January 2018 Archives

And it starts - The Memo

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The bright rays of sunlight. From Yahoo/Reuters:

Republican memo likely to be released Thursday -Trump administration official
A Republican memo alleging anti-Trump bias at the FBI and U.S. Justice department is likely to be released on Thursday, an official of President Donald Trumps administration said on Wednesday.

The dank taint of cover-up and collusion. From Reuters:

FBI expresses 'grave concerns' over Republican memo's accuracy
The FBI said on Wednesday it had “grave concerns” about the accuracy of a top-secret House Intelligence Committee memo alleging anti-Trump bias within the Justice Department, challenging President Donald Trump’s pledge to release it.

Good - get to the bottom and get the people responsible. Restore trust in America's cops. Looking forward to reading it.

I love this woman - Sarah Sanders

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President Trump's Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks with CNN's Chris Cuomo about last night's State of the Union speech. 

"I think Nancy Pelosi looks like that all the time," Sanders responded. “I think she should smile a lot more often. I think the country would be better for it. She seems to kind of embody the bitterness that belongs in the Democrat Party right now.”

Calls them as she sees them. Smart and articulate.

Heh - the liberals are eating their own

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Absolute sign of the end times for them. I present this headline from the once great Scientific American:

Bill Nye Does Not Speak for Us and He Does Not Speak for Science

The various pundits have broken down last nights speech and one thing becomes very obvious. From The Daily Caller:

Trump Puts The Focus On ‘We’ Over ‘I’ In First SOTU
President Trump placed the emphasis on “we” over “I” in his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

A review of the president’s prepared remarks by The Daily Caller reveals he used the word “we” more than four times as many times as he said the word “I.”

President Trump used the word “I” 29 times in his speech, while using “we” 129 times. Another communal word used often by the president: “our,” which he used 104 times.

Pure comedy gold from CNS News:

ACLU Complains: "Trump Used the Word 'America' More Than 80 Times"
The American Civil Liberties Union -- note the word "American" in its title -- complained Tuesday night about President Trump's repeated use of the word "America" in his State of the Union speech.

In a written response to Trump's speech, Faiz Shakir, the ACLU's national political director, said:

Tonight, President Trump said the word ‘America’ more than 80 times in his speech. Yet, after a divisive first year, we hear and feel how exclusionary that ‘America’ is, with policies that have harmed so many vulnerable American communities. The ACLU stands ready to protect these communities, both in the courts and at the polls.

Talk about jumping the shark. The reason for bringing this up is that our previous President was a true Narcissist in Chief. From FOX News:

Ego much? Obama talked about himself nearly four times as often as Trump in first SOTU speech
President Trump talked long on Tuesday night, “the third-longest State of the Union in the past 50 years, according to The New York Times. But he rarely talked about himself -- unlike his predecessor.

President Obama’s first State of the Union speech in 2010 featured the president saying some version of “I” or “me” nearly 100 times. That was nearly four times more than Trump managed -- 98 personal references to a mere 26.

For all the media have attacked Trump about his ego, it was Obama who earned regular criticism for being self-referential in his speeches. His first 41 speeches showed this tendency was off the charts -- mentioning himself nearly 1,200 times – 1,198 to be exact.

More here, here and here. Like a breath of fresh air.

In Seattle for a little bit

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At Trish's house in Seattle for a couple of days.

We watched the President's State of the Union speech as well as the Democratic rebuttal. It was interesting to watch the Democratic Senators and Representatives as President Trump was speaking. They just sat there with facial expressions like they were sucking lemons or something. Senator Kennedey spoke for the rebuttal and talked about how the Democrat party was all about inclusivness. If true, the Dems in the gallery should have been ploitley applauding what Trump was saying. No - they just sat there.

It was interesting to listen to both speakers - really outlines how the liberals are all about the narrative while the conservatives are all about the actual data. Rhetoric as opposed to dialectic.

T is doing some school-related paperwork and I am surfing for a bit and then, time to crack open a bottle of red wine and watch the TV and decompress for a while.

On the road today

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Heading down to Seattle to spend a few days with Trish. Minimal posting today.

Looking forward to reading The Memo - just the prospect of it being released has people running around with their hair on fire.

Raining lightly - NWS released this Special Weather Statement which says:

There is an increased threat of shallow landslides in Western Washington due to the combination of pre-existing saturated soils, heavy rainfall from Monday and continued wet conditions expected today. Landslide indices remain over thresholds at which shallow landslides more commonly occur.

Since Saturday, landslides have already been reported in various locations in Western Washington, including near Hoodsport, near Arlington, and in North Seattle. More landslides are possible.

More information here: Hydrologic Data and Forecasts

And that is it for the night

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Off to YouTube to watch a few videos and then an early bedtime. Driving down to Seattle tomorrow.

Not a good thing to do for many reasons - from The Atlantic:

The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer's
In recent years, Alzheimer’s disease has occasionally been referred to as “type 3” diabetes, though that moniker doesn’t make much sense. After all, though they share a problem with insulin, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease caused by diet. Instead of another type of diabetes, it’s increasingly looking like Alzheimer’s is another potential side effect of a sugary, Western-style diet.

And the upshot:

A longitudinal study, published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia, followed 5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.

Much more at the site. Trish and I are both eating reduced carb diets and are feeling a lot better for it. Trying to stay under 30 grams/day seems to be the real sweet-spot.

As the show begins - The memo

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Should be fun - from FOX News:

House Intel votes to release controversial surveillance memo to the public
The House Intelligence Committee on Monday evening voted to release a classified memo circulating in Congress that purportedly reveals government surveillance abuses.

The vote was announced to reporters by California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, who called it a “very sad day, I think, in the history of this committee.” The motion passed on a party-line basis, he said.

President Trump now has five days to decide whether he has any objections before the memo can be publicly released.

As the deep state inches towards being dismanteled. Faster please!

Time to fire up the label maker

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Long day

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Did the usual morning stuff and then drove into Bellingham for a couple of errands. Had a bite to eat while there.

The rain slowed down this afternoon but it is picking up again - getting its second wind. They issued a specific flood watch for the South Nooksack tonight at 7:36PM but that is to the South and does not impact me.

The Grammys - yawn

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Shows how disconnected the music industry has become - from Deadline Hollywood:

Grammy Ratings Fall From 2017 As Politics Dominate Music’s Biggest Night
Back in New York City for the first time since George W. Bush’s first term and drenched in the politics of the Donald Trump era, last night’s Grammy Awards was rockin’ with multiple wins for a very non-political Bruno Mars and a very, very political Kendrick Lamar. The more than three-and-a half-hour- long CBS show also had an audio book audition cameo by Hillary Clinton (see below), a use or two of the censor button, a lot of U2 and Sting, a powerful Time’s Up speech by Janelle Monáe and an equally powerful performance by Kesha and a chorus of supporters.

And how far down were the ratings?

With a 12.7/21 in metered market ratings, the Recording Academy’s big hootenanny was also way down from the early numbers from the LA-based February 13, 2017 59th annual show. By way down, I mean a just over 20% decline from last year to what looks to be an all-time low for the ceremony.

20% is big. And this from the New York Post:

Nikki Haley thinks Hillary’s cameo ruined the Grammys
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley showed some of her own fire and fury after Hillary Clinton and a number of celebrities read portions of a tell-all book critical of the Trump administration at the Grammy Awards.

“I have always loved the Grammys but to have artists read the Fire and Fury book killed it,” Haley wrote on Twitter late Sunday during the show. “Don’t ruin great music with trash. Some of us love music without the politics thrown in it.”

President Trump’s son Donald Jr. also lashed out at Clinton on Twitter.

“Getting to read a #fakenews book excerpt at the Grammys seems like a great consolation prize for losing the presidency. #GrammyAwards,” he wrote Sunday.

Great tweet from Donald Jr. - Consolation prize indeed! That's gonna leave a mark!

From Breitbart:

It Begins: ‘Secret Empires’ Book Set to Rock Official Washington
The author who wrote Clinton Cash and sparked an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation is preparing to launch his highly anticipated investigative follow-up—a book that appears it will be every bit as explosive as his last.

On Monday, publishing giant HarperCollins released the book cover of Government Accountability Institute President and Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer’s forthcoming book, Secret Empires: How Our Politicians Hide Corruption and Enrich Their Families and Friends. While little is known about the book’s contents, five images on the book’s cover suggest that Schweizer’s next targets may include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), former Vice President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State John Kerry, and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

According to the publisher, Secret Empires will expose vast corruption by top Washington figures who leverage their political power to enrich their family members and friends, often by helping grease deals with foreign entities.

Good - time to shine some daylight into the dank corners of Washington. Much overdue.

Rainy day

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A bit under 2.5" in the last 48 hours. It is wet out.

Heading out for coffee, store and then Bellingham.

Forecast calls for rain

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Ho. Li. Crap - the National Weather Service just added a Special Weather Statement to their previous Hydrologic Outlook, Flood Watch and an Avalanche Warning:

Rainfall over the past 2 weeks has increased soil moisture to moderate levels across Western Washington. Additional rainfall of 0.50 to 1.50 inches in the interior with 2 to 4 inches on the coast and mountains is expected on Monday. This amount of rain will put extra pressure on soil instability, leading to an increased threat of landslides.

Landslides have already been reported in various locations in Western Washington like near Hoodsport and also in North Seattle. More landslides are possible.

There is an area near Milepost 20 on the Mt. Baker Highway that is very tender. It let go back in 2009 and they have been doing a lot of logging on a slope right near the highway. I noticed a stream near there last spring which was not there before so there is a lot of ground water. Removing the trees on a slope will guarantee problems if the slope is at all critical. The trees really help hold the soil together.

The joys of country life...

Interesting work being done at Michigan State University:

Earlier this year, a Michigan State University economist, working with graduate students and a former government official, found $21 trillion in unauthorized spending in the departments of Defense and Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015.

The work of Mark Skidmore and his team, which included digging into government websites and repeated queries to U.S. agencies that went unanswered, coincided with the Office of Inspector General, at one point, disabling the links to all key documents showing the unsupported spending. (Luckily, the researchers downloaded and stored the documents.)

Now, the Department of Defense has announced it will conduct the first department-wide, independent financial audit in its history (read the Dec. 7 announcement here).

The Defense Department did not say specifically what led to the audit. But the announcement came four days after Skidmore discussed his team’s findings on USAWatchdog, a news outlet run by former CNN and ABC News correspondent Greg Hunter.

“While we can’t know for sure what role our efforts to compile original government documents and share them with the public has played, we believe it may have made a difference,” said Skidmore, the Morris Chair in State and Local Government Finance and Policy at MSU.

Skidmore got involved last spring when he heard Catherine Austin Fitts, former assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development, refer to a report which indicated the Army had $6.5 trillion in unsupported adjustments, or spending, in fiscal 2015. Given the Army’s $122 billion budget, that meant unsupported adjustments were 54 times spending authorized by Congress. Typically, such adjustments in public budgets are only a small fraction of authorized spending.

Skidmore thought Fitts had made a mistake. “Maybe she meant $6.5 billion and not $6.5 trillion,” he said. “So I found the report myself and sure enough it was $6.5 trillion.”

They did not do any audits until now? Wow. Skidmore co-authored this article at Forbes Magazine:

Has Our Government Spent $21 Trillion Of Our Money Without Telling Us?

“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” ~ Article I, Section 9, Clause 7, The US Constitution
On July 26, 2016, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report “Army General Fund Adjustments Not Adequately Documented or Supported”. The report indicates that for fiscal year 2015 the Army failed to provide adequate support for $6.5 trillion in journal voucher adjustments. According to the GAO's Comptroller General, "Journal vouchers are summary-level accounting adjustments made when balances between systems cannot be reconciled. Often these journal vouchers are unsupported, meaning they lack supporting documentation to justify the adjustment or are not tied to specific accounting transactions…. For an auditor, journal vouchers are a red flag for transactions not being captured, reported, or summarized correctly."

(Note, after Mark Skidmore began inquiring about OIG-reported unsubstantiated adjustments, the OIG's webpage, which documented, albeit in a highly incomplete manner, these unsupported "accounting adjustments," was mysteriously taken down. Fortunately, Mark copied the July 2016 report and all other relevant OIG-reports in advance and reposted them here. Mark has repeatedly tried to contact Lorin Venable, Assistant Inspector General at the Office of the Inspector General. He has emailed, phoned, and used LinkedIn to ask Ms. Venable about OIG's disclosure of unsubstantiated adjustments, but she has not responded.)

For them to delete the data shows without a doubt that they know something fishy is going on and that they are dirty.

There is a very good website for this project: The Missing Money. The amount that we are talking about runs out to be about $65,000 for each man, woman and child in the USA. It is more than our National Debt. A very big number.

Unions out of touch

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Unions very much had their place about a hundred years ago but they are not keeping current and adapting with changing technologies. Case in point from CNBC:

Union heavyweight wants to ban UPS from using drones or driverless vehicles
No drones or driverless vehicles for delivering packages — that's one of the major demands from the Teamsters labor union in the big contract negotiation it's undertaking with UPS this week.

The union wants to ban UPS from using such new-fangled technology, which the logistics company has been reportedly testing. That's just one of the negotiating points on the table for one of the nation's largest collective bargaining agreements, according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal.

UPS confirmed to CNBC the details of the Teamsters proposal. The current agreement affects 260,000 full and part-time UPS employees and expires in July.

They are negotiating themselves into irrelevance. UPS will find a way to route around this damage and union membership in the work force will slip from 10% to even less. A bit more:

Other demands outlined in an 83-page document submitted to UPS this week include hiring another 10,000 workers and halting deliveries after 9 p.m., including during the peak-delivery holiday months of November and December. UPS said it's hired 40,000 more Teamster workers in the U.S. in the last five years.

Yeah - like that is going to fly in this competitive world. Why not ask for chocolate sprinkles and a unicorn too...

Rainy day

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Got about 1.5" of rainfall in the last 24 hours - the National Weather Service has posted a Hydrologic Outlook as well as a Flood Watch and an Avalanche Warning. Mt. Baker is closed for two days (they recieved over 150" of snow in the last nine days.

Going to have to break out my SCUBA gear! Working at home today after my run for coffee and an hour at the store. Water board meeting tonight.

You may have heard that California is toying with a new law that would make customers have to ask for a soda straw when they are being served a drink. If the waiter brings an unasked straw, said waiter can be fined $1,000 and there is an option for jail time. The reason for this odious piece of legislation comes from some reasearch done by a nine year old boy. No. Really. Christian Britschgi has the facts and also links to multiple cases of the media taking this number at face value.

15 Times Major Media Outlets Used a Statistic about Plastic Straws Based on Research by a 9-Year-Old
Yesterday, I reported that the oft-cited, debate-driving statistic that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day was the product of a 9-year-old's guesstimations. Despite those shaky factual foundations, the 500 million figure has quickly spread, virus-like, across the media landscape and even into our shops and schools.

Visitors to the D.C. tea house Teaism—just a short walk from Reason's D.C. office—will be confronted with the questionable fact on a small poster adorning the restaurant's single-use straw dispenser, replete with a picture of a cute sea turtle. Meanwhile, impressionable children at the Mount Vernon Community School in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, are coming home with "Straw Wars" handouts citing the same dubious figure.

It's easy to understand how the school could have been led astray, given how ubiquitous this claim is in the media. Please see below for a list of just a few of the news outlets that have cited this "fact"—or otherwise quoted people saying it without any critical pushback—in their reporting:

Unreal. Christian also links to several environmental groups and then offers this comment:

Attempts to ban plastic straws—or indeed any plastic product—have as much to do with signaling your environmentalist bona fides as they do with actually cleaning up the oceans or saving the planet. So people pushing the claim have little incentive to investigate it. And the media have every incentive to hype the impact of a phenomenon they're covering.

Let this serve as a reminder: A statistic's popularity does not prove its accuracy.

So true - it's all about Virtue Signalling. Here is a link to Milo's page: Be Straw Free Campaign 
Eco-Cycle is a Boulder, Colorado based recycling company.

Heh - working at the State Department

Not turning out so well for some people - from CNN:

Exclusive: Frustrated State Department employees hire attorneys, charging 'political retribution'
A growing number of State Department employees are charging they are being put in career purgatory because of their previous work on policy priorities associated with President Barack Obama and in offices the Trump administration is interested in closing.

The situation has got so serious that several officials tell CNN they have retained attorneys after repeatedly trying unsuccessfully to raise concerns about being assigned to low-level jobs in Foggy Bottom such as answering Freedom of Information Act requests.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made clearing a backlog of FOIA requests a priority and reassigned staff to what State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert has called "an all-hands on deck" effort to clear the backlog. Significant progress has been made, and the number of outstanding requests -- which stood at 22,000 in January 2017 -- has been reduced to about 13,000, Tillerson said in November, adding that he hopes the backlog will be cleared by the end of 2018.

The backlog grew over the last several years in part due to numerous requests from journalists and conservative groups, including Judicial Watch and Citizens United, for records relating to Hillary Clinton's emails.

Great news - they were stonewalling these requests. Good to clear them out and be done with it. Get to the bottom of the corruption.

The Flu - three articles

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A bit of weather

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Quite the front moving through - Puget Sound Energy is reporting about 130 separate cases of power outage with about 4,000 involved customers.

National Weather Service is forecasting flooding in local rivers. It has let up a bit but we have had over a half-inch of rain in the last 24 hours.

President Trump's plan for DACA

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Conservatives are up in arms about President Trump's plan for immigrants under the DACA program. They think that he is opening the floodgates. What they do not realize is that President Trump's plan is very specific and has teeth. From Monica Showalter writing at American Thinker:

Trump's 'go-yuuuuge' 'in-their-face' DACA deal
President Trump's proposed deal with the Democrats on legalizing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients in exchange for a border wall, an end to the visa lottery, and an end to chain migration, is drawing some cautions from the right, as Ed Straker's piece on radio host Mark Levin's thoughts shows. But I think another radio host, Bill Mitchell, paints what's going on better. Far from this being a classic Republican cave-in, the DACA proposal probably a clever Trumpian deal to outsmart the Democrats and leave them out on their ear.

After all, while ending illegal immigration and restoring rule of law is important to conservatives, it's not going to be easy to throw every DACA recipient out. Some after all are valedictorians, and Americans have no stomach for throwing them back to the s-holes. So there is Trump's deal and it might benefit all sides, including Republicans.

For one thing, it's bigger than anything the Democrats have laid out - citizenship for 1.8 million DACA and wannabe DACA recipients after a dozen years, which is about the same time as the immigration line for a green card, meaning it doesn't stiff those waiting legally. Democrats must feel like they have been playing smallball compared to this, and of course Republicans will benefit at least slightly. Trump has taken the lead and stolen their thunder.

It makes sense because studies show that most Dreamers are underachievers, many of whom are just high school graduates, heavy welfare users, have petty crime backgrounds, and do not speak English. It's almost a given that most won't make it to the twelve-year finish line without getting into a bar fight, getting caught graffiti-spraying, or be picked up for drunk driving. The only ones who make it will be those with a work ethic and family values. Those actually are the ones who could become Republicans in the long run.

Trump knows this. Democrats don't. They believe their own propaganda about all DREAMers being valedictorians. All it would take is the course of time for the sheep to sort themselves out from the goats and then we'd see. At the end, we would get the creme de la creme, and based on their values, not on the things Democrats value, such as class or skin color, just values. Trump's DACA twelve-year test is for them to have a chance to show their values, kind of like Hercules being asked to perform the twelve labors. In the end, we'd get the people who would actually like being Americans and succeed at it. We wouldn't have to keep the goats. The goats would go back to Mexico, or wherever.

Absolutely brilliant. Want to live here? Become an American - assimilate. Twelve years is more than enough time to do this.

Mary Lee Berners-Lee passed away last November - if that name is somewhat familiar, it is her son Sir Tim who invented the whole concept of the world wide web. Turns out she was quite the computer person as well - from The Guardian:

Mary Lee Berners-Lee obituary
The computer scientist Mary Lee Berners-Lee, who has died aged 93, was on the programming team for the computer that in 1951 became the first in the world to be sold commercially: the Ferranti Mark I. She led a successful campaign at Ferranti for equal pay for male and female programmers, almost two decades before the Equal Pay Act came into force. As a young mother in the mid-1950s she set up on her own as a home-based software consultant, making her one of the world’s first freelance programmers.

Modest about her own pioneering achievements, she is on record (in an interview with computer historian Janet Abbate) as saying that her biggest contribution was to be “the grandmother of the web”. In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee (now Sir Tim), the eldest of her four children, proposed a system to access and exchange documents across the internet, and soon afterwards built the first web server, website and browser.

Tim recalled that his mother had a strong sense of the potential of computers right from the start. “It was obvious to us growing up how incredibly exciting it was,” he said, “not just that you had a new device, but the sense that what you could do was limited only by your imagination.”

Be sure to read the whole thing - she led quite the life.

Quite the collection - Movie posters

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From the University of Texas' Ransom Center:

Decades of movie poster history go online
It is difficult to envision the sheer volume of the Movie Poster Collection at the Harry Ransom Center. The collection encompasses upwards of 10,000 posters and spans decades: from when the film industry was just beginning to compete with vaudeville acts in the 1920s to the rise of the modern megaplex and drive-in theaters in the 1970s. The sizes range from that of a small window card to that of a billboard.

Even with the large volume of posters, the collection contains many images that stay with the viewer, often through bold, bright colors that have not lost their luster. Some are simple designs, like the poster for West Side Story (1961), with its a bright orange-red background over the title with a silhouette of a fire escape with dancers. Others are more complex, like Africa Texas Style! (1967), which features a realistic image of the protagonist on a horse, lassoing a zebra in front of a stampede of wildebeest, elephants, and giraffes all set against the backdrop of a mountain.

The collection can be found here: Movie Posters Collection - the Ransom center also has a lot of other collections available online - be sure to explore the box in the upper left of your screen. Hit the Show All button and be prepared to spend several hours browsing...

Now this will be fun to follow

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From The Daily Caller:

‘Assassination Style’: Widow Of Man Slain In The Bundys’ Oregon Standoff Is Suing The Feds
The widow of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum is suing the Oregon State Police, the FBI and others over her husband’s death during the 2016 armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

Jeanette Finicum filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday, the second anniversary of her husband’s death. The lawsuit is for $5 million each for herself, her 12 children and her deceased husband’s estate, a total of $70 million plus court costs, The Oregonian reports.

LaVoy was “fatally shot three times in the back, assassination style, by one or more militarized officers of the Oregon State Police and/or FBI,” the lawsuit states. “He was deliberately executed by a pre-planned government ambush, after he had exited his vehicle with his hands up.”

Good - they were breaking the law as it was written so they should have been prosecuted but shooting an unarmed person in the back goes well beyond what is justice...

A mis-calculation - Labor Unions

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The Democrats were focused on short-term gains and left themselves open to this. From New York Magazine:

Democrats Paid a Huge Price for Letting Unions Die
The GOP understands how important labor unions are to the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, historically, has not. If you want a two-sentence explanation for why the Midwest is turning red (and thus, why Donald Trump is president), you could do worse than that.

With its financial contributions and grassroots organizing, the labor movement helped give Democrats full control of the federal government three times in the last four decades. And all three of those times — under Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — Democrats failed to pass labor law reforms that would to bolster the union cause. In hindsight, it’s clear that the Democratic Party didn’t merely betray organized labor with these failures, but also, itself.

Between 1978 and 2017, the union membership rate in the United States fell by more than half — from 26 to 10.7 percent. Some of this decline probably couldn’t have been averted — or, at least, not by changes in labor law alone. The combination of resurgent economies in Europe and Japan, the United States’ decidedly non-protectionist trade policies, and technological advances in shipping was bound to do a number on American unions. Global competition thinned profit margins for U.S. firms; cutting labor costs was one of the easiest ways to fatten ’em back up; and breaking unions (through persuasion, intimidation, or relocation) was one of the easiest ways to cut said costs.

Nevertheless, there was lot that Democrats could have done — through labor law reform — to shelter the union movement from these changes, and help it establish a bigger footprint in the service sector. 

The article is very slanted towards unions and does not do a good analysis of why they are in decline. They had a reason for being a hundred years ago - very much so. They have failed to change with the times though as the labor markets have shifted. The "great wages" that the unions negotiate come at a very large cost and the pension plans are often unfunded or a company will simply go bankrupt to avoid having to fund them - this debt is in the multi-trillion dollar range.

Great news that the Democratic party can not maintain its base - they need to come to grips with the changes they made in the last 20 years and reverse them. They have become the party of the moonbat. They have listened to every minority activist out there and their Overton Window has lurched too far to the left.

Out for coffee

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Working at home today.

Slept really well - finally done with this crud.

And that is it for me for tonight

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Nuking a bowl of last night's beef stew and popping open a beer or three. YouTube tonight.

Did a lot of work around the house today - productive day.

Walter Duranty - please call your office

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Who is Walter Duranty? He was the Moscow Bureau Chief of The New York Times for fourteen years (1922–1936) - this was just after the communists took over. He was very sympathetic to the communists and sent in glowing articles.

Lester Holt, a reporter for NBC seems to be following in Walter's footsteps - from Yahoo:

NBC host duped by North Korea after reporting from 'staged' ski resort
An NBC News host was reportedly duped by North Korean propaganda after he delivered an upbeat news report from a ghost town in the secretive state that had been transformed into a ’busy’ ski resort.

Lester Holt reported from the Masikryong resort on Monday, a facility that was personally ordered by Kim Jong Un and is typically empty.

But as Holt delivered the TV report, he failed to notice that the North Korean government appeared to have drafted in skiers who wore identical outfits in an attempt to give the impression of a busy and progressive ski resort.

During the report, Holt claimed that the the resort is a ‘source of immense pride for a country trying to present a new and modern face to the world’.

From the London Daily Mail:

Wind turbine fire risk: Number that catch alight each year is ten times higher than the industry admits
Nearly 120 wind turbines catch fire each year, according to new research - ten times the number reported by the industry.

The figures, compiled by engineers at Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh, make fire the second-largest cause of accidents after blade failure.

The researchers claim that out of 200,000 turbines around the world, 117 fires take place annually - far more than the 12 reported by wind farm companies.

Renewable energy is a scam - it is so much more expensive than traditional energy and it is we the people who are paying for it. We need nuclear now!

Undocumented Immigrants - some numbers

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John Lott writes about Undocumented Immigrants using hard data from Arizona and the numbers do not lie. From SSRN:

Undocumented Immigrants, U.S. Citizens, and Convicted Criminals in Arizona
Using newly released detailed data on all prisoners who entered the Arizona state prison from January 1985 through June 2017, we are able to separate non-U.S. citizens by whether they are illegal or legal residents. Unlike other studies, these data do not rely on self-reporting of criminal backgrounds. Undocumented immigrants are at least 142% more likely to be convicted of a crime than other Arizonans. They also tend to commit more serious crimes and serve 10.5% longer sentences, more likely to be classified as dangerous, and 45% more likely to be gang members than U.S. citizens. Yet, there are several reasons that these numbers are likely to underestimate the share of crime committed by undocumented immigrants. There are dramatic differences between in the criminal histories of convicts who are U.S. citizens and undocumented immigrants.

Young convicts are especially likely to be undocumented immigrants. While undocumented immigrants from 15 to 35 years of age make up slightly over two percent of the Arizona population, they make up about eight percent of the prison population. Even after adjusting for the fact that young people commit crime at higher rates, young undocumented immigrants commit crime at twice the rate of young U.S. citizens. These undocumented immigrants also tend to commit more serious crimes.

John's website is here: JOHN LOTT'S WEBSITE

And here are a couple of news items involving illegal immigrants committing crime in the USA

Best and brightest - yeah...

Fun times ahead - Democrat party

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Looks like some people are ticked off about the #schumershutdown - from Forbes:

Megadonor Tom Steyer Won't Give to Democratic Groups Because of the Shutdown Deal
Hedge fund manager and Democratic billionaire mega-donor Tom Steyer said Wednesday that he will refrain from donating to national Democratic Party committees following the vote in Congress to re-open the government before reaching an immigration deal.

“I don’t have a litmus test on any one thing, but I do have a litmus test for elected officials standing on principle and doing the right thing, looked at holistically. And I want to say that after the DACA vote I have decided not to give anything to the national party committees,” Steyer said in an interview with Fortune Wednesday.

Heh - that is going to hurt! Good!

Two democrats

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I will say it again - if John F. Kennedy were running for office today, I would vote for him in a heartbeat.


Two from Palestine

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Two stories - first from Canada Free Press:

John Kerry Versus Nikki Haley on How to Deal With Abbas
Former Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly sought to undermine the Trump administration’s current policy in dealing with the nihilist Palestinian leadership. According to an article appearing in Maariv, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post, Kerry met a senior Palestinian leader, Hussein Agha, in London recently and told him to convey a clandestine message to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The message was that Abbas should “play for time” and “not yield to President [Donald] Trump’s demands.” Kerry reportedly predicted that President Trump would not be in office for long - perhaps not more than a year. Possibly for that reason, Kerry allegedly advised that the Palestinians should aim their criticisms at President Trump personally, rather than more broadly at the United States. According to the report, Kerry also offered to help the Palestinians devise an alternative peace plan and advance it with Europeans, Arab states and the international community at large. Finally, Kerry reportedly told Agha that he was seriously considering running for president in 2020, as if he had not done enough damage to U.S. national security already in negotiating, for example, the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran.

Clueless - completely and utterly clueless. And this - from the Middle East Monitor:

Despite US aid cuts, Palestine president gets $50mn jet
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) has just bought a private jet for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli media reported on Thursday.

“The PA has purchased a luxurious $50-million private jet to be used by Abbas,” Israel’s Channel 12 reported.

And this:

Notably, the reported purchase comes amid major reductions of US financial assistance to the PA and an ongoing economic crisis in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Nothing says leadership like stealing money from your constituents. Doesn't he know that he can lease a jet? A true sign of corrupt governence is when the "leaders" are more interested in concentrating wealth than in actually leading.

Heading out for coffee and some time at the store. Big rain heading this way in a day or two - couple inches forecast.

318 years ago today, a Mag 9 earthquake hit the Cascadian Subduction Zone causing a tsunami that reached Japan. From Wired:

1700: A massive earthquake strikes the Pacific Northwest coast, sending a tsunami racing across the ocean all the way to Japan.

The earthquake was likely around magnitude 9 and occurred in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The oceanic crust there is being forced beneath the North American Plate along 680 miles of the coastline between Mendocino in northern California and Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Subduction zones are capable of generating the largest earthquakes on Earth, including the 2004 magnitude 9.2 in Sumatra that caused the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami.

We are seriously underprepared.

And I am off to YouTube for the evening

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Woke up early today but feeling fine. A bit tired now so planning an early bedtime.

Heading over to see what the YouTube fairies have dragged in.

Fun with the IRS

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From Paul Caron at Pepperdine University School of Law:

The IRS Spent $20 Million On Private Debt Collection To Bring In $7 Million
Sam Brunson (Loyola-Chicago), Private IRS Debt Collection: A Surly Taxsplainer:

You may have heard that the IRS spent $20 million last year on private debt collection, and managed to raise … almost $7 million. So what’s up with that? A number of things.

Tax Vox, The IRS Private Debt Collection Program Once Again Looks Like A Failure:

What’s the old line about “fool me once?” When it comes to privatizing debt collections for the IRS, Congress has now tried to fool American taxpayers for the third time. According to a new report by the agency’s Taxpayer Advocate Service, the outcome is roughly the same as the last two episodes—the agency is spending far more on the program than the firms are collecting and remitting to the Treasury. This time, according to the TAS, the agency spent $20 million in fiscal years 2016-2017 on a program that generated $6.7 million in payments through last October.

Just as troubling, the reports finds the debt collectors were mostly targeting lower-income taxpayers, some of whom are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)--a group that was supposed to be excluded from the program. Of the 4,100 taxpayers who made payments after their debts were assigned to private collectors, 1,100, or 28 percent, had incomes below $20,000. About 5 percent were receiving SSDI or Social Security retirement benefits. They had a median income of $14,365.

The TAS reports that about 1,700 taxpayers were placed in installment payment programs even though their incomes are so low that they are unlikely to make the payments. The debt collection firms earned commissions on these agreements, however.

Not surprising. Wonder when President Trump is going to focus on them.

Some text messages - FBI

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Looks like the ongoing trainwreck is about to start. Remember those missing five months of text messages from four days ago?
From FOX News:

DOJ recovers missing text messages between anti-Trump FBI agents Strzok and Page
The Department of Justice has recovered missing text messages between anti-Trump FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the DOJ’s inspector general said Thursday.

In a letter sent to congressional committees, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his office “succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text messages from FBI devices, including text messages between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page that were sent or received between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.”

“Our effort to recover any additional text messages is ongoing,” Horowitz said. “We will provide copies of the text messages that we recover from these devices to the Department so that the Department’s leadership can take any management action it deems appropriate.”

I bet there are some filled underpants in high offices - who knows what those texts contained. This is going to make Watergate looks like a kindergarten.

Back home for the night

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Making a big pot of beef stew in my pressure cooker - takes about 30 minutes to so really easy. I use Spicy V8 juice as my stock - tastes really good.

More blogging later - gotta get dinner started...

Off for coffee and the store

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Heading into Bellingham later today - bank and working at the condo.

President Trump is doing some really wonderful things - from The Times of Israel:

Macron says he won’t recognize Palestine in response to Trump’s Jerusalem move
DAVOS, Switzerland — French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that he would not recognize Palestine as an independent state as a reaction to US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

It is called leadership. You do not appease a terrorist state. You make them give up terrorism. Then, you begin the negotiations.

I thought their motto was Don't be evil? Oh. Wait. They dropped it. Now they personify evil. From the The Daily Caller:

Google Has An Actual Secret Speech Police
More than 100 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and government agencies around the world help police YouTube for extremist content, ranging from so-called hate speech to terrorist recruiting videos.

All of them have confidentiality agreements barring Google, YouTube’s parent company, from revealing their participation to the public, a Google representative told The Daily Caller on Thursday.

A handful of groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and No Hate Speech, a European organization focused on combatting intolerance, have chosen to go public with their participation in the program, but the vast majority have stayed hidden behind the confidentiality agreements. Most groups in the program don’t want to be publicly associated with it, according to the Google spokesperson, who spoke only on background.

YouTube’s “Trusted Flaggers” program goes back to 2012, but the program has exploded in size in recent years amid a Google push to increase regulation of the content on its platforms, which followed pressure from advertisers. Fifty of the 113 program members joined in 2017 as YouTube stepped up its content policing, YouTube public policy director Juniper Downs told a Senate committee on Wednesday.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Well crap. From warrenmiller.org

October 15, 1924 - January 24, 2018
Warren A. Miller, who rose up from a Depression-era childhood to become the world’s foremost ski filmmaker and a beloved spokesperson for the sport, passed away January 24, 2018, at his home on Orcas Island, WA. He was 93 years old.

Warren earned global acclaim and a passionate, multi-generational following for his annual ski feature film, which kicked off the ski season for more than 60 years, showing in hundreds of cities in the U.S. and around the world. Packed with adventure and exotic travel, Warren’s distinct, droll narration and humorous hijinks on the slopes highlighted his films.

“Looking back on what set my films apart, it was the emphasis on entertaining people, which means making them laugh, rather than just filming people turning right or left,” Warren once said.

Warren’s talents cut a wide swath beyond ski filmmaking. He produced more than 500 films in all, primarily covering outdoor pursuits, including surfing, sailing, and other water sports. As an artist, cartoonist and author, he wrote some 1,200 columns and 11 books.

He was a World War II veteran, a ski instructor and talented ski racer, an accomplished surfer, and a champion sailor. He took up windsurfing in his 60s, and then turned to destination motor boating in his 70s and 80s, exploring the Northwest and Alaska from his home on Orcas Island.

Warren is survived by his wife of 30 years, Laurie; by his sons Scott (Melissa) and Kurt (Ali); by his daughter, Chris (David Lucero); and by his stepson, Colin Kaufmann. Plus, thousands of wonderful friends and countless loyal fans as well as his three black dogs: two Scotties, Angus Bremner and Drummond McGregor and his huge black Czech Shepherd, Bex. He was extremely grateful for his tireless caregiver, Ginger Moore.

One of a kind - 93 is a good run. He will be missed.

What an idiot - John Kerry

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From the Jersulam Post:

While the White House has confirmed that since the Jerusalem Declaration there has been a complete disconnect between the Palestinian Authority and the Trump administration, it turns out that the previous administration has maintained contact with PA officials.

Maariv reported that former US secretary of state John Kerry met in London with a close associate of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Hussein Agha, for a long and open conversation about a variety of topics. Agha apparently reported details of the conversation to senior PA officials in Ramallah. A senior PA official confirmed to Maariv that the meeting took place.

A bit more:

During the conversation, according to the report, Kerry asked Agha to convey a message to Abbas and ask him to “hold on and be strong.” Tell him, he told Agha, “that he should stay strong in his spirit and play for time, that he will not break and will not yield to President [Donald] Trump’s demands.”

According to Kerry, Trump will not remain in office for a long time. It was reported that Kerry said that within a year there was a good chance that Trump would not be in the White House.

I thought that Kerry was supposed to nominally be on our side. And this shows a serious disconnect:

He surprised his interlocutor by saying he was seriously considering running for president in 2020. When asked about his advanced age, he said he was not much older than Trump and would not have an age problem.

Kerry explained, according to the report, that even in the Republican Party they do not know what to do with Trump and are very dissatisfied with him and that patience and breathing time are needed to get through this difficult period.

John Kerry running for president? Again? He got trounced the first time around - this would be a lot of fun to see... As for the Republicans being dissatisfied. The RINOs certainly are but the majority is very much in favor of him.

Logan Act anyone? It is a felony...

Heh - the development of language

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Comes full circle:


The ongoing FBI scandal

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Heads need to roll - from The Federalist:

Comey ‘Friend’ Who Leaked FBI Memos Now Claims To Be His Attorney
A friend of former FBI director James Comey who leaked sensitive FBI memos to The New York Times in the wake of Comey’s firing in 2017 now claims to be Comey’s personal attorney. Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia University, told The Federalist via phone on Tuesday afternoon that he was now personally representing Comey.

The revelation comes in the wake of news that Comey was interviewed by the special counsel’s office last year. According to The New York Times, the line of questioning from the office of special counsel Robert Mueller focused on memos that Comey wrote and later leaked after he was fired from his job by President Donald Trump. A review of FBI policies governing the handling of sensitive government documents suggests Comey violated FBI policy by leaking the memos, which were produced on government time, using government equipment, and directly related to his official government responsibilities, according to Comey’s own testimony before Congress.

Comey is setting himself up to use attorney-client privilege and weasel out from under the coming tidal wave.

It's election time in Venezuela

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And things are progressing as expected - from Reuters:

Venezuela's presidential battle begins, Maduro favorite
Venezuela’s presidential election race has begun with favorite and incumbent Nicolas Maduro signaling a nationalist, “anti-Trump” campaign while his demoralized foes scramble to find a viable candidate for a vote they predict will be unfair.

Critics of the 55-year-old Maduro, who succeeded Hugo Chavez in 2013, say he has ruined a once prosperous oil economy, turned Venezuela into a dictatorship and skewed the election system to perpetuate power for his Socialist Party.

Government officials say they are fighting a U.S.-led right-wing conspiracy determined to end socialism in Latin America, hobble Venezuela’s economy, and steal its oil wealth.

And Maduro's opponents?

Venezuela’s opposition, which brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets last year in an attempt to oust Maduro, is in a quandary. Its most popular figures - including Leopoldo Lopez and Henrique Capriles - are prevented from standing. Some are in jail, others are in exile or barred from politics.

Socialist paradise indeed...

The NSA changed its website - the old one is preserved at the Internet Archive and the new one is here

Here is a screen-cap of each - notice anything different?

First, the old one:


And now, the new one:


Why did they delete the entry for Honesty?

Video software

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Been looking at video recording software - something that can capture input from a computer screen or webcam as well as import and export various file formats. Just ran into OBS Studio

Looks pretty comprehensive and it runs on Windows, iOS and Linux. It can be extended through the use of scripts which is a real boon.

This looks like way too much fun

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The Slo Mo guys run a YouTube channel where they video objects in very slow motion. YouTube funded them to spend a couple weeks in Los Angeles (they are from England) and built them a set and hired a support crew. Here is the trailer for the show - looks like a lot of fun:

Here is their YouTube channel.

Off for coffee - working at home today

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Heading out for coffee and then back home. My dogs got in to the kitchen garbage can last night so I will be spending this afternoon mopping the floor. They had themselves quite the adventure as there are cans and wrappers all over the house.

Some rain in the forecast

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While the East Coast is gearing up to be hammered, we are looking forward to our own problems - National Weather Service issued at 511PM today:

Hydrologic Outlook
A wet and mild air mass is anticipated to develop this weekend, resulting in snow levels rising above 5500 feet and periods of heavy rain. Strong southwest winds will result in the heaviest rains falling on the southwest-facing slopes of the Olympics and Cascades. At this time, total rainfall amounts in the mountains are anticipated to be in the 7 to 12 inch range on the Olympics and the 4 to 8 inch range in the Cascades. The lowlands could pick up 1 to 4 inches of rain during the same period. This amount of rain on top of what has already fallen, and what is expected the next couple of days, could lead to flooding on many rivers as well as cause urban and/or small stream flooding.

In addition to the potential for flooding, the landslide threat will continue to increase. Periods of heavy rain this weekend on top of nearly saturated soils would serve to significantly increase the threat of landslides. 

The location, timing, and actual rainfall amounts were still uncertain at this time. However, it does appear that a period of significant rainfall will occur this weekend.

Springtime flooding - not unexpected here.

Looks like those on the Eastern seabord are about to get slamed with another blast of cold temperatures and snowstorms. From Anthony:

Arctic poised to unleash another massive cold outbreak for Eastern US
Paul Dorian sends word that there’s a change brewing in the Arctic that may result in a massive and extended cold outbreak for the Northern hemisphere, much like what we saw in late December and early January when record breaking cold swamped the eastern USA. He writes:

We are now experiencing warmer-than-normal weather conditions in the eastern US and there will be mild spells right into the first week of February, but the signs are increasing for a return to a cold pattern next month and it may very well last for an extended period of time. The MJO is a tropical disturbance that propagates around the global tropics and it will be transitioning into “phases” during the month of February that are conducive to colder-than-normal weather in the eastern US. In addition, stratospheric warming will unfold over the next week or so in the polar region of the Northern Hemisphere and this can set off a chain of events in the atmosphere that ultimately results in colder-than-normal weather for the eastern US. There are other signals as well that support the notion of a return to cold in the eastern US and it very well could stick around for awhile.

Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO)
The MJO is a tropical disturbance that propagates eastward around the global tropics with a cycle on the order of 30-60 days. It is a large-scale coupling between atmospheric circulation and tropical deep convection (thunderstorms). The MJO not only has wide ranging impacts on the patterns of precipitation, surface temperatures, and atmospheric circulation in the tropics, but also influences precipitation and temperature patterns across the globe. Specifically, one significant impact of the MJO over the U.S. during the northern hemisphere winter is an increase in the frequency and intensity of cold air outbreaks across the central and eastern US.

Specifically, one significant impact of the MJO over the U.S. during the northern hemisphere winter is an increase in the frequency and intensity of cold air outbreaks across the central and eastern US.

We could use some of that warming now - we are looking at a very quiet sun so not as much heat. Is this what we have to look forward to?

The cost of going green

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Germany is discovering what it costs to virtue signal, turn off their nuclear reactors and "go green" - from Die Welt running through Google Translate:

Climate protection costs us 2,300,000,000,000 euros
A chancellor minister Peter Altmaier predicted years ago that the costs of the German energy transition could reach a trillion euros , he only earned unbelief, scorn and ridicule. Now it's time to rehabilitate Altmaier. Because the trillion number - a one with twelve zeros - is back, scientifically proven and greater than ever before.

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) has let about 200 experts for one year. 68 associations fed numbers. Scientists, entrepreneurs and trade unionists discussed all imaginable future scenarios of energy supply in more than 40 workshops.

Summarized and analyzed by the institutes Prognos and Boston Consulting Group, the result is now available in the form of a 300-page study entitled "Klimapfade für Deutschland". Accordingly, Germany will have to invest around 1.5 trillion euros over the next 30 years to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent as planned.

But this is just the minimum goal. In fact, it gets even more expensive. Because Germany had promised in writing in the context of the World Climate Agreement of Paris, even to aim for a CO2 saving of 95 percent by the year 2050. According to the BDI study, this goal of an almost complete decarbonization of society requires as much as 2.3 trillion euros in additional investment.

And the impact on the German economy:

In fact, most of the carbon-saving measures initially produce economic losers. "Four-fifths of the necessary measures to achieve the 80-percent climate target are associated with direct abatement costs," warns Kempf: "That means: These measures do not pay off in the view of the respective decision maker - whether industrial companies, homeowners or private consumers."

Somebody has to pay the billions, too. Many homeowners, oil heating owners and motorists are thus inevitably asked to pay for climate protection requirements, without them having an immediate economic advantage.

In order to gain acceptance, incentivize and avoid social imbalances, large sums of money must be used for compensation. The trillion decarbonisation program is also a never before seen fiscal redistribution program.

The government is paid off to support this foolishness and a few plutocrats will get even more wealthy and the cost of this is borne by the average German citizen. All for his benefit of course. The original article is here: Klimaschutz kostet uns 2.300.000.000.000 Euro

Crap - RIP Ursula K. Le Guin

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Used to read a lot of science fiction and she was one of my favorite writers. From The New York Times:

Ursula K. Le Guin, Acclaimed for Her Fantasy Fiction, Is Dead at 88
Ursula K. Le Guin, the immensely popular author who brought literary depth and a tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy with books like “The Left Hand of Darkness” and the Earthsea series, died on Monday at her home in Portland, Ore. She was 88.

Her son, Theo Downes-Le Guin, confirmed the death. He did not specify a cause but said she had been in poor health for several months.

She will be missed but she left a wonderful canon of work.

Like duhhhh!

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From The Washington Free Beacon:

4 in 5 Americans Want Less Immigration
Eighty-one percent of Americans want one million or fewer legal immigrants to the United States per year, according to new polling data released Monday by the Harvard-Harris poll, a number lower than the 1.38 million who came to the United States in 2015.

The plurality of respondents, 35 percent, think that there should be between 1 and 250,000 legal immigrants arriving to the United States per year. A net 12 percent want to see immigration increased to 1.5 million people per year or more, while nine percent of Americans think that there should be no new legal immigrants.

That number should not be a surprise to anyone living here. People with agendas in DC are a different matter - they just want to ratchet up the size of the government and hand out free shit to reliable Democrat voters.

That is a relief

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Called the Jury hot-line and they do not need any more warm bodies. Our Jury duty has been discharged.

Heat up some left-over pot roast and call that dinner - planning to stay up and reset my sleep schedule.

Well that was fun - Jury Duty

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The case involved firearms and when asked, I said that I own several of them and enjoyed shooting. They let me go.

I still have to call tonight to see if they reschedule me for another trial. Had a nice breakfast at Homeskillet.

Heading upstairs to nap for a few hours - had to get up at 6:30 this morning. No bueno!

Jury duty

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Fun - I am wide awake at 6:30AM and do not see any evolutionary advantage to this whatsoever. Not a morning person.

And now, I get to drive 30 miles and spend the day in a small room with a bunch of other people who might be carrying the Flu. Just what I need...

And that is it for the night

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Heading over to YouTube for a while and then an early bedtime. Got the alarm clock set to 6:30AM (shudder)

Still under the weather - I'll see if I can get off.

Do you have an Android device

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Tablet or phone? Check out these two applications:

Cinema FV-5 is a professional video camera application for mobile devices, that puts professional manual controls in your fingertips. Tailored to enthusiast and professional videographers and filmmakers, with this video camera application you can capture the best footage with top-of-the-line controls for perfect postproduction purposes. The only limit is your imagination and creativity!

Camera FV-5 The professional camera application for Android, that puts DSLR-like manual controls in your fingertips. Tailored to enthusiast and professional photographers, with this camera application you can capture the best raw photographs so that you can post-process them later and get stunning results. The only limit is your imagination and creativity!

I'll be playing around with both of them over the next week or two - looks really good from the website.

Well dang! I have Jury Duty tomorrow

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Got to be at the courthouse at 8:00AM - I am not a morning person. Grumble.

Very clever idea - a new unit of time

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Another unit of time? This one is specific to video. From The Verge:

Facebook announces that it has invented a new unit of time
Facebook launched a new product today: Flicks, a new unit of time. Yes, that’s right. A unit of time, like seconds or minutes or hours. After all, why limit asserting your corporate dominance to social connections, the consumption of the news cycle, and advertising on the internet, when you can define the very flow of time itself?

According the the GitHub page documenting Flicks, a Flick is “the smallest time unit which is LARGER than a nanosecond,” defined as 1/705,600,000 of a second. (For comparison, a nanosecond is 1/1,000,000,000 of a second, making a Flick roughly 1.41723356 nanoseconds long.)

Now, you may be sitting there wondering what was wrong with regular seconds that Facebook had to go and invent its own unit, especially since the second is one of the few units that is universal across SI and imperial units. The name itself is a portmanteau of the phase “frame-tick,” which is also why you might want to use them. Flicks are designed to help measure individual frame duration for video frame rates. So whether your video is 24hz, 25hz, 30hz, 48hz, 50hz, 60hz, 90hz, 100hz, or 120hz, you’ll be able to use Flicks to ensure that everything is in sync while still using whole integers (instead of decimals).

Programmers already use built in tools in C++ to manage these sorts of exact frame syncing, especially when it comes to designing visual effects in CGI, but the most exact timing possible in C++ is nanoseconds, which doesn’t divide evenly into most frame rates. The idea to create a new unit of time to solve this problem dates back to last year, when developer Christopher Horvath posted about it on Facebook. I asked The Verge video team if they thought this could actually be useful, and was told that it could be in theory, but that things are up in the air until they can see it in practice.

Great idea - should simplify all sorts of editing and CGI. It can be found at GitHub - it installs as a C++ header file.

Fun mashup:

President Trump schools the Democrats

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Senator Chuck Schumer's fingerprints are all over the government shutdown. Getting the government back open came with a price - more tax cuts. From The New York Times:

There’s a Surprise in the Government Funding Bill: More Tax Cuts
Congress is apparently not done cutting taxes, even after passing a $1.5 trillion tax overhaul last year.

The deal struck by Democrats and Republicans on Monday to end a brief government shutdown contains $31 billion in tax cuts, including a temporary delay in implementing three health care-related taxes.

And the taxes being cut?

The health care taxes were all created as part of the Affordable Care Act, where they were designed to offset the cost of expanding insurance coverage to low- and middle-income Americans. But many of them, such as a tax on medical devices, have remained unpopular, and their implementation has been suspended or postponed before.

Obamacare. Ratcheting that back step by step. Good.

About that cold weather

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It's not just the snowfall in Switzerland - from FOX News:

Brand-new US Navy warship trapped in Canada amid cold and ice
A brand-new U.S. Navy warship has not moved from Montreal since Christmas Eve and will spend the winter stuck in Canada due to cold and ice.

The USS Little Rock – unveiled in a ceremony on Dec. 16 in Buffalo, New York and attended by nearly 9,000 people – has not moved far since due to adverse weather conditions that kept the warship trapped at bay in Canada, the Toronto Star reported.

A bit more:

The U.S. Navy spokeswoman told The Star the ship will remain inactive in Montreal and will not move towards its home port in Mayport, Fla. until weather conditions improve.

“The temperatures in Montreal and throughout the transit area have been colder than normal, and included near-record low temperatures, which created significant and historical conditions in the late December, early January time frame,” Lt.-Cmdr. Courtney Hillson told the newspaper.

I pity the sailors stationed on board. They were expecting to be posted in Florida. Spending the winter locked in ice does not sound like fun...

Comedy gold - global warming

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I wonder if Al Gore is attending this - from The New York Times:

At Davos, 6 Feet of Snow Brings Luxury Shuttles to a Crawl
It may be tempting fate to try to gather 60 heads of state and hundreds of global business leaders in the dead of winter in a Swiss mountain valley. This year, the World Economic Forum’s luck seems to have run out.

Fat, damp snowflakes have been tumbling down for the past six days, burying the town in six feet of snow, three feet of it in the last two days alone. Snow was still falling fast on Monday night, and the steep, pine-dotted slopes were so heavily laden that some neighborhoods here in Davos had to be evacuated for fear of avalanches.

Head-high snow drifts quickly piled up along the roads, leaving no place for street plows to push more snow. Sidewalks completely disappeared. Pedestrians slipped and slid in traffic between huge trucks and luxury minivans on streets carpeted with compacted ice several inches thick.

and this bit of fun:

In perhaps the most harrowing indignity for the plutocrats who have made the World Economic Forum their favorite winter meeting ground, even the town’s helicopter pad was closed because of the snowstorm. By early afternoon, a quarter-mile trip in one of the ubiquitous black luxury minivans with plush leather seats that shuttle participants around the town took nearly an hour.

Linda P. Fried, the dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, allowed three hours at midday on Monday to travel from her hotel to the uncrowded registration center nearby and then a few blocks to the conference. But because of the gridlock, she was a half-hour late to give her speech. The topic had been the health risks that arise from climate change.

health risks that arise from climate change - indeed. Our sun is very very quiet with no sign of activity - this is the same condition as was when Earth went through the little ice age and Maunder Minimum. We could be looking at a 30-60 year period of extended cooling.

Yikes - major volcano set to erupt

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From The Washington Post:

The most active volcano in the Philippines could be on the verge of a major eruption
Thousands of Filipino families have been evacuated in the Philippine province of Albay as the country’s most active volcano inches toward a possibly major eruption.

A thick gray cloud of ash billowed high above the summit of Mount Mayon on Monday, when officials raised the alert level to four, an indication that a hazardous eruption is imminent. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the volcano has been “exhibiting increased seismic unrest, lava fountaining and summit explosions.” The agency also has extended what it calls the “danger zone” to an eight-kilometer radius (nearly five miles) from the volcano’s vent.

Footage captured by the agency showed bright orange lava fountains shooting out of the volcano’s summit Sunday night.

They are worried about pyroclastic eruption and a potential lahar.

Feeling better today - still have a sore throat and some body ache but slept well last night.

Heading out for coffee and then back home to call the Court regarding my jury duty summons.

Jury Duty update

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My juror number is not being called tomorrow - I do not have to be at the courthouse at 8:15AM.

However, I do have to call them between 11:00AM and 11:15AM tomorrow morning. Odd that the window is such a short one. What if I have to go there? I am 60 minutes away.

Great website for Netflix

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Check out Flixable

You can sort by Genre, IMDB rating and release year. Movies and TV Shows

Clever idea - Crashtag

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Very clever idea if you are traveling or have a medical condition and want an alternative to the traditional Medic Alert bracelet.

Check out Crashtag:

Be Somebody (especially in the E.R.)
Titanium Crashtag® and Crashtag® Mini

    • Clearly holds your emergency information
    • Features iridescent laser-embedded colors in dozens of great styles
    • Comes with or without a built-in bartender-grade opener
    • Links to more of your info with a personal QR code
    • And at $29.90, it just may save your bacon.

Here is what it looks like - they use a laser to etch the titanium. Very good looking. NKDA stands for No Known Drug Allergy. The QR code links to the Crashtag website - each customer has a personal page they can upload things to.


There is another company - Road iD - that makes a very similar product. Either one would be an awesome thing to get.

So true

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Can't find any information on the cartoonist - searching for "Carlin" brings up George but nobody else.


Sending a message

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Because letting more people into our country illegally is more important than helping our own people.
SchumerShutdown indeed!

Draining the swamp - FBI

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Just plain corruption - no other explanation. From The Daily Caller:

FBI ‘Failed To Preserve’ Five Months Of Text Messages Between Anti-Trump FBI Agents
The FBI “failed to preserve” five months worth of text messages exchanged between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the two FBI employees who made pro-Clinton and anti-Trump comments while working on the Clinton email and the Russia collusion investigations.

The disclosure was made Friday in a letter sent by the Justice Department to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).

Their excuse?

Boyd attributed the failure to “misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities.”

“The result was that data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected,” Boyd wrote.

Strzok and Page were significant players in the Clinton and Trump investigations. As deputy chief of counterintelligence, Strzok oversaw the Trump investigation when it was opened in July 2016. Weeks earlier, he had wrapped up his work as one of the top investigators on the Clinton email probe.

Both worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation until July 2017.

I would be hard pressed to come up with a more bullshit answer. Backing up data is dirt simple. Those texts were purged by someone who knew exactly what they were doing.

Well crap - RIP John Coleman

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From Anthony:

Forecaster, father, and friend of WUWT, John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, passes away
It is with great sadness that I announce this. John Coleman was a true hero of mine, and a great friend. He made gigantic contributions to television, to weather forecasting, and even to the National Weather Service who changed and upgraded many of their methods to accommodate the visionary ideas he had in founding the Weather Channel.

In 1983, Coleman won the American Meteorological Society award for Outstanding Service by a Broadcast Meteorologist. The organization credited Coleman for “his pioneering efforts in establishing a national cable weather channel,” according to the AMS website.

I last saw John Coleman a couple of months ago in Chicago at a gathering of TV meteorologists and climate skeptics. He was as jovial and as witty as ever.

To say “he will be missed”, is an understatement.

Dr. Coleman was one of the giants of meteorology. He was quite the global warming skeptic as anyone who actually looks at what is happening as opposed to looking at the output of some computer model will be. Real data trumps computer models all of the time.

Based on 2013 numbers:


Feeling better today

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Temperature is coming down - actually made it out for coffee and spent a little time at the store.

Jury duty tomorrow but will try to get out of it - no sense giving this to anyone else or picking up something additional. I think my illness was just a common cold and I would not want to get the flu on top of it. Spending the day doing laundry and surfing.

And that is it for the night

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Time to check out YouTube and head up for an early bedtime.

Just wonderful - flu season

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From Time magazine:

The Flu May Be Spread Just By Breathing, Study Says
For years, you’ve been told to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, especially when you’re sick. But a new study finds that it may be possible to spread the flu just by breathing—no coughing or sneezing required.

“People shed a lot of virus all the time, even when they don’t cough,” says Donald Milton, author of the study published in PNAS and a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. “As a result, it’s important to realize you can be infectious at any time.”

During the 2012-2013 flu season, Milton and his colleagues studied 142 University of Maryland students with active influenza, attempting to track how and when they expelled virus particles. During a total of 218 30-minute observation sessions, the students sat in a machine that could measure the droplets they shed while breathing, talking, coughing or sneezing. While coughing did expel some flu particles, the researchers discovered that almost half of the aerosol particles collected in the absence of coughing also contained flu matter, suggesting that simply inhaling germ-ridden air could get you sick.

Joyful news - especially since I am summoned for jury duty this coming week. I'll see how I feel and then give them a call on Monday morning to see if I can get out of it.

Scientific American has more:

Warning: A Flu Pandemic Today Could Kill As Many As 80 Million People
If the 1918 flu pandemic broke out today, it would likely kill at least 62 million people, or slightly more than the number that die in a single year from all other causes combined. The estimate stems from a new tally of flu deaths from 1918 to 1920 in different countries, which varied widely. Based on their findings, authors of the study say that 96 percent of the victims of a present-day pandemic would be in the developing world.

The report comes on the heels of fears that the H5N1 flu virus currently circulating among birds in Southeast Asia and Africa may be the precursor to a deadly global outbreak or pandemic. To gauge the potential threat, researchers reviewed the toll of the most severe previous case, which occurred in 1918 when a flu swept the world, claiming at least 20 million lives. "It's the benchmark against which we worry about future flu pandemics," says population health researcher Christopher Murray of the Harvard Initiative for Global Health.

Just great - we have another - and worse strain - waiting to cross over to humans.

Underwater volcano

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Interesting story from Science Alert:

We All Nearly Missed The Largest Underwater Volcano Eruption Ever Recorded
She was flying home from a holiday in Samoa when she saw it through the airplane window: a "peculiar large mass" floating on the ocean, hundreds of kilometres off the north coast of New Zealand.

The Kiwi passenger emailed photos of the strange ocean slick to scientists, who realised what it was – a raft of floating rock spewed from an underwater volcano, produced in the largest eruption of its kind ever recorded.

"We knew it was a large-scale eruption, approximately equivalent to the biggest eruption we've seen on land in the 20th Century," says volcanologist Rebecca Carey from the University of Tasmania, who's co-led the first close-up investigation of the historic 2012 eruption.

The incident, produced by a submarine volcano called the Havre Seamount, initially went unnoticed by scientists, but the floating rock platform it generated was harder to miss.

More at the site - the eruption was about 1.5 times the size of Mt. St. Helens. Underwater volcanism accounts for 70% of all volcanic activity but we do not see most of the eruptions.

From Duffleblog:

Afghan leaders assure US: ‘Our government has been shut down for 16 years and we’re fine’
A number of Afghanistan’s politicians, warlords, drug smugglers, and Thunder Dome administrators have signed an open letter assuring US Congressional leaders that everything will be just fine if the American government is forced to shut down, sources confirmed today.

“Our government has been shut down for over 16 years and we’ve been doing just fine,” wrote an eclectic mix of Afghan high society, which included a part-time member of Parliament and full-time member of the Taliban, a successful bombmaker, and a Korengal Valley timber smuggling entrepreneur.

“We want to assure you, our friends in America, government shut downs are not the end of the world,” the letter continues. “As your great emir Ronald Reagan once said, ‘the government that governs best is the one which governs least,’ and we have taken this to heart for nearly two decades.”

As a note - Duffleblog is a military satire website.

The guy is a master at Twitter - from The Hill:

Trump touts 'unprecedented economic success' in Women's March tweet
President Trump on Saturday acknowledged the thousands of people taking part in Women's March demonstrations across the country, saying it was a "beautiful" day for people to "celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success" under his term.

In a tweet acknowledging the marches, which were planned for the one-year anniversary of Trump entering office and aimed primarily at protesting his rhetoric and policies, Trump urged people to focus on economic successes since he became president.

"Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!" Trump tweeted.

Heh - living inside their heads rent free 24/7. He has a point - more jobs, jobs being brought back to the USA, less unemployment. Of course, the socialists would never admit that he is right - that would imply that their idea for government is wrong. Cognitive dissonance is a cruel thing...

Long nap

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Went upstairs after posting this to take a short nap. Five hours later...

Fixing some hot and sour soup for dinner tonight using chicken breast meat instead of pork and rice instead of tofu. Clean out my sinuses...

Another day in the life

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Slept poorly but feeling a bit better today - this cold is a beast.

Got a big windstorm moving in later today - should be fun. Gathering candles and flashlights just in case...

The pending government shutdown

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Wait, it is after 5:00PM EST on Friday - our Federal Governement is already shut down for the weekend. Anyway, Monday may be interesting - from CNBC:

House-passed bill to avoid a government shutdown sinks in the Senate, leaving Congress scrambling for a plan
House-passed stopgap bill that would avoid a government shutdown appeared to fizzle out in the Senate late Friday night, leaving Congress fewer than two hours to find a solution before a midnight deadline.

The measure was set to fail in a procedural vote that was still open in the Senate at 11 p.m. ET. Five Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Doug Jones of Alabama and Claire McCaskill of Missouri — had backed it, though their votes could change. Four Republicans — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah — opposed it pending the vote becoming final.

And a bit more:

The Senate needs to garner 60 votes for a spending bill. With 50 Republicans present, the majority GOP needed to win support from 10 or more Democrats, many of whom had threatened to oppose a short-term spending plan if they could not also pass a bill shielding young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Something not covered in the media is that some of these dreamers are in their 30's - these are not children being uprooted from their families.

These people are too obsessed with their own egos and are not representing the wishes of the people who elected them to office.

At least President Trump is not a petulant type - remember the Barrycades back in 2013? The internet sure does: Barrycades

Busy day today - frustration

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I am doing some stuff that needs a special kind of authentication. I talked to the people on the phone this morning, got what I understood was the needed paperwork and drove out to Bellingham to meet them at 2PM. Turns out they needed a different piece of paper so I had to drive back home, grab it off my desk and then turn around and head back to Bellingham - 30 miles each way. Got done with them at 4:30 and then a mad dash to the Post Office to get it in the mail by 5:00PM.. The OTC cold medicines are great but they siphon off about 30% of my mental abilities.

Trish is in Seattle and she had quite the day of running around as well - Mercury must be in retrograde or something...

Because of this cold, I was craving some hot and sour soup so stopped off at a local Chinese place and had a big bowl. Yummy!

Time to surf for a bit and then some YouTube videos...

Still feeling cruddy

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This @#$% cold will not go away - meeting with someone in Bellingham at 2:00PM and then back to the farm for the rest of the weekend.

Doing my civic duty next week - got a summons for Jury Duty. Should be interesting.

Great piece from Tyler at Zero Hedge:

"Explosive", "Shocking" And "Alarming" FISA Memo Set To Rock DC, "End Mueller Investigation"
All hell is breaking loose in Washington D.C. tonight after a four-page memo detailing extensive FISA court abuse was made available to the entire House of Representatives Thursday. The contents of the memo are so explosive, says Journalist Sara Carter, that it could lead to the removal of senior officials in the FBI and the Department of Justice and the end of Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation.

These sources say the report is “explosive,” stating they would not be surprised if it leads to the end of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into President Trump and his associates. -Sara Carter

A source close to the matter tells Fox News that "the memo details the Intelligence Committee's oversight work for the FBI and Justice, including the controversy over unmasking and FISA surveillance." An educated guess by anyone who's been paying attention for the last year leads to the obvious conclusion that the report reveals extensive abuse of power and highly illegal collusion between the Obama administration, the FBI, the DOJ and the Clinton Campaign against Donald Trump and his team during and after the 2016 presidential election.

Tick, tock, tick, tock... The wheels of justice can be slow at times but they are inexorable. Time for some prison sentences to be handed out just to keep the rest of Washington in line.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is typical Obama legislation. Another big government bureau formed by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and about as useless as can be. From the Los Angeles Times:

Mulvaney requests zero funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
In his first quarterly funding request as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney is asking for nothing.

“This letter is to inform you that for the Second Quarter of Fiscal Year 2018, the Bureau is requesting $0,” he wrote Wednesday to Janet L. Yellen, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, which provides the watchdog agency’s funding.

Mulvaney said that the bureau had enough money on hand to cover its anticipated $145 million in expenses for the quarter, which began Jan. 1, and that he plans to slash the bureau’s reserve fund.

Mulvaney, who also serves as White House budget director, is an outspoken critic of the bureau who was made acting director in November — a controversial move by President Trump that is being challenged in court. In a 2014 interview, Mulvaney called the bureau a ​​​​​“joke … in a sad, sick kind of way” and said that he “would like to get rid of it.”

In his letter to Yellen, he said: “I have been assured that the funds currently in the Bureau Fund are sufficient for the bureau to carry out its statutory mandates for the next fiscal quarter while striving to be efficient, effective and accountable.”

That is how you do it - starve the monkey until it withers away to nothing. A small government is an efficient one and we already have other agencies that do essencially the same work - why pay for duplicated efforts?

Home from town

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Been getting a lot done in these last two weeks.

Home again - time to open a bottle of wine, surf for a bit and then enjoy an early bedtime. Woke up way too early this morning but did not go back to bed - riding this one out trying to reset my sleep schedule. This cold really played havoc with my sleeping.

Off to town

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Couple of projects and then a bite to eat.

Back later this evening...

They just can't do anything right - from Next Big Future:

California high speed rail is doomed and ultimately will cost $19.5 billion to repay in bonds including interest
The cost of the 119 mile Central Valley section has now officially gone up to $10.6 billion. California does not have budgeted money to finish. California has to find extra money for that section.

California High Speed Rail Authority will have to go to the state Legislature for a supplemental appropriation from the bonds that voters approved in 2008. The remaining bonds probably would cover the cost increases, but deplete funds for further construction beyond the Central Valley. The 119-mile section is useless. They need $20-40 billion to build the 300 miles needed for a minimum LA to San Jose system.

Assuming they do not try to dump good money after bad, it willcost $19.5 billion to repay the bonds with interest. California could have built some overpriced highways and BART extensions with that money.

The new estimate was presented Tuesday by Roy Hill, who leads the main consulting firm on the project, WSP (formerly Parson Brinckerhoff). Hill said the cost increases were mainly driven by problems including higher costs for land acquisition, issues in relocating utility systems, the need for safety barriers where the bullet trains would operate near freight lines and demands by stakeholders for the mitigation of myriad issues.

It would be substantially cheaper to buy every potential rider a car. In lieu of annual maintenance costs, they could give each person $10K for gasoline.

Supernova from 4,600BC

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An interesting idea - from The Guardian:

Two suns? No, it's a supernova drawn 6,000 years ago, say scientists
For decades, stone carvings unearthed in the Himalayan territory of Kashmir were thought to depict a hunting scene. But the presence of two celestial objects in the drawings has piqued the interest of a group of Indian astronomers.

They have proposed another theory. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of History of Science, the Kashmir rock drawings may be the oldest depiction of a supernova, the final explosion of a dying star, ever discovered.

Archaeologists found the carvings nearly half a century ago in Kashmir’s Burzahama site, where the oldest settlements have been dated to about 4,300BC. It showed two hunters, a bull, and two beaming disks in the sky initially speculated to be two suns.

Previously, the oldest supernova recorded was by Chinese astonomers in 800BC - this new discovery moves the goalposts quite a distance.

Curious - Newsweek raided?

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From the New York Post:

NYPD officers raid Newsweek headquarters
About two dozen NYPD offficers and investigators from the Manhattan district attorney’s office raided the offices of Newsweek and its parent company, IBT Media, on Thursday.

IBT Media was co-founded by Jonathan Davis and Etienne Uzac. The IRS placed a $1.2 million federal tax lien against Uzac in December 2017.

The agents were said to be photographing servers in the offices, but not downloading any files at the offices on 7 Hanover Square, according to sources.

They appeared to be photographing the serial numbers on the machines, said a source.

In the past, IBT has been linked to a Christian church founded by Korean American evangelist David Jang and Olivet University, a university in California that Jang’s followers founded.

NYPD and the IRS had not responded to a call by press time. The Manhattan DA declined to comment.

No news from any other source to take it with a grain of salt but still...

And it begins - sanctuary cities

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Two days ago, the Department of Homeland Security said that they would seek criminal charges against sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal deportation efforts.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Feds planning massive Northern California immigration sweep to strike against sanctuary laws
U.S. immigration officials have begun preparing for a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities in which federal officers would look to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people while sending a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state, according to a source familiar with the operation.

And of course, there is an abundence of virtue signalling - from San Francisco's CBS affiliate:

Oakland Mayor Says She’ll Go To Jail To Protect Sanctuary City Policy
 Just hours after the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to end any cooperation with agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Mayor Libby Schaaf said Wednesday she would go to jail if needed in her opposition to ICE raids.

Hope you have a wonderfull time in the slammer. And, just as a reminder, some links:

These are not the "best and brightest", they are criminals and need to be dealt with as such.

Another day in paradise

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Made it through the night without losing power - had a solid inch of rainfall though after the winds quieted down. Forecast calls for showers for the next week or so.

Fake News

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The top eleven Fake News stories about President Trump are now online: The Highly-Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards

Fun reading - lots of links and screen-caps. Rember kiddies, the internet is forever...

That was fun

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About 50 people there tonight - the Wednesday music seems to be catching on.

Wind is really picking up outside so may lose power.

Out for a few hours

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Live music at my local - back in a while...

Warm front moving through

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Today was rainy (about 0.3" accumulation) and it got up to 58.2°F at the farm - over 60°F in Bellingham according to the thermometer on my truck. Forecast is for rain and showers through the next seven days or so.

From the Sacramento, CA CBS affiliate:

New California Declares Independence From Rest Of State
With the reading of their own version of a Declaration of Independence, founders of the state of New California took the first steps to what they hope will eventually lead to statehood.

To be clear, they don’t want to leave the United States, just California.

“Well, it’s been ungovernable for a long time. High taxes, education, you name it, and we’re rated around 48th or 50th from a business climate and standpoint in California,” said founder Robert Paul Preston.

The state of New California would incorporate most of the state’s rural counties, leaving the urban coastal counties to the current state of California.

“There’s something wrong when you have a rural county such as this one, and you go down to Orange County which is mostly urban, and it has the same set of problems, and it happens because of how the state is being governed and taxed,” Preston said.

Makes a lot of sense - they propose to let the coastal area from San Francisco to Los Angeles remain as "old" California and all the other counties and population centers split off as New California. There is a mechanism for this in the US Constitution - Article 4, Section 3.

Aaaaand it is off to YouTube-land

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Lots of little stuff on the internets but nothing that catches my eye.


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Don't know if this is real or Photoshop but fun nonetheless:


Another look at California

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Talk about a socialist paradise - from the Los Angeles Times:

Op-Ed Why is liberal California the poverty capital of America?
Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes noncash government assistance as a form of income.

Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it’s worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).

It’s not as though California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty. Sacramento and local governments have spent massive amounts in the cause. Several state and municipal benefit programs overlap with one another; in some cases, individuals with incomes 200% above the poverty line receive benefits. California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments and “other public welfare,” according to the Census Bureau. California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients.

Socialism has always failed. Insane that people still believe that it could work.

Not just us - missile alerts

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From The Guardian:

Japanese broadcaster issues North Korean missile alert by mistake
Japan’s public broadcaster mistakenly sent an alert warning citizens about a North Korean missile launch and urging them to seek immediate shelter, then retracted it minutes later – days after a similar error occurred in Hawaii.

NHK television issued the message on Tuesday on its news websites as well as on Twitter, saying North Korea appeared to have fired a missile at Japan. It said the government was telling people to take shelter.

The false alarm came two days after Hawaii’s emergency management agency sent a mistaken warning of a North Korean missile attack to mobile phones across the state, triggering panic.

NHK deleted its tweet after several minutes, issued a correction and apologised several times on air. It said a mistake in using the alert system caused the error.

Something is definitely happening. If you wanted to get into the AFDB weeds, maybe North Korea did launch a missile and we were able to shoot it down.

You know it - this is the dam whose spillway failed during last winter's heavy rains and forced the evacuation of 180,000 people. Turns out the engineering was not good. From Next Big Future courtesy of Wirecutter:

Failed Oroville Dam Spillway designed by inexperienced grad student in the 1960s
California’s Department of Water Resources was blasted in an independent report for having a culture of complacency and incompetence that contributed to last year’s near-disaster at Oroville Dam.

The full 584 page independent forensic team report is here.

The agency’s largest water storage site and the nation’s tallest dam at Lake Oroville fell into disrepair. In February, pounding rain and large water releases caused the reservoir’s spillway to collapse. A back-up spillway also failed. Fears that water would pour uncontrollably downstream prompted the evacuation of 180,000 people.

The independent panel of safety experts said the dam was badly built from the start in the 1960s. The principal designer of the spillway told the dam-safety team that he had just completed post-graduate work at the time he worked on the Oroville project decades ago, had had no previous engineering employment beyond two summer stints, and had never designed a spillway before.

Only in California. All their money goes to free stuff for the proles and nothing to developing or maintaining the infrastructure because a better highway doesn't buy you the votes to keep you in power.

Now this will be fun to see

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From The Washington Times:

DHS preparing to arrest leaders of sanctuary cities
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed Tuesday that her department has asked federal prosecutors to see if they can lodge criminal charges against sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal deportation efforts.

“The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues may be available,” Ms. Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Her confirmation came after California’s new sanctuary law went into effect Jan. 1, severely restricting cooperation the state or any of its localities could offer.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan says those policies put his officers and local communities at more risk because they have to arrest illegal immigrants out in the community.

Mr. Homan told The Washington Times last July that he wanted to see local officials charged as complicit in human smuggling if they shielded illegal immigrants through sanctuary policies.

The states have no authority here - immigration is defined in Article One, Paragraph eight, Section four of our Constitution.

Another day in paradise

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Another day of 10+ hours of sleep interrupted with an hour or two of wakefulness. Still feeling crappy with sore throat and body aches and fever but these are getting milder so hope is on the horizon. I really miss not waking up at eight or nine. The good news is that I am not living in an Underslept State - from National Public Radio:

Sleep Scientist Warns Against Walking Through Life 'In An Underslept State'
The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of eight hours of sleep per night for adults, but sleep scientist Matthew Walker says that too many people are falling short of the mark.

"Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain," Walker says. "Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it."

Walker is the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He points out that lack of sleep — defined as six hours or fewer — can have serious consequences. Sleep deficiency is associated with problems in concentration, memory and the immune system, and may even shorten life span.

An interesting article.

Swipped from the internet:


News you can use - sneezing

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Makes perfect sense - I always use the inside of my elbow to stifle mine. From the UK Guardian:

Achoo! Why letting out an explosive sneeze is safer than stifling it
In a season where colds are rife, holding your nose and closing your mouth might seem like a considerate alternative to an explosive “Achoo!”. But doctors have warned of the dangers of such a move after a man was found to have ruptured the back of his throat when attempting to stifle a sneeze.

Medics say the incident, which they detail in the British Medical Journal Case Reports, came to light when a 34-year old man arrived in A&E with a change to his voice, a swollen neck, pain when swallowing and a popping sensation in his neck after he pinched his nose to contain an expulsion.

The team took scans of the man’s neck to investigate and discovered bubbles of air in the tissues at the back of the throat, and in the neck from the base of the skull to halfway down the man’s back. 

That, they say, suggested a tear had occurred at the back of the throat as a result of increased pressure from the stifled sneeze, leading to air collecting in his soft tissues. 

“For reasons of propriety and etiquette, one sometimes stops a sneeze. However on unfortunate rare occasions it might lead to potentially serious complications,” said Dr Sudip Das, co-author of the report from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Propriety and etiquette be damned - use your elbow or a hankerchief. Do not spread it around but also, First Do No Harm.

The liberals are all up in President Trump's face saying that the minutes of panic in Hawai'i are all his fault. Fortunately, cooler heads prevail - one of them is the Democratic Representative from Hawai'i. From Zero Hedge:

Watch A Sitting Congresswoman Shred The MSM Narrative In Under A Minute
Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard appeared on multiple Sunday news shows a day after her state's false ICBM emergency alert sent the islands into a tense 40 minutes of panic before it was revealed to be a message sent in error, where she slammed the mainstream media's reporting on the North Korean nuclear threat, saying, "We've got to understand that North Korea is holding onto these nuclear weapons because they think it is their only protection from the United States coming in and doing to them what the United States has done to so many countries throughout history."

She further called for Trump to hold direct talks with Kim Jong Un in order to prevent the real thing from ever happening.

And she said this just a day earlier:

On Saturday Gabbard had immediately criticized President Trump for mishandling North Korea, taking to MSNBC to proclaim that "our leaders have failed us. Donald Trump is taking too long... he's not taking this [nuclear] threat seriously..." During Sunday interviews she elaborated on a plan of action, advising Trump to enter talks with Pyongyang which should “happen without preconditions” and that Trump should “sit across the table from Kim Jong Un” in order stamp out the climate of fear which contributed to the “unacceptable” alert issued on Saturday. 

I agree with her. There has been precious little real communication between the two nations. We now have their attention - what we do with this is Trump's decision to make.

Spent the day in town

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Decided against working at home - went in to Bellingham and worked on a couple projects there. Paying for my sins and my body is aching and feeling very very tired.

Planning to stay up until 10:00PM to try to resume a normal sleep schedule  - see how that goes. Surf for a bit and then the Tube of You...

Feeling better this morning

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Still sleeping for 12 hours but woke up feeling better this morning. Sore throat and body aches but none of the congestion I had yesterday.

Coffee and then back home - taking it easy for the next couple of days.

And that is it for the evening

Just fixed some spaghetti for dinner - screw the carbs, I want some comfort food!

Still feeling a bit under the weather so taking it easy tonight and getting an early bedtime. Enjoy a bowl of pasta, watch some YouTube videos and a glass or two of red wine.

Last month's bomb cyclone

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The sudden freeze on the East coast was not a unique phenomon. I was living in Boston when the Blizzard of 1978 hit. More here. The Northeast also suffered one in 1993 - the Storm of the Century.

There is an interesting set of photographs at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum:

One Century Ago: What Cold Really Looks Like
Local headlines recently proclaimed that the Hampton Roads area is experiencing perhaps the coldest new year it has experienced in a century. Thousands of "nonessential" workers at military bases across the Hampton Roads Region are off for the second day in a row (myself included, although I'm still on deadline for this blog post and other projects). Many of them are busily documenting the snowdrifts and other winter wonders deposited by the recent "bomb cyclone" that made it all possible. But what did the winter of a century ago look like to the Sailors and other photographers who were working then?

The Hampton Roads Naval Museum recently acquired photographs taken by a young gunner's mate floating on the York River that show just how cold it got one century ago. Compared to the arctic blast of January 1918, which froze battleships into place off Yorktown and made the majority of the Chesapeake region practically impassible, the so-called "bomb cyclone" that swept through the area this week was a mere inconvenience.

Thanks to a young Sailor named Ernest A. Washburn, who was serving aboard USS Rhode Island (BB 17), we now have a better idea what the York looked like during that epic cold snap.

There are five photos at the site - two taken by Mr. Washburn and three taken by other photographers of the same weather event.


Two photographs taken from USS Rhode Island (BB 17) have been combined to show the monitor Tallahassee (BM 9),
which served during the war as a submarine tender, and the battleship Texas (BB 35), frozen in
at the location near Yorktown, Virginia, known as "Base 2" in January 1918.
E.A. Washburn Collection, Hampton Roads Naval Museum


Longtime Norfolk photographer Harry C. Mann recorded the aftermath of the Monticello Hotel fire, after which a
fire engine remained frozen in place. At far left, merchants can be seen removing whatever
wares they can salvage. (Library of Virginia Digital Collections)

Those people who claim that us puny humans are changing the earth's climate are nuts. Pure and simple nuts - they have a political agenda that they are driving and they are using this pseudoscience to leverage their agenda because it will not stand on its own merits.

Mr. Clean Energy is anything but - from Environmental Progress:

Jerry Brown's Secret War on Clean Energy
Since he was elected in 2010, California Gov. Jerry Brown has gained an international reputation as a climate leader. He has spoken at the Vatican, at U.N. climate talks, and promoted California’s policies in China. Journalists routinely praise Brown for reducing emissions by expanding clean energy.

But is Brown’s climate reputation deserved?

A new, two-year investigation by Environmental Progress concludes that no American politician has killed more clean energy than Gov. Jerry Brown — and in ways that often benefited his own family financially.

A long read but fascinating one. It goes into quite a bit of detail on the early environmental groups - specifically Sierra Club. Not what they would have you believe.

Gorgeous day today

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Warm and cloudless - heading out for coffee and then working at home. Planning to open the windows and doors and let the place air out for a bit.

Also woke up with a bit of a cold - low fever and coughing. Now muscle aches so planning on taking it easy the next couple of days.

Welding nerd-vana

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Been watching a lot of welding videos on YouTube - looking to improve my TIG welding skills.

Just found out that my favorite metals store has their own YouTube channel. Check out the website for King Architectural Metals and their YouTube channel.

Excellent people to deal with - great prices and a lot of information.

Dick Durbin - Fake News promoter

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Senator Durbin was the person who quoted President Trump as using the word Shi*hole in a closed immigration meeting. Looking back at the Senator's history, it seems he has made things up before. From The Daily Wire:

REPORT: Dick Durbin Has A History Of Lying About Private White House Meetings
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) accused President Donald Trump on Friday of referring to African countries as "s***holes" during a meeting that they both attended on Thursday.

Durbin told reporters that what Trump said was "hate-filled, vile and racist," adding that "the most disheartening thing to me is my belief that that was the first time words that hateful had been spoken in the Oval Office of the White House."

There's just one problem with Durbin's claims: He has a history of making up statements from private White House meetings.

In 2013, Politico reported:

“In a ‘negotiation’ meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told [President Barack Obama]: ‘I cannot even stand to look at you,’” Durbin wrote in a post on his Facebook page over the weekend.

However, both the White House and the House speaker’s office denied Durbin’s account of events.

Asked about the post in the White House daily briefing, press secretary Jay Carney said he checked with a participant of the meeting in question.

“I looked into this and spoke with somebody who was in that meeting and it did not happen,” Carney said.

So Durbin is a fabulist working for the deep state. He is an Illinois Democrat - so no surprise there.

Mike Rowe responds to a Facebook post

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Pure gold - from Mike Rowe's Facebook page. He replies to this post:

Rebecca Bright writes…
"I love the show How the Universe Works, but I'm lost on how the producers and the Science Channel can allow anti-education, science doubting, ultra-right wing conservative Mike Rowe to narrate the show. There are countless scientists that should be hired for that, or actors, if you must, that believe in education and science that would sound great narrating the show, example: Morgan Freeman. Cancel this fools contract and get any of your scientists so often on the show to narrate it."

Mike replies - go and read the whole thing (Mike is quite eloquent)  but here are the last six paragraphs:

Anyway, Rebecca, my beef with your post comes down to this - if you go to my boss and ask her to fire me because you can’t stand the sound of my voice, I get it. Narrators with unpleasant voices should probably look for other work anyway, and if enough people share your view, no hard feelings - I’ll make room for Morgan. But if you’re trying to get me fired simply because you don’t like my worldview, well then, I’m going to fight back. Partly because I like my job, and partly because you’re wrong about your assumptions, but mostly because your tactics typify a toxic blend of laziness and group-think that are all too common today – a hot mess of hashtags and intolerance that deepen the chasm currently dividing our country.

Re-read your own post, and think about your actual position. You've publicly asked a network to fire the narrator of a hit show because you might not share his personal beliefs. Don't you think that's kind of...extraordinary? Not only are you unwilling to engage with someone you disagree with – you can’t even enjoy a show you claim to love if you suspect the narrator might not share your view of the world! Do you know how insular that makes you sound? How fragile?

I just visited your page, and read your own description of you. It was revealing. It says, “I stand my ground. I fear no one & nothing. I have & will fight for what's right.”

Maybe I’m missing something, but I don't think the ground you’re standing on is worth defending. If you truly fear “no one & nothing,” it’s not because you’re brave; it’s because you’re unwilling to expose yourself to ideas that frighten you. And while I can see that you like to fight for what you think is “right” (in this case, getting people fired that you disagree with,) one could easily say the same thing about any other misguided, garden-variety bully.

In other words, Rebecca, I don’t think you give a damn about science. If I’m wrong, prove it. Take a step back and be skeptical about your own assumptions. Take a moment to doubt your own words, and ask yourself – as any good scientist would – if you've got your head up a black hole.

Having said all that, I think you’re gonna love next week’s episode. It’s called Multiple Stars! Check it out, Tuesdays at 10pm, on Science.

Heh - I love the part about; "your tactics typify a toxic blend of laziness and group-think that are all too common today – a hot mess of hashtags and intolerance that deepen the chasm currently dividing our country." Spot on!

Two words for tea

Fascinating writeup on the etymology of the word Tea or Cha - from Quartz:

Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea
With a few minor exceptions, there are really only two ways to say “tea” in the world. One is like the English term— in Spanish and tee in Afrikaans are two examples. The other is some variation of cha, like chay in Hindi.

Both versions come from China. How they spread around the world offers a clear picture of how globalization worked before “globalization” was a term anybody used. The words that sound like “cha” spread across land, along the Silk Road. The “tea”-like phrasings spread over water, by Dutch traders bringing the novel leaves back to Europe.

An interesting read.

A bit of excitement in Hawaii

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Someone pushed the wrong button - from Hawaii News Now:

'Terrifying': False ballistic missile threat sends Hawaii into panic
A false ballistic missile threat alert was sent to all Hawaii cell phones on Saturday morning, sending the state into a panic for more than 30 minutes until emergency officials confirmed the message was a mistake.

While city and military officials took to social media within 15 minutes to quell fears and say the message was sent in error, it took state emergency management — which sent out the message in the first place — nearly 40 minutes to send out a "false alarm" alert to cell phones using the same mechanism that distributed the emergency warning in the first place.

"It's totally unacceptable," said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. "There was anxiety across the state and it was terrifying. There was a lot of unnecessary pain and anxiety. It's important to have accountability at the state level and the emergency management level in terms of what exactly what went wrong."

Gov. David Ige and head of Hawaii's Emergency Management agency, Vern Miyagi, told Hawaii News Now that the false alert was the result of human error — and boiled down to someone pushing the wrong button.

I look at this from a different perspective - the system worked well. They have "the button" and it was effective in getting the warning out. What would happen if there had been a major earthquake or other event - tsunamis are a part of Hawaiian life.

Looks like there might be some investigation into Hillary's involvement.

From Zero Hedge:

DOJ Unseals Indictment Involving Uranium One Scandal
The Department of Justice unsealed an 11-count indictment on Friday to a former DoD intelligence analyst-turned uranium transportation executive who stands accused of a bribery and money laundering scheme involving a Russian nuclear official connected to the Uranium One deal. 

And this:

The charges stem from an alleged scheme to bribe Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, in order to secure contracts with TENEX.

According to the indictment, beginning at least as early as 2009 and continuing until October 2014, Lambert conspired with others at “Transportation Corporation A” to make corrupt and fraudulent bribery and kickback payments to offshore bank accounts associated with shell companies, at the direction of, and for the benefit of, a Russian official, Vadim Mikerin, in order to secure improper business advantages and obtain and retain business with TENEX. -DOJ

While the indictment lists Lambert's company as "Transportation Corporation A," a simple search reveals that Lambert is the co-President of DAHER-TLI, "the leading front end freight forwarding company dedicated to Nuclear Cargo," according to its website.

A lot more at the site - worth reading. I hope that Hillary will serve time. That whole family is corrupt and an example needs to be made of them.

From Kemberlee Kaye writing at Legal Insurrection:

Media Falsely Reports Ambassadors to Haiti and Panama Resigned Over Alleged “Sh*thole” Comments
The press has had a rough 24 hours and they only have themselves to blame.

First, there was the telephone game turned Washington Post report, suggesting Trump called a handful of developing countries “shitholes.” Trump denies the claims.

Evidently, that wasn’t embarrassment enough. Shortly thereafter, unconfirmed reports suggested American ambassadors to Haiti and Panama resigned as a result ShitholeGate.

Kemberlee has screencaps of Tweets from media sources saying that the Ambassadors to Haiti and to Panama have both resigned over President Trump's comments.

Minor problem, we have no standing Ambassador to Haiti - the previous one was Pamela White - an Obama appointee and she resigned on October 6, 2015.  Our Charge d'Affaires is Robin Diallo and she is still there in office.

Minor problem, part two, our Ambassador to Panama was John D. Feeley who did recently resign but he tendered his letter of resignation on December 27th.

Fake news anyone?

Single-payer health care

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People keep clamoring for it but they fail to see how bad it is in other countries. I posted about England's problems a few days ago. Here is a look at Canada's problems - from Forbes:

Democrats Idolize Canada's Health System as It Recovers from Worst Year Ever
Mainstream Democrats are clamoring for Canadian-style single-payer health care -- a demand once relegated to the far-left fringe of the party.

Sixteen Senate Democrats, including several with aspirations for the party's presidential nomination in 2020, have signed onto Sen. Bernie Sanders's "Medicare for All" plan. Fealty to single-payer is already proving a litmus test for Democrats running for public office in blue states like California.

The increasing idolization of our northern neighbor's health system is ironic, as Canada's single-payer system -- which I grew up under -- just experienced its worst year ever.

Canadian patients waited a record 21.2 weeks to receive treatment from a specialist after being referred by their general practitioner in 2017, according to the latest survey of wait times by the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based think tank. That's a week longer than last year -- and more than double the corresponding figure from 1993, when Fraser began keeping track.

Patients with complex medical needs languished even longer. Those in need of neurosurgery, for instance, faced a median wait of nearly 33 weeks. For orthopedic surgery, wait times exceeded 41 weeks.

Rural Canadians faced similar delays. The median wait time for specialist treatment in New Brunswick was almost 42 weeks. In Nova Scotia, it was nearly 38 weeks. And on Prince Edward Island, over 32 weeks.

While months-long delays are routine in the Canadian system, years-long waits are not unprecedented. One Ontario patient was recently asked to wait four-and-a-half years to see a neurologist.

All told, Canadians are currently waiting on more than 1 million medical procedures. That means that roughly 3 percent of Canadians are biding their time until it's their turn to be treated, according to Fraser's calculations.

It's a longish article (three pages) and they cite cases and give links to corroborating information. One example:

That's what happened to Walid Khalfallah, a boy whose scoliosis was so bad that he was promised an "expedited" surgery. Despite his dire need for treatment, Khalfallah was forced to wait more than three years for his surgery date. His condition deteriorated throughout his grueling wait, according to a profile in the Vancouver Sun. He is now a paraplegic.

And the free healthcare?

Nor is it true that Canadians enjoy "free" health care. Treatment delays cost Canadian patients an estimated $1.7 billion a year in lost time and wages. Canadians also pay steep taxes to both the federal and provincial governments to fund their health system. The average family of four has to shell out more than $12,000 a year in taxes to cover its share of the cost.

A sobering look at what the ninnies want to impose on us.

Shi*hole countries

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From 2005 but still completely relevant - Der Spiegel:

For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!
The Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati, 35, says that aid to Africa does more harm than good. The avid proponent of globalization spoke with SPIEGEL about the disastrous effects of Western development policy in Africa, corrupt rulers, and the tendency to overstate the AIDS problem.

And this excerpt from the interview

Shikwati: ... for God's sake, please just stop.

SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.

SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?

Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.

Much more at the site. Liberals like to do what sounds good - they are concerned with the overall narrative. Conservatives are concerned with what DOES good. Big difference. Our government functionaries do not look at the actual data, they only deal with stories from those people whose pockets they line.

So true

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From A. F. Branco:


The 2018 flu season

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It is getting worse - from the medical blog STAT:

Flu season is shaping up as one of the worst in years, officials say
The entire continental United States is experiencing widespread flu right now, the first time in the 13 years of the current tracking system that that has happened, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officials said that this flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in recent years.

The rate of flu hospitalizations — the number of people hospitalized with flu per 100,000 — nearly doubled last week compared with the previous week. Last week it was 22.7 per 100,000 people; the week before that rate was 13.7.

I lost a dear friend who was only 52 and in great health. His memorial service was less than a week ago.

From Pew Research Center:

Publics Globally Want Unbiased News Coverage, but Are Divided on Whether Their News Media Deliver
Publics around the world overwhelmingly agree that the news media should be unbiased in their coverage of political issues, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 38 countries. Yet, when asked how their news media are doing on reporting different political issues fairly, people are far more mixed in their sentiments, with many saying their media do not deliver. And, in many countries, there are sharp political differences in views of the media – with the largest gap among Americans.

And the upshot:

Deep political divides in many nations on satisfaction with news media; greatest is in the U.S.

And it is not just conservatives:

The U.S. is also one of only a few countries where governing party supporters are less satisfied with their news media than are nonsupporters.

Time for the mainstream media to go away. They are there to give us the news, if we want indoctrination, we will go back to college.

FEMA and hazard mitigation

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It is easy to criticize the Federal Government for being a bloated inefficient leviathan but some agencies are actually very well run. FEMA for example. From the National Institute of Building Sciences:

Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report
The Institute's project team looked at the results of 23 years of federally funded mitigation grants provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and found mitigation funding can save the nation $6 in future disaster costs, for every $1 spent on hazard mitigation.

In addition, the project team looked at scenarios that focus on designing new buildings to exceed provisions of the 2015 model building codes. The 2017 Interim Report demonstrates that investing in hazard mitigation measures to exceed select requirements of the 2015 International Codes (I-Codes), the model building codes developed by the International Code Council (ICC), can save the nation $4 for every $1 spent.

Win/win - the full report can be downloaded from this page: Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report Download Form

The Flu - some advice

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Some great advice from Aesop - an Emergency Room Doctor and blogger: RACONTEUR REPORT

PSA: Flu 2018 - Updated
Thirty-six states report influenza activity as "widespread". That would be all the brown ones in the CDC map, above.
Nota bene the number of states with no influenza activity this year is "zero".
The CDC has identified 648 different active influenza virus sub-types this year, to date.

Anecdotally, where I am, approximately 4 out of every 6 persons swabbed for flu for URIs in the ER are coming back with positive results. (My patient pop. average age is markedly older than most of the county.) Just the other night, I admitted three different people over the age of 60 to the hospital, for flu which had debilitated the patients, who subsequently acquired pneumonia as well, the latter affliction being well capable of killing you deader than canned tuna untreated. Breathing underwater has that effect on people.

Flu symptoms are fever, sore throat, cough, body aches, fatigue, muscle aches, and possibly nausea/vomiting.

If you have a fever, you are infectious to others.
If you're treating a fever with Tylenol/ibuprofen/etc., you are infectious to others.
If either of those apply, keep your dumb ass at home, until you're over it. Period.
Anything else deserves a crotch kick.
(A co-worker was patient Zero at my ER, and another colleague gifted me with the crud for two weeks, followed by another four weeks of dreadfully lingering cough. This year's cold has a horrendous URI "tail" of hacking cough that just hangs on.)

1) Stay the f*** home. Until it's ALL gone.
2) Get plenty of sleep and rest, but get up and move around, if only to use the bathroom, make a sandwich, pee, poop, or puke. Lying immobile increases your odds for bigger problems.
3) acetaminophen/ibuprofen for fever control and aches.
4) Water, water, water. Anything less than an hourly pee trip, and your pee isn't clear and mostly colorless, you're probably not drinking nearly enough water.
5) Soups, Gatorade, Jell-O, popsicles, etc. are also water.
6) And more water.
7) Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, and dehydrate you more, and faster. Avoid both.
8) Take any number of "snivel" meds to mitigate symptoms, loosen congestion and mucus, suppress cough, etc.
9) If you find homeopathic voodoo meds that help, use them. They likely can't hurt.
10) Stay the f*** home. Until it's ALL gone.

This year's flu outbreak is in addition to normal viral illnesses (a "cold"), which are similarly rampant, especially from Thanksgiving to Easter, when intergenerational family members gather to share diseases and finger-bang everything they touch and cough on, for everyone from snot-monkey age to grandma and grandpa.

1) Keep yourself and your little bastards home when they're sick.
2) Wash your hands.
3) Wash your hands before you eat, drink, or touch your face.
4) Wash your hands.
5) Wash your hands after you poop, pee, cough, or touch anything else in the entire world.
6) Wash your hands.
7) Cover your mouth when you cough.
8) Keep at home all your kids too young and stupid to learn to cover their mouths when they cough.
9) Carry personal disinfectant/sanitizer, and use it vigorously and frequently.
10) Understand that if I catch you or your kids out and about in public, coughing, sneezing, and dribbling your snot-mitts on everything, I may replace or augment my personal disinfectant with OC spray, and I will use it on you. If you can still identify me afterwards, and I'm still in the same area 30 minutes later when your vision clears up, I may express feigned/mock regret over my "mistake" in grabbing the wrong spritzer and using it on you.
11) Or, not.

NB: OC Spray is Oleoresin capsicum - pepper spray. - good words of wisdom...

From CNBC:

Why one small Washington town has seen so many bitcoin miners move in
A small town three hours east of Seattle is turning into the epicenter of bitcoin mining in the United States.

Wenatchee, Washington is home to a dozen of the largest bitcoin and cryptocurrency miners in the country. And the head of the local power utility, Steve Wright, says another 75 have inquired about coming here since the price of bitcoin surged in December.

"We've come from just a few people out there who have been knocking on the door all of a sudden to people who are banging on the door pretty loudly," Wright said.

Malachi Salcido is one of the area's earliest miners. He runs 3 mining operations in the area, producing 5 to 7 bitcoins per day.

Salcido uses 7.5 megawatts of power — enough to power 11,000 homes. He wants to produce 50 bitcoins per day by July, which would require a whopping 42 megawatts of power.

That's why he's in Wenatchee: Power is extremely cheap — between 2 to 3 cents per kilowatt hour.

The reason? A series of dams on the Columbia River provide abundant hydroelectric power.

But it's not just the cheap power. Cooler temperatures help keep the servers at the right temperature. And for a small town Wenatchee has great internet capacity.

Confluence of cheap power, cool weather and fantastic internet bandwidth. Nice place to live if you wanted to go rural and away from the ocean.

James O'Keeffe does it again

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Project Veritas just released some undercover videos featuring Twitter engineers talking about how they censor the views they do not like (hint: Conservative)

Here is the first one:

UNDERCOVER VIDEO: Sr Network Security Engineer Reveals Twitter Ready to Give Trump’s Private DMs to DOJ
A Project Veritas undercover investigation has revealed a senior network security engineer at Twitter stating that his company is “more than happy” to turn over the private communications and deleted tweets of President Donald Trump to the Department of Justice. If true, it is yet unknown whether Twitter is voluntarily disclosing this sensitive information or acting under a court order. Twitter is currently in the midst of defending itself from left-leaning criticism that President Trump hasn’t been removed from the enormous media platform for violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Clay Haynes has been employed by Twitter since September 2016. On January 3, 2018, he met with a Project Veritas undercover journalist (UCJ) at Stookeys Club Moderne in San Francisco. Using a hidden video camera, the Veritas UCJ captures Haynes stating that “we’re more than happy to help the DOJ with their little investigation” of President Trump.

When prompted by the UCJ, Mr. Haynes provides additional details, “Basically, giving them every single tweet that he’s posted. Even the ones he’s deleted, any direct messages, any mentions…”

“…he’s dangerous, I don’t like him and he’s a terrible human being and I want to get rid of him,” the self-described bleeding-heart liberal Haynes says in the video about President Trump. “In fact, we had internal reviews about that…”

And here is the second one:

UNDERCOVER VIDEO: Twitter Engineers To “Ban a Way of Talking” Through “Shadow Banning,” Algorithms to Censor Opposing Political Opinions
In the latest undercover Project Veritas video investigation, current and former Twitter employees are on camera explaining steps the social media giant is taking to censor political content that they don’t like.

This video release follows the first undercover Twitter exposé Project Veritas released on January 10th which showed Twitter Senior Network Security Engineer Clay Haynes saying that Twitter is “more than happy to help the Department of Justice with their little [President Donald Trump] investigation.” Twitter responded to the video with a statement shortly after that release, stating “the individual depicted in this video was speaking in a personal capacity and does not represent of speak for Twitter.” The video released by Project Veritas today features eight employees, and a Project Veritas spokesman said there are more videos featuring additional employees coming.

That is what I love about Project veritas - they do not go live without already have a lot of additional videos in the can. Also, if they edit a video, they also release the raw unedited footage so viewers can see that the editing was done for brevity and not to take things out of context. James and Hanna are the people who, in 2009, brought down the big community organization group called ACORN

This comes on the heels of similar revelations about Google: Google’s New Fact-Check Feature Almost Exclusively Targets Conservative Sites

All the cool people are on gab.ai anyway...

Back home again - productive day

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Decided to head into Bellingham and work at the condo for a bit. Did some major triage on two of my Mom's filing cabinets - took about a hundred pounds of paper to the recyycling station. Found, mixed in with bank statements, bills and cancelled checks from around the 1980's some photos, a couple $20 bills, a paper my Mom wrote from the 1940's while she was an undergrad in Chemistry and some other memoribilia.  Fun trip down memory lane.

Back home - see if there is anything of interest on the internet and head over to YouTube for a while.

Heavy weather

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Rain is coming down - woke up to snow on the ground but most of it is forecast to be above 3,000 feet. About 0.4" accumulation so far.

Out for coffee and working on some stuff at the farm today.

UPDATE: Just got this email from the Department of Transportation

I-90 Snoqualmie Pass is closed again EB at MP 45 due to collisions. It's currently snowing with ice, slush and snow on the roadway.

Would not want to be heading over the passes today - any place over 3,000 feet altitude is getting hammered.


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No posting tonight - working on some other stuff...

Back from dinner

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Did not feel like cooking tonight and getting pretty tired of the soup.

Time to surf and check out YouTube for the evening.

Farm blogging

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Back at the farm for the day - done with town.

Nothing much happening on the internet - digitizing some albums but taking longer than expected. The digitizing process is realtime but it takes time to trim the files and convert them to MP3.

Probably head out for dinner tonight - did a lentil and ham soup a couple of days ago but getting pretty tired of it by now.

Dealership blogging

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Sitting at the Ford dealership in Bellingham getting an oil change and new filters.

Nothing much happening on the internets except for the Russian Election/Collusion/Fusion GPS Story and that will be another couple of months years before that story is finally told.

From Reuters:

Strong quake in Caribbean Sea shakes Honduras, Mexico and Belize, sparks tsunami warning
An earthquake of magnitude 7.6 that struck near remote islands belonging to Honduras on Tuesday was felt across northern Central America, prompting a tsunami warning for parts of the Caribbean.

The quake rattled windows in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa roughly 323 miles (519 km) to the east and was felt at least as far north as the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, but no damage was immediately reported.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami advisory was in effect for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after the earthquake and warned of possible waves up to 1 meter (3 feet) above tide level.

It was a shallow one which heightened its effects but it was far from any real population centers so the damage should be minimized.

Three headlines - romaine lettuce

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From Canada's Public Health AgencyOutbreak of E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce

From the USA's Centers for Disease ControlCDC Investigating Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections

From Consumer Reports magazine: Avoid Romaine Lettuce for Now, Consumer Reports Says

Things are pointing to a Canadian source - 59 people ill and two fatalities - washing the lettuce does nothing. Time to switch to iceberg or butter...

Just no pleasing some people

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Honestly... From The Washington Free Beacon:

Liberals Express Outrage Over Ivanka Trump Praising Oprah’s Golden Globes Speech
Liberal activists, journalists, and celebrities lambasted first daughter Ivanka Trump after she praised Oprah Winfrey's speech at the Golden Globe on Sunday, saying that Trump's support for women is hypocritical because her father has been accused of sexual misconduct.

"Just saw @Oprah's empowering & inspiring speech at last night's #GoldenGlobes," tweeted Ivanka Trump, who serves as a White House adviser. "Let's all come together, women & men, & say #TimesUp! #United."

And this:

Liberals were quick to excoriate Trump for supporting the #MeToo and related Time's Up movements, noting on Twitter that several women have accused her father, President Donald Trump, of sexual misconduct.

Most of the attacks focused on the president and did not mention Ivanka Trump's recent book, Women Can Work, which aims to provide working women with professional advice on how to advance in male-dominated fields, and her time abroad giving speeches on women's rights.

The Free Beacon reprints a lot of the leftie tweets. Do these people not have a kind word for someone they don't know. I thought that the children were supposed to be off-limits.

From The Daily Caller:

Washington Governor Claims ‘Just 59 Days’ To Save Children From Global Warming
Washington state’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee warned there was “just 59 days” to save future generations from “an endless cycle of crop-killing droughts one year, and rivers spilling their banks the next.”

Inslee went on a lengthy Twitter rant in efforts to convince the state legislature to pass legislation to tax carbon dioxide emissions. Washington residents voted down Inslee’s last carbon tax plan by a wide margin in 2016.

Clueless. Carbon is very useful and beneficial to our environment. We are made of the stuff.

Got another front moving through - this time, it's freezing rainfall. From Watts Up With That:

Forecasters: Another major winter storm to pound US East coast -ETA Saturday
System likely to produce a layer cake from hell frozen over.

Dr. Ryan Maue of weather.us has been watching the development of forecasts for a new major winter storm that is likely to pound the U.S. East Coast and Northeast/New England States Friday and Saturday. He writes:

Tropical moisture feed ahead of developing major winter storm will provide huge rainfall atop any frozen ground in the Middle Atlantic and Northeast into Saturday. Bad!

“Bad” in this case may equate to blizzard like conditions with heavy rain over frozen ground and snow, making for a real mess.

The start of an extended period of cold weather? Our sun is very quiet.

Great news for skiers

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From the National Weather Service - Winter Storm Watch:

National Weather Service Seattle WA
119 PM PST Tue Jan 9 2018


* WHAT...Heavy snow--plan on difficult travel conditions. Total snow accumulation 10 to 20 inches.

* WHERE...Cascade mountains around pass level and above.

* WHEN...The heaviest snow will fall in the Cascades during the day on Thursday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Expect winter driving conditions--especially on the higher passes. The snow will likely turn to rain at times Thursday afternoon on Snoqualmie Pass.

Mt. Baker has had eight inches in the last 24 hours - Friday is looking to be excellent for powder.

People are buying Fire and Fury online and not realizing what they are ordering. From the UK Guardian:

The other Fire and Fury: decade-old book becomes unexpected bestseller
When it was released 10 years ago, Randall Hansen’s book performed as expected, racking up strong sales that gradually tapered off. But this week the Canadian professor’s 2008 book unexpectedly leapt back on to bestseller lists.

The reason lies in the book’s name – Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945 – just a subtitle away from the Michael Wolff’s explosive exposé of the Trump White House.

“I haven’t seen this level of interest since the book first came out,” said Hansen, a political science professor at the University of Toronto.

A bit more:

After dinner on Friday Hansen logged into Amazon and found that his book – which explores civilian perspectives on the Allied bombing of Germany during the second world war – had edged back on to three of the site’s bestseller categories. “It amused me and part of me thought, can people really be that dumb to be confusing these books?”

In a few cases, it appeared that this was exactly what had happened. “I had a couple of bitter comments,” said Hansen. “There was one tweet, he came forward and said, ‘I bought this book by accident and there’s no way I’m reading it,’ in kind of this accusatory tone. I thought well, ‘it’s not quite my fault, mate.’”

Emphasis mine - that answer would be YES!

From Breitbart:

Stephen K. Bannon Steps Down from Breitbart News Network
Stephen K. Bannon has stepped down from Breitbart News Network, where he served as Executive Chairman since 2012.

Bannon and Breitbart will work together on a smooth and orderly transition.

Bannon said, “I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform.”

According to Breitbart CEO Larry Solov, “Steve is a valued part of our legacy, and we will always be grateful for his contributions, and what he has helped us to accomplish.”

He tried to play both sides of the fence and was called for it - part of the deep state and President Trump doesn't do deep state. Good riddance... Well over 7,500 comments.

Working at home today

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Busting out a couple of projects today as well as digitizing some record albums for a friend. Fun music - all from the 80's

Raining off and on since morning - about 0.4" accumulation in 24 hours.

From Forbes Magazine:

Exxon Prepares To Sue California Cities, Says They Contradict Themselves On Climate Change
Some government officials in California are hypocrites pushing a political agenda that involves using private lawyers to sue and demonize ExxonMobil, the company is now arguing in a Texas state court.

On Jan. 8, Exxon took the first step towards suing those who orchestrated climate change lawsuits in California by asking the Tarrant County District Court to allow it to question an assortment of government officials and a Hagens Berman lawyer. The company says those local officials are talking out of both sides of their mouths - blaming Exxon for an impending flooding disaster while not disclosing that alleged threat to possible investors in their bond offerings.

In 2017, the counties of Marin, Santa Cruz and San Mateo and the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz and Imperial Beach filed suit against dozens of energy companies, including Exxon and 17 other Texas-based businesses, over climate change. The company has previously been targeted by the attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York.

“It is reasonable to infer that the municipalities brought these lawsuits not because of a bona fide belief in any tortious conduct by the defendants or actual damage to their jurisdictions, but instead to coerce ExxonMobil and others operating in the Texas energy sector to adopt policies aligned with those favored by local politicians in California,” attorneys for the company wrote.

In doing so, they must have lied to potential investors in their respective bond offerings, the company claims.

One example:

San Mateo County’s complaint says it is “particularly vulnerable to sea level rise” and that there is a 93% chance the county experiences a “devastating” flood before 2050. However, bond offerings in 2014 and 2016 noted that the county “is unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur"

A long and fun read. Discovery will be interesting to say the least...

Nothing much on the internets

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Going to head over to YouTube and see who posted what foolishness today...

Lawsuits at the Goolag

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From Tech Crunch:

James Damore just filed a class action lawsuit against Google, saying it discriminates against white male conservatives
James Damore, a former Google engineer who was fired in August after posting a memo to an internal Google message board arguing that women may not be equally represented in tech because they are biologically less capable of engineering, has filed a class action lawsuit against the company in Santa Clara Superior Court in Northern California.

His claims: that Google unfairly discriminates against white men whose political views are unpopular with its executives.

Damore is joined in the 161-page suit by another former Google engineer named David Gudeman, who spent three years with Google working on a query engine. According to Gudeman’s LinkedIn profile, he left the company in December 2016 and has been self-employed since.

The lawsuit, filed by Dhillon Law Group, says it aims to represent all employees of Google who’ve been discriminated against due to their “perceived conservative political views by Google,” due to “their male gender by Google” and “due to their Caucasian race by Google.”

This is what the late great Andrew Breitbart would call punching back twice as hard. Good - make them think. Rattle their own cages. If you want to live in an echo chamber of your own making, join a church or attend a college. Don't bring your smarmy PC attitudes into the workplace.

Off to town

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Heading into Bellingham today to run a few errands. Coffee first.

More posting later this evening.

On New Year's Day, Seattle implemented a tax on sugar-based drinks - here, here, here and here

Chicago tried the same thing last year - the projected revenue fell way short, the push-back was strong and so they repealed it.

I wrote about it last October: Well that turned out well - the Chicago soda pop tax

I need to do this

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From Eat Liver:


Seen on FaceBook

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It is rumored that it is so cold in Massachusetts that Elizabeth Warren now claims to be an Eskimo. 


The Flu in England

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From the UK Telegraph:

NHS hospitals ordered to cancel all routine operations in January as flu spike and bed shortages lead to A&E crisis
Every hospital in the country has been ordered to cancel all non-urgent surgery until at least February in an unprecedented step by NHS officials.

The instructions on Tuesday night - which will see result in around 50,000 operations being axed - followed claims by senior doctors that patients were being treated in “third world” conditions, as hospital chief executives warned of the worst winter crisis for three decades.

Hospitals are reporting growing chaos, with a spike in winter flu leaving frail patients facing 12-hour waits, and some units running out of corridor space.

The joys of socialized medicine - the system creaks along until something like this epidemic happens and then it collapses. There is no resiliency built into the system. That costs money and they do not have any.

The consequences of their actions

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The environmentalists shut down the coal burning plants because of the pollution (coal is actually a very clean fuel if you use high-grade anthracite) and they shut down nuclear because... nuclear!. Now, they are paying the consequences. From the Conservative Tribune:

New England Liberals Shut Down Coal Power Plants, Now They’re at Risk of Freezing
Because of years of left-wing environmentalism being forced on power companies in New England, these energy suppliers are now struggling to fulfill the demands of local residents seeking to merely stay warm during this intense winter.

“Officials at ISO-New England, operators of the region’s power grid, said energy demands during the recent arctic weather have placed major pressures on energy generators, forcing power companies to rely more on coal and oil to produce electricity,” the Hartford Courant reported this week.

The Courant further noted that though energy industry officials have for years recommended that New England fix its energy problems by, at the very least, constructing new natural gas pipelines, such proposals have “been blocked or withdrawn” mainly because of opposition from environmental groups.

This post does a nice synthesis of the problems and the causes leading up to this winter with links to corroborating stories. The greenies are trying to have their cake and eat it too without thinking of the consequences of their actions. Especially as we are heading into a period of markedly cooler weather. Here is today's post from ISO-New England:

Power Systems Update: New England grid operations through recent bitter cold weather and preparation for winter storm
As of Sunday, January 7, New England’s bulk power system continues to operate reliably during this extremely frigid weather covering New England and the Northeast. Nevertheless, managing the region’s power system through these conditions continues to be challenging, primarily because of fuel availability.

During this extreme cold, some power plants have either tripped offline or had to reduce their output, while other oil-fired and dual-fuel generators are quickly depleting their fuel supply. As a result, ISO New England has taken steps to conserve fuel by ‘posturing’ units, which means that the ISO is postponing the operations of certain generation for later in the day or week, and using other generating resources instead to produce electricity. Consequently, some facilities will operate ‘out-of-merit’ which means these resources will be compensated to operate when the ISO requires them.

While the ISO is continually assessing the reliability of the system, other conditions continue to make grid operations difficult. Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station remains out of service, some oil-fired generation is nearing emissions limitations, and other power plants are awaiting fuel deliveries that were postponed because of Thursday’s storm. But these deliveries will not begin before tomorrow at the earliest.

With temperatures expected to warm up this week, the ISO expects power grid conditions to improve for the region, and offer a window for fuel replenishment. Such fuel replenishment is critical to handle any future cold snap. In the meantime, the ISO will continue to issue these updates if system conditions warrant.

In other words, New England is hanging on by its short and curlies and if they do not get a resupply during the coming warm spell, they are S.O.L.

Bad all over - flu

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Kurt died from the flu and he was in really good health. It is bad all around the USA - from the Los Angeles Times:

Severe flu brings medicine shortages, packed ERs and a rising death toll in California
So many people have fallen sick with influenza in California that pharmacies have run out of flu medicines, emergency rooms are packed, and the death toll is rising higher than in previous years.

Health officials said Friday that 27 people younger than 65 have died of the flu in California since October, compared with three at the same time last year. Nationwide and in California, flu activity spiked sharply in late December and continues to grow.

The emergency room at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica typically treats about 140 patients a day, but at least one day this week had more than 200 patients — mostly because of the flu, said the ER’s medical director, Dr. Wally Ghurabi.

Wash your hands frequently and stay away from crowds. This season is a bad one. There is a bit of good news from the Centers for Disease Control:

Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses

Good news - the initial vaccines didn't cover this year's prevailing strain.

Three headlines and a video

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The future is looking interesting for Hillary:

And Judge Jeanine Pirro interviews Representative Jim Jordan and Representative Mark Meadows about current DC issues and the recent moves by the Attorney Generals’ office:

A quiet day

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Out for coffee, meeting with someone and coming back home to unpack the PA and video equipment from yesterday's memorial service.

Rain is falling with about 0.4" accumulation in the last 48 hours - Winter Weather Advisory for snowfall above 3,500 feet.

More later...

Off to YouTube and an early evening

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Did not sleep well last night so taking an early bedtime - watch some YouTube videos and head upstairs to sleep.

Unpack the truck tomorrow and work on a couple of projects.

Sounds like he is more than qualified

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From BizPac Review:

Convicted felon announces campaign for governor in Democratic state – sounds about right
The Democratic Mayor of Bridgeport, Conn., who spent almost seven years in federal prison for political-corruption, announced a campaign for governor of the state Wednesday.

Joe Ganim, 58, filed the necessary paperwork to run for governor at the State Elections Enforcement Commission office in Hartford, Conn., joining a number of other Democratic candidates who have expressed interest in running for current Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s spot, who said in April that he would not seek re-election.

Ganim was convicted of 16 federal corruption charges in 2003 while serving as mayor and was sentenced to nine years in prison. After serving almost seven years, Ganim was released.

Prosecutors said he directed contracts to his business partners and their clients for over $500,000 of personal gifts, including cash, diamonds, designer clothing, fine wine and even improvements to his home, WTOP reported.

Ganim was released and elected mayor of Bridgeport again in 2015 after apologizing, but now believes he deserves a shot as the governor of Connecticut.

The good citizens of Connecticut are getting the government they deserve. Business as usual in the deep state...

Good move - catching a predator

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I bet this moke must have felt really stupid. From The Bellingham Herald:

Police chief thought he found a 14-year-old ‘playmate’ online — but it was an officer, cops say
When Pennsylvania police officer Daniel Block saw an advertisement online titled “dominate male officer seeks fun, discreet, sub playmate,” he decided to investigate.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by WTAE, the ad read: "I am a dom male that is also employed as a full time police officer. I hope that does not scare you off. I am white, straight, good looking, clean, d/d free, mentally stable and fun. I can also host or travel. I do have pics to share and I am very discreet.

“I am looking for a female sub for ongoing play sessions,” it continued. “I do not have a set type of woman so any age, race or status may email me. I respect any and all limits and you do not need to be experienced. I hope to hear from someone soon. KIK=kutecop4you.”

So Block said he began to impersonate a 14-year-old, reminding the person behind the account named “kutecop4you” that he was seemingly talking to an eighth grader “on multiple occasions,” according to TribLive.

Can not imagine prison time being very fun - both a paedophile and a cop (ex-cop). Serve and protect indeed...

Nice memorial service

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I have never seen the venue with that many people in it - people had to park on the street. Well over 200. Kurt was much loved in this community. Trish drove up - wonderful to see her and introduce her to some of my friends.

Heading out for Mexican food and then home to work on some projects.

Mount Washington

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When I was living in Boston, I loved hearing about Mount Washington. It has some of the worst weather in the USA.

From the Boston Globe:

Mount Washington is among the coldest places on the planet — and beyond
Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire isn’t just cold — at -36 degrees with a windchill of 94 below, it’s tied for the second coldest place on Earth, according to a tweet from the observatory. In fact, according to the latest data available from the Curiosity rover on Mars, Mount Washington feels colder than the surface of our celestial neighbor, which was measured at -78 degrees.

As of Saturday morning, the wind was gusting at over 100 miles per hour at the summit, which is 6,288 feet above sea level, according to the observatory’s website.

“We should end up being the coldest location tonight in the Lower 48,” Mike Carmon, senior meteorologist at the Mount Washington Observatory, told the New York Times. “We basically just start saying it’s stupid cold outside.”

If you’re wondering what place on Earth could possibly be colder than Mount Washington, it’s Eureka, Nunavut, at -40 degrees. But with winds of only 2 miles per hour, Eureka comes in at a balmy windchill of -50 degrees.

To get an idea of Mt. Washington weather, here is a short film shot in 1990 showing a typical morning:

And I am out of here

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Finishing off loading the PA system and video projector into the truck and then heading out for coffee.

Kurt's memorial service is at 1:00PM today - a sad time for the community.

More later this evening.

From the UK Wired:

Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens
On June 14, 2014, the State Council of China published an ominous-sounding document called "Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System". In the way of Chinese policy documents, it was a lengthy and rather dry affair, but it contained a radical idea. What if there was a national trust score that rated the kind of citizen you were?

Imagine a world where many of your daily activities were constantly monitored and evaluated: what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not). It's not hard to picture, because most of that already happens, thanks to all those data-collecting behemoths like Google, Facebook and Instagram or health-tracking apps such as Fitbit. But now imagine a system where all these behaviours are rated as either positive or negative and distilled into a single number, according to rules set by the government. That would create your Citizen Score and it would tell everyone whether or not you were trustworthy. Plus, your rating would be publicly ranked against that of the entire population and used to determine your eligibility for a mortgage or a job, where your children can go to school - or even just your chances of getting a date.

A futuristic vision of Big Brother out of control? No, it's already getting underway in China, where the government is developing the Social Credit System (SCS) to rate the trustworthiness of its 1.3 billion citizens. The Chinese government is pitching the system as a desirable way to measure and enhance "trust" nationwide and to build a culture of "sincerity". As the policy states, "It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility."

And a bit more about the rating system - what they are looking at:

So just how are people rated? Individuals on Sesame Credit are measured by a score ranging between 350 and 950 points. Alibaba does not divulge the "complex algorithm" it uses to calculate the number but they do reveal the five factors taken into account. The first is credit history. For example, does the citizen pay their electricity or phone bill on time? Next is fulfilment capacity, which it defines in its guidelines as "a user's ability to fulfil his/her contract obligations". The third factor is personal characteristics, verifying personal information such as someone's mobile phone number and address. But the fourth category, behaviour and preference, is where it gets interesting.

Under this system, something as innocuous as a person's shopping habits become a measure of character. Alibaba admits it judges people by the types of products they buy. "Someone who plays video games for ten hours a day, for example, would be considered an idle person," says Li Yingyun, Sesame's Technology Director. "Someone who frequently buys diapers would be considered as probably a parent, who on balance is more likely to have a sense of responsibility." So the system not only investigates behaviour - it shapes it. It "nudges" citizens away from purchases and behaviours the government does not like.

Friends matter, too. The fifth category is interpersonal relationships. What does their choice of online friends and their interactions say about the person being assessed? Sharing what Sesame Credit refers to as "positive energy" online, nice messages about the government or how well the country's economy is doing, will make your score go up.

Yikes - how long before we have this level of intrusion into our own lives here in the USA? Read the whole thing. Crap like this is why I am a libertarian.

Sticking with your core competency

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Too many companies try to diversify too much. Best to stick with what you do well - GoPro in this case. From TechCrunch:

GoPro cuts 200-300 jobs, largely impacting its drone division
GoPro is in the process of laying off around 200-300 employees this week, TechCrunch has learned from sources close to the company. The hits to the company were largely concentrated in its aerial division, the segment of the company responsible for its Karma drone.

GoPro has the action camera market sewn up (except for other companies like Yi - very happy with my Yi). DJI owns the drone market (but my Yuneec Typhoon is superior in many ways). They are learning this lesson about core competencies.

An outbreak of common sense in Norway

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From Hart Energy:

Norwegian Government Wins Arctic Oil Lawsuit
An Oslo court approved Norway’s plans for more oil exploration in the Arctic on Jan. 4, dismissing a lawsuit by environmentalists who had said it violated people’s right to a healthy environment.

The case, brought by Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth Group, had argued that a 2015 oil licensing round in the Arctic that gave awards to Statoil, Chevron and others was unconstitutional.

“The environmental organizations’ argument that the plan violates the Constitution’s Article 112 has not succeeded,” Oslo district court ruled. “The state, represented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, is exonerated.”

The court ordered the environmental groups to pay the state’s legal costs of 580,000 Norwegian crowns (US$71,687). It was not immediately known if they would appeal against the ruling.

Norway is Western Europe’s largest producer and exporter of oil and gas and plans to keep pumping for decades despite its support for the 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to end the fossil fuel era this century.

Good - time to push back against these marxists who want to hamstring our growth and prosperity. Abundent and cheap energy is the best thing anyone can do for this planet and all creatures who dwell upon her. I remember back when Greenpeace actually did good solid scienced-based work.

Faster please

From Science Alert:

This Incredible Virus Attacks Brain Cancer And Actually Boosts Our Immune System
A study attempting to show that viruses could be delivered to brain tumours has delivered that and more.

Not only did the virus in question reach its target, it also stimulated the patient's own immune system - which then also attacked the tumour.

Preclinical experiments in mice, followed by window-of-opportunity trials in nine human patients, showed that the naturally occurring virus offers potential for a new type of cancer therapy that could be used alongside other treatments.

The virus they used is one that has previously shown potential for cancer treatment - what is known as an oncolytic virus.

It's called mammalian orthoreovirus type 3, from the reovirus family, and it has previously been shown to kill tumour cells, but leave healthy cells alone.

Previous experiments have demonstrated this mechanism, but researchers from the University of Leeds are the first to successfully direct it at brain tumours.

Interesting development.

Walking around naked

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Forgot my new phone this morning and I felt naked the entire day. Since there is no cell service where I live, I had been using a cheap Wal-Mart burner but recently upgraded to a Motorola Play Android device and love it. Could have used it several times today for non-phone tasks.

Two headlines - Fire and fury

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Another day at the farm

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Woke up to water - finally, the pipes have thawed enough so there is running water. Only a trickle for now but better than nothing.

Seattle time lapse

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Gorgeous short video:

More information here: Seattle 3 Year Time-lapse Video from the Space Needle

Dealing with Fake News

President Trump has come up with a novel idea for dealing with all the Fake News swirling around - tax it. From New York's The Sun:

Newspapers Opposing Trump Begging for Relief on Duties On Newsprint From Canada
If you think President Trump has an antagonistic relationship with the press now, just wait until his administration slaps a new 30% tax on newsprint.

Seriously. That’s the threat America’s newspaper publishers are warning about, with the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration set to issue a preliminary determination by March 7, 2018 on whether Canada’s export into the United States of “certain uncoated groundwood paper” meets the legal tests to qualify for countervailing duties under the Tariff Act of 1930.

The publisher of Maine’s largest newspaper, the Portland Press Herald, raised an alarm about the issue in her year-end letter to readers. “We are facing a new challenge that threatens our newspapers,” the publisher, Lisa DeSisto, wrote. “The Trump administration is looking to impose a tariff on newsprint from Canada, which would have a disastrous effect on the entire newspaper industry. We purchase all our newsprint from Canada, as Maine mills no longer produce it. It would be near impossible for us to absorb a 30 percent increase in newsprint costs.”

Come on now - the corporate tax rate is way down. And how many newspapers are starting their reporters, typesetters and press operators $15/hour? How many of them are handing out bonuses this year? Methinks we are seeing a bit of crocodile tears - newspapers are generally privately held corporations so we do not really get an insiders look at their finances. Considering what they charge for advertising, I am betting that selling ink is still quite profitable.

Influenza in the news

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My manager's husband died from the flu a few days ago - it has been a very bad season for this disease. Here are a few links:

The Centers for Disease Control show that the prevailing strain is not what people were being vaccinated for.

Climate Change

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There is a big difference between the output from computer models and real data recorded in the field. Excellent article on global temperature and its lack of rise. From CFact:

No CO2 warming for the last 40 years?
It is very cold here in the Eastern US and the President is joking about the lack of global warming. More interesting by far is the fact that there appears to have been no CO2 induced warming in the last 40 years, which is as far back as the satellite measurements go.

That this incredible fact has gone unnoticed is due mostly to the scientific community’s fixation on the warming shown by the surface temperature statistical models. But as explained here, these complex computer models are completely unreliable.

Also, the satellite measurements do show some global warming, which people have mistakenly assumed somehow supports the hypothesis of human caused, CO2 induced warming. Careful inspection shows that this assumption is false. There is in fact no evidence of CO2 warming in the entire satellite record.

To see this one must look at the satellite record in detail. To understand this, bear in mind that science is all about the specific details of an observation. These details can overthrow grand theories that are widely accepted.

For example, the negative result of the Michelson-Morley experiment led to the revolutionary special theory of relativity. When it comes to global warming, the 40 year satellite measurements provide a strong negative result for the CO2 warming hypothesis. The CO2 warming just is not there.

Like I said before, when this foolishness blows over, it will be interesting to see just how much money was wasted.

Two headlines

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What a wonderful guy - and to think that he is the Democratic National Committee Deputy Chairman:

Keith Ellison Poses With Antifa Handbook

Keith Ellison Donor: ‘Israelis Have to be Bombed,’ Only Understand ‘Resistance’

Now this will be interesting to follow

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Talk about having repercussions - from Associated Press:

Sessions terminates US policy that let legal pot flourish
The Trump administration threw the burgeoning movement to legalize marijuana into uncertainty Thursday as it lifted an Obama-era policy that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will now leave it up to federal prosecutors to decide what to do when state rules collide with federal drug law.

Sessions’ action, just three days after a legalization law went into effect in California, threatened the future of the young industry, created confusion in states where the drug is legal and outraged both marijuana advocates and some members of Congress, including Sessions’ fellow Republicans. Many conservatives are wary of what they see as federal intrusion in areas they believe must be left to the states.

Marijuana is regulated by the federal government - good test of the 10th Amendment v/s the Supremacy Clause. I live in Washington State where recreational use was made legal. No spike in crime or traffic accidents has been observed.

Still no water

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Got up to 37.2 degrees today but the pipes are still frozen. Now at 36.0°F so cooling down for the day. Still hopeful but not holding my breath. Showered at the store but I would love to wash some dishes and cook dinner.

About halfway through scanning Kurt's photos for the memorial service - downloading some music too - Grateful Dead

Another day in...

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Still no water this morning but it is forecast to get into the 40's so there is hope that the pipes will thaw.

Going out for coffee and then spending the day scanning photos for Kurt's memorial service on Saturday. Spending tomorrow doing the buying run - this was his job at the store so I will be having to notify the vendors if they ask where he is. Sad duty...

Thinking back over the last ten years or so and there has been a death of someone close to me about every other year - way too many for such a small community.

They warned us and now? Guess what...

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Glad I do not live on the East Coast any more - from The Daily Caller:

New England Was Warned ‘Pipeline Constraints’ Could Cause Problems This Winter. Now It’s Happening
While New England’s power grid operator predicted it would have enough energy supplies to meet demand this winter, it admitted there could be problems if record-low temperatures set in.

“While New England has adequate capacity resources to meet projected demand, a continuing concern involves the availability of fuel for those power plants to generate electricity when needed,” grid operator ISO New England reported in November.

“During extremely cold weather, natural gas pipeline constraints limit the availability of fuel for natural-gas-fired power plants,” the grid operator noted.

That’s exactly what is happening right now.

And a bit more:

New England’s current energy woes are the result of years of state and federal policies aimed at closing coal and oil-fired power plants, largely as part of the region’s effort to fight global warming.

Some day, once this whole anthropogenic global warming batshit blows over and people come to their senses, I would love for someone to compile an account of just how much money was wasted on this foolish rat-hole. How many lives were lost. There has been zero measurable warming in the last 20 years. Now, a lot of people are worrying that we might be entering into an extended period of cooling.

Rattlesnake Ridge

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There is a very slow landslide in Eastern Washington which has been going on since last October - here is a video from a few days ago:

More information from the Yakima Herald:

Majority hold off on call to evacuate near Rattlesnake Ridge
Yakima County officials said Tuesday they can’t definitively predict the scope of an expected landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge, where massive cracks have opened several hundred feet above Thorp Road.

However, officials said a landslide could be limited in scale. Geologists have been monitoring the slow-motion movement of soil in the area since October.

“The geologic experts that have been monitoring this slide believe that since the slide is slow moving and on a gentle slope that the landslide event will be small in nature and hopefully stabilize itself,” the Yakima County Office of Emergency Management said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Meanwhile, about 35 of the roughly 50 residents living in a collection of trailers and modest buildings at the base of the ridge have not heeded warnings last week to evacuate.

Under state law residents can’t be forced to leave, but the county’s emergency management office is collecting their information to provide to first-responders should anything happen, said that agency’s senior planner Horace Ward.

Hell - if that was me living there, I would have left months ago. Experts are thinking that this will be a small event but the experts failed to see the Oso slide until it was too late and 43 people lost their lives.

Still no water at the farm. Forecast is for temps in the 40's for tomorrow but we will see. My farm lies in the shadow of two large mountains so it runs cooler than the rest of this area. Thank God I have the store so I can take a shower there when I need.

Did a quick run into town for some banking and to buy something at the local hardware store plus the obligatory Costco shopping experience. Had dinner at a nearby town - fish and chips.

Got food to the pups - time to surf for a bit. Setting up my photo scanner for Kurt's memorial service - still can not process the fact that he is gone.

Bombogenesis in action

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Definition: bombogenesis
What is happening: The Washington Post

‘Bomb cyclone’ blasting East Coast before polar vortex uncorks tremendous cold late this week
Unforgiving cold has punished the eastern United States for the past 10 days. But the most severe winter weather yet will assault the area Wednesday night into the weekend.

First, a monster ocean storm is taking shape, which pasted parts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina with rare ice and snow early Wednesday. By Thursday, the exploding storm will, in many ways, resemble a winter hurricane, battering easternmost New England with potentially damaging winds in addition to blinding snow. Blizzard warnings have been issued for the Virginia Tidewater region up the coast to eastern Maine, including Ocean City, Md., Atlantic City, eastern Long Island, Boston, and Portland.

“This rapidly intensifying East Coast storm will produce strong, damaging winds — possibly resulting in downed trees, power outages and coastal flooding,” the National Weather Service tweeted Wednesday.

Forecasters are expecting the storm to become a “bomb cyclone” because its pressure is predicted to fall so fast, an indicator of explosive strengthening. The storm could rank as the most intense over the waters east of New England in decades at this time of year.

Little ice age anyone? All the indicators are there starting with a very quiet sun.

Another day in paradise

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Still no water - temp outside is 22.5°F. Doing a sponge bath with bottled water and taking a shower at the store later. The joys of country living...

Heading out for coffee and then scanning some photos for Saturday's memorial service. Still having a hard time processing the fact that I will not see Kurt again - way too young to go.

Back at the farm for a week or so

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Pulled in an hour ago - emailed Trish, took care of the dogs and cat, downloaded and riffled through about 200+ emails and now starting to surf.

The power is back on but still no water. The pipes did unfreeze sometime - I had a nice burst of pressure when I turned the tap but it only lasted for a gallon or so. Supposed to get about 40°F tomorrow so keeping my fingers crossed.

Meeting with my manager tomorrow to scan some photos for her husband's memorial service on Saturday. We are shutting down the store that day.

More posting later.

Heading to the farm today

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Memorial service for my friend on Saturday. Trish is back to work tomorrow so she and daughter and dog are heading up to the Mt. pass for some snow-time.

More posting later tonight.

T and I had a nice small gathering of friends to usher in the new year last night.

Woke up to a phone call from one of my managers telling me that her husband had passed away from the Flu. He was younger than me - they were in Connecticut visiting with his parents over the holidays. They had the flu and he caught it.

I will be driving up there tomorrow for a week or two

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