiet phase - no sunspots. From Watts Up With That:

Solar Slump: The Sun has been blank for two weeks straight
Over the weekend, we reviewed the state of the solar data for March 2017. Now, there’s a two week straight lack of sunspots, the longest stretch since 2010.

Overview
The sun is currently blank with no visible sunspots and this is the 14th straight day with a blank look which is the longest such stretch since April 2010 according to spaceweather.com. Historically weak solar cycle 24 continues to transition away from its solar maximum phase and towards the next solar minimum. In April 2010 – the last time there was a two week stretch with no visible sunspots – the sun was emerging from the last solar minimum which was historically long and deep. There have already been 26 spotless days in 2017 (34% of the entire year) and this follows 32 spotless days last year which occurred primarily during the latter part of the year. The blank look to the sun will increase in frequency over the next couple of years leading up to the next solar minimum – probably to be reached in late 2019 or 2020. By one measure, the current solar cycle is the third weakest since record keeping began in 1755 and it continues a weakening trend since solar cycle 21 peaked in 1980. One of the impacts of low solar activity is the increase of cosmic rays that can penetrate into the Earth’s upper atmosphere and this has some important consequences.

The sun is a key driver in our climate and sunspots are an excellent proxy for solar output. Fewer sunspots = less warmth. This also means more clouds with a higher albedo (reflectivity) of the Earths atmosphere and correspondingly more cooling. The solar wind is comprised of charged particles streaming against the Earth's magnetic field. This creates a barrier which deflects incoming cosmic rays. When this barrier is weaker, more cosmic rays reach the atmosphere, collide with atoms of oxygen and water releasing charged particles. These particles form nucleation sites for water vapor - hence, more clouds.

Time to lay in a stock of firewood and bundle up.

Happy Vernal Equinox

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Happy Spring - from The Old Farmer's Almanac:

SPRING EQUINOX 2017: FIRST DAY OF SPRING
Celebrate the spring equinox 2017 with our equinox dates and times—plus facts and folklore about the first day of spring. Also, join us for our live telescope show today, Monday, March 20! Find out more information.

When is the spring equinox 2017? In the Northern Hemisphere, we mark this vernal equinox on Monday, March 20, 2017.

Much more at the site - the science and the folklore.

Here's how you do it - the Trump EPA

Under President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency is getting back to its original mandate - from the EPA / News Releases:

EPA Awards $100 Million to Michigan for Flint Water Infrastructure Upgrades
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today awarded a $100 million grant to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to fund drinking water infrastructure upgrades in Flint, Mich. The funding, provided by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016, or WIIN, enables Flint to accelerate and expand its work to replace lead service lines and make other critical infrastructure improvements.

“The people of Flint and all Americans deserve a more responsive federal government,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint’s water infrastructure as part of our larger goal of improving America’s water infrastructure.”

“I appreciate the EPA approving this funding to assist with Flint’s recovery,” Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said. “Combined with the nearly $250 million in state funding already allocated, this will help keep Flint on a solid path forward. It’s great to see federal, state and local partners continuing to work together to help with infrastructure upgrades and pipe replacements for the people of Flint.”

Obama could have done this with his pen and his phone but no. Flint was already solidly under Democratic rule so he did not need to help them out, he already had their votes. Trump is doing what is right. Stuff like this is what the EPA should be doing, not designating people's backyards as wetlands (here, here, and here).

Turning into a really fun show - it is a prequel to Breaking Bad which I watched so a lot of the same characters. Lulu and I spent ten days in Albuquerque on our Southwest trip two years ago and really liked the city so it is fun to see familiar landmarks.

Surf for a bit - working at the store tomorrow as well as paying some bills. In town Tuesday for meeting and a couple errands.

About those illegals

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Another case - from Breitbart:

Previously Deported Criminal Alien Charged in Teenager’s Death
A previously deported criminal alien from Mexico faces second-degree murder charges and federal charges after allegedly shooting and killing a teenager.

Louisiana State Police arrested Octavio Bringas, 49 years-old, for allegedly shooting 16-year-old Darius Plummer in the head — killing him on the day of his birthday, according to WBRZ.

And of course:

After the shooting, Bringas called one of the witnesses who had been communicating with the police, telling them that he had accidently discharged the gun and said he was already on his way to Lafayette, Louisiana, which was once a ‘sanctuary city’ in the state.

Bringas was subsequently arrested while heading to Lafayette, with police saying they believe he was attempting to flee the country.

I hope he spends a lot of time behind bars:

Bringas has a long history with the law. ICE spokesman Thomas Byrd told Breitbart Texas that immigration officials previously previously encountered Bringas on March 5, 2012, after he was released from the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Bringas was removed by ICE on March 22, 2012.

In August and September of 2003, Border Patrol agents deported Bringas after apprehending him illegally crossing the border.

There is a big difference between people who want to come here to better their lives and to assimilate into the American melting pot and these scum. The liberals conflate the two groups, they can not distinguish between the two - if they do, their talking points evaporate.

Working outside today

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Such nice weather (after this morning's snow) - been working on a couple of projects. Supposed to be nice tomorrow as well.

Tacos for dinner again - getting to the end of the leftovers though. Think I'll do some spaghetti tomorrow.

Back home again - coffee and news

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Found that a local restaurant and brewery has sold. This was very unexpected to me - no idea that the owners were looking to sell. That being said, I have known the new people for almost ten years and they are a perfect fit. The already own a thriving restaurant in Bellingham and live just across the street from the North Fork.

Today turned out to be partly sunny so working outside on the fence and mucking out the barn.

Who ordered this?

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Woke up at 8:00AM to an inch of fresh snow on the ground. Got down to 28.6°F last night. It has warmed up quite a bit since then and the snow is melted but still...

Our National Debt

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Great if unsurprising news - from Joe Hoft writing at The Gateway Pundit:

In First 2 Months in Office: Trump Reduced Debt by $100 Billion – Obama Increased Debt by $400 Billion
On January 20th, the day of President Trump’s Inauguration, the US Debt stood at $19,947 billion. As of March 16th, the most recent date for US debt reporting, the US Debt stands at $19,846 billion. President Trump has cut the US Debt burden by over $100 billion and 0.5% in the first two months since his inauguration!

By comparison, under President Obama, the US Debt burden increased by more than $400 billion after his inauguration through March 19th 2009, his first two months in office. Obama increased the US Debt by 3.9% during this time period and signed the trillion dollar ‘Stimulus’ bill which is widely considered a colossal failure and waste of US tax dollars as well. The failed ‘Stimulus’ was the major piece of legislation in Obama’s first year leading to Obama’s first year deficit of $1.4 trillion. Overall Obama doubled the US Debt during his Presidency and set records for highest deficits and the largest debt increase by any President ever.

An excellent start - get that puppy under control so our children will not have to deal with our profligate overspending.

Going off the deep end - North Korea

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There is saber rattling but then there is North Korean saber rattling. From London, England's The Daily Star:

North Korea issues SHOCK war warning: ‘If a single bullet is fired, we WILL nuke the US’
Kim Jong-un’s rogue state issued the stunning warning as Washington and South Korea carry out war games in the region.

Pyongyang blames the rest of the world for rising nuclear tensions as the DPRK continues its quest for nuclear missiles capable of striking the US mainland.

Last week, US President Donald Trump’s White House admitted war is now “on the table” with North Korea.

US warships, soldiers and warplanes are carrying out military exercises alongside their allies in Seoul.

Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson arrived in the peninsula with its strike group of destroyers.

Drills are being carried out to test plans to “decapitate” the leadership in Pyongyang should nuclear tensions rise too high.

Jut for the sake of the citizens of North Korea, I hope that something is done to topple the government. Normally, I am an isolationist but that regime has gone on for too long. China is their patron and China should have stepped in a long time ago.

Not that I ever used them before but... From the Washington Examiner:

Chelsea Clinton joins Expedia's board of directors
Chelsea Clinton has joined Expedia's board of directors.

A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week shows the travel firm expanded the number of members on its board up from 13 to 14 members and voted for the former first daughter to take the new position.

As MarketWatch notes, Clinton's compensation will be a "standard" $45,000 a year, plus stock grants valued at $250,000 in accordance to the company's proxy statement for its 2016 annual meeting of stockholders.

Clinton she has not been appointed to serve as a member of any committee of the board, the SEC filing stated.

Why? She is smeared with her family's taint and brings nothing to the board - no business savvy, no political pull outside of a few enclaves on the coastal areas. Why did they do this?

A lot of illegal immigrants just want a quiet life for them and their families. Unfortunately, there are a lot of criminals who are crossing our border too.
Some numbers from: The Dark Side Of Illegal Immigration

Impacts of Illegal Immigration: Crime Summary
While this report has attempted to put a personal face on the collateral damage of illegal alien crime, note that many of the links in this report detailing some of the crime are dependent on the archiving time of some of the various sources making their articles available. Once taken down, many of the crimes simply "disappear" from American consciousness.

Here are just a few of the entries - the list is long and well documented:

    • In Los Angeles, 95% of some 1,500 outstanding warrants for homicides are for illegal aliens. About 67% of the 17,000 outstanding fugitive felony warrants are for illegal aliens.
    • There are currently over 400,000 unaccounted for illegal alien criminals with outstanding deportation orders. At least one fourth of these are hard core criminals.
    • 80,000 to 100,000 illegal aliens who have been convicted of serious crimes are walking the streets. Based on studies they will commit an average of 13 serious crimes per perpetrator.
    • Illegal aliens are involved in criminal activities at a rate that is 2-5 times their representative proportion of the population.
    • In 1980, our Federal and state facilities held fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens but at the end of 2003, approximately 267,000 illegal aliens were incarcerated in U.S. correctional facilities at a cost of about $6.8 billion per year.
    • Nearly 63% of illegal alien sex offenders had been deported on another offense prior to committing the sex crime.
    • About 60% of the crimes being committed are by illegal aliens who were previously deported.

The whole website is very well documented and worth reading for an explanation of the dark side of globalism and open borders. It is set in chapter format with 28 individual chapters covering various topics.

Ohhh the humanities

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Forecast for mostly sunny tomorrow and Monday - get the fence powered up and llamas corralled. Heading into town Tuesday for some errands and Digital Group meeting at 7:00PM

Showing their communist roots - from Buzz Feed:

Hundreds Of Thousands Of Workers Will Strike May 1, Organizers Say
Almost 350,000 service workers plan to strike on May 1, a traditional day for labor activism across the world, in the most direct attempt yet by organized labor to capture the energy from a resurgent wave of activism across the country since the election of Donald Trump.

Tens of thousands of members of a powerful California branch of the Service Employees International Union will participate in the strike, according to David Huerta, the president of the chapter.

“We understand that there’s risk involved in that,” Huerta told BuzzFeed News, “but we’re willing to take that risk in order to be able to move forward in this moment, while the most marginalized are in the crosshairs of this administration.”

Willfully not show up for work? That's a firing.

Jerry is not happy with Donald

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From Politico:

Jerry Brown heads to D.C., with Schwarzenegger right behind him
California Gov. Jerry Brown doesn't travel much out of state, but amid intensifying conflict with Washington over health care, climate change, immigration and more, the governor of the nation’s most populous state will head east next week — his first trip to the nation's capital since President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The visit will come less than a week after Trump released a budget proposal that would cut deeply into social service programs and begin an easing of national vehicle emission standards — both anathema to policies in Brown’s heavily Democratic state. The governor called the environmental action “an unconscionable gift to polluters,” and California officials this week filed a motion in federal court to intervene in a lawsuit automakers brought against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A bit more:

It's unclear with whom Brown will seek meetings — or if they will include any Trump administration officials. The lack of scheduling is typical of the fourth-term Democrat, who eschews public schedules for the flexibility they deny him.

Brown traveled regularly out of state during his previous time as governor, from 1975 to 1983, and as in his three failed bids for president. Since returning to office in 2011, however, the 78-year-old Brown has largely limited his travel to events related to climate change. He skipped a meeting of the nation’s governors in Washington in February.

Bet he doesn't get very far meeting with people - and this wonderful bit:

While Brown has promised to confront Trump on issues ranging from immigration to health care and the environment, he has held out hope that Trump could prove helpful on infrastructure spending.

Brown is seeking to build a high-speed rail system and a $15.5 billion Delta water conveyance. Of Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure proposal, Brown said in his State of the State address in January, “I say, amen to that, man!”

I would love to be a fly on the wall for that meeting. That is $1T divided between all of the states, not just California. Jerry's new train set is budgeted at $68 Billion. Take one Trillion dollars and divide it by 50 states and you get $20 Billion per state. Jerry wants $83 Billion for his two pet projects - not counting the inevitable cost overruns. How about fixing I-5 Jerry - that highway is horrible and getting worse.

Well crap - RIP Chuck Berry

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From Billboard:

Chuck Berry, a Founding Father of Rock 'n' Roll, Dies at 90
Chuck Berry, the singer, songwriter and guitar great who practically defined rock music with his impeccably twangy hits “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Memphis,” “My Ding-a-Ling” and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” has died. He was 90.

The singer/songwriter, whose classic “Johnny B. Goode” was chosen by Carl Sagan to be included on the golden record of Earth Sounds and Music launched with Voyager in 1977, died Saturday afternoon, St. Charles County Police Department confirmed. The cause of death was not revealed.

During his 60-plus years in show business, Berry in 1986 became one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He entered The Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame in ’85 and that year also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

A bit more:

Muddy Waters, Berry’s idol and musical influence, gave him some constructive backstage advice: contact Leonard Chess. Chicago-based Chess Records, primarily a blues label run by Polish brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, had a series of transplanted blues artists on its roster, including Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed and John Lee Hooker.

The Chess brothers signed Berry in 1955 and produced and released his first single, “Maybellene,” an adaption of the Bob Wills song “Ida Red.” It sold more than a million copies, reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts and hit No. 5 on the Pop charts, allowing Berry to build crossover appeal beyond the R&B audience.

“Maybellene” blended hillbilly licks and high-spirited blues riffs, ultimately creating the signature sound that pioneered the rock revolution. The lyrics for the song had narrative swagger, reflecting the spirit of teenage angst depicting fast cars, drag races and the story of an unfaithful girl as its main themes.

He explained his appeal to adolescents across different cultural backgrounds: “Everything I wrote about wasn’t about me but [was about] the people listening.” He had a way of identifying what people wanted to express, but weren’t able to, during this segregated time.

The Heavenly Choir just got the blues!

The river is high

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With all the rain in the last day, our river is running about 70 times what is the average for this time of year. When I went out for coffee this morning, it was ripping along and it has gotten higher since. Still two feet below flood stage.

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An essay on the media

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From John Stossel:

Has the Ignorant Media Gotten Worse?
Has the media gotten worse? Or am I just grouchier?

Every day I see things that are wrong or that so miss the point I want to scream.

Four examples:

Storm Coverage
As this week's storm approached the East Coast, the media reverted to breathless hype: "monster storm ... very dangerous." Here I blame my beloved free market: Predicting scary weather works. Viewers tune in.

What galls me more is the reporters' government-centric thinking. "Everything is closed," they say. "Employees can't get to work."

But the corner grocery stayed open. So did many gas stations and restaurants.

Why is it that when government buildings close, so many private businesses stay open? Because their own money is at stake.

The store's employees probably make less money than government workers. They are less likely to own all-wheel-drive cars. But they get to work. Some sleep there. Their own money is on the line.

Reporters don't think about the distinction.

John also covers The Deep State, "Chief of EPA Bucks Studies", and John Oliver - Stossel is a good writer - very dry wit but he really skewers the media.

El Niño in the news - Peru

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Peru is having a rough time with flooding from the remnants of last winter's El Niño. From FOX News:

Death toll rises to 72 in Peru rains, flooding, mudslides
The intense rains, overflowing rivers, mudslides and flooding being experienced in the country are the worst seen in in two decades, Peruvian authorities said Saturday, affecting more than half the nation as the death toll since the beginning of the year hits 72.

Prime Minister Fernando Zavala on Saturday updated the number of dead to 72 in comments to local radio station RPP.

The government says 374 people were killed in 1998 during a similar period of massive rains and flooding caused by rains blamed on the El Nino climate pattern.

A bit more:

Even Peru's capital city of Lima, where a desert climate seldom leads to rain, police on Friday had to help hundreds of residents in an outskirt neighborhood cross a flooded road by sending them one-by-one along a rope through choppy waters. The muddy current channeled down the street after a major river overflowed. Some residents left their homes with just a single plastic bag carrying their belongings.

The 1998 event was related to severe weather up here too - 1998-9 was the season that saw  the world's greatest recorded snowfall in one season, 1,140 inches (95.0 ft; 29.0 m) at our local mountain: Mt. Baker. You can see the remnants of El Niño at the ENSO website - more at NOAA: What are El Niño and La Niña?

President Trump tweets - Germany

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Trump is owning the twittersphere - from England's The Sun:

DEBT COLLECTOR Donald Trump claims Germany owes the US and Nato ‘vast sums of money’ for defence of Europe against Russia
Tweeting a day after an awkward meeting with German leader Angela Merkel, Trump demanded Berlin should cough up billions of Euros more on defence.

Only the US and four other Nato members – including the UK – currently reach the alliance’s benchmark of spending on defence which is 2% of GDP.

But Germany spends a miserly 1.23% of its national income despite running a whopping £234 billion budget surplus.

The two leaders showed little common ground yesterday over a host of thorny issues, including Nato and defence spending.

And today Trump tweeted: “Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defence it provides to Germany!”

Germany is in arrears and needs to pony up the extra cash. They signed the treaty, they need to follow its rules instead of pissing away all of its money on feeding and housing the millions of young islamic males refugees.

I told you it was wet - Cliff Mass

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Cliff Mass has an excellent post on our wet weather at his blog: Cliff Mass Weather Blog

A Year's Worth of Water in 5 Months
Meteorologists and hydrologists call it the water year, the period between October 1 and September 30. Each year the cumulative precipitation for the water year is totalled starting October 1.

The water year is a natural precipitation measure along the U.S. West Coast because we typically get very little precipitation over the summer and precipitation generally is not significant until October.

Thus, there is a hydrological reset each summer, with the soils dried, the snowpack melted, and the rivers dropping to low early fall levels. So October 1 is a good date to start the new water season.

Now the amazing thing. Five and one-half months into the 2016-2017 water year, many Northwest stations have ALREADY received their total water year amounts. You got that right....if there was not another drop of rain or flake of snow for the next 6.5 months, these stations would have their full normal precipitation for the water year.

Yep - wet!

Rainfall

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Got over 0.7 inches in the last 24 hours. Coming down heavy. Supposed to slack off Sunday and Monday with another front moving through Tuesday. A wet spring for sure.

Got a phone call about a leak in the store building - the fun never stops...

Working indoors today - coffee first.

Homelessness - a tale of two cities

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You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than progressive liberal cities - specifically New York and San Francisco. The politicians do what sounds good, they do not do good. A classic two-fer regarding homelessness:

First, from the New York Post:

Why homelessness gets worse as de Blasio doubles spending
City Comptroller Scott Stringer is rightly raking Mayor de Blasio over the coals over his new budget, which proposes $2.3 billion in spending on the homeless — nearly double the outlay of three years ago.

Yet, Stringer asks, “are we seeing results?” The answer, he makes clear, is no: “The crisis is growing; it is not receding.”

Yes, Stringer wants de Blasio’s job. But the facts speak for themselves.

Second, from Ed Driscoll writing at PJ Media:

A New Entrant For The Fox Butterfield Award
"Despite its spending more money per capita on homelessness than any comparable city, [San Francisco's] homeless problem is worse than any comparable city's."

-- SF Weekly, while running smack dab into the Butterfield Effect, at least arrives at an inescapable conclusion:  "It's time to face facts: San Francisco is spectacularly mismanaged and arguably the worst-run big city in America."

I dunno -- Detroit and Newark, NJ might quibble, but still, glad we've finally reached bipartisan consensus on the horrific fate of a one-party town.

Be sure to click on the Butterfield Effect link - it explains a lot about the state of the media these days. Journalists are supposed to report the news and We The Reader form our own opinion. If we want to read the opinions of other people, we turn to the Editorial page and read those. These days, every news article is an editorial.

Mmmmm - corned beef coma

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Came out well. Was not cooking quite as fast as I wanted in the slow-cooker (self-referential irony alert) so transferred the brisket to the pressure cooker and finished it off.

Watched two more episodes of Better Call Saul - they are showing vignettes of his earlier life in Chicago. Well written and a fun show.

Price gouging - medicine

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The price of EpiPens was in the news recently because their price went from $100 to $600 in a few years. Say hello to mebendazole sold under the trade name of Emverm and used to treat pinworms.

From Jacksonville, Florida station WJXT:

Pinworm prescription jumps from $3 to up to $600 a pill
It's something a lot of kids get, but it's also easily cured. One single prescription pill can stop a contagious case of common pinworm, ringworm or even roundworm. It used to cost only a few dollars per pill, but that price has skyrocketed.

Dr. Saman Soleymani treats a lot of kids at Avecina Medical, and therefore, he sees a decent amount with worms -- mostly pinworm, which is the most common type of intestinal worm infection. He says the treatment is easy.

You take one little pill of a prescription drug called mebendazole, which is sold under the name brand Emverm, and the worms are usually gone. So when Soleymani prescribed it recently, he was shocked.

"The pharmacy called me about an hour later saying the treatment is about $1,800 and it's not covered by pretty much any insurance company," said Soleymani.

Soleymani realized that prescription, which used to cost patients about $3 a pill, now costs anywhere from $500 to $600 for that same pill.

A tip of the hat to Joe Mama writing at Eaton Rapids Joe for the link. He also mentions that there is a veterinary version of this medicine which sells for $6.99 for 24 grams - about 65 human-equivalent doses. Not something to do if the 'real stuff' is available but simple and cheap enough to keep on hand for SHTF scenarios.

Good news - environment

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A two-fer from The Daily Caller:

First - Yucca Mountain is back:

Trump’s Budget Revives Yucca Mountain After Harry Reid And Obama Killed It
President Donald Trump’s budget revives plans to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

The budget “provides $120 million to restart licensing activities for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste, repository and initiate a robust interim storage program,” according to a budget summary. “These investments would accelerate progress on fulfilling the Federal Government’s obligations to address nuclear waste, enhance national security, and reduce future taxpayer burden.”

Good - Reid and Obama thought they could put a damper on new nuclear plants by eliminating the waste storage. The technology for storing the waste is excellent and Yucca Mountain is about as stable geologically as it gets. The perfect solution.

Second - alt.energy loans

Trump Budget Trashes Obama’s Green Energy Loan Program
President Donald Trump’s budget eliminates a pair of Department of Energy (DOE) green energy loan programs on track to lose taxpayers billions of dollars.

The budget entirely eliminates the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and the Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program. The DOE used these programs to issue roughly $16 billion in loan guarantees to 26 different projects over the years. Several of the companies that got taxpayer-backed loans went bankrupt.

These green loan programs lost $2.2 billion dollars between 2008 and 2015, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. As of 2015, the GAO concluded that taxpayers were securing $28 billion in loans for 30 different green energy projects.

Wonderful - this is the program that gave us Solyndra, SunEdison, Sungevity, Aquion Energy, First Solar, SunPower, SolarCity - each one of these was a multi-billion dollar failure and a horrible loss to us taxpayers.

Landslides of a different nature

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Horrible tragic landslide in Ethiopia - from the American Geophysical Union's Landslide Blog:

Koshe, Ethiopia: the worst garbage dump landslide in recent years
The death toll from the terrible garbage dump landslide at Koshe in Ethiopia on Saturday is now known to have reached 115, with fears that more bodies may remain buried.  The landslide occurred on Saturday when a section of the dump collapsed onto a slum built at the toe of the slope.  The majority of fatalities are reported to be women and children.  The most-informative set of images can be found in this CBS News article from a few days ago, including the image below of the crown of the landslide, which suggests that the crown of the landslide has a rotational component:

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More at Africa Review:

Ethiopia rubbish dump landslide death toll soars to 115
The death toll from a landslide at Ethiopia's largest rubbish dump in the capital Addis Ababa climbed to 115 on Thursday, among them many women and children.

Tragedy struck on Saturday when part of the largest hillside at the Koshe rubbish dump collapsed, burying a slum that had been built on the landfill.

And this:

Koshe is the country's largest rubbish dump, and was home to a community of perhaps hundreds of people who collect and resell rubbish trucked in from around the capital city.

And this:

Although one of Africa's top economic performers, with GDP growing by about 10 percent in 2015 and Addis Ababa filled with high-rise buildings and newly paved roads, Ethiopia is still one of the world's poorest countries.

The people of Koshe lived in squalor of a degree that is uncommon in the city of four million people.

And of course, all of the money that we have pumped into foreign aid has gone into the pockets of the kleptocrats and has done absolutely nothing for these people. The United Nations is especially egregious in this respect which is why I am very glad that President Trump is cutting funding to them. Private organizations like Team Rubicon are the best people to operate in situations like this.

Rain rain go away

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Forecast from both agencies are for 100% chance of precipitation but so far, nothing but cool and overcast. NWS - TWC 

Getting the corned beef started and will head outside to work on the fence.

Speaking of the rain, one of the more scenic stretches of road is closed due to rockfall - Chuckanut Drive. From the WS DOT twitter feed:

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A bit of a coincidence - Obama

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I posted that Obama was taking a month off in French Polynesia - well, it seems that he stopped off in Hawaii first. The timing is interesting. From The Gateway Pundit:


Obama Paid Surprise Visit to Hawaii 48 Hours Before Hawaii Judge Rules Against Trump Temporary Refugee Ban (Updated)
SHADOW GOVERNMENT UPDATE
Barack Obama paid a surprise visit to Honolulu, Hawaii on Monday just days before US District Court Judge Derrick Watson, who presides in Honolulu, ruled against President Trump’s temporary refugee ban from terror states.

Via Pat Dollard and the Star Advertiser:

Coming off a string of high-profile meetings, former President Barack Obama made an unannounced return to Hawaii Monday.

Just three months removed from his last official holiday visit as president, Obama was spotted dining at Buzz’s Lanikai Monday night.

Local Democrats tried “their best to keep it under wraps the whole day.”

Then on Wednesday President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban was put on hold by US District Court Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu, Hawaii after hearing arguments that the executive order discriminates on the basis of nationality.

And this too:

Also — the judge, one Judge Watson, managed to produce a 43-page decision within two hours of the case being filed. Speedy guy, huh!

Just a coincidence - like the time that Clinton met with the AG at the airport.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

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Celebrating a quiet St. Patrick's Day here - coffee and then slow cooking a brisket (technically, a New England Boiled Dinner) for dinner tonight.

Working on the fence while the brisket cooks.

Socialism's end game - nothing works. From the Miami Herald:

Venezuela has a bread shortage. The government has decided bakers are the problem.
Facing a bread shortage that is spawning massive lines and souring the national mood, the Venezuelan government is responding this week by detaining bakers and seizing establishments.

In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.

In a statement, the government said the bakers had been selling underweight bread and were using price-regulated flour to illegally make specialty items, like sweet rolls and croissants.

Riiiight - someone who bakes a croissant is an enemy of the people. And what is with this "broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country". All I see is a self-inflicted deep wound to the body. The leadership based their whole governance on giving away free shit and now that the country has run out of money, they have no more free shit to give away. Rather than own up to their own stupidity, they point fingers at everyone else.

This is the end game of socialism - when the Nation runs out of other people's money. Very happy that President Trump is in office and cutting our nations budget. Sure, it is going to be unpopular and sure, it will hurt but it will be a lot better in the long run. Better a couple of years of belt tightening than living like Venezuelans for the next 40 years.

Tacos for dinner

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Lulu and I fixed some chicken tacos for dinner. Couple of chicken breasts in the pressure cooker (20 minutes) with a tub of pico de gallo and a can of Costco diced tomatoes. Add about 1/4 can of chiles in adobo and it came out perfect.

Started watching Better Call Saul tonight - first two episodes were a lot of fun.

When you rile Senator Nancy Pelosi - from The Hill:

Pelosi: Trump budget a ‘slap in the face’
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hammered the Trump administration’s new budget proposal on Thursday, framing the president’s federal spending blueprint as an immoral demolition of government that’s doomed in Congress.

“I don’t see how this budget can survive the light of day,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol.

The sound of corruption being stamped out. More faster please!

Talk about being in the right place at the right time:

Must be nice - Obama vacation

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The guy sure likes his vacations - from Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Barack Obama to spend a month in French Polynesia
Barack Obama arrived in French Polynesia where he will spend a month at a luxury resort frequented by Hollywood stars, according to local TV channel Tahiti Nui TV.

The former US president landed on the tourist island Tahiti without his family before going to Marlon Brando's privately owned retreat Tetiaroa atoll, which the Oscar-winning actor bought in the 1960s.

Obama has checked into the eco-friendly Brando resort, whose villas boast their own plunge pools and cost between 2,000 euros ($2,150) and 12,300 euros per night.

No political meetings have been announced during Obama's stay and it is not clear what he plans to do during the sojourn or whether his family will join him.

It will be interesting to see if the media reports on visitors - this would be a perfect location to make plans for President Trump's downfall or to have plausible deniability if something has already been scheduled. This video is interesting:

Great news from Zero Hedge:

Senators Demand State Department Probe Into Soros Organizations
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and a group of his colleagues are calling on the newly appointed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to immediately investigate how US taxpayer funds are being used by the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support Soros-backed, leftist political groups in several Eastern European countries including Macedonia and Albania. According to the letter, potentially millions of taxpayer dollars are being funneled through USAID to Soros' Open Society Foundations with the explicit goal of pushing his progressive agenda.

"Unfortunately, we have received a credible report that, over the past few years, the U.S. Mission there has actively intervened in the party politics of Macedonia, as well as in the shaping of its media environment and civil society, often favoring left-leaning political group over others. We find these reports discoraging and, if true, highly problematic."

"Much of the concerning activity in Macedonia has been perpetuated through USAID funds awarded to implementing entities such as George Soros' Open Society Foundations. As the recipient of multiple grant awards and serving as a USAID contractor implementing projects in this small nation of 2.1 million people, our taxpayer funded foreign aid goes far, allowing Foundation Open Society - Macedonia (FOSM) to push a progressive agenda and invigorate the political left. Our foreign aid should only be used to promote a political agenda if it is in the security or economic interests of our country to do so, and even at that, we must be cautious and respectful in such an endeavor. We should be especially wary of promoting policies that remain controversial even in our own country and that have the potential to harm our relationship with the citizens of recipient countries."

As Fox News pointed out, USAID gave nearly $15 million to Soros' Foundation Open Society - Macedonia, and other Soros-linked organizations in the region, in the last 4 years of Obama's presidency alone.

Our tax dollars at work. Going to fund the foundation of a sociopath.

The religion of peace

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Religion of peace - believe that and I have a bridge in New York City you might be interested in buying. Here is what was found in Spain in January - the photos were just released yesterday.

From the UK Sun:

Shocking police pictures reveal 10,000-weapon arsenal including howitzers, machine guns and grenades intended for the hands of terrorists in Europe
A continent-wide operation stopped weapons including anti-aircraft guns, howitzers and grenades falling into the hands of extremists in France, Spain and Belgium.

Some were previously described as being powerful enough to “bring down an aircraft”.

Here are four photos from the article:

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20170316-jihad02.jpg

20170316-jihad03.jpg

20170316-jihad04.jpg

For more on peaceful islam, check out this website: The Religion of Peace - specifically this list:  List of Islamic Terror: Last 30 Days: - 145 Islamic attacks in 22 countries, in which 1192 people were killed and 1559 injured.

Voter Identification

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This is a big deal for liberals who claim that enforcing voter ID will disproportionately affect minority's ability to vote. You have to show ID to get on an airplane or to buy a bottle of booze, why should casting a ballot be any different. There was a big study that agreed with the liberal viewpoint but it just fell apart. From VOX:

A major study finding that voter ID laws hurt minorities isn’t standing up well under scrutiny
It was supposed to be the study that proved voter ID laws are not just discriminatory but can also have a big impact on elections. And it was picked up widely, with outlets including ThinkProgress and the Washington Post reporting that the study found voter ID laws hurt Hispanic voters in particular and skewed elections to the right.

But a follow-up study suggests the findings in the original were bunk. According to researchers at Stanford, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, the original study was based on surveys of voters that are extremely unreliable — skewing the results. On top of that, several calculation errors led to even more problems. When the errors are corrected, the follow-up researchers found, there’s no evidence in the analyzed data that voter ID laws have a statistically significant impact on voter turnout.

In other words, it’s possible that voter ID laws still have an impact on elections, but the original study just doesn’t have the data to prove it.

I have said it before and will say it again, the liberals know that their ideas will not stand up to scrutiny so they have to cheat to get them passed. Busing people around to stuff ballot boxes is just one example of this.

Coffeetime!

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Working at home today - Lulu is coming out for a visit.

An historical set of Ka-Booms

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From the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:

Physicist declassifies rescued nuclear test films
The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each event at around 2,400 frames per second. But in the decades since, around 10,000 of these films sat idle, scattered across the country in high-security vaults. Not only were they gathering dust, the film material itself was slowly decomposing, bringing the data they contained to the brink of being lost forever.

For the past five years, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) weapon physicist Greg Spriggs and a crack team of film experts, archivists and software developers have been on a mission to hunt down, scan, reanalyze and declassify these decomposing films. The goals are to preserve the films' content before it's lost forever, and provide better data to the post-testing-era scientists who use computer codes to help certify that the aging U.S. nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective. To date, the team has located around 6,500 of the estimated 10,000 films created during atmospheric testing. Around 4,200 films have been scanned, 400 to 500 have been reanalyzed and around 750 have been declassified. An initial set of these declassified films -- tests conducted by LLNL -- were published today in an LLNL YouTube playlist (link is external).

Say what you will about the technology and the intent behind the technology, having these puppies around prevented their use in war - a most excellent deterrent.

And from a photographic standpoint, I find the videos to be quite beautiful. I own both VHS and DVD copies of the documentary Trinity and Beyond

Here is the LLNL YouTube playlist and here is just one sample from Operation Plumbob:

Talk about tearing open the Gates of Hell. I know it is just an example of pareidolia but the face that forms in the first few seconds is just downright unnerving.

Here is the main site for LLNL YouTube videos - including this gem. News you can use...

I will be editing this post a couple times to add things but here is the basic stub for now:

Amateur (Ham) Radio Basics
You can talk over long distances with minimal equipment. Your cost to start is under $100. Many of these units will also operate on the family radio channels.

In the case of a disaster, Ham Radio is the only reliable method of communication. You can not rely on the telephone system or cellular telephones.

Our area is prone to several kinds of disaster including fire, flood, landslide, earthquake and volcanic eruption.

You need to be licensed but the questions and answers are available for study. No electronics study is needed, just two weeks of casual memorization, 30 minutes/day, 4 days/week.

(local information deleted)

Our National Radio Organization
They celebrated their 100th birthday in 2015. Lots of free information on the site.
Amateur Radio Relay League

Online exam practice
You first register with them - by doing so, they can keep track of how well you do on the various "elements" of the exmination and when you take a practice test again, areas where you are weak will show up more often.
https://www.qrz.com/hamtest/

A great starter radio outfit:
Baofeng UV-5R - $26
BL-5L 3800mAh 7.4V Li-ion Battery - $15
Nagoya NA-771 Whip Antenna - $17
Programming cable  - $21
This setup lists for about $80 at Amazon. Please note - if someone else in your area has the same radio and the programming cable, you might be able to borrow it from them. They should also have a file with all of your local frequencies available.

Some of my favorite vendors:

Ham Radio Outlet
DX Engineering
Powerwerx

Wonderful news - PhotoPills

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PhotoPills is the photography app to die for when shooting landscapes. It can calculate sun, moon and star positions in relation to terrestrial sites. Want to take a photo of the sun setting through that archway, PhotoPils will tell you the date and time to show up for it.

Only problem was that it was for iOS (Apple) only where I am a solid lover of the Android operating system. Just found out today that they have an Android version in beta. Take my money! (Only $10 too - keep the costs low and sell that many more copies. Good business strategy.)

Here is just a brief example of what it can do:

Smokey Bear

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Great reworking of this image:

20170315-smokey.jpg

And remember, it is Smokey Bear, not Smokey The Bear. Just like Bugs The Bunny.

President Trump's weekly address

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Just stumbled over this - he does a short heads-up about once/week - here is last weeks:

Here are the others - good stuff. Sort of like the Fireside Chats that President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave during his term in office.

February 25, 2017February 17, 2017February 10, 2017February 3, 2017January 28, 2017 - this is a lot more transparency than the last administration. The whole collection of White House videos can be found here: Featured Videos

And the rain is back again

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Tomorrow is trash day so gathering stuff and taking the bin out to the street while I am still dressed for the wet. Come back in for a hot shower and dry clothing.

Probably head out to Graham's for fish and chips for dinner - the last of the beef stew has little dots of mold on it.

Lulu is coming out tomorrow so that will be wonderful.

Another alt.energy bankruptcy

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This time it is Sungevity - from the San Francisco Business Times:

Oakland solar company Sungevity lays off 350 as it files for bankruptcy
Oakland solar company Sungevity has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Delaware court, after laying off 350 workers and arranging the sale of all its assets to private equity firm Northern Pacific Group.

John Ordoña, vice president of communications for Sungevity, told the Business Times he couldn't provide comment on the layoffs, but a source close to the matter confirmed the job cuts. In January, the company laid off 66 workers, bringing the total number of job losses to 410.

What makes my eyebrow go up is this article from December 13, 2012 The Washington Post:

Solar firms probed for ‘misrepresentations’ in getting public money
Three of the country’s most prolific installers of residential solar panels are under federal investigation to determine if they inflated the cost of their work to increase the payments they would receive from the government, according to government and industry officials familiar with the probe.

SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity have received subpoenas from the Treasury Department’s office of inspector general for financial records to justify more than $500 million in federal grants and tax credits the firms tapped for performing work. The probe seeks to determine whether the companies accurately reported the market value of their costs when applying for federal reimbursement, which was calculated at one-third of the costs.

The solar companies received money through the Treasury’s $13 billion program, known as the 1603 program, which used funds from President Obama’s stimulus initiative to offer cash grants to clean-energy developers. The goal was to spur the spread of wind farms, solar panels and other clean power sources nationwide.

SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity have been by far the largest recipients among companies installing solar panels on homes. Working heavily in the sunny states of California and Arizona, the three firms collected hundreds of millions of dollars in federal cash grants to pick up a share of their costs on thousands of home installations during the past three years.

This is just a couple of days after Aquion Energy filed for Chapter 11. Who is next - burning through taxpayer funds like there is no tomorrow...

The city of Flint Michigan has been plagued with horrible contaminated water for a long time but the entrenched Democratic government has done nothing except pointing fingers and asking the Federal government for money. The people responsible have been brought to court - and given a little slap on the wrist. From the Flint ABC affiliate WJRT:

Several people charged in Flint water emergency appear in court
One of the first people to be sentenced in connection with the Flint water emergency learned her fate Monday.

Corinne Miller will face no jail time, even though she withheld information about legionella in Flint River water, but she does have to do something she's not looking forward to - 67th District Judge Jennifer Manley ordered her to write a letter of apology to the people of Flint.

Her attorney objected.

"It will put her in quite a position in the public record about an apology," said Kristen Guinn.

Manley insisted if Miller wants to avoid sitting in a cell.

These people are unelected and suffer no consequences if they fail to do their job. Legionnaires’ disease? From The Detroit News:

Stats link pneumonia deaths spike to Flint water crisis
New statistics on Genesee County pneumonia deaths in 2014 and 2015 align with some expert opinions that the Flint water crisis most likely resulted in more than the 12 Legionnaires’ disease deaths already linked to it.

So Miller failed to warn people about this disease and 12 people died from it and all she has to do is write a letter of apology? And the lawsuits begin...

Back home - rain has let up

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Fixing lunch and getting dressed for outdoors

Statler and Waldorf

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Heh:

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California - circling the drain

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That they are even considering this is just plain nuts - from California's Los Angeles Times:

Here's what would it take to give California students a debt-free college education
California could help students get through college without debt — but at a hefty potential cost of $3.3 billion annually, a new state report says.

The report by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office laid out different ways the state could help students at the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges cover both tuition and living expenses.

The analysis comes as concern rises over spiraling student debt, which has topped $1 trillion nationwide. Worries over college costs also have deepened among some families since UC regents approved a tuition increase last week and Gov. Jerry Brown proposed phasing out the state’s Middle Class Scholarship program for new students beginning this fall. Cal State University trustees also are considering a tuition increase.

Where is this money coming from and what is to prevent the snowflakes from squandering this boon on useless 'xxxx' Studies degrees instead of STEM

Slept in today - delicious

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Nice after having to be up so early yesterday.

Heading out for coffee and then to the feed store for some bird-food (out of suet cakes) horse and llama treats. Forecast is for rain today easing off later this afternoon so hopefully, I can finish the fence and get my three critters corralled back up again.

Finishing off breakfast and surfing for a bit.

From The White House - the gloves are off:

Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies (as defined in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code), components of agencies, and agency programs.

Sec. 2. Proposed Plan to Improve the Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Accountability of Federal Agencies, Including, as Appropriate, to Eliminate or Reorganize Unnecessary or Redundant Federal Agencies. (a) Within 180 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall submit to the Director a proposed plan to reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency.

The deep state gets its pee-pee whacked with a baseball bat. CIA? NSA?

From The Daily Caller:

Trump’s Budget Plan Expected To Include Cuts Of Historic Proportions
The budget that Donald Trump is expected to send to Congress this week will include cuts to the federal government that the country hasn’t seen in 70 years.

The president’s budget for the fiscal 2018 year, set for release on Thursday, reportedly calls for a significant reduction in spending for environmental and public housing agencies while reducing the number of federal employees and adding millions to the defense spending.

The administration is expected to cut the Environmental Protection Agency budget by 25 percent and reduce its staff by 19 percent. The new budget also reportedly shrinks Department of Housing and Urban Development spending by nearly 14 percent, or $6 billion in cuts, and could could also include a slash to the Department of Commerce’s budget by 18 percent.

A good start. There is no bureaucracy in the known universe that willingly downsizes itself. These have been allowed to grow unfettered and it is well past time to trim the fat to the bone. The rending of garments, gnashing of teeth, lamentation of their women and the howling at the moon will be epic (and delicious to see).

We have a comment - ham radio

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A reader posted the following comment:

I know you have done it before, but how about a one time post on all the necessary steps to attain an amateur license, along with the hardware requirements and sources for a useful, rudimentary, rig. You've definitely sparked my interest.

Consider it done - I will get it up tomorrow.

I have a paper handout that covers this information and I was in the process of editing it for an upcoming event. I will post it here as well - details on training, links to training resources (all free) and links to great vendors. Amateur Radio is a fun and very diverse community of interesting people.

You can get a decent setup (for multiple state use with repeaters) for well under $100 and a professional setup (something that can transmit worldwide by itself) for about $1,000.

Fun stuff:

Original video here: 'I FINK U FREEKY' by DIE ANTWOORD (also fun stuff!)

Winter wonderland - WSDOT

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Our State Department of Transportation just released this video about February's storm. Starting around 0:33 seconds, they look at my highway - SR-542. I live off of milepost 27, the video was shot a little further up the road at milepost 38, just past where I go for coffee. Gorgeous but treacherous.

Looooong day today

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Bailed on the ham radio meeting - went there and could barely keep my eyes open so left during the intermission. There were about 30 people attending so it's not like my presence was required. Truck got all gussied up - new oil, tires rotated, diesel exhaust fluid topped off.

Surf for a little bit and then to bed.

It actually got up to 54.3°F this afternoon - a lot of the snow has melted from the pasture. Another couple of days like this and it will be all gone.

Molten Salt reactors in the news

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Just not here. China is building them, India is building them and now Indonesia is looking into building several. From Rod Adams at Atomic Insights:

ThorCon and Indonesia moving forward smartly on manufactured nuclear plants
Three state-owned Indonesian companies, Pertamina, PLN and INUKI, have completed the ThorCon technology pre-feasibility study agreed to in the Memorandum of Understanding with ThorCon International. The ten-month study concluded that the ThorCon molten salt reactor design could deliver safe, cheap, clean energy, could be built now, would be economically viable, and would have the potential to replace coal power plants.

ThorCon International is a company on a mission with a schedule objective that cannot be supported under the current U.S. NRC licensing framework. They made an initial presentation to the NRC, digested the response they received and moved on to focus their efforts in Indonesia with manufacturing support in Korean shipyards.

Their mission is to design, manufacture and support safe nuclear power plants whose total cost per kilowatt hour is cheaper than coal.

The beauty of these reactors is that they operate at atmospheric pressure - no expensive containment vessel is needed. They use Thorium as fuel - a very common element. Uranium is about as common (and expensive) as Platinum. These reactors can be adjusted to burn the spent waste from pressurized boiling water reactors. The waste from these reactors only needs to be sequestered for a few hundred years - not 30,000.

Here is a good introductory video:

All this rainfall is having an effect

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From The Bellingham Herald:

Heavy rains mean heightened risk of flooding, landslides
The never-ending rain could bring more than griping this week – flooding rivers and landslides are also possible.

On Tuesday morning, a landslide in Tacoma closed Marine View Drive at East 11th Street.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch through Wednesday morning in Pierce, King and Mason counties and warned that moderate to heavy rains could cause minor flooding on some rivers.

Be careful out there.

I was right - Gold

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From February 19th, 2017:

If I was into panning for gold, I bet that now would be an excellent time to visit some streams - a lot of the streambeds have been washed over and new gold exposed.

From California's Chico Enterprise-Record:

Floods bring fresh prospects, adventures in gold mining
Now is not the time to quit your day job in hopes of striking it rich. However, people with a new or renewed interest in gold mining may be spending more of their summer weekends near rivers and streams.

Joey Wilson owns Adventures in Prospecting in Oroville, where he says there’s been more excitement among his gold mining customers.

“There’s always been gold in the Feather River,” he said. What’s new is that the recent floods have moved things around.

A fun and sometimes profitable hobby. One of the people interviewed in the article said that prospecting had better odds than playing the lottery.

Obama was the best gun salesman ever

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Gun sales spiked both in 2008 and 2012 - now, after President Trump's election, it is a different story. From Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge:

Crashing "Post-Obama Era" Gun Sales Lead To Remington Mass Layoffs
As we noted last summer, the Obama administration’s constant gun control threats did little more than flood American homes with more guns as people looked to stockpile weapons ahead of anticipated new regulations.  In fact, both of Obama's elections resulted in massive and unprecedented spikes in gun sales.

Meanwhile, Obama's presidency was a boon for the gun manufacturers whose revenue, profitability and stocks all soared during his presidency.

But while the constant threat of new regulations under Obama resulted in a massive full forward of gun demand and pushed gun stocks to all-time highs, the election of Trump, and thus the removal of those threats for at least the next 4-8 years, is having exactly the opposite effect.

Much more at the site - Remington is having to lay off 120 people, Smith & Wesson stock is down from $28 to $19 and predictions for the number of FBI Background Checks is expected to be down 15%

The good news is that gun prices should come down a bit. I have most of what I want but a nice 1911 would be a welcome addition.

A downside to Daylight Savings

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Set the alarm for 7:00AM to get the truck into the dealership and it was pitch black outside.

Finishing breakfast and will fix a lunch for today.

That's it for the night

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Another long day - I'll be taking my laptop into the dealership tomorrow so will surf and post from there for a bit. Dinner in town and ham radio meeting that evening.

From AccuWeather:

Nor'easter to shut down travel, unleash blizzard conditions in at least 8 states
A major nor'easter threatens to shut down travel due to heavy snow and strong winds from Philadelphia to New York City and Boston early this week. Blizzard conditions will develop in part of the northeastern United States.

The storm will first continue to bring snow and travel problems in the Midwest through Monday.

The new storm will strengthen rapidly and hug the east coast of the U.S. early this week.

Snow will then rapidly spread northward spanning Monday night to Tuesday night.

For many areas in the Northeast, this will likely be the biggest and most impactful storm of the winter.

Yikes - I hope that people are prepared. I know some bloggers in that area that are but this is going to shut down transportation for a few days. Grocery stores are going to be vast wastelands for a week.

This from the Associated Press:

AIRLINE CANCELLATIONS PILE UP AS STORM DISRUPTS TRAVEL PLANS
U.S. airlines have already canceled more than 6,000 flights Monday and Tuesday as a late-winter storm is expected to dump enough snow to disrupt travel in the Northeast.

That is going to mess up people's plans. A friend of mine is flying out of Seattle tomorrow to Denmark - I hope she is not transferring in New York.

Great news from The Whitehouse

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From The Washington Post:

Trump budget expected to seek historic contraction of federal workforce
President Trump’s budget proposal this week would shake the federal government to its core if enacted, culling back numerous programs and expediting a historic contraction of the federal workforce.

This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude — and all at once — since the drawdown following World War II, economists and budget analysts said.

The spending budget Trump is set to release Thursday will offer the clearest snapshot of his vision for the size and role of government. Aides say that the president sees a new Washington emerging from the budget process, one that prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including housing, foreign assistance, environmental programs, public broadcasting and research. Simply put, government would be smaller and less involved in regulating life in America, with private companies and states playing a much bigger role.

Our government has grown way too big. We have thousands of personal fiefdoms trying to expand their scope. We have duplication of efforts throughout many agencies. Time to cut to the bone.

Welfare fraud in the news

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A particularly egregious case - from District of Columbia NBC affiliate:

Virginia Woman Charged With Welfare Fraud For Collecting Benefits While Husband Earned Millions
An Arlington woman was arrested this week and charged with four counts of welfare fraud for collecting over $100,000 in benefits – all while her husband was a high-earning attorney in D.C., police say.

Police say a six-month investigation into Helen Agbapuruonwu, 41, found that the mother of four had collected benefits like food stamps and Medicaid assistance for the past six years.

While Helen was collecting benefits, her husband, Fidelis Agbapuruonwu, was earning $1.5 million per year as a lawyer, according to court documents obtained by News4.

In 2001, Fidelis received the prestigious Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship which helped pay his way through law school.

Fidelis’ LinkedIn page claims he works for the D.C. firm of Mayer Brown, but today the firm said he no longer works there. Court officials believe Fidelis, a Nigerian immigrant, has “fled the country and is somewhere in Africa.”

Bonus points for the Soros link. Paul Soros is George's brother who passed away in 2013.

Following up on their Deep Mind and their MiniMoog clone, Behringer is announcing two more synthesizer clones. From Ask Audio:

Behringer Reveals ARP 2600 And OSCar Synth Clones
If Behringer's Deepmind 12 and the upcoming $400 desktop version of the desirable Minimoog Model D synths already got you excited, then you're going to need to sit down before reading on...

Uli Behringer has revealed that there are indeed more synths on the way. He states that they will "be creating both innovative new synths as well as reviving classics." It appears they certainly have the manpower and desire: Behringer currently "have 4 synthesizer development teams simultaneously working on 20 synths". So it seems we're in the midst of a giant shake up in the industry right now. This may well be the great democratisation of hardware synths in process. Especially when you consider a Minimoog clone for $400 as opposed to Moog Music's Minimoog Model D that retails for in excess of $3,700!

So what's next on the list? Uli, on Gearslutz, has confirmed they are interested in the ARP 2600 (this has been one synth much requested from Korg since they re-issued the ARP Odyssey) and the OSCar. Here's what Uli says:

"Aside from the Oscar synth, I can confirm that the 2600 is high on our priority list as it is a truly remarkable synth; I always wanted one for myself:-)

"We are currently trying to acquire an original unit for benchmark purposes. We hope we will be able to show you a first design draft within the next few weeks, while we're studying the circuit diagrams to provide you with an estimated retail price. Once ready we will reach out to you to see if there is enough interest."

Wonderful news - these synthesizers were the first relatively inexpensive performance-oriented machines to hit the market - they defined the sound of an era. The remaining examples of these are so rare that their prices are above most people's budget. To have faithful clones for a couple hundred bucks opens up a whole new market.

The state of our school system

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This is just unreal - it is as though we have slipped into another dimention - from The Daily Caller:

New York To Scrap Literacy Test For Teachers In The Name Of Diversity
Prospective teachers in New York will likely no longer have to pass a basic reading and writing literacy exam, the Associated Press is reporting.

The state’s Board of Regents is expected to ditch the Academic Literacy Skills Test in part because black and Hispanic teaching candidates struggled to pass the exam, according to the AP.

Just 41 percent of black teaching candidates and 46 percent of Hispanics passed the test on their first try, compared to 64 percent of white candidates.

Ho. Li. Crap. 41% passing the test? They have a copy of the test on the New York State Education Department website but it costs $20 to download. I would love to see the questions being asked.

Diversity - the race for the bottom.

Happy Pi Day!

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Today is 3/14 or the first three digits of Pi - here are two ways to calculate it:

Got some stuff to fix the fence - needed more conductive rope and some zip-ties, cable clamps, etc... The farm store in Bellingham has become just a general hardware and pet store - their electric fence supply section was a lot thinner than it was a couple of years ago. Fortunately, there is a farm store in Everson that stocked all I needed - swung by there on my way home.

Finishing off the last of the beef stew for dinner tonight - salad too.

Time to clean out the truck - heading in tomorrow morning to get oil change and some routine maintenence done - ham radio meeting tomorrow night.

Heading out - coffee, store and town

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Raining softly with more due for today. Running a few errands at the store and then into town.

The coming Big One

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Great article on the upcoming big earthquake - maybe more people will get amateur radio licenses. From Seattle station KNKX:

Northwest States Write Up Wake Up Call For 'The Big One'
The report cards are in and it's not pretty if you worry about how you'll fare after a Magnitude 9 Cascadia megaquake and tsunami. Washington and Oregon's emergency management divisions have now published after-action reviews of last June's multi-state disaster drill called Cascadia Rising .

The four-day simulation was the largest earthquake and tsunami exercise Northwest states have ever staged -- more than 20,000 people participated. The upshot in one sentence is that governments at all levels are ill prepared and ill equipped for The Big One.

Oregon Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps said a high priority for him is to improve communication capacity for when telephones and the internet are down.

"We're looking at amateur radio as a way to increase our alternate methods of communication and then seeing what else is out there,” he said.

Washington's Emergency Management Division also noted a need for professionals and volunteer radio operators to practice together more. Phelps said you may help your own cause and your neighborhood's by qualifying for an amateur radio license -- also known as ham radio.

Another issue identified for priority attention was how to receive and distribute emergency relief supplies coming from outside the disaster zone. During last June's exercise, the process of requesting and organizing vital outside aid quickly broke down.

We are due - the last quake was in 1700 and the geological record shows that they happen every 300-500 years. Phone lines will be down. Cell will remain up for as long as their emergency power is available (about three days) but the system will be horribly overloaded. Amateur Radio is the way to go - the test takes rote memorization, about four weeks of casual study (two or three hours, three or four times/week) and you get get a decent setup for under $100.

I really pity this poor fool - if this is how they define their lives and their accomplishments then they live a very shallow existence. From The Weekly Standard:

Berkeley Goes Offline
A few years ago, an adjunct professor and disability-rights activist named Stacy Nowak went to take a look at a college course offered online by the University of California, Berkeley. The course was called "Journalism for Social Change." Nowak is deaf. She has no connection to UC Berkeley; she teaches art at Gallaudet University. But she was displeased with the quality of the closed captioning the university provided on the course's video.

Nowak, who declined to be interviewed for this article, got hold of the National Association of the Deaf, which she's a member of. In doing so she set in motion a train of events that will come to a head on March 15. Already famous for other reasons, the Ides of March will likely stand as a signal day in the development of modern liberalism, or progressivism, as we are supposed to call it. That's when one bastion of left-wingery, UC Berkeley, will give in to the demands of another, the disability-rights movement, to deprive the rest of us of a uniquely wonderful resource of modern technology. It's not as complicated as it sounds.

Since 2012, UC Berkeley (among many other schools) has offered video and audio recordings of many of its courses to the general public, via YouTube and iTunes U. The Seussian acronym is MOOCs, for massive open online courses. Over the years Berkeley's catalogue of MOOCs has grown to more than 40,000 hours of high-end pedagogy. There are introductory courses in economics, European history, statistics, physics, geography, and pretty much everything else. More advanced courses range from "Scientific Approaches to Consciousness" and "Game Theory" to "The Planets" and "Philosophy of Language," this last taught by John Searle, the country's, and maybe the world's, greatest living philosopher. Not all of the content will be to everyone's taste, of course, and I'm sure there's something to annoy anyone sooner or later. Professor Michael Nagler's simpering "Intro to Nonviolence" makes me want to punch something. I probably wouldn't like "Journalism for Social Change," either.

A bit more:

After Nowak notified the National Association of the Deaf of her frustration with Berkeley's MOOCs, NAD went straight to the white-hot center of the American grievance industry, the federal government's Department of Justice. The organization filed a complaint with DoJ on behalf of Nowak and a Gallaudet colleague as "aggrieved individuals." The government lawyers got to work.

UC Berkeley, needless to say, is deeply involved in the disability rights movement and has gone to great lengths to keep it satisfied. Its Division of Equity and Inclusion boasts a Disabled Students Program that offers a long list of services to accommodate disabled students, including Disability Management Counseling and disability-specific problem-solving groups. The school adheres to an accessibility policy that issues Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that are enforced by the Web Accessibility Services team. There's even a minor in disability studies.

None of this impressed the Justice Department or the aggrieved individuals or the activist organization of which they are a part. Note that the accommodations listed above are for students and faculty only. But Berkeley opened its MOOCs to the general public. Among the videos, the intrepid DoJ investigators discovered some without captions, thus discriminating against members of the general public who are deaf. Some "contain[ed] text [that] had poor color contrast," thus discriminating against Americans with visual impairments. Others contained graphs and charts in which "information was sometimes conveyed using one color alone," thus discriminating against the color-blind.

So they are pulling all the classes. What a pathetic little bint and what a classic example of all that is wrong with the progressive movement today. There is actually quite the cottage industry filing ADA Lawsuits (here, here, here and here).

I get it. I really really get it. Being disabled sucks and there are many unintentional barriers to your living a full life. That being said, this should be a personal one-on-one matter and not something that is litigated. And also, there are things I cannot do and I do not consider myself to be disabled. Do I sue? No - that is for wusses who do not have a life. Grow a pair - bionic if you want.

Congratulations to Anthony Watts

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His Climate Science Blog - Watts Up With That has hit a couple of very major milestones recently:

Some WUWT milestones and some housekeeping
Recently, this blog passed a few milestones that I thought would be worth sharing with readers. For all of our critics and the vitriol all they throw our way, I challenge any of them to find a climate related blog that even comes close to the level of readership we enjoy here. We recently passed 300 million views and 2 million approved comments. We also recently passed 40,000 email subscribers.

WUWT is a daily read for me and a treasure of real climate information - not models, real actual data collected by real people from the field. Boots on the ground. The Right Stuff...

Actually, it was a French Dip

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Sounded better than a burger and I stuffed myself. Two pints of cider and ran into a couple of friends so socialized for a while.

Surf for a bit - long day tomorrow as I need to finish off the electric fence and wrangle some llamas as well as a couple of errands in town. Noticed a couple of weak points in the fence so picking up some reinforcing materials tomorrow as well.

Fence is about 70% done

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Did three sides of the property leaving a gap where the llamas go on and off the property. I can see them in my neighbors yard and made a point to put some treats in the horse bunk while they were watching me. They are highly food motivated and have good memories.

For the last couple of weeks, there was one spot in the corner of the pasture where they were hanging out. Even though the electric fence was broken in that area, I was not concerned as I had put in a three-strand barbed wire fence in back of the electric fence. I am working in that corner of the property today and see tufts of llama fur on the fence and saw where they had trampled it down to the ground. These guys are clever and determined. This is the gap I mentioned - I fixed most of the remaining two sides so tomorrow, if they are on property, I just have to close that gap and turn on the juice.

Prime Rib last night, it's a burger for tonight.

From the Washington Free Beacon:

Ellison Says Trump and Russia Colluded, Immediately Walks Back Claim
Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) claimed on Friday there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, although he admitted he had no evidence to back his claims. The accusation came during an interview with Alisyn Camerota on CNN's "New Day."

"This is stunning when you think about it. Far worse than Watergate, when you believe a hostile foreign power engaged in an attempt, and with the collusion of the sitting administration to manipulate an election," Ellison said.

"Well you don't know that," Camerota interjected, saying there is no evidence of collusion.

"I'm not saying there was collusion, I'm saying those meetings indicate that there could be, and I think that needs to be investigated," Ellison said.

Actually, Ellison does not need facts because his constituents are even dumber and they buy whatever he is selling.

The recent Wikipedia leaks show that the CIA had copies of Russian hacking software and they could use it to create a false crumb-trail leading back to Russia when in fact, the hacking and gathering of data was done in Langley, VA. See the Umbrage files of the Embedded Development Branch (EDB) for the details. (more here, here and here)

Life in the country - avalanche

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From the Skagit Valley Herald (about 50 miles due South of here):

Avalanche blocks Highway 20
An avalanche between Newhalem and Diablo is blocking Highway 20 and will not be cleared until next week.

The avalanche is believed to have happened late Thursday night or early Friday morning, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Andrea Petrich said.

Some gorgeous country - Diablo is a company town owned by Seattle City Light - it is where the people who work on the hydro dams live. Highway 20 is shut down at the pass but this avalanche complicates things for people living in the area.

Heh - President Trump

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From Facebook:

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Time gets all fuzzy

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Interesting - our measurement of time has gotten so good that we are now seeing quantum variations in it. From Science Alert:

Physicists Find That as Clocks Get More Precise, Time Gets More Fuzzy
Time is weird – in spite of what we think, the Universe doesn't have a master clock to run by, making it possible for us to experience time differently depending on how we're moving or how much gravity is pulling on us.

Now physicists have combined two grand theories of physics to conclude not only is time not universally consistent, any clock we use to measure it will blur the flow of time in its surrounding space.

Don't worry, that doesn't mean your wall clock is going to make you age quicker. We're talking about time keepers in highly precise experiments here, such as atomic clocks

A team of physicists from the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences have applied quantum mechanics and general relativity to argue that increasing the precision of measurements on clocks in the same space also increases their warping of time.

Fun to think about... I wonder what America's Time Lord has to say (here and here)

Back home again - coffee and office

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Got coffee and had a little sit-down meeting with my two managers at the store.

Gathering tools for the fence - Rocky is standing outside the fenceline - fortunately, where he is is a regular metal fence so he is not leaving the property. He is probably wondering where his buddies are. When I had the electric fence put in, I had them do it ten feet inside the property line so I could come in later and re-do the metal fence with something more secure.

Raining lightly but it is 48.7°F - almost warm. The snow has melted out of the pasture so the fenceline is clear. Driveway is still slushy though.

Got to re-do the garden fence first - that is on the list of projects for this summer.

South Australia (here, here, here and here) and Tasmania (here and here), have gone all out for alt.energy with some pretty spectacular failures and exorbitantly high electricity costs. Farmers who irrigate are having to make a big change. From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

Rural businesses switch to diesel power as electricity prices soar
"I'm pissed off and I've had a gutful."

A long, dry summer is enough to frustrate any sugarcane grower, but Allan Dingle's anger is directed at the pile of electricity bills in front of him.

"You start to wonder why you get out of bed in the morning," he said.

Mr Dingle uses electric powered pumps to water his cane fields near Bundaberg, on Queensland's central coast, and the price to run those pumps has more than doubled over the past decade.

The soil here is rich-red and fertile and locals say, if you can add water, you can grow anything.

But as power prices rise, some farmers have been forced to turn off the pumps.

And the change:

Diesel pumps aren't pretty. One spits out fumes as it whirs into life, but Mr Doyle says it's the only option for his company right now.

He's done the maths carefully and it's already 30 per cent cheaper to pump water with diesel than electricity.

"With what we understand electricity prices are going to do into the future, that number will become even greater," he said.

A lot more at the article - a good cautionary tale of what can happen. Also, of note, the power companies in the afflicted areas are owned by the state governments. No competition, people are free to pursue the latest alt.energy scam and there is no personal accountability. A formula for success if ever there was one.

Spending the day fencing

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It is not raining today so spending this time repairing the electric fence and gathering some wayward llamas - they are in a neighbors yard again.

Need to get this nipped in the bud ASAP as it is approaching growing season and lots of people have un-fenced vegetable gardens.

Going around the house resetting the clocks - one hour ahead for Daylight Savings Time. Looking forward to the extra daylight!

Skipping the Harbor Freight sale today - fencing takes priority.

The Chinese get it - Islam

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From Associated Press:

CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY OFFICIALS HARDEN RHETORIC ON ISLAM
China's ruling Communist Party is hardening its rhetoric about Islam, with top officials making repeated warnings this past week about the specter of global religious extremism seeping into the country.

Shaerheti Ahan, a top political and legal affairs party official in Xinjiang, became the latest official from a predominantly Muslim region to warn political leaders gathered in Beijing about China becoming destabilized by the "international anti-terror situation."

Over the past year, President Xi Jinping has directed the party to "Sinicize" the country's ethnic and religious minorities, while regional leaders in Xinjiang, home to the Uighur (WEE-gur) ethnic minority, have ramped up policing amid an uptick in violence.

Good - the muslims are at war with everyone who is not muslim. Obama failed to comprehend this and America suffered. Very happy that Mad Dog Mattis is in charge.

This just makes me sick - Veterans

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These people need to be fired immediately - talk about partisan stupidity. From The Daily Caller:

Union Officials Admit They Let Veterans Die Rather Than Talk To Republicans
A federal employee union president is wracked with regret because veterans likely died at a time when she knew about gross misconduct within her Department of Veterans Affairs facility but didn’t tell congressional leaders because they were Republicans.

“If I would’ve gone to him two years ago, who knows what kind of lives could’ve been saved,” Germaine Clarno told a radio interviewer Monday, referring to the Republican leader of a VA subcommittee. Clarno, a lifelong Democrat and social worker at the Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital in Hines, Ill., has been president of the union representing doctors at the hospital since before the deadly wait-time scandal unfolded.

Dozens of veterans have died in recent years while waiting for appointments with doctors at multiple VA hospitals and care centers around the nation. But VA staffers systematically manipulated records to make it seem like they didn’t have long waits. The problems became so severe by 2013, that as many as 40 patients died at just the Phoenix facility.

The same practices took place at Hines, with the knowledge of its director. Additional problems also plagued Hines, like heart scans getting discarded without being read.

What really gets me is that this person came forward now - now that President trump is in office. They knew that crap like this was going to be investigated and they would be found out. Outing themselves first makes them the lauded whistleblower so their buddies in the system take the fall and their job is protected. The whole lot of them should be fired. Actions have consequences.

He writes this editorial in the New York Times:

A Lesson Trump and the E.P.A. Should Heed
In March 1983, President Ronald Reagan asked me to return to Washington to run the Environmental Protection Agency. I had been the E.P.A.’s first administrator, from 1970 to 1973, and over the agency’s first 10 years, it made enormous progress in bringing the country’s worst pollution problems under control despite resistance from polluting industries and their lobbyists. A worried and outraged public had demanded action, and the government responded.

Yet the agency and its central mission came under attack during the 1980 presidential campaign. The Clean Air Act was criticized as an obstacle to growth. The agency was seen as bloated, inefficient, exceeding its congressional mandates and costing jobs. The Reagan administration and its new administrator were going to fix that. Sound familiar?

A bit more:

Budget cuts that hurt programs that states now have in place to meet those duties run the risk of returning us to a time when some states offered industries a free lunch, creating havens for polluters. This could leave states with strong environmental programs supported by the public at a competitive disadvantage compared to states with weak programs. In other words, it could lead to a race to the bottom.

Voters may have supported Donald J. Trump believing his campaign rhetoric about the E.P.A. But they don’t want their kids choking on polluted air or drinking tainted water any more than Hillary Clinton voters, and as soon as the agency stops doing its job, they’re going to be up in arms.

No Bill - the EPA has grown to be a bloated bureaucracy and is greatly overstepping it's original mandate. Little Timmy will not have his feet rot off because he was playing in a polluted stream. That part of the EPA works and will continue to work in the future. The EPA's infringement on personal water rights, Environmental Justice, over-the-top species protection, climate change and others are beyond the scope of the agency and need to be pruned back. President Trump is only cutting their budget by 19% - not a catastrophic amount although Ruckelshaus wants you to believe otherwise. President Trump is trimming the corporate fat, not murdering the agency.

Lest we forget, it was Ruckelshaus who, as head of the EPA, instituted the ban on DDT that is directly responsible for the deaths of over fifty million people worldwide. For more information read here, here, here, here and here (PDF file).

More on the budget cuts here at Anthony's: About those ‘devastating’ EPA budget reductions

Another shining moment for alt.energy

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From FOX News:

Another taxpayer-funded energy company files for bankruptcy
A cutting-edge battery maker that received millions from taxpayers has become the latest government-backed energy firm to file for bankruptcy – reviving the controversy over how stimulus dollars were spent under the last administration.

Seven years after Aquion Energy received a $5.2 million stimulus-tied grant from the federal government, the Pennsylvania company on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

$5.2 Million of our tax dollars just got stuffed down a rat-hole. The irony is this:

In January, the company was named “the North American Company of the Year Award” at the annual Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, which “focuses on emerging trends, leading innovation companies, and key players in sustainable innovation.” 

So less than 90 days from this prestigious award, the company is folding its tent. You would think there would be some measure of disclosure or transparency but this is a liberal alt.energy scam so noooooo. Going to be a fun auction I bet.

The Prime Rib won out

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Stuffed with 10oz Prime Rib and a large baked spud. Treats for the doggies for the next day or two. Great training motivation for Bear.

Surf for a bit and then an early bedtime - there is a big sale at Harbor Freight ending tomorrow - their 4" angle grinders are only $10 each - I usually pick up a couple when they hit this low. Use them up and toss them when the bearings go out. I could spend $120 on something that would last a couple of years but I go through about one every six-eight months so I think I am ahead of the curve. Not like these are precision tools. Wil be fixing the fence tomorrow too - weather is forecast for occasional showers.

A little temblor

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2.6 near Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands an hour ago. 11.8km deep so it will have been felt but not enough to cause property damage.

Just checked the rain and we have had a bit over 0.3" today total.

That is it for a while

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Probably going to head out for dinner - either a burger at Grahams or the Prime Rib special (Fri/Sat) at the Roadhouse. Do not feel like cooking.

Fed the dogs - they have developed a new trick - they will take their empty food dish and hide it. I used to have three dishes I use on a regular basis (my two and Lulu's). I am down to one and had to use a baking pan for the second pup. Not inside, not close to the house, not in the water tanks. Time for some searching when I work on the fence tomorrow.

Michael Ramirez - leaks

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20170311-ramirez.jpg

Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the remaining Obama appointed Judges to resign. Preet Bharara did not and he was fired. Here is Dinesh D'Souza's take on this - from The Gateway Pundit:

Dinesh D’Souza Cheers Firing of Obama Lackey Preet Bharara
Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney who was fired today was also the attorney who brought charges against conservative activist and author, Dinesh D’Souza back in 2014. D’Souza was sentenced to 5 years probation and 8 months in a community confinement center.

Dinesh D’Souza faced political persecution after he directed and released anti-Obama film, “2016: Obama’s America”. He was indicted over illegal campaign contributions. It was an obvious witch hunt. Read more about D’Souza’s political persecution here.

Dinesh's tweet:

20170311-dsouza.jpg

Excellent essay from one of my favorite writers - from National Review:

Don’t Sweat the Big Stuff
The recent Academy Awards ceremony turned into a monotony of hate. Many of the stars who mounted the stage ranted on cue about the evils of President Donald Trump.

Such cheap rhetoric is easy. But first, accusers should guarantee that their own ceremony is well run. Instead, utter bedlam ruined the event, as no one on the Oscar stage even knew who had won the Best Picture award.

Stars issued lots of rants about Trump but were apparently unaware that one of the ceremony’s impromptu invited guests was a recent parolee and registered sex offender.

A bit more on ranting:

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg used to offer all sorts of cosmic advice on the evils of smoking and the dangers of fatty foods and sugary soft drinks. Bloomberg also frequently pontificated on abortion and global warming, earning him a progressive audience that transcended the boroughs of New York.

But in the near-record December 2010 blizzard, Bloomberg proved utterly incompetent in the elemental tasks for which he was elected: ensuring that New Yorkers were not trapped in their homes by snowdrifts in their streets that went unplowed for days.

The Bloomberg syndrome is a characteristic of contemporary government officials. When they are unwilling or unable to address pre-modern problems in their jurisdictions — crime, crumbling infrastructure, inadequate transportation — they compensate by posing as philosopher kings who cheaply lecture on existential challenges over which they have no control.

And in Dr. Hanson's home state of California:

Schwarzenegger’s successor, Jerry Brown, warned of climate change and permanent drought and did not authorize the construction of a single reservoir. Now, California is experiencing near-record rain and snowfall. Had the state simply completed its half-century-old water master plan, dozens of new reservoirs would now be storing the runoff, ensuring that the state could be drought-proof for years.

Instead, more than 20 million acre-feet of precious water have already been released to the sea. There is nowhere to put it, given that California has not built a major reservoir in nearly 40 years.

And Dr. Hanson's observation:

We have become an arrogant generation that virtue-signals that we can change the universe when in reality we cannot even run an awards ceremony, plow snow, fix potholes, build a road or dam, or stop inner-city youths from murdering one another.

Do our smug politicians promise utopia because they cannot cope with reality? Do lectures compensate for inaction?

There really is a systemic failure of the left to do what needs to be done. The spend their time (and our taxpayer money) doing things that sound good. Ideas so good they have to be mandatory and since they cannot get We The People to vote for these ideas, they have to cheat at the ballot box.

Much more at the site - a good essay worth some of your time to read.

Telling it like it is - Islam

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Geert Wilders is someone who is not afraid to call a spade a spade - here is is on Dutch television debating a member of the Socialist Party (PvdA):

Wonder of wonders - llamas

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As I was driving out this morning, I spotted a couple familiar shapes hanging out under a fir tree. The came back!

Still fixing the fence tomorrow - needs to be done and forecast calls for intermittent showers. Fixing a late lunch and then working on some stuff here.

It's coffee time

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Working on a project at the store later today.

Great news from Alaska

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Oil - lots of it. From CNN/Money:

Massive oil discovery in Alaska is biggest onshore find in 30 years
Some 1.2 billion barrels of oil have been discovered in Alaska, marking the biggest onshore discovery in the U.S. in three decades.

The massive find of conventional oil on state land could bring relief to budget pains in Alaska brought on by slumping production in the state and the crash in oil prices.

The new discovery was made in just the past few days in Alaska's North Slope, which was previously viewed as an aging oil basin.

Spanish oil giant Repsol (REPYY and its privately-held U.S. partner Armstrong Energy announced the find on Thursday, predicting production could begin as soon as 2021 and lead to as much as 120,000 barrels of output per day.

The oil resources lie in a well, called Horseshoe, that's 75% owned by Denver-based Armstrong. Repsol owns the rest of this well.

We keep finding new reserves. Did someone say something about "Peak Oil" - don't they know about the Simon–Ehrlich wager

What with all the Fake News flying around, this is a handy word to remember - from InfoGalactic:

Gleichschaltung
In Nazi terminology, Gleichschaltung was the process by which Nazi Germany successively established a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of society.

Among the goals of this policy were to bring about adherence to a specific doctrine and way of thinking and to control as many aspects of life as possible.

A bit more - from Joe:

Goebbels said: "The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative", further claiming on another occasion that "Good propaganda does not need to lie, indeed it may not lie. It has no reason to fear the truth. It is a mistake to believe that the people cannot take the truth. They can. It is only a matter of presenting the truth to people in a way that they will be able to understand."

Remind you of anyone? Antifa? Black Lives Matter? Anarchist Black Cross? New Black Panthers? George Soros?

Perfect example of what is both good and horrid - Portland, Oregon station KOIN:

Truckloads of baby fish hauled to river in restoration plan
These speckled, rose-tinted fish haven’t been spotted in this bubbling river in remote northeastern Oregon for more than 30 years — until now.

But this week, the waters of the Lostine River suddenly came alive as hundreds of the 4- and 5-inch-long juvenile coho salmon shot from a long white hose attached to a water tanker truck and into the frigid current. The fish jumped and splashed and some, momentarily shell-shocked, hid along the bank as onlookers crowded in for photos.

“All of us are speaking from the heart and our gladness for these fish coming back into this river, bringing something that has vanished, but has come back,” Nez Perce tribal elder Charles Axtell said. “We take care of each other and that’s what we are doing — taking care of this fish. We are the circle of life.”

Good news is that more fish is better for a diverse environment. Bad news is that for some reason - disease, a marginal environment, over-fishing, whatever - the population of fish crashed. The Lostine River was not able to support a population of Coho.

Now, when these fish do return, they will become a unique population and will be awarded some measure of Conservation status - probably Vulnerable or Endangered and then say goodbye to any recreational or commercial use of the watershed. No well drilling for backwoods cabins, no timber harvesting, no road building. The fact that this population is not natural, that it was trucked in from 300 miles away will be conveniently forgotten.

From Popular Mechanics - great photos:

REPLACING THE WORLD'S LARGEST JET ENGINE AT 40-BELOW
In early February, the temperature meanders between -22 to -40 degrees. Add in 28-mph winds and it feels like a bone-shattering -76 degrees. Trees don't grow here; the summers are too short. Tarps rip like wax paper in freezing winds. One place stands out among the shrub-covered foothills, a lone 8,600-foot runway accompanied by one terminal with only two taxi gates.

This is Iqaluit Airport, and it's one of hell of a location for replacing a 18,000-pound jet engine.

Flight from Zürich, Switzerland to Los Angeles and one of two engines failed. The plane can fly on just one engine but procedures dictate an emergency landing. The remaining engine could fail too and that would make for a bad flight.

Rain rain go away

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Come again next winter. Pouring down buckets here. Supposed to let up tomorrow (60% chance instead of today's 100%) so I will fix the fence then and get the llamas corralled again.

And that is it for the evening

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Got to fix the fence tomorrow so heading upstairs to bed. Get those llamas wrangled back home and keep them there.

Long but very well researched post on the Obama's wiretaping scandal - from The Strata-Sphere:

Obama’s Surveillance Of Team Trump: A Probable Paper Trail
In the shifting saga of how members of the Trump campaign/administration ended up having their phone conversations tapped under the Obama administration, the American people have been fed a series of shifting excuses on how the Obama administration would never violate the laws concerning surveillance of US Persons.

We were told the President cannot order such surveillance (which we know is a false statement, see here and here).

Then we were given the impression by the Fake News Media these “intercepts” were under a FISA court warrant. But later we learned the FISA court rejected the application by Team Obama in June 2016.

A.J. then cites specific examples (with links to source materials) of leaks from Trump telephone calls to the liberal media and suggests how to build the paper trail back to the specific surveillance requests. I really hope that AG Sessions nails them to the wall with this - this is downright criminal.

Delicious irony - Pelosi

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She just keeps getting more and more surreal and disconnected - from Breitbart:

Nancy Pelosi: ‘We Have a Right to Know What’s in Health Care Bill Before It Passes’
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif) sent a letter Tuesday to Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) demanding to know the contents of his American Health Care Act, or RyanCare, before it passes the House–a rich hark back to what she said when Congress was considering Obamacare seven years ago.

“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” is what Pelosi said March 9, 2010 to the National Association of Counties.

Tuesday, Pelosi wrote: “Members must not be asked to vote on this legislation before the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation have answered the following questions about your legislation in 2018 and 2019, over the 10-year budget window, and in the decade after: How will this bill measure up to the Affordable Care Act and current Medicaid law on coverage, quality, and cost? And how will it impact Medicare solvency?”

Unreal - she needs to retire from public office and spend her remaining years playing with her grandkids.

And not a moment too soon

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From Townhall:

Sessions Has Asked Remaining Obama-Appointed U.S. Attorneys to Resign
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked the remaining Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys - 46 in all - to hand in their resignation. As he notes in his request, this is standard procedure when a new administration takes office.

Good - time to clean out the partisan deadwood. The New York Times is acting like this is unprecedented but it is not. Fake News again. Bill Clinton fired ALL of the U.S. Attorneys. As in all of them. All  93 of them. There was no scandal.

The phrase Best Buy is an oxymoron as their prices are quite a bit higher than many retail stores and much higher than online shopping. Now it seems they have their fingers in other pies. From Califonia's The Orange County Weekly:

FBI Used Best Buy's Geek Squad To Increase Secret Public Surveillance
To sidestep the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against warrantless invasions of private property, federal prosecutors and FBI officials have argued that Geek Squad employees accidentally find and report, for example, potential child pornography on customers' computers without any prodding by the government. Assistant United States Attorney M. Anthony Brown last year labeled allegations of a hidden partnership as "wild speculation." But more than a dozen summaries of FBI memoranda filed inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse this month in USA v. Mark Rettenmaier contradict the official line.

One agency communication about Geek Squad supervisor Justin Meade noted, "Agent assignments have been reviewed and are appropriate for operation of this source," that the paid informant "continues to provide valuable information on [child pornography] matters" and has "value due to his unique or potential access to FBI priority targets or intelligence responsive to FBI national and/or local collection."

Other records show how Meade's job gave him "excellent and frequent" access for "several years" to computers belonging to unwitting Best Buy customers, though agents considered him "underutilized" and wanted him "tasked" to search devices "on a more consistent basis."

To enhance the Geek Squad role as a "tripwire" for the agency, another FBI record voiced the opinion that agents should "schedule regular meetings" with Meade "to ensure he is reporting."

This is so illegal - it is unreal that someone hasn't come forward before to blow the whistle. This will be an interesting class-action lawsuit.

Government artwork

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Very cool article from Atlas Obscura:

The American Government Is Searching For Its Own Lost Art
They are not America’s art police. There are no midnight raids, covert surveillance or undercover operations. Most everything is done through cordial emails, polite phone calls and, if necessary, civil court. While glamour is not top priority, make no mistake: The United States government wants its art back.

Special Agent Eric Radwick, who works in the Office of Investigations for the General Service Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, is working to do just that—to locate and recover government-owned long-lost artwork of the New Deal-era federal arts programs. It could be hidden in plain sight. It could be in grandma’s attic. It could be in the possession of art collectors. No matter if it was found in the trash or cost a few grand, the art is federal property and the government is looking for it. That means regularly monitoring auction house listings, Craigslist and eBay. It means coordinating with the art community about tips. It also means waiting for calls to the GSA hotline.

A bit more - how the WPA Program began:

On May 9th, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt received a rather curious letter from an old classmate and professional artist George Biddle. Since his March inauguration, President Roosevelt had implemented the most aggressive 100 days agenda in the country’s history in hopes of solving the Great Depression. While absurdly busy—he had just delivered his second Fireside Chat and was about to sign both the Farm Relief and Unemployment Relief bills—this note gave him pause. In it, Biddle wrote that he had long admired the Mexican government for paying artists “plumbers’ wages” to paint murals on government buildings expressing Mexican ideals. Perhaps the President should consider something similar in the United States?

If you find yourself anywhere near Portland, Oregon, a trip to the Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood is very much in order. This is a wonderfully preserved gem of WPA art and architecture.

Got back home from town and saw a note at the store that the llamas were on the loose again. Last summer, Jimmy and a friend of ours ran an electric fence around the property but they didn't tension the wire properly so the fence wire sags down to the ground. With all the snow from this winter, it was impossible to pull it up from the ground and get it tensioned correctly.

The snow is gradually melting out so I will try tomorrow and Sunday to see if I can get the fence rehabilitated and llama proof. Worst case scenario: the Peruvians eat their llamas and I do have a large chest freezer. Probably a bit tough given their age but I do love stews and soups...

Hanging out with the llamas

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No llama drama today - they greeted me by the kitchen door and each of them got chunks of a nice fresh carrot to munch on. I am not above a bit of bribery.

Out for coffee and finishing off one project at the store.

Praesidium - time travel

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Great little film about time travel and firearms:

It's not nice to shaft your kin

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Ex-president Obama has basically ignored his half-brother Malik. Malik just returned the favor - from The American Mirror:

Malik Obama shares photo of brother Barack’s Kenya ‘certificate of birth’
An Obama has joined the birther movement.

Malik Obama, Barack Obama’s half-brother, tweeted image of what appears to be Barack’s birth certificate.

Except it’s not from Hawaii, but rather Kenya.

20170309-malik.jpg

Obama's staff did release a scan of a Hawaiian Certificate of Live Birth but it immediately raised a few eyebrows in the graphic arts world. Bring the photo into Photoshop and you will find it is comprised of many separate layers. A scan would only have the one. Also, the people doing this could have collapsed the layers into one final layer but they did not - not familiar with Photoshop???

There are discrepancies in typeface, the curve of the lines at the left margin. A lot of things scream very bad forgery.

Malik's twitter account has the following caption for his photo:

20170309-mo-twitter.jpg

I love it!

Interesting news from the EPA

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From twitchy:

Founder of EPA’s environmental justice office quits; Also, the EPA has an environmental justice office
No offense to Sweet Meteor O’ Death, but the impact of Donald Trump’s Election Day victory was a seismic event like no other and is still being felt four months later, and the ripples are splashing cold water in places we didn’t even know existed. One thing’s certain: a lot of people who were enjoying a warm, cozy life in the federal bureaucracy don’t like the neighborhood anymore.

There’s no easy way to say this, so we’ll just blurt it out: the founder of the EPA’s environmental justice office has quit after decades of doing whatever it was he did.

Losing your job sucks; we’re pretty certain more than a few readers who work in the private sector have been through it. But then again, Ali is resigning, apparently on the assumption that his position is going to be eliminated.

Does that include communities like Flint, Michigan? Because Ali’s tenure easily overlaps the timeline of that city’s water crisis, and now the EPA is facing a $722 million class action lawsuit filed by 1,700 people who blame the agency for doing nothing about contaminated drinking water.

If I were king, I would eliminate all programs at Colleges and Universities that had the word "Studies" in the description. I would also eliminate from all Federal, State, County and City governments any agency that had the name of "Xxxxxxxx Justice office". Cut the rot off at the source.

From Don Surber:

378-pound governor proposes soda tax
Despite collecting a soft drinks tax for 65 years, West Virginia is second only to Arkansas in obesity.

West Virginia's governor, Democratic billionaire Jim Justice, has proposed doubling the tax as part of his Better Health Initiative.

Governor Justice is is 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 378 pounds.

Besides his obesity, Justice also owes the state $4.4 million in back taxes.

He is the richest man in the state.

Wonder when the next gubernatorial election for West Virginia is scheduled? Should be an easy victory over this Jabba the Hut - there is a photo at the site. I took pity on you my dear readers and did not include it in this post. Eyebleach warning.

Back home again - good meeting

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A good meeting tonight - one person showed their go-pack. These are portable ham radio stations that can be boxed up and grabbed at a moment's notice in the event of an emergency. Look at ten people's designs and you will get ten different go-packs. It is fun seeing the other designs as I can blatantly copy borrow bits of their design to use in my next iteration.

We also did a refresher on the ARRL Radiogram (PDF file) - this is a sort of radio telegram for sending messages from one station to another. You can assign levels of priority and there is a measure of error checking so it is a really well thought out communication method. It is hard-limited to twenty five words so keep things short and sweet. ARRL is our technology guild - the Amateur Radio Relay League - just celebrated its 100th year in 2016.

Also, as we head into spring, there are a lot of upcoming events for which we offer communications services - mostly races. Starting to schedule these. I help with the Ragnar Relay as well as the Ski to Sea - a lot of fun.

From Associated Press:

AG SUGGESTS OPENNESS TO REVIEW OF PREDECESSORS' ACTIONS
Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested Thursday that he would be open to the appointment of an outside counsel to review actions taken by the Justice Department during the Obama administration.

Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Sessions in an interview if the new attorney general would consider designating an outside counsel "not connected to politics" to take a second look at Justice Department actions that provoked Republican ire in the last eight years. Those include the Fast and Furious gun scandal and the decisions against bringing criminal charges over Hillary Clinton's email practices or the Internal Revenue Service's treatment of conservative groups.

Hewitt contended during his radio interview that the department had become "highly politicized" in the Obama administration and floated the idea of a special review by an attorney with the authority to bring criminal charges and "just generally to look at how the Department of Justice operated."

Sessions was noncommittal but left the door open, saying he would do everything he could to "restore the independence and professionalism of the Department of Justice."

"So we would have to consider whether or not some outside special counsel is needed," Sessions said. "Generally, a good review of that internally is the first step before any such decision is made."

PK4 - Sessions is a very smart cookie. Don't be a flash in the pan, do everything step-by-step by the book. And absolutely nail their cojones to the wall. I wonder if Holder and Jarett are hearing a faint Tick. Tock. in the background.

Off to town - dinner and meeting

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Nothing like a nice long hot shower to dispell the chills of winter. Heading in to town now for dinner and the meeting. More posting later this evening.

A kinder gentler IRS

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Amazing the little stuff that President Trump is doing - from Legal Insurrection:

IRS releases nearly 7,000 “Tea Party” documents
It is astonishing how much is being revealed about the “Deep State” since Donald Trump was inaugurated less than two months ago.

This week, Wikileaks published almost 9,000 documents from the CIA about the agency’s own malware used to hack into anyone’s electronics make it look like the cyber-attack came from Russia.

Now, after years of struggling for real justice from the Obama Administration that falsely claimed Tea Party groups were never targeted, citizen activists now have access to nearly 7,000 documents related to the illegal man-handling of their tax status applications by the Internal Revenue Service.

The Internal Revenue Service has located 6,924 documents potentially related to the targeting of Tea Party conservatives, two years after the group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for them.

The watchdog group intended to find records regarding how the IRS selected individuals and organizations for audits that were requesting nonprofit tax status.

Nice to see - drain the swamp and defang the "deep state"

From Miso Robotics:

From Tech Crunch:

Meet Flippy, a burger-grilling robot from Miso Robotics and CaliBurger
Flipping burgers is a hot and greasy job. Slips, trips, burns and cuts are common hazards associated with the work. But global demand for burgers is tremendous. Top burger chains racked up more than $75.5 billion in annual sales in 2016. To help keep human cooks out of harm’s way while fulfilling our collective appetite for burgers, Pasadena-based Miso Robotics is rolling out a new “robotic kitchen assistant” called Flippy.

Miso Robotics CEO and co-founder David Zito said, “We focus on using AI and automation to solve the high pain points in restaurants and food prep. That’s the dull, dirty and dangerous work around the grill, the fryer, and other prep work like chopping onions. The idea is to help restaurants improve food quality and safety without requiring a major kitchen redesign.”

Make employees too expensive and cheaper alternatives will always be found.

Success!

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The parcel of land directly to my north was subdivided into five acre plots. The northernmost plot is gated and yesterday and Tuesday, the gate was closed in the evening when I went to look for my three miscreants. Found them there today standing in a group of fir trees munching away on the duff.

As I was lassoing them, someone came out and said that their grandkids just loved the llamas and were giving them treats. Needless to say, this will now be the first place I search in the future.

I was able to get a lead on Pancho and Lefty but Waylon does not give a fuck so he was unimpressed by the treats and managed to dance away from my attempts at throwing a loop. Fortunately, they are highly social so once I had Pancho and Lefty, Waylon followed right along. Pancho was pissed - he was horking up great balls of cud to spit. Llamas spit but it takes them a good ten seconds to accumulate their load. Pancho knows that I will bop him in the nose if he tries to spit at me (very tender area) so poor Lefty got the brunt of it.

Pancho was probably the instigator of this jailbreak so I am leaving him tied up in the barn for a day or two - let him know who is boss and where home it.

Time to do a hot shower (it is snowing quite heavily) and head into town for my ham radio meeting.

The great llama hunt

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Back home again, making a sandwich and then heading out into the slop with Buttercup the tractor (better traction in the snow and ice) and a load of oats and some leads. Find me some wayward llamas.

Heading out for coffee

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Knock off a project at the store and then come home and do a serious search for the missing llamas. I had looked at their faorite haunts the last couple of days but could not see them. Now, I have a couple of hours to really look in the woods and around other neighbors properties.

Got a radio meeting in town tonight - probably head in a bit early and get a sandwich or something at a nearby deli.

From Breitbart:

Disney Boss Says No Political Bias at ABC News and ESPN, Complaints ‘Completely Exaggerated’
Robert Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, said Wednesday that ABC News has been “extremely fair” in its coverage of the 2016 election and the Trump administration and that complaints of left-wing political bias on ESPN are “completely exaggerated.”

Hey Roger, don't piss on our backs and tell us it is raining. We can tell that you are lying - your lips are moving.

Cool news on the synthesizer world

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Behringer is known for cheaply made but very good sounding audio devices - mixers, signal processors, PA systems, etc... Not something you would want to take on the road every day for a tour but perfectly suited for life in a home studio. I have several of their processors and love them. Their website is here: Behringer

Today, from the GearSlutz forum:

This is a first draft of our "D" Synth with a proposed feature set below.

Our goal is to design in a Poly Chain feature that allows combining up to 16 synths through Midi.

Depending on the feedback we will then decide if we move further and build a first prototype.

Our targeted retail price is around US$ 400.

Analog Synthesizer with 3 VCOs, 24 dB Ladder Filter, LFO, 16-Voice Poly Chain and Eurorack Format

1. Analog synthesizer with triple VCO design
2. Reproduction of original “D Type” with matched transistors and JFETs
3. 0.1% Thin Film resistors and Polyphenyline Sulphide capacitors for frequency stability
4. Analog signal path based on authentic VCO, VCF and VCA designs
5. 5 variable oscillator shapes with pulse width variation
6. Classic 24 dB ladder filter with resonance
7. Fully analog triangle/square wave LFO
8. Switchable low/high pass filter mode
9. 16-voice Midi Poly Chain allows combining multiple synthesizers for up to 16-voice polyphony
10. Overdrive circuit
11. Noise generator
12. Complete Eurorack solution – main module can be transferred to a standard Eurorack case
13. 46 controls for real-time access of all important parameters
14. External audio input for processing external sound sources
15. Low and high level outputs
16. Comprehensive MIDI implementation with MIDI channel and Voice Priority selection
17. 3-Year Warranty Program

This is a true clone of the seminal Moog Minimoog synthesizer. This was the classic performance synthesizer for many many years and is still a highly sought-after collectible - these (if you can find one in good shape) routinely sell for around $3K and are worth every penny. Now that the patents have all expired, to be able to buy a clone for $400 is world-changing. That Behringer is using modern components means that the output will stay in tune and will not have the persistent hissing noise that the original Moog synthesizers were prone to.

Very cool!

More winter to come

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From the WA Department of Transportation:

Next round of weather could increase avalanche danger and lead to mountain pass closures
It has been a long winter and it does not look like the end is in sight, at least not for the next couple of days in the mountains.

The weather forecast is calling for up to eight inches of snow to fall in the mountains by Wednesday night with another seven inches by Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, the snow is expected to switch to a rain and snow mix then to a heavy, wet snow by Thursday night into Friday morning.

While warmer weather is usually welcome news this time of year, in this case, it presents a challenge. These conditions can cause the snow pack to become unstable and increase the risk of avalanches. The last time we saw these kind of conditions was in early February when avalanche danger kept all three mountain passes in the state – I-90 Snoqualmie, US 2 Stevens and US 12 White passes – closed for more than 24 hours.

Both weather services are calling for rain and temps in the 40's - we will see. National Weather Service / The Weather Channel. Mt. Baker ski area has had 132 inches of snow in the last nine days.

Daylight davings is on Sunday - clocks get set ahead for one more hour of sunlight in the evening and a darker morning.

And that is it for the night

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Got a long day ahead tomorrow - going to close out the evening with watching some YouTube videos. Subscribed to a couple of channels.

Nothing much happening in the real world.

Just wonderful - the weather

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Got another couple of inches this morning and had quite the hail squall this afternoon - really dumped for about 45 minutes in Bellingham.

Now there is a weather advisory warning of high winds and more snow later this evening (Friday 3:00AM on). Got the furnace cranked up to get the house nice and toasty in case I lose power.

George Soros - feeling the heat

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I love it - from Breitbart:

Breitbart Vs. Soros: News Agency’s Investigations Causing Problems for Billionaire’s European Operations
Investigations by Breitbart News into the global network run by George Soros have contributed to the negative atmosphere the billionaire has been facing in Europe, Politico reported on Tuesday.

The news outlet reported the Hungarian government’s move to minimize the influence of Soros’s Open Society Foundations and other foreign-funded non-governmental organizations, or NGO’s, is being “seemingly buoyed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s election victory and the ascendance of the alt-right in Washington.”

Politico reported on the role of Breitbart News in exposing Soros, falsely labeling the news agency an “alt-right website.” Breitbart News, recently ranked as the 29th most trafficked U.S. website by the Alexa rankings system, is an independent news website considered by many to be the largest conservative news site in America. It has no affiliation with the so-called alt-right movement.

Kind of hard to be a puppet-master in the shadows when people insist on shining light on your organization. All of the radical organizations today: Black Lives Matter, Antifa, New Black Panthers, etc... all funded by Soros. He makes his money by instituting chaos and selling the currency short.

The President Trump wiretaps

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The New York Times has recently been saying that this is impossible - that Obama would never order the wiretaps on a Presidential Cantidate.

Jim Hoft at The Gateway Pundit offers a capture of the front page of the NYT from two months ago:

Flashback=> NY Times Front Page Headline: “Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides”
The front page of The New York Times way back on January 20, 2017…

“Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides”

20170308-wiretap.jpg

But Two months later they are trashing their own reports!

Now the NY Times is reporting there is no evidence of a wiretap.

No wonder nobody trusts them!

Emphasis mine - indeed!
And there is an NSA Whistleblower who corroborates the information - from US News and World Report:

NSA Whistleblower Backs Trump Up on Wiretap Claims
President Donald Trump is "absolutely right" to claim he was wiretapped and monitored, a former NSA official claimed Monday, adding that the administration risks falling victim to further leaks if it continues to run afoul of the intelligence community.

"I think the president is absolutely right. His phone calls, everything he did electronically, was being monitored," Bill Binney, a 36-year veteran of the National Security Agency who resigned in protest from the organization in 2001, told Fox Business on Monday. Everyone's conversations are being monitored and stored, Binney said.

Binney resigned from NSA shortly after the U.S. approach to intelligence changed following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He "became a whistleblower after discovering that elements of a data-monitoring program he had helped develop -- nicknamed ThinThread -- were being used to spy on Americans," PBS reported.

Bring them down, prosecute them and toss them in Jail. From Obama and Michelle on down.

Back home again

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Dinner with Lulu was wonderful - her son came along (and paid for it!) Her nephew was unable to make it. We ate at a local fish house - Anthony's - the ahi was spectacular.

Spending tomorrow with the tractor doing a major search for Pancho, Lefty and Willie, my three llamas. Ham radio meeting later tomorrow night. I need to get the garbage hauled out to the curb but do not feel like it - got cold and hailed on this afternoon. Enough of that, it can go in the dumpster.

I am in the wrong business

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I should be selling clean underwear in Langley, Virginia - from The Daily Caller:

WikiLeaks Claims 99 Percent Of Its CIA Documents Not Yet Released
Less than one percent of WikiLeaks’ CIA files were released in yesterday’s document dump, the anti-secrecy organization claimed Wednesday.

WikiLeaks has already indicated that its cache of stolen CIA files, which the group is calling “Vault 7,” will be dripped out over a series of releases.

I bet there are some interesting meetings going on. People are sifting through the first release and finding some interesting nuggets - the rumor of Russian hacking is more likely CIA hacking disguised as Russian with spoofed IP addresses.

From Minnesota's Minneapolis-St. Paul Twin Cities Pioneer Press:

Sen. Tim Kaine’s son arrested: Three cops, pepper spray used in arrest near St. Paul Trump rally
It took three cops and a chemical spray to subdue the youngest son of U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, Saturday after he was identified as one of the counter-protesters who allegedly used fireworks to disrupt a rally in support of President Donald Trump at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Linwood Michael Kaine, 24, and four others were arrested on suspicion of second-degree riot after the “March 4 Trump” rally in St. Paul; a sixth person was cited for disorderly conduct. Counter-protesters clashed with Trump supporters in the Capitol rotunda after they disrupted the proceedings with air horns, whistles and chants. At one point, someone set off a smoke bomb.

Four months in jail would be a good start. We need to punch back twice as hard or else these mokes will continue to escalate and someone will get seriously hurt.

The Trump wiretaps

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From Newsmax:

Ruddy to MSNBC: Trump Campaign Had 'Consensus' on Surveillance
President Donald Trump was "pretty upset" over the weekend about his belief that former President Barack Obama had targeted him, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said Monday, adding that he had not seen Trump with "this level of anger about something in a long time."

"I saw him twice on Saturday, once at the lunch hour and then again at dinner, and I would describe him as not being a happy camper," Ruddy told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports."

Trump "reiterated what he said in the tweets [on Saturday morning], this is Watergate level stuff. This is McCarthyism, it was very bad. He seemed very confident about the information he had," Ruddy said.

A bit more:

"What they're denying is that President Obama ordered the wiretaps for the surveillance, or that they targeted narrowly Trump Tower, and it indicates and that suggests that there was some level of intelligence surveillance of the campaign, which is a serious, serious matter."

Ruddy said that while a president does not have the legal authority to order wiretaps, it would be "beyond belief that President Obama would not be aware of this."

"Look, we had a situation where the Obama White House targeted conservative groups through the IRS," said Ruddy. "The leader of that unit, the IRS, was over at Obama's White House 24 times or more. She used the Fifth Amendment. They deleted and destroyed evidence and emails, and yet there was never any complaint by anyone in the media about this."

The IRS scandal was widely reported but nothing was done - nobody is serving time for their targeting of Tea Party groups (here and here). This is worse.

Well crap - llamas

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Did not see them this morning. Heading into town for Lulu's dinner tonight. Will look again tomorrow.

Really hope they are all right - I love the little buggers. Very sweet critters.

Llama drama - day two

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Finishing off breakfast and then load up the truck with a bucket of oats and start trolling the neighborhood for my rogue llamas. It was fairly dark last night and I did not see them when I drove around - they were probably bedded down somewhere out of the way.

Working on a project at the store and then heading in to town for Lulu's birthday dinner.

And yes, it is snowing - got another couple of inches last night with more forecast to come.

Millennial International

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Sponsor a Millennial today:

A little oopsie - Amazon

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On February 28th, there was a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced a massive internet outage on the East Coast of the US. Turns out it was a problem at Amazon's Hosting services. Amazon doesn't just sell books - they provide internet services for a lot of other companies and websites. They published a post-mortem of the event and it turns out, it was a simple command-line that was entered wrong. From Amazon Web Services:

Summary of the Amazon S3 Service Disruption in the Northern Virginia (US-EAST-1) Region
We’d like to give you some additional information about the service disruption that occurred in the Northern Virginia (US-EAST-1) Region on the morning of February 28th. The Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) team was debugging an issue causing the S3 billing system to progress more slowly than expected. At 9:37AM PST, an authorized S3 team member using an established playbook executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems that is used by the S3 billing process. Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended. The servers that were inadvertently removed supported two other S3 subsystems. One of these subsystems, the index subsystem, manages the metadata and location information of all S3 objects in the region. This subsystem is necessary to serve all GET, LIST, PUT, and DELETE requests. The second subsystem, the placement subsystem, manages allocation of new storage and requires the index subsystem to be functioning properly to correctly operate. The placement subsystem is used during PUT requests to allocate storage for new objects. Removing a significant portion of the capacity caused each of these systems to require a full restart. While these subsystems were being restarted, S3 was unable to service requests. Other AWS services in the US-EAST-1 Region that rely on S3 for storage, including the S3 console, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) new instance launches, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes (when data was needed from a S3 snapshot), and AWS Lambda were also impacted while the S3 APIs were unavailable.

And the oopsie:

S3 subsystems are designed to support the removal or failure of significant capacity with little or no customer impact. We build our systems with the assumption that things will occasionally fail, and we rely on the ability to remove and replace capacity as one of our core operational processes. While this is an operation that we have relied on to maintain our systems since the launch of S3, we have not completely restarted the index subsystem or the placement subsystem in our larger regions for many years. S3 has experienced massive growth over the last several years and the process of restarting these services and running the necessary safety checks to validate the integrity of the metadata took longer than expected.

They goofed. It is one thing to design and build a system. it is another to regularly test from an absolute worst-case scenario. I have run into this several times with clients and at various jobs I have had. They have a backup system that seems to run properly but they have never run a backup, installed a brand new hard drive (keeping the old one for after the test) and restored from their backup. Most of the times, the restore fails. This is very eye-opening to the client and it allows me to charge them a lot of money to fix their system. The three crucial things for computer backup are:

    1. Test
    2. Test
    3. Test

I don't shop at Target - was in there a couple times maybe ten years ago but they do not have anything that I like. This is interesting news though - from the Investment Watch Blog:

Target Teetering On The Brink Of Financial Collapse
The boycott against Target over its bathroom policy is costing the retailer more than anybody expected, as a record share price plunge and weak sales drive the big-box retailer to the brink of financial collapse.

In April last year after Target announced that it would welcome transgender customers to use any bathroom or fitting room that matched their gender identity.

Since then a determined grassroots boycott campaign has dug its heels in, and the company is having trouble hiding the financial damage.

Target’s already disappointing stock price plunged a further 13 percent in early trading on Tuesday, putting the embattled retailer on pace for its worst day in almost twenty years and dragging the company dangerously close to the financial abyss.

Target also reported sales and earnings that missed Wall Street’s expectations, in what was a devastating holiday quarter for the big-box retailer.

The thing that gets me is that the real gays - that 3% of our population who live out their lives quietly and who just happen to prefer same-sex mates or cross-dressing or whatever floats their boat; they have been using the bathrooms that they prefer for years and years without anyone being the wiser (or if they are the wiser, they have the common grace to keep their big yap shut). The people making the problems are the new generation of politically-correct . virtue-signaling . activists who feel compelled to rub every aspect of their lives in the faces of the other 97% of us.

A quick word to the newbies: take a good look at the damage you are doing to your own cause and please just STFU. We are very tolerant but we have a very low threshold for hypocrisy.

Nails it - Hollywood opinions

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20170307-buzz.jpg

Two days ago, she released a really strange video. Now this - from Joe Hoft writing at The Gateway Pundit:

Attorney General Lynch Signed Off on ALL FISA Applications to WireTap Trump
The FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance) Court is in the news this weekend after President Trump tweeted that former President Obama had petitioned a court twice in order to wire tap current President Trump when he was running for office.

About the FISA Court:

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was established in 1978 when Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is codified, as amended, at 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1885c. The Court sits in Washington D.C., and is composed of eleven federal district court judges who are designated by the Chief Justice of the United States.  Each judge serves for a maximum of seven years and their terms are staggered to ensure continuity on the Court.  By statute, the judges must be drawn from at least seven of the United States judicial circuits, and three of the judges must reside within 20 miles of the District of Columbia.  Judges typically sit for one week at a time, on a rotating basis.

Emphasis mine - this means that the entire roster of the FISA court are Obama appointees. Joe quotes an ABC News article and says:

According to ABC, all applications to the FISA Court were signed off on by the Attorney General and therefore if any applications were processed in the past year, they were signed off on by Loretta Lynch. This means that Lynch signed off on any requests for wire tapping President Donald Trump during the Presidential race. This is disheartening knowing that she released a video over the weekend calling for the need for more marching, blood and death on the streets. This also means that she chose not to investigate the Clinton Foundation for illegal activities but rather signed an application to wire tap President Trump.

Finally, another very disturbing fact about the wire tapping request of President Trump is that the FISA Court turned down President Obama’s Administration’s first request to wire tap President Trump that was evidently signed off on by Attorney General Lynch. With only two applications denied out of 10,700 from 2009 through 2015, the fact that the Obama Administration’s application was denied by the FISA Court is very disturbing. The odds of this happening were 0.02%.

As one of the 550+ commentors says:

No wonder she wants blood on the streets. She is culpable.

Indeed... Lock them up and throw away the key.

Earthquakes in the news

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California again - from the Los Angeles Times:

A section of the San Andreas fault close to L.A. could be overdue for a major earthquake
Southern California could be overdue for a major earthquake along the Grapevine north of Los Angeles, according to a sobering new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The research found earthquakes happen there on average every 100 years. The last major temblor occurred 160 years ago, a catastrophic geological event that ruptured an astonishing 185 miles of the San Andreas fault.

The land on either side of the fault has been pushing against the other at a rate of more than 1 inch a year since 1857, the researchers said, accumulating energy that will be suddenly released in a major earthquake, when the land along the fault would move by many feet.

And yet Governor Moonbeam is still dumping the resources of California into the stupid hyperloop train system. I have driven through there, the roads are miserable. What would happen to the Oroville dam with a large quake - make the spillway problems look trivial. A bit more:

A repeat of the 1857 earthquake could damage aqueducts that ferry water into Southern California from the north, disrupt electric transmission lines and tear up Interstate 5, whose Grapevine section runs on top of the San Andreas fault at Tejon Pass.

Central Los Angeles could experience a couple of minutes of shaking, which could feel like a lifetime compared with the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which shook for roughly 15 seconds.

“This would be more broadly felt across the basin,” Scharer said. “It would impact our ability to be a world-class city.”

Life in a blue state - Rhode Island

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From Providence, RI radio station WPRO:

Rep Walsh – “Insane amount of drinking” at the State House
Freshman Representative Moira Walsh (D- Providence) joined Matt Allen on WPRO to talk about a wide range of issues – including minimum wage and women’s issues. It was a comment at the end of the hour long interview, however, that has garnered attention.

When asked by Allen what she found most surprising at the State House, Walsh said, “The drinking. It is the drinking that blows my mind. You can not operate a motor vehicle when you’ve had two beers but you can make laws that effect people’s lives forever when you’re half in the bag? That’s outrageous!”

I feel sorry for her as she is going to be treated badly for letting the cat out of the bag.

Fun story from The Hill:

Ivanka Trump clothing line reports record sales
Ivanka Trump’s eponymous women’s fashion line is reporting record sales figures despite calls for a boycott and controversies surrounding President Trump.

“Since the beginning of February, they were some of the best performing weeks in the history of the brand,” Abigail Klem, the president of the Ivanka Trump fashion brand, tells Refinery29 in an interview published Tuesday. “For several different retailers Ivanka Trump was a top performer online, and in some of the categories it was the [brand’s] best performance ever.”

The news of a sales surge comes after Nordstrom announced in early February that it would no longer carry the 35-year-old’s clothing and accessories, citing poor product sales. The move caused President Trump to tweet shortly after the announcement that his daughter was being “treated so unfairly” by the luxury department store giant.

Also last month, Neiman Marcus stopped carrying the first daughter's jewelry line on its website, and employees of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores were instructed to throw away any signage advertising her wares.

And the upshot:

A campaign called Grab Your Wallet, which is critical of the Trump administration, asked shoppers to boycott retailers with any Ivanka or Donald Trump-branded products.

According to the e-commerce aggregator Lyst, from January to February, Ivanka Trump sales increased 346 percent, Refinery29 writes.

Heh - I love it. The liberals get their panties in a twist and We The People go out and buy her stuff. I always liked the way she dresses - simple but very stylish. The 346% increase really demonstrates the real numbers - lots more of us than them...

Good news from France - avalanche

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From England's The Telegraph:

Ski disaster narrowly averted after avalanche on popular blue run in Tignes
Disaster was narrowly averted on Tuesday morning after an avalanche struck a blue run popular with family skiers in Tignes in the French Alps.

Gendarmes had earlier expressed fears that "many skiers" had been caught up in the avalanche on the Carline run that was open at the time of the avalanche around 10am.

However, police and rescue services later announced that nobody had been trapped under the snow.

An avalanche on a blue run would pose a major risk as skiers are not required to wear transceivers to locate them under the snow, unlike skiers who take more dangerous off-piste routes.

We are very attuned to avalanches here. We have lost too many good people.

Great article - I am fascinated by the culture of the Antarctic research stations, the terminology, the customs. Here is a look at the food of an especially small and remote research station - from Vice:

Inside the Loneliest Five-Star Restaurant in the World
You can eat foie gras at Antarctica's Concordia Station, but your closest neighbor is the International Space Station and you might not see oranges for three months.

Life in the kitchen is never easy—being a chef is a profession that involves an incredible amount of precision, creativity, and the ability to keep your cool in this uniquely stressful environment, even in the best of conditions. In a place like Antarctica's Concordia Station, one of the most isolated research facilities in the world, where day and night can last months on end and temperatures generally hover between -30 and -60 Celsius, the already stressful task of being a chef begins to sound downright hellish.

This however, is not the opinion of Luca Ficara, who has been serving as the base's resident chef since November.

A fun read if you are into food. Sounds like a great job for the right person.

Vault 7 - first look

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The UK Independent has taken a quick look at the Vault 7 files and they offer their six biggest discoveries"

WikiLeaks CIA files: The 6 biggest spying secrets revealed by the release of 'Vault 7'
WikiLeaks has released a huge set of files that it calls "Year Zero" and which mark the biggest exposure of CIA spying secrets ever.

The massive set of documents – over 8,000 pages in all – include a host of hacking secrets that could embarrass intelligence agencies and the US government, as well as undermining spying efforts across the world.

Here are six of the biggest secrets and pieces of information yet to emerge from the huge dump.

I'll just post the subject headers - there is a lot of explantory text for each of the six:

    1. The CIA has the ability to break into Android and iPhone handsets, and all kinds of computers
    2. Doing so would make apps like Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp entirely insecure
    3. The CIA could use smart TVs to listen in on conversations that happened around them
    4. The agency explored hacking into cars and crashing them, allowing 'nearly undetectable assassinations'
    5. The CIA hid vulnerabilities that could be used by hackers from other countries or governments
    6. More information is coming

Out tax dollars at work.

Crap - llamas missing in action

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Drove around and cannot see them. They are probably bedded down in the woods for the evening so I will try again tomorrow. I checked the hay and Rocky has been feeding but I didn't see any indication that the llamas were there - they are hierarchical so the lesser llamas will duck in and grab a huge mouthful and then pull it over a few feet away to eat. Just what I need - llama drama...

Heating up some left-over beef stew for dinner - got a nice loaf of bread in town and got the oven warming up for that.

From Wikileaks:

Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed
Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.

The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force — its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.

I bet underwear sales in Langley, VA are booming right now. Just a brief look through the files - there is a lot that is redacted but there is a lot of good solid code here. Things are going to get interesting really fast.

Quite the ride

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Off Puerto Madryn, Argentina - no further information.

Back home for the day

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Took care of what needed to be done in town. I also received several telephone calls saying that my llamas had eloped and were cruising through the neighbors yards. The little buggers - I put out fresh hay this morning.

Taking a few minutes to check email, feed the dogs and surf for a bit, unpack the truck and I will be sending out the search party. A bucket with some oats and they will follow me anywhere.

Despite the two forecasts of rain, we now have about six inches of white stuff on the ground and it is coming down without stop. Can't wait for spring! Route 90 Snoqualmie Pass is closed until further notice due to ice on the road.

Got hay and fresh water out to the critters and put out some more bird food. Heading out for coffee and then to town again. Getting a part from the locksmith and some fasteners for a project at the store as well as pick up the blinds for a remodel of one of the upstairs apartments. Birthday dinner with Lulu tomorrow and then ham radio meeting Thursday.

Forecast is for rain (both NWS and TWC) but Mt. Baker is seeing excellent fresh pow - snow level is around 1,500 feet. They have had over 100" snowfall in the last week.

UPDATE - scratch that. Just looked out the window and the snow is coming down hard. Air temp is 37.6°F so it is not sticking but that can change in a heartbeat. Truck is warming up and I have four-wheel drive so still heading into town today.

My surprised face - Valerie Jarret

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Valerie Jarret is Obama's consigliere and lives with the Obama family in their new rental house. From Judicial Watch:

FBI Files Document Communism in Valerie Jarrett’s Family
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files obtained by Judicial Watch reveal that the dad, maternal grandpa and father-in-law of President Obama’s trusted senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, were hardcore Communists under investigation by the U.S. government.

Jarrett’s dad, pathologist and geneticist Dr. James Bowman, had extensive ties to Communist associations and individuals, his lengthy FBI file shows. In 1950 Bowman was in communication with a paid Soviet agent named Alfred Stern, who fled to Prague after getting charged with espionage. Bowman was also a member of a Communist-sympathizing group called the Association of Internes and Medical Students. After his discharge from the Army Medical Corps in 1955, Bowman moved to Iran to work, the FBI records show.

According to Bowman’s government file the Association of Interns and Medical Students is an organization that “has long been a faithful follower of the Communist Party line” and engages in un-American activities. Bowman was born in Washington D.C. and had deep ties to Chicago, where he often collaborated with fellow Communists. JW also obtained documents on Bowman from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) showing that the FBI was brought into investigate him for his membership in a group that “follows the communist party line.” The Jarrett family Communist ties also include a business partnership between Jarrett’s maternal grandpa, Robert Rochon Taylor, and Stern, the Soviet agent associated with her dad.

Jarrett’s father-in-law, Vernon Jarrett, was also another big-time Chicago Communist, according to separate FBI files obtained by JW as part of a probe into the Jarrett family’s Communist ties. For a period of time Vernon Jarrett appeared on the FBI’s Security Index and was considered a potential Communist saboteur who was to be arrested in the event of a conflict with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). His FBI file reveals that he was assigned to write propaganda for a Communist Party front group in Chicago that would “disseminate the Communist Party line among…the middle class.”

It’s been well documented that Valerie Jarrett, a Chicago lawyer and longtime Obama confidant, is a liberal extremist who wields tremendous power in the White House. Faithful to her roots, she still has connections to many Communist and extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Jarrett and her family also had strong ties to Frank Marshal Davis, a big Obama mentor and Communist Party member with an extensive FBI file.

Fruit does not fall far from the tree. Explains a lot about Obama's policies.

Nobody is making the old-school Cathode Ray Tubes any more - from VentureBeat:

Donkey Kong’s failing liver: What the death of the CRT display technology means for classic arcade machines
The arcade is dead. You already knew that, but that industry’s coffin is about to get another nail. The cathode-ray-tube technology that powered the monitors for nearly every classic arcade game in the twentieth century is defunct. Sony, Samsung, and others have left it behind for skinnier and more lucrative LCDs and plasmas, and the CRTs that are left are about to sell out.

The current stock of new 29-inch CRT monitors is dwindling. Online arcade cabinet and parts supplier Dream Arcades has fewer than 30 of those large displays sitting on its shelves. When it sells out of the current inventory, it will never get another shipment in that size again.

“We’ve secured enough [of the other sizes] to get us all the way through next year,” says Michael Ware, founder of Dream Arcades. “After that, that’s it.”

The future of arcade-cabinet restoration is looking bleak.

It is not that these games will disappear, they will just not have the same "look":

To be clear, it’s not that games like Donkey Kong or Pac-Man will suddenly become unplayable. The games can run on newer LCD screens, but they may not look as the developers intended.

This just makes the value of these old consoles that much higher. Although... Someone could take a curved OLED display and put it behind a 1/2" thick piece of lead glass and come really close to the appearance of a real CRT. Kickstarter anyone?

Say goodbye to The Best Korea

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Like we would let them get away with this - from Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

North Korea missiles 'drill for strike on US bases': KCNA
Nuclear-armed North Korea said Tuesday its missile launches were training for a strike on US bases in Japan, as global condemnation of the regime swelled.

Three of the four missiles fired Monday came down provocatively close to US ally Japan, in waters that are part of its exclusive economic zone, representing a challenge to US President Donald Trump.

In separate phone calls, Trump -- whose rhetoric on the campaign trail had raised doubts about the issue -- reaffirmed Washington's "ironclad commitment" to Japan and South Korea.

The US will demonstrate to Pyongyang that there were "very dire consequences" for its actions, the White House said in a statement.

The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday after a request by Washington and Tokyo to discuss additional measures following the launch.

Under UN resolutions, Pyongyang is barred from any use of ballistic missile technology, and the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said on Twitter that the world "won't allow" North Korea to continue on its "destructive path".

They try shit like this, they will be squashed like a slow-flying bug on a fast-moving windshield. The only concern is that they have been drilling tunnels into South Korea at an increased rate. My fervent hope is that the South Korean's know where these are (tunneling is not exactly a silent activity and geophones are pretty cheap) and are just waiting until it is time to detonate some charges. More: here, here and here.

The good news is that President Trump and Mad Dog Mattis have responded with a THAAD missle installation in South Korea - from CNN:

Missile defense system that China opposes arrives in South Korea
The first pieces of a US-built missile defense system designed to mitigate the threat of North Korean missiles arrived at the Osan Air Base in South Korea Monday night, according to the US military.

The announcement comes just a day after North Korea test-fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.

China has voiced opposition to the proposed placement of the military hardware known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which it sees as a threat to its own security.
With North Korea upping the amount of missile and nuclear tests last year, the US and South Korea have publicly stressed the need to speed up the deployment of the technology.

It's designed to shoot down incoming missiles that threaten civilian populations, akin to shooting a bullet with another bullet in simple terms, experts say.

China is funding North Korea so they can go piss in a pot for all I care.

Back home again - long day

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A long and somewhat expensive day but profitable. I drove down to Mt. Vernon in Skagit County to visit Electronic Distributing - a great little electronics store. Surprisingly comprehensive! I wanted to get some solder and a couple of small connectors. Score on both cases but I saw a sign on the front window saying that their selection of XLR connectors were from 70% to 90% off.

From Infogalactic:

XLR connector
The XLR connector is a style of electrical connector, primarily found on professional audio, video, and stage lighting equipment. The connectors are circular in design and have between 3 and 7 pins. They are most commonly associated with balanced audio interconnection, including AES3 digital audio, but are also used for lighting control, low-voltage power supplies, and other applications. XLR connectors are available from a number of manufacturers and are covered by an international standard for dimensions, IEC 61076-2-103. They are superficially similar to the older and smaller DIN connector, but are not physically compatible with them.

Needless to say, being an audiophile and playing keyboards and synthesizers as well as doing PA for local events, I use XLR connectors. A. LOT. Much of what was there were various adapters - XLR to RCA Phono plug or jack, XLR to 1/4" plug or jack. I bought two of everything. Expensive but profitable.

Also stopped off at a building salvage yard down there (did not get anything) and then headed up the road to Graham's for some fish and chips and two pints of hard cider.

Lulu's birthday is today but the only time we can get her son and nephew together for dinner is Wednesday so we will have a celebration then. Have radio meetings Tuesday (tomorrow) and Thursday so this works out great.

Surf for a bit and then to bed.

On the road again - Mt. Vernon

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Heading out for coffee and then down to the small city of Mt. Vernon - home to an excellent electronics store. I will also be stopping at the Burlington Costco as they have an item that the Bellingham store does not have. Dinner in town (Costco hot dog most likely).

Grabbing a quick lunch (ham sammich and Mt. Dew Throwback - cane sugar / original formula) and will surf a little but nothing more until later tonight.

Find it interesting that the Associated Press would actually publish this:

TURNING POINT: GERMANY HOPED TO CLOSE BORDER IN 2015, DIDN'T
Germany planned to close its border with Austria and turn back asylum-seekers in September 2015, a move that could have dramatically changed the course of the European refugee crisis that was at its peak at the time, according to a German newspaper.

The Welt am Sonntag reported Sunday that Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ministers agreed Sept. 12 to send thousands of police to the border, where they were to turn back migrants who didn't have documents entitling them to enter Germany - "including in case of asylum request."

The plan was halted hours before it was due to take effect on Sept. 13 after officials raised concerns about the border closure during an emergency meeting at Germany's Interior Ministry, the paper reported.

Citing interviews with several unnamed high-ranking officials involved, Welt am Sonntag reported that ministers didn't want to take responsibility for a decision that might have been illegal under German and European law. The possibility of unpopular images of police officers blocking women and children was reportedly also a concern, resulting in a change to the police order that effectively allowed all asylum-seekers to enter the country.

Germany did not close her borders because "the optics" (ie: Virtue Signaling) would not fit the narrative of the European Union's globalist policies as set by the disconnected and unelected elites in Brussels. Now they are paying the price.

This is a very sad state of affairs as the people in the arab nations who are truly oppressed are the Christians. The young muslim men want to come to Europe as they can live off welfare as they regroup and continue their 9th century jihad. They dream of a new caliphate but have no knowledge of history.

kdenlive - video editor

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There is a lot of pricey (looking at you DaVinci) commercial video editing software out there but the open source and/or free stuff is pretty poor. I use Pinnacle - they charge about $60 for each upgrade and I really like it - they keep current on the new video formats and it can output in all sorts of formats as well as burn CD-ROMs, DVD's, dual-layer DVD's, BluRay, etc... Been using it for over ten years.

Just got turned on to kdenlive and it looks excellent - from their about page:

Kdenlive is an acronym for KDE Non-Linear Video Editor. It is primarily aimed at the GNU/Linux platform but also works on BSD and MacOS. It is currently being ported to Windows as a GSOC project.

Non-linear video editing is much more powerful than beginners’ (linear) editors, hence it requires a bit more organization before starting. However, it is not reserved to specialists and can be used for small personal projects.

I run Linux on a couple machines and prefer the KDE windowing environment so this is a major plus. Here is the link to the kdenlive website

My main focus is music and I use Cakewalk's program Sonar (twenty years familiarity in this case) but I also use and love the free Audacity - good stuff too!

Required reading

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Saw this over at Anthony's and found the original July, 21st 2014 American Thinker essay cached at Google:

Weekend Must-Read: Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist
By Danusha V. Goska
How far left was I? So far left my beloved uncle was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party in a Communist country. When I returned to his Slovak village to buy him a mass card, the priest refused to sell me one. So far left that a self-identified terrorist proposed marriage to me. So far left I was a two-time Peace Corps volunteer and I have a degree from UC Berkeley. So far left that my Teamster mother used to tell anyone who would listen that she voted for Gus Hall, Communist Party chairman, for president. I wore a button saying "Eat the Rich." To me it wasn't a metaphor.

I voted Republican in the last presidential election.

Below are the top ten reasons I am no longer a leftist. This is not a rigorous comparison of theories. This list is idiosyncratic, impressionistic, and intuitive. It's an accounting of the milestones on my herky-jerky journey.

Really thoughtful analysis of just how repugnant the far left has become.

For more on the author: here, here and here

Back home again

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Did a bit of work at the store and took some measurements for blinds. Went into town and picked up a light for the bathroom and a couple of things - got dinner in town and now back home again.

Heading down to Mt. Vernon tomorrow and picking up the blinds in Bellingham - come back and take care of a couple of projects at the store - lighting, locksmithing and a bit of carpentry.

It was really nice driving home at 6:00PM and realizing that there was still useful sunlight - not that long ago, it was pitch black at 5:00PM - the transition may be slow but the days are getting longer. Daylight savings (next Sunday!!!) is always a good message - that is when I know that summer is coming.

Disturbing video from former Attorney General Loretta Lynch:

Loretta is a liar, Trey Goudy demonstrated that before Congress regarding the Hillary email server:

A look at the Trump wiretap claims

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A long and well written article on the wiretaping case from Robert Barnes at Law Newz:

Yes, There Could Be Serious Legal Problems if Obama Admin Involved in Illegal Surveillance
President Trump recently tweeted claiming that former President Obama wiretapped him during his campaign. One can only imagine how nuts the media would have gone if the roles had been reversed: President Trump wiretapping either Obama or the Clintons, though his DOJ could have authority to do just that given the expansive leaks of intelligence information by Obama and Clinton supporters the last few months. Heck, he could wiretap the media at this point, legally and legitimately, as the sources of these unlawful leaks, for which Obama himself set precedent. Do liberals understand what Pandora’s Box Obama opened up by Obama using the powers of the NSA, CIA and FBI to spy on his political opponents? Even Nixon never did that.

If the stories are correct, Obama or his officials might even face prosecution. But, we are still early in all of this and there are a lot of rumors flying around so the key is if the reports are accurate. We just don’t know at this time. The stories currently are three-fold: first, that Obama’s team tried to get a warrant from a regular, Article III federal court on Trump, and was told no by someone along the way (maybe the FBI), as the evidence was that weak or non-existent; second, Obama’s team then tried to circumvent the federal judiciary’s independent role by trying to mislabel the issue one of “foreign agents,” and tried to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “courts”, and were again turned down, when the court saw Trump named (an extremely rare act of FISA court refusal of the government, suggesting the evidence was truly non-existent against Trump); and so, third, Obama circumvented both the regular command of the FBI and the regularly appointed federal courts, by placing the entire case as a FISA case (and apparently under Sally Yates at DOJ) as a “foreign” case, and then omitted Trump’s name from a surveillance warrant submitted to the FISA court, which the FISA court unwittingly granted, which Obama then misused to spy on Trump and many connected to Trump. Are these allegations true? We don’t know yet, but if any part of them are than Obama and/or his officials could face serious trouble.

Can a President be charged with a crime? Only once out of office. While in office, impeachment remains the exclusive remedy in order to avoid a single judicial branch trying to overturn an election, such as a grand jury in any part of the country could. Once out of office, a President remains immune from civil liability for his duties while President, under a 1982 decision of the United States Supreme Court. However, as the Nixon pardon attests, nothing forecloses a criminal prosecution of the President after his presidency is complete for crimes against the country. Obama, the Constitutional lawyer, should know that.

Robert then proceeds to outline chapter and verse on what laws have been broken and the scope of gathering that can be done under FISA, 50 USC 1801, et seq. 

A very interesting read and worth the ten minutes or so - Obama and his cronies are in deep shit if this turns out to be what it appears to be. The Democratic Party is in for a world of hurt and President Trump is going to turn over the rock and expose the Deep State for what it is. Still, this is what America really needs at this point - the Democrat Party has become horribly corrupt with the Republicans not that far behind. We will emerge from the fires stronger and more aligned with what America was meant to be.

From Blazing Cat Fur:

Schumer Pulled Strings To Get Athlete Past Trump’s Travel Ban; Guy Gets Charged Sexually Abusing A Child
Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer has inadvertently made a strong case for extreme vetting of those wanting to enter the United States.

The New York senator, and Senate minority leader, pulled strings to obtain a visa for a snowshoe racer from India to gain entry to America for a competition only to have that same man apprehended on charges of child sex abuse.

Tanveer Hussain, who is from the heavily Muslim region of Kashmir, according to the Washington Post, was initially denied a visa in the days after President Donald Trump’s travel ban, but after Schumer and the mayor of Saranac Lake in New York intervened, he was granted a visa.

Hussain, and team manager Abid Khan, were given a hero’s welcome by the town when they arrived for competition on Feb. 23 because of the ordeal they had to go through to get into the nation. They were given free lodging and congratulations, according to the Post.

But that changed when Hussain was apprehended and charged with felony sexual abuse and child welfare endangerment on Wednesday, according to police.

It is not Mr. Hussain's problem, it is just a small cultural misunderstanding, that's all.

Maybe the travel ban was actually a good idea - after all, it was Obama who initiated it in 2015, he just did not enforce it.

If Millennials Were Lumberjacks

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This is just too funny and so spot on:

Another day in paradise

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Had a bit of snowfall late last night - about an inch. It is now 38.8°F outside so this should melt pretty quickly although the fields are still fully covered.

Heading out for coffee and then a couple of projects at the store.

And that is it - early bedtime

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Got up early so going to bed early too.

Spending tomorrow working at the store on a couple of projects. Bunch of meetings this coming week.

Both forecasts are calling for mixed rain/snow through Tuesday - this is dragging on a little too much for everyone's liking but Mt. Baker has received over 5.5 feet of deep powder snow. A lot of the locals were taking snow days last week to enjoy it while the tourons were still in Bellingham and Seattle slaving behind their desks. I have had 0.8" of precip in the last 24 hours.

Great - from Legal Insurrection:

Trump’s Transportation Secretary halts funding for California’s bullet train
The last time we checked in on the construction of California Governor Jerry Brown’s legacy project, the high speed train connecting Los Angeles to San Fransisco, it was already already $3.6 billion over budget and seven years behind schedule.

In that piece, I a surmised that federal funding to help complete this project could be axed, as several pricey grants were sitting on the desks of administrators now working for President Trump (who has been defied and mocked by numerous California politicos, including our governor).

The author - Leslie Eastman - links to two great news stories:

And Leslie concludes with the following:

I will simply point out that if California can’t build the bullet train using our own money, then how was the state going to pay for a satellite to monitor climate change such as the one proposed by Brown in his epic, post-election rant against the President?

It appears that Governor Brown has just been hit by the Trump Train on its stop in Sacramento during its journey through Karma.

Heh - must be frustrating to have to now deal with an adult after the last eight years.

An interesting observation

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From Scott Johnson writing at Powerline:

TOO MUCH OF NOTHING
Do you ever get the feeling there is an elaborate game underway? That the elite media are working overtime on behalf of their political teammates? That to do so they have created something out of nothing? That they themselves have succumbed to the hysteria they seek to foment among us?

The inmates are trying desperately to regain control of the asylum.

Eureka

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A fun show - I don't know if it was a Netflix glitch. Thought I was watching Season 1 Episode 1 but we saw the last episode of Season 4 and the first one of Five. Will have to recalibrate the Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum as the Roku box seems to have become unstuck in time. One was really funny and one was very dark - looks like an interesting series.

Looks like Governor Moonbeam's plans for funding this boondoggle ran into a bit of a hitch. From The Antiplanner:

CO2 Glut Threatens High-Speed Train
Jerry Brown’s brilliant plan to fund the California high-speed rail line out of greenhouse gas emissions allowances appears to be coming to a screeching halt. California’s most-recent sale of such allowances was expected to bring in at least $600 million; instead, it earned just $8.2 million. At the projected average cost of $200 million per mile, that’s enough to build about 200 feet of rail line.

The problem is that there is a “glut of emission allowances on the market” because so many entities, including various European nations and, in California, various public utilities, are trying to earn money selling them. On the other hand, potential buyers are unsure about whether the program will continue; if it is cancelled, the allowances they buy will be worthless. The California law is supposed to sunset at the end of 2020, and if revenues remain so low the legislature is not likely to renew it.

The other problem is that Brown was counting on emissions sales to fund projects the state can’t really afford. While the efficiency benefits of cap-and-trade are proven, it is far from efficient to use permit revenues to fund boondoggles. Even the Pope questions the morality of selling the right to pollute.

Most large-scale public transportation systems turn out to be massive wastes fo taxpayer money - it is often cheaper to buy each regular rider a Prius from the construction funds and then use the yearly operating funds to pay $10,000 for their gasoline. One example can be found at Orlando, Florida - from The Orlando Sentinel (caution - self-loading video with very loud audio):

SunRail ticket revenue is less than ticketing expense
It’s no secret that tickets bought by SunRail passengers pay only a tiny fraction of the commuter train’s bills, but less known is that ticket revenue doesn’t even cover the cost of selling tickets.

SunRail’s finances would be slightly stronger if riding was free. Put another way, the revenue of $1 to $7.50 per ticket is devoured by ticket machines, employees who support ticket sales and armored cars that collect fares, and does nothing to keep the train running.

To re-phrase that, it costs more to sell the ticket then the ticket machine collects from the rider. And then, they are stuck with the age-old problem that when the demographics change (and they do), the rail line will be stuck where it is while a bus can just change it's service route.

Stew is coming along well

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Making it in a pot instead of the pressure cooker (wanted a larger volume for leftovers) so it is taking two hours instead of 45 minutes. House smells wonderful though.

Came to the end of Season #2 for Gotham - going to check out Eureka and see if that is any fun.

Also, holy crap - this was recommended to me and it actually works:

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The press requires a bit of upper-body strength but it minces the garlic really well. The silicone sleeve is the best garlic clove peeler that I have seen and I have tried a lot of them including kitchen hacks like shaking the cloves inside a mason jar. As for garlic presses, I have an older Henkels that I really like - don't see it listed any more at Amazon but I found a very similar one listed at Overstock. Having the option of two screens is nice.

Offline for a few hours

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Working on a couple projects here and making beef stew for dinner.

From the London Daily Mail:

EXCLUSIVE: Kathleen Biden accused estranged husband Hunter of reckless spending on 'drugs, prostitutes, and an $80,000 diamond' in divorce docs - days before his affair with widowed sister-in-law Hallie was revealed
Kathleen Biden is making shocking claims about her estranged husband Hunter in divorce documents filed in Washington, D.C. Superior Court.

In a motion that was submitted on February 27, Kathleen accuses Hunter of 'dissipating hundreds of thousands of dollars of marital funds' by 'spending extravagantly on his own interests' in the year since the two made the decision to formally separate while asking the court to freeze his assets.

Kathleen goes on to claim that these interests include 'drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs and gifts for women with whom he had sexual relations.'

And it gets better - Beau is Hunter's brother, Hallie was Beau's wife:

It was revealed on Wednesday that Hallie and her brother-in-law Hunter were romantically involved, a little less than two years after Beau passed away at the age of 46 from brain cancer.

This unusual situation seemed like like the kind of thing no politician would ever want to address, but former vice president Joe Biden went on the record to say that he is in complete support of the relationship.

A lot more at the site - talk about a slow-motion trainwreck.

Just wonderful - Chinese buildings

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How could we be so stupid? From the Washington Examiner:

Senators warn: FBI, other agencies work in buildings owned by China
Federal officials are putting sensitive materials in foreign-owned buildings, making them vulnerable to cyberattack and espionage, senators warned Friday.

Their alarm bells were set off by a report that said the General Services Administration has been placing FBI agents and other "high-security" government officials in buildings owned by foreign entities in China and other countries. The GSA didn't tell the tenants, according to the government report, so the officials aren't taking addition security precautions.

"Yet, in some cases the space is used for classified operations and to store sensitive data," Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., wrote in a Thursday letter to acting GSA Administrator Timothy Horne. "Given the highly sensitive information that is often stored at high-security leased sites, we are concerned with the lack of policies and procedures concerning the ownership of these sites."

And it gets better - the buildings are owned by shell companies and this is the result:

Although the buildings are leased formally from companies based in foreign countries, GSA can't be sure that those private companies are the true owners of the buildings. "GSA lacks complete information regarding foreign-owned leased space including beneficial owner information (which GAO defined as the person who ultimately owns and controls a company)," the senators noted.

The buildings are built to the specifications of the owner - it would be trivial to put data sniffers in the areas designed for server rooms. Cameras hidden in conference rooms. This is just unreal - talk about egregious malfeasance on the part of the GSA - they should be the target of President Trump's ire for year two.

Very cool - Frank Lloyd Wright

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Big fan of his work. There is a group seeking to rebuild some of his buildings that had been subsequently torn down. From The Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative:

Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative
The Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative aims to promote the legacy of this celebrated architect by rebuilding certain structures that, for various reasons, have been demolished.

Over the course of his life, Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built over 500 structures, many of which have become icons of design. They include The Guggenheim Museum, Fallingwater, the Frederick C. Robie House, the Johnson Wax Building and others. Just two Wright designs were ever built in Canada; only one remains – the E. H. Pitkin Cottage in Ontario.

The goal of the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative is to re-introduce certain Wright works back into their communities, thus honoring both the initial intent – as well as design – of the structures through their authentic recreation on their original sites.

And their first project:

Banff Park Pavilion
Frank Lloyd Wright and Francis Conroy Sullivan, Wright’s only Canadian student, designed the Banff National Park Pavilion in 1911. Commissioned by the Department of Public Works for the National Parks Service of Canada, the original design was put forth by the community of Banff with Sullivan and Wright later hired to develop a more refined concept.

Construction of the Pavilion began in 1913 and was finished the following year. Originally intended as a gathering area for visitors and community functions, completion of the Pavilion at the start of WWI saw it become a temporary quartermaster’s store for the Department of Defence. After the war, the Pavilion assumed its intended role as a picnic area and shelter for park goers, drawing large summer crowds from Calgary and Southern Alberta.

Built on the banks of the Bow River, the Pavilion was subject to flooding and frost heaving, leading to the decay of the wooden floor supports. In 1939, the structure was demolished. Although initially meeting with some resistance, the Pavilion became very popular and its demolition met with protest from residents, who’d appreciated, and grown accustomed to the business it had generated.

More at the site - looks like a gorgeous building. Well worth a road-trip when it is done.

From West Virginia's new Secretary of State:

Secretary of State’s Office works with County Clerks to cancel 36,635 outdated voter registration files
Prior to taking office, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner expressed concern over keeping West Virginia’s voter registration files up to date and accurate. Upon taking office January 16, 2017, Secretary of State Warner began acting on his concerns, and opened communication with the State’s 55 county clerks. Secretary Warner is pleased with the initial results.

The Elections Division within the Secretary of State’s Office confirmed on Friday morning that since Warner took office in January, the county clerks have canceled 36,635 outdated records from the voter registration files across the state. Cooperation continues between the county clerks statewide and the Secretary’s office to advance the voter registration list maintenance process to ensure voter file accuracy.

36,635 fewer 'popular' votes for Hillary and they are not done yet:

Using updated technology and tools, elections experts have estimated that the status of more than 100,000 registered voters in West Virginia  - nearly 10% of our State’s registered voters - may have changed and may need to be removed from current voter rolls. Those status updates include voters who: (1) have moved from their initial registered address; (2) have died; or (3) have duplicate registration records on file. 

Emphasis mine - nearly 10% of West Virginia voters are fraudulent registrations and I would not be surprised if this percentage carried over to other states. Hillary had the popular vote?

Let's do some numbers - Hillary had 62,523,126 Popular Votes and President Trump had 61,201,031 Popular Votes. Add the two together and that makes 123,724,157 people voting. Assume that 10% of these votes come from fraudulent registrations, that would be 12,372,415.7 illegal votes. Say for example that all of these votes were cast for Hillary, removing them would put her at 50,150,711 legal votes and substantially less than President Trump's popular vote.

What really gets me about the current Democratic Party is their constant need to cheat. They do not have anything that resonates with the general population so they are compelled to cheat on the elections. They think that they are "above us" and that they "know better" how we should be led. Bull. Shit. They have ideas so great they have to be mandatory.

Good meeting - Water Board

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We had a quorum so went ahead with the meeting. Covered nine line items on the agenda including reviewing, correcting and accepting the minutes from last years meeting, the budget, the state of the water system, electing a new board member and a few other items and got done in 55 minutes. I have been the president of the board for the last six years and like to run a tight meeting - wasted so much time in boring meetings that I like to keep them quick and to the point.

One of the labs I used to work at at Microsoft had weekly meetings and the leader of the meeting would rotate to each group member (there were eight) - great training.

The sun is out, it is 37.2°F outside and the snow is melting away. Hopefully, it stays away.

Now this will be interesting

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Breaking news that Obama got a court order under terrorism statutes to wiretap the Trump Tower prior to the election.

No wonder Jeff Sessions recused himself from the ambassador kerfuffle - this is what he has been working on.

A winter wonderland

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Who ordered this? Woke up to five inches of snow on the ground - wet snow too - the kind to compress right into ice and make my driveway a skating rink. What's more, the stuff is forecast to keep coming down for the next couple of days.

I seriously doubt that we will have a quorum for our meeting today - keeping my fingers crossed as we have to or otherwise, we schedule another one at a later date.

Got the truck warming up and will be heading out for coffee first - the main highway is well maintained so this will not be a problem. Mt. Baker has had 35" in the last 48 hours.

Stepped outside to find an inch of snow on the ground and more coming down. Worst case scenario, I can take Buttercup to tomorrows meeting but still...

Title of this post - the ever great Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Live in Montreal 1977.

Social Justice Warriers always lie. A two-fer.

First - from Canada's The Toronto Star:

Concordia University bomb threat suspect charged with inciting fear of terrorism
A man has been arraigned in connection with alleged bombing threats at Concordia University in Montreal.

Hisham Saadi, 47, is charged with mischief, uttering threats and inciting fear of a terrorist-related attack.

Three university buildings in the downtown area were evacuated for several hours Wednesday after Concordia received what it called bomb threats targeting Muslim students.

Zero mention of the ethnicity of the moke although his face and name bear the stamp of a middle-eastern origin. Who Mr. Saadi was pretending to be is another question:

In a letter sent to several media outlets and consulted by The Canadian Press, a group threatened to detonate “small artisanal explosive devices” once a day until Friday in order to injure Muslim students.

The group, which described itself as a chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens of Canada, or C4, complained about Muslim prayer services on campus and demanded the school stop “religious activities of all kinds.”

Emphasis mine - those intolerant alt-right people. Could not be a liberal - liberals are tolerant of other people's views, has to be a conservative.

Second - from Legal Insurrection:

What We Know About Juan Thompson, Arrested for Threats Against Jews
Jaws dropped when authorities announced they arrested Juan Thompson for threatening Jewish community centers.

Thompson made these threats in his ex-girlfriend’s name as an act of revenge, to frame her for the crimes. But this isn’t the first time Thompson has made headlines.

In fact, Thompson flew into the spotlight for fabricating references when he worked at The Intercept.

Yes, Thompson has a history of lying and drawing attention to himself.

There is much more at the site - Mr. Thompson is playing the victim in this case but he is not - there are too many of his tweets screen-captured and archived on display at this post for him to be anything but a self-centered narcissist trying to advance his sense of entitlement.

A lot of water

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Back at 4:52PM, I measured about 0.25 inches in six hours - now at nine hours, it is a bit over 0.6 inches. Not exactly a Pineapple Express but a good soaking - get the soil ready for spring and replenish the aquifers.

Geek humor

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20170303-copper.jpg

A nice long soak

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The rain has settled in for a nice long fall - snow level is about 3,000 feet - I can see solid snowfall on the mountain near my house. About 0.25 inches have fallen in the last six hours with much more forecast through the next ten days.

There is an interesting event being held at Mt. Baker - The Future of Ice. They held a similar event last year and it was interesting. I had to bite my tongue a few times during the talks as two of the presenters showed slides of data that I recognized as coming from computer models and not actual measurements (the actual data told a different story entirely).

Might mention to them if they would be interested in an alternate view for next years presentation. I can think of a few people who might open some eyes...

Back home again

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Finished the work, phoned about 20 of our customers to remind them of tomorrow's meeting and now seting up some left-over Chinese food for tonight's dinner. Really liking the Lucky Panda's food.

Our local water board is having it's Annual General Meeting tomorrow so getting some stuff ready for that.

Back in a couple hours.

Shin Lim is my favorite card magician - he was studying classical piano and developed carpal tunnel. He started working with cards as therapy and discovered that he liked doing magic more than playing music. Here he is with a routine and a message. The City of Lights is being torn apart by islamic immigrants who refuse to assimilate into the Parisian culture. Watch full-screen:

Another Pelosi/Russia link

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This one from Need To Know Network - just an excerpt:

...
In 2007, Pelosi, then-Speaker of the House of Representatives, held a hearing with Russian officials during which Konstantin I. Kosachev, who was at the time the Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, presented Pelosi with a gift.

During that hearing, Pelosi expressed her desire to go to Russia and vist the Duma in Russia. Then she shook hands with members of the Russian deligation and exchanged gifts with Kosachev. In 2017, Kosachev said that “Russophobia” was a pandemic in Donald Trump’s administration.

Additionally, in 2008, Pelosi attend Group of Eight (G8) meeting in Hiroshima, Japan where she posed for a picture with Boris Gryzlov of Russia, who at the time was the Speaker of Russia’s State Duma.

Need To Know also links to this article at Politico:

Photo contradicts Pelosi's statement about not meeting Kislyak
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that she's never met with the current Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

"Not with this Russian ambassador, no," Pelosi told POLITICO's Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer during a Playbook interview, when asked if she'd ever met with the Russian envoy.

But a file photo from Pelosi's 2010 meeting with Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev shows Kislyak at the table across from Pelosi — then House speaker — and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Medvedev had been in the country for a meeting with President Barack Obama a day earlier and stopped in on Capitol Hill to meet with congressional leaders as well.

Liars - all of them. Whenever they pick at something that President Trump has done, we find them doing the same thing a few years previous. If I were a Psychologist I would consider this to be a classic case of Projection:

Psychological projection
Psychological projection, also known as blame shifting, is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unpleasant impulses by denying their existence while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.

Nancy Pelosi - not having a good day

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Transcript here - from The American Mirror:

VIDEO: Awkward silence after Pelosi asked if she’s ever met with Russians
After Nancy Pelosi accused Republicans of “splitting hairs” over Jeff Sessions’ reported meetings with the Russian ambassador, she did the very same thing when she was asked a similar question.

“You’ve been in Congress a little bit and you’re in leadership, have you ever met with the Russian ambassador?” Politico reporter Jake Sherman asked Pelosi on Friday.

After an awkwardly long silence, Pelosi answered, “Not with this Russian ambassador, no,” before quickly trying to move on.

“Is it normal to meet with ambassadors?” Sherman asked.

“Yeah,” Pelosi responded.

How time flies - the DVD turns 20

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Seems like yesterday - from The Digital Bits:

TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN: THE DVD FORMAT TURNS 20 THIS MONTH!
Yes, folks, it’s true… this month marks the 20th anniversary of the beloved DVD format. The exact date is a matter of debate; some technically consider March 1, 1997 as the official date, though our records show that March 19 technically marks the official start of the U.S. launch, and the format was actually launched first in Japan in November of 1996. Either way, the first players and movie discs weren’t available in the seven initial U.S. test markets (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Seattle, and Washington) until much later in March 1997.

First player was $999 - $1,500 adjusted for inflation. I waited a couple years until they came down to under $500 and there were more titles available. I have over 3,000 to rent at my store.

20170301-vinny.jpg

More from the London Daily Mail

Man spends $50,000 on over 100 procedures to transform into a 'genderless' ALIEN (and he plans to have his genitals, nipples and bellybutton removed next)
A man has spent $50,000 (£40,000) on plastic surgery to become an alien - and could soon have his genitalia removed.

Vinny Ohh, 22, from Los Angeles in California, has had over 110 procedures to transform into a 'genderless' extra-terrestrial.

The make-up artist believes he's neither male nor female and so his extreme look is a way to mirror how he feels inside.

Spending $50K on cosmetic surgery and he is only 22 years old - started at 17. And this little bit of information:

Now he plans to fork out another $160,000 (£130,000) on surgery to have his genitalia, nipples and bellybutton removed.

The perfect Democratic Presidential Candidate - narcissist, no balls, no passion, focused on something 100% irrelevant and spending money like there was no tomorrow. Hits all the bases.

He has had since before November 8th to draw up a list of people who need to go and potential replacements. From Politico:

Trump's advisers push him to purge Obama appointees
Advisers to President Donald Trump are urging him to purge the government of former President Barack Obama's political appointees and quickly install more people who are loyal to him, amid a cascade of damaging stories that have put his nascent administration in seemingly constant crisis-control mode.

A number of his advisers believe Obama officials are behind the leaks and are seeking to undermine his presidency, with just the latest example coming from reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice last year with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and apparently misled senators about the interactions during his confirmation hearing.

That was coupled with a New York Times story that Obama appointees spread information about the investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia in an attempt to create a paper trail about the probe. Trump's aides have also blamed Obama appointees for other damaging leaks, like Trump's erratic phone calls with foreign leaders.

These people are toxic and need to be purged from the system immediately. Doing no favors to this administration and only showing themselves as petty little a-holes not able or willing to work in an adult environment.

Done with dinner

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Picked up some Chinese food in town today. Watched a couple more episodes of Gotham. Surf for a bit and then to bed. Bear is lying on my feet as I type this - he is turning into a great dog...

From The New York Times:

Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking
In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.

Segue back to 1983 - from this August 28, 2009 article at Forbes Magazine

Ted Kennedy's Soviet Gambit
Picking his way through the Soviet archives that Boris Yeltsin had just thrown open, in 1991 Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, came across an arresting memorandum. Composed in 1983 by Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB, the memorandum was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR. The subject: Sen. Edward Kennedy.

“On 9-10 May of this year,” the May 14 memorandum explained, “Sen. Edward Kennedy’s close friend and trusted confidant [John] Tunney was in Moscow.” (Tunney was Kennedy’s law school roommate and a former Democratic senator from California.) “The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov.”

Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.”

Kennedy made Andropov a couple of specific offers.

Much more at the site. So Obama is claiming Russian involvement in the November 8th election, even going so far as to say that the Russians helped defeat Hillary Clinton when Democrat Ted Kennedy actually did this for the Reagan Presidential election. What caused Hillary to lose was her living in a bubble and the corruption of the entire Democratic Party, especially Ms. Clinton and her "Foundation".

And, who can forget this accidental open mic:

And of course, from the Need To Know Network:

The Doughnut Hole in Schumer’s Hard Line Against Putin
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is taking a hard line on Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin, but welcomed Putin to New York in 2003.

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has talked quite tough on Russia as of late. In December, he said Trump’s team is “far too close to Russia,” and added “[b]oth parties ought to be united in standing up to Russian interference.”

Schumer hasn’t always been so tough on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In 2003, Schumer welcomed Putin to New York City as Russian oil company Lukoil opened a gas station in Manhattan.

The AP photo shows Putin and Schumer smiling, with coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The caption reads:

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, enjoys a Krispy Kreme doughnut and coffee with Senator Charles Schumer from New York as Putin visits the first New York gas station of the Russian company Lukoil, Friday.

More at the site including a photo of Schumer and Putin together.

Is too thick to measure - from Nevada's Reno Gazette-Journal:

Snow data confirm drought-busting Sierra Nevada winter
One sure sign the Sierra Nevada is experiencing a historic winter is the snowpack is getting too deep for devices scientists use to measure it.

It’s a problem that cropped up Wednesday when researchers sought to confirm snow depth at a data site on Slide Mountain at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe near Reno.

“We’re not even close,” hydrologist Jeff Anderson said after jamming an aluminum tube more than 16 feet into the snowpack hoping to reach the ground below.

The snow-measuring snafu provided real life confirmation of what scientific instruments on the site already showed.

The Sierra Nevada is wrapping up a historic winter and that’s huge news for Nevada and California, states that have spent the past several years mired in drought.

“Who would have thought this two years ago when we were measuring the worst snowpack on record,” Anderson said.

The snowpack is 212 inches deep at the Slide Mountain SNOTEL site. Water content at the site was 74.6 inches, meaning there’s more than six feet of water in the 17-foot snowpack. It’s a record for March 1 at the site.

The SNOTEL website can be found here at the Natural Resources Conservation ServiceSnow Telemetry (SNOTEL) and Snow Course Data and Products - a nicely done clickable map for the Western States, Canada and Alaska.

Anyone who would leave tons of trash has to have other character flaws. These regressive morons are not all sunshine and light. From The Washington Free Beacon:

Police Catalogue Brutal Threats DAPL Protestors Made to Officers, Families
Lawyers defending law enforcement officers who were policing protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota compiled nearly 40 pages of violent threats toward officers and their families.

The officers are defending themselves from a lawsuit filed by a group of "water protectors" who say they were subjected to unlawful force during a night of protest in November 2016.

The officers deny that measures they took to control the protests were excessive. They also say they were pushed to use crowd control tools such as water hoses and non-lethal munitions because protesters had threatened violence against them on social media.

"Maybe it is time to show up to the protest armed," says one post included in the document. "Put some fear into police officers and force them to behave themselves."

The threats stated that "cops need to get throats cut," "cops need to die," and "the only good cop is a dead cop." Messages sent directly to officers said that they should "damn well know [they are] getting a bullet in the head" if they show up at the protest site. Many of the posts were accompanied by pictures of firearms and other weapons.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, the chief defendant in the case, told the Washington Free Beacon that the state's intelligence center would investigate the threats and notify him if the senders were in the area. Many of them were, which led Kirchmeier to consider them real threats to his officers.

And it was not just the posts on social media:

The threats were accompanied by actual instances of violence, Kirchmeier said.

"With the threats towards law enforcement and us seeing items thrown at law enforcement such as burning logs, feces, hatchets, knives, spears, fence posts, and Molotov cocktails—it makes the officers go into a mode where they don't know whether they can trust people," the sheriff said.

The sheriff's office pointed to video that it says captures protesters stealing barbed wire from fences to make "razor Frisbees" that could be thrown at officers. Officers also say they had lasers pointed at them during night protests, leading to fears they were being targeted by snipers.

Find these cretins, arrest them and toss them in jail for ten years on felony charges. Make there be a significant cost to this wilding - if they do not, it will escalate to tragedy.

Is back living with Barry and Michelle - they are planning some kind of coup. From the London Daily Mail:

EXCLUSIVE: Barack Obama's close confidante Valerie Jarrett has moved into his new DC home, which is now the nerve center for their plan to mastermind the insurgency against President Trump
Barack Obama is turning his new home in the posh Kalorama section of the nation's capital - just two miles away from the White House - into the nerve center of the mounting insurgency against his successor, President Donald J. Trump.

Obama's goal, according to a close family friend, is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment.

And Obama is being aided in his political crusade by his longtime consigliere, Valerie Jarrett, who has moved into the 8,200-square-foot, $5.3-million Kaloroma mansion with the former president and Michelle Obama, long time best friends.

This is just pathetic - you guys had your run, you lost fair and square and now President Trump is unraveling all of your elitist legacy and giving the power back to We The People. It is seriously time to fade back into the pages of history. You lost!

From Lady Margaret Thatcher - from The Washington Examiner:

12 Margaret Thatcher quotes to start Women's History Month the right way
Wednesday marks the beginning of Women's History Month, and feminists are well-prepared to offer their own version of that subject over the course of the next thirty days. More often than not, those efforts deliberately exclude the accomplishments of women whose worldviews do not conform to the standards of contemporary feminism.

One such woman happens to be among the most consequential historical figures of the 20th century.

Born the daughter of a grocer, Margaret Thatcher ascended the ranks of British politics and served eventually as the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. Her talent for packaging wisdom into pithy phrases left us with countless concise quotes to return to for years to come. Here is a brief selection to help you celebrate her successes this Women's History Month.

    1. "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."
    2. "There is no such thing as Society. There are individual men and women and there are families."
    3. "Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country."

These are the first three - eight more great ones at the site.

Off to town this afternoon

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Picking up some stuff for a couple of projects both at the farm and at the store - coffee first of course...

Very light rain - a lot of the snow has melted away. We are expecting another front to move through but snow level is only 2,500 feet or so and we are at 600. Got down to 32.1°F last night - currently 40.1°F.

A helpful list

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From Way Up North - hat tip Peter:

Safety Tips for Your Next Monster Hunt
1. If someone tells you that you are the Chosen One and must save whoever or whatever, kill them and change your name.

2. Same bloody well goes for any harbinger of any "prophesy". If possible, resurrect them and kill them a second time.

3. If a mysterious and beautiful woman appears out of nowhere and is interested in you, run.

4. If you see a lone young child in the middle of nowhere and is uncommonly cheerful and/or giggling, run like you heard banjos.

5. Black cats, not so bad. Black dog that watches you without ever blinking? Don't run. Slowly back away.

Twenty-five more at the site. Definitely worth printing up and laminating and keeping handy on your travels...

Five years ago today

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Media Mogul Andrew Breitbart suffered a major heart attack and died. He is sorely missed but smiling down from heaven as a lot of people have taken his tactics to heart and are now giving the entrenched media a good run for their money. Here is a seven minute video excerpted from a documentary released in 2010:

Andrew was the person who coined the idea of punching back twice as hard. When the media lies, call them on it. Shoot undercover videos showing them to be the utter prats they are. Mock them and drive them into the river.

A big tip of the hat to Andrew Marcus and the rest of the writers at The Gateway Pundit who have been carrying Andrew's torch for the last five years. Much more at the site.

Dinner was good

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Watched two episodes of Season 2 Gotham - excellent show. Lots of attention to detail on the sets, great lighting and wonderful stories.

Surf for a bit and then to bed - heading in to town tomorrow so need to get up (relatively) early.

Dinnertime

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Got a Costco Chicken heating up in the oven. Lulu made some antipasto veggies and I made some hummus and got some pita bread (actually Naan) out of the freezer.

We may be living 30 miles out in the country but we eat well...

Back to a normal weather pattern

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The extreme lowland cold is moving on - just got this Winter Storm Warning:

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM THURSDAY TO MIDNIGHT PST FRIDAY NIGHT...

The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a Winter Storm Warning for snow, which is in effect from 4 AM Thursday to midnight PST Friday night.

    • SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...20 to 30 inches of snow over the course of Thursday and Friday.
    • SOME AFFECTED LOCATIONS...Mount Baker.
    • TIMING...Snow will increase in intensity on Thursday and Thursday night, with the heaviest snow expected on Friday.
    • SNOW LEVEL...2500 feet.
    • MAIN IMPACT...Travel will become difficult on snow covered roadways.

This will be great for people on the slopes - we are at 600 feet elevation so it will fall as rain down here. Sweet blessed rain - wash away the last of the ice. I still need four-wheel drive to get down my driveway, still ice on the ground.

DERP - what were they thinking?

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From Jackson, Mississippi's The Clarion-Ledger:

Immigrant detained after press conference
Moments after an immigrant spoke out about her fears of deportation, she was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Daniela Vargas, 22, was detained by ICE agents Wednesday morning, shortly after speaking at a news conference in downtown Jackson, according to her attorney, Abby Peterson.

The news conference was hosted by local immigration attorneys, churches and the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance to bring attention to families impacted by deportation.

Vargas' brother and father were detained outside their home by ICE agents in February. Vargas hid in the closet. When she was discovered by agents, she was temporarily handcuffed and then released.

Vargas was 7 years old when her family came to America from Argentina, placing her under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, immigration policy. Under the policy, DACA recipients have to reapply every two years. Vargas' DACA is expired but her renewal application is pending.

Peterson said she told agents via telephone Vargas had a pending DACA case. However, agents reportedly told Peterson that Vargas was a "visa overstay" and will be detained.

Vargas has no bond and is in ICE detention.

She knew that she was in the USA illegally - visa overstay and not doing the paperwork for temporary status. I wonder if she was getting welfare benefits? A bit more:

Before being detained Wednesday, Vargas said she planned to move out of state with her mother and pursue her dream of being a university math professor.

"Now, I'm not so sure my dream will continue to develop," she said. "A path for citizenship is necessary for DACA recipients but also for the other 11 million undocumented people with dreams."

Emphasis mine - there is a path for citizenship in place. You need to demonstrate that you are a responsible member of society, obey our laws and integrate into our society. You especially do not start meddling in USA politics when you are not a citizen.

The final unraveling - Venezuela

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Socialist paradise that it is - from CNN/Money:

Venezuela is down to its last $10 billion
Venezuela only has $10.5 billion in foreign reserves left, according to its most recent central bank data.

For rest of the year, Venezuela owes roughly $7.2 billion in outstanding debt payments.

In 2011, Venezuela had roughly $30 billion in reserves. In 2015, it had $20 billion. The trend can't persist much longer, but it's hard to know exactly when Venezuela will run completely out of cash.

A bit more:

The thinning reserves paint a scary financial picture as the country faces a humanitarian crisis sparked by an economic meltdown. Venezuelans are suffering massive food and medical shortages, as well as skyrocketing grocery prices.

Massive government overspending, a crashing currency, mismanagement of the country's infrastructure and corruption are all factors that have sparked extremely high inflation in Venezuela. Inflation is expected to rise 1,660% this year and 2,880% in 2018, according to the IMF.

Socialism always ends this way - Obama did socialism light for eight years and doubled our national debt from $10T to almost $20 Trillion dollars. Wonder why President Trump was elected to office?

Instant Karma

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I love it - from Cristina Laila writing at The Gateway Pundit:

FIRED! Hillary Lackey Who Mocked Navy SEAL Widow at Trump’s Speech Gets Canned
President Donald Trump recognized Carryn Owens, widow of U.S. Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, during his speech last last night to Congress.

A bit more:

But not everyone was touched by this tender moment.

This jerk called Carryn Owens an “idiot” and accused President Trump of using her.
Disgusting.

20170301-grillo.jpg

Grilo is a proud Hillary volunteer who was harshly criticized for mocking the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL. Grilo worked as a principal for Chicago-based Liberty Advisor Group but as of Wednesday they confirmed he is no longer with the company.

And this from Fox News:

Grilo’s LinkedIn page says he works as a principal for the Chicago-based Liberty Advisor Group. But as of Wednesday morning, Grilo’s profile page on the site had been deleted, and the company later confirmed that an employee had sent what they called “an offensive and inappropriate tweet” regarding the Gold Star family.

In a statement, the company said that while the message was from his personal account, “his comments were inconsistent with the Company’s values.”

“Regardless of whether the comments in the tweet were intended to cause the hurt and anger that they ultimately generated, they were unacceptable to us, and the individual who issued the tweet is no longer affiliated with Liberty,” the statement said.

Don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you. A classic case of punching back twice as hard - the guy makes an odious statement and has a lot of social media online including links to his employer. Makes perfect sense for his employer to fire him - makes the company look bad. Especially now when people are seeing that the political winds are shifting and they need to figure out where they stand.

Turning into a busy day

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The meeting went well - I think I will be renting to the group. Got a guy coming out to look at one of my saddles - this was the one for Sam the Mule who died last fall. I am not plannining (at this time) to get another horse or mule (although I do love mules) so selling it off to someone else who can use it. Horses and mules have different body shapes so the saddles are different.

Heading in to town tomorrow to get some things for a couple projects at the store.

Heading out to a meeting with a potential tenant. There are apartments above the store and looking at renting one of them out as an office for a local back-country association. Meeting with the principal at noon today.

But first, coffee and check the post office...

The Oroville Dam - a few days ago

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The California Department of Water Resources sent a helicopter to the Oroville Dam on February 27th - this is what was left of the spillway (no audio):

I wonder just how long it is going to take them to fix this. The state has no money - it is being spent on entitlement programs for immigrants and a shiny new train to nowhere.

March 2017

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Environment and Climate
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the Air Vent
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Watts Up With That?


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Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
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Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
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photo.net
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Gone but not Forgotten...
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shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
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