July 2018 Archives

And that is it for the evening

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Long day - woke up on the farm, packed up the car and drove another load of stuff to the condo for the estate sale, had a 2PM appointment for an oil change for my Toyota Highlander (love that car!), did some banking, ran some errands, got a bite to eat and then drove down to the island home.

Meeting with engineers and have a plumber coming out to fix a small leak. Spend Wednesday night here and then back to the farm to list more stuff to sell - travel trailer, boat, food trailer, several other trailers, machine tools (lathe, milling machine, table saw, etc...) and much much more.

Feels wonderful lightening the load. The hoard was fun to curate for a while but time to break it up and get on with life.

I have one and use it when necessary. A good idea.

From FOX News:

UN warns it is 'running out of cash' in urgent appeal to members
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the U.N. is running out of money and is urging members to pay up amid a looming financial crisis for the international body.

In a letter to staff this week, seen by Fox News, Guterres says he has warned member states of a “troubling financial situation facing the United Nations," which he says is caused by late payments to the U.N. by member states.

“Our cash flow has never been this low so early in the calendar year, and the broader trend is also concerning; we are running out of cash sooner and staying in the red longer,” he says.

They have some nice property in Manhatten that they could list - bring in a couple Billion dollars. Would make a nice Trump Tower.

The article goes on to point out that the USA has not cut UN funding despite President Trump's sugestion that that might happen. It is other member nations that are not paying their fare share.

A great expose on the real price of ink-jet printers.

Note that laser printers are a lot more economical to run and the bigger the machine, the more the economics of scale comes in to play so the lower the cost per page.

There is a brisk market for 3rd party ink cartridges. These are off-brand, manufactured by a different company and are usually a lot more reasonably priced. Google. Amazon sells them. For photographic printers, there are some companies that make Continuous Ink Supply Systems (CISS) - these are external tanks which replace the ink cartridges entirely. Bypassing them. Here, here, here and here.

One problem with photo quality ink jet printers is that, over time, the heads can dry out and individual nozzles clog up. This produces white bands across the image. I like this software - it allows for a lot of flexibility in printing and it can also kick out a small print every few days to keep the heads wet. It's only $80 for the full version. Check out QImage Ultimate

From Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Saudi king holidays in still unbuilt mega city NEOM
Saudi King Salman has arrived for a holiday in NEOM, a still-undeveloped mega city that the crown prince has pledged to build from scratch in the kingdom's remote northwest, state media said Monday.

NEOM appears an unusual holiday destination for the 82-year-old monarch, who is known to spend his annual summer vacation in exotic palaces in locations such as Morocco.

The king "has arrived in NEOM, where he will spend some time in rest and recreation", the official Saudi Press Agency said in a brief statement.

And the city itself:

NEOM, announced with much fanfare last October by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is part of a series of multi-billion-dollar projects as the kingdom seeks to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

The Saudi government says NEOM -- billed as a regional silicon valley -- will draw investments worth $500 billion from the kingdom's vast Public Investment Fund, as well as local and international investors.

The city has an interesting (if vague) website: NEOM

Nice guy - Manchester bomber

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From the London Daily Mail:

Act of betrayal: rescued by the Royal Navy from Libyan warzone and evacuated back to Britain - three years before he slaughtered 22 people at a pop concert
The Manchester suicide bomber was rescued by the Navy from war-torn Libya three years before his pop concert atrocity, the Mail reveals today.

HMS Enterprise plucked Salman Abedi, then 19, from the Libyan coast and took him to Malta for a flight home to Britain in August 2014.

Last May he set off a bomb in Manchester Arena that killed 22, including seven children. Abedi’s younger brother, Hashem, who is in jail in Tripoli facing trial over the attack, was also rescued by HMS Enterprise. The pair had been caught up in fighting in Libya and were among more than 100 British citizens taken to safety. Photographs released by Ministry of Defence officials at the time showed the group being brought on board the Navy vessel.

A Whitehall source said: ‘For this man to have committed such an atrocity on UK soil after we rescued him from Libya was an act of utter betrayal.’ The revelation will enrage families who lost loved ones in Abedi’s despicable attack.

It is also likely to raise fresh fears over possible intelligence failures.

Abedi was known to the security services and was being monitored at the time of his trip to Libya. However, just one month prior to his rescue, MI5 closed his case as a result of mistaken identity. The presence of the Abedi brothers among the 110 evacuees from Libya in 2014 was confirmed by family friends in Libya. One said: ‘They were sent together by the Royal Navy to Malta.’

A bit of a longish excerpt but the article is quite a long read. A good one too. He was known to authorities but they closed the case thinking it was a case of mis-identity. His parents moved from England to Syria because of their radical muslim beliefs. Why didn't the British Government watch this goblin more closely. At least they have the brother in prison where he can rot.

Our masters in government

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Are not updating a watchdog website designed to track their mendacity. From The Washington Free Beacon:

Over Half of the Federal Government’s Spending Data Is Wrong
A new bipartisan Senate report revealed more than half of the government's public data on federal spending is wrong, as the website USAspending.gov is riddled with errors.

The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, led by chairman Rob Portman (R., Ohio) and ranking member Tom Carper (D., Del.), released a report Tuesday finding nearly every agency is failing to accurately report its spending as required by federal law.

The subcommittee reviewed over two dozen inspector general reports and determined 55 percent of the spending data submitted to USAspending.gov was inaccurate. The errors accounted for $240 billion in spending during the second quarter of 2017, according to the report.

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, or DATA Act, required federal spending to be easily accessible to the public through a searchable website, which became USAspending.gov. The website was revamped earlier this year, but agencies are not meeting their requirements to submit accurate, consistent, and reliable data on its spending.

The agency in charge of USAspending.gov—the Treasury Department—is among the worst culprits, as 96 percent of its own data is inaccurate.

A PDF of the report can be found here: FEDERAL AGENCY COMPLIANCE WITH THE DATA ACT

The good part starts on Page 37 (the report is 46 pages long) - they cite examples of each agency as they misreported the data on the website. Complete with screenshots. Time to shrink the state down to where it can function efficiently. We have too many administrators and middle-level managers and not enough people actually doing the work.

And the bubble pops (a little bit)

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Great acronym: FAANG From CNBC:

Apple and the FANG stocks could lose at least a third of value, market watcher warns
Wall Street's crown jewels, the FAANG stocks, have lost their shine lately.

Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet are selling off again Monday after losing a combined $185 billion over the previous two sessions.

Ahead of Apple earnings scheduled for Tuesday evening, Larry McDonald, editor of the Bear Traps Report, warns to stay away from what has been one of the hottest areas of the market this year.

"These are stocks you want to run away from," McDonald told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Friday. "I see potentially 30 percent to 40 percent downside on the FAANGs."

These things are cyclical - the stock prices were overvalued and the leaders of these companies tried to make even more money by selling consumer data. The consumers did not like this and they revolted.

Heat wave

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Going through a bit of a heat wave up here - temps in the 90's. Supposed to get some marine air coming in Thursday which will cool things down and maybe have some precip. One can hope...

Been packing up the garage and tossing a bunch of crap. Downsizing is fun - a very infectious behaviour. Once started, it builds and builds until it consumes the conciousness. I had quite the hoard going but its days are numbered...

It is the stuff like this that we do not hear about that shows us that North Korea is serious about joining the rest of the world. From The Korea Times:

North Korea launches team to mend ties with Japan: report
North Korea has put together a team to negotiate with Japan, which itself is seeking direct talks to settle various issues, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported on Saturday, citing sources familiar with bilateral relations.

Kyodo said the negotiating team was apparently established sometime between April and the historic U.S.-North Korea summit on June 12. If the report is true, the team is a visible indicator North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is interested in exploring dialogue with Tokyo in the midst of a rapid change in the geopolitics of the Korean Peninsula.

"North Korea decided earlier this year that mending ties with Japan would become a future objective if it moves to improve ties with the United States, South Korea and China," the news outlet quoted a source as saying.

Baby steps.  Looks like President Trump has opened a dialog with North Korea and is giving them the opportunity to rejoin the rest of the world while still maintaining 'face'. There have been no more missile tests (flying over Japan and Guam). No more nuclear bomb tests. Their primary missile launch facility is being dismantled. US Soldiers' remains from the 1950's Korean War are being returned. Looks like they are serious.

Someone who simply does not get it

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A warm feeling of Schadenfreude again - from Associated Press:

Times publisher asks Trump to reconsider anti-media rhetoric
The publisher of the New York Times said Sunday he “implored” President Donald Trump at a private White House meeting this month to reconsider his broad attacks on journalists, calling the president’s anti-press rhetoric “not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.”

A bit more:

Sulzberger said he told Trump that while the phrase “fake news” is untrue and harmful, “I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people.’ I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”

Somebody call the whaaambulance. The bias in that newspaper and in most mainstream news sources is very easy to see and it is universally anti-Trump. Time for them to start telling the truth - they might find that their circulation increases.

Sixty years ago today

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NASA's birthday is today:

From Infogalactic:

The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (Pub.L. 85–568) is the United States federal statute that created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Act, which followed close on the heels of the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik, was drafted by the United States House Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration and on July 29, 1958 was signed by President Eisenhower. Prior to enactment, the responsibility for space exploration was deemed primarily a military venture, in line with the Soviet model that had launched the first orbital satellite. In large measure, the Act was prompted by the lack of response by a US military infrastructure that seemed incapable of keeping up the space race.

The original 1958 act charged the new Agency with conducting the aeronautical and space activities of the United States "so as to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives:"

    • The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;
    • The improvement of the usefulness, performance, speed, safety, and efficiency of aeronautical and space vehicles;
    • The development and operation of vehicles capable of carrying instruments, equipment, supplies and living organisms through space;
    • The establishment of long-range studies of the potential benefits to be gained from, the opportunities for, and the problems involved in the utilization of aeronautical and space activities for peaceful and scientific purposes.
    • The preservation of the role of the United States as a leader in aeronautical and space science and technology and in the application thereof to the conduct of peaceful activities within and outside the atmosphere.
    • The making available to agencies directly concerned with national defenses of discoveries that have military value or significance, and the furnishing by such agencies, to the civilian agency established to direct and control nonmilitary aeronautical and space activities, of information as to discoveries which have value or significance to that agency;
    • Cooperation by the United States with other nations and groups of nations in work done pursuant to this Act and in the peaceful application of the results, thereof; and
    • The most effective utilization of the scientific and engineering resources of the United States, with close cooperation among all interested agencies of the United States in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort, facilities, and equipment.

In 2012, a ninth objective was added: "The preservation of the United States preeminent position in aeronautics and space through research and technology development related to associated manufacturing processes."

A fun time to be alive and it looks like NASA may be getting back to basic research and exploration again. Now we have to hitch a ride from the Russians. I love that there are private Aerospace companies building rockets too - no reason it has to be a government monopoly...

Delightful editorial at the Wall Street Journal:

Climate Change Has Run Its Course
Climate change is over. No, I’m not saying the climate will not change in the future, or that human influence on the climate is negligible. I mean simply that climate change is no longer a pre-eminent policy issue. All that remains is boilerplate rhetoric from the political class, frivolous nuisance lawsuits, and bureaucratic mandates on behalf of special-interest renewable-energy rent seekers.

Judged by deeds rather than words, most national governments are backing away from forced-marched decarbonization. You can date the arc of climate change as a policy priority from 1988, when highly publicized congressional hearings first elevated the issue, to 2018. President Trump’s ostentatious withdrawal from the Paris Agreement merely ratified a trend long becoming evident.

A good indicator of why climate change as an issue is over can be found early in the text of the Paris Agreement. The “nonbinding” pact declares that climate action must include concern for “gender equality, empowerment of women, and intergenerational equity” as well as “the importance for some of the concept of ‘climate justice.’ ” Another is Sarah Myhre’s address at the most recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union, in which she proclaimed that climate change cannot fully be addressed without also grappling with the misogyny and social injustice that have perpetuated the problem for decades.

The descent of climate change into the abyss of social-justice identity politics represents the last gasp of a cause that has lost its vitality. Climate alarm is like a car alarm—a blaring noise people are tuning out.

Pure schadenfreude - if the greenies were serious about lowering carbon (they fail to realize that CO2 is plant food), they would be promoting nuclear but nuke does not fit their narrative. Instead, Billions of our tax dollars are being spent on "renewable" energy that is not sustainable without massive subsidies. This article from CFACT outlines the scope of the problem:

Failing the laugh test: Wind, solar power make subsidy accusations
The lavishly subsidized wind and solar power industries apparently don’t like other meth dealers – er, make that energy subsidy recipients – on their federal-pork street corner. The evidence? Wind and solar apologists are squealing with outrage that coal and nuclear power may finally get their own small piece of the action.

For important context, the wind and solar power industries each receive such enormous taxpayer subsidies that all other energy industries combined do not receive as much taxpayer pork as either wind or solar power alone. According to the U.S. Energy Information administration, the net subsidies for coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power combined amount to only 1/9th of the amount of federal renewable energy subsidies (see Table 3: https://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf).

Keeping wind and solar power’s dominance of the energy subsidy racket in mind, wind and solar apologists are making laughable objections to Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to provide credit – on energy security grounds – to power facilities that can produce electricity 24/7 and can store their fuel onsite. With coal and nuclear power fitting these energy security goals, and wind and solar power falling short, renewable power apologists claim energy security considerations amount to “subsidies” and “bailouts” for coal and nuclear power.

Time to start building LFTRs - we had them in the 1960's but stopped building them because Thorium does not go Ka-Boom while Uranium and Plutonium do and the commercial interests did not want to fund another refinement process.

Shedding the hoard

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Doing some serious downsizing and part of this is that I have a collection of copy and print machines from when I had the business in Seattle and then here at the farm. Posted an ad on Craigslist and a couple people have rented a truck and are coming up to pick them all up this afternoon. Free up a lot of space... Decluttering. Feels wonderful.

And that is it for the night

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Early start tomorrow so early to bed.

Now this should be fun to see

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From The Daily Beast:

Inside Bannon's Plan to Hijack Europe for the Far-Right
Steve Bannon plans to go toe-to-toe with George Soros and spark a right-wing revolution in Europe.

Trump’s former White House chief advisor told The Daily Beast that he is setting up a foundation in Europe called The Movement which he hopes will lead a right-wing populist revolt across the continent starting with the European Parliament elections next spring.

The non-profit will be a central source of polling, advice on messaging, data targeting, and think-tank research for a ragtag band of right-wingers who are surging all over Europe, in many cases without professional political structures or significant budgets.

Bannon’s ambition is for his organization ultimately to rival the impact of Soros’s Open Society, which has given away $32 billion to largely liberal causes since it was established in 1984.

Over the past year, Bannon has held talks with right-wing groups across the continent from Nigel Farage and members of Marine Le Pen’s Front National (recently renamed Rassemblement National) in the West, to Hungary’s Viktor Orban and the Polish populists in the East.

He envisions a right-wing “supergroup” within the European Parliament that could attract as many as a third of the lawmakers after next May’s Europe-wide elections. A united populist bloc of that size would have the ability to seriously disrupt parliamentary proceedings, potentially granting Bannon huge power within the populist movement.

I have heard Bannon on the radio a couple of times - he is very articulate and whip-smart. If anyone can pull this off and get all the splinter groups coordinated, it will be him. Like I said, it will be a lot of fun to see.

Interesting outreach of Hamas

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Hamas is the terror-enabling group that runs the claimed palestinian territory and organizes the people who want to overthrow Israel. Article eight of their Covenant says this:

Allah is its goal, the Prophet is the model, the Qur'an its constitution, jihad its path, and death for the sake of Allah its most sublime belief.

Nice bunch of people. They are heavily funded by Iran and Turkey. This bit of information caught my eye - from Israel National News:

Native Americans are being brainwashed by PA lies
Very recently, I was honored with a phone call from a native American tribal leader who was, perhaps surprisingly to many as it was to me, on a visit to Israel.

He told me of his passionate support for Israel. He rightly saw the Jews as the indigenous people of the land, something that appealed to his own tribal history. He also saw our modern history, including the return of the Jewish people to their land, as a confirmation of his biblical teachings.

He shocked me by what he told me next. The Palestinians have been conducting a well-orchestrated propaganda campaign to reach the hearts and minds of this ignored American community. My new contact informed me that much of the funding and organization of this anti-Israel jihad is based in Turkey. Sections of Hamas operates from there after becoming severely restricted in Gaza.

The campaign is based on strategic disinformation. Native Americans are reminded of a history of being indigenous natives of America who have had their land occupied by white colonial supremacists and about suffering centuries of oppression, which parallels the so-called history of the Palestinian people who have also been robbed of their land and suppressed by colonial white oppressors.

This simple message is having an effect, particularly as native Americans (and to a large extent, native Canadians) have been ignored by the Israeli government as if they do not exist. The battleground of thoughts, ideas, history, and facts have been left deserted, vacant for the false narratives of our adversaries ot take effect. This has to stop.

Much more at the site. This does not surprise me at all. These mokes need to be defunded - sanctions need to be placed on Iran and Turkey until they cut the funding for these proxy wars.

And that is it for the night

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Long day today and heading back to the farm tomorrow for a few days. Coming back down Wednesday to meet with a team of engineers about the drainage problem here. Scheduled a plumber to do some work then too.

Off to YouTube for a while...

I own a rural grocery store and this video is sooo spot on:

Tip of the hat to Gerard.

Back to the island home

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Spending one more night here and then heading up to the farm. Have some people coming over on Sunday to haul away an assortment of copy machines and printers that I have accumulated over the years. Keeping a nice small color unit but giving everything else away. Taking this downsizing thing seriously and it feels really good to not have all the clutter.

Great news about the economy. Transcript:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Moments ago, the numbers for America’s economic growth — or GDP — were just released. And I am thrilled to announce that, in the second quarter of this year, the United States economy grew at the amazing rate of 4.1 percent. We’re on track to hit the highest annual average growth rate in over 13 years. And I will say this right now, and I’ll say it strongly: As the trade deals come in one by one, we’re going to go a lot higher than these numbers. And these are great numbers.

During each of the two previous administrations, we averaged just over 1.8 percent GDP growth. By contrast, we are now on track to hit an average GDP annual growth of over 3 percent, and it could be substantially over 3 percent. Each point, by the way, means approximately $3 trillion and 10 million jobs. Think of that. Each point — you go up one point — that doesn’t sound like much; it’s a lot. It’s $3 trillion and it’s 10 million jobs.

If economic growth continues at this pace, the United States economy will double in size more than 10 years faster than it would have under either President Bush or President Obama.

Perhaps one of the biggest wins in the report, and it is indeed a big one, is that the trade deficit — very dear to my heart, because we’ve been ripped off by the world — has dropped by more than $50 billion. $52 billion, to be exact. It’s dropped by more than fifty. Think of that. The trade deficit has dropped by more than $50 billion. And that’s added — and adding — one point to GDP. That’s a tremendous drop. We haven’t had a drop like that in long time. You’ll have to go back a long time before you find it.

By increasing growth to 3 percent over the next 10 years, that would mean 12 million new American jobs and $10 trillion of new American wealth, at least. And that’s not including the fact that, since I was elected, we’ve created approximately $7 trillion of new wealth.

Much more at the site. Here is the video of his speech:

Staph problems

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No, not my employees - they are awesome and I consider myself to be very lucky in having them work for me.

The other kind of staph - after curing the conjunctivitis in my left eye, I started getting a yellowish discharge from the eye and from my left nostril as well as a kind of zit that would exude an amber colored waxy substance. (I know - TMI)

Got a culture taken yesterday so am heading out to pick up a prescription for a weapons-grade antibiotic. Looking at being on that for two weeks. Had MRSA back in 2006 so want to stamp this out before it gets a foothold.

And that is it for the night

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Busy day tomorrow so heading over to YouTube for a bit and then to bed.

From National Review:

Exclusive: Obama Administration Knowingly Funded a Designated al-Qaeda Affiliate
The Middle East Forum has discovered that the Obama administration approved a grant of $200,000 of taxpayer money to an al-Qaeda affiliate in Sudan — a decade after the U.S. Treasury designated it as a terrorist-financing organization. More stunningly, government officials specifically authorized the release of at least $115,000 of this grant even after learning that it was a designated terror organization.

The story began in October 2004, when the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Khartoum-based Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA), also known as the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA), as a terror-financing organization. It did so because of ISRA’s links to Osama bin Laden and his organization Maktab al-Khidamat (MK), the precursor of al-Qaeda.

According to the U.S. Treasury, in 1997 ISRA established formal cooperation with MK. By 2000, ISRA had raised $5 million for bin Laden’s group. The Treasury Department notes that ISRA officials even sought to help “relocate [bin Laden] to secure safe harbor for him.” It further reports that ISRA raised funds in 2003 in Western Europe specifically earmarked for Hamas suicide bombings.

The 2004 designation included all of ISRA’s branches, including a U.S. office called the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA-USA). Eventually it became known that this American branch had illegally transferred over $1.2 million to Iraqi insurgents and other terror groups, including, reportedly, the Afghan terrorist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In 2010, the executive director of IARA-USA and a board member pled guilty to money-laundering, theft of public funds, conspiracy, and several other charges.

Much more at the site - many of the links are from the Treasury Department and the Department of Justice so claiming that this is some right-wing hack against the Obama administration simply will not hold water.

So glad that Hillary didn't get elected.

Interesting bit of archaeology

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From the Los Angeles Times:

Unearthing the mysteries of 'Egypt' in the dunes of the California Coast
The 300-pound head of a sphinx that emerged from the dunes on California’s central coast traces its roots to Hollywood, not Egypt. The artifact is now on display at a little-known archaeology site and wildlife refuge in the farm town of Guadalupe, eight miles northwest of Santa Maria.

The Dunes Center works on excavating items unearthed from the massive set where Cecil B. De Mille filmed the silent movie “The Ten Commandments” in 1923. It’s a registered archaeological site.

One of the displays:

20180726-egypt.jpg

Don't have any travel plans in that area but something to keep in mind if I ever get down there. That would be fascinating to spend an afternoon there.

From Fox News:

'Mercury in retrograde': Should we expect 3 weeks of bad luck?
If you're experiencing a spell of bad luck, many people may ask you the same question: is Mercury in retrograde? Astrologists believe the planet is to blame for bringing periods of misfortune down to Earth – and it's happening again on Thursday.

Mercury is expected to enter retrograde, appearing to turn the opposite direction in relation to other planets within its solar system, for the first time in 2018 on Thursday. It will remain in that position until Aug. 19.

"Normally, the planets move west-to-east through the stars at night. This is referred to as prograde motion," a blog post by NASA's Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) explains. "However, peridiocally the motion changes and they move east-to-west through the stars. We call this retrograde motion."

One of my employees does astrology and she always correlates events in the business to the status of Mercury. Anecdotal but it seems to line up with some measure of accuracy.

And this from Tyler at Zero Hedge:

News of the resolution comes after weeks of frustration by Congressional investigators, who have repeatedly accused Rosenstein and the DOJ of "slow walking" documents related to their investigations. Lawmakers say they've been given the runaround - while Rosenstein and the rest of the DOJ have maintained that handing over vital documents would compromise ongoing investigations. 

Not even last week's heavily redacted release of the FBI's FISA surveillance application on former Trump campaign Carter Page was enough to dissuade the GOP lawmakers from their efforts to impeach Rosenstein. In fact, its release may have sealed Rosenstein's fate after it was revealed that the FISA application and subsequent renewals - at least one of which Rosenstein signed off on, relied heavily on the salacious and largely unproven Steele dossier. 

In late June, Rosenstein along with FBI Director Christopher Wray clashed with House Republicans during a fiery hearing over an internal DOJ report criticizing the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation by special agents who harbored extreme animus towards Donald Trump while expressing support for Clinton. Republicans on the panel grilled a defiant Rosenstein on the Trump-Russia investigation which has yet to prove any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. 

“This country is being hurt by it. We are being divided,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said of Mueller’s investigation.  “Whatever you got,” Gowdy added, “Finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart.

They are slow-walking this because they still think that they have a chance to get a Democrat majority at the mid-terms and if they do, this investigation will simply dry up and blow away. The November 2018 elections are one of the more important elections affecting the long-term health of this nation. There is incredible corruption and rot at the top of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and this needs to be cleaned out.

When all the facts come out, this will make Watergate look like an overdue library book...

Oh yeah - Nomenklatura

The nomenklatura were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in all spheres of those countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the communist party of each country or region.

Virtually all were members of the Communist Party. Critics of Stalin, such as Milovan Đilas, critically defined them as a new class. Trotskyism uses the term caste rather than class, because it sees the Soviet Union as a degenerated workers' state, not a new class society. Later developments of Trotsky's theories, notably Tony Cliff's theory of State Capitalism, did refer to the nomenklatura as a new class.

The nomenklatura forming a de facto elite of public powers in the previous eastern block, may be compared to the western establishment holding or controlling both private and public powers (media, finance, trade, industry, state and institutions…).

Love the ending:

And:

President Trump's "trade war" was just a bargaining chip. Yes, it would have hurt us but it would have hurt the EU even more.

You can read the Joint Statement here: Joint U.S.-EU Statement following President Juncker's visit to the White House

Talk about win/win - the rising tide floats all boats.

Tidally influenced

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The United States Geological Survey maintains gages on the major rivers in the USA - these measure height, flow, temperature and sometimes other elements like turbidity and chemistry. The home page for this service is here: USGS Water Resources

What is fun is that Camano Island is very close to the outflow of the Stillaguamish river near Stanwood, WA. The USGS sensor reports are usually graphs like this - showing the effects of upstream precipitation, snow melt, etc... This is the Stilly near the town of Arlington:

20180725-stilly-a.jpg

And now, here is the Stilly near Stanwood:

20180725-stilly-s.jpg

What you are looking at is the back pressure of the ocean tides raising and lowering the river level. I do not know where the sensor is located (I have an idea and am planning to look for it) but it is close enough to the mouth for the tides to swamp any other changes in height.

Fun stuff with numbers...

Eye doc update

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Turns out it was a secondary infection - I have a discharge from my left nostril. The doc gave me some topical antibiotic and I am heading in to my GP tomorrow to get swabed for a culture - find out what we are dealing with here... Not fun...

Spending tonight on the island - I have my main computer here and it is the one with my bookeeping software (GnuCash - love it!!!) and I have some bills that need to be in the mail soon so printing checks tonight.

Heading out for my morning coffee

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Back home to load up the car with more boxes and then to the condo to unload. Eye doc appointment this afternoon - it had been getting a lot better but relapsed last night. Woke up with my lids gummed shut. We will see...

Kim Jong Un has been taking his meeting with President Trump to heart. From 38 North:

North Korea Begins Dismantling Key Facilities at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station
In an important first step towards fulfilling a commitment made by Kim Jong Un at the June 12 Singapore Summit, new commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (North Korea’s main satellite launch facility since 2012) indicates that the North has begun dismantling key facilities. Most notably, these include the rail-mounted processing building—where space launch vehicles are prepared before moving them to the launch pad—and the nearby rocket engine test stand used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles. Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, these efforts represent a significant confidence building measure on the part of North Korea.

Talk about The Art of the Deal... Chairman Kim has lived in the West (went to school in Switzerland) and he wants better for his people. If President Trump does not get the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel committee is clueless.

A great editorial at the New York Times about the real problems with Flint Mischigan's water supply. Very long so I will just excerpt the opening few paragraphs. Worth your time to go and read the whole thing.

The Children of Flint Were Not ‘Poisoned’
Words are toxic, too. Labeling Flint’s children as “poisoned,” as many journalists and activists have done since the city’s water was found to be contaminated with lead in 2014, unjustly stigmatizes their generation.

Let’s be clear. It’s unacceptable that any child was exposed to drinking water with elevated lead concentrations. We know that lead is a powerful neurotoxicant, that there is no safe level, that the very young are particularly vulnerable and that long-term exposure to low to moderate levels of lead is associated with decreased I.Q.s and other cognitive and behavioral problems, including criminal behavior.

But there is no reason to expect that what happened for a year and a half in Flint will inevitably lead to such effects. The casual use of the word “poisoned,” which suggests that the affected children are irreparably brain-damaged, is grossly inaccurate. In a city that already battles high poverty and crime rates, this is particularly problematic.

It is worth noting the biographies of the two authors:

Hernán Gómez, an associate professor at the University of Michigan, emergency medicine pediatrician and medical toxicologist at Hurley Medical Center, was the lead author of the study “Blood Lead Levels of Children in Flint, Michigan: 2006-2016.” Kim Dietrich, a professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, is the principal investigator of the Cincinnati Lead Study.

They know what they are talking about.

Great story about a city government that actually does the right thing. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Teen's hot dog stand serves up food, inspiration with Minneapolis inspectors' blessing
Jaequan Faulkner stood under a shady pop-up tent, shuffling dollar bills and tucking them into a pink cash register, his hazel eyes locked on the next customer.

“You need me?” his uncle called from the screened-in porch as cars whooshed past on Penn Avenue N.

Without looking back, Faulkner, 13, waved him off and picked up his tongs, cradling another hot dog in its bun.

The pop-up Mr. Faulkner’s Old Fashioned Hot Dogs goes far beyond the traditional neighborhood kid’s lemonade stand. It’s a business with a permit from the city of Minneapolis.

Faulkner’s venture, a tabletop of hot dogs, Polish sausages, chips, drinks and condiments, will travel around the North Side this summer, including stops at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct, the Minneapolis Urban League and Sanctuary Covenant Church. Eventually he hopes to move into a food truck.

The back story:

The business started in 2016 when Faulkner saw an old hot dog grill at his uncle’s house. After two years of starts and stops, Faulkner stuck with it this summer.

Then he hit a snag: The Minneapolis Health Department called. Someone had complained to the city about the hot dog stand.

But instead of shutting Faulkner down, the Health Department decided to help him meet its standards.

Health Department staff made sure he had the necessary equipment — thermometers, food containers, hand sanitizer and utensil-cleaning stations — as well as knowledge about proper food handling. Once he passed his health inspection, inspectors paid the $87 for the special event food permit, and the city-sanctioned stand opened for business.

Very cool and Jaequan Faulkner seems like a great young businessman. He will go far. It would have been so easy for the city to take the complaint and shut him down. This is the way it should be done.

Nice little sweetheart deal there - from The Kansas City Star:

Businesses linked to McCaskill’s husband get $131 million in federal dollars
Businesses tied to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s husband have been awarded more than $131 million in federal subsidies since the Missouri Democrat took office in 2007, an analysis by The Kansas City Star found.

Joseph Shepard’s personal income from his investments in those businesses has grown exponentially during his wife’s two terms in the Senate.

The federal payments don’t go directly into Shepard’s pocket. Most of the money goes toward operating costs for government-subsidized housing projects Shepard is invested in. Those companies then distribute the profits to Shepard and other investors.

In 2006, the year before McCaskill entered the Senate, her husband’s personal income from those investments was between $1,608 and $16,731, according to the senator’s financial disclosure forms.

In 2017, five years into McCaskill’s second term, Shepard personally earned between $365,374 and $1,118,158 from investments in housing projects that received federal subsidies, the disclosure forms show. Disclosure forms only provide ranges of income.

A perfect example of someone who went to Washington to do good and wound up doing well. Very well.

UPDATE: Just ran into this story from October 2011 - seems she has been having money issues for a while. From Politico:

McCaskill sells 'damn plane'
Sen. Claire McCaskill has sold her private plane for nearly $2 million, seven months after she admitted she failed to pay more than $300,000 in state property taxes on the aircraft over four years.

And I do not know if she lied about selling it or turned around and purchased another one but there is this story from June of this year - The Washington Free Beacon:

Claire McCaskill’s Private Plane Used on Campaign’s RV Tour Through Missouri
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) said her campaign was "hitting the road" in an RV to tour the state, but public flight information indicates that travel also occurred on her million-dollar private plane.

Talk about craven...

Shot - from the Dallas/Fort Worth CBS affiliate:

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A Saltgrass Steak House in Odessa, Texas has banned a customer after the customer left no tip on a $108 bill and wrote on it “We don’t Tip Terrorist,” and circled the server’s name, Khalil according to the Odessa American.

Khalil Cavil posted what happened last Saturday on Facebook.

“I was sick to my stomach,” upon seeing the receipt he said in his post. “I share this because I want people to understand that this racism, and this hatred still exists. Although, this is nothing new, it is still something that will test your faith. All day I’ve had to remind myself that Jesus died for these people too. I have decided to let this encourage me, and fuel me to change the world the only way I know how. So to all the haters out there, keep talkin, your only helping me step into my destiny!”

And chaser - from the Odessa, TX Odessa American:

Saltgrass COO, waiter say racism story made up
The Odessa waiter whose story about being called a terrorist by a customer spurred national attention last week now admits it was all a hoax.

The waiter, Khalil Cavil, 20, admitted he wrote the racist note himself in a Monday interview with the Odessa American, where he apologized to a reporter “because I did lie to you.”

“I did write it,” Cavil said, refusing to explain why. “I don’t have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did.”

Cavil’s call followed a press release from Saltgrass Steak House revealing the hoax. Cavil had lied about receiving the note calling him a terrorist while working at the restaurant on July 14.

Terry Turney, COO of Saltgrass, issued this: “After further investigation, we have learned that our employee fabricated the entire story. The customer has been contacted and invited back to our restaurant to dine on us. Racism of any form is intolerable, and we will always act swiftly should it occur in any of our establishments. Falsely accusing someone of racism is equally disturbing.”

Good that the chief operating officer was so proactive. I would have loved to have heard his "words" with Mr. Cavil.

Norora last night

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They were forecasting an Aurora last night but the Planetary K Index never got above 4 and it needs to be at 6 for there to be a display at these latitudes. We will be in the stream for another day or two so there is hope. This will be good for radio propegation so will be firing up the ham radio at sunset and see who is out there.

From today's Space Weather:

THE SOLAR WIND HAS ARRIVED: As predicted, a stream of solar wind has enveloped Earth on July 24th with wind speeds near 600 km/s. First contact with the stream sparked a brief outburst of summertime auroras over Canada. An anticipated G1-class geomagnetic storm has yet to materialize, but it is too soon to rule out such a storm. The gaseous material is flowing from a broad hole in the sun's atmosphere--so broad that Earth will remain inside the stream for 2 or 3 more days.

Insidious I tell you

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Exposed - Putin's plan:

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Oh to be living in Chicago - from The Daily Wire:

THANKS, RAHM: Chicago Named 'Rat Capital' Of America
Move over, New York City, Chicago is coming on strong!

The city of Chicago, where former Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel is mayor, has been named in a new study the "rat capital" of the nation.

The study, published by online apartment search service RentHop, found that there were 50,963 complaints made to the city last year about rats.

When comparing the number of complaints per 100,000 residents, RentHop said, "Chicago topped the list with 1876.09 complaints per 100,000 residents," the Daily Mail reported.

"The study also found that the number of complaints made by Chicago residents jumped 55 per cent since 2014," the Mail reported.

Chicago last had a Republican mayor with William Hale Thompson in 1931. He was a corrupt piece of work but he was a Republican. Nobody since - 87 years.

Look up tonight - aurora

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We are getting the possibility of some G1 solar storms this evening. Planetary K Index is not that high right now but it is spiking and may get higher. Above 6 and we have a great chance of aurora.

From Gunpowder Magazine:

South Africa Calls for 300,000 Gun Owners to Turn Over Their Weapons
South Africa is opening the door for tyranny.

The Constitutional Court of South Africa recently ruled that 300,000 gun owners must turn in their firearms.

This judgement came in response to the North Gauteng High Court’s ruling in 2017 which said Section 24 and Section 28 of the Firearm’s Control Act were unconstitutional.

A report from The Citizen explains what Section 24 and Section 28 entail:

“Section 24 of the Act requires that any person who seeks to renew a licence must do so 90 days before its expiry date Section 28 stipulates that if a firearm licence has been cancelled‚ the firearm must be disposed of or forfeited to the state. A 60-day time frame was placed on its disposal, which was to be done through a dealer.”

Now that the High Court’s initial ruling has been overturned, gun owners who failed to renew their firearms licenses must hand in their firearms to the nearest police station, where authorities will then proceed to destroy them.

Many naïve political observers will paint this event as a casual gun control scheme, but any astute student of politics will recognize that the floodgates are now open for further encroachments – not only on the gun rights of South Africans, but also on others facets of theirs lives.

I am reminded of this quote:

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look back upon the Act depriving the whole nation of arms as the blackest.
--Mohandas K. Gandhi

The joys of alt.energy - California

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Works great until you need it. The state of California has pared back their conventional power generating facilities. Supposed to be more "environmentally friendly". Only problem is that they do not understand baseload generating capacity and they have been throttling theirs down hoping that wind and solar can fill in the cracks. It cannot. The current heat wave is proving this.

From Yahoo/Reuters:

California power grid urges consumers to conserve energy in heat wave
California's power grid operator on Monday issued an alert to homes and businesses to conserve electricity on Tuesday and Wednesday when a heat wave is expected to blanket the state.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO), the grid operator, said it issued the so-called "Flex Alert" due to high temperatures across the western United States, reduced electricity imports into the state, tight natural gas supplies in Southern California and high wildfire risk.

The ISO's alert followed an earlier notice by Southern California Gas Co (SoCalGas), the gas utility for the southern part of the state.

All that taxpayer money tossed away on energy sources that come and go with the wind. Literally. They could have been building nuclear power - specifically Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors and be done with the problem once and for all.

Of course, big liberal governments have no concept of accountability.

Done for the day

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Did a run into town and got a bunch more boxes ready to go. The house is emptying out bit by bit. Aiming for the whole farm to be done by December.

Surf for a bit. Go to bed and do the same thing tomorrow...

Out for coffee and then...

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Working at the farm today. Minimal posting for the next two days unless something spectacular happens...

And that is it for the night

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Heading over to YouTube-land to see what is there...

At the farm for the week

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Working at the farm Monday and Tuesday - go into town to bring stuff to the condo, do a follow-up with the eye doc and see if I can schedule a windshield replacement for the Highlander - nasty rock chip too big to patch. They had to order a new one and got the phone message that it arrived last Friday.

Surf for a bit and then to bed. Busy couple of days - nice break though.

Heading up to the farm for a while

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Still packing and still getting ready for a massive estate sale. Had a nice break - a couple of days working on the island house but now it is time to get my sorry a** back up and get busy... More later tonight.

When this scandal finally gets into the public eye, it is going to make Watergate seem like an overdue library book. Zero Hedge has an interesting bit of news complete with video and links to coroborating sources. Too complex a story to excerpt - I will just give this one transcript from Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper as he was being interviewed on CNN:

If it weren’t for President Obama we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set up a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today including Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. President Obama is responsible for that. It was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place.

Set aside about 20 minutes and read the whole thing. Watch the videos. Click on the links.

Syrian Immigrants are voting with their feet. New Jersey is one of the major refugee centers but after two years of free government support, when they finally have to stand on their own two feet, they are fleeing to go to a Red State. From North Jersey:

They fled war in Syria, now many refugees are leaving Paterson
Some of the Syrian families who fled their war-torn hometowns and lived as refugees in Jordan and Turkey before making their way to the United States are now on the move again. This time, they are leaving Paterson.

At least seven families, citing the high cost of living, the low quality of housing and concerns about their safety, have left or plan to leave this summer, many of them headed to Michigan.

They include families who sued a Paterson landlord in April over alleged housing violations and a family of four who started looking for a new place after the father in the household was robbed and badly beaten on a city street in June.

“Work here is not enough,” said Tahani Al Ktuf, who will leave New Jersey for Michigan this month with her husband and five children. “You cannot live. Here a husband and wife can both work and it’s barely enough to get food and pay rent.”

Welcome to the socialist utopia - crime ridden and broke. There is an excellent website that ranks the cost of living in all the states by several factors: Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Michigan is the third most cheapest state to live in and New Jersey comes in at 41 out of 51 (51 because they track the District of Columbia). Hawaii is the most expensive. An interesting analysis.

Makes the most sense to me - Russia

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About that storm - Ride the Ducks

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Looks like someone was not paying attention - from MSN/The Washington Post:

The violent storm behind the duck boat tragedy was well-predicted, not ‘out of nowhere’
Seventeen people are dead after a severe thunderstorm capsized a duck boat in Branson, Mo., Thursday night.

In the wake of the tragedy, Jim Pattison Jr. president of the parent company for Ride the Ducks Branson, said the storm “came out of nowhere.” This is simply not true. Meteorologists had been tracking the storm for hours, and their forecasts offered considerable lead time for the hazardous weather.

“[T]his indirect blaming of meteorologists was old a decade ago and is completely inappropriate in this particular situation,” wrote Mike Smith, a retired meteorologist and former executive at AccuWeather in a blog post.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch, signaling conditions were favorable for dangerous storms in the region, at 11:20 a.m. Central time, nearly eight hours before the storm struck. The watch cautioned “widespread damaging winds likely with isolated significant gusts to 75 mph possible.”

As the storms drew close, the Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 6:32 p.m. Central, indicating a violent storm was imminent, about 30 minutes before the boat capsized.

The Ducks have had a very bad safety record - time to get them out of service although the incident in Branson was just sheer negligence and that particular company needs to be sued into bankruptcy.

Great opening set - Kraftwerk

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Guten Abend Kraftwerk, guten Abend Stuttgart!
On 20 July 2018 around 21:50 local time, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst welcomed the legendary electronic band Kraftwerk and 7500 visitors to the Jazz Open Festival on Stuttgart's Schlossplatz – live from the International Space Station, where he will live and work until mid-December 2018. During the call with space, Kraftwerk founding member Ralf Hütter and Alexander played a special duet version of the track Spacelab, for which Alexander had a tablet computer configured with virtual synthesizers on board. With thanks to Kraftwerk for sharing this video footage.

Great interview with our President

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Fifteen minutes of great questions and answers with CNBC anchor Joe Kernen.

Dinner was good

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Marinated chicken breast with potato salad. Took a nice long walk along the beach but the tide is coming in so didn't want to get stranded with the dogs.

Eye is better but still pretty uncomfortable - feels like I have a grain of sand in there. Doing the eye drops religiously.

Back - surf for a bit and then to bed. Heading up to the farm tomorrow. Lots of stuff to do.

Happy 49th birthday

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My Mom and Dad were vacationing in Massachusetts when the Apollo moon landing took place. I was working a summer job (with a pipe organ builder) and drove to their place to watch it together.

Such a pinnacle of our civilization. We did this in less than ten years from commitment to footsteps. Always loved this photo:

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Nothing much today

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At the island for one more night - back to the farm tomorrow. Got a chicken breast marinating and will fire up the grill in a few minutes.

Nothing much caught my eye on the internet and there is plenty to keep me occupied otherwise.

Always classy - Ms. Goldberg

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From the New York Post:

Whoopi Goldberg and Jeanine Pirro get into explosive argument backstage at ‘The View’
Whoopi Goldberg and Jeanine Pirro got into an explosive argument backstage at “The View” on Thursday — after an intense on-the-air exchange got even more heated behind-the-scenes, sources exclusively tell Page Six.

The confrontation ended with liberal Goldberg allegedly shouting, “F–k you, get the f–k out!” at President Trump supporter and Fox News host Pirro.

During the screaming match, Pirro told Goldberg, “I’ve done more for abused women than you will ever do,” we hear.

The trouble, sources told us, started before Pirro even went on-air to promote her new book, “Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy” — when Pirro arrived at “The View” to learn that anti-Trump CNN contributor Ana Navarro was filling in for Joy Behar.

Goldberg apologised to the audience but not to Judge Pirro. I liked her as Guinan but nothing else has caught my eye. I thought that the left was all about tolerance. Guess not.

News you can use - Epoxy

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Great to know - big fan of JB Weld:

From Sioux Falls station KDLT:

Authorities: Bombs, Guns Found While Serving Search Warrant for Burglaries
Authorities have arrested a 43-year-old man after they located explosive devices and firearms at his residence while serving a search warrant in connection with multiple area burglaries.

Authorities say they connected 43-year-old Mark Einerwold to three separate burglaries throughout June and July in Tea and Dell Rapids.

Authorities served a search warrant at Einerwold’s residence in the 1100 block of South Blaine Avenue in Sioux Falls at around 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday.

While serving the search warrant, detectives found what they say were bomb making materials and chemicals. The Sioux Falls Police bomb squad were called to the residence and authorities evacuated the surrounding area.

Authorities say they found multiple explosive devices as well as ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, which authorities say have no use other than for an explosive device.

Authorities also seized multiple firearms and a homemade firearm silencer from the residence.

And a little bit further down the page:

Authorities say they found multiple items related to Antifa, an anti-fascist militant group, as well as other items indicating an extreme hatred for law enforcement and government.

Antifa - the millitant arm of the progressive Democrat party. They claim to be anti-fascism but they support centralised government and totalitarian ideas and policies. Their choice of name is a perfect example of the Big Lie - worked well in 1925 and still working today. Promoted by the same people too - the National Socialists.

The joys of home ownership

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Had a leak out by the water meter. Got a plumber in and they will be fixing it. Nothing serious but there will be some excavation.

From Politico:

Why filing taxes isn’t easy
The Trump administration unveiled a “postcard-sized” tax form late last month that will supposedly make it easier for Americans to do their own taxes. The move was nothing more than a publicity stunt as a number . of . commentators noted, the administration achieved its postcard-sized ambitions only by requiring millions of Americans to submit supplementary worksheets that actually complicate the task of tax preparation.

The real action on tax filing right now is happening on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, where Congress is working hard to ensure that doing your taxes remains a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. The House of Representatives has passed two bills in recent weeks that seek to stop the IRS from simplifying the tax-filing process. One is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. The other cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee in late June, with a floor vote likely this summer.

At issue are two innovations that, if adopted by the IRS, would radically reduce the time and expense incurred in filing federal income tax returns. The first is free online tax preparation paired with electronic filing: The IRS could offer an easy-to-use product that assists you in completing your tax return, then allows you to submit your return online—all at a price of $0. A second and even more pioneering possibility is “pre-population”: the IRS could allow you to begin the filing process with an already filled-out return rather than making you enter each item of information from scratch.

And why this is happening:

Why would lawmakers want to stop the IRS from simplifying tax filing? Here’s a clue: H&R Block has spent $3.4 million lobbying the current Congress, and Intuit—the maker of TurboTax—has pitched in an additional $3.1 million. They and their employees also have contributed more than $500,000 this cycle to congressional candidates, political action committees, and parties.

And tax politics make strange bedfellows. Fighting alongside H&R Block and Intuit are anti-tax activist groups like Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform. H&R Block and Intuit love taxes—that’s how they make their money. Grover Norquist wants to cut taxes wherever possible. But on this issue, their interests are aligned. H&R Block and Intuit want to make it difficult for you to file on your own. The anti-tax activists think that if taxpaying is too easy, voters will be less likely to resist the federal government’s growth. Both want to make it as painful as possible for you to do your taxes yourself.

A pox on these people - acting in their own interest instead of We The People. What never fails to amaze me is just how cheap our congress people are - they are being bought for a pittance.

Don't mess with Texas - oil

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From CNN:

Texas to pass Iraq and Iran as world's No. 3 oil powerhouse
The shale oil boom has brought a gold rush mentality to the Lone Star State, which is home to not one but two massive oilfields.

Plunging drilling costs have sparked an explosion of production out of the Permian Basin of West Texas. In fact, Texas is pumping so much oil that it will surpass OPEC members Iran and Iraq next year, HSBC predicted in a recent report.

If it were a country, Texas would be the world's No. 3 oil producer, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia, the investment bank said.

"It's remarkable. The Permian is nothing less than a blessing for the global economy," said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, a consulting firm.

Great news - the idea that we have reached "peak oil" is not based on the numbers. There are a lot of untapped reserves and the technology is always advancing.

And it's pink-eye

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Had been diagnosed with Conjunctivitis yesterday after three days of a low-grade irritation in my left eye.

Woke up this morning with that eye completely crusted shut. Looks like something out of a Halloween getup. It does not hurt so the meds are doing their work - see how it is later this afternoon. Meeting with a plumber at 1:00PM - water leak at the island.

An interesting poll

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From Gallup:

What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?

They divided the poll into two catagories; Economic and Non Economic. In Economic, Economy in General was the major concern with only 4% of people expressing concern. Economics in total was only 15%

Non Economic had 
Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership coming in at 19%
Immigration/Illegal aliens coming in at 14%
Race relations/Racism coming in at 7%
Healthcare coming in at 4% and so on.

Missing from either list (and the numbers were tallied down to 0.5% and lower) was one topic that is occupying a lot of the news these days. Russia. Was not there. People are not concerned with it.

Minimal posting tonight

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My left eye had been irritated for the last couple of days. Thought it might be a particle of something but went to the Eye Doc today and I have Conjunctivitis. Yaaaay Me!

She wrote a scrip for some Tobramycin which is a topical steroid and broad-spectrum antibiotic so should be feeling better soon.Looks like it was the allergic version as there is no discharge, just irritation and a lot of tearing.

Going to watch some TV tonight instead of looking at the little screen close up. Easier on the eye...

And that is it for the evening...

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Working at home tomorrow and Thursday - want to get an early start. Lots of stuff to do here.

Our quiet sun

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Three weeks without sunspots. The story at Spaceweather:

THREE WEEKS WITHOUT SUNSPOTS:
As July 17th comes to a close, the sun has been blank for 21 straight days--a remarkable 3 weeks without sunspots. To find an equal stretch of spotless suns in the historical record, you have to go back to July-August 2009 when the sun was emerging from a century-class solar minimum. We are now entering a new solar minimum, possibly as deep as the last one.

Solar minimum is a normal part of the solar cycle. Every 11 years or so, sunspot production sputters. Dark cores that produce solar flares and CMEs vanish from the solar disk, leaving the sun blank for long stretches of time. These quiet spells have been coming with regularity since the sunspot cycle was discovered in 1859.

However, not all solar minima are alike. The last one in 2008-2009 surprised observers with its depth and side-effects. Sunspot counts dropped to a 100-year low; the sun dimmed by 0.1%; Earth's upper atmosphere collapsed, allowing space junk to accumulate; and the pressure of the solar wind flagged while cosmic rays (normally repelled by solar wind) surged to Space Age highs. These events upended the orthodox picture of solar minimum as "uneventful."

Our sun's activity has a direct bearing on our climate - should make for some interesting times ahead...

Long day today

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Spent the morning packing up kitchen stuff and then ran into the condo later this afternoon. There was a meeting of our Ham Radio Digital Group tonight so planned to attend that and very glad I did.

There was a presentation on HamWAN

A modern, multi-megabit, IP-based, digital network for amateur radio use!
HamWAN is a non-profit organization (501c3) developing best practices for high speed amateur radio data networks. HamWAN also runs the Puget Sound Data Ring, which is a real-world network implementation of the proposed designs.

So far, HamWAN networks have been used for things like low-latency repeater linking, real-time video feeds from distant locations, serving APRS I-gates, providing redundant internet access to emergency operations centers, and more. Any licensed radio amateur in the service area can connect their shack directly to the network with just a small investment in equipment and no recurring cost. Since many traditional uses for Internet at home are not compatible with Part 97 rules, this won't replace your home Internet connection. However, it works and acts just like one.

This service is available throughout most of Puget Sound and they are rapidly expanding. Like the blurb says, it will not replace a home internet connection but the equipment is hardened and in the event of an earthquake or sustained power outage it will provide decent connectivity. The antenna and modem are about $200 - cheap. Unfortunately, no service yet where I live but it is a fun technology to see develop.

I have been assembling parts for a go-box - a carrying case with a portable radio, digital modem, computer, battery and antenna that can be deployed in a moments notice. Someone brought theirs in tonight for show and tell and I got some great ideas.

From gCaptain:

Twelve People Injured by Flying Lava Aboard Kilauea Volcano Tour Boat
A dozen people were injured on Monday when the tour boat they were on was struck by flying lava from the Kilauea volcano on Big Island of Hawaii.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it received a report of 12 people injured aboard a lava tour boat off Kapoho Bay, HI, where lava from the erupting Kilauea Volcano has been entering the ocean in recent months.

The Coast Guard reported that at approximately 6 a.m., its Sector Honolulu watchstanders received an initial report from 911 of three crewmembers and three sightseers injured aboard the tour boat Hot Shot near a lava flow in Kapoho Bay.

Hawaii County Fire Department reported initially that a lava bomb had injured 23 aboard the boat. The lava punctured the boat’s roof and it returned to Wailoa Harbor in Hilo, the fire department said.

Upon arrival in Hilo, the number of injured was revised to 12 total injured, three seriously and nine minor, the Coast Guard said. The injuries reportedly ranged in severity with the worst being a broken leg.

That could have been so much worse - glad the people are OK.

One can dream can't they?

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Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting:

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A new study shows - update

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Yesterday, I posted a link to an article that lists some of the current propaganda buzzwords used in today's media. For fun I did a Google search and one source seems to have studies on the brain.

Check out these headlines from Mother Jones:

I could go on but you catch my drift...

Some interesting news out of Russia

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This is my surprised face. From Zero Hedge:

Putin Claims U.S. Intelligence Agents Funneled $400 Million To Clinton Campaign
Vladimir Putin made a bombshell claim during Monday's joint press conference with President Trump in Helsinki, Finland, when the Russian President said some $400 million in illegally earned profits was funneled to the Clinton campaign by associates of American-born British financier Bill Browder - at one time the largest foreign portfolio investors in Russia. The scheme involved members of the U.S. intelligence community, said Putin, who he said "accompanied and guided these transactions."

Browder made billions in Russia during the 90's. In December, a Moscow court sentenced Browder in absentia to nine years in prison for tax fraud, while he was also found guilty of tax evasion in a separate 2013 case. Putin accused Browder's associates of illegally earning over than $1.5 billion without paying Russian taxes, before sending $400 million to Clinton.

President Trump may be a bombast but he is doing great work for the United States and for the world. I am so glad that Hillary never got to the White House.

Looks like a case of dumb criminal stealing the wrong thing - wonder if they are still alive. From the Idaho Statesman:

INL specialists left plutonium in their car. In the morning, it was gone
Two security experts from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory drove to San Antonio, Texas, in March 2017 with a sensitive mission: to retrieve dangerous nuclear materials from a nonprofit research lab there.

Their task was to ensure that the radioactive materials did not fall into the wrong hands on the way back to Idaho, where the government maintains a stockpile of nuclear explosive materials for the military and others.

To ensure they got the right items, the specialists from Idaho brought radiation detectors and small samples of dangerous materials to calibrate them: specifically, a plastic-covered disk of plutonium, a material that can be used to fuel nuclear weapons, and another of cesium, a highly radioactive isotope that could potentially be used in a so-called “dirty” radioactive bomb.

But when they stopped at a Marriott hotel just off Highway 410, in a high-crime neighborhood filled with temp agencies and ranch homes, they left those sensors on the back seat of their rented Ford Expedition. When they awoke the next morning, the window had been smashed and the special valises holding these sensors and nuclear materials had vanished.

No word in the article as to the number of Curies that were stolen. The Plutonium is not that bad. The metal is poisonous but it is only an Alpha emitter so its radioactivity can be stopped by a sheet of paper or a half-inch of air. Bad news if it is ingested but pretty harmless on the shelf. Fun because the internal decay makes it noticeably warm to the touch. About twice as dense as lead too unexpectedly heavy. Cesium is another story entirely - it (depending on the isotope) emits Gamma and Beta particles and is highly flammable. It will spontaneously catch fire in air.

A useful toolkit

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Excellent post from American Partisan:

REGIME SPEAK AND NARRATIVE CONTROL TERMS
One of the most critical parts of controlling a populace is controlling their information; ensuring that you control everything they see, hear and read. I’m sure you can think of several countries’ governments doing this, through blocking large portions of the internet or even criminalizing thoughts and writings that go outside of the allowed regime-speak.

If you can’t control what information the people have access to completely or nearly so, the next best thing is to ensure that you control the narrative, while minimizing any other influences as much as possible and still maintain a facade of free speech and liberty. This is done by engaging in massive info/disinfo operations using sock puppets, media, entertainment, education, and even product advertising. Meanwhile, you must also discredit or even simply delete information that threatens the narrative. It’s not criminal to disagree in this scenario–yet–but it’s getting there. One example is the recent brouhaha over Laura Ingalls Wilder’s work. Her Ma and Pa hated Indians, you see, and suddenly regardless of historical context, greater use, or anything else, her work must be demonized. It’s happening with more and more frequency. No matter what you may think about freedom of speech in the United States, book banning is hardly a new idea. It’s been going on for many years. Interestingly enough, books that were once banned for explicit sexual content, such as Moll Flanders or Tropic of Cancer are no longer banned; the Little House on the Prairie series, however, seems well on its way to being removed from libraries and schools.

Ol’ Remus over at The Woodpile Report has an interesting list of words and phrases in his sidebar, titled “Regime-Speak.” If you haven’t made his reports a part of your reading routine, you need to–but when you go over there, take a look at the list. They’re words and phrases that are often used as part of the above mentioned efforts to control narrative and information flow.

As Remus says, if you see these terms, you’re about to be lied to (or steered/manipulated, etc.) — and these are just a few off the list.

a new study shows — How many times have you heard this phrase? It’s often used to introduce the new planned direction for the populace in some area. “A new study shows that _______ can lead to _________.” The media trumpets the ‘new study,’ and while most Americans don’t go read the study–and wouldn’t know how to prove it wrong if they did–they do go out and purchase/do/get rid of whatever they’ve just been told is bad/good. Certain companies benefit, certain industries see a drop, and the puppetmasters continue doing their thing.

Many more at the link - a good thing to keep in mind over the next 10-15 years as the worst of the deep state gets cleaned out.

Astroturfing - SCOTUS pick

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The London Daily Mail noticed something screwy about some letters to the editor:

Mystery as IDENTICAL letters appear in 21 newspapers across 12 states slamming Trump's Supreme Court pick – and they're all signed by different people
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is going into the Supreme Court confirmation process with a hail of rhetorical arrows zinging by him, including a phony letter-writing campaign aimed at unsuspecting American newspaper editors

At least 21 papers were duped last week, including big-market brands like the Dallas Morning News and The Washington Times. They ran identical letters over a four-day period, each signed by a different person.

The effort is an example of public-relations 'astroturfing,' a technique meant to simulate genuine grassroots support for an idea or cause.

It is not a social movement, it is some loser in his Mom's basement with a computer. The article has screen caps of the letters in question and they are identical.

Did not realize that this would affect shipping so much. From Bloomberg:

Tariffs Make Life Even Tougher for World’s Biggest Shipping Company
A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S may struggle to make a profit this year after the U.S. and China descended into a trade war that promises to hurt the world’s biggest shipping company.

Maersk, which is based in Copenhagen, has already lost almost a third of its market value this year as investors gird for more bad news. Trade protectionism means less demand, and history suggests the shipping industry will struggle to make the necessary supply cuts. What’s more, Maersk is now more exposed to shipping as the former conglomerate divests its energy business.

Per Hansen, an investment economist at Nordnet in Copenhagen, says Maersk is currently “in the eye of the hurricane” when it comes to the damage that will be inflicted by a trade war. He estimates the company’s shares could drop at least 10 percent.

Sheesh - has not seemed to affect the Baltic Dry Index though. Back in February of 2016, it cratered to below 300 - today it is over 1,600. Overall shipping seems to be up too as the Port of Long Beach California just had their busiest month ever.

From Judicial Watch:

Judicial Watch Obtains IRS Documents Revealing McCain’s Subcommittee Staff Director Urged IRS to Engage in “Financially Ruinous” Targeting
Judicial Watch today released newly obtained internal IRS documents, including material revealing that Sen. John McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials, including then-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.”  Kerner was appointed by President Trump as Special Counsel for the United States Office of Special Counsel.

The explosive exchange was contained in notes taken by IRS employees at an April 30, 2013, meeting between Kerner, Lerner, and other high-ranking IRS officials. Just ten days following the meeting, former IRS director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner admitted that the IRS had a policy of improperly and deliberately delaying applications for tax-exempt status from conservative non-profit groups.

Lerner and other IRS officials met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.  Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.”

In the full notes of an April 30 meeting, McCain’s high-ranking staffer Kerner recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to continue operating. Kerner tells Lerner, Steve Miller, then chief of staff to IRS commissioner, Nikole Flax, and other IRS officials, “Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.” In response, Lerner responded that “it is her job to oversee it all:”

Rot at the top. All of them. This upcoming mid-term election will be very important.

Dinner al fresco

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Had dinner outside - marinated chicken breast with some deli-made red potato salad. Been trying to keep my carbohydrate consumption under control but have been reading about resistant starches. (here and here) Very interesting...

Gorgeous evening - full moon so the tide is very high.

Nothing today

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Dealing with the water leak and a couple other items down here. Back to the farm in a few days - meeting with two people Sunday and possibly Monday.

Grilling some chicken for dinner tonight - gorgeous clear skies and warm.

And that is it for the night

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Busy day today so catching an hour of YouTube and then to bed.

Quantum spookiness

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From Oak Ridge National Laboratory:

New insights bolster Einstein’s idea about how heat moves through solids
A discovery by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory supports a century-old theory by Albert Einstein that explains how heat moves through everything from travel mugs to engine parts.

The transfer of heat is fundamental to all materials. This new research, published in the journal Science, explored thermal insulators, which are materials that block transmission of heat.

“We saw evidence for what Einstein first proposed in 1911—that heat energy hops randomly from atom to atom in thermal insulators,” said Lucas Lindsay, materials theorist at ORNL. “The hopping is in addition to the normal heat flow through the collective vibration of atoms.”

The random energy hopping is not noticeable in materials that conduct heat well, like copper on the bottom of saucepans during cooking, but may be detectable in solids that are less able to transmit heat.

This observation advances understanding of heat conduction in thermal insulators and will aid the discovery of novel materials for applications from thermoelectrics that recover waste heat to barrier coatings that prevent transmission of heat.

More at the site - very interesting. The more we think we know, the more we find out that we don't know anything.

Water woes

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Last week, I was looking at the water meter on the island and saw that the concrete vault was flooded. Tried bailing it out with a Red Solo Cup© but couldn't get ahead of the flow. I had a small pump at the farm so brought that down today and got it empty. Shut the water off to the house and the vault started filling back up. YES!!! That repair is the responsibility of our local water district and not mine. My responsibility begins at the shutoff valve to the meter.

Fun at the Ice Cube Lab

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Quite the bit of science going on - from Nature:

Single subatomic particle illuminates mysterious origins of cosmic rays
A single subatomic particle detected at the South Pole last September is helping to solve a major cosmic mystery: what creates electrically charged cosmic rays, the most energetic particles in nature.

Follow-up studies by more than a dozen observatories suggest that researchers have, for the first time, identified a distant galaxy as a source of high-energy neutrinos

This discovery could, in turn, help scientists pin down the still mysterious source of protons and atomic nuclei that arrive to Earth from outer space, collectively called cosmic rays. The same mechanisms that produce cosmic rays should also make high-energy neutrinos.

The Ice Cube observatory detected a muon which was the result of a Nutrino decay. They were able to secure data from other observatories to look for other subatomic particles from the same source and they found it. Some great science and detective work.

There is a fascinating book about the origins and the building of the Ice Cube Lab - read it about a year ago and really enjoyed it: The Telescope in the Ice: Inventing a New Astronomy at the South Pole

Sorting books

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Working at the condo today - I never realised just how many books my Dad and I collected. They sneak in just like coathangers.

Loving the local library - if I see a book I am interested, I fire up a cell phone app and reserve it.

A big disappointment - Fascism

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Got Madeleine Albright's latest book: Fascism. Given that she was born in Czechoslovakia in 1937 - two years before Hitler invaded and that her family returned after WWII only to have Czechoslovakia fall to Communism in 1948, I was hoping that she would have a more nuanced view as to what constitutes Fascism. Instead, it is a Never Trump screed. I gave up after page 53. She does give a good history lesson of what happened in Europe but her foaming at the mouth regarding Trump renders her book unreadable.

She did have one wonderful turn of phrase that I enjoyed:

To the political class of Washington D.C. - Republican, Democrat and independent alike - the election of Trump as so startling it would have caused an old-time silent film comedian to clench his hat with both hands, yank it over his ears, leap in the air, and land flat on his back.

Cute - I can see this in my mind. Sad that the book is so unreadable - I'll be returning it to the library. Glad I didn't spend my money on it.

Business trumps Politics - taxation

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Heh - economist Arthur Laffer came up with the Laffer Curve which shows that there are optimum rates for taxation. Tax at 0% and you get zero returns (DOH!) - same for 100% because people will figure out all kinds of dodges. There is an optimal level and it took President Trump to implement this.

From Investor's Business Daily:

Income Tax Revenues Are Up 9% This Year — Is Trump Tax Cut Paying For Itself?
Supply-Side Economics: Democrats scoffed at Republicans who said the Trump tax cuts would at least partially pay for themselves through higher economic growth. But it looks like the GOP had it right all along, as revenues climb.

The latest monthly budget report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office finds that revenues from federal income taxes were $76 billion higher in the first half of this year, compared with the first half of 2017. That's a 9% jump, even though the lower income tax withholding schedules went into effect in February.

And of course, we will always have the "special" people to listen to:

But wait a minute. According to Democrats, the Trump tax cuts were supposed to blow a massive hole in the deficit.

Last November, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi promised that "this thing will explode the deficit."

She also said that "after the Republicans' tax plan blows a multi-trillion-dollar hole in the deficit, they will sharpen their knives for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and vital job-creating investments for middle class families."

Even now, Pelosi is sticking to her guns. In June, she called it "the deficit-exploding GOP tax scam for the rich."

A perfect example of someone who is clueless and out of touch. She is not a leader. All she cares about is power and getting re-elected. Her 15 minutes were over a long long time ago - part of the problem.

And that is it for the night

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A bit of YouTube and then to bed. Feeling downright sleepy.

A big fizzle in Brussels

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Pure Schadenfreude - from NTK Network complete with video goodness:

Anti-Trump Protest at NATO Draws Only a Couple Dozen
“Make Peace Great Again” organizers were expecting few thousand protesters to gather outside the NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday evening to protest President Trump’s attendance, but only a couple dozen demonstrators showed up.

Euro News’ Damon Embling reported that organizers were expecting a few thousand people to attend the protest, but just a few dozen turned out.

The protesters were rallying around the slogan “Make Peace Great Again,” a play on Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Almost feel sorry for the loonies.... Almost

Heh - shaking things up

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Even the Democrats are becoming disgusted with what their party has become - from USA Today:

Top Democrat Linda Sanchez says it's time for 'generational change' in dig at Nancy Pelosi
A top House Democrat said Wednesday it was time for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her two long-time deputies to step aside and make way for a younger generation of leaders.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, the highest-ranking Latina in the House, first called for “generational change” last fall, but her fresh comments on Wednesday come at a time when Democrats are increasingly dissatisfied with Pelosi and uncertain about who could emerge as a possible successor.

Sanchez — currently the vice chair of the Democratic conference, the No. 5 leadership slot — also said she wants to be part of any “transition” to a new lineup.

“I think it’s time for that generational change,” Sanchez told reporters Wednesday. “I want to be part of that transition, because I don’t intend to stay in Congress until I’m in my 70s.”

I have said before and will say again, if John F. Kennedy were running today, I would vote for him in a heartbeat. The Dems have moved too far to the left for 90% of We The People's liking. They have no platform except to tax and to grow big government. Certainly not Constitutional.

Amazing story from National Geographic:

Oldest Tools Outside Africa Found, Rewriting Human Story
Modern humans' distant relatives left Africa earlier than previously thought—rewriting a key chapter in humankind's epic prequel, according to a discovery  unveiled on Wednesday in Nature.

Nearly a hundred stone tools found at the Shangchen site in central China may push back the spread of our ancient cousins—hominins—out of Africa by more than a quarter million years.

The toolmakers lived at Shangchen on and off for 800,000 years between 2.1 and 1.3 million years ago, leaving behind tools that are unprecedented  outside of Africa. The site's oldest tools are roughly 300,000 years older than Dmanisi, a 1.8-million-year-old site in the Republic of Georgia with the oldest known fossils of our extinct cousin Homo erectus.

A bit of what we know so far:

Early Wanderers
Today's modern humans, Homo sapiens, trace back to a migratory pulse that left Africa some 60,000 years ago. But that migration was hardly the first to leave the continent—nor were modern humans the only hominins to make the trip. Remains of Homo erectus have been found from Georgia to Java. Neanderthals' ancestors trekked to Europe  roughly half a million years ago. At least 700,000 years ago, early hominins somehow swept through the South Pacific, giving rise to the “hobbit”  Homo floresiensis and  other island toolmakers.

Some sites have hinted at an even older hominin presence in Asia. In the 1980s, researchers suggested that stone tools in Pakistan  could be as old as two million years old. In 2004, a Chinese team found  1.66-million-year-old stone tools in north China's Nihewan basin. And in 2015, researchers made the case that a Homo erectus skull found less than three miles from Shangchen  was more than 1.6 million years old.

I love it - the more we think we have a handle on something, the more we find out that we know nothing. Raising a glass of wine to our early ancestors - I salute you!!!

Long day but productive

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Back at the farm for the evening. Early bedtime.

Time to see what the internet dragged in...

The original was awesome - the sequels and remake? Meh...

From Deadline:

Neill Blomkamp To Direct New ‘RoboCop’ For MGM; Justin Rhodes Rewriting Sequel Script By Creators Ed Neumeier & Michael Miner
EXCLUSIVE: MGM is developing a new installment of RoboCop and has set District 9 director Neill Blomkamp to helm the picture, which is titled RoboCop Returns. The studio hopes to revive a franchise that began with the Paul Verhoeven-directed satirical sci-fi action thriller that Orion released in 1987. Original writers Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner are producing and exec producing, respectively. Justin Rhodes, who co-wrote the Terminator film that Tim Miller is shooting, will rewrite the script that Neumeier and Miner wrote years ago as a planned sequel to Verhoeven’s hit, an installment that never happened. That duo is creatively involved in moving forward their creation for the first time since the original.

Blomkamp directed District 9, Elysium and Chappie - excellent films. The new Robocop should be a fun ride.

Back around 2000, an English ham radio operator John Hey, G3TDZ developed a specalized radio for use in cave rescues. "Normal" radio frequencies do not go through earth very well - the higher the frequenices, the more they are blocked. Normal ham radio bands range from around 3 million Hz up to 440 million and up. John's device operated at 87 thousand Hz and is therefore able to penetrate earth and rock.

The HeyPhone was used in the Thai cave rescue. Here is the website:  HeyPhone Cave Rescue Communication System 

Here is an article on various cave radio systems from 2001: The HeyPhone Story

Fascinating technology. Works so well it has not been changed in 18 years.

Crap - serious flooding in Japan

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From Reuters:

Japan struggles to get help to victims of worst floods in decades
Japan struggled on Tuesday to restore utilities after its worst weather disaster in 36 years killed at least 155 people, with survivors facing health risks from broiling temperatures and a lack of water, while rescuers kept up a grim search for victims.

Torrential rain unleashed floods and landslides in western Japan last week, bringing death and destruction, especially to neighborhoods built decades ago near steep slopes. About 67 people are missing, the government said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has canceled an overseas trip to cope with the disaster, which at one point forced several million from their homes.

Prayers going out to these people.

Climate change - a two-fer

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First - Looks like there is trouble at the top. From New Delhi, India's The Wire:

Green Climate Fund Chief Quits After 'Disappointing' Meeting
Oslo (Norway): Green Climate Fund (GCF) meant to channel billions of dollars to poor nations said it had had a “very difficult and disappointing” meeting ending on Wednesday, in a new setback after US President Donald Trump pulled out US support last year.

Australian climate finance expert Howard Bamsey announced he was stepping down as executive director of the GCF at the end of the four-day meeting in Songdo, South Korea, the GCF said in a statement.

The GCF, whose South Korean headquarters opened in 2013 with backing from almost 200 nations, aims to help poor nations cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt their economies to heatwaves, storms and rising seas.

Noble idea - only problem is that this is not happening. The sea level is rising but minimally - a few millimeters every decade or so. The Paris Accord? Follow the Benjamins:

As part of the Paris agreement, rich nations pledged to raise total climate finance, from both private and public sources, to $100 billion a year by 2020 and to raise it further in the 2020s.

All of a sudden, the poor nations are seeing a lot of money available if they make noises about global warming (which hasn't happened in over 18 years). Now the money is being taken away and they want their money. Will the average citizen of these nations see anything? No - this is just another example of graft and corruption writ large.

Second - this is delicious - from the Los Angeles Times:

Brett Kavanaugh, a Washington veteran, is Trump's second pick for the Supreme Court
In choosing Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, President Trump went with a well-credentialed Washington insider who compiled a long record as a reliable conservative and won the respect of White House lawyers and the outside groups that advise them.

And this juicy little nugget:

Kavanaugh was skeptical of several of the Obama administration’s environmental regulations, including efforts to limit greenhouse gases and hazardous air pollutants.

I am not in any way suggesting that we go back to the environment of the 1960's when rivers caught fire and smog was a serious urban health hazard but we cleaned that up and our environment is now something to be proud of. Time to cut back on the bureaucracy and to officially recognize that our climate is always variable and that we just passed through a 30 year Modern Warm Period. Our sun is seriously quiet these days - close to 100 days without any sunspots this year alone. We may very well be heading for a time of cooling.

Glad that we will be getting a new Justice that recognizes the climate hype for what it is.

Another day in paradise

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Heading out for coffee and then to the condo to sort books and take "shelfies" for a rare book dealer. The condo is where my Mom and Dad spent the end of their lives and they were both book collectors so there is quite the collection to sell off. 

Was thinking of doing this on eBay but there are several hundred books so looking at having a rare book dealer come in and make an offer for the lot. Less money for sure but also less hassle - especially boxing and shipping.

And that is it for the evening

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Long day tomorrow with packing and sorting. Time to head over to YouTube land for a while and then to bed.

Chris Lynch found this wonderful film clip - very appropriate for the Senate Confirmation Hearings:

On July 5th, Trump offered to purchase a DNA test kit for Senator Elizabeth Warren to back up her claims of Indian heratige. He even offered to donate $1,000,000 to her favorite charity if she would follow through with the test.

She issued her rebuttal today and it is lame - she has no facts to back up her claim so she is reduced to launching an Ad Hominem attack against our President. From The Boston Globe:

Elizabeth Warren slams President Trump at Natick forum
US Senator Elizabeth Warren responded to a recent attack by President Trump on Sunday, saying he “tries to bully me in order to shut me up,” as she spoke to reporters after a question-and-answer session with supporters at the historic Belkin Family Lookout Farm.

It was the latest salvo in a longstanding war of words between the Massachusetts senator and the president, who provoked fresh criticism of his crass rhetoric at a rally Thursday in Montana. In his Great Falls speech, Trump again referred to Warren as “Pocahontas” and questioned her controversial claims of Native American ancestry, which Warren says are based on family lore but remain unproven.

It is not bullying if the President is correct and Warren is lying. Again, she is not that smart and was unable to get into Harvard Law School on her academic merit so she lied and said that she was Native American and was accepted under their diversity quotas. Simple as that.

She could make all of this go away with a simple swab of the inside of her cheek and a $200 check to 23 and Me. Why has she not done this?

A safe pick for SCOTUS

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Bret Kavanaugh was not my first choice but he is very moderate and the liberals will not beat him up to badly at the confirmation hearings. I would have loved Senator Mike Lee or Amy Coney Barrett but Kavanaugh is President Trump's choice and I respect that.

I was wondering why he chose him and what came to mind is that there is somethign very big coming down the pike - before the mid-term elections and President Trump wants to reserve all his political "favors" for that. Should be fun - time for a big bowl of popcorn if this is true...

Another day of packing

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Heading out for coffee and then to the condo to sort through more books. T found someone in Seattle who specalizes in rare books and they are coming up sometime this week to evaluate the collection. No posting until much later today.

No word yet as to President Trump's decision on the new Supreme Court Justice. This will be fun to see.

Only thing is that President Trump has not released his choice for Justice Kennedy yet:

The Schadenfreude is strong with these people.

Dang - missed it by one day

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Missed what? National Dive Bar day:

NATIONAL DIVE BAR DAY
On July 7, raise a toast to the place where friends gather and memories are made. It’s National Dive Bar Day!

From the one-time speakeasy to the little hole-in-the-wall, the dive bar is like an old pair of jeans; it just fits right. During the week, we can stop in, our team will be playing on the TV, and the beverages will be icy cold. The same dart and pool leagues meet every year, and familiar faces go head to head. Sweethearts still have date nights at the beach shack where they met 20 years ago, and in small towns across the country, the dive bar serves the best steaks for miles around.

The dive bar is more than just a place to kick back and relax. It’s where we mark out life’s plans, celebrate its successes and make memories to treasure. We make friends who become family and remember those who have left us behind.

National Dive Bar Day is about the first place to come to mind when it’s time to celebrate, to hang out with friends or just feel at home once again.

I love a good dive bar. Feel right at home.

The Trump Tariffs - steel

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From the Chicago Tribune:

The Illinois town where Trump's tariffs have provided jobs, and a sigh of relief
Grab a cup of coffee with a resident of Granite City and you’ll likely hear it said that the southern Illinois city was built around the local U.S. Steel plant, not the other way around.

It’s the locals’ way of conveying how heavily Granite City, just outside St. Louis, depends on the steel mill, both for the jobs and the sense of identity it provides.

For more than 100 years, Granite City has defined itself as a hardworking mill town, a place where young people eager to cement a solid financial future without a college degree have to look no further than the dirt and iron and fire of the local steel plant, which stretches over 2 square miles. The opportunity afforded by the plant came to a halt at the end of 2015, when the plant idled production, laying off 2,000 people.

But the first blast furnace now has been restarted and U.S. Steel is filling 800 jobs at the mill, a result of the steep tariffs that President Donald Trump announced on imported steel and aluminum earlier this year. The Trump administration has in recent months imposed tariffs on goods from Canada, Mexico and China and on Friday imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. That country responded by levying tariffs of its own on American-made goods.

Not a big fan of tariffs - they should be used as a last resort but still, they are having a positive effect. My problem is that U.S. Steel is now going to raise their prices to a fraction of what the imported steel plus those tariffs will cost because they can. Makes for a tax on consumers. Good that workers are getting rehired though...

Great news from Thailand

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From the New York Post:

At least four boys emerge from cave in Thailand
At least four young members of a Thai soccer team have been rescued from the flooded cave where they were trapped along with eight teammates and their coach for more than two weeks, officials said Sunday.

The other team members and coach still remain in the underground cave awaiting rescue.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osotthanakon said at a press conference Sunday that four boys had been pulled out safely from the Tham Luang cave and taken to the hospital.

“This is more successful than I expected, Everyone’s happy,” the governor said

They were in a field trip to explore the cave when flash flood sealed off the entrance.

From Infogalactic:

Sliced bread
Sliced bread is a loaf of bread that has been sliced with a machine and packaged for convenience. It was first sold in 1928, advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped". This led to the popular phrase, "best thing since sliced bread".

History
Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, USA invented the first loaf-at-a-time bread-slicing machine. A prototype he built in 1912 was destroyed in a fire and it was not until 1928 that Rohwedder had a fully working machine ready. The first commercial use of the machine was by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, which produced their first slices on July 7, 1928. Their product, "Kleen Maid Sliced Bread", proved a success. Battle Creek, Michigan has a competing claim as the first city to sell bread sliced by Rohwedder's machine; however, historians have produced no documentation backing up Battle Creek's claim. The bread was advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped."

Use it most days - handy.

Just say no - Hillary

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Unreal - from the New York Post:

Is Hillary Clinton secretly planning to run in 2020?
The messages convey a sense of urgency, and are coming with increasing frequency. They are short, focused reactions to the latest “outrage” committed by President Trump.

Some end by asking for money, some urge participation in protests. All read as if they are sent from the official headquarters of the resistance.

Hillary Clinton is up to something.

Five times in the last month alone, she sent e-mails touting her super PAC’s role in combating President Trump. Most seized on headline events, such as the family-separation issue at the southern border.

She seriously need to put the crack pipe away and retire from the public stage. Glutton for punishment?

My kind of day

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Always start (and sometimes end) the day with a little piece of this.

Happy World Chocolate Day (although do not forget its cousin, International Chocolate Day on September 13th - the birthdate of Milton Snavely Hershey)

At the farm finally

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Busy day. Woke up on the island, headed up to the farm to borrow the store van, make two trips from the farm into Bellingham (60 miles round tip for each) and met up with T who helped me sort through a lot of books. We had dinner and I just got home. Tired - surf for a bit and then to bed. Busy days this week too...

Busy day today

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Heading back to the farm and loading up the bookshelves and then using the store van to take them to the condo.

Meeting up with T later this afternoon to sort books. Estate sale coming up soon - looking forward to shedding a lot of crap.

More posting much later today.

Back in the mists of time I spent a number of hours flying Cessna 150's and 172's when living in New England so flying has always been an interest of mine. There is an annual air show at the Arlington airport and went for a visit today. Turns out it was the 50th anniversary of the event so a lot of people and lots of fun aircraft to look at.

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The guy in the safety vest and straw hat built this little scooter - cute idea. The Dr. Strangelove reference is to Slim Picken's wild ride in the movie.

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There were a number of old aircraft lovingly restored. This gorgeous Lockheed Model12

Some new designs as well - this is from a German company and is a combination airplane and glider. The propellor stows in the nose cone when not in use and the engine is mounted behind the cockpit. 

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A lot of walking - the runway was 5,000 feet long and there were things to see all along the length. Both sides. Proably got about four miles in today - nice weather and a fun event. Probably about 800-1,000 people attending and maybe 300 airplanes, 100 vendor booths.

A sobering comparison

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From Anton Troynikov by way of Jamie Zawinski

Things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union

    • Waiting years to receive a car you ordered, to find that it's of poor workmanship and quality.
    • Promises of colonizing the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in, day out.
    • Living five adults to a two room apartment.
    • Being told you are constructing utopia while the system crumbles around you.
    • 'Totally not illegal taxi' taxis by private citizens moonlighting to make ends meet.
    • Everything slaved to the needs of the military-industrial complex.
    • Mandatory workplace political education.
    • Productivity largely falsified to satisfy appearance of sponsoring elites.
    • Deviation from mainstream narrative carries heavy social and political consequences.
    • Networked computers exist but they're really bad.
    • Henry Kissinger visits sometimes for some reason.
    • Elite power struggles result in massive collateral damage, sometimes purges.
    • Failures are bizarrely upheld as triumphs.
    • Otherwise extremely intelligent people just turning the crank because it's the only way to get ahead.
    • The plight of the working class is discussed mainly by people who do no work.
    • The United States as a whole is depicted as evil by default.
    • The currency most people are talking about is fake and worthless.
    • The economy is centrally planned, using opaque algorithms not fully understood by their users.

Scary true...

I am especially pissed about this as electronics components will be taxed at 35% so our costs will increase by at least 35% if not more. Also, items that are 100% manufactured in China (they call this the last screw definition - ie: there is no subsequent assembly or processing in the USA) do not have this tax. This is a tax on hackers and not consumers.

But I ramble - from CNBC:

US-China tariffs: 'The first shots to the trade war are about to be fired'
A trade war between the U.S. and China is about to start, and there will be probably be “escalation upon escalation,” warned Geoff Raby, Australia’s former ambassador to China.

Ahead of the expected Friday implementation of American and Chinese tariffs, Raby told CNBC that “it looks like the first shots to the trade war are about to be fired.”

China, for its part, was already calling the tariff threats between Beijing and Washington a "trade war" in June.

“I thought that by now a negotiated solution would have been found,” he told CNBC’s Martin Soong, adding that it seems the U.S. has “walked away” from any potential deal.

Yes, there is a very large imbalance in trade between our two nations but a trade war is not the way to go about curing this. President Trump is going all-out nuclear when he just needs to rattle a few sabers.

President Trump - master troll

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This is pure comedy gold from our President. From The Hill:

Trump: I would offer Warren $1M to prove her Native American heritage
President Trump said Thursday that if he were facing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during a debate, he would offer her $1 million to take a test to prove her Native American heritage.

“But let’s say I’m debating Pocahontas, I’ll do this,” Trump said during a campaign rally in Great Falls, Montana, referring to Warren by the racially charged nickname he gave her during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I promise you I’ll do this, you know those little kits they sell on television for $2? Learn your heritage,” Trump said.

She is not that smart and was unable to get into Harvard Law School on her academic merit so she lied and said that she was Native American and was accepted under their diversity quotas. Simple as that.

Good news - the EPA

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He was a good fit for the job and did a great deal to steer the EPA back to its core missions but his personal life was a trainwreck. From the New York Post:

Scott Pruitt quits as EPA chief amid ethics controversies
Embattled EPA Chief Scott Pruitt resigned under mounting pressure on Thursday as the number of controversies — and congressional investigations — over his personal and professional behavior continued to pile up.

President Trump, who had been one of the Oklahoman’s staunchest defenders, announced the resignation in a pair of tweets.

“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” he wrote.

Some of the issues:

Pruitt was overwhelmed by a series of controversies, including lavish spending on first-class air travel and an expanded, 24-hour security detail, a sweetheart rent deal on a DC condo owned by a lobbyist with business before the EPA and a $40,000 private phone booth in his office.

It was also revealed that he personally tried to get his wife a Chick-fil-A franchise as well as another high-paying job — and that he blew taxpayers’ money on “tactical” pants normally worn by law enforcement.

Individually, none of these warrant punishment or his resignation but collectively? He should have realized that he was a public figure. Should have stayed squeaky clean.

On the island

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Fireworks were a lot of fun last night. Headed South to the island today and spending tonight on the island and then South to Seattle to spend a couple days with T.

Back to work

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Minimal posting this afternoon - boxing up stuff and filling the dumpster.

Rot at the core - the FBI

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Interesting revelation - from Wired Magazine - March 28th, 2012:

READ THE FBI MEMO: AGENTS CAN 'SUSPEND THE LAW'

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The FBI once taught its agents that they can "bend or suspend the law" as they wiretap suspects. But the bureau says it didn't really mean it, and has now removed the document from its counterterrorism training curriculum, calling it an "imprecise" instruction. Which is a good thing, national security attorneys say, because the FBI's contention that it can twist the law in pursuit of suspected terrorists is just wrong.

And a bit more:

The reference to law-bending was noted in a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller from Sen. Richard Durbin that Danger Room obtained. When Danger Room asked for the original document, the FBI initially declined. On Wednesday, a Bureau spokesperson relented, but refused to say who prepared the document; how long it was in circulation; and how many FBI agents, analysts and officials received its instruction.

The undated piece of instructional material (.pdf) notes that "under certain circumstances, the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others." Those circumstances include "the ability to gather information on individuals which would normally be protected under the U.S. Constitution through the use of FISA [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act], Title 3 monitoring [general law enforcement surveillance], NSL [National Security Letter] reports, etc."

Some surveillance experts were confused by that explanation. Surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or so-called "Title-3" law-enforcement surveillance requires the approval of judges. National Security Letters – administrative subpoenas for records issued by FBI officials, not judges – are troubling to civil libertarians, as the practice is rife for abuse, but the issuance of the letters themselves is legal. In other words, there shouldn't be any suspension of the law.

Rife for abuse indeed. A fake dossier paid for with Clinton campaign funds forms the basis for a FISA approved wiretap on people in Donald Trump's campaign. Abuses like this have been going on since well before 2011 - here is one case from 2007: U.S. Report to Fault F.B.I. on Subpoenas  John Edgar is spinning in his grave.

Happy Independence Day

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Heading out for coffee, stop at the store and then back home to continue packing up.

Fireworks later.

Celebrating Independence Day

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Firing an anvil. The one being launched weighs 80 pounds. The one on the base is 150 pounds and the charge is one pound of black powder.

From one of my favorite YouTube channels: Essential Craftsman

And that is it for me for tonight

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The burger induced a very nice food coma so settling in to some YouTube watching and a glass or three of red wine. Been sleeping a lot last few days to planning an early bedtime for tonight.

Fireworks tomorrow - the next town up the road collects donations and they buy a bunch of fireworks at around 5PM on the 4th. Get good deals then. They set them off in the park - usually have about 300 people showing up and you come home with bits of cardboard in your hair and smelling of powder. Up close and personal. Fun.

Classic - burger for dinner

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Finished off a nice burger for dinner. Did it without the bun as trying to keep carbs down to a dull roar. Local grass-fed cow so it was delicious. Turned out to be a gorgeous day today so was sitting outside on the deck.

Back to finish off today's project (music room) and then watch some TV or YouTube.

Affirmative Action restored

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Real Affirmative Action, not just some Social Justice Warrior's demands. From Zero Hedge:

Trump Reverses Obama-Era Policies On Affirmative Action
As Donald Trump moves to undo every last trace of Obama's legacy, the WSJ reported that on Tuesday, the Trump administration reversed Obama-era policies that encourage the use of race in college admissions "to promote diverse educational settings."  Instead, the Trump administration will encourage the nation’s school superintendents and college presidents to adopt race-blind admissions standards.

The reversal would restore the policy set during President George W. Bush’s administration, when officials told schools that it “strongly encourages the use of race-neutral methods” for admitting students to college or assigning them to elementary and secondary schools.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the official announcement Tuesday afternoon.

"The American people deserve to have their voices heard and a government that is accountable to them. When issuing regulations, federal agencies must abide by constitutional principles and follow the rules set forth by Congress and the President," Sessions said. "In previous administrations, however, agencies often tried to impose new rules on the American people without any public notice or comment period, simply by sending a letter or posting a guidance document on a website. That's wrong, and it's not good government."

The decision comes amid a DOJ probe whether Harvard was illegally discriminating against Asian-American students by holding them to a higher standard in its admissions process. The administration revived the probe last year after Obama civil rights officials dismissed a similar complaint.

Good - people should be able to stand on their merit and not their gender orientation or race. Hopefully, this will cut down on the number of Lesbian Yoga Studies courses too and we will have more Real Shit 101 classes.

From Missoula, Montana station KECI:

5-ton tractor still missing after tornado touches down
Weather officials say a tractor that was carried away in a tornado last week near the Montana-South Dakota state line has yet to be found.

The National Weather Service says last Thursday's storm spawned at least five tornados in rural Carter County, Montana, and Harding County, South Dakota.

The most damaging tornado received an EF-3 rating with winds estimated at 136 mph (218 kph). It traveled more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) from Montana into South Dakota, snapping trees and destroying a home and a shed.

And an EF-3 is not the biggest they get. The Enhanced Fujita Scale goes up to EF-5. There is no EF-6

Overton Window? From Infogalactic:

The Overton window, also known as the window of discourse, is the range of ideas the public will accept. It is used by media pundits. The term is derived from its originator, Joseph P. Overton (1960–2003), a former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, who in his description of his window claimed that an idea's political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within the window, rather than on politicians' individual preferences. According to Overton's description, his window includes a range of policies considered politically acceptable in the current climate of public opinion, which a politician can recommend without being considered too extreme to gain or keep public office.

Overton described a spectrum from "more free" to "less free" with regard to government intervention, oriented vertically on an axis, to avoid comparison with the left-right political spectrum. As the spectrum moves or expands, an idea at a given location may become more or less politically acceptable.

The article includes this graphic which explains it very well:

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This post is what got me thinking about the Overton Window - from Red State:

The Democrat-Left: Stupid, Insane – And Very, Very Violent
We are in the midst of a seriously, seriously dangerous ramp up by the radical Left.  Not since the 1960s have these people been this riled up, angry – and prone to fits of violence.

The 1960s gave us murderous groups like the Weather Underground (founders of which launched future president Barack Obama’s political career) and the Black Panthers – which marred our existence for years and years.

But there is at least one HUGE difference between then and now.

Then: The comparatively moderate Democrat Party was considered another enemy of the Left – for being comparatively moderate.  Which is why the Left openly assaulted the 1968 Democrat Convention in Chicago.

Now: What were once vices, have now become habits.  The radical Left – owns and operates today’s Democrat Party.

The Democrat National Committee (DNC) – is co-run by a self-avowed Communist (Tom Perez) and a radical anti-Jew Nation of Islam adherent (Keith Ellerson).

In the 2016 Democrat presidential primary, Hillary Clinton was the alleged moderate alternative to Communist Bernie  Sanders.  But when both were in the Senate – her voting record was but 0.1% less Left than his.  Oh – and there were five Senators more Left than the both of them.

I lived through the 1960's and 1970's and have zero desire to revisit them. People have not learned their history. There are glimmers of hope though.

From the Foundation for Economic Education:

Ontario’s Minimum Wage Hike Has Been Disastrous, Especially for Disabled Workers
The Canadian province of Ontario began 2018 by raising the minimum wage from $11.60 to $14. The move was predictably praised by union leaders and most of the general public as a compassionate policy that would help workers. Equally predictable was the damage this would do to unskilled workers, much of which is already clearly visible, only half a year into this unfortunate experiment. And given that the damage caused by minimum wages takes time to unfold, more carnage is surely on the horizon.

Disabled Workers Lose Their Jobs
When the Ontario government raised the minimum wage, it also terminated an exemption for organizations providing jobs to the intellectually or physically disabled. As a result, The Globe and Mail reports, most of these organizations “have opted to stop hiring people with cognitive disabilities.” Not only was hiring stopped, community centers and non-profits were also forced to let go of their existing disabled workers.

The parents of these disabled workers organized a protest demanding exemptions from the government’s unfair minimum wage law, since no employer could afford to pay their disabled adult children $14 per hour. As no exemption has yet been granted, the clear result of the new minimum wage policy was to cut down the most vulnerable workers in the province by destroying the jobs that provided them with income and self-esteem.

Much more at the site with links to corroborating data. The socialists are still pushing for higher wages without realizing the damage their ideas are causing. A progressive is like an unsupervised three-year-old in a candy store - happy and clueless.

Sounds good - from Gallup:

Small Majority in U.S. Say the Country's Best Days Are Ahead
 Fifty-five percent of U.S. adults believe the United States' best days are "ahead of us," while 41% say they are "behind us." Americans are more optimistic about the country's future than they were the last time Gallup polled on the question, in December 2012, when Americans were nearly evenly split in their views.

The 2012 numbers were 47% ahead of us and 50% behind. Big difference between Obama and Trump.

A late start

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Slept in today - heading out for coffee and the store and then packing up the music room and starting in on the garage.

Looking forward to the move!

From The Smithsonian:

Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia
It’s July 12, 2017, and Jens Dopke walks into a windowless room in Oxfordshire, England, all of his attention trained on a small, white frame that he carries with both hands. The space, which looks like a futuristic engine room, is crowded with sleek metal tables, switches and platforms topped with tubes and boxes. A tangle of pipes and wires covers the walls and floor like vines.

In the middle of the room, Dopke, a physicist, eases the frame into a holder mounted on a metal turntable, a red laser playing on the back of his hand. Then he uses his cellphone to call his colleague Michael Drakopoulos, who is sitting in a control room a few yards away. “Give it another half a millimeter,” Dopke says. Working together, they adjust the turntable so that the laser aligns perfectly with a dark, charred speck at the center of the frame.

The author takes some time setting up the story - here is a bit more:

The facility, called Diamond Light Source, is one of the most powerful and sophisticated X-ray facilities in the world, used to probe everything from viruses to jet engines. On this summer afternoon, though, its epic beam will focus on a tiny crumb of papyrus that has already survived one of the most destructive forces on the planet—and 2,000 years of history. It comes from a scroll found in Herculaneum, an ancient Roman resort on the Bay of Naples, Italy, that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. In the 18th century, workmen employed by King Charles III of Spain, then in charge of much of southern Italy, discovered the remains of a magnificent villa, thought to have belonged to Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus (known as Piso), a wealthy statesman and the father-in-law of Julius Caesar. The luxurious residence had elaborate gardens surrounded by colonnaded walkways and was filled with beautiful mosaics, frescoes and sculptures. And, in what was to become one of the most frustrating archaeological discoveries ever, the workmen also found approximately 2,000 papyrus scrolls.

And in 1883-4, they tried unrolling a few of these scrolls with disastrous results. They crumbled. Fortunately, the rest of the 2,000+ were left intact - they did not try to read them. Very cool move - there will always be some technology in the future to fix what you can not do today.

The article is a long and wonderful read - the lead researcher was able to cobble together elements of Computer Tomography and use a particle accelerator for high energy X-Ray spectroscopy to differentiate between the ink, the carbon from the charing of the paper and the paper substrate itself. They are now able to read the scrolls without having to unroll them. This was the personal library of some Very Rich Dude from 2,000 years ago.

Fun time to be alive. Web site for: Diamond Light Source

Classic Mark Knopfler

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Been listening to some music and ran across this one:

I keep a weather eye on the horizon, back to the wall
I like to know who's coming through the door, that’s all
It's the old Army training, kickin' in
I'm not complaining, It's the world we live in
Blarney and Malarkey, they're a devious firm
They'll take you to the cleaners, or let you burn
The help is breaking dishes in the kitchen -- thanks a lot
We hired the worst dishwasher This place ever got

Comin’ in below the radar, they want to spoil our fun...
In the meantime, I'm cleaning my gun

Remember it got so cold ice froze up the tank
We lit a fire beneath her just so she would crank
Keep a weather eye on the horizon, tap the storm glass now and then
We got a case of Old Damnation For when you get here my friend

We can have ourselves a party before they come...
In the meantime, I'm cleaning my gun

We had women and a mirror ball, we had a DJ
We used to eat pretty much all came this way
Ever since the goons came in took apart the place
I keep a tire iron in the corner just in case

Gave you a magic bullet on a little chain
Keep you safe from the chilly winds and the howl of the rain
We're gonna might need bullets, should we get stuck
Any which way, we're gonna need a little luck

You can still get gas in heaven and drink in kingdom come...
In the meantime, I'm cleaning my gun

I love the minimalist recording studio and instrumentation. No AutoTune here, just a couple people who are masters at their craft and a recording engineer who knows to stay the hell away. Originally released in September 2009.

Back at the farm for a few days

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Moving some bookshelves and boxing up/clearing out the music room.

Surf for a while tonight.

Wildfire season is upon us and with all the dry weather, it is forecast to be a bad one:

Ho Li Crap

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Come on now - this is July:

Light Saber in real life

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What would happen if they were real:

Heading up North for a few days

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Spending tonight on the island and then back to the farm for a couple of days. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Probably will not even see the light of day - if it ever does, it will give the Juicero a run for its money as the most hyped/under performing modern product. From Engadget:

The SWORD is a weapon-detecting smartphone case
No matter how stylishly makers dress them up, most smartphone cases are really about one thing: protecting screens from smashing. They're fragile cargo, we get it. Of course, some enterprising companies have taken things further, whipping up cases that transform into Android phones and selfie drones. Now Royal Holdings has jumped into the fray with SWORD, a five ounce phone case that works like a 3D-imaging scanner.

Let's get the drawbacks out of the way first. Right now, SWORD is only compatible with iPhone 8 Plus and Google's Pixel 2XL, so its applications are limited. On the other hand, SWORD can scan individuals from up to 40m away -- non-invasively -- to determine whether they're carrying concealed weapons.

It supposedly does this via a programmable 3D sensor that's able to infiltrate objects using radio waves. SWORD's antennas relay a signal toward an individual and receive returning signals that are subsequently recorded by an integrated circuit. There's also a facial recognition feature that compares a person's face against a watch list, and would alert any attending security officer. Everything happens through a dedicated app and take a fraction of a second.

For all of its superhero associations, SWORD has obvious security benefits. Barry Oberholzer, the CEO of Royal Holdings, says "this type of product doesn't exist right now" but the ramifications for personnel working in airports or restricted areas are promising. If you were planning on buying SWORD, expect to pay a high price. Pre-orders are already open at $950 and you'll need to pay a $30 monthly subscription on top. There's still the question of whether SWORD can uphold all its vows, but we'll know more in spring 2019 when shipments begin.

I can only imagine the lawsuits if it mistakes something like a hip implant (which I have) for a weapon. Or the metal in the frame of a backpack or briefcase, or if it fails to detect a goblin who was wearing sunglasses that afternoon.

August 2018

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