April 2017 Archives

More claims from The Best Korea

| No Comments

Fat-boy Kim is losing his marbles - from South Korea's Yonhap News Agency:

N. Korea threatens to sink U.S. nuclear submarine deployed to S. Korea
After the United States deployed a nuclear-powered submarine and an aircraft carrier to South Korean waters amid high inter-Korean tensions, North Korea on Sunday threatened to sink the underwater vessel, accusing America of stepping up military intimidation.

"The moment the USS Michigan tries to budge even a little, it will be doomed to face the miserable fate of becoming a underwater ghost without being able to come to the surface," the North's propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said in a posting.

"The urgent fielding of the nuclear submarine in the waters off the Korean Peninsula, timed to coincide with the deployment of the super aircraft carrier strike group, is intended to further intensify military threats toward our republic," the website claimed.

Kim is stepping things up to where he can not back down while saving face. I hope he doesn't have any nuclear surprises in his satellite.

Triboluminescence

| No Comments

Triboluminescence? From Infogalactic:

Triboluminescence is an optical phenomenon in which light is generated through the breaking of chemical bonds in a material when it is pulled apart, ripped, scratched, crushed, or rubbed (see tribology). The phenomenon is not fully understood, but appears to be caused by the separation and reunification of electrical charges. The term comes from the Greek τρίβειν ("to rub"; see tribology and the Latin lumen (light). Triboluminescence can be observed when breaking sugar crystals and peeling adhesive tapes.

Destin from Smarter Every Day 2 demonstrates this phenomenon with Peppermint Life Savers and records it at 28,000 frames per second:

Smarter Every Day 2 is his backchannel for informal videos, his primary channel is Smarter Every Day where he produces longer and more formal videos of his experiments.

Radio network in a few minutes. Busy evening at the farm...

A set of eight arguments

| No Comments

Wonderful post by Jeff Reynolds at PJ Media:

Eight False Pretenses Liberals Use to Frame an Argument
Our friends on The Left, especially The Professional Left, use emotional arguments to win hearts and minds. We conservatives are typically not very good at storytelling, which puts us at a disadvantage when trying to win debates over public policy. This disadvantage becomes more pronounced when we fail to counter the false premises of The Left. When we let an underlying premise go unchallenged, we have already lost the argument.

Too many Republicans, and even too many conservatives (not necessarily the same thing), fall into the trap of The Professional Left every single time. They'll meet the Democrats on their turf, leaving their false premises unchallenged in an attempt not to look like a typically mean Republican. When we use the language of The Left to try to beat them, the referee might as well declare a TKO before we even enter the ring. If we conservatives permanently want to change the arguments over taxes, budgets, health care, immigration, abortion, and any number of a host of public policies, we must first learn to recognize the false premises of The Left and call them out for what they are. As Napoleon learned at Waterloo, it never works out when you fight your enemy on their home turf. Reclaim the battlefield, and you claim the battle.

Here are Eight False Premises of The Left. Learn to recognize and counter them, and the argument will flow your way every time (at least until you're called Hitler, invoking Godwin's Law). Which false premise of The Left drives you craziest?

1. Mass shootings are on the rise! If we could just get rid of all the guns, people wouldn't be so violent!
This argument bears all the hallmarks of a False Premise of The Left. Take a crisis, blow it out of proportion, and demand emergency action. Voila! Rights revoked, and everybody feels better! This is the classic argument of the advocates of gun control. This argument presupposes that humans aren't naturally predisposed toward violence to assert their dominance in a dispute.

In order to defeat this argument, one must know the freely available stats on the rates of violent crime. Every outlet you can find, left-leaning, right-leaning, government stats, whatever is out there -- they all show a dramatic drop in violent crime since its peak in the early '90s. This article from National Review gives a good overview. The upshot is that as funding for police increases, violent crime decreases. About those mass shootings? According to John Lott, France had more deaths from mass shootings in 2015 than the U.S. had in all eight years of the Obama administration. This is not a uniquely American problem, and the frequency of attacks is a mere 0.078 per million people. Statistically, the chance of dying in a mass shooting event is roughly equivalent to dying in a severe weather event. Is it awful? Of course. Should we do more? Absolutely. Should we trample the rights of law-abiding gun owners? What do you think?

Well analysed - seven more at the site. Well worth the time to read.

Cuteness overload - baby goats

| No Comments

Spent the last two hours at the friends farm. It was very well attended with about 20 people coming and going. Met some new people and caught up with people I had not seen since last fall.

The goats were epic cute and I met my cow - buying half of him this fall.

Back home - Lulu is delayed by a day so hanging out here.

Never visited there but would love to. Their President is taking a zero bullshit response to drugs that is being very effective. The liberals are calling him every name in the book but he is turning the nation around and cleaning house. From The New York Times:

Trump Invites Rodrigo Duterte to the White House
President Trump on Saturday invited the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to the White House, embracing an authoritarian leader who is accused of ordering extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and who crudely disparaged Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

Mr. Trump had a “very friendly conversation with Mr. Duterte,” according to a statement issued by the White House late Saturday. It said that the two leaders “discussed the fact that the Philippines is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs.”

In fact, Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs has resulted in the deaths of several thousand people suspected of using or selling narcotics, as well as others who may have had no involvement with drugs. Human rights groups and many Western governments have condemned Mr. Duterte for the bloody campaign.

A spokesman for Mr. Duterte, Ernesto Abella, confirmed the White House invitation, saying that Mr. Trump had expressed “his understanding and appreciation of the challenges facing the Philippine president, especially on the matter” of drugs.

Great news - President Duterte was elected by the people of the Philippines because it was on the brink of disaster from drug trafficking. He is doing what he promised to do - much like President Trump.

A day of sloth

| No Comments

Spent this morning puttering around the house - laundry, etc... Finishing lunch and then heading out for coffee and to visit some friends at a nearby farm. They just had a bunch of babies and are holding an open house to promote their CSA program and to let people skritch the baby goats and lambs. I love these critters but when they are adults, they are too harmful to the garden and any landscaping so I re-homed what goats I had. More than happy to visit other people's baby goats though...

Rain rain go away

| No Comments

Started to rain this afternoon - nothing much - well less than a tenth of an inch but still, cloudy skies and wet out. Grrrrr....

Look Around You - Little Mouse

| No Comments

Behold the computational power of Harrington 1200 Songwriting Computer system:

Media bias - The New York Times

| No Comments

The tale of two headlines - from Commentary Magazine:

The Graying Lady
If you want to see, in an instant, what the New York Times has become, just consider the lead headlines in this morning’s editions of the Times and the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal headed its story on the Trump tax proposals: “Trump Unveils Broad Tax-Cut Plan.”

The Times headline was: “Tax Overhaul Would Aid Wealthiest.”

That headline is, of course, pure propaganda. It’s the sort of headline Pravda would have used in the glory days of the Soviet Communist Party.

So true and yes, the bias is that blatent. It is 24/7 Trump Derangement Syndrome.

From Amazon - EMP-Hardened Radio Communications

The link is to the e-Reader Kindle edition. Just the reference material you want to have when we go through an Electromagnetic Pulse which wipes out our electronics - either another Carrington Event or when fat-boy Kim decides to toss a nuke in the air over our heads. Just clicked to buy the paperback version...

I had written that it was partially back online two days ago after being offline for 78 days while it was dumping Seattle/s raw sewage into Puget Sound. Yesterday, The Seattle Times published an in-depth analysis of what actually happened:

A disaster years in the making
As Emily Carlson frantically tried to outrun the rushing and rising brown water, the operator-in-training at the West Point wastewater-treatment plant fell waist deep into a tank. Injured, in pain and frightened, she struggled to stand. Then she went into shock. It was shortly after 2:30 a.m.

Not long before, lights had flickered in the plant. Several alarms alerted supervisor Charles Wenig that four critical pumps that push treated wastewater out of the plant had choked. Maximum flows were surging in from all over Seattle and beyond, after days of steady but not record-breaking rain.

Precious minutes ticked by as wastewater poured in, and two men on Wenig’s crew kept working to restart the pumps.

They were counting on equipment and systems elsewhere to protect the plant from a flood on a wet-weather night. But for more than a half-hour, at least 15 million gallons of untreated wastewater — including raw sewage — swamped the plant, pouring down stairs, smashing doors, flooding tunnels and hallways, and drowning millions of dollars of equipment as employees fled.

The Seattle Times, through interviews and reviewing more than 7,000 documents, found errors in judgment, poor communication, a lack of training, equipment failures and faulty maintenance led to the disastrous flood at West Point on Feb. 9.

Very well written - the culprit was a poor design of float switch used to measure water level. All eight of them failed in the same way. They had been identified as a very weak point in 2000 when they first failed. In 2004, it was recommended that they be tested regularly - this was not done. In 2008, they were found to be not functional - they were repaired but not replaced.

Great burger fish and chips

| No Comments

Decided on fish and chips instead of a burger. Delicious and washed it down with a couple pints of cheap beer - they were out of draft cider.

Dogs are chowing down.

The internet awaits...

Dinner time

| No Comments

Heading out to Glacier for a burger. Don't feel like cooking tonight and there are no leftovers in the fridge.

Lulu is coming out tomorrow - she had jury duty last week so now I can get to hear what the trial was about...

Cold weather in France - update

| No Comments

Wrote about the freezing weather yesterday - here is a detailed report from Wine Spectator:

Update: French Winemakers Weathering Worst Frost in 25 Years
Cold weather struck France's young vine buds again this week, and Bordeaux is the latest region to suffer frost damage. Farther north, Burgundy and Champagne also weathered cold conditions and frost. Damage reports are incomplete so far, mainly because winegrowers have been busy preparing anti-frost measures.

Bordeaux's Right Bank Hit Hard
"We can already estimate that we have lost nearly half of the potential crop,” said Xavier Coumau, president of Bordeaux's Syndicate of Wine and Spirits Courtiers.

Lots more at the site - this is going to hit the French wine market hard. I drink WA State wines - there are some excellent ones available from Costco.

Measles outbreak - vaccination

| No Comments

When people do not vaccinate their children, these things happen - from the Duluth, Minnesota News Tribune:

Measles outbreak at 32, with Somali-Minnesota children hit hard
A Ramsey County child is among 32 confirmed cases of the measles this month as unfounded fears of a link to autism have contributed to stubbornly low vaccination rates among Somali-Americans.

The Minnesota Department of Health says at least 28 of the outbreak's victims are Somali-American. Just one is known to have received the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

And the reason?

Somali-Americans in Minnesota once had higher vaccination rates than the general population. But that changed following news reports in 2008 about high rates of autism among Somali-American students in Minneapolis Public Schools.

Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease division director at the Health Department, said anti-vaccine activists seized on the 2008 news "almost immediately," spreading fears about a debunked link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

I really hope that Andy Wakefield comes to grips with the damage he has done. Revoking his Medical License should have beeen just the first step - charges should be filed.

A Yale University update

I posted two days ago about the hunger strike at Yale University - the one where protesters could go and eat if they got too hungry. Now some other students at Yale had a wonderful idea - from The Blaze:

College Republicans hilariously troll liberals participating in hunger strike at Yale
On Tuesday, eight graduate students at Yale University started a hunger strike in an attempt to force the university to provide better union benefits.

“Yale is saying that we have to wait, that bargaining would be too premature. They’re saying that because they want to game the legal system, file motion after motion,” Local 33 Chairman Aaron Greenberg told the Yale Daily News. “We’re saying, ‘OK, we’ll wait, but we’re going to wait without eating.’”

And what did those nasty Republicans do?

Conservatives across the country had a lot of fun with the Yale students’ “inspirational” attempt to force the university to provide better union benefits, but the College Republicans at the prestigious institution seemed to enjoy the absurdity of the spectacle more than the rest. On Friday, the GOP student group held a barbeque in close proximity to the hunger strike to mark the ridiculous event.

Needless to say, lots of liberals were outraged by the move. For instance, Vice politics writer Eve Peyser said the move was “gross” and “cruel.” Far-left editor at ThinkProgress Ian Millhiser called the College Republicans “self-entitled pricks.”

“Turns out the Yale College Republicans are exactly the kind of self-entitled pricks you would expect them to be,” Millhiser wrote on Twitter, along with a link to a scathing article about the barbeque.

Talk about an epic troll... Classic response.

A bit of news from south of here

| No Comments

From The Olympian:

Man sets underwear on fire while passed out in Spanaway Walmart bathroom
A drunken man with a lit cigarette passed out on the toilet in a Spanaway Walmart bathroom and caught his underwear on fire Monday, according to Central Pierce Fire & Rescue.

Firefighters were dispatched to the store at 20307 Mountain Highway E. about 6:30 p.m. after fire alarms went off, Central Pierce spokesman Brian Levings said Wednesday.

They went to the store and found the bathroom filled with smoke.

As the man sat on the toilet, drawers down, he fell asleep, and ash from his cigarette fell between his legs and ignited his underwear, Levings said.

The man slept through all this, Levings added.

And when the guy woke up:

“One of our guys actually used a dry chemical extinguisher to put out his pants while they were on him,” Levings said.

That roused the man, who then pulled a knife on the firefighters, Levings said.

Spanaway is about 20 miles due South of Tacoma, WA

Working at the store today

| No Comments

Paying personal bills and doing paperwork. I started doing this when I opened my business center and am still working out of that office despite closing it in 2015 - all of the paperwork is in one place and I got a huge filing cabinet.

Working at home today

| No Comments

Got some stuff done and heading out for coffee and checking in at the store.

Back in a bit... Overcast but no rain for the last 24 hours.

This is my surprised face - Antifa

| No Comments

Once you foster corruption, the rot spreads to other arenas. From The Daily Caller:

Documents Tie Berkeley Riot Organizers To Pro-Pedophilia Group, NAMBLA
The left-wing activists behind the anti-conservative riots at Berkeley have ties to one of the nation’s most prominent pro-pedophilia organizations.

The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary — more commonly referred to as By Any Means Necessary or BAMN — is one of the militant leftist groups waging a campaign against conservatives and Trump supporters in Berkeley. The group’s planned aggressive demonstrations against conservative commentator Ann Coulter and the students coming to hear her talk led to the cancellation of Coulter’s speech this week due to safety concerns.

BAMN’s parent organization worked directly with the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) in the years just before it founded BAMN, according to NAMBLA documents reviewed by The Daily Caller. In addition, a member of that parent organization said to have founded BAMN is an admitted member of NAMBLA, which she has described as the victim of a “witch-hunt.”

BAMN, which did not return a phone call and voicemail seeking comment, was founded by the Revolutionary Workers League, a small, Detroit-based Marxist organization. Many of BAMN’s leading members over the years have also been RWL members.

“The Revolutionary Workers League is a Trotskyist organization of which I’m a member,” Luke Massie, one of BAMN’s founders told the Michigan Daily in 2001. “We are proud to have played a part in a whole lot of struggles and to have played a role in the founding of BAMN.”

Disgusting is all I can say. Much more at the site - pics of documents and links to corroborating data.

Time to open that bottle of wine and surf YouTube for a while.

About that minimum wage - automation

| No Comments

Going to be expensive but wages are making it affordable although we will suffer for it. From The Seattle Times:

A robot that picks apples? Washington state’s orchards could see a ‘game-changer’
Harvesting Washington state’s vast fruit orchards each year requires thousands of farmworkers, and many of them work illegally in the United States.

That system eventually could change dramatically as at least two companies are rushing to get robotic fruit-picking machines to market.

The robotic pickers don’t get tired and can work 24 hours a day.

“Human pickers are getting scarce,” said Gad Kober, a co-founder of Israel-based FFRobotics. “Young people do not want to work in farms, and elderly pickers are slowly retiring.”

Same thing as what happened when Cesar Chavez unionised the grape pickers and the farmers discovered that they could automate the processs for much cheaper. Consumers lost out as the farmers only grew grapes that could physically withstand the picking process. As I wrote:

this basically put a whole bunch of pickers out of business, changed the way that grapes are grown, forced us to adopt a mono-culture and prevented us from commercialy harvesting heirloom grapes (the ones with real flavor) and made a couple of people (the inventors of the grape picking machines) very rich.  A perfect case of unintended consequences - what Chavez was saying sounded good to the progressives in New York, Boston, San Francisco, etc... but it did not work in actuality and wreaked havoc with the system.

We already have a visa process for agricultural workers from other nations - we need to use that instead of relying on illegal immigrants.

We have to go to the English media - from the London Daily Mail:

The First Lady blossoms! Melania dedicates new healing garden at the Children's National Medical Center with a touching play-date filled with hugs at the hospital
First Lady Melania Trump dedicated a new garden for patients at one of America's leading children's hospitals on Friday as she grows more comfortable in the White House role.

Patients at the Children's National Medical Center will be able to spend time outside in a healing garden while enjoying views of the National Mall and Washington Monument from the the hospital's new rooftop.

Melania spent the afternoon working with children as they colored a floral coloring sheet with a pink marker and bonding with a girl who was celebrating her birthday.

She reminds me a lot of Jacqueline Kennedy - very gracious and classy lady.

From the Yonhap News Agency:

N. Korea fails in missile test: S. Korean military
North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Saturday, which apparently exploded seconds after liftoff, South Korea's military said.

"North Korea fired an unidentified missile from a site in the vicinity of Bukchang in Pyeongannam-do (South Pyeongan Province) in the northeastern direction at around 5:30 a.m today," the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. "It is estimated to have failed."

I bet his missileers are shitting their pants right now - Kim is losing face to the world and he does not take this graciously. A united Korea would be an economic powerhouse.

Mexico gets in on the act - The Wall

| No Comments

Talk about hypocrisy - from CNS News:

Mexico Assembles Team for All-Out Legal Assault on Border Wall
Mexico’s foreign secretary is planning an all-out legal assault on any future construction of a border wall by the U.S., to include filing suits in U.S. and international courts over possible environmental, human rights and international treaty violations.

Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray told congressional leaders here that Mexico will neither pay for nor cooperate with the wall proposed by the Trump administration, under any circumstances.

He called the wall proposal a “profoundly unfriendly” and “hostile” act.

“We won’t contribute in any manner, directly or indirectly or financially or in any other form to the continuation of a construction of a wall or any other type of physical barrier between our two countries,” Videgaray told members of the congressional foreign relations committee.

This is hypocrisy because Mexico has some of the strictest laws regarding immigration and foreigners living there beyond the "normal" tourism stay. Try to sneak in and you will immediately find out why Mexican prisons have such a bad reputation.

Why ESPN is tanking

| No Comments

A couple of days ago, I noted that sports network ESPN was laying off about 100 of their on-air personalities. Today, Sean Davis at The Federalist lays out the reasons why:

The Real Story Behind ESPN’s Wednesday Massacre
ESPN, the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports, became the worldwide leader in sports layoffs on Wednesday morning after news leaked that the cable network was in the process of laying off 100 staffers, most of whom are reported to be on-air talent.

The layoff reports came as no surprise to those who have followed ESPN and its on- and off-air struggles to profitably provide the kind of content that most sports fans want to watch. Shortly after the mass layoff reports were confirmed, the Internet hot takes began. ESPN is failing because of cord-cutting, because it has too much politics, because it has too little politics, because sports fans are racists, you name it.

And the four reasons:

1) ESPN Overpaid for Broadcast Rights
2) Cable Cord-Cutting
3) Declining ESPN Ratings - and, you guessed it:
4) Politics
With all this in mind, it’s not at all surprising that ESPN decided to retreat into the fever swamp of leftist politics to save itself. An obsession with politics didn’t doom ESPN, but it’s going to make it extremely difficult for ESPN to dig itself out.

The industry insider I spoke to said the focus on politics was a symptom, rather than a root cause, of all these current issues. According to this insider, ESPN executives saw the writing on the wall — higher costs, subscriber losses, lower ratings — and decided that it needed a bigger content pie to attract more content consumers. Sports is too small, so why not try for a real mass audience by broadening the network’s focus to include news and politics? If X number of people like sports, and Y number of people like politics, then surely combining sports and politics will lead to a much bigger audience, thereby solving the company’s financial dilemma.

This view, of course, ignores how people consume political news. The diehards who love political news don’t turn on the TV or open the laptop and navigate to sites with zero bias that just play it straight. Why? Because those kinds of political news and commentary providers don’t exist. Because that’s not what political junkies want. Liberals want news from liberals, and conservatives want news from conservatives. The Balkanization of political news and commentary didn’t happen by accident. People in this business know you have to pick a side. That works in political news. It doesn’t work if you have a bipartisan mass media audience.

Instead of expanding its pie by combining two types of mass media content, ESPN ended up communicating to half its audience that it didn’t respect them. How? By committing itself entirely not to political news, but to unceasing left-wing political commentary.

Yup. They did not think this through and alienated half of their audience

Back home from town

| No Comments

Got feed and water out to the critters and the dogs are contentedly munching away on their dinner.

Turned into a gorgeous day - coolish (got up to 57.9°F this afternoon) but clear and lightly cloudy.

Had dinner in town so will be surfing the web, unloading the truck and opening a bottle of wine.

About that global warming - France

| No Comments

Isn't this planet supposed to be getting significantly warmer? That is what all of the computer models are saying. From the UK Guardian:

French winemakers deploy candles, heaters and helicopters to save vines from frost
Sharp spring frosts are damaging production in some of France’s most famous winemaking regions, including Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy, posing a threat to growers’ incomes.

Vineyards report temperatures plunged in all three regions last week, sometimes to below -7C (19°F), hurting shoots already well-developed because of earlier mild weather, and growers fear a new cold snap could cause more damage.

They have been using candles, heaters and even the down-draught from helicopters to try to save crops.

“All areas of the Champagne are hit to very varying degrees,” said Thibaut Le Mailloux from the Champagne Committee (CIVC) industry group. “It’s too early to estimate the extent of the damage, but the frost impact is worse than last year’s”.

France’s total wine output fell 10% last year due to adverse weather conditions. Champagne was the worst hit, with the harvest down more than 20% on the previous year due to spring frosts followed by other problems such as mildew.

CIVC said that on average 20 to 25% of vine shoots had been destroyed in Champagne by Tuesday, against 14% last year. That estimate did not take into account potential damage from overnight frosts in the past two days.

The line "the frost impact is worse than last year’s" is especially chilling - not just weather, this is climate change. Getting cooler.

Back soon

| No Comments

Heading out to the bank and running a couple of errands.

Nice and clear outside - fluffy clouds and sunshine.

From the Sacramento Bee:

Transgender patient sues Dignity Health for discrimination over hysterectomy denial
More than seven months after a Dignity Health hospital refused a hysterectomy to a Sacramento-area transgender patient, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday on his behalf.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges that Dignity discriminated against Evan Michael Minton, 35, a former state Capitol legislative aide, when he sought a hysterectomy as part of his transition from female to male.

A bit more:

The case pits the desires of transgender patients seeking sexual reassignment surgery against Catholic doctrines, which bar sterilizations such as hysterectomies in most instances.

And of course, he could have just gone to another hospital - which he did with Dignity Health's help:

“In general, it is our practice not to provide sterilization services at Dignity Health’s Catholic facilities,” said spokeswoman Melissa Jue, in an emailed statement last August. Sterilization procedures, such as hysterectomies or tubal ligations, she said, are permitted by Catholic hospitals only to cure or alleviate a “serious pathology and (if) a simpler treatment is not available.”

After Mercy San Juan denied the hysterectomy, Minton’s surgeon said Dignity Health officials helped her obtain emergency privileges at Methodist Hospital of Sacramento, a Dignity facility that is not bound by Catholic doctrines. The hysterectomy was performed at Methodist in September.

Dignity Health went above and beyond to help Minton and this is the thanks he gives them? This was either a premeditated setup or the ACLU contacted him and proposed the lawsuit. They need to lose a couple really big cases - get themselves discredited and publicly humiliated.

Heh - so close

| No Comments

Sorry for the poor image quality - best I could find on the internet:

20170427-democrat.jpg

Very cool idea

| No Comments

From Hackaday comes this wonderful project:

HELP WANTED: OPEN SOURCE OSCILLOSCOPE ON RIGOL HARDWARE
We’ve often heard (and said) if you can’t hack it, you don’t own it. We noticed that [tmbinc] has issued a call for help on his latest project: developing new firmware and an FPGA configuration for the Rigol DS1054Z and similar scopes. It isn’t close to completion, but it isn’t a pipe dream either. [tmbinc] has successfully booted Linux.

There’s plenty left to do, though. He’s loading a boot loader via JTAG and booting Linux from the USB port. Clearly, you’d want to flash all that. Linux gives him use of the USB port, the LCD, the network jack, and the front panel LEDs and buttons. However, all of the actual scope electronics, the FPGA functions, and the communications between the processor and the FPGA are all forward work.

Why the Rigol? [tmbinc] says they are cheap, have decent hardware, and use parts that have accessible tool chains. Plus, the Rigol is popular among people likely to hack their scope. The Xilinx FPGA and the ARM processor are reasonably easy to work with using either open source or freely available tools.

The Rigols are a great little scope for the money - I bought one to replace a very old Tektronix and I love it (still keeping the Tek for backup - love it too). Going to keep tabs on this project as there is a lot of signal processing that could be done if you had access to the operating system - lots of great math libraries out there for Linux.

Since February 9th, the Seattle wastewater treatment plant has been dumping raw sewrage into the Puget Sound. From today's The Seattle Times:

Mechanical systems restored at West Point plant, but dirty water still flowing into Puget Sound
The West Point Treatment Plant is getting back on track after cleaning, repair and replacement of equipment destroyed in a catastrophic flood Feb. 9.

The effluent discharged to the Puget Sound still does not meet permit standards, but it’s getting cleaner. All damaged mechanical systems have been repaired or replaced.

Workers restored or rehabilitated a mile of tunnels, 151 electrical motors, two miles of insulation, 40 motor control centers, 125 electrical panels, 25 electrical transformers, more than 1,200 outlets and switches as well as sedimentation tanks bigger than football fields, and digester tanks.

Plant staff will continue fine-tuning the biological processes essential to secondary treatment.

The size of the spill:

The flood resulted in diverting 235 million gallons of untreated wastewater from the crippled plant — including 30 million gallons of raw sewage — into Puget Sound, and pouring hundreds of tons of partially treated solids for months into the Sound that normally would have been cleaned from effluent leaving the plant.

They are expecting to be back in full operation by sometime May - like I said, I'm not eating shellfish or seafood from Puget Sound any time soon...

Epic-level virtue signalling

| No Comments

Virtue Signalling - from Infogalactic:

Virtue signalling is the expression or promotion of viewpoints that are especially valued within a social group, especially when this is done primarily to enhance the social standing of the speaker. For example, expressing a hatred of the right-wing newspaper Daily Mail might be an example of virtue signalling among the British left. The term is chiefly used by conservative commentators to criticize the expression of tribalistic socially progressive views on social media, but has also been used to describe analogous behaviour in other groups, such as pro-gun rights grandstanding among the American right, and by signalling theorists to discuss conspicuous piety among the religious faithful.

Here is a perfect example - from The Washington Free Beacon:

Yale Grad Students Go on ‘Symbolic’ Hunger Strike Where They’re Allowed to Eat
A group of Yale University graduate students announced Tuesday evening that they would be undertaking a hunger strike to pressure the administration into granting them better union benefits. The strike is taking place in front of University President Peter Salovey’s home.

"Yale wants to make us wait and wait and wait … until we give up and go away," the eight members of the graduate student union Local 33 announced. "We have committed ourselves to waiting without eating."

Yale doctoral students currently earn a stipend $30,000 a year, receive free health care, and have their $40,000 tuition paid in full, according to Yale News. The university administration said in a statement that they understood the students concerns, but "strongly [urge] that students not put their health at risk or encourage others to do so."

As it turns out, the hunger strike might not put anyone's health in peril. According to a pamphlet posted on Twitter by a former Yale student, the hunger strike is "symbolic" and protesters can leave and get food when they can no longer go on.

Sounds like a tantrum that a three-year-old might throw. They want to use the shock value of "Hunger Strike" but do not feel like doing it on an empty stomach. Bunch of pansies...

Back home again

| No Comments

Picked up the stuff I needed but still have to head back tomorrow for a quick run to the bank.

Met with some people from our county CERT program - developing a real team out here. Good thing to happen as there are a lot of things that can go wrong fire, flood, earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, long-term power outages, railroad derailments, etc... We are a long way from the population centers so outside of local first-responders, rescue could be many weeks away.

Off to town

| No Comments

Finished lunch - critters are fed and fine. Probably get a bite to eat in town. Oh, and coffee first of all...

Unreal - the political dogma is strong in those people. From the Washington Examiner:

Former EPA employees find new gigs as Trump protesters
Former Environmental Protection Agency employees are finding new gigs as climate change activists ahead of this weekend's climate protest in Washington.

Nearly 800 former employees, some of them directors and senior staff, sent a letter Thursday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, White House officials and several others, blasting President Trump's "policy of denial" on global warming.

It is not a "policy of denial" if the warming is not happening. Look at the data, not at the computer models.

"As former employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we know that science is at the heart of the bipartisan progress our nation has made toward protecting public health and the environment," the letter read. "Yet as we mark the 47th Earth Day this month, the Trump administration and its supporters in Congress are turning their backs on science and what it tells us about the gravest environmental problem of our times — climate change."

So your precious rice bowl got taken away and now you are confused, hurt and stressed out. Welcome to real life - you now have to go and find a job in the private sector. I can understand why these people are in panic mode; they have zero usable skills.

That atmospheric river

| No Comments

Four days ago, I posted about a very large atmospheric river that was headed our way. Fortunately, it headed to our south and we just got a few showers - less than 0.1"/day. We have been getting a lot more rain starting last night with 0.23" in the last 24 hours. The rain has stopped for now but things are very wet.

Heading into town today to meet with someone and pick up a couple things for other people out here.

They finally got all of their images and videos in one central place - from Ars Technica:

Finally, NASA has its universe of images in one happy, searchable place
When the Internet came along in the 1990s, like a lot of government agencies, NASA kind of scratched its head and wondered what to make of all this freely shared information. But unlike a lot of other agencies, NASA had a trove of images, audio, and video the general public wanted to see. After all, this was the agency that had sent people to the Moon, taken photos of every planet in the Solar System, and launched the Hubble Space Telescope.

So each of the NASA field centers—there are 10 of them—began digitizing their photo archives and putting them online. Johnson Space Center in Houston, for example, had thousands of images of space shuttle astronauts training and flying in space. Kennedy Space Center had launch photos. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory had planets, rings, comets, and more. Unfortunately, these images were spread across dozens of NASA.gov sites, with no good way to search the different databases.

"It was, to be honest, pretty frustrating because you had to have a lot of knowledge about NASA itself to know where a particular image might be," said Rodney Grubbs, imagery program manager for NASA. The space agency made some efforts with commercial companies in the 2000s to organize its image collection, Grubbs said—but mistakes were made. "It did not result in something that helped us," he said.

A few years ago, NASA tried again, working with a company called InfoZen. The challenge wasn't quite up there with landing humans on the Moon, but consolidating 140,000 images, videos, and audio files that existed in more than 100 collections was not exactly a simple challenge.

The website is here: https://images.nasa.gov/

Going to spend a lot of time here - this puppy is deep and wide...

All that rain - they had just finished clearing Highway 101 in Mendocino County (gorgeous stretch of road). From the North Coast Journal:

101 Closed Until at Least Next Week; Rain Forecast to Return
Caltrans is estimating a possible reopening of U.S. Highway 101 sometime mid-to-late next week and is warning travelers to expect detours of up to seven hours until the roadway can be safely reopened.

The initial slide that closed down both lanes north of Leggett on April 16 was followed a few days later by another that dumped as much — if not more material — than the first one, according to Caltrans. Special equipment is being airlifted into the area next week.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service is forecasting another storm system to move into the area on Monday and Tuesday with 1 to 3 inches of rain expected in Del Norte and Humboldt counties and a half-inch to 1 inch of rain in Mendocino County.

The second slide was caught on video by Wendy Kornberg:

Ho Li Crap - that is a lot of dirt...

I thought it had died and gone back to whatever level of Hell it was spawned from. From The Daily Wire:

Leftist Researcher: Teachers Should Stop Requiring Standard English From Minorities, Too 'Oppressive'
In typical patronizing fashion of the Left, a white female undergraduate researcher from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Erika Gallagher, is arguing that learning and using proper English within school walls is too challenging and "oppressive" for black and brown students, who should instead be allowed to use "any form of English " they feel "comfortable with," like Ebonics, or African-American Vernacular English.

This, my friends, is what you might call "the soft bigotry of low expectations."

Gallagher, whose so-called "research" was based almost entirely on interviews with just three "student leaders from marginalized groups" on campus, found that minorities being expected to learn and use proper English was oppressive; one student said such an expectation “is the biggest form of cognitive dissonance that exists." Formal English, concluded the undergraduate researcher, is exclusionary of marginalized groups.

I am not surprised that Ms. Gallagher teaches at University of Wisconsin-Madison - that place is about as nutty as it gets - sort of a mid-west Berkeley, CA

More on Ebonics here

From Portland, OR station KPTV:

Deputies ID wanted man accused of sexually assaulting sleeping girl in Milwaukie area
Deputies have identified a wanted man accused of breaking into a Milwaukie-area apartment and sexually assaulting a sleeping 9-year-old girl.

Investigators are searching for 48-year-old Santiago Martinez-Flores.

And (wait for it) buried in paragraph seven:

Detectives said he has a long criminal history dating back to 1994. He was last known to have been deported to Mexico in March 2001 after serving two years in the Oregon Department of Corrections. But somehow, police believe he made it back to Oregon.

Portland being a sanctuary city and all that - he was probably on food stamps and welfare too - taxpayer dime.

Sanctuary Cities

| No Comments

A reaction on the judge striking down President Trump's ruling - from The White House:

Statement on Sanctuary Cities Ruling
Today, the rule of law suffered another blow, as an unelected judge unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our Nation. Federal law explicitly states that “a Federal, State or Local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” 8 U.S.C. 1373(a). That means, according to Congress, a city that prohibits its officials from providing information to federal immigration authorities -- a sanctuary city -- is violating the law. Sanctuary cities, like San Francisco, block their jails from turning over criminal aliens to Federal authorities for deportation. These cities are engaged in the dangerous and unlawful nullification of Federal law in an attempt to erase our borders.

Once again, a single district judge -- this time in San Francisco -- has ignored Federal immigration law to set a new immigration policy for the entire country. This decision occurred in the same sanctuary city that released the 5-time deported illegal immigrant who gunned down innocent Kate Steinle in her father's arms. San Francisco, and cities like it, are putting the well-being of criminal aliens before the safety of our citizens, and those city officials who authored these policies have the blood of dead Americans on their hands. This San Francisco judge's erroneous ruling is a gift to the criminal gang and cartel element in our country, empowering the worst kind of human trafficking and sex trafficking, and putting thousands of innocent lives at risk.

This case is yet one more example of egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge. Today’s ruling undermines faith in our legal system and raises serious questions about circuit shopping. But we are confident we will ultimately prevail in the Supreme Court, just as we will prevail in our lawful efforts to impose immigration restrictions necessary to keep terrorists out of the United States.

Next stop - the US Supreme Court. And this delightful report from the Washington Examiner:

Exclusive interview: Trump 'absolutely' looking at breaking up 9th Circuit
President Trump said Wednesday that he has "absolutely" considered proposals that would split up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where judges have blocked two of his executive actions.

"Absolutely, I have," Trump said of considering 9th Circuit breakup proposals during a far-ranging interview with the Washington Examiner at the White House. "There are many people that want to break up the 9th Circuit. It's outrageous."

The hippies tears will be copious.

Heh - ESPN got very political and all Social Justice Warrior-y with their broadcsts and the general public responded with a resounding Meh... From the Los Angeles Times:

ESPN lays off Jayson Stark, Jay Crawford and about 100 other on-air personalities and writers
ESPN is cutting about 100 jobs, most of them on-air TV and radio personalities, as the cable sports giant struggles to adjust to profound changes in how viewers consume sports news and entertainment.

Unlike past rounds of cutbacks, Wednesday’s layoffs targeted prominent on-air personalities, including former athletes Trent Dilfer, Danny Kanell and Len Elmore. Studio anchors, including Jay Crawford, and stalwart reporters Ed Werder, Jayson Stark and Dana O'Neil also were ousted. ESPN declined to provide names of their workers who were affected, but dozens announced their dismissals on Twitter.

Good bye - if we want sports information, we generally do not want it served with a lardon of politically-correct commentary. We get more than enough of that from the mainstream media as it is.

Good news - education

| No Comments

Trump is pulling the Federal Government out of the education business. From The Washington Times:

Trump to pull feds out of K-12 education
President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to start pulling the federal government out of K-12 education, following through on a campaign promise to return school control to state and local officials.

The order, dubbed the “Education Federalism Executive Order,” will launch a 300-day review of Obama-era regulations and guidance for school districts and directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to modify or repeal measures she deems a overreach by the federal government.

“For too long the government has imposed its will on state and local governments. The result has been education that spends more and achieves far, far, far less,” Mr. Trump said. “My administration has been working to reverse this federal power grab and give power back to families, cities [and] states — give power back to localities.”

He said that previous administrations had increasingly forced schools to comply with “whims and dictates” from Washington, but his administration would break the trend.

Very good news - to understand why, you just have to look at this graph from The Cato Institute:

cato_education.jpg

From The Daily Caller:

Congress Asked To Eliminate $270 Million A Year In Solar Subsidies
Conservative groups wrote a letter to Congress Tuesday asking lawmakers on the appropriations committee to eliminate a solar subsidy program worth $270 million.

Conservatives want Congress to pull funding from the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative, citing recent investigations that found the program provided subsidies for rooftop solar power.

The letter calls SunShot the “ground zero of the solar subsidy machine,” arguing that it gives out millions of dollars in subsidies through net metering programs. Such programs force utilities to buy the electricity from rooftop solar panels at up to six times the market price, effectively forcing non-solar residents to pay more to maintain the grid.

Good - we need to spend our money on real energy solutions instead of the warm and fuzzy experiments that have been promising renewable energy in just five years for the last thirty years.

Nuclear is the way to go especially Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors - no waste problems, operates at atmospheric pressure so no containment ve$$el needed and absolutely walk-away safe.

More on the Laffer Curve

| No Comments

I had posted earlier today about President Trump's wonderful tax cuts and gave a side reference to the Laffer Curve. The New York Times has a nice article:

Arthur Laffer’s Theory on Tax Cuts Comes to Life Once More
A white cloth napkin, now displayed in the National Museum of American History, helped change the course of modern economics. On it, the economist Arthur Laffer in 1974 sketched a curve meant to illustrate his theory that cutting taxes would spur enough economic growth to generate new tax revenue.

More than 40 years after those scribblings, President Trump is reviving the so-called Laffer curve as he announces the broad outlines of a tax overhaul on Wednesday. What the first President George Bush once called “voodoo economics” is back, as Mr. Trump’s advisers argue that deep cuts in corporate taxes will ultimately pay for themselves with an explosion of new business and job creation.

The exact contours of the plan remained murky and Mr. Trump will not produce a fully realized proposal on Wednesday. But what the president has called a tax reform plan is looking more like a tax cut plan, showering taxpayers with rate reductions without offsetting the full cost by closing loopholes or raising taxes elsewhere. In the short run, such a plan would add many billions of dollars to the national deficit. Mr. Trump contends that it will be worth it in the long run.

“The tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth,” Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary and main architect of the plan, told reporters this week.

Good - make the cuts deep enough and the economy will boom. Cut regulation, cut taxes and stand back.

A new music group

| No Comments

From the intarwebs:

There's this new band named 1023MB
They haven't had any gigs yet.

Talk about spoiling it for everyone - from The Gateway Pundit:

Portland Cancels Annual Avenue of Roses Parade After Antifa Terrorists Promise to Rush Parade and Beat Republicans
The “Antifa” far left Communist group has managed to get an entire parade and carnival canceled in Portland because the Multnomah County Republicans were going to be in the parade. 

The communists threatened to riot, loot, assault people at the parade. The festival people decided to cancel the entire weekend of activities, which was going to be this weekend due to the threats of violence by the leftist group.

The Antifa group promised to rush the parade and drag away the Republicans.

The Repubicans response was excellent and to the point:

The Multnomah County Republican Party (MCRP) has for many years participated in the Parade, and calls upon the Mayor, the Police Chief, and the District Attorney to take action against this criminal conspiracy to commit crimes of riot and disorderly conduct in violation of Oregon law. “Under former Mayor Charlie Hales,” said James Buchal, MCRP Chair, “the City allowed this cancer of lawlessness to grow to the point where its leaders are now bragging, like some sort of comic book characters, that ‘the police cannot stop us’. But this is no laughing matter. The participation of political parties in public events like the Parade is not only an American tradition, but also reflects the most fundamental constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of assembly.”

The road to fascism begins with armed gangs of thugs using violence to shut down opposing points of view. The question now is whether the City of Portland will be complicit in such conduct. We hope the City’s new leadership has the courage to respond to these threats appropriately.”

Emphasis mine - very true words. These people have been allowed to act out illegally for way to long - it has given them the idea that their actions are allowed by the government. This is a perfect time to punch back twice as hard. Something to remember when reading the history of the Democrat party:

20170426-democrats.jpg

Same as it ever was - Nepal

| No Comments

They need a President Trump to run things for a while - from the Nepali Times:

Building back unsafe
Gongabu, the neighbourhood where most concrete structures collapsed in Kathmandu in the 2015 earthquake, is back to business as usual: dancers perform in dimly-lit bars, sex workers wait for clients outside, and migrants from the nearby bus terminal stroll on sidewalks.

But a Nepali Times investigation has found that Gongabu is also back to the illegal construction that resulted in so many fatalities here two years ago.

When the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Central Nepal on 25 April 2015, it was mostly brick and clay buildings that collapsed while the majority of concrete structures stayed intact. However, here in Gongabu it was the multi-storey concrete blocks that pancaked, killing 160 people in this locality alone. Most of them were young migrant workers waiting to fly out, and a few were miraculously rescued after a week.

An expose in this paper in 2015 showed that those buildings had weak foundations and the owners had added extra floors illegally after bribing officials.

The area was a Village Development Committee until December 2014, which meant builders here did not need to follow the 1993 construction code. Now, Gongabu is in the new Tokha Municipality, and there are strict guidelines for concrete structures. But only on paper.

Rope, tree, some assembly required. Time to clean house.

Coffee and back home

| No Comments

Working at home today - feel the need for an early afternoon boost though. Check in at the store and the post office too.

From The New York Times:

White House Proposes Slashing Tax Rates for Individuals and Businesses
President Trump on Wednesday proposed sharp reductions in both individual and corporate income tax rates, reducing the number of individual income tax brackets to three — 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent — and easing the tax burden on most Americans, including the rich.

The Trump administration would double the standard deduction, essentially eliminating taxes on the first $24,000 of a couple’s earnings. It also called for the elimination of most itemized tax deductions but would leave in place the popular deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions. The estate tax and the alternative minimum tax, which Mr. Trump has railed against for years, would be repealed under his plan.

Arthur Laffer - paging Mr. Laffer to the white courtesy phone please...

Seasons change

| No Comments

I live in an area with definite seasons - Summer, Fall, Winter and Construction. Got this little bundle of joy from the WA State Department of Transportation:

Ski season wraps up, construction season moves in on SR 542
GLACIER – The season of fresh powder, first tracks and weekends at the hill has wrapped up along Mount Baker Highway and now the construction season is sliding in.

During the break between ski seasons, Washington State Department of Transportation contractor crews from Strider Construction will begin work on a fish passage project on State Route 542 west of Glacier. On Monday, May 15, crews will start work where Hedrick Creek flows under the Mount Baker Highway at milepost 32.

It is good that our infrastructure is being well maintained. A lot of this is driven by the tax revenues that the Mt. Baker ski area pours in to the State coffers but still, we have been having major projects on SR 542 every year. A definite impact on our Summer tourism. Why drive to Artist Point when the traffic is being screwed by construction?  The ski season is a major boon to our economy but it is the summer season that is the major economic driver for our area - people coming up to spend days at a time, camping, hiking, etc...

Too cute - goat yoga

| No Comments

I had seen photos but here is the video:

There website is here: Jenness Farm

Not science, politics being manipulated to make a few people very rich - from The Daily Caller:

Al Gore’s New Group Demands $15 Trillion To Fight Global Warming

Hey Al - STFU - your fifteen minutes elapsed a long long time ago you pompous windbag.

A bit of local interest

| No Comments

Glacier is a town about eight miles East of where I live. From The Bellingham Herald:

Why were skulls found on a property near Glacier? The sheriff’s office is searching for answers
After the discovery of two human skulls, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office investigators are combing a property west of Glacier for more clues.

Undersheriff Jeff Parks said people living on the property in the 9100 block of Mount Baker Highway found the skulls over the weekend and reported them to the sheriff’s office on Monday.

The property, which began as a homestead, has belonged to the same family for generations, Parks said. Family members told deputies that a man who once lived there and has since died was known to collect skulls, Parks added. He had no further information as to why the man kept the skulls.

The sheriff’s office is not treating the property as a crime scene, Parks said, but crews are still searching for anything that could become evidence of a crime.

“We just want to err on the side of caution and do a thorough search of the area,” he added.

Parks could not say how long the search would take, adding, “We’re done when we’re done.”

This was blowing up on Facebook as I was heading out this morning. I am very familiar with the property and the person in question. He is chuckling in Heaven.

Critters taken care of so out for coffee and then working at the store for a bit - patching some holes in the asphalt parking lot. In to town for a meeting and will be having dinner.

More posting later this evening...

Oroville Dam - the post mortem

| No Comments

Three preliminary reports are supposed to be published sometime today. Juan Browne has been releasing some great videos all throughout the disaster.

Cats and Boxes

| No Comments

Do not know what it is but cats and boxes have a definite affinity. Here is Simon's Cat:

But the science is settled

| No Comments

I love it - from The Daily Caller:

Bill Nye Freaks Out After Scientist Schools Him On Climate Change
Comedian Bill Nye accused CNN of doing a “disservice” to its viewers for inviting a well-respected physicist on Earth Day to argue about the legitimacy of man-made global warming.

Nye, who is well known for hosting a children’s TV show in the 1990s, scolded CNN’s “New Day Saturday” panel Saturday for pitting his environmentalist pedigree against the climate skepticism of physicist William Happer.

He also suggested the 24-news channel should instead drown out people like Happer with 98 scientists who believe in man-made global warming.

“And I will say, much as I love the CNN, you’re doing a disservice by having one climate change skeptic and not 97 or 98 scientists or engineers concerned about climate change,” Nye said after the Princeton University academic suggested that it is a “myth” to believe that carbon dioxide is a pollutant causing widespread ecological destruction.

And what did the good Doctor Happer say that upset Bill so much:

“Carbon dioxide is a perfectly natural gas, it’s just like water vapor, it’s something that plants love. They grow better with more carbon dioxide, and you can see the greening of the earth already from the additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” he added.

He went on to say that Nye’s views on science are backward. Science is based on observation, Happer said, “[a]nd if you observe what’s happening to, for example, the temperature, the temperature is not rising nearly as fast as the alarmist computer models predicted. It’s much, much less — factors of two or three less.”

True - CO2 is basically plant food - at one time our atmosphere had up to 9,000ppm (compared to today's 450ppm). Nye is a partisan hack - he has no understanding of the science. His skill is being funny on television.

What a way to go - I love it!

| No Comments

From the London Daily Mail:

Three ISIS fighters 'are killed by rampaging wild BOARS' near Iraqi farmland
Three Islamic State jihadis have reportedly been killed by rampaging wild boars near Iraqi farmland.

The three Islamic State militants were cut down by the feral boar known to inhabit Kirkuk in the the al-Rashad region, a local news site claims.

They attacked the militants and left three killed, Iraqi News reports.

Denied entrance to heaven and their 72 white raisins of exceptional purity.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

BART takeover robbery: 40 to 60 teens swarm train, hold up riders
BART police are beefing up patrols at Oakland stations after dozens of juveniles terrorized riders Saturday night when they invaded the Coliseum Station and commandeered a train car, forcing passengers to hand over bags and cell phones and leaving at least two with head injuries.

The incident — the first of its kind in recent memory — occurred around 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses told police that 40 to 60 juveniles flooded the station, jumped the fare gates and rushed to the second-story train platform. Some of the robbers apparently held open the doors of a Dublin-bound train car while others streamed inside, confronting and robbing and in some cases beating riders.

Sounds like BART has a deferred maintenence problem:

Six of the nine cars on the train had working surveillance cameras, and BART police were viewing video from those cars as well as station cameras, Trost said.

“We are in the process of pulling all surveillance video, and we will share with Oakland police, Oakland Unified School District and Oakland Housing Authority to see if they can help identify the minors,” Trost said. “We have had success with sharing images of juveniles with this group and identifying and making arrests in the past.”

Emphasis mine - and this little gem:

The incident presents another challenge for BART, which hired a new police chief last week. The agency has struggled to contain fare evaders and is in the midst of installing surveillance cameras in train cars after The Chronicle reported that most of the existing cameras were decoys.

Most of the cameras were decoys? Seriously WTF! A perfect example of civilization in an entitlement era.

The Best Korea - heating up

| No Comments

Now this would be an interesting briefing to watch - from the UK Telegraph:

US Senate summoned to the White House for North Korea briefing, as China’s Xi Jinping urges restraint from Donald Trump
President Donald Trump will take the unusual step of summoning all 100 senators to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on the continued concern over North Korea.

The senators will be briefed by Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, and James Mattis, the defence secretary. Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, will also speak to the assembled politicians.

And, while top administration officials routinely travel to Capitol Hill to address members of Congress on foreign policy and national security matters, it is unusual for the entire 100-member Senate to go to such an event at the White House, and for those four top officials to be involved.

I'll post a link if it shows up on C-SPAN

French politics

| No Comments

Looks like the elites have their panties in a twist - good! From Breitbart:

Lefty French Mayor Calls Residents ‘A***holes’, Quits After His Town Votes for Le Pen
The left wing mayor of the northern French town of Annezin, Daniel Delomez, has announced his resignation after residents in his town voted for anti-mass migration Front National leader Marine Le Pen.

Delomez called the result of the first round of the French presidential election “catastrophic” as Le Pen and independent Emmanuel Macron advanced to the second round. The reason for his resignation, according to the mayor, was that he felt it was a waste of his time serving people he referred to as “arseholes”, L’Avenir de L’Artois reports.

Ms. Le Pen received a massive 38 per cent of the vote in the small town located in the Pas-de-Calais region, a Front National stronghold.

As they say: Don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you. Over 1,100 comments - some good points including this one:

Marine Le Pen hasn't won any position yet, and already she is cleaning France of Leftists!
Good job. :)

Indeed!

Wound up heading in to town after all. Took care of a couple of things including looking at display stuff for the store as well as picking up a bunch of asphalt patch. With the freezing weather this winter, the parking lot is looking a bit ragged. Got a radio meeting tomorrow and then at home for the rest of the week.

Turned out to be a nice day today - just squeaked up to 60.8°F and partly cloudy skies with sunshine. Picked up a Costco chicken so having that for dinner with some bok choi and guacamole - trying to cut down on carbs - been slowly gaining back the weight I had lost.

Nothing much this morning

| No Comments

Coffee and then working at home - might do a quick run into town; need some stuff for a store project but I have a radio meeting in town tomorrow so will probably concatenate the two trips.

Actually nice out - sunny and partially cloudy. Forecast is for rain but not this morning...

March for Science

| No Comments

A great essay on the "march for science" phenomenon - the politicizing of something that should be apolitical. From Robert Tracinski writing at The Federalist:

The ‘March For Science’ Shows How Carl Sagan Ruined Science
I am a Carl Sagan fan from way back. His 1980 TV miniseries “Cosmos” hit me at just the right age and inflamed a lifelong love of science. But we’ve had nearly 40 years to assess the long-term effects and see how Sagan unwittingly contributed to a trend that muddled public understanding of science. This weekend’s so-called “March for Science” is a perfect example of what went wrong.

All you really need to know about the “March for Science” is that it is scheduled for Earth Day. The organizers may say the march is nonpartisan and has a variety of goals, but it’s mostly just about global warming. It’s not just about whether global warming is actually happening, or whether it is caused by human activity, but about a specific political program for dealing with global warming.

To be sure, there are other goals involved in the march and some contention, even among the organizers, about the extent to which the march should embrace causes like “diversity.” So the goals run the gamut from the left to the far-left. And that’s the problem. The “March for Science” is an attempt to equate the Left’s political goals with Science Itself, claiming the intellectual and moral authority of science for the Left’s agenda.

A bit more about what this movement is seeking to do:

Science has its own unique language and methods: the language of mathematics and a method of systematic observation and experimentation. The reason science tends to be opaque to the public is because it ultimately requires that they understand its language and learn to use its methods. But how do you communicate the history and meaning of science to those who don’t yet speak its language? You turn science into something they can understand. You make it into a narrative, a story.

This is what I consider to be the key difference between the liberal and the conservative thought process - the liberal mind seeks out a narrative, a story. Many of the failed liberal policies started because they sounded good without people looking at the consequences. In philosophy, this is called rhetoric. The conservative mind looks for numbers and analysis. This sounds good but what if? This is dialectic - not to be confused with Karl Marx's appropriation of this word for his own fuzzy-headed scribblings.

Go and read the whole thing - you will not be dissapointed

No love lost - David Crosby

| No Comments

You might remember him - he was a musician a long time ago. From Breitbart:

War of Words after David Crosby Calls Ted Nugent and Donald Trump a ‘Pair of A**holes’
A public war of words erupted this weekend between rockers David Crosby and Ted Nugent after Crosby called Nugent an “a**hole” following his visit to the White House on Thursday.

Nugent — a vocal supporter of then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign — visited the White House Thursday with fellow musician Kid Rock and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. The 68-year-old “Stranglehold” singer posed for a picture with Trump in the Oval Office and gifted him a red-white-and-blue autographed guitar.

But a photo of the meeting posted to Twitter Thursday apparently caught the eye of Crosby, Still, Nash and Young co-founder David Crosby, who called Nugent and Trump a “pair of “a**holes” in a message on his Twitter account.

Nugent responded in an interview Thursday with 77WABC, calling Crosby a “lost soul” and a “doper.”

“David Crosby, he’s kind of a lost soul, and he’s done so much substance abuse throughout his life that his logic meter is gone,” Nugent said in an interview with the outlet’s Rita Cosby. “His reasoning and his depth of understanding is pretty much gone, so it doesn’t surprise me, I feel quite sad for the guy.”

“If you smoke enough dope, you just become overwhelmed with hate and ignorance,” he added.

Yeah - Crosby's done some decent music in his day but he should stay out of politics.

Got that taken care of

| No Comments

Critter barn is a lot cleaner and I finished the last of the electric fencing. A late and easy dinner - salad and a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup - sometimes the classics are the best (although I am doctoring mine with some Chinese hot oil and fresh ground black pepper).

Wet in the forecast

| No Comments

Checked in at Cliff Mass' blog and HO. LI. CRAP!

Pacific Mega Moisture Plume Approaches the West Coast
It is the JAWS of Pacific moisture plumes. And it is now reaching our shores.

Today's satellite imagery is stunning... a wide plume of moisture stretching across the entire Pacific Ocean and headed for the Pacific Northwest. Let me show you.

First, a visible satellite image --what you would see from space--showing a continuous band of clouds, 1000 miles wide, stretching from the western Pacific to just off our coast. Scary.

20170423-wet.jpg

More at the site - we are in for some wet weather for the next while - ten day forecast is pretty grim.

Back from a tractor ride

| No Comments

Was low on diesel so drove Buttercup into town to fill up. Gas station is about two miles and the rain has let up so it was a nice drive. A day spent driving a tractor is a day well enjoyed.

It is the little things that shows how much of a genuinely good man President Trump is.  From The Gateway Pundit:

Trump Uses Saturday to Visit Walter Reed and Present Injured Soldier with Purple Heart Medal
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump spent their time on Saturday visiting Walter Reed Hospital. During the visit President Trump awarded Sergeant First Class Alvaro Barrientos a Purple Heart.

Hillary would never have done this unless there was something in it for her.

Great news from France

| No Comments

They do their Presidential elections in two stages - a primary and then the general between the two primary winners. From Breitbart:

LIVE WIRE: Le Pen, Macron Through to Second Round of Voting in French Presidentials
As the last few results come in, Front National Leader Marine Le Pen and left winger Emmanuel Macron are vying for the top spot as both hover around 23 percent of the vote. What is certain is that the two candidates will go head to head in the second round of voting on May 7th.

Amidst tight security and an ongoing state of emergency, French voters headed to the 66,000 polling stations to cast their ballots for one of twelve candidates.

It would be wonderful for France if Le Pen won - in times like this, we need people who are committed to cutting down the size of government, to reduce the bureaucracies to a fraction of their bloated selves.

Back home again - tractor work

| No Comments

The stuff at the store didn't take as long as I had expected so back home for the day. We have a pause in the rainfall so getting a project knocked out outside. Cleaning up the critter barn a bit - turning political promises into fertilizer for next years vegetable crop (ie: poop to the compost pile).

Nothing much today

| No Comments

Working at the store - heading out in a few minutes.

Had about a tenth of an inch of rain this morning. No sunny days in the forecast. Grrrrr...

I was thinking of attending a local gun fun show today but don't feel like driving and not really in the market for anything I can afford.

Anthony Bourdain on food trends

| No Comments

Getting interesting in France

| No Comments

From the Wall Street Journal:

What Would a Le Pen Victory in France Mean for Markets?
As French voters head to the polls, investors are grappling with a remote yet not implausible possibility—victory for Marine Le Pen.

The anti-euro leader of the far-right National Front is unlikely to triumph in the two-round presidential vote that kicks off Sunday. But few observers discount a win for Ms. Le Pen entirely, and analysts say it could pose a major risk to European equities and spur concerns over the future of the eurozone.

“It would be seismic, bigger than Trump or Brexit for markets, if Le Pen got into office and called into question the euro itself,” said Paul Griffiths, chief investment officer of fixed income and multiasset at First State Investments.

I love that the WSJ says that Ms. Le Pen "is unlikely to triumph" - they were saying the same exact thing about President Trump right up until the end. Same thing with England's Brexit vote too. At least they wear their colors on their sleeve and are upfront about it.

From Jalopnik:

The Three Hours Of LeMelons Is The $300 Crapcan Dirt Race Of Your Dreams
Get a dirt track cut into a field. Take $300 beaters and race them for 3 hours, or until they all fail. That’s the Three Hours of LeMelons, Canada’s take on the epic beater race. Holy crap, this looks like fun. 

We’ve got the 24 Hours of LeMons down here in the States, but that runs at faster speeds on tarmac, and requires all kinds of fancy safety gear.

LeMelons isn’t quite that hardcore, keeping the slow cars running slow on far less grippy mud where even the most miserable, underpowered wrecks can enjoy getting gloriously sideways. It can still ruin your car, though, as one Audi team in particular found out mid-race.

Cars run hilarious, beater-worthy themes and “paint transfer happens” is their attitude on contact. You can even take passengers along!

It all starts off with an old-school Le Mans-style start, where competitors run to their cars. I daresay a few of them can run faster than their cars can drive.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to look up beaters on Kijiji.

Just wonderful - more rain

| No Comments

Time to let up a bit doncha think? From Cliff Mass:

A Late April Precipitation Pattern I Have Never Seen Before
The model precipitation forecasts for the next few days is extraordinarily unusual for late April, with some aspects unique for any time of the year.

We are talking about an amazingly long and wide precipitation/moisture band coming from the west that will bring record amounts to some locations from northern CA to southern WA.

Let me show you what I mean and be prepared to be impressed.   I will start with the 24h precipitation ending 4 AM Monday from the UW WRF model (relatively coarse outer domain).  I have never seen anything like this:  a very wide band of precipitation stretching thousands of miles due east into the Pacific.  The width of the precipitation band is extremely unusual (very wide).

Much more at the site - lots of charts. This is not related to any pineapple express phenomenon, this is coming out of the west and headed straight for us. Had just under 0.1" this afternoon. Sky is completely overcast which is a bummer as we are still running a very high planetary K-Index so chances of aurora are good.

Back home again

| No Comments

Had an event I was interested in going to tonight but bagged it - tired and want to spend a quiet evening at home.

Putting in some shelving at the store tomorrow so picked up the last bits for that. Ready to roll.

Nothing much today

| No Comments

Heading in to town for an event later today. Coffee first.

Yesterday was gorgeous with clear skies and temps breaking 60°F - today? Meh. Overcast with rain in the forecast. The Planetary K-Index is up due to the coronal hole in our sun. Anything 6 and higher is a good chance of aurora for my area.

20170422-kindex.gif

Just wow!

| No Comments

Watch this one full-screen - gorgeous!

An interesting insight to one of our worst government offices (and that is saying a lot). From The Washington Free Beacon:

History of EPA Employee Misconduct Could Result in Layoffs
The Environmental Protection Agency has been riddled with employee misconduct, including workers who drink, smoke marijuana, and watch porn on the job.

Inspector general reports over the past few years detailing employee misbehavior could serve as ammunition for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who is seeking to eliminate 25 percent of the 15,000 employees at the agency.

Only 6.5 percent of EPA employees are "essential," according to the government's own calculations when it faced a shutdown in 2013. At the time, just 1,069 employees were deemed necessary to continue working during the 16 days the government closed.

The most notorious case of misconduct was the EPA official who earned $120,000 and performance bonuses after being caught watching pornography for up to six hours a day.

The geologist in the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation downloaded over 7,000 pornographic files on an agency server and admitted to masturbating at work. He received paid leave for nearly two years after being caught.

The official was not alone in viewing pornography at the EPA. Another employee was suspended just five days after admitting that he had "watched pornography regularly at work for the past several years," the inspector general reported to Congress last year. The employee's punishment was he no longer could telework or "attach any unauthorized external drive devices to a government computer."

Talk about dysfunctional. The people who run organizations like this need to be able to fire miscreants, not just reprimand them. Government unions are a bad thing.

Words of wisdom

From Vanity Fair of all places - a great editorial:

PLEASE, GOD, STOP CHELSEA CLINTON FROM WHATEVER SHE IS DOING
Amid investigations into Russian election interference, perhaps we ought to consider whether the Kremlin, to hurt Democrats, helped put Chelsea Clinton on the cover of Variety. Or maybe superstition explains it. Like tribesmen laying out a sacrifice to placate King Kong, news outlets continue to make offerings to the Clinton gods. In The New York Times alone, Chelsea has starred in multiple features over the past few months: for her tweeting (it’s become “feisty”), for her upcoming book (to be titled She Persisted), and her reading habits (she says she has an “embarrassingly large” collection of books on her Kindle). With Chelsea’s 2015 book, It’s Your World, now out in paperback, the puff pieces in other outlets—EllePeople, etc.—are too numerous to count.

One wishes to calm these publications: You can stop this now. Haven’t you heard that the great Kong is no more? Nevertheless, they’ve persisted. At great cost: increased Chelsea exposure is tied closely to political despair and, in especially intense cases, the bulk purchasing of MAGA hats. So let’s review: How did Chelsea become such a threat?

Perhaps the best way to start is by revisiting some of Chelsea’s major post-2008 forays into the public eye. Starting in 2012, she began to allow glossy magazines to profile her, and she picked up speed in the years that followed. The results were all friendly in aim, and yet the picture that kept emerging from the growing pile of Chelsea quotations was that of a person accustomed to courtiers nodding their heads raptly. Here are Chelsea’s thoughts on returning to red meat in her diet: “I’m a big believer in listening to my body’s cravings.” On her time in the “fiercely meritocratic” workplace of Wall Street: “I was curious if I could care about [money] on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t.” On her precocity: “They told me that my father had learned to read when he was three. So, of course, I thought I had to too. The first thing I learned to read was the newspaper.” Take that, Click, Clack, Moo.

Wonderful stuff - some people lap this shit up like it was ice cream. She is going to fall flat on her face once she steps outside of the elitist bubble she lives in. Much more at the site - a very fun read from an unexpected source.

Told you so - Marine Le Pen

| No Comments

Thought that she would get a bump in popularity from the Islamic terrorist attack in Paris the other day. From England's The Telegraph:

Marine Le Pen gets poll boost after Paris attack as Donald Trump says her chances of victory have improved
Donald Trump has said the Paris terrorist attack would boost Marine Le Pen's presidential chances after a last-minute poll gave her a modest increase in support.

The US president said the shooting would "probably help" Ms Le Pen in Sunday's election, because she is "strongest on borders, and she's the strongest on what's been going on in France."

"Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election," he said. 

Yep - it is what the people want. Radical concept I know...

Happy random drug-test day

| No Comments

Yesterday was 4/20 - today is 4/21

20170421-pee.jpg

Back home again

| No Comments

Got the dogs fed and running around outside. I like that these start at 5:00 or 6:00 - get done while there is still usable daylight.

Got some stuff to do tomorrow AM and then Sunday AM as well plus working at the store. Our back storage area was a mess and one of my managers bought a cabinet and a stainless steel table and we are installing shelving on two walls. Barely started today and already it looks a lot better.

Off to town

| No Comments

Got training tonight so grab a bite to eat in town.

Gorgeous weather today - sunny and warm. Supposed to dump rain tomorrow with a possible thunderstorm.

President Trump in the news

| No Comments

Good news at that - from The Washington Post:

Freed Egyptian American prisoner returns home following Trump intervention
An Egyptian American charity worker who was imprisoned in Cairo for three years and became the global face of Egypt’s brutal crackdown on civil society returned home to the United States late Thursday after the Trump administration quietly negotiated her release.

President Trump and his aides worked for several weeks with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to secure the freedom of Aya Hijazi, 30, a U.S. citizen, as well as her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, who is Egyptian, and four other humanitarian workers. Trump dispatched a U.S. government aircraft to Cairo to bring Hijazi and her family to Washington.

Shows what happens when you have an effective state department - Clinton and Kerry? Fscking poseurs...

Nothing much today

| No Comments

A busy couple of weeks - heading out for coffee and then working at the store.

Heading back home to work on some stuff here - the weather is gorgeous today so tackling some outside stuff... SAR training this evening and a couple of things Saturday.

From Craigslist - here is a screencap as it will probably go away at some point:

20170420-zoo.jpg

Click to embiggen...

Lions, tigers AND bears - Oh My!

Keep on the corporate side of life

| No Comments

A memo from the Puddles Pity Party

Solar power towers

| No Comments

alt.energy costs too much - one project in Spain ran out of money after government subsidies dried up:

Great resource for Knifemaking

| No Comments

If you are interested in Knifemaking at all, be sure to check out  D. Comeau Custom Knives

Lots of great projects as well as toolmaking - 2X72 belt grinder, shop tips, etc...

Well - it is against Federal Law

| No Comments

Happy 4-20 day everyone. This makes me wonder what they were thinking - from US News and World Report:

Federal Charges for 7 Pot Activists Who Offered 4/20 Joints to Congressional Staff
U.S. Capitol Police officers unexpectedly arrested seven marijuana activists on federal charges Thursday as they gave away free joints to Capitol Hill staffers in compliance with a local legalization law.

Activists affiliated with the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, or DCMJ, did not plan on getting arrested, and sought to stand on non-federal land – a sidewalk near Senate offices – to avoid intervention by the Capitol Police.

A ballot initiative approved by District of Columbia voters in 2014 allows adults 21 and older to possess 2 ounces of pot and to give it away. Although local law generally is respected, marijuana possession for almost any reason remains a federal crime.

A bit more - makes sense:

A police officer who was not authorized to speak on the record said activists were being targeted for distribution, and that, even though it also is federally illegal, mere possession of marijuana on the sidewalk would be tolerated – a point underscored by the fact that two large cannabis plants sat undisturbed near the site of the arrests.

And unclear on the concept:

Nikolas Schiller, the other co-founder of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, took on emceeing duties following Eidinger's arrest, and announced the giveaway had to end early.

"It looks like the police stole most of our cannabis," Schiller said. "We're going to be suing the hell out of U.S. Capitol Police."

Good luck with that lawsuit buddy...

How to swing an election - France

| No Comments

From the London Daily Mail:

Dramatic video captures French police shooting dead terrorist who killed officer and wounded two others just days before French election - as it's revealed he was released EARLY from 20 year sentence for trying to kill cops
A policeman was shot dead while two other officers were seriously injured by a Kalashnikov-wielding gunman on the Champs Elysees in central Paris - just three days before the French presidential election.

The alleged ISIS gunman, identified as 39-year-old Karim C - who was jailed for 20 years for trying to kill officers in 2001 - parked his Audi and opened fire after police stopped at a red light on the world famous avenue.

French police said the attack was probably a 'terrorist act' and dramatic video footage captured the moment police shot at the assailant, who later died./p>

Police have now launched a desperate manhunt for a second suspect after heavily armed officers flooded the area in the heart of the French capital. 

France is holding its elections in a few days and one of the cantidates is Marine Le Pen - the conservative leader of the National Front. The New York Times wrote earlier today (before the terrorist attack):

Marine Le Pen Leads Far-Right Fight to Make France ‘More French’
Slipping in polls in the final days before the start of France’s presidential voting on Sunday, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen is rallying her base by hardening a line — already very hard — on her principal campaign theme: immigration.

At her party’s campaign rally Wednesday night in Marseille, a city where immigrants are omnipresent, Ms. Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, vowed to clamp down, expel, stamp out and restrict immigration, and to make France “more French.”

The tough talk was met with thunderous chants of “This is our home!” from a hall packed with 5,000 supporters waving French flags, many bused in from all over southern France.

I bet she gets a nice bump in the polls from this - it would be good if she wins. First England with Brexit and now France. A breath of fresh air.

From Ars Technica:

South Indian frog oozes molecule that inexplicably decimates flu viruses
From the slimy backs of a South Indian frog comes a new way to blast influenza viruses.

A compound in the frog’s mucus—long known to have germ-killing properties—can latch onto flu virus particles and cause them to burst apart, researchers report in Immunity. The peptide is a potent and precise killer, able to demolish a whole class of flu viruses while leaving other viruses and cells unharmed. But scientists don’t know exactly how it pulls off the viral eviscerations. No other antiviral peptide of its ilk seems to work the same way.

The study authors, led by researchers at Emory University, note that the peptide appears uniquely nontoxic—something that can’t be said of many other frog-based compounds. Thus, the peptide on its own holds promise of being a potential therapy someday. But simply figuring out how it works could move researchers closer to a vaccine or therapy that could take out all flus, ditching the need for yearly vaccinations for each season’s flavor of flu.

Since it seems to target a specific kind of virus, it might be amenable to molecular tweaking to target different viruses - AIDS comes to mind. Viruses can not be killed with antibiotics like bacteria can. The current therapies seek to inhibit its spread and reproduction. This would be amazing if it works out.

As Venezuela circles the drain

| No Comments

Sad story from The Washington Free Beacon:

Socialist Venezuelan Leader Steps Up Arming of Supporters After Outlawing, Confiscating Civilian Guns
The socialist leader of Venezuela announced in a speech to regime loyalists his plan to arm hundreds of thousands of supporters after a years-long campaign to confiscate civilian-owned guns.

"A gun for every militiaman!" Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said to uniformed militia members outside the presidential palace, Fox News reported on Tuesday. The Bolivarian militias, created by Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez, already number in the hundreds of thousands and are being used to supplement the regime's armed forces. Maduro is boosting the number of armed supporters in hopes of keeping control over the country from what he labels "imperialist aggression."

The arming of Maduro's supporters comes five years after Venezuela's socialist regime outlawed the commercial sale and civilian ownership of firearms. Only the military, police, and groups like security companies can buy guns and only directly from one state-run arms company under the law passed in 2012, according to the BBC. The country recently doubled down on its gun ban through a combination of gun buybacks and confiscations in the summer of 2016.

"We are going to bring disarmament and peace," Interior Minister Nestor Reverol told Reuters during one confiscation event.

Talk about Orwellian Ingsoc and Newspeak - to call tyranny by the name of disarmament and peace is a thoughtcrime in my book. I pity the citizens.

Thought that retirement was supposed to be a peaceful idyll with nothing to do. Hell, I am busier than back when I was gainfully employed. Having a lot more fun though...

Bunch of stuff to do today. Heading into town and will probably get a bite to eat there - back around 8:00PM or so.

Got a training session tomorrow night and a meeting Saturday morning. Busy weekend!

Doing his job - Trump and weather

| No Comments

Just ran into this - an excellent piece of legislation. From Cliff Mass:

Major Weather Bill Signed by the President Today
A major piece of legislation designed to improve U.S. weather and seasonal prediction was signed today by President Trump.

The bill, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, will support a wide range of improvements in U.S. weather prediction, enhance tsunami warning capabilities, and even take on the important task of dealing with weather radar gaps around the nation.

A refreshing aspect about the bill was its overwhelming bipartisan support, including passage by unanimous consent in the Senate.  Sponsors of the bill were from both sides of the aisle.

Good - weather and the forecasting thereof. Not climate change or global warming. Build up a database of empirical data and compare it to the output of the models. Adjust the models to fit reality - not the other way around.

Doing his job - President Trump

| No Comments

The cost of the Federal Government just got a lot less - from The Hill:

Study: Trump has eliminated $86B in regs
President Trump has saved taxpayers more than $86 billion in regulatory costs during his first three months in the White House, according to a new study from a conservative group.

The American Action Forum (AAF) points to several Obama-era regulations that Trump has either rolled back on his own or with the help of Republican lawmakers using the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

This includes the Education Department’s school accountability standards, the Environmental Protection Agency’s waters of the United States rule and the so-called “blacklisting” rule for government contractors.

I still want to see this puppy running backwards...

Good - too many offices spread around. From Utility DIVE:

Is the EPA shutting down its Chicago office?

Dive Brief:

    • Budget cuts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could mean closure of the Chicago regional office, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The office would be consolidated with operations in Kansas, the paper reported.
    • A second regional closure is reportedly planned, but so far the identity of that office remains under wraps. Last month the Trump administration released a proposed budget called for reducing EPA funds by more than 30%, alongside a 6% cut at the Department of Energy.
    • However, EPA officials are now pushing back on the rumor, telling reporters "at this time, our discussions have not veered into the subject of an office closure."

Dive Insight:
Last month's revelation that the White House wants to slash the EPA budget by almost a third sent a shock through the industry, and now details are leaking out about how those cuts might be accomplished. The Chicago Sun Times says EPA's Region 5 office is on the chopping block; it serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and 35 Native American tribes.

A couple of things: the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and the 35 Native American tribes are not going to be without representation, this representation is just going to move from Chicago - a very corrupt and expensive city for business - to somewhere in Kansas. This is about a five hundred mile move - not catastrophic and what with email and Skype, relocating an office should not be any major headache if everyone is operating efficiently.

The basic problem is that our government has grown way to large in the last 100 years starting with Woodrow Wilson through L. B. Johnson (Lyin' Bastard), Nixon, Carter and Obama. Our government is not financially sustainable and we need to either cut spending or come to grips with the fact that we are passing a crushing debt on to the next several generations - our children.

There are some people who need the social safety nets - it is needed. Fraud and gaming the system? Not so much.  What gets me is the massive duplication of effort from multiple agencies in the government as well as the huge number of programs that were founded on something that sounded good as opposed to something that actually works.

When was the last time you ever heard a bureaucrat say this:

The work we set out to do has been completed successfully, let us all have dinner at a really nice restaurant and then tell the Federal Government that we are no longer needed.

I rest my case...

Time to surf for a bit

| No Comments

See what has happened in the world.

Dinner bell

| No Comments

Heating up some left-over Chinese food for dinner tonight - Szechuan beef with ginger and green beans - yummy stuff from Lucky Panda.

Gathering the tools for a couple projects at the store tomorrow. Relamping the new office with LED bulbs and installing some new light shades (the guy who lived there smoked like a chimney - it took two coats of Kilz and four coats of good latex paint to make the stench go away). The light shades that remained (some had been broken) were badly stained.

Dogs were fed when I got home an hour ago - I will set out a second serving in case they are still hungry (like DUH!). Weather is overcast and drizzly, wet but no substantial rainfall.

From Reuters / Yahoo Tech:

Bose headphones spy on listeners - lawsuit
Bose Corp spies on its wireless headphone customers by using an app that tracks the music, podcasts and other audio they listen to, and violates their privacy rights by selling the information without permission, a lawsuit charged.

The complaint filed on Tuesday by Kyle Zak in federal court in Chicago seeks an injunction to stop Bose's "wholesale disregard" for the privacy of customers who download its free Bose Connect app from Apple Inc or Google Play stores to their smartphones.

"People should be uncomfortable with it," Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Zak, said in an interview. "People put headphones on their head because they think it's private, but they can be giving out information they don't want to share."

Not good at all. My main reason for disliking Bose is that they use very cheap speaker drivers and correct for the frequency irregularities by using active (ie: powered) equalization. This is using phase to solve a frequency problem and the trouble here is that it completely messes with the sound stage. Close your eyes and listen to a guitar solo with a Bose system and that poor musician is flying all around the stage. A symphony orchestra or ensemble turns to mush.

One of the ways that Bose promotes themselves is by selling cheap systems to large theaters - Sound by Bose - the systems there are all monaural so the lack of solid sound-stage is not an issue.

As they say: No Highs? No Lows? Must be Bose.

Their noise cancelling headphones are very effective and good - there you are not concerned about high fidelity, you are just concerned with noise reduction and using active electronics allows you to do that well.

Picking on California these days

| No Comments

I must be feeling lazy - such a good target - like shooting fish in a barrel. This one from USA Today:

California again leads list with 6 of the top 10 most polluted U.S. cities
California's smoggy reputation appears to be deserved: Six of the USA's 10 cities with the worst air pollution are in the Golden State, according to a new report.

Bakersfield, Calif., again holds the dubious distinction of having the USA's most days of highly polluted air, based on data from 2013-2015, the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report released Wednesday found.

In addition to the worst spikes of short-term pollution — led by Bakersfield — the report also lists the cities with the worst overall year-round pollution — led by Visala/Hanford, Calif.— and the worst ozone pollution, led by the Los Angeles/Long Beach area.

Tell me again how environmentally conscious you are? Committed to the environment. Big difference between saying something and doing it.

Because: California

| No Comments

The denial of Radical Islamic Terrorism is unreal. But then, if they own up to it, the whole multi-cultural thing comes crashing down in their brain. That there can be toxic differences between cultures and that playing nice with our avowed enemy will not make him change his mental process - it will only make him think that we are weak and he will redouble his efforts.

From The Fresno Bee:

Three dead in Fresno shooting rampage; suspected gunman linked to killing of motel guard
Three men were killed Tuesday morning in a Fresno shooting rampage that police say was carried out by a man they had identified only hours earlier as the suspect in the fatal shooting of an unarmed motel security guard last week.

The 39-year-old suspect, identified as Kori Ali Muhammad, opened fire on four men, hitting three and missing the fourth, before he was taken into custody, police Chief Jerry Dyer said. Muhammad, who is facing four counts of murder for Tuesday’s shootings and the shooting last Thursday at Motel 6 and also two counts of attempted murder, shouted “Ali Akbar” after he spotted approaching officers and dove to the ground on Fulton Street, Dyer said.

Dyer said that it’s too soon to determine if the shooting rampage was terrorism-related. However, a review of Muhammad’s social media shows he quoted the phrase “Allahu Akbar” in a tweet. The Arabic phrase translates to “God is the greatest.”

Emphasis mine - too soon? If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck... And there is this wonderful bit of moral relativism from Newsbusters:

AP Covers for Alleged Muslim Fresno Shooter, Claims He Said ‘God Is Great,’ Not ‘Allahu Akbar’
As part of its coverage on the deadly Tuesday shooting at a number of Fresno, California locations (including a Catholic charities building), the Associated Press (AP) Twitter account went into full spin mode on behalf of the alleged Muslim shooter, claiming in a tweet that he “shouted ‘God is great’ before killings” instead of, you know, Allahu Akbar.

They have a screen cap of the tweet in question. I just went back to AP's twitter feed and it has been deleted.

The usual routine - coffee, etc...

| No Comments

Out for coffee - working at the store for a bit today and then back home. Got a new tenant moving in May so finishing off some things (curtains for a window in the front door and some inside doorknobs).

Forecast for about a quarter inch of rain. Lightly raining here but nothing appreciable.

Our Attorney General - from Breitbart:

Jeff Sessions: MS-13 Could Be Designated a Terrorist Organization
Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued his campaign against the vicious MS-13 gang on Fox News’s Tucker Tuesday evening, telling host Tucker Carlson that the group may qualify as a terrorist organization.

“The government of El Salvador has designated MS-13 a terrorist organization. Would it be helpful for our government to do the same?” Carlson asked. “I think so, perhaps. It could qualify for that,” was Sessions’s response.

Designating MS-13 a “foreign terrorist organization” would make providing any material support for the group, here or abroad, a felony, and compel U.S. financial institutions to freeze any assets they reasonably believe belong to the group. The determination is made by the State Department and not AG Sessions’s Justice Department, but Sessions’s willingness to support such a designation speaks to how seriously he takes the threat from the gang.

“This is one of the most violent gangs in the history of our country,” Sessions said of MS-13. He cited the group’s use of machetes and willingness to kill and prostitute children, as they have done across the United States.

Good - now if they just add Antifa to the list things would be wonderful.

Governor Moonbeam just does not give up - from Larry Hamlin writing at Watts Up With That:

California Governor Brown acknowledges other states aren’t buying his climate hype…
The L A Times interviewed California Governor Brown about the states climate campaign with the results presented in an April 15, 2017 article entitled “I’m  not giving up hope” which revealed his frustrations, concerns and views about lack of support among other states regarding California’s climate change program.

The Times presented a series of questions to Governor Brown addressing key topics regarding California’s efforts to address global climate issues at a state level. He readily acknowledged that other states are not buying his climate alarmist hype and moving in California’s direction and expressed frustration about this outcome.

When asked about greater support for his climate change program outside the U.S. he attributed this to Republicans “belief” that global warming is a hoax, irrelevant or not a problem but failed to address the significant and well documented climate science flaws and failures which are clearly undermining the scientific legitimacy of climate alarmist positions and claims.

Blaming the Republicans is a certain indicator that he considers this to be a political grab and not a matter of science. Pure watermelon environmentalism - green on the outside but red marxist on the inside. Much more at the site.

Interesting news from CERN

| No Comments

Another layer of the onion being peeled back? From Science:

Physicists detect whiff of new particle at the Large Hadron Collider
For decades, particle physicists have yearned for physics beyond their tried-and-true standard model. Now, they are finding signs of something unexpected at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s biggest atom smasher at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. The hints come not from the LHC’s two large detectors, which have yielded no new particles since they bagged the last missing piece of the standard model, the Higgs boson, in 2012, but from a smaller detector, called LHCb, that precisely measures the decays of familiar particles.

The latest signal involves deviations in the decays of particles called B mesons—weak evidence on its own. But together with other hints, it could point to new particles lying on the high-energy horizon. “This has never happened before, to observe a set of coherent deviations that could be explained in a very economical way with one single new physics contribution,” says Joaquim Matias, a theorist at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain. Matias says the evidence is strong enough for a discovery claim, but others urge caution.

The LHC smashes protons together at unprecedented energy to try to blast into existence massive new particles, which its two big detectors, ATLAS and CMS, would spot. LHCb focuses on familiar particles, in particular B mesons, using an exquisitely sensitive tracking detector to sniff out the tiny explosive decays.

I am still pissed as hell that Bill Clinton axed the Superconducting Super Collider in Texas. Construction was well under way and it was rated for 40TeV while the facility at CERN is only 14TeV - the USA could have had the Higgs Boson ten years earlier. Congratulations to the team at CERN though - this could be big.

An analysis of minimum wages

| No Comments

I don't think that these researchers were looking for this data - from Zero Hedge:

Harvard 'Shock' Study: Each $1 Minimum Wage Hike Causes 4-10% Increase In Restaurant Failures
A 'shocking' discovery was made when a pair of researchers at Harvard Business School decided to analyze the impact of higher minimum wages in San Francisco on restaurant failures...hint: they went up.

Entitled "Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit", this latest study on the devastating consequences of minimum wage was conducted by Dara Lee Luca and Michael Luca and concluded that each $1 increase in the minimum wage results in a roughly 4-10% increase in the likelihood of a restaurant going out of business.

In this paper, we investigate the impact of the minimum wage on restaurant closures using data from the San Francisco Bay Area. We find suggestive evidence that an increase in the minimum wage leads to an overall increase in the rate of exit.

This paper presents several new findings. First, we provide suggestive evidence that higher minimum wage increases overall exit rates among restaurants, where a $1 increase in the minimum wage leads to approximately a 4 to 10 percent increase in the likelihood of exit, although statistical significance falls with the inclusion of time-varying county-level characteristics and city-specific time trends. This is qualitatively consistent but smaller than what Aaronson et al. (forthcoming) find; they show that a 10 percent raise in the minimum wage increases firm exit by approximately 24 percent from a base of 5.7 percent. Differences in sample and specifications may account for the differences between our study and theirs.

Much more at the site - anyone who was surprised by this data needs to leave the confines of their bubble and experience real life for a while.

The future of Coal

| No Comments

Back home again - good meeting

| No Comments

There was no set agenda but we all gathered around the stuff that people brought and chimped.

Found a good restaurant near where the meetings are held so had a BLT sandwich for dinner. They use a really good local bacon thick-cut so it is delicious.

Just fed the dogs so they are outside bounding around - had them in the truck for six hours. Took them for numerous walks in the city but there is nothing like running around on 20 acres to let the steam out.

Heading out for the day

| No Comments

Coffee, check in at the store and then in to town for a ham radio meeting. This is the Digital Group - we are doing some fun stuff with digital communications. Bringing some toys to play with.

Get a bite to eat in town - more posting around 10:00PM or so.

Nothing much regarding the weather - more rain is forecast. Had a couple of nice dry days but the clouds have moved in and it looks like three or four days of wet stuff. A bit of sun on Friday and then back to wet stuff... Time to move to Arizona - Albuquerque is a fun city.

Lettuce in the news - Europe

| No Comments

I had posted yesterday about the lettuce shortage with the California rains - a head of green leaf is selling for over $4 up here. I just remembered this post from February:

Not just here - poor growing in Europe
From Watts Up With That:

The New Maunder Minimum? Vegetable Shortages Strike London
The Sun reports that in London, some supermarkets are rationing purchases of vegetables like lettuce, which is in short supply due to Southern European crop failures.

SALAD SHORTAGE What is the 2017 vegetable shortage, which supermarkets are rationing broccoli and lettuce and what’s the cause of the crisis?
Tesco and Sainsbury’s are rationing iceburg lettuces and broccoli as cold weather in the Med causes a vegetable shortage.

Some more:

Read more: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2774614/vegetable-shortage-2017-supermarkets-rationing-broccoli-lettuce-crisis/

Why do I describe this as a possible early taste of Maunder Minimum like conditions? As WUWT has reported, solar activity has been unusually low this cycle, and appears to be trending downwards, leading to predictions we are entering a new solar grand minimum.

While the connection between solar activity and weather is controversial, in Europe, Solar Grand Minima appear to be associated with cold, rainy weather, and growing season difficulties.

Our Sun is a variable star and the regular solar cycles are at an all-time low when looking at the last 200 years or so. We need to address the idea of a 30-50 year period of abnormally low temperatures. This will have an impact on agriculture as well as energy costs. I am sitting here looking at a perfect example of this problem.

I am sticking with my story - the primary climate driver is our sun and CO2 is just a bogeyman brought out by people who are in this for political and financial gain.We need to concern ourselves with climate cooling much more than climate warming.

Lettuce in the news

| No Comments

That deluge in California three months ago? It is showing up at the grocery stores right now - from the Sacramento, CA CBS affiliate:

Lettuce Prices On The Rise As California’s Wet Winter Prevents Planting
Eating healthy is about to take a bigger bite out of your budget, thanks to California’s wet winter.

You might have noticed your local grocery store lacking in lettuce, and the drought-busting winter is to blame.

If you’re a big fan of salads, BLTs or anything avocado, you’re not going to be a fan of the latest news on produce prices.

And it is not the rain now, it was the rain that prevented planting.

“It is all because of the rain. The rain not last week, not last month, but the rain three months ago. Three months ago we should have been planting crops that we should be harvesting now. We can’t harvest those crops because they weren’t planted,” Marks said.

The bagged salad mixes are still pretty cheap probably because these are mostly grown in greenhouses. I looked today and a head of green leaf lettuce at our local wholesaler was $4.49. The stuff we were getting before was from Mexico but their lettuce season is over - too hot there now.

Driving in Atlanta

| No Comments

Atlanta, Georgia traffic got worse last month when a crackhead lit a fire that caused on of Atlanta's interstates to collapse. And that was the beginning - from the St. Louis, Missouri FOX affiliate:

Atlanta traffic made worse after section of I-20 buckles
Atlanta’s running out of interstates.

The metropolitan area is served by four interstates. Last month, a five-lane section of one collapsed during rush hour and took part of that highway out of commission.

Monday afternoon, things just got worse. Way worse.

A section of another interstate buckled due to an underground gas leak, and now a portion of that freeway is shut down too.

Sounds like someone failed to maintain their infrastructure - 138 years of straight Democratic rule will do that. Maybe there is hope for the state at least. The current Governor - Nathan Deal - is Republican, his predecessor - George E. "Sonny" Perdue also rocks the big 'R' after his name. It is straight Democrat rule for the previous 131 years - talk about entrenched.

Go get 'em Jeff

| No Comments

Great news from The Hill:

Sweeping change at DOJ under Sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has brought sweeping change to the Department of Justice.

In just two months as the nation’s top cop, Sessions has moved quickly to overhaul the policies and priorities set by the Obama administration.

He has rolled back protections for transgender students that allowed children to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity and rescinded plans to phase out the federal government’s use of private prisons.

He called for a review of reform agreements, known as consent decrees, reached with local police departments to address allegations of misconduct. Many of the consent decrees were drafted in response to fatal shootings by police.

Sessions has made immigration enforcement a top priority. Late last month he put “sanctuary cities" on notice, announcing that grant money would be withheld from state and local governments that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities and turn over undocumented immigrants arrested for crimes.

Federal prosecutors have also been alerted to a new national push to crack down on violent crime. Sessions tapped Steven Cook, a federal prosecutor and outspoken opponent of criminal justice reform, to lead the charge as assistant deputy attorney general; he will be leading Sessions’s new Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.

Change is good - especially when that change is just a simple matter of enforcing the laws already on the books. A lot more at the site. This article seems to have hit a nerve as it has over 8,000 comments for a post that is only 24 hours old.

New toy from Lego

| No Comments

Talk about a fast turnaround on this;

20170417-united.jpg

Tip of the 'ole hat to Borepatch

Back home again - surf's up!

| No Comments

Back home again. I bought a couple boxes of Mason Bees so set out their new home and got them all settled - look for the cocoons to hatch out in a day or two. The hummingbirds have definitely found the feeders - picked up two more and boiling some sugar water now - will get them set out tomorrow after it cools overnight. Their metabolism is so high that they need the carbohydrates - they also eat a lot of bugs and plants for their proteins and nutrients - the sugar is just to sustain the high metabolism.

Got another radio meeting tomorrow night so will be heading into town then as well.

From The Bellingham Herald:

Cascade Mall shooter dies in apparent jail suicide
Arcan Cetin, the man charged with killing five people at a mall in Burlington last fall, was found dead in his jail cell in an apparent suicide, authorities said Monday.

Cetin, 20, was discovered hanging Sunday evening, said Rosemary Kaholokula, chief criminal deputy prosecutor for Skagit County.

Good - he was an Islamist, was violent with his family and girlfriend and watched a lot of ISIS propaganda videos. One less muzzie to deal with. Hope he is enjoying his 72 white raisins of exceptional purity.

From Reuters:

United Air removes couple traveling to wedding from plane
An engaged couple were removed from a United Airlines flight to Costa Rica on Saturday, as the airline remained under scrutiny following outrage caused by a video last week of a passenger being forcibly removed from a flight.

A matter of someone sleeping and leaning across their seats - they moved up a few rows to a vacant row of seats. This was in a higher class and they tried to pay for the upgrade but United would not let them. This is no way to run an airline...

Off to coffee and town

| No Comments

Running errands today so off to town.

I will probably get a bite to eat in town so no posting today until around 8:00PM or so.

And that is it for the night

| No Comments

Off to dreamland...

Forgot to mention that we had another frost last night - got down to 28.0°F last night and up to 62.6°F this afternoon - a temperature swing of 34.6°F - quite the range, usually it is only 20°F or so.

And she really wonders why?

| No Comments

Talk about clueless - from Huffington Post:

Elizabeth Warren Says Mitch McConnell Won’t Even Say Hello To Her
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has apparently been ignoring Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) since moving to silence her on the Senate floor in February, Warren told The Boston Globe.

McConnell cut Warren off in February as she tried to read a letter from Coretta Scott King during a speech on the Senate floor, explaining her opposition to Jeff Session’s nomination to be attorney general. McConnell invoked a little-used rule that blocks senators “by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”

Even though Sessions was eventually confirmed and two months have passed since the incident, the relationship between the two senators still remains frosty.

“I’ve spoken to him, but he has not spoken to me,” Warren told the Globe in an interview published Saturday. “I say hello to Mitch every chance I get, and he turns his head.”

Warren has been anti-Trump since day one and she has been abusive of the Senate Rules and Decorum. Her entire career has been based on lies and trying to game the system starting with her claiming native blood to get into Harvard. Here are a few highlights:

Not as dirty and crooked as Hillary but getting there...

Well crap - RIP Alan Holdsworth

| No Comments

From Team Rock:

Allan Holdsworth Dead At 70
Allan Holdsworth, the groundbreaking British guitarist, has died unexpectedly, aged 70.

The news was broken by his daughter's Louise on her Facebook page earlier this evening. In a short statement she said: "It is with heavy hearts that we notify everyone of the passing of our beloved father. We would appreciate privacy and time while we grieve the loss of our dad, grandad, friend and musical genius. We will update close friends and family when service arrangements have been made and will notify the public of an open memorial service, which all would be welcome. We are undeniably still in shock with his unexpected death and cannot begin to put into words the overwhelming sadness we are experiencing. He is missed tremendously. Louise, Sam, Emily & Rori."

A major musician - there is a dark shadow on the land tonight.

Back home again

| No Comments

Did the drawing of the ski pass giveaway - the guy was not home but left a voicemail for him. I love doing this.

Ran a couple of errands - feed store,  box store (the blue one) and Harbor Fraught and then went to Sumas, WA to check out a new Chinese restaurant. Meh... The food was OK but nothing to write home about and Lucky Panda is so much better that there is zero comparison.

Heading in to Costco (critically low on dog food) and the bank tomorrow and then back home to work on some stuff.

The Digital Group of my radio club is working with a protocol called fldigi. I already have a digital modem and a way to send email over ham radio with Winlink but this takes a desktop computer and a stand-alone radio modem. fldigi uses a Raspberry Pi computer and a cheap modem and fits into a box of playing cards - runs on battery power. fldigi also plays nice with packet - via aprs. Same hardware can be used for both protocols, just different frequencies of operation. Got all the parts for that, now I just have to learn how to use it - getting my kit together so I can bring it to the Digital Group meeting on Tuesday for troubleshooting.

And I am outta here

| No Comments

Critters looked after, dogs fed - time to head out for coffee.

Today is the last day for skiing at Mt. Baker so I wiill be drawing the annual ski pass giveaway - I love making those phone calls!

I did not write about their spectacular missile launch failure the other day as I wanted to wait and see what hard data shook out. This news report is unusual but plausible - a couple of links:

If we did hack their missiles, it would be an incredible feat - the hackers would have to break through the Korean firewall that isolates their country. More likely an inside job by a very brave soul.

Happy Easter!

| No Comments

Best Easter wishes for everyone out there.

Nothing much planned for here - coffee and working at home. Church for me is walking through the woods.

A question and an answer

| No Comments

Heh - a question from Senator Fauxcahontas:

20170415-q.jpg

And an answer from Jessie Jane Duff - a retired US Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant who's now a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research:

20170415-a.jpg

Warren lives in a bubble of her own making. Just pitiful really if she wasn't doing so much damage to this nation.

Polished off the last of the tacos - this was a flank steak pressure cooked with salsa. Yum!

Been watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - first couple of episodes were a bit lame but after the sixth or seventh show, the writing really started to get good.

Surf for a bit and then to bed - hopefully getting to sleep at a decent time. Lulu is back to Bellingham for a while - got a couple of projects to work on here and at the store.

Two million for what?

| No Comments

Jazz Shaw echoes my thoughts on an upcoming book - from Hot Air:

Huma Abedin would like $2M for her “tell all book.” But telling what?
In terms of political careers, this is a fairly standard move. When you pack up your things and leave the political circus or just go on hiatus for a couple of years, one of the first things many players try to do is land a book deal. It turns out that long time Hillary Clinton confidante Huma Abedin is thinking along just those lines and is shopping a proposal for a “tell all” memoir. She want’s a hefty price for the honor of publishing it, though. (NY Post)

Huma Abedin is ready to tell all – for a cool $2 million.

The estranged wife of disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner and former top aide to Hillary Clinton has been meeting over the past few weeks with top literary agents to discuss her writing a book, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Abedin, 40, is seeking as much as $2 million for the book, which would likely detail her husband’s sexting scandal and her role in Clinton’s failed presidential bid, according to the report.

Clinton has reportedly given the green light for the purported book.

Right off the bat I’ll just say best of luck to her. Seriously. This is America and everybody deserves a chance to cash in (legally) where they can. But any publisher is going to have to be taking into account what the potential market for this book might be before they lay out an advance of two million bucks. Politicos with national name recognition can move a lot of books under the right conditions, but we’re talking about Huma Abedin here. Yes, if you either write about politics for a living or you spend most of your free time soaking in our stories you almost certainly know her name, but that’s a vanishingly small segment of the country. (And to be honest, many of us don’t actually read those books anyway. We often wait for somebody else to do it and bookmark the juicy parts if any are to be found.) On a quick search I wasn’t able to find anyone polling her approval ratings so her name recognition probably isn’t above the teens.

Yeah - I'll wait for other people to write about it. Probably show up on the 90% off table at Barnes and Noble in a few months. $2 Million is a bit much - she has already had her 15 minutes.

Earthquakes in the news

| No Comments

Each year, the Oregon town of Seaside hosts a large amateur radio conference and I have been attending the last couple of years. I really love the town of Seaside - great people and beautiful area. The only problem is that there is a massive potential for a large earthquake and tsunami sitting about 80 miles off the shoreline. Their warning system just got a nice upgrade. From The Daily Astorian:

Southern Exposure: Seismometer gives early warning of ground motion
Who do you call when you need to upgrade a seismometer?

That’s easy: the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, a partner of the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Washington and the University of Oregon among others.

The Seaside seismometer is one of many along the coast of Oregon and Washington state to provide the ShakeAlert early warning system. Hidden in an equipment room in the back of the Seaside Museum and Historical Society, the seismometer may have a crucial role in history of its own in the not-so-distant future.

“A seismometer is an instrument that detects ground motion in the form of acceleration of the ground itself,” the University of Oregon’s field technician and ShakeAlert Project Manager Leland O’Driscoll said.

Now I will be able to rest a bit easier knowing that I would have a good fifteen minutes of warning should something let go offshore.

Cool news on the energy front

| No Comments

Real dependable energy and not sunbeams and puffs of wind. From the U.S. Geological Survey

USGS Estimates 304 Trillion Cubic Feet of Natural Gas in the Bossier and Haynesville Formations of the U.S. Gulf Coast
The Bossier and Haynesville Formations of the onshore and State waters portion of the U.S. Gulf Coast contain estimated means of 4.0 billion barrels of oil, 304.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 1.9 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, according to updated assessments by the U.S. Geological Survey. These estimates, the largest continuous natural gas assessment USGS has yet conducted, include petroleum in both conventional and continuous accumulations, and consist of undiscoveredtechnically recoverable resources.

A bit more including a statement:

“As the USGS revisits many of the oil and gas basins of the United States, we continually find that technological revolutions of the past few years have truly been a game-changer in the amount of resources that are now technically recoverable," said Walter Guidroz, Program Coordinator of the USGS Energy Resources Program. "Changes in technology and industry practices, combined with an increased understanding of the regional geologic framework, can have a significant effect on what resources become technically recoverable. These changes are why the USGS remains committed to performing the most up-to-date assessments of these vital resources throughout the United States and the world.”

This is the largest known gas field in the USA.  Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke was stoked.

I like this new President

| No Comments

From the White House website:

Reorganizing the Executive Branch: We Need Your Input!
On March 13th, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order that will make the Federal government more efficient, effective, and accountable to you, the American people. This Executive Order directs the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to present the President with a plan that recommends ways to reorganize the executive branch and eliminate unnecessary agencies.

President Trump wants to hear your ideas and suggestions on how the government can be better organized to work for the American people.

Share your ideas below by June 12th!

Reduce, reform and eliminate. Cut the government down to size and make hiring new people hard so that it stays small.

Another example of accountability and excellent cash management from The Seattle Times:

Seattle neglected to collect $3.4M payment for affordable housing as two skyscrapers were built
For almost four years, Seattle officials neglected to collect a $3.4 million payment for affordable housing from the developer of a high-profile, luxury condominium project.

They secured the money with interest from the Insignia Towers project last year only after auditors reviewing the city’s Incentive Zoning program discovered the oversight.

In the meantime, two 41-story towers were built, condos began selling for more than $500,000 each and Seattle struggled with a painful affordable-housing shortage.

Public housing selling condos for a half-million bucks each? I am in the wrong business... And of course, the standard response of all bureaucrats everywhere:

Officials have acknowledged the issues, adding a quality-control supervisor and working to install new project-tracking software — and there’s urgency in their efforts.

When there is trouble, it is not because you screwed up, it is because your kingdom was too small. Add as many people and resources as you can get away with in this budget cycle and then ask for more in next years budget. New custom software is always a winner.

Much more at the site and over 230 comments which are worth reading.

It seems that the Chinese embargo is not quite what it seems - from The Washington Post:

Kim Jong Un’s rockets are getting an important boost — from China
When North Korea launched its Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite into space in February last year, officials heralded the event as a birthday gift for dead leader Kim Jong Il. But the day also brought an unexpected prize for the country’s adversaries: priceless intelligence in the form of rocket parts that fell into the Yellow Sea.

Entire sections of booster rocket were snagged by South Korea’s navy and then scrutinized by international weapons experts for clues about the state of North Korea’s missile program. Along with motor parts and wiring, investigators discerned a pattern. Many key components were foreign-made, acquired from businesses based in China.

The trove “demonstrates the continuing critical importance of high-end, foreign-sourced components” in building the missiles North Korea uses to threaten its neighbors, a U.N. expert team concluded in a report released last month. When U.N. officials contacted the implicated Chinese firms to ask about the parts, the report said, they received only silence.

Let us hope that the Chinese are a little more circumspect in their dealings with this nation. Turning back the coal ships was awesome but the world is watching very closely.

Well that was a bust

| No Comments

Got to bed early last evening but could not fall asleep until around 4:00AM - needless to say, I slept through the SAR drill this morning.

Oh well - out for coffee and then working at home today.

Great video about Search and Rescue

| No Comments

From the King County Search and Rescue team - they are south of here - Seattle is in King County.

Yes, it is this bad

| No Comments

From the UK Independent:

Children as young as 13 attending 'smartphone rehab' as concerns grow over screen time
Children refusing to put down their phones is a common flashpoint in many homes, with a third of British children aged 12 to 15 admitting they do not have a good balance between screen time and other activities.

But in the US, the problem has become so severe for some families that children as young as 13 are being treated for digital technology addiction.

One ‘smartphone rehab’ centre near Seattle has started offering residential “intensive recovery programs” for teenagers who have trouble controlling their use of electronic devices.

The Restart Life Centre says parents have been asking it to offer courses of treatment to their children for more than eight years.

It must be very tempting for a parent to use a device as a digital babysitter but they are doing incredible damage to their kid. Mental development requires diverse stimulation and play, focusing on a flat screen is not a substitute.

The reSTART website is here: reSTART. They have one program that lasts for nine to twelve months. I can not imagine anyone so addicted to digital devices that they need that amount of time to decouple. The fact that they list it on their website shows that there is a need for that service. How could the parents have let their kid get so far down the rabbit hole.

United Airlines

| No Comments

Found on Facebook - photo taken on a United flight this morning:

20170414-united.jpg

Back home again - early day tomorrow

| No Comments

Back home from the training session. We did one part on radio protocols for Search and Rescue (something I am very interested in) and another one on GPS receiver use. Everyone's GPS operates slightly differently so we practiced with the actual receivers that the SAR team uses. Both classes were great.

We meet up at 9:00AM at the base of Sumas Mountain for the practice drill tomorrow - got an early alarm set (need coffee before I can function and have something to drop off at the store). Fixing lunch for tomorrow (tuna salad with pasta).

A bit of weather

| No Comments

Just had a pretty intense hailstorm. From the National Weather Service:

.NOW...
SCATTERED SHOWERS WILL CONTINUE ACROSS WESTERN WASHINGTON THIS
AFTERNOON. SOME SHOWERS MAY HAVE EMBEDDED THUNDERSTORMS WITH SMALL
HAIL. IF YOU ARE OUTDOORS AND HEAR THUNDER...HEAD INDOORS.

Yep!

Heading out in a few minutes - pick up some stuff in town. Costco hot dog for dinner and then off to a meeting at 6:00PM

Quote of the day - truth

| No Comments

"The criterion of truth is that it works even if nobody is prepared to acknowledge it."
--Ludwig von Mises

From Ars Technica:

NSA-leaking Shadow Brokers just dumped its most damaging release yet
The Shadow Brokers—the mysterious person or group that over the past eight months has leaked a gigabyte worth of the National Security Agency's weaponized software exploits—just published its most significant release yet. Friday's dump contains potent exploits and hacking tools that target most versions of Microsoft Windows and evidence of sophisticated hacks on the SWIFT banking system of several banks across the world.

Friday's release—which came as much of the computing world was planning a long weekend to observe the Easter holiday—contains close to 300 megabytes of materials the leakers said were stolen from the NSA. The contents (a convenient overview is here) included compiled binaries for exploits that targeted vulnerabilities in a long line of Windows operating systems, including Windows 8 and Windows 2012. It also included a framework dubbed Fuzzbunch, a tool that resembles the Metasploit hacking framework that loads the binaries into targeted networks. Independent security experts who reviewed the contents said it was without question the most damaging Shadow Brokers release to date.

"It is by far the most powerful cache of exploits ever released," Matthew Hickey, a security expert and co-founder of Hacker House, told Ars. "It is very significant as it effectively puts cyber weapons in the hands of anyone who downloads it. A number of these attacks appear to be 0-day exploits which have no patch and work completely from a remote network perspective."

I bet a lot of people are going to be working late at Microsoft over the next couple of weeks.

About ten years too late

| No Comments

From Defense Systems:

DARPA tasks BAE with workaround to secure the power grid in event of massive attack
The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency and BAE Systems are working to forge alternative communication networks that would come into use in case of a cyberattack on the U.S. electrical power grid.

Although the aim is to ensure safe connectivity among all of the civilian nodes which depend upon the power grid, the program is particularly focused on securing defense networks and operational combat activities.

The program, called Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization Systems (RADICS), consists of a variety of technical capabilities. These include an ability to recognize or provide early warning of impending attacks, map conventional and industrial control systems networks, ad hoc network formation and analysis of control systems, a DARPA statement said.

It is one thing to come up with an idea and a cool acronym. Another thing entirely to actually implement it in an effective way. They should have been thinking about this ten or twenty years ago. North Korea has a satellite in a ball of string orbit which covers the USA every couple of days. There is a reason why the world banned atmospheric testing back in the 1960's

From the "You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means" department - Cynthia Than writing at Inc:

United Airlines Did Not Have the Legal Right to Refuse Service to the Doctor Dragged Off Its Plane
On Sunday night, a video surfaced of a man being forcibly removed by airport security while he was on a United Airlines regional flight at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois. The elderly passenger in the video, who appeared to be unconscious as he was dragged from his seat, was later identified as 69-year-old David Dao, a doctor who refused to voluntarily give up his seat because he said that he had patients to see the next day.

widely circulated tweet and many major news outlets, including the New York Times and CNN, incorrectly reported that United Flight 3411 was overbooked. The practice of overbooking allows airlines to keep prices low for consumers since overselling seats means that a flight has a greater chance of being full. However, other passengers on the flight, and the CEO of United Airlines, explained that the flight was not, in fact, overbooked but that four passengers had been requested to give up their seats for crew members who had to commute to Louisville, Kentucky, to work on flights the following day.

And the law in question:

Since the flight was not actually overbooked, but instead only fully booked, with the exact number of passengers as seats available, United Airlines had no legal right to force any passengers to give up their seats to prioritize others. What United did was give preference to their employees over people who had reserved confirmed seats,  which would have been a violation of 14 CFR 250.2a (if the flight  were overbooked, as United had originally claimed). Since Dr. Dao was already seated, it was clear that his seat had already been "reserved" and "confirmed" to accommodate him specifically.

A United Airlines spokesperson said that since Dr. Dao refused to give up his seat and leave the plane voluntarily, airline employees "had to" call upon airport security to force him to comply. However, since the flight was not overbooked, United Airlines had no legal right to give his seat to another passenger. In United Airline's Contract of Service, they list the reasons that a passenger may be refused service, many of which are reasonable, such as "failure to pay" or lacking "proof of identity." Nowhere in the terms of service does United Airlines claim to have unilateral authority to refuse service to anyone, for any reason (which would be illegal anyway).

This is going to be an interesting lawsuit -- it will set a precident and Dr. Dao will get a very nice and very fat check.

Coffee and another day in paradise

| No Comments

Heading out to loan someone my carpet cleaner, get a coffee and come back home to work on a couple of things.

I have a meeting in town at 6:00PM so will head in early to run a couple of errands.

And that is it

| No Comments

Nothing on the internet is catching my eye and busy watching some YouTube videos.

Oh yeah - the tacos seriously rocked. Broiled the flank steak to get a nice Maillard reaction, pressure cooked it for 20 minutes, poked at it and ran it for another 20 and it came out perfect. Cooked it with a tub of medium salsa, about 1/3 of a small tin of Chipotles in Adobo, a chopped onion and some Better Than Bullion Beef concentrate. A bit dry for pressure cooking but the meat and the onions give off a lot of juice as they heat up.

Back from the meeting

| No Comments

Good meeting - we did a debrief of today's earthquake drill. These keep getting better and better and we are getting a really good response from the Police and Fire departments - they see what a ham radio operator can do and they like it. The other advantage is that after an earthquake, a marked Police or Fire vehicle will be mobbed as soon as it leaves the station. A couple of civilians driving around a neighborhood do not attract as much attention and they can determine where the worst of the damage is before sending out the first responders.

Got a Search and Rescue class tomorrow evening and a potential drill on Saturday morning and that will be it for the week from heck.

From Need To Know Network:

You Will Never Guess What Elizabeth Warren Watched On Election Night
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spent election night binge-watching HBO’s “Ballers” with her husband, Bruce Mann, instead of watching coverage of what was expected to be the election of America’s first female president, Hillary Clinton.

Warren revealed how she spent election night 2016 in her new book, scheduled to be released April 18. NTK Network obtained an early copy of the book.

“Ballers,” for those unfamiliar with the show, stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a retired NFL player, turned financial manager obsessed with making money. The show depicts the lavish lifestyle of NFL players, often featuring scenes of wild parties that feature scantily-clad women and drug use.

Slate’s review of “Ballers” was critical of the show’s treatment of women:

“Women who are referred to as “hoes” or “bitches” or “ass” and span the full spectrum of stereotypes: Nagging Wife, Vindictive Mistress, Stalker Groupie. Even after four episodes, you’re hard-pressed to remember the name of a single female character.”

Warren, however, calls “Ballers,” a “terrific” show in her new book, “This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class.”

We all have our guilty pleasures. Why does she need to write a book? I have no desire to read what she thinks - she does not represent me in the least. Destined for the Barnes and Noble deep discount shelves in a few months.

One by one people are waking up. First, from Michigan Live:

Lansing no longer a sanctuary city
The Lansing City Council backed out of its decision to declare itself a sanctuary city Wednesday evening, holding a vote to rescind the barely week-old resolution.

After hours of public comment, the council voted 5-2 to rescind the resolution containing a reference to sanctuary city passed April 3. Council member Jessica Yorko was not present for the vote.

The council members then decided not to take up a resolution reaffirming Lansing as a "Welcoming City" for immigrants.

I have no problem with people who come here legally to make a better life for themselves and their families. Criminals who come here to game the system and get on the dole are another matter entirely.

Second, from The Christian Post:

New Hampshire Catholic Bishop Says Churches Shouldn't Shelter Illegal Immigrants
A Roman Catholic bishop who oversees the diocese for the state of New Hampshire has stated that churches should not house people who entered the country illegally.

The Most Reverend Peter Libasci of the Diocese of Manchester sent a letter to clergy last Friday noting that congregations cannot allow undocumented immigrants to be housed within their churches to avoid being deported.

In the letter, which the Diocese provided The Christian Post, Bishop Libasci explained that there were two definitions for the term "sanctuary churches" being used.

"Some use this term and mean what I have described above – a welcoming community ready to offer immediate aid to anyone in need. In these works, of course, we will always be involved," wrote Libasci.

"But others use this term 'sanctuary' to refer to churches that will allow individuals in fear of deportation to live in the church."

The bishop went on to state that the latter definition, that of allowing unauthorized immigrants to live within a church, was problematic "because it creates a false hope to tell individuals living in fear that we can protect them from law enforcement actions."

"'Sanctuary' is not a designation recognized by law and provides no such legal protection," cautioned Libasci.

Good - there is a very big difference between these two definitions and the letter of the law needs to be followed.

United Airlines

| No Comments

Things just keep getting better and better for them - from Global News Canada:

Emergency crews called to airport after man reportedly stung by scorpion on flight to Calgary
A beautiful two-week vacation in Mexico came to an unexpected — and creepy — end for a Calgary couple.

Richard and Linda Bell were on United Airlines flight 1418 going home from Houston when a feisty, eight-legged creature showed up.

The scorpion fell in Richard’s hair from an overhead bin. Linda said it reminded her of something else entirely.

And:

Richard dropped it on his plate, then picked it up again. That’s when it stung him.

It “felt like a wasp sting,” he said.

Pure chance but still - United is not getting any good publicity these days.

Kim's big day

| No Comments

Yesterday, it was reported that North Korea was planning a "big event" for Thursday. It looks like a one-two presentation. From The London Daily Mail:

Do these satellite images prove North Korea is preparing to detonate a new nuclear bomb to mark sinister 'Day of the Sun' as Trump's armada moves in
New satellite images have emerged purportedly showing how North Korea is preparing to detonate a nuclear bomb to coincide with its 'Day of the Sun' national day on Saturday.

Aerial photos taken yesterday show continued activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear site where US officials fear a nuclear device has been installed in a tunnel ahead of another test.

It comes as the regime today warned foreign journalists to prepare for a 'big event' on Thursday and as tensions remained high after President Donald Trump sent a US Navy strike group steaming toward the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea's most important national day is on Saturday April 15 when North Korea commemorates the birth anniversary of its founding president Kim Il Sung. However, the big event may have been the grand unveiling of a sprawling housing project in Pyongyang.

And, buried almost at the end of the article was this:

Kim Jong-un today made a public appearance in Pyongyang, to open a prestige housing project featuring residential tower blocks of various shapes - round, square and octagonal - with the tallest proclaimed as 70 storeys, or 234 metres, high, and including nearly 5,000 apartments in total. 

Around 200 foreign journalists are in Pyongyang as the country marks the 105th anniversary of 'Day of the Sun'.

Officials had given no details as to the nature of a planned 'big' event today or where it would take place, and similar announcements in the past have been linked to relatively low-key set pieces. In the end, it turned out to be the grand unveiling of a block of flats.

And this little item:

But the most prestigious flat, a penthouse at the top of the tallest tower has no hot water, reporters found at the opening.

It will be interesting when the North Korean people finally join the real world - talk about cognitive dissonance...

People unclear on the concept

| No Comments

Hillary did herself in during her campaign - she is crooked and people did not want to have a crooked president. That and she had no leadership qualities at all. From The Daily Caller:

Clinton Campaign Left Frustrated, Angry After Bill and Hillary Continuously Blamed Them For Sucking
Bill and Hillary Clinton made no secret of the fact they blame campaign staffers for her defeat in the presidential election, according to a new book about her failed bid.

“She was visibly, unflinchingly pissed off at us as a group,” an unnamed staffer said in the book, according to an excerpt obtained by The Hill.  “And she let us know she felt that way.”

The book reveals the former secretary of state was full of excuses for why she faired poorly against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary and President Donald Trump in the general election. Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes co-authored the book, titled “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.”

Reportedly furious after a dismal showing in the primaries, Clinton manufactured multiple reasons for her performance. She blamed her former campaign director Robby Mook for not selecting the right travel stops and for spending heavily in the wrong areas.

That is what you get for living in a bubble and surrounding yourself with Yes-Men - it may take a couple of years but eventually reality penetrates the bubble and bites you in the ass.

Cooking some flank steak for tacos tonight - not doing an early run into town, I'll take care of those things tomorrow when I go in for SAR training.

Windy and starting to rain - got thunderstorms forecast for later. Got some hummingbirds starting to come to the feeder - they usually start around now and by summer's end, I will have gone through more than one 25 pound sack of sugar. Planning on getting some more feeders out - have two now.

WECG meeting at 7:00PM tonight - run into town a little early for some errands.

The first use in combat - from FOX News:

US drops largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan after Green Beret killed
The U.S. military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, just days after a Green Beret was killed fighting ISIS there, a U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News.

The GBU-43B, a 21,000-pound conventional bomb, was dropped on an ISIS tunnel complex in Nangarhar Province.

The MOAB -- Massive Ordinance Air Blast -- is also known as the “Mother Of All bombs.” It was first tested in 2003, but hadn't been used in combat before Thursday.

And this comment:

"As [ISIS'] losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense," Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement. "This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against [ISIS]."

As a wonderful person once said - Punch back twice as hard. More here, and here. A perfect response - you hurt one of ours? We will destroy 1,000 of yours. Next? Wonder if this was a practice run for North Korea - they use a lot of tunnels too...

More earth movement

| No Comments

This time a bit South of here - SR-20 - from the Skagit Community News:

SR20 Closed Between Newhalem and Diablo Due to Rockslide
A rockslide near milepost 121 has closed both directions of State Route 20 between Newhalem and Diablo overnight.

According to a release from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), crews have closed State Route 20 at Milepost 121.  They do not currently have an estimated time for the reopening of the highway.

Travelers are not currently able to go around the slide due to the amount and size of the rocks that fell.

WSDOT crews are bringing in heavy equipment to break up the rocks and work to remove the debris from the highway.

Consequences of a very wet winter.

Dave Carroll on United Airlines

| No Comments

Dave was the unfortunate musician whose guitars were smashed by United Airlines in 2008. When he asked United to repair them, he was told to basically pound sand. He wrote three songs about the incident which went viral (song #1 has over 16 Million views). Here he is talking about the most recent case of United - Flight 3411 and Doctor David Dow:

Nothing much online

| No Comments

The usual suspects - heading over to YouTube to watch some blacksmithing and welding videos.

A good meeting tonight

| No Comments

Two new faces showed up tonight - always a good thing. Tomorrow morning's earthquake drill got postponed - a lot of people are busy so we are scheduling a time a month away which should work for everyone. Yeah. Right.

Hey - at least I can sleep in tomorrow.

Early dinner and then a 6:30 meeting

| No Comments

Fixing an early dinner in 30 minutes or so then off to a meeting at the local Fire Hall. One of the County CERT people will be out looking at developing a team that can deploy as a unit instead of just a bunch of individual CERT trainees. Very cool!

Earthquake drill and WECG meeting tomorrow, SAR training Friday with a practice search on Saturday. Like I said on Monday, a busy week!

SR-503 rockslide update

| No Comments

The Department of Transportation released an update on the work being done to clear SR-503 after the 20 ton rock slide. I had posted about it two weeks ago - they are now about halfway through clearing it up. Here are two videos:

Drone video of the SR 503 Slide east of Woodland, WA - shot when the slide first happened:

And here is one uploaded today showing preparation for the next blast:

Okay... News from The Best Korea

| No Comments

From Reuters:

Foreign journalists in North Korea told to prepare for 'big' event
Foreign journalists visiting North Korea have been told to prepare for a "big and important event" on Thursday, although there were no indications it was directly linked to tensions in the region over the isolated state's nuclear weapons program.

Around 200 foreign journalists are in Pyongyang as the country marks the 105th birth anniversary of its founding president Kim Il Sung on April 15, North Korea's biggest national day called "Day of the Sun".

Not holding my breath - they have a history of big events falling flat.

Interesting development - North Korea

| No Comments

It seems like President Trump's meeting with China's President Xi is having an effect - from Newsmax:

North Korean Ships Head Home After China Orders Coal Returned
A fleet of North Korean cargo ships is heading home to the port of Nampo, the majority of it fully laden, after China ordered its trading companies to return coal from the isolated country, shipping data shows.

Following repeated missile tests that drew international criticism, China banned all imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26, cutting off the country's most important export product.

To curb coal traffic between the two countries, China's customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes, said three trading sources with direct knowledge of the order.

And it looks like a win/win situation:

To make up for the shortfall from North Korea, China has ramped up imports from the United States in an unexpected boon for U.S. President Donald Trump, who has declared he wants to revive his country's struggling coal sector.

Eikon data shows no U.S. coking coal was exported to China between late 2014 and 2016, but shipments soared to over 400,000 tons by late February .

Brilliant! Talk about the art of the deal...

Meet synalpheus pinkfloydi

| No Comments

From The Beeb:

New shrimp species named after Pink Floyd
A new species of shrimp has been named after Pink Floyd thanks to a pact between prog rock-loving scientists.

The synalpheus pinkfloydi uses its large pink claw to create a noise so loud it can kill small fish.

The team behind the discovery vowed years ago if it ever found a new pink shrimp it would "honour" the rockers.

Sammy De Grave, head of research at Oxford University Museum of National History, said he has been a fan of the band since he was a teenager.

And it is not the first crustacean he's named after a rock legend, having already named a species of shrimp after Rolling Stones front man, Mick Jagger - elephantis jaggerai.

Great!

Day two of five

| No Comments

Heading out shortly for coffee, back home to finish a flyer and distribute it around the area.

Dinner at home and then a 6:30 meeting.

The fun never ends.

Overcast and raining - got 0.2" in the last four hours. It will be wonderful to get the sun back on a daily basis.

Outsourcing the Syria problem

| No Comments

Great idea from T. Rex - from The Duffleblog:

Pentagon awards contract to United Airlines to forcibly remove Assad
The Pentagon announced Tuesday it had awarded a sole-source contract to United Airlines for work related to the forcible removal of President Bashar al-Assad from Syria.

The contract, worth $2.1 billion, tasks the airline company with locating Assad, grabbing him from his seat in the presidential palace, and “dragging him out of Damascus by his arms.” The contract also notes that Assad should be “asked several times, politely” to give up his seat of power, though if he refuses, United workers should bloody his nose up a bit, according to the posting at FedBizOpps.

Heh - unfortunately, The Duffleblog is a satire site... Would have been fun to see.

Long day - finally back home

| No Comments

There should be a special place in Hell for tweakers trying to sell shit on Craigslist who misrepresent what they have to offer. It has been running about 50% - half the stuff is as advertised and a great deal while the other half is crap with a pink ribbon on it for way too much money.

Meeting was very good - one of the engineers from this place: NW Digital Radio came to talk about their latest work - using amateur radio to send emails. I am already doing this but with a desktop Windows PC and a $150 stand-alone modem. These people are doing it with a $40 Raspberry Pi and their $90 UDRC board and free Linux software - whole package runs off batteries and is about the same size as a deck of cards - make that a paperback book if you want the touch-screen.

Weather was really nice today - got up to 63°F in town. Sunny. Everyone was happy.

And it begins - long long week

| No Comments

Heading in to town to meet with some people, run some errands and then a radio meeting tonight.

Tomorrow, run around to the various gated communities around here putting up flyers promoting a meeting tomorrow evening, attending said meeting.

Thursday, WECG radio meeting.

Friday, Search and Rescue training.

Saturday, SAR drill.

Sunday, sleep in.

I will be back tonight around 9:00PM - will post some then...

I bet Governor Moonbeam is feeling pretty proud of himself these days - we are going to raise so much money through high taxes.. Oh. Wait. From the Los Angeles Times:

Aerojet Rocketdyne to cut 1,100 jobs in Sacramento, move some to L.A.
Sacramento will lose 1,100 jobs over the next 18 months as rocket engine maker Aerojet Rocketdyne plans to relocate or cut positions in that facility and move jobs to Alabama, Canoga Park and other locations.

A bit more:

By the end of 2018, defense-related program management, engineering and related support positions in Sacramento will move to Huntsville, Ala., where the company’s defense business unit is based. Huntsville is also the final assembly site for Aerojet Rocketdyne’s new AR1 rocket engine.

They are not completely leaving the state - they have a large facility at Canoga Park near Los Angeles but a lot of other offices are packing up and leaving. Minimize the impact of those new taxes.

United Airlines in the news

| No Comments

By now, 95% of the internet has heard of the poor Physician who was forced off United Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville. The guy is probably going to make some decent pocket change from this as the security people responded with more force than appropriate.

This reminded me of an earlier public relations fail by United Airlines - here is the story from Sentium:

How saving $1,200 cost United Airlines 10,772,839 negative views on YouTube
It is a customer service nightmare. At the same time, it is a good lesson about how social media can impact your business.

Here’s what happened:

A singer/songwriter named Dave Carroll was flying from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Omaha, Nebraska, with a layover at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. As he was getting ready to get off the plane, he heard another passenger say, “My God! They’re throwing guitars out there!”

As Dave and the other band members looked out onto the tarmac where the luggage was being unloaded, they recognized the guitars. Their reaction was a blend of terror and disbelief.

Later he indeed discovered that his $3,500 Taylor guitar’s neck had been broken.

What followed was a customer service nightmare. Dave tried for nine months to get a claim processed with United. The response was a firm and consistent “no.” They claimed he had waited longer than 24 hours to process a claim, so he was out of luck.

He tried phone calls. He tried e-mails. He even went so far as to suggest that instead of money, United give him $1,200 in flight vouchers to cover the cost of repairing the guitar. United held firm. They said “No.”

So, what else could a singer-songwriter do?

That’s right. He wrote a song and produced a music video. The song was titled “United Breaks Guitars.” He put it up on YouTube and it went viral.

The incident happened in 2008. Here are links to the videos: United Breaks GuitarsUnited Breaks Guitars Song 2, and United Breaks Guitars Song 3 as well as this website: UNITED BREAKS GUITARS. There are two iron laws in business. #1) - The Customer is always right - and - #2) - when in doubt, refer to rule number one (with obvious exceptions for customers trying to rip off the business).

The airline would have known about the overbooking before they even started boarding - they should have kept offering more and more money to get someone to stay behind. Now, they have a huge public relations problem and will be on the losing side of a hefty lawsuit.

A Mega March

| No Comments

Not President Trump's MAGA, this one was in protest to the Trump Presidency. The first two paragraphs from The Dallas Observer paint the picture:

Dallas' "Mega March" An Enthusiastic Bust
The last time Dallas' Latino leadership organized a march of this intended scale, in 2006, attendance was estimated at somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000. This time, even before the march, organizers guessed attendance might be 100,000.

On Sunday, they claimed after the event that 20,000 people showed up to march through downtown Dallas to Dallas City Hall for rights and respect for Dallas' immigrant and refugee population. After the march, Dallas police estimated 3,200 people marched and attended the subsequent rally.

Yawn. Big difference between someone who is actually doing something with the economy and people who keep saying the same things regardless of what is happening in the real world.

Stayin' classy - Democrats

| No Comments

This level of delusion is unreal - from The Daily Caller:

Democrats Ask Teachers To Destroy Books Written By ‘Climate Deniers’
Three senior House Democrats asked U.S. teachers Monday to destroy a book written by climate scientists challenging the environmentalist view of global warming.

The Democrats were responding to a campaign by the conservative Heartland Institute copies of the 2015 book, “Why Climate Scientists Disagree About Global Warming” to about 200,000 science teachers. Democratic Reps. Bobby Scott of the Committee on Education, Raúl M. Grijalva of the Committee on Natural Resources, and Eddie Bernice Johnson of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology all issued a statement telling teachers to trash the book.

“Public school classrooms are no place for anti-science propaganda, and I encourage every teacher to toss these materials in the recycling bin,” Scott said. “If the Heartland Institute and other climate deniers want to push a false agenda on global warming, our nation’s schools are an inappropriate place to drive that agenda.”

The book’s three authors all hold doctorates and taught climate or related science at the university level. The book was written by former Arizona State University climatologist Dr. Craig D. Idso, James Cook University marine geology and paleontology professor Robert M. Carter, and University of Virginia environmental scientist Dr. Fred Singer.

The last paragraph bears re-reading. The authors work in the field while the politicians are only responding to whomever gives them the most money. This book very much belongs in every schoolroom.

Green gone bad

| No Comments

A great rant from Christopher Booker at The London Daily Mail:

From killer diesel fumes to ruinous floods, every green initiative imposed on us by politicians has ended in disaster... and this is the great folly of our age, says Christopher Booker
What a parable for our times the great diesel scandal has been, as councils vie to see which can devise the heaviest taxes on nearly half the cars in Britain because they are powered by nasty, polluting diesel.

And Christopher cites a lot of examples - here are just three of them:

Consider the scandal of Drax in Yorkshire, until recently the largest, cleanest, most efficient coal-fired power station in Europe.

Now, thanks to an annual half-a-billion pounds of public subsidy, Drax has been switching from burning coal to millions of tons a year of wood pellets.

Absurdly, these are shipped 3,500 miles to Britain from the U.S., where vast acreages of virgin forest are being felled, supposedly to be replaced with new trees that will eventually soak up all the CO2 emitted by burning them.

Unfortunately, a bright spark has just pointed out in a report for a respected think-tank that it could take a replacement tree hundreds of years to grow to maturity — which would be far too long to have any supposed effect on any climate change. (It should be noted that the former coalition energy minister Chris Huhne, having been released from prison for perverting the course of justice over speeding points, became the European chairman of a firm called Zilkha Biomass, which makes its money supplying wood pellets from North America to Europe.)

The bottom line is that a new report has just confirmed that, far from reducing its CO2 footprint, Drax is now emitting more than it did when it was only burning coal.

And this one:

Then there was the dream of ‘carbon capture and storage’, for which Gordon Brown’s government offered £4 billion for companies to come up with a way of removing CO2 from the coal and gas used to make electricity, and then piping it away for burial in holes under the North Sea.

Only one Scottish power station took up the offer, spending £1 billion before it discovered that it didn’t work.

But even though geologists say it can never work, the Government still talks about it as the only way it can allow coal and gas-fired power plants — which still supply more than half our electricity — to stay in business.

It would work very well - if you didn't mind paying one hundred times your normal electricity bill for the cost of doing this. And one more:

For 18 years, the local rivers and drainage ditches had not been dredged by the Environment Agency, with the deliberate intention of keeping more water flooding out on to the Levels, to provide a habitat for birds and other wildlife.

One former head of the agency, who previously ran the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, had remarked that she wanted to see ‘a limpet mine’ on every one of the pumping stations which — separately from the dredging — were used to pump out the water channels to prevent flooding.

When the lack of dredging led to the inevitable, and the Levels disastrously flooded for the second time in three years, it not only did £100 million worth of damage to homes and businesses.

With bitter irony, it also resulted in the drowning of huge numbers of the birds, badgers and other creatures the conservationists had wanted to save.

A lot of these "drainage ditches" were part of the extensive canal system that pre-dated England's railways. They are now used for recreational boating but they were not maintained and when England had a rainy spring, the flooding was disasterous. A lot more at the site including over 860 comments - well worth reading these too.

From Oregon Public Broadcasting:

New Earthquake Alert System Rolls Out In Oregon, Washington
An early warning system for earthquakes is expanding to Oregon and Washington — thanks to a group of universities and government agencies.

California has had the “ShakeAlert” system for a couple of years. And depending on where an earthquake hits, it can give nearby cities a warning of up to a minute or two. That’s enough for a train to stop, a lift to open, or for people to get out of a building.

University of Oregon professor Doug Toomey said a small network of sensors is now installed in Oregon and Washington, so an earthquake can be distinguished from, for example, a passing truck.

Great news especially for those spending any time near the water or in unreinforced masonry (brick) buildings.

Fact checking The New York Times

| No Comments

Great video:

Fisking is in reference to "journalist" Robert Fisk who was caught time after time lying in his reports on the Middle East. His agenda was pro-palestine and anti-Israel.

Oh the tragedy!

| No Comments

From Michigan’s Livingston Daily Press & Argus:

Pepsi mops up 'unusual' Mountain Dew spill
Some 7,200 gallons of concentrated Mountain Dew syrup created a "huge foaming event" and generated environmental concerns after it went down the drain, literally, at the Pepsi bottling plant on Mason Road in Howell last month.

Mountain Dew is my soft drink of choice - specifically the Throwback formulation. Original formula and made with cane sugar instead of HFCS

From Jim Hoft writing at The Gateway Pundit:

Wikileaks Bombshell: Guccifer 2.0 Admits “Seth” Rich Was DNC Leaker
Wikileaks confirms Seth Rich as source of DNC Leak and provides proof–

Wikileaks released a series direct messages from US alleged “Russian spy” Guccifer 2.0 to actress model Robin Young (according to Young).

In the stream of texts the discussion leads to the DNC leaker.

His name is “Seth”…

From a text:

Guccifer 2.0: his name is seth.he was my whistleblower. I suppose you know who I’m talking about
Robin Young: Yes, and it was horrifying to hear abut his death. I have no facts, but my opinion is Hillary had him murdered.

And the murder?

On July 8, 2016, 27 year-old Democratic staffer Seth Conrad Rich was murdered in Washington DC. The killer or killers took nothing from their victim, leaving behind his wallet, watch and phone.

Shortly after the killing, Redditors and social media users were pursuing a “lead” saying that Rich was en route to the FBI the morning of his murder, apparently intending to speak to special agents about an “ongoing court case” possibly involving the Clinton family.

Seth Rich’s father Joel told reporters, “If it was a robbery — it failed because he still has his watch, he still has his money — he still has his credit cards, still had his phone so it was a wasted effort except we lost a life.”

Another case of Arkancide by the Clintons. Quite the long list. Guccifer 2.0 was one of the major leakers during Crooked Hillary's presidential campaign.

Glad I do not live on Maui

| No Comments

From ABC News:

Hawaiian officials fear infections of rare parasitic worm will increase
A spike in infections from a rare parasitic worm in the Hawaiian island of Maui has local health officials concerned about the parasite's potential to spread.

A worm called Angiostrongylus cantonensis causes the infection; there is no treatment, and in rare cases, it can be fatal. People who catch the infection by eating raw or undercooked snails, or contaminated fruits and vegetables, can develop meningitis.

Earlier this week, health officials in Maui reported that six cases of the parasitic infection have been reported in the last three months compared to the previous decade when only two cases were found, according to the Associated Press and ABC News affiliate KITV.

This is quite the up-tick in infections. Wonder if it was food borne and from where.

Dan Rather - circling the drain

| No Comments

This moke just digs himself deeper and deeper - from the Canada Free Press:

Another Dan Rather Scandal
Ever since his forced resignation in disgrace, Dan Rather has continued on a downward spiral. His career, such as it is, has been kept alive by appearances on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC, where he takes potshots at his former employer and President Donald Trump. It is a sad spectacle.

Rather has now suffered another major embarrassment. The former anchorman of the CBS Evening News has been accused by a website devoted to exposing military corruption of falsely claiming to have been a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The editor-in-chief of the website www.MilitaryCorruption.com, retired U.S. Army Major Glenn MacDonald, says he stumbled across a published photo of Rather in a dress blue Marine Corps uniform in his book Rather Outspoken and decided to investigate the claim. The photo caption, “as a young Marine,” clearly indicates Rather had been a member in good standing of the Marine Corps.

But the truth, MacDonald says, is that Rather left the Marines before completing boot camp and the photo was obtained under questionable circumstances.

More at the site - this guy has lost all credibility.

Raise taxes beyond a certain point and say goodbye to your revenue creators - it is that simple. From Farm and Ranch:

Kubota moves headquarters to Texas
Kubota Tractor Corporation unveiled its new North American headquarters building in Grapevine, Texas, today in a special ribbon cutting ceremony with Governor Greg Abbott, Masatoshi Kimata, President and Representative Director of the Kubota Group, along with State and local officials and supporters from the Grapevine community who all helped to usher in a new era for the company.

The company’s move to Texas from Torrance, Calif., is the most significant change it has undertaken in its successful 45-year history in the U.S., where it has introduced over the years a full line of iconic orange tractors, construction equipment, lawn and garden equipment and utility vehicles.

“Today is an important day for Kubota as this new building is both a testament to our commitment to the future growth of our business in the U.S., and our pledge of being a socially responsible corporate citizen and active business partner with the great state of Texas and the City of Grapevine,” said Mr. Masato Yoshikawa, President and CEO of Kubota Tractor Corporation, at today’s ceremony. “As a new employer to the area, our hope is to continue to attract talent from the local community with this open environment, state-of-the art workplace and continue our long-term growth strategy to strengthen the Kubota brand in the U.S.”

Kubota has invested more than $50 million in the three-story, environmentally-friendly office building, which totals 193,000 square feet, and includes an onsite research and development facility, and is designed to maximize work efficiencies and conserve resources in alignment with Kubota’s global brand statement, “For Earth, For Life.”

Buttercup the Tractor is a Kubota. I also own several other pieces of Kubota equipment and love them all - well engineered and well built. Glad to see them escaping the socialist hell-hole of California.

Interesting times ahead - a two-fer

| No Comments

First - great news from the Office of Management and Budget - from Breitbart:

Mick Mulvaney Orders Federal Agencies to Prepare for Massive Cuts
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney will send a letter this week ordering federal agencies to prepare for massive cuts, according to a report from Axios.

As part of Donald Trump’s plan to streamline federal government, Mulvaney will demand that federal agencies significantly reduce their costs and increase efficiency. The reorganization will likely involve selling assets, laying off employees, and the cancellation of programs deemed unnecessary.

The letter will fall in line with Trump’s executive order from March 13th, which dictates Mulvaney “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.”

Second - I was thinking this might happen but surprised that it happened so quickly - from Zero Hedge:

South Korean Paper Reports China Has Deployed 150,000 Troops To North Korea Border
While the catalyst is unclear, it appears the market dropped as headlines of further sanctions against Russia appeared and reports of China deploying 150,000 troops to its North Korea border.

According to Korean news agency Chosun, the "Chinese army has deployed about 150,000 troops to the North Korean border in two groups to prepare for unforeseen circumstances." The reason: the prospect of "military options", such as preemptive attacks on North Korea, like the one the United States launched on Syria.

Interesting times indeed...

Nightcrawler Cat

| No Comments

A feline with teleportation powers:

Let us hope that cats never acquire the mutant powers of the X-Men. They will just use them for their own selfish purposes.

Poor Hillary - a list of reasons...

| No Comments

...for why she did not win last November. Comical really - from the Washington Examiner:

Here's a list of everyone Hillary Clinton blamed this week for 2016 (she's not on it)
Hillary Clinton emerged from the woods this week for her first big interview since the Nov. 8 election.

Over the course of her soft-focus conversation with the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof, the former secretary of state identified some of the reasons she thinks she lost to President Donald Trump.

Clinton blamed FBI director James B. Comey, who re-opened the investigation of her private emails in the final days of the campaign. She also blamed Russia for allegedly meddling in the election by reportedly hacking the personal email accounts of Democratic National Committee staffers and her campaign chairman, John Podesta.

She blamed the hacking group WikiLeaks for publishing the stolen emails during the election.

Clinton blamed the "weaponization of information."

She also jokingly blamed her chief Democratic primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and media for her general election loss.

"To what extent do you assign blame to Bernie Sanders, to media for focusing on emails – " Kristoff started to ask.

"How much time do we have?" Clinton laughed after checking her watch.

She also blamed misogyny.

And a bit more:

Notably absent, however, from Clinton's hall of blame were mentions of the many things her campaign got wrong.

She didn't mention, for example, the fact that she didn't set foot in Wisconsin once during the entire general election. She didn't mention her team's initial decision to frame the campaign in terms of how voters could help her ("I'm with her!") and not vice versa. She didn't mention her team's mind-boggling decision to outsource part of its millennial outreach efforts to Al Gore, 69, and Dave Matthews, 50. She didn't mention the campaign's bizarre decision to send Lena Dunham to North Carolina. She didn't mention the moment she claimed at a fundraiser in New York City that "half" of Trump's supporters were "irredeemable" bigots.

Clinton also ignored all mentions of the fact her team actively ignored and took for granted disaffected white and working class voters whom Obama had won, even after Bill Clinton, who won the rust belt twice, implored them to reconsider their strategy.

Life inside a bubble can be very comfortable and easy but, please remember, it is NOT reality. If you live inside a bubble, you do not know what is happening in the rest of the world. It is very easy for those outside the bubble to look in but it seems to be impossible for those inside to look out.

I wonder how long it will be before the USA and China join forces and launch an offensive against the Kim regime in North Korea. All the signs are pointing towards it. From Breitbart:

Tillerson Set To Chair UN Meeting on NK as U.S. Warships Head to Korean Peninsula
As U.S. warships head to the western Pacific Ocean to establish a presence near the Korean Peninsula, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is preparing to chair a meeting at the United Nations later this month focused on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, Voice of America reported.

The strike team, dubbed Carl Vinson, includes an aircraft carrier and will make its way from Singapore towards the Korean Peninsula, Aljazeera reported on Sunday.

The move is in response to the Communist regime’s “reckless, irresponsible” recent missile tests, a U.S. Navy official said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told reporters last week that Tillerson will oversee the April 28 meeting of the United Nations Security Council. The U.S. has chairmanship of the council for the month of April.

President Trump was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Florida White House at the time that Trump launched the missile attack in Syria. Shows that he is serious and not all hat and no cattle as was Obama. China has supported The Best Korea for a long time but they have gotten uppity and have overextended their reach - North Korea can now launch nuclear attacks on China and Japan. Time for a change. It will be interesting to see what T. Rex has to say to the Security Council.

Great videos on Northwest Geology

| No Comments

From Central Washington University geology professor Nick Zentner - his website: NICK ZENTNER

Here he is with  Great Earthquakes of the Pacific Northwest

Professor Zentner references an article by Kathryn Schulz in The New Yorker - it can be found here: THE REALLY BIG ONE

The dignity of the US Senate

| No Comments

Michael Ramirez nails it:

20170409-senate.jpg

Heh - CNN = fake news

| No Comments

Trying to manufacture the "truth" and failing. From PJ Media:

CNN Narrative Fail: Syrian Refugee Slams Clinton, Obama; Praises Trump
CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin had a chemical attack survivor on her show Friday to discuss the Syrian regime's sarin gas attack on civilians in Khan Sheikhoun and President Trump's subsequent military response. To say Baldwin's transparent attempt to coax an anti-Trump soundbite from Kassem Eid -- who now lives in Germany -- wildly backfired is an understatement.

Kassem said he cried with joy when he heard that the United States had bombed the Syrian airbase. "I thanked God. I was overwhelmed," he said.

Baldwin acknowledged that the president received praise from both Democrats and Republicans following the missile strike, but made sure to point out, "At the same time, he doesn't want Syrians to come into this country with this refugee ban."

She then queued up a clip of none other than Hillary Clinton weighing in on Trump's dastardly travel ban at an event earlier this year: "We cannot speak of protecting Syria’s babies, and in the next breath close America’s doors to them," Clinton intoned.

"Quickly Kassem, how do you see that?" Baldwin asked, hoping for a big anti-Trump soundbite to ensue.

A soundbite ensued, alright. Kassem proceeded to tear into bleeding-heart liberals like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for being more concerned with sending Syrians hither and thither than actually helping them in their own country.

"With all due respect, with all due respect," Kassem began. "I didn't see each and every person who was demonstrating after the travel ban.... I didn't see you three days ago when people were gassed to death....I didn't see you in 2013 when 1,400 people were gassed to death. I didn't see you raising your voice against President Obama's inaction in Syria that left us refugees," he said, completely deflating her expectations.

There is a big gulf between the narrative and the actual truth - this is why we have President Trump in office. A lot more people wanted the truth instead of the narrative. The left specializes in doing what sounds good as opposed to doing what is right. The missile attack in Syria was not an opening salvo of a new war in the middle east; it was a corrective measure designed to send a clear message. As Gerard said:

Trump to Assad: "You had five airbases. Now you have four. Would you like to try for three?"

Nothing to report

| No Comments

Quiet morning hanging out with Lulu. Heading out for coffee in a little bit and then working on stuff at home.

Using the leftover chicken to make tacos for dinner tonight.

Just beautiful

| No Comments

A high-speed racing drone with a razor blade slicing fruit in slow motion:

Some gorgeous photography and a minute or so of fun outtakes at the end. Boutique slo-mo cameras are still $10K on up. It will not be long before we can get an 8,000 frames per second camera at 1024 by 768 resolution with lens mount for under $1K - this is where I and a butt-load of other people will buy in. Bring us that and we will give you a lot of money.

Where is my Slow-Pro - they promised me a Slow-Pro right next to my Jet-Pack dammit!

Seeing a full sun

| No Comments

From a local Facebook post - I know their pain:

20170408-sunshine.jpg

Preparedness - earthquake

| No Comments

Excellent article from Eric Holdeman at The Seattle Times:

Do you have an earthquake relocation plan? You should
If you think that an overturned propane tanker is bad news for road transportation, you have not seen anything yet. If you are a family, business or manufacturer, after a big earthquake you will be relocating out of the area just to survive.

At some future date there will be a significant earthquake that will hit this region. It could be the Cascadia Subduction Fault, the Seattle Fault, the Tacoma Fault, South Whidbey Island Fault or another earthquake fault we don’t even know exists. Imagine what the traffic impacts will be for the region when one mainline bridge collapses on any of the routes that are the lifeblood of this metro area. Remember, it is easily possible that more than one bridge might collapse and on multiple routes.

Then reflect that in California, following the Northridge earthquake, it took six months to rebuild one bridge — and they gave a verbal order to start tearing down the bridge the day after it collapsed. Atlanta is currently experiencing the impact of the I-85 bridge collapse due to a fire, and it not being available to carry 250,000 cars a day. Repair estimates are months, not weeks.

Ponder what the transportation environment will be when we lose one or more bridges. No one is moving anywhere because of our limited options for driving north-south or east-west through central Puget Sound. Trucking companies will not be making deliveries of food and other critical items like lifesaving prescriptions for those who need them. Port operations will cease. Our “just in time delivery system” will expose the fact that we live day-to-day on a razor thin margin of food, fuel and other critical supplies.

Some very good thoughts - most urban grocery stores depend on daily deliveries. Rural stores like mine (Crossroads Grocery in Maple Falls, WA) get several deliveries per week. Something blocks the trucks and our shelves are bare in a few days especially if there is a run.

The main highway from Bellingham has beeen washed out several times. This is not a matter of if, this is a matter of when. This Wednesday, a person from Whatcom County CERT program is coming out to try to organize a local CERT team in this area. We have a bunch of CERT trainiees but there is no cohesive team with a deployment plan. Seeing some nice progress in bringing this community together - planning to do a ham radio class later this fall.

Eric blogs at Emergency Management'sDisaster Zone.

Great news - from Forbes:

Terrestrial Energy Describes Progress Towards Commercializing Advanced Small Modular Reactor
Simon Irish, the Chief Executive of Terrestrial Energy, provided a project update to the 7th Annual SMR and Advanced Reactor Summit organized by Nuclear Energy Insider.

What Is Terrestrial Energy Doing To Move Its Design To Market?
His company is developing an Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSRTM). He noted that he had last provided information to the Nuclear Energy Insider (NEI) annual summit two years ago when the event occurred in Charlotte, North Carolina. During the period since that report, his company has been making steady progress towards commercialization.

The article is a bit sketchy on details but basically, the company delivers a sealed core good for seven years of operation. At the end of seven years, the core is moved to a cool-down pool and a few years later, trucked back to the factory for recycling. It generates not only electricity but can be used for industrial process heat - tar sands extraction, reformation of methane to make Hydrogen, lots of applications.

About the Bees

| No Comments

The population of bees is increasing nicely - from Science 2.0:

Bee Experts Challenge Environmental Claim That Wild Bees Are Near Extinction
Colony Collapse Disorder, the belief that honeybees, an important pollinator, are being killed off in droves, has been good for environmental fundraising but hasn't had a scientific foundation.

Nonetheless, it has persisted for 10 years despite data showing that periodic die-offs in bees are as common, and therefore predictable, as solar cycles and California droughts. From the time that records of bees were formally kept, there were reports of mass die-offs without explanation, a thousand years before pesticides even existed.

But pesticides are the moneymaker. Activists can't gather $1 billion per year complaining about nature, like parasites. Yet despite some short-term buzz, the arguments rang hollow. Targeted seed pesticides, like the neonicotinoids that replaced broad-spectrum spraying, were the go-to fundraising claim until it was shown that bees were not declining everywhere they were used. In places like Australia, they didn't decline at all, while in northern Europe bee numbers correlated better to land use changes.  More bees died in truck accidents hauling around bees to places where they were supposedly in decline, and due to beekeeping amateurs not knowing what they were doing, than can be attributed to science.

Once it was revealed that honeybees were actually at a 20 year high, environmentalists wisely changed tack - they began to claim instead that wild bees were dying due to pesticides. This was smarter, because we can't actually count wild bees. There is not even a baseline. Of the 25,000 species of bees worldwide, only 7 even have hives in which they could be counted. If the only number is guesswork, then guess at a baseline and then use guesswork later to claim it has declined.

Speaking truth to power. Environmentalism is making a few people (Al Gore is the poster boy) and a few organizations very wealthy - all of this on the backs of the volunteers who think they are making a difference for the planet. They are not. They are just useful idiots helping the agenda of the 1%. The Gang Green.

Heh - alt.energy fail

| No Comments

This was a nutz idea from the beginning. I bet that there were no engineers on the payroll. From The Daily Caller:

Idaho’s $4.3 Million Solar Road Generates Enough Power To Run ONE Microwave
An expensive solar road project in Idaho can’t even power a microwave most days, according to the project’s energy data.

The Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways project generated an average of 0.62 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day since it began publicly posting power data in late March. To put that in perspective, the average microwave or blow drier consumes about 1 kWh per day.

To recap - at the Equator, with clear skies, at high noon, you can get about 1,000 watts per square meter of collection area -if- that panel is optimally alligned and pointing directly at the sun. I had looked at the proposal for the roadways. Only about 20% of the roadway surface has solar panels on it, the surface is textured glass so figure about 70% of the solar energy is lost by absorption. The roadway is -duh- mounted flat so there is no optimal aiming.

To make things worse, Idaho is at 47° Latitude so you are looking at 73% available total insolation given all the conditions above, clear skies, high noon, etc... Figure 730 watts per square meter at best. Needless to say, these conditions are very rare so I am not surprised that the yields are so low. Couple to this, the developers were adding LED street markers, a communications system and online monitoring so these will suck up even more power from what little trickles in.

I feel sorry for the low-information voters who approved this. AN engineer would have shot the idea down for the folly it is in a few minutes. Of course, the developers will probably double down and say that more research is needed. The problem there is that the energy is simply not available for use. Basic mechanics and physics dictate how much energy can be drawn from a solar cell and this dog don't bark.

Back home again

| No Comments

Met up with Lulu at the store and we are now settling in at home. I picked up another chicken at Costco so we will do that for dinner tonight and shred the meat for tacos tomorrow. Her stomach is a bit upset from something so it is bland food for a few days.

The rains have returned - about a tenth of an inch since this morning but tomorrow is supposed to be sunny.

Surf for a bit and then fix dinner...

Coffee and working at home

| No Comments

Lulu is coming out today.

Back in two hours...

These stories write themselves

| No Comments

An example - this story at The Kansas City Star:

An NRA employee accidentally shot himself at the organization’s headquarters, police say
Fairfax County, Virginia, police announced Friday that a 46-year-old man has suffered a minor injury and is undergoing medical treatment after he accidentally shot himself with a pistol at the headquarters of the National Rifle Association.

That is going to take a while to live down - hey Fred - tell us that story again about how...

A very slow and small one this time but enough to close the highway. From The Bellingham Herald:

Slow-moving landslide near site of 2014 slide shuts road
Authorities in Washington state say a road has been closed and some evacuations were recommended near a slow-moving landslide close to the site of a massive deadly slide northeast of Seattle in 2014.

Snohomish County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said Friday that people who noticed cracks on a road near Oso this week called officials.

She says a state geologist who went to the area about 1.5 miles west of the 2014 slide found several sites where significant cracks in the slope indicated movement.

Geologists are calling it a "reactivation of small portion of a previous landslide," Ireton said in a news release.

The March 2014 mudslide killed 43 people.

Ireton says a one-mile stretch of a state highway has been closed as a precaution until at least Saturday when geologists can continue inspecting the area.

Specifically, occupants of 11 homes have been asked to evacuate. Other area residents are being updated on developments through the night.

The Oso slide was what prompted me to take the CERT training and get my radio license - there are a lot of things that can happen out here and we need to be personally responsible for our own well-being.

Dodging the bullet

| No Comments

The storm has been moving north but mostly in the plains areas west of here. About 700 people out in Bellingham with another 1,200 or so out in Lynden, Blaine and Everson. These went out around 7:00PM to 8:00PM. Also racked up another 0.3" of rain since this morning.

The chicken with rice and salad was delicious - overstuffed myself. Got some flank steak and will pressure cook that tomorrow for tacos. I use a can of diced 'maters and a tub of salsa for the cooking fluid - dice an onion and some garlic and a jalapeno pepper or two and it is delicious.

Scattered outages so far

| No Comments

The wind has yet to materialize - I am not discounting it and still have my candles and LED table light ready to roll. Checked the Puget Sound Electric website and so far, there are only a couple hundred customers without power in the Blaine and Custer areas - both near the coast with very flat terrain.

A lot more customers down south are without power - 1,200 in Lake Tapps, about 1,000 in Puyallup, 3,900 in Bothell, 800 in Lacey, 1,600 in Olympia, and 2,300 in Oak Harbor. All told, 62 reports of areas with power loss. All of these areas are in the South Sound near Olympia.

From Popular Mechanics:

Putin Could Have Tried to Shoot Down Trump's Missiles. Why Didn't He?
Russia-watchers have spent a lot a time wondering: Just what would Vladimir Putin do if he were directly challenged on Syria? Well, now it's happened. Last night, the United States launched a volley of cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield.

This is not one of those situations where Putin had no options. He was warned of the strikes in advance—a good and smart move, given that Russian personnel are stationed at the targeted airbase. With that information in hand, Russia could have tried to intercept America's missiles. It did not. Here's what Putin might be thinking.

A lot more at the site - very good analysis. The Russians had about one hour of warning before launch and the flight time of the Tomahawks was another 30 minutes. Plenty of time.

Timing is everything - the Chinese

| No Comments

Talk about perfect timing - from one of England's top tech websites - The Register:

'Evidence of Chinese spying' uncovered on eve of Trump-Xi summit
Evidence of Chinese cyber-espionage against the US has been uncovered on the eve of an important Sino-US presidential summit.

The "Scanbox" malware – used by nation-state threat actors associated with or sponsored by the Chinese government – has been discovered embedded on webpages on the US National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) site, Fidelis Cybersecurity reports.

The possible cyber-espionage was found ahead of President Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping taking place on Thursday and Friday. Items on the agenda are likely to include North Korea, trade and the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria.

Fidelis researchers have also discovered a similar threat campaign was conducted involving a site masquerading as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Nothing like putting President Xi between a rock and a hard place. We are seeing the work of an expert negotiator.

Mark Steyn on Syria

| No Comments

Great interview of what happened in Syria - Steyn has a really clear view of what is happening over there:

As Gerard said:

Trump to Assad: "You had five airbases. Now you have four. Would you like to try for three?"

Spot on.

Went out for coffee, swung by the feed store, went to my office in the store to pay some personal bills (got to get spending under control - it has crept up).

At home now - thawing out a tri-tip for dinner tomorrow - pepper crusted roast beef. Picked up a rotisserie chicken yesterday at Costco so will nuke that for dinner tonight - big salad and some rice with bok choi.

The rice with bok choi is a favorite - chop the stalks into 1" lengths but leave the leafy tops as is. Rinse and drain them as there will always be some dirt inside. Use a large wok or frypan - dry - and dump the bok choi in with some salt - cover the pan and put over low heat. There will be enough rinsewater left to form a good bit of steam. Let it steam for abut 10 minutes and then drain. I usually drain it in the sink and then use a pair of tongs with some paper towels to mop up some more water. You will never get all the water but this forms the basis for the sauce.

When you are ready to serve, turn the heat up high and add a liberal quantity of roasted sesame oil, stir it around to coat. You can also add some crushed garlic at this point. After a few minutes, pour in some oyster sauce - I nuke it in the microwave for 30 seconds before so it pours well.

Yummy! Also, bok choi is one of those plants that will root again. Stick the bases in a tray with some water for a week and then plant them - you will get fresh bok choi in a month or two.

Rain is starting up again - we have had some good gusts but nothing large or sustained as yet.

Wind just arrived

| No Comments

Starting to gust out there - heading out for coffee now. Get there while the road is still clear and they still have power.

Time to batten down the hatches

| No Comments

Heading out for coffee and then working at home all day today. Expecting to lose power at some point and the power outage will be over a wide area so no expectation as to when it will be restored - this is a big-un. Got a couple truck batteries under trickle-charge for the ham radio equipment and a generator for the freezer if the outage lasts longer than 24 hours. I do not like the noise of the generator so will be reading by candlelight.

Batten down the hatches - wind storm

| No Comments

From Cliff Mass this morning:

Major Wind Event About to Hit Western WA
All hell is about to break loose around western Washington as a very strong April storm moves into our coastal waters.

The 10 AM infrared satellite image shows the swirl of the huge storm, with its center just offshore of the WA/OR border.

20170407-windstorm.jpg

More at the site. Wish I was in Seaside, Oregon with my video equipment right now.

Senate voted 54-45 to approve - from Reuters:

In big win for Trump, Senate approves his conservative court pick
The Republican-led Senate on Friday gave Donald Trump the biggest triumph of his young presidency, confirming his Supreme Court nominee over stout Democratic opposition and restoring a conservative majority on the highest U.S. judicial body.

The Senate, which last year refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee to the court, voted 54-45 to approve Republican Trump's pick, Colorado-based federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, to the lifetime job. Three Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for Gorsuch.

Very good choice - since the nomination proceedings took so long, we the people have had a nice long time to look at Judge Gorsuch's record and we like what we see. The guy is a solid conservative.

End of a local grocery store

| 2 Comments

As the owner of a local grocery store, news like this is never welcome. From The Bellingham Herald:

Dodson’s has closed. Will there be another neighborhood store in its place?
A longtime grocery store has closed after a potential deal to sell it didn’t come together.

Dodson’s IGA in Nugents Corner had a going-out-of-business sale over the weekend, closing for good on April 2. According to a sign posted on the front door, there was an interested buyer but a sale didn’t materialize. The store is at 3705 Mount Baker Hwy.

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience this means to you. We are still planning on selling the store, restoring a neighborhood grocery store to the community,” according to the sign written by the Dodson family.

The store, which had been in business for about 50 years, ran into financial difficulties because it experienced some internal theft, co-owner Ellen Dodson said last fall.

A gift certificate program was started where customers could pay ahead to help save the business, but it apparently wasn’t enough: A federal tax lien of $47,796 was placed on the business in late February, according to documents filed on Whatcom County government website.

The internal theft was covered in this article at the Herald from December 9, 2016 - an excerpt:

Co-owner Ellen Dodson told the Lynden Tribune last month that two employees were fired earlier this year for internal theft. Dodson, who declined to name the employees, believes the thefts took place over time, but the store’s security cameras only documented a two-week period. Store officials didn’t have enough evidence to press more serious charges than shoplifting, and insurance didn’t cover the losses. She told the Tribune that about $100,000 in cigarette purchases were unaccounted for.

I am very sad (and pissed - employee trust is crucial) but their store had about eight lanes all running a point of sale system. They should have caught this before it became a $100,000 problem. If the owners were not capable of reviewing the data, they should have at least seen that the numbers did not smell quite right and called someone in.

Nugent's Corner is about five miles from the Bellingham city limits - there are two large grocery stores close to them in town and a nice chain of independent grocery stores heading out the Mt. Baker Highway including Crossroads in Maple Falls.

Shit welders say

| No Comments

Been there, done that, got the tee shirt:

Delightful Planet Earth send-up - the Bin Chicken:

Next week gets even busier!

| No Comments

I thought that next week was a busy one with meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and an earthquake drill on Thursday morning.

At tonight's meeting, I was informed that the Search and Rescue communications class is Friday night and there is a drill on Sumas Mountain that following Saturday morning. I want to participate in SAR activities so I will be attending these functions. Looks like I get to sleep in Monday and that is it - no rest for the wicked...

A fun meeting

| No Comments

Just a small group so we got a lot accomplished. This will be the second annual field day that my group is hosting. First one went pretty well so this one should be even better (or much much worse).

From the Amateur Radio Relay League:

New to Field Day? START HERE!
Field Day is ham radio's open house. Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio's science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.

More here (PDF): What is field day?

It is a 24-hour event. In our time zone and daylight savings, it runs from 11AM Saturday through 11AM Sunday - you can rack up various points based on number of contacts, site conditions (number of stations, etc...), power (more points for running off a generator, even more points for solar), etc... I'll be doing the food again this year - it was very well received last year. A lot of fun.

From The Daily Wire:

Ben Carson Finds $500 Billion (Billion!) In Errors During Audit Of Obama HUD
Ben Carson was the first neurosurgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins, so, he's kind of a super hero.

But apparently, he's also not a bad accountant.

President Trump picked Carson to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, whose budget grew by leaps and bounds under Barack Obama.

In one of his first acts as HUD Secretary, Carson ordered an audit of the agency. What he found was staggering: $520 billion in bookkeeping errors.

"The total amounts of errors corrected in HUD’s notes and consolidated financial statements were $516.4 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively," the auditors wrote.

But there were plenty of other problems, too.

There were several other unresolved audit matters, which restricted our ability to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to express an opinion. These unresolved audit matters relate to (1) the Office of General Counsel’s refusal to sign the management representation letter, (2) HUD’s improper use of cumulative and first-in, first-out budgetary accounting methods of disbursing community planning and development program funds, (3) the $4.2 billion in nonpooled loan assets from Ginnie Mae’s stand-alone financial statements that we could not audit due to inadequate support, (4) the improper accounting for certain HUD assets and liabilities, and (5) material differences between HUD’s subledger and general ledger accounts. This audit report contains 11 material weaknesses, 7 significant deficiencies, and 5 instances of noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Again, the biggest problem we have is all of these unelected bureaucrats who operate with no oversight and zero consequences for their actions. Fire them and make sure they stay fired - not getting rehired by some other agency. We have a lot of veterans who need work - hire them - they have already proven that they want to support our Nation.

Got another meeting tonight - this is for planning the Amateur Radio Field Day, June 24 and 25. I will be doing the food so some planning is needed.

Dinner in town and run a couple of errands first. Back around 9:00PM again. The next week is going to be busy too with meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and an earthquake drill on Thursday morning.

I wish I was on the Oregon coast right now - going to be some gorgeous waves. From Cliff Mass:

Major Windstorm Heading for Pacific Northwest Coastal Waters
Confidence is now very high that an unusually strong coastal storm will move northward over the Pacific Northwest coastal waters on Friday morning before it makes landfall on northern Vancouver Island.

The Oregon coast will get hit particularly hard, with gusts reaching 50-70 mph. The latest European Center model forecast for 11 AM (below), shows a large low center due east of Astoria with a central pressure of 973 hPa (or mb). This is extraordinary low pressure for April and a rare event. Gusts are shown in color and reach 60-70 knots along the Oregon/southern WA coast. This means power outages along the coast.

Friday afternoon - prepare for power outages.

RIP - Don Rickles

| No Comments

Passed away at 90 so he had a good run. From The Hollywood Reporter:

Don Rickles, Legendary Comic With a Gift for the Insult, Dies at 90
Don Rickles, the rapid-fire insult machine who for six decades earned quite a living making fun of people of all creeds and colors and everyone from poor slobs to Frank Sinatra, has died. He was 90.

The legendary comic died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles of kidney failure, publicist Paul Shefrin announced.

Sarcastically nicknamed “Mr. Warmth,” Rickles had mock disdain for stars, major public figures and all those who paid to see him, tweaking TV audiences and Las Vegas showroom crowds with his acerbic brand of takedown comedy. A good guy and devoted husband away from the stage, Rickles the performer heartlessly laid into everyone he encountered — and they loved it.

After toiling in relative obscurity for years as a more conventional stand-up comedian, Rickles unwittingly discovered his biggest laughs came when he turned the tables on his hecklers. His career then skyrocketed after he insulted the hot-tempered Sinatra, who normally did not take kindly to such treatment.

When the superstar singer and actor walked into a Miami Beach club in 1957 where Rickles was performing, the comedian greeted the “Chairman of the Board” from the stage: “Make yourself at home Frank. Hit somebody.” Sinatra roared — with laughter.

He was truly funny - one of my favorite of the old-school comedians.

From Bloomberg:

Senate Republicans Force Historic Rule Change to Advance Gorsuch
Senate Republicans ignited the "nuclear option" to allow confirmation of President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee and bar Democrats from blocking future picks, a dramatic rule change that could deepen partisan divisions and put more ideologically extreme justices on the court.

The 52-48 party-line vote called for by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday will let the Senate confirm Neil Gorsuch on Friday to take a court seat that Republicans refused to let President Barack Obama fill during his last year in office.

The rule change means Gorsuch and all future Supreme Court nominees can be confirmed with a simple majority vote and will no longer face a 60-vote hurdle.

McConnell said Democrats’ move to filibuster Gorsuch is part of a “much larger story” in which the left is trying to politicize the courts and confirmations.

The Democrats were not playing along - in politics, you have to play along. They walked right into this.

25 promises - President Trump

| No Comments

Don Surber takes a look at the top 25 campaign promises that Donald Trump made before his election - he made a list:

The top 25 promises President Trump has already kept
In business, a man is only as good as his word.

President Trump is a businessman.

You could not tell that by reading PolitiFact. That is why you come here.

PolitiFact listed as "in the works" his promise to forgo his salary as president. This week he donated his entire first quarter paycheck to the National Park Service. I suppose a partisan group of Fake Newsers could string this out for eight years and say "in the works," but that does not change the facts.

In the works? No, that is a...
PROMISE KEPT.

President Trump is fulfilling his promises.

Let us count the ways. After that first one on not taking a salary, let's move on to Number 2:
“First, I'm going to reinstitute a five-year ban on all executive branch officials lobbying the government for five years after they leave government. I'm going to ask Congress to pass this ban into law so that it cannot be lifted by executive order, right. Second, I'm going to ask Congress to institute its own five-year ban on lobbying by former members of Congress and their staffs.”
He signed the executive order on January 28.
PROMISE KEPT.

3. Then there's this one:
"We're going to cancel every needless job-killing regulation and put a moratorium on new regulations until our economy gets back on its feet."
He froze new regulations on January 20.

Ten days later, he ordered the removal of two regulations for every new regulation.
PROMISE KEPT.

4. Here's another one:
"We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths. Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions just sent out the letters.
PROMISE KEPT.

5. Next:
“I will appoint justices, who like Justice Scalia, will protect our liberty with the highest regard for the Constitution.”
He nominated Neil Gorsuch.
PROMISE KEPT.

Quite the list and Don has 20 more complete with links to what he said and what he did.

Good news - competition for Starbucks

Howard Schultz really turned me off the brand when he virtue signaled and said that Starbucks would hire 10,000 muslim refugees. Hey Howie - how about all of our military veterans who need work? How about our citizens who need work.

Some good news from The Seattle Times:

Owner of coffee and bagel chains buys Panera, adding to food challenge for Starbucks
Starbucks has been struggling for years to pull off its ambitious plan of selling more food.

That task just got tougher. JAB Holding’s $7.2 billion acquisition of bakery-cafe chain Panera Bread on Wednesday vaults the investment firm into the exact same lunch business that Starbucks is trying to penetrate.

While Starbucks has been attempting to improve its fare for years, it has yet to establish itself as a legitimate dining spot. Panera, meanwhile, has been fueling growth with a menu of chicken-tortilla bowls, flatbread sandwiches and Fuji apple salads.

Now, with JAB’s backing, it could compete globally with Starbucks and enlist the holding company’s roster of coffee offerings, like Peet’s Coffee, and brands such as Krispy Kreme.

I have always liked Panera's food - if Bellingham didn't have a kick-ass local bakery (looking at you Avenue Bread), I would be eating there a lot more often. As it is, Panera is one of my go-to places when on the road. I really like that JAB has kept a hand's off approach to their acquisitions - the corporate culture has been preserved and that makes their stores unique and a delight to shop at.

The finest government in the world

| No Comments

Another bit of the swamp that needs draining - from TechDirt:

Another Major Scandal At The Copyright Office: $25 Million 'Fake Budget' Line Item
On Monday, we published documents we obtained that revealed a massive amount of incompetence and waste at the Copyright Office. They had officially asked for $1.9 million on a technology modernization program, then spent $11.6 million on it without telling anyone about the ever-growing money pit, only to cancel the contract with the vendor last October with nothing to show for it. Oh, and throughout the process, it appeared that the Copyright Register misled both Congress and the Library of Congress.

It would appear that this is not the only time that the former Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, was found to be misleading Congress and the Library of Congress concerning the Copyright Office's budget and monetary needs. In the recent markup for a bill in the House Judiciary Committee that would make change the Copyright Register position to be a Presidential appointment, rather than by the Librarian of Congress, Rep. Zoe Lofgren revealed that Pallante had apparently put in place a fake $25 million budget line item, asking the Librarian of Congress to testify under oath what it was for, despite it being made up. You can see the comments here.

And just so we are on the same page here, Ms. Pallante was an Obama appointee. The biggest problem we have is all of these unelected bureaucrats who operate with no oversight and zero consequences for their actions. I do hope that things change but under the Obama administration, Ms. Pallante would lie low for six months and then quietly be appointed to some other office with a pay raise. Much more at the site.

If you screw up this bad. it should hurt for a long long time.

More rain on the horizon

| No Comments

Got another tenth of an inch today for 0.3" total rainfall in 24 hours. It has stopped for now but is forecast to start again sometime tonight.

There is one hillside along the Mt. Baker Highway that has two streams running down that were not there a few months ago - going to be watching them and taking photos as the rain keeps coming. I regret not taking photos when we were having the deluge a couple weeks ago but that stretch of the highway is not pedestrian-friendly and the nearest good turnoff is a couple hundred feet away.

Seems the high-tax states do not like it one bit - from the New York Post:

House GOP pushing tax overhaul panned by New York officials
House Republicans are moving ahead with a plan to eliminate deductions for state and local taxes in the new federal tax code — a move Gov. Cuomo has warned would be a “deathblow” to New York.

Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Tuesday that he’s working closely with the White House on a plan that to create three federal tax brackets — 12, 25 and 33 percent.

But the plan would also end the deduction for state and local taxes.

“We are proposing a change,” Brady said in an interview. “Rather than keep Washington taxes high and have just a few get relief from state and local taxes… No longer will Washington punish or reward you based on how much you earn or where you choose to live.”

And the wailing is coming from two states:

Eliminating the state and local tax deduction would hit New York and California especially hard, according a Tax Policy Center 2016 study. Combined, residents of the two states accounted for 32 percent of the total state and local tax deductions claimed nationwide.

I love it! A bit more - some details:

Brady said he and White House started in agreement on “80 percent” of the items and have since become closer. The final unified plan is expected to be introduced this spring.

The goal of the GOP House plan is to make the tax code so fair and simple that Americans can file their taxes on a postcard.

Tax breaks would be preserved for home mortgage interest, charitable giving, child credits, savings plans, higher education and earned income tax credits.

“We kept the key elements most families count on,” Brady said.

Trump’s campaign tax plan didn’t eliminate the state and local tax deduction completely, but made claiming it more difficult by capping all itemized deductions to $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for couples.

Emphasis mine - there are way too many loopholes. It is time to wipe the slate clean and make it simple. Art Laffer had it right. Tip of the hat to Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

From The Washington Free Beacon:

Harvard Grad Students Start ‘Resistance School’
A group of Harvard graduate students are starting a "resistance school" to oppose President Donald Trump.

The grad students, who consider themselves a progressive version of "Dumbledore's Army," have enlisted former Obama staffers to teach the class sessions. The syllabus includes readings on "Black-Palestinian Queer Reciprocal Solidarity."

"On November 8, we lost more than just the presidency," the website for the free online course reads. "We lost yet more ground in the decades-long campaign against progressive values. Republicans now control the Senate, House, and more state legislatures than they have in almost 200 years. Those losses have emboldened the right to launch an all-out attack against our nation's creed—that all are created equal."

Just keep rocking that echo-chamber of yours and stay irrelevant. We will be over here making money and having a fantastic time with our new-found freedom from regulatory overburden.

Good meeting - at the rate everyone is training, an earthquake should not be an impossible scenario.

Time to surf the web for a bit and then to bed.

Nothing happening here

| No Comments

Quick surf of the web yields the usual stuff but nothing that catches my eye.

Heading in to town today for some errands, get a bite to eat and then a meeting. Should be back around 9:00PM or so.

Another rainy day in paradise

| No Comments

Slept in a bit this morning - got to sleep just fine but woke up around 4:00AM and could not sleep for a couple hours. I had the alarm set for 7:00AM and woke up but crawled back under the covers until 10:30 or so. Nice and warm and the sound of rain on the metal roof.

Both forecasts are calling for a quarter inch of precip but we have had that already since midnight and there is no sign of it stopping. Plus, we are potentially in for a double whammy - image from Cliff Mass:

20170405-storm.jpg

Our weakening sun

| No Comments

Our sun is a variable star and goes through cycles of high output and low output. An example of low output was the Maunder and Dalton Minima when severely colder temperatures were recorded in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. We are currently in the Modern Maximum which began in 1914.

As the sun's output weakens, the magnetic field around it decays and this doesn't deflect charged cosmic rays as much. Here are some numbers from NASA:

Cosmic Rays Hit Space Age High
Planning a trip to Mars? Take plenty of shielding. According to sensors on NASA's ACE (Advanced Composition Explorer) spacecraft, galactic cosmic rays have just hit a Space Age high.

"In 2009, cosmic ray intensities have increased 19% beyond anything we've seen in the past 50 years," says Richard Mewaldt of Caltech. "The increase is significant, and it could mean we need to re-think how much radiation shielding astronauts take with them on deep-space missions."

The cause of the surge is solar minimum, a deep lull in solar activity that began around 2007 and continues today. Researchers have long known that cosmic rays go up when solar activity goes down. Right now solar activity is as weak as it has been in modern times, setting the stage for what Mewaldt calls "a perfect storm of cosmic rays."

"We're experiencing the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century," says Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center, "so it is no surprise that cosmic rays are at record levels for the Space Age."

So looking at 30-50 years minimum of significantly cooler weather. As more people die from cold than from heat, it is time for some rational decisions to be made and soon. I have firewood stacked up and a lot of trees on my property. City dwellers do not have that option.

Weather forecasting and not climate change. From the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research:

UCAR PRAISES PASSAGE OF WEATHER RESEARCH AND FORECASTING INNOVATION ACT
With the unanimous passage of legislation to improve weather research and prediction, Congress has taken a major step today toward strengthening the nation's resilience to severe weather and boosting U.S. economic competitiveness.

"This landmark legislation will save lives and property while providing business leaders with critical intelligence," said Antonio J. Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). "Today's bipartisan vote underscores the enduring value of scientific research to our nation."

The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act is the first major weather legislation since the early 1990s. It calls for more research into subseasonal to seasonal prediction, a priority for business and community leaders who need more reliable predictions of weather patterns weeks to months in advance. The bill also will strengthen short-term weather forecasts and smooth the way for research findings to be adopted by forecasters and commercial weather companies.

Improved short- and long-term weather predictions have major implications for public safety and the economy. The nation experienced 15 weather and climate disasters last year that cost $1 billion dollars or more, including tornadoes and widespread flooding that left dozens dead. Even routine weather events can affect transportation, supply chain management, consumer purchasing, and other sectors, with a collective impact of hundreds of billions of dollars on the U.S. economy.

Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which is managed by UCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation, have estimated that weather forecasts provide an annual benefit to the American public of more than $30 billion, compared with about $5 billion spent on generating U.S. weather forecasts.

This is very good - the European forecasting model is a lot better than ours and we need to adopt it - from Ars Technica:

The European forecast model already kicking America’s butt just improved
The European forecast model already outperforms all of the world’s other global forecasting systems, including the North American GFS model. The most overt demonstration of the European model’s superiority came in the week before Hurricane Sandy’s devastating landfall in 2012. Out of more than a dozen computer forecasts, only it showed the storm veering along a path toward the East Coast of the United States instead of staying harmlessly out to sea.

Now the world’s best forecast model is getting better, and not just by a little bit. An upgrade that went live this week provides dramatic improvements to the resolution of the model, both for its deterministic forecast as well as the ensemble model runs that are used for forecasting conditions a week or more in the future. “What the European modeling community is doing is just amazing,” Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with WeatherBell, told Ars. “This is the golden age of weather forecasters. It’s an absolute wonder of computer modeling technology.”

Only issue is that this model deals with a lot more data and needs a supercomputer to run - unfortunately, from Cliff Mass, February 25, 2014:

Where is the National Weather Service's New Supercomputer?
It is nearly a year since the U.S. Congress supplied the money for a new cutting-edge National Weather Service weather supercomputer, using Superstorm Sandy supplemental funds.

The computer promised to greatly improve weather prediction in the U.S. and was cited as a "game changer" by the head of the National Weather Service.

It offered the U.S. a chance to finally catch up with or exceed the state-of-the-art predictions of the European Center, resulting in saved lives, improved warnings, and large economic benefits for the United States.

Now a year later, the computer has not even been ordered, while the the European Center has just secured a brand-new American computer to push the envelope of weather prediction far beyond that practiced in the U.S.

Politics as usual - some politician thinks that the computer manufacturers in their district are so much better than the manufacturers in any other districts that they stall until they get their slice of pork. Another example of the swamp that needs to be drained.

Because Global Warming, etc... From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

Marine Atlantic ferry free after becoming trapped in ice off Cape Breton
A Marine Atlantic ferry that became trapped in ice on Tuesday off the coast of Cape Breton has been freed. 

Hey Peter - your glory days are over. You used to do decent work but you are now just a shill for the money behind Climate Change - from England's The Guardian of Sunday 21 August 2016:

‘Next year or the year after, the Arctic will be free of ice’
Peter Wadhams has spent his career in the Arctic, making more than 50 trips there, some in submarines under the polar ice. He is credited with being one of the first scientists to show that the thick icecap that once covered the Arctic ocean was beginning to thin and shrink. He was director of the Scott Polar Institute in Cambridge from 1987 to 1992 and professor of ocean physics at Cambridge since 2001. His book, A Farewell to Ice, tells the story of his unravelling of this alarming trend and describes what the consequences for our planet will be if Arctic ice continues to disappear at its current rate.

You have said on several occasions that summer Arctic sea ice would disappear by the middle of this decade. It hasn’t. Are you being alarmist?
No. There is a clear trend down to zero for summer cover. However, each year chance events can give a boost to ice cover or take some away. The overall trend is a very strong downward one, however. Most people expect this year will see a record low in the Arctic’s summer sea-ice cover. Next year or the year after that, I think it will be free of ice in summer and by that I mean the central Arctic will be ice-free. You will be able to cross over the north pole by ship. There will still be about a million square kilometres of ice in the Arctic in summer but it will be packed into various nooks and crannies along the Northwest Passage and along bits of the Canadian coastline. Ice-free means the central basin of the Arctic will be ice-free and I think that that is going to happen in summer 2017 or 2018.

Like I said, he used to do good work but he is now a braying ninny. Laughed at. Always good for a "scare" quote for the innumerate. And then there is this - to further illustrate his grasp of reality.

A good call

| No Comments

Had fun, ran into some friends and had two pints of delicious WA State hard cider.

Surf for a bit and then to bed - definitely feeling tired now. I set the alarm for this morning and I am going to set it again for the same time - reinforce the sleep pattern that I want to shift towards.

It's cider time

| No Comments

Had some Chinese food for dinner tonight. Heading out to Graham's for a couple pints of hard cider and some socializing.

Also, so near and yet so far - temp got up to 59.9°F this afternoon. Sea-Tac Airport hit 60°F - last time it was 60°F or above was last November - five months ago.

New dog - new tricks

| No Comments

I wanted to get some tractor work done before the rains start in - it is falling lightly right now.

Unfortunately, my new (six months old) puppy Bear has taken to treating the tractor like a toy. He doesn't chase it but he will run around it as I work. He always stays a couple feet away but it would only take one moment of inattention on our parts for him to be squished and that would just kill me. My other dog - Grace - hangs out in sight about 20 feet away.

Today, I tied him up to some fence nearby so he could still see me work but he would be out of the way. I check and he is always lying or sitting down right where I left him. I finish and park, walk back to the fence and there is no knot. Bear had untied the knot and he continued to just stay there perfectly. I used a simple cow hitch - going to need to use something more Bear-proof next time.

Susan Rice

| No Comments

An interesting story unfolding - from Breitbart:

Rand Paul: Susan Rice ‘Ought to Be Under Subpoena,’ Asked If Obama Knew About Eavesdropping
Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called on former National Security Advisor Susan Rice to be brought in front of Congress under subpoena and asked questions about allegations she was behind the unmasking of American identities in raw surveillance.

And from Zero Hedge:

Susan Rice Responds To Trump Unmasking Allegations: "I Leaked Nothing To Nobody"
If anyone expected former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, the same Susan Rice who "stretched the truth" about Benghazi, to admit in her first public appearance after news that she unmasked members of the Trump team to admit she did something wrong, will be disappointed. Instead, moments ago she told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that she categorically denied that the Obama administration inappropriately spied on members of the Trump transition team.

From The Daily Caller:

Former US Attorney: Susan Rice Ordered Spy Agencies To Produce ‘Detailed Spreadsheets’ Involving Trump
Former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice ordered U.S. spy agencies to produce “detailed spreadsheets” of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides when he was running for president, according to former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

Back home for the day

| No Comments

Got a bunch of stuff done - feeling a bit sleepy but need to stay awake to get my sleep schedule set right.

Up earlier today

| No Comments

Baby steps... Slept well through the night - no waking up every couple of hours.

Heading in to town to do the usual stuff and check on some rubber stamps I ordered. 

Got down to 30.9°F last night - no hard frost but still, below freezing. Both forecasts point to cloudy today with rain tonight and tomorrow. (NWS / TWC)

Interesting development in Norway

| No Comments

From Gizmodo:

Norway Gets a New Doomsday Vault That Stores Data
Just in time for doomsday, Norway’s “Doomsday Vault” is getting an expansion. Officially known as the World Arctic Archive, the vault opened this week and has already taken submissions from two countries. This time, instead of storing seeds that will survive the apocalypse, the vault is archiving data using specially developed film.

Located about 620 miles from the North Pole in Svalbard, Norway, the World Arctic Archive has been built in “Mine 3,” an abandoned coal mine close to the Global Seed Vault. Countries are being encouraged to submit data that is particularly significant to their culture.

A Norwegian company called Piql is handling the conversion of digital data onto a photosensitive, multi-layered analog film. The company claims that the film is expected to last between 500-1000 years. Piql’s Katrine Loen Thomsen tells Norwegian outlet NRK that the process is similar to turning data into “big QR codes on film.”

According to documents from Piql, a country can upload test, images or audio-visual content to Piql’s servers. That data is then transferred to the special film that is designed to withstand significant wear and tear. It’s then placed into a secure box and housed inside the heavily fortified vault. As long as the internet and servers are still functioning, the data will remain searchable online. Upon request, it can be delivered digitally or shipped on a physical format of the users choice.

Analog storage is generally considered more future proof than digital. No special codecs or updates or operating systems would be necessary to decipher the information in the event that the planet suffers some sort of catastrophic reset.

Interesting - it will be a leap of faith to say that chemical film is a stable storage medium but it is already more stable than most digital forms. I have a lot of Kodachrome that I shot 40 years ago that has faded but the data is still recoverable in Lightroom. B&W is a lot more stable and B&W images from the 1800's are doing just fine both still and cinema.

This sort of idea has been promoted throughout history - we have our own Hall of Records (uncompleted) at Mt. Rushmore National Park.

Not a drop. Forecast for tomorrow is either Mostly cloudy, with a high near 56 (NWS) or Cloudy with rain at night and 56°F (TWC).

Boiling some nectar for hummingbirds and running the feeders through the dishwasher. Time to get the feeders out.

From Reason:

Baltimore Mayor Supported $15 Minimum Wage Until She Learned What It Would Do to City’s Economy
During the 2016 campaign, Catherine Pugh was one of dozens of Democratic politicians calling for the implementation of a $15 per hour minimum wage.

Since being elected mayor of Baltimore in November, though, Pugh has changed her mind about the merits of forcing employers to pay such a high hourly rate. Last week, Pugh announced she would veto a $15 minimum wage bill passed by city council, citing concerns about how it would hurt the city's economy, nonprofits and charities working in the city, and the city government's bottom line.

After doing "some research," Pugh said at a press conference on March 24, "it is not appropriate at this time that I will sign this bill, so I am vetoing this bill."

Pugh said the bill would not be in the best interest of Baltimore's 76,000 unemployed workers and would drive businesses out of the city to the surrounding counties.

Smart move - it makes zero financial sense and only drives up the cost of everything else - goods and services.

He has a good point

| No Comments

From Irons in the Fire:

Since they're following the lead of the Confederate States of America, when do we start referring to NYC, LA, San Francisco and other 'sanctuary cities' as the Confederate Cities?

As the last vestiges of Obama's regulatory onanism come home to roost - from Ars Technica:

Ceiling-fan efficiency provokes 1st lawsuit against Trump Energy Secretary
New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Monday that the state is suing the Department of Energy (DOE) for delaying the date on which rules about ceiling-fan efficiency are supposed to take effect. The AG said he would sue the department again if it failed to publish a separate set of previously-approved efficiency rules promulgated by the DOE during the final days of the Obama administration.

The New York attorney general is joined in these legal actions by the attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the City of New York. The lawsuit against the DOE is one of the first taken by a coalition of states against the Trump administration's energy policies, which have been environmentally regressive.

The energy-efficiency rules for ceiling fans were published on January 19, 2017 and were set to take effect March 20, 2017. However, the DOE under Trump has twice delayed the date on which the rules are supposed to take effect. Currently, the rules won’t take effect until September 30, 2017. The state officials suing the DOE filed a petition with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit asking the court to intervene; the states say that federal law compels the DOE (PDF) to offer a public comment period if rules are changed substantively after final publication, including if the “effective date” of the rule is delayed.

Christ on a Corndog - this makes zero sense to me. I can see efficiency concerns for air conditioning and heating equipment. That makes sense. For ceiling fans? These consume maybe 150-200 watts at full power - maybe a percent of the overall building energy budget. Cruft like this is what is making our government as bloated as it is.

Very trippy - I would like to see more.

It is time for another bowl of popcorn - from Judicial Watch:

Climategate Update: Judicial Watch Sues for Records between Key Obama Administration Scientists Involved In Global Warming Controversies
Judicial Watch today announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia asking the court to compel the U.S. Department of Commerce to turn over all records of communications between a pair of federal scientists who heavily influenced the Obama administration’s climate change policy and its backing of the Paris Agreement (Judicial Watch v. Department of Commerce (No. 1:17-cv-00541)).

The suit was filed after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”), a component of the Department of Commerce, failed to respond to a February 6 FOIA request seeking

    • All records of communications between NOAA scientist Thomas Karl and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren.
    • The FOIA request covers the timeframe of January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2017.

Karl, who until last year was director of the NOAA section that produces climate data, the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), was the lead author of a landmark paper that was reported to have heavily influenced the Paris Agreement.

Holdren, a former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, director of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and long-time proponent of strong measures to curb emissions.

John Holdren is a buffoon - I am seriously surprised that anyone out there still takes him seriously. The guy has made claim after claim about Global Warming for the last 30 years and not one of these claims have ever come - even remotly - to pass.

That would be a big: Hell No!

| No Comments

Seattle is running out of money but they want to keep spending it on social programs - warm and fuzzies. From The Seattle Times:

Seattle mayor drops property-tax plan, now seeks sales tax to fight homelessness
Barely a month after announcing it, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer are scrapping their plan for a $275 million homelessness property-tax levy.

Rather than ask city voters to approve the levy in August, Murray now intends to work with King County Executive Dow Constantine on a 2018 ballot measure that would use a 0.1 percent county sales-tax increase to combat homelessness, the mayor said Monday.

“We’re moving away from the property tax,” Murray said in a meeting with The Seattle Times editorial board.

The move represents an abrupt change in direction for Murray, who touted the levy in his State of the City address in late February, saying it would nearly double Seattle’s spending on homelessness in an effort to move people from the streets into housing.

Just great - hit the middle-class property owners with yet another assessment on their property. The wealthy can just suck it up but the middle-class citizens are seeing their taxes go up and up and up with no relief in sight. I hope the citizens of Seattle do not start moving to Bellingham - they are welcome here just so they do not bring their toxic 'social justice' programs with them.

I find it telling that the goal of the Mayor is to provide cheap housing for the homeless. What really needs to be done is better care of our veterans and better mental health programs. Take care of those two and you will knock out 95% of the homeless problem. I can only imagine the push-back that resulted in such a dramatic volte-face.

Great day today

| No Comments

Temperature actually got up to 53.4°F this afternoon. It is cooling down a little - tonight should be chilly again as there is only a hint of overcast in the skies. Maybe sunnny tomorrow as well?

Have a meeting tonight but bagging it - working on some stuff at home and that group is not a high priority for me. Having some leftovers for dinner - hungry! Worked up an appetite - hope I can wake up earlier tomorrow.

Our prayers go out to Russia

| No Comments

From the London Daily Mail:

Two attackers on the run as images emerge of first 'terror suspect' accused of planting a nail bomb which ripped through carriages on St Petersburg metro killing at least ten and injuring 50
Two suspected terrorists are on the run after a nail bomb planted in a St Petersburg train ripped through the carriages - killing at least 10 people and injury 50 today.

Several Russian media outlets have released the CCTV picture of the bearded suspect who was wearing a long, black top and a hat blamed for causing the carnage by detonating a bomb that was packed with shrapnel.

The terrifying incident took place on a train that was travelling between Sennaya Ploshchad and Sadovaya metro stations. A second explosive device disguised as a fire extinguisher was found and defused in a nearby station.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the explosion, but previous attacks on Russia have been blamed on ISIS and Chechens.

No word as to the suspects' religion but I can certainly make an educated guess...

How to fund the wall - a tax

| No Comments

Great idea on how to fund the border wall. From The Washington Times:

Border wall funding solved: GOP pushes for 2% fee on money immigrants send home
A group of House Republicans on Thursday introduced the first major bill to fund President Trump’s border wall, saying the government could collect billions of dollars by imposing a 2 percent fee on all the money Mexicans and other immigrants send back home.

Estimates vary, but remittances from those in the U.S. to their relatives back home could top $130 billion a year. A 2 percent tax could net more than $2 billion a year if it applied to all money regardless of who’s sending it.

“This bill is simple — anyone who sends their money to countries that benefit from our porous borders and illegal immigration should be responsible for providing some of the funds needed to complete the wall,” Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican, said in a statement. “This bill keeps money in the American economy, and most importantly, it creates a funding stream to build the wall.”

Brilliant idea - I never knew that there was that much hard cash leaving this country. A lot of it has been earned under the table so the US derives no tax benefit from it. Let's tax it at the border - when it is being sent to a location in Mexico.

Went to bed around 11:00PM last night - finally got to sleep around 1:00AM - woke up at 7:00AM but rolled over and went back to sleep until 10:00AM - earlier than yesterday but still want to be up around 8:00AM or so on a regular basis. The weather outside is just too nice to ignore and there are a couple of morning events that I participate in coming up. Linux Fest, Welding Rodeo, Sea-Pac and others.

Got down to 27.1°F last night - woke up to a hard frost on the ground. This is why I have not planted any seeds outside - we are still a couple of weeks away from the last frosts of the season.

Willis Eschenbach has a wonderful analysis of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Press Briefing:

8 U.S. Code 1373
Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at the White House Press Briefing a week or so ago. His subject was sanctuary cities. As I’ve written before, I think that sanctuary cities are discriminating against the American felon. Foreign criminals get special treatment that the sanctuary cities deny to American criminals. How can that possibly be legal?

I also think that letting illegal foreign criminals of any stripe go free is madness. Fortunately, President Trump is already ending the “catch-and-release” policy of Comrade Obama.

In any case, I was intrigued by the Attorney General’s reference to “8 USC 1373” as being the relevant statute. The “USC” part stands for “United States Code”, meaning Federal law codes. The odd part was that he mentioned 8 USC 1373 a couple times in his speech. To me, that was a giant red flag. He was semaphoring a message, and I wondered what it was.

Willis quotes the law in question: 8 U.S. Code § 1373 and offers this:

As I said, I was surprised. Nothing to do with felons, or letting people out of prison. What this says is that you cannot prohibit or restrict any government entity or office or individual from COMMUNICATING with ICE. And that is regardless of any other provision of Federal, State or Local law.

The reason that I think that this is highly significant is that when they are enunciated, the sanctuary city specifically prohibits communication with ICE … the very act that is made illegal under 8 USC 1373.

My conclusion from this? I am not a lawyer, but the San Francisco Sanctuary City Ordinance certainly seems to be in violation of 8 USC 1373. The City is clearly restricting its employees from communicating with ICE.

Curious - an excellent choice of a law to enforce. Convict and sentence a couple city officials and watch everyone else fall in line.

From Legal Insurrection:

Trump Immigration Enforcement Spurs Gang Tattoo Removal Boom
One of the industries that has been most impacted by the aftermath of the 2016 election has been the tattoo removal business.

At the end of last year, Kemberlee Kaye noted that many millennials were consulting plastic surgeons to remove now unwanted body art.

As we head toward President Trump’s 100th day in office, and it is apparent he is continuing his policies of having Immigration and Customs Enforcement actually enforce federal law, tattoo removal experts are now seeing a different kind of client: Illegal aliens.

The fear of being deported is spreading to tattoo parlors, which have seen a spike in removal requests since more strict immigration measures have been put in place by the Trump administration.

…Tattoos are widely used among gang members from Central America. MS 13, also sometimes just MS or 13, is a symbol of the Mara Salvatrucha gang from El Salvador. Typically these tattoos can be found anywhere on the body, but are most often found in highly visible places like the face, hands or neck.

“La Eme,” or The M, is the symbol of the Mexican Mafia, considered one of the most ruthless prison gangs in the U.S.

Tattoo-related fears were stoked after last month a Mexican immigrant who was protected by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was arrested outside his home in Seattle for his alleged gang ties — Daniel Ramirez, who remains in custody, had a tattoo on his forearm.

This boom is occurring in California, despite the fact that Sacramento’s politicians are gearing up to create a “Sanctuary State”.

Interesting - a little bit of protective coloration. Trying to fit in despite being known for gang activity. The California Sanctuary State foolishness will be its wakeup call. There are a lot of conservative people outside Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Too much fun - Nerf John Wick

| No Comments

Nice day - worked outside for a bit

| No Comments

Then headed out for dinner - didn't feel like cooking. Surf for a bit and then try to get an early bedtime. My sleep schedule has been drifting later and later and I am seriously running out of daylight.

A lazy day

| No Comments

Slept in a bit and just now heading out for coffee. Nice day so working on the fence. Left-over pot roast for dinner.

April Fools Day - Russia plays along

| No Comments

I love it! From Russia Today:

‘Press 2 if hackers needed’: Russian FM April Fools voicemail leaves US media unamused
On April 1, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a spoof voicemail offering "Russian hackers services" and "election interference." And the mainstream US media appears not amused.

"You have reached the Russian embassy, your call is very important to us. To arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to your political opponents, press one," the message posted on the ministry’s official Facebook page says, playing first in Russian, then in English.

"To use the services of Russian hackers press two," it goes on.

"To request election interference, press three and wait until the next election campaign. Please note that all calls are recorded for quality improvement and training purposes."

Of course the US Media is not amused - they have been played for fools. They have been reporting fake news - anything that supports their agenda and they have not been bothering to do the most basic of fact checking. Serves them right to be mocked and made fun of - they are buffoons.

Interesting item from FOX News:

Without Obama, once-booming gun industry poised to shrink
President Trump’s election appears to be negatively affecting gun sales in the U.S. and the bubble appears to be bursting despite a staunch advocate for gun rights in the White House and Republicans ruling Congress.

"President Obama was the best gun salesman the world has ever seen," Karl Sorken, a production manager at Battle Rifle Co. in Houston. Sorken is an Army veteran and self-described liberal who voted for Obama and notes the change for the industry under Trump is a topic of conversation in the shop.

Fears of government limits on guns -- some real, some perceived -- led to a surge in demand during Obama's tenure and manufacturers leapt to keep up. Over the decade ending in 2015, the number of U.S. companies licensed to make firearms jumped 362 percent.

"The trends really almost since Election Day or election night have been that gun sales have slacked off," said Robert Spitzer, political science department chairman at State University of New York at Cortland. "When you take away Barack Obama and you give the Republicans control of both houses of Congress, which is extremely friendly to the gun lobby, then the political pressure subsides. And that surely is at least a key part of the explanation for the drop-off in sales."

Ammo prices are falling nicely and in a year or so, I will be able to afford a decent 1911 and maybe a few more long rifles.

Amazon Echo - now with Petlexa

| No Comments

Stolen from Bayou Renaissance Man who has a couple other ones.

I knew that Federal Research grants were a significant source of income to universities but I didn't realize just how much. From FOX News:

Critics to Ivy Leagues: 'Taxpayer gravy train needs to end'
Over a six-year period, Ivy League schools have received tens of billions in tax dollars, bringing in more money from taxpayers than from undergraduate student tuition. In fact, they received more federal cash than 16 state governments.

The stunning numbers are all part of a new report, first seen by Fox News, released Wednesday by Open the Books -- a non-profit group whose stated mission is to capture and post online all disclosed spending at every level of government.

The 43-page report shows the massive amount of money flowing into not-for-profit Ivy League schools, including payments and entitlements, costing taxpayers more than $41 billion from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2015.

A bit more:

The study says another federal perk -- the schools pay no tax on investment gains on their endowment -- a tax break is estimated at $9.6 billion over the six years of the study.

And some of the studies that were funded:

One grant was given to Cornell for nearly $1 million to study whale presence in the Virginia offshore wind energy area. Other grants to Ivy League schools were to study college binge drinking, ethics in Tanzania and sex chromosomes in turtles.

They provide a link to download a PDF of the report - sobering!

Crap - RIP Ikutaro Kakehashi

| No Comments

From Synthtopia:

Roland Founder Ikutaro Kakehashi Has Died
Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi has died at the age of 87.

There hasn’t been an official announcement from Roland on this yet, but there have been several reports of Kakehashi’s death from musicians that have worked with him.

Tommy Snyder, who has worked with Roland on R&D of its electronic drum and percussion products, shared this message via Facebook:

Ikutaro Kakehashi, founder of Roland, father of the TR-909,TR-808, Godfather of MIDI, and someone who I have collaborated with for 38 years, and also considered him as my 2nd father, passed away at the age of 87.

He was a super funny, wonderful and gifted human being, and his contributions to the musical instrument world , and music, touched millions of people worldwide.

RIP dear Taro..

Ikutaro Kakehashi was an engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Roland Corporation.

Under his leadership, Roland introduced many of the most iconic gear in electronic music, including:

    • The System 700 modular synthesizer;
    • The TB-303 bassline synthesizer;
    • The TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines; and
    • The Jupiter-8 & D-50 synthesizers.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, because Kakehashi led the company successfully for over four decades.

An amazing engineer and designer. He was innovating right up to the end.

Putin gets it - global warming

| No Comments

From Russia Insider:

Putin Tells Arctic Forum: Climate Change Real, But Not Man-Made
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that global warming is real but has been going on long before the "man-made effects" that climate science points to as its primary cause.

Speaking at the International Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk on Thursday, Putin said (rushed transcript):

"What I’m about to say may be unpopular. But we will respect the various agreements and Russia will do just that, just like we abided by the Kyoto protocols. Yesterday I visited the French archipelago and back in 1930s I think, an Austrian pioneer and researcher visited that place and issued a description of the glacier and twenty years later an Italian king visited and found that ice cover had melted. This warming started back in the 1930s. And back then, we did not have not have these man-made effects, but the warming was already there. It's not a question of prevention, I agree with those who say it's not a matter of prevention because you can't prevent it. [Global warming] may be a global trend, a global cycle. A planetary cycle. You just need to adjust to that. "

Exactly - natural causes. The idea that we could influence the earth's climate is pure hubris.

Back to work

| No Comments

Lunchtime is over - back to working on a couple things at home. Also heading out to do some photography for the earthquake drill in two weeks - rain has let up but the rivers are still nice and high.

Hillary gets trashed by Bill Maher

| No Comments

WINCE! - When someone to the left of left like Bill Maher says this - maybe she should just get out of politics after all. That would be nice:

Great news from Breitbart:

More Than 100 Sex Offenders Caught in Single Border Sector This Fiscal Year
Border Patrol officials in the Rio Grande Valley Sector report that their agents arrested more than 100 previously deported sex offenders that illegally re-entered the U.S. Agents arrested two during a one-hour period in separate locations in the sector on Wednesday.

Rio Grande Sector Spokesperson Melissa Ash responded to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas as to how many previously deported sex offenders their agents arrested in their sector during Fiscal Year 2017 which began on October 1, 2016. She responded on Friday that as of March 13, agents apprehended 99 previously deported sex offenders. Since that time, agents arrested at least two more sex offenders after they illegally crossed from Mexico.

And it is not just that section of the border:

The Rio Grande Valley Sector reported the arrest of 1,100 criminal aliens since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017. These numbers come from arrests made in the McAllen and Falfurrias Stations. Nearly ten percent of those arrests are violent sex offenders.

Other Border Patrol Sectors reported frequent arrests of previously deported sex offenders. These individuals are often a danger to the public due to the possibility of repeated offenses against women and children.

Just two weeks ago, agents from the Tucson Sector arrested 46-year-old Rene Murillo-Almansa, a previously deported criminal alien. A records check carried out by the agents revealed Murillo-Almansa has an extensive criminal history and prior deportations. His most recent deportation occurred just weeks before his March arrest. A court convicted the Mexican national in 1994 for raping a child. He received a 24-month prison sentence. Authorities subsequently deported him to Mexico.

These are not people seeking a better life in the United States. These are criminals looking to leave the harsh prosecution in Mexico and enjoy the easy pickings in liberal-run America. Get on welfare and food stamps, have a bit of fun, get deported, come back in and get back on welfare and food stamps.

Good - bring them!

| No Comments

I hope they go through with this - it really needs to be done to restore faith in our government. From The Hill:

Sessions: Convictions likely needed to end government leaks
Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated Thursday evening that the Trump administration would pursue criminal charges to end alleged leaks from U.S. agencies.

"I expect that we'll get to the bottom of some of this," Sessions said during an interview on Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor" when asked if he would pursue any indictments.

"This is not right. We've never seen this kind of leaking," Sessions continued. "It's almost as if people think they have a right to violate the law.

"This has got to end, and it will probably take some convictions to put an end to it."

Good - people of every party have been getting away with crap like this for the last twenty years. Time to make it hurt. Nobody is too big to be prosecuted for treason.

First Nations - a long history

| No Comments

Interesting news from our neighbors to the North - from Toronto, CA's National Post:

B.C. First Nation village among the oldest in North America, more ancient than the Great Pyramid
A Heiltsuk village site on B.C.’s mid-coast is three times as old as the Great Pyramid at Giza and among the oldest human settlements in North America, according to researchers at the Hakai Institute.

The excavation on Triquet Island has already produced extremely rare artifacts, including a wooden projectile-launching device called an atlatl, compound fish hooks and a hand drill used for lighting fires, said Alisha Gauvreau, a PhD student at the University of Victoria.

The village has been in use for about 14,000 years, based on analysis of charcoal recovered from a hearth about 2.5 metres below the surface, making it one of the oldest First Nations settlements yet uncovered. Dates from the most recent tests range from 13,613 to 14,086 years ago.

“We were so happy to find something we could date,” she said. What started as a one-metre-by-one-metre “keyhole” into the past, expanded last summer into a three-metre trench with evidence of fire related in age to a nearby cache of stone tools.

Just wow - Carbon dating is pretty bulletproof - no room for error there. This will revise a few history books. A bit more:

Sea levels at Triquet Island have been extraordinarily stable over the millennia, which helped to preserve evidence of continuous use, and dramatic changes in the occupants’ hunting and eating habits. The natural rise and fall of sea levels and of the Earth’s tectonic plates have left ancient villages on other parts of the coast submerged.

So much for the global warming / sea level rise batshit being promoted by the watermelon environmentalists. Nothing like some hard numbers to deflate a trumped-up computer model.

Another day in paradise - rain

| No Comments

Just under a half-inch last night. Still coming down but not as much.

Out for coffee, check in at the store and then working at home today.

Happy April Fools Day to everyone!

August 2017

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Environment and Climate
AccuWeather
Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Climate Audit
Climate Depot
Green Trust
ICECAP
Jennifer Marohasy
MetaEfficient
Planet Gore
Science and Public Policy Institute
Solar Cycle 24
Space Weather
Space Weather - Canada
the Air Vent
Tom Nelson
Watts Up With That?


Science and Medicine
Derek Lowe
Junk Science
Life in the Fast Lane
Luboš Motl
Medgadget
New Scientist
Next Big Future
PhysOrg.com
Ptak Science Books
Science Blog


Geek Stuff
Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
FAIL Blog
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Neatorama
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF
TYWKIWDBI


Comics
Achewood
The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Dilbert
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
Tundra
User Friendly
Vexarr
What The Duck
Wondermark
xkcd


NO WAI! WTF?¿?¿
Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?


Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog


Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
DIYPhotography
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
PetaPixel
photo.net
Shorpy
Strobist
The Online Photographer


Blogrolling
A Western Heart
AMCGLTD.COM
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cobb
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Instapundit
iowahawk
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Neanderpundit
neo-neocon
Power Line
ProfessorBainbridge.com
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Samizdata.net
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Velociworld
Weasel Zippers
WILLisms.com
Wizbang


Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Allah
BigPictureSmallOffice
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
MegaPundit
Masamune
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Publicola
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2017 is the previous archive.

May 2017 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Pages

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 5.2.9