January 2019 Archives

A counter to the toxic Gillette video

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Spot on:

More at The Western Journal:

Exclusive: Meet the CEO Who Put His Company on the Line To Stand Up to Gillette’s ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Ad
Editor’s note: The following was written by Ilan Srulovicz, the CEO and founder of Egard Watch Company, explaining why his company produced an ad to counter Gillette’s recent commercial on masculinity.
The story behind making the video is interesting. I made the ad completely alone. The voice in the video is mine and the editing is my own.

I was told by most people around me and in my company that making this video was a terrible idea and could not only hurt my brand but me personally as the CEO.

I used my personal funds on the video because I was worried about the backlash.

The main feedback was, “This will draw attention away from women’s issues,” “The political climate right now won’t support a film like this,” “Ask yourself why no other company is doing it,” etc.

He concludes with this:

The Gillette ad rubbed me the wrong way. I, like the overwhelming majority of men, am absolutely disgusted by sexual assault, rape, bullying, so why throw it in my face as if my “gender” as a whole is toxic? Using terms like “toxic masculinity” is using too broad a stroke to address specific issues — issues which I agree very much need to be addressed, especially after all the crazy stuff we’ve seen in Hollywood.

I am not against Gillette trying to start a conversation about assault, but I do have an issue with how they went about it.

Great call - pity I do not wear a watch. They make some nice ones. The overall response to the video has been impressively favorable too - they are back-ordered on many of their watches.

And, of course, the YouTube Thumb-O-Meter:


I love it - 161K to 2.1K - 76 times greater.

Fun afternoon

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Went to the YMCA for 90 minutes- used some of the machines and got good and tired. Definitely feel it tomorrow. When I signed up, they gave me a $50 gift certificate (as well as waiving the initial fee) so I will hire a personal trainer to get me started on weight lifting. That and cardio are the two areas I need the most work on.

Had a vegetarian burrito for a light dinner (already kinda full from breakfast) and then went over to my other local for two pints of beer. Ran out to the food coop too.

Early morning tomorrow - doing another ham radio emergency drill. I am on my own for this drill in three weeks so want to get another practice session in under my belt.

Surf for a bit...

Clueless - The New York Times

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But they get the narrative correct anyway. From The New York Times:

Brace for the Polar Vortex; It May Be Visiting More Often
Find your long johns, break out the thick socks and raid the supermarket. After a month of relatively mild winter weather, the Midwest and the East Coast are bracing for what is becoming a seasonal rite of passage: the polar vortex.

The phrase has become synonymous with frigid temperatures that make snowstorms more likely. A blast of arctic air heralded the vortex’s arrival on Monday.

If it seems as if these polar freezes are happening more often, you’re right. “They are definitely becoming more common,” said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. “There have been a couple of studies that have documented that.”

The Polar Vortex is a purely natural phenomenon - it has happened before, it will happen again.

It is funny too as when you go to the link that Dr. Francisposted, it goes to a single paper that talks about the Polar Vortex but connects it to the variability of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. No mention of global warming. The ENSO is also a natural phenomenon - it has happened before, it will happen again.

Just wonderful - measles outbreak

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From The Bellingham Herald:

22 confirmed cases of measles in Clark County
VANCOUVER, WASH. -- Health officials now say they have 22 confirmed measles cases in Clark County since the start of the year.

And of course:

Clark County Public Health said Monday is also investigating three suspected cases of the infection. Officials say 19 of those infected were not immunized, while the three others are not verified to have had the vaccine.

The anti-vax movement is one of the most horrible things ever perpetrated. The poor children. The guy who started it all - Andrew Wakefield - had his license to practice medicine revoked over this.

DaVinci Resolve - control surfaces

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Been having a lot of fun with the DaVinci Resolve video editing software. Totally free for individual use and very feature packed. Stiff learning curve but well worth it.

Couple of things that are very cool - they offer some dedicated control surfaces that give you a lot more tweaking ability than can be done with a keyboard and mouse. The downside is that the absolute cheapest of these - the Resolve Micro is $987 at Amazon:


Fortunately, since I have been doing electronic music for a long long time, I have an older version of this dedicated controller surface for my music software (was Sonar, now Cubase and Ableton):


This was made by Mackie and can be used to stop and start the recording process. There are knobs for setting parameters and sliders for adjusting the volume.

Turns out that it is possible to use the internal scripting language of Resolve to run this surface. The scripting language in question? My favorite: Lua  I consider Python to be overrated.

Very nice software!

Adapt or die - J. C. Penny

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Another business dinosaur is thrashing its last - from The Wall Street Journal:

J.C. Penney Struggles to Avoid Same Fate as Sears
J.C. Penney Co.’s sales are falling, its stores are stuck in malls and the turnaround strategy keeps changing. Now, three months after the embattled retailer hired a new chief executive, a handful of senior positions remain vacant.

The series of events is prompting analysts and other industry experts to question whether Penney can avoid the fate of fellow department-store operator Sears Holdings Corp., which filed for bankruptcy and barely staved off liquidation.

“Penney is a broken business,” said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia Business School. “They are looking at a very problematic 2019. It’s the mistakes of the past coming home to roost.”

Many factors - Walmart drank some of their milkshake. Online shopping did not help. They could have compensated but did not. Their management was out of touch. Same thing with Sears.

The article goes on to say that problems are also brewing for Macy’s and Kohl’s.

Staying another day

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Got some stuff to work on here plus a large radio network tomorrow morning. Spending tonight down here and head up to the farm tomorrow.

Another company is leaving CA for Texas - from Space.com:

SpaceX to Shift Starship Work From California to Texas
Less than a week after laying off 10 percent of its employees, SpaceX said Jan. 16 that it plans to shift work on at least prototypes of its next-generation launch system from Los Angeles to Texas.

In a statement, SpaceX said it was now planning to build prototypes of its Starship vehicle, the upper stage of its next-generation reusable launch system, at its site in South Texas originally designed to serve as a launch site. An initial prototype version of that vehicle has been taking shape in recent weeks at the site in advance of "hopper" tests that could begin in the next one to two months.

"To streamline operations, SpaceX is developing and will test the Starship test vehicle at our site in South Texas," company spokesperson Eva Behrend said in an emailed statement. The news was first reported by the Los Angeles Times after a pair of tweets early Jan. 16 from Joe Buscaino, a member of the Los Angeles City Council whose district includes the Port of Los Angeles. 

High cost of doing business, poor infrastructure, impermeable bureaucracy, liberal politics making it hard to run a business. The laundry list goes on and on and on...

Advertising placement

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I had been using Gillette razors but I am switching over to old-school safety razor. Because of their disgusting video, I am switching to a different brand (dropping Crest toothpaste too - same owners). These are what I first shaved with so should not be much of a re-learning curve.

Saw several sites recomending Feather Razor Blades as being very good (and only 20¢ each). Went on to Amazon and did a search. Here is what I saw in the top row of advertising:


Looks like Gillette is feeling some pain and spending some bucks on advertising. That placement has to be expensive. By the way, the video is now at 669K Thumbs Up and 1.1M Thumbs Down - more than 1.5 times difference.

The world economy - China

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A very thoughtful observation from al fin next level:

China’s Decline Hits Positive Feedback Territory
Chinese economic growth continues to decline and it is feared China might even suffer a major recession because of the continued economic problems.
__ Source

Positive Feedback Decline in China?
Slower growth in China means slower growth for the rest of the world…. with the headwinds from cooling global growth China’s economy is likely to weaken further before growth stabilizes in the second half of the year.”
__ https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46941932

You see the cyclic nature of China’s predicament: A slowing economy in China causes a slowing of economies in the rest of the worldAt the same timea cooling of the global economy is likely to further weaken China’s economy. A simple, straightforward positive feedback cycle of decline.

Read the whole thing - China needs us more than we need China. The trade war is working.

Driving Californians crazy

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Peter Grant found this on the web - thought I would share:


Brazil at Davos

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I would love to visit that nation - they finally have someone really good as a leader and they are going to show up all the corrupt socialist South American states by example. From France24 / Agence France-Presse:

Bolsonaro to present 'new Brazil' in Davos
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Monday he will present to the world leaders gathering in Davos the "new Brazil" he and his new government are working on, one that will be friendlier to investors and agribusiness.

"We want to show... that Brazil is taking measures so that the world re-establishes confidence in us," Bolsonaro told reporters as he arrived in the Swiss ski resort hosting the World Economic Forum meeting.

The new far-right leader of Latin America's biggest economy is the star attraction of Davos in the absence of US President Donald Trump and several other prominent heads of state.

On Tuesday, he said that he will present a "very short" speech setting out the pro-market direction Brazil will take with him at the helm -- a path "without being guided by ideology," he promised.

Emphasis mine - yes!!! Faster please!!!

Dietary Fiber - more good news

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Dietary Fiber is very good for you. I have been really watching my carbohydrate intake - keeping it to a minimum with the exception of the occasional past binge. Dietary Fiber counterbalances carbs so it is a good thing to have in your diet.

This from British medical journal The Lancet by way of Eureka Alert:

The Lancet: High intake of dietary fiber and whole grains associated with reduced risk of non-communicable diseases
People who eat higher levels of dietary fibre and whole grains have lower rates of non-communicable diseases compared with people who eat lesser amounts, while links for low glycaemic load and low glycaemic index diets are less clear. Observational studies and clinical trials conducted over nearly 40 years reveal the health benefits of eating at least 25g to 29g or more of dietary fibre a day, according to a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in The Lancet.

The results suggest a 15-30% decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality when comparing people who eat the highest amount of fibre to those who eat the least. Eating fibre-rich foods also reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24%. Per 1,000 participants, the impact translates into 13 fewer deaths and six fewer cases of coronary heart disease.

In addition, a meta-analysis of clinical trials suggested that increasing fibre intakes was associated with lower bodyweight and cholesterol, compared with lower intakes.

I currrently eat about 10 grams/day - have to figure out a way to increase that. I do eat a lot of whole grains and beans so coming from a good start.

Slow news day

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Nothing much happening - out for coffee and breakfast.

No eclipse photos this time

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Got a nice view of the eclipse starting but then, the clouds moved in. Bummer...

Out for coffee in a few, breakfast and then up to the farm for a few days.

And that is it for me

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I'll be working with DaVinci Resolve learning it - wonderful application for editing videos. Also watching some YouTube videos. Planning to head up to the farm tomorrow for a couple days of packing.

Spring is coming and I want to get the properties listed for sale.

Back home again

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Had two pints at a local and watched a bit of the football game. Talked with a couple people - nice to socialize for a bit after working at home all day.

Patchy clouds so will be shooting the moon tonight. Surf for a bit first.

Time for dinner

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Kicking back for dinner - heading out for a pint or two to relax after.

FAKE NEWS again - from Reason:

The Media Wildly Mischaracterized That Video of Covington Catholic Students Confronting a Native American Veteran
Partial video footage of students from a Catholic high school allegedly harassing a Native American veteran after the anti-abortion March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday quickly went viral, provoking . widespread . condemnation of the kids on social media. Various media figures and Twitter users called for them to be doxed, shamed, or otherwise punished, and school administrators said they would consider expulsion.

But the rest of the video—nearly two hours of additional footage showing what happened before and after the encounter—adds important context that strongly contradicts the media's narrative.

Far from engaging in racially motivated harassment, the group of mostly white, MAGA-hat-wearing male teenagers remained relatively calm and restrained despite being subjected to incessant racist, homophobic, and bigoted verbal abuse by members of the bizarre religious sect Black Hebrew Israelites, who were lurking nearby. The BHI has existed since the late 19th century, and is best describes as a black nationalist cult movement; its members believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites, and often express condemnation of white people, Christians, and gays. DC-area Black Hebrews are known to spout particularly vile bigotry.

But the real story did not fit the media narrative. Nothing to see here folks - just keep moving.

These outbreaks keep gettting bigger and bigger - from Vox:

The Ebola outbreak in Eastern Congo is moving toward a major city. That’s not good.
At least 680 people have been infected with the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history, with 414 deaths so far, and the first Ebola outbreak in an active war zone, DRC’s eastern North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

But it could get worse: Health officials this week are concerned that Ebola appears to be spreading in the direction of Goma, a major population center in DRC.

Just this week, DRC’s health ministry confirmed four cases of the deadly virus in Kayina, a town in North Kivu, where fighting among rebel and militia groups has repeatedly interrupted the painstaking work of health workers who are responding to the outbreak.

Kayina happens to be halfway between Butembo, currently one of the outbreak’s most worrisome hotspots, and Goma, where a million people live.

Victims are contagious for about two days before the symptoms manifest. All it takes is for one victim to fly to the USA on a large airplane and all hell will break loose. We do not have the ability to deal with an outbreak of this scale.

Very scary.

Done for the day - very productive

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Paid bills and got a bunch of filing done - seperated my 2018 stuff out so can start 2019 afresh and start with my taxes.

One aspect of tonight's Super Blood Wolf Total Lunar Eclipse is that the tides are much higher than usual. About 10" higher than I have ever seen it here. The sky is pretty cloudy but I am putting a camera with telephoto lens and tripod in the living room in case there is an opening.

Fixing a salad and heating up some of the soup for dinner tonight.

Out the door

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Headiung out for coffee and post office. Probably get some breakfast too.

Working at home today - paperwork and more puttering in the garage. Farm tomorrow for a couple of days.

A good speech - President Trump

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He hit my talking points:

Quite the new law - Canada

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Not well thought out at all - from Foundation for Economic Education:

Canada’s New Drunk Driving Law Will Make You Thankful for the 4th Amendment
Imagine going out to dinner with your wife on a Saturday night. She orders a nice bottle of pinot noir. You pour yourself a splash, but just half a glass since you’re driving. Your wife, who had a long day, drinks the rest.

After dinner, you drive home, park the car, and go inside. While watching Bird Box, you knock back a couple Scotches to catch up. The movie done, the two of you begin to retire upstairs when there’s a knock at the door. It’s the police. Someone reported seeing you driving erratically, they say, and they want you to take a breathalyzer. You decline to blow, but relent when officers threaten to arrest you. The machine says your blood alcohol concentration is 85 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood, .085 percent. The night ends with you in handcuffs, arrested for drunk driving.

This scenario sounds far-fetched, but it would be perfectly legal under Canada’s new drunk driving laws, which the federal government recently revised to reduce traffic fatalities.

Not a good law at all - classic case of something that Sounds good as opposed to something that Does good. Silly liberal...

Tomorrow's eclipse of the Moon

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Nice post from Cliff Mass about tomorrow's total eclipse:

Will you be able to see the Super Blood Wolf Total Lunar Eclipse on Sunday Evening?
There will be a total lunar eclipse on Sunday night that potentially could be quite a sight.

The shadow of the earth will start covering the full moon around 6:36 PM (actually the penumbra, where the light from the sun begins to be reduced). The total lunar eclipse will begin at 8:41 PM and end at 9:43 PM. The eclipse will be over at 11:48 PM.

Much more at the site - timings and weather forecast for the Pacific Northwest. Going to keep a camera handy.

A long day

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The auction was a lot of fun. Maybe 100 people there and several hundred lots to bid on. The one item I wanted (badly) was also wanted (badly) by someone else. We were the only two people bidding on it and I ran the bids up over $150 and dropped out. He shot me dagger-eyes as I think he was hoping to pick it up for $10 or so. Still, this is an auction and I bid as high as I could afford.

The unit in question was a fairly large krytron switch (here and here) complete with packaging and labels from the Atomic Energy Commission. Krytrons were used a lot in nuclear weapons development. The same table (same vendor) also had a nice directional coupler for antenna tuning ($6) which I will use for my ham radio. I also got a box of really nice leather straps - perfect for knife sheaths ($27).

Planning to be there next Saturday as there is some possible wrought iron for sale - need to bring some acid and a magnifying glass to make sure. The auctioneer was a good one - he and his wife were from a Pennsylvania small town about 50 miles from where I grew up. Fun stuff.

The gun show was a great mix of people and various ordnance. Lots of ammunition for sale and the prices were a lot higher than I would have thought. I was looking for a tactical communications vest but didn't see anything. I upgraded my hand-held radio a couple years ago and it does not fit in my old vest. I tried ordering one online but it doesn't fit well - the weight of the radio makes it hang lop-sided and the nylon strap rubs against my neck - wanted to try something on before I buy it.

Headed to Mt. Vernon to get some stuff at the coop and to the Burlington Costco (about three miles apart) for gas for the van and some other stuff. A burger on the way back down and home for the night.

Out the door - auction

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Bidding on one item, possibly a second. Coffee first.

Nothingburger - wind storm

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No power outages this morning. The maximum wind last night was a 35MPH gust.

Yes, there was the potential for a large blow but thankfully, it did not materialize.

And it's YouTube for 30 minutes or so.

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Early alarm tomorrow. Coffee, breakfast and then 10:00AM auction.

Interesting news - President Trump

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This should be good:

A long day

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Was puttering in the garage and storage locker and filled up another couple of totes for the garage sale. Sorting through the tools I brought down from the farm and realizing that I didn't need that, I didn't need this, etc... Spent a couple of hours staging the sale.

Picked up a couple of things from Hardware Sales (this place is epic!) while there, had dinner at the food coop in Mt. Vernon (great deli) and stopped for a couple of pints on the way home.

Early morning tomorrow - there is an auction starting at 10:00AM with some scientific instrumentation and then the gun show.

Also spent some time going around to the three fitness centers and taking tours. Signed up at the YMCA - a bit more expensive but a lot more facilities and training options. I am out of shape and need to reverse this trend...

Surf for a little bit.

Wind is unsettled and mostly coming out of the East - gusting to about 25. Light rain and 48F

Heading out for the day

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Usual routine - coffee and post office.

Working at home today - paying bills and general paperwork. There is a gun fun show this weekend. Not planning to buy anything but I enjoy the technology and it is always interesting to see what is out there.

Last night's meeting was interesting - good people.

More wind in the offing - Cliff Mass has the details:

Modest Winds Tonight, Stronger Winds Tomorrow Night
After a period of warm, benign weather, storms are now moving towards our region. Tonight a modest, elongated low center is moving northward up our coast, as illustrated by the sea level pressure map at 7 PM tonight

A very mild winter except for the winds.

Our cooling Earth

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Another major cold snap will hit the East Coast - from AccuWeather:

Snowstorms to be followed by Arctic outbreak in eastern half of nation
Following a pair of snowstorms into this weekend, the coldest air so far this winter season has its sights set on the eastern half of the nation.

The second in this pair of snowstorms will bring heavy snow and, in some cases, blizzard conditions, to the central Plains and Midwest from Friday into Saturday before impacting the mid-Atlantic and Northeast this weekend.

“Temperatures from the central Plains to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley will plummet from the 20s, 30s and 40s Fahrenheit during the storm to the single digits, teens and 20s immediately behind it,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

Meanwhile, our sun is still very very quiet - NASA's Spaceweather website shows us as being 11 days without a sunspot. 61% of 2019. Sunspots are a proxy of solar activity - fewer sunspots, lower solar output. Lower solar output, cooler climate.

Silent Night - wind

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This morning, Puget Sound Energy has 1067 accounts without power, all in the South Sound area near Tacoma / Olympia and Snohomish PUD is five just North of Shoreline.

Gusts here got to 35-40 MPH - pretty mild. Still, we are not out of the woods yet - from weather.com

Gale Warning for Northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands

Spending tonight down here and then up to the farm for a few days for more packing. Fun times...

Out the door in a few minutes

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Heading out for tonight's meeting.

Wind is picking up - variable direction with gusts to around 15MPH. I will probably head out for a pint or two after the meeting so this is my last post of the day.

From American Thinker:

California set to seize 1,100 miles of coastline
The California Coastal Commission is set to empower local government to take thousands of properties through eminent domain along 1,100 miles of coastline to prepare for sea level rise.

Despite California being battered by 4-8 inches of torrential rain and flooding from an El Niño weather cycle, E&E News reported that the State of California in late January will authorize eminent domain authority for local jurisdictions to implement a "managed retreat" policy that will allow taking and demolishing coastal homes and businesses.

The California Coastal Commission circulated an 87-page "Draft Residential Adaptation Guidance" in March regarding how communities could proactively address sea level rise impacts through Local Coastal Programs (LCPs). Although the CCC draft did not adopt specific retreat guidance, the California Special Districts magazine expects that the CCC will predict a sea level rise of 2.5-5.5 feet and the elimination of 31-67 percent of Southern California beaches by the year 2100.

CCC retreat guidance is expected to also entail dismantling and relocating of dozens of wastewater treatment and power plants; 250 miles of highway; 1,500 miles of roads; and 110 miles of railways, according to the latest California Special Districts magazine.

What is missing from this picture is some numbers. They have the narrative, they do not have the numbers.
NASA has the numbers here:


This is the sea level rise as measured from 1880 through 2013. Notice the huge acceleration starting around 1970 when the whole Global Warming thing started ramping up. Yeah - me neither.

Science requires numbers, not narrative, not computer models tweaked to yield the desired results.

Speaker Pelosi was all set to use military airplanes to fly to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan. A nice political junket paid for by us taxpayers. President Trump sent her a letter - screen cap at Sarah Sanders' twitter account.

And, it gets better - from The Washington Free Beacon:

PICTURE: Trump Returns CODEL Luggage to Pelosi’s Office
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's luggage has been returned to the halls of congress by cart, according to a picture sent to the Washington Free Beacon by a snap-happy tipster.

The picture shows the luggage were returned to Pelosi on "military liaison" marked carts.

Pelosi's bags were packed for a congressional trip to Belgium and Afghanistan, but the trip was canceled just before the delegation was set to leave by President Donald Trump, who let her know in a letter that she would have to fly commercial if she still wanted to make the trip.


CODEL stands for Congressional Delegation - sweet!

Instant Karma - snowman

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Classic - from Petersburg, Kentucky station WLWT:

'Frosty had the last laugh': Vandal tries to run over giant snowman, hits tree stump instead


A would-be vandal was stumped after they tried to run over a 9-foot snowman in Kentucky, only to find it had been built over a large tree stump.

Cody Lutz told KCCI that he, his fiancee and his soon-to-be sister-in-law made the oversized snowman in Petersburg, Kentucky, while enjoying the winter weather this past weekend.

Lutz said his fiancee’s sister was “elated to experience the biggest snowfall she’s ever seen.”

Lutz said he decided to use a tree stump as the base for the snowman. After coming home from work, Lutz said he found tire tracks leading up to the snowman, leading him to believe that someone tried to run over the giant snowman, which they had named Frosty.

There’s now a massive stump now exposed, with a snowy imprint of a bumper stuck to it.

That dent in the bumper is going to be hard to explain...

Soup for dinner tonight

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Good stuff - even better tomorrow.

Ham radio club meets tonight at one of the local fire stations. These meetings are well run and a lot of fun - some great people live here.

Surf for a bit while eating - so far no real wind but the warning is for 12 hours.

Heading out for the day

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Got onto the island late yesterday - unpacked at the condo and got a bite to eat in Bellingham before driving down.

Nothing much planned for today - putter around in the garage, retrieve some camera stuff from the storage locker and of course, starting it off with the usual coffee and post office routine.

I'll be paying some bills later today and then a meeting of the amateur radio group this evening. Think I'll make some more of the bacon and bean soup for dinner. That stuff is delish...

Forecast calls for rain and we still have that gale warning for later this afternoon.

That is it for me for today

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Done loading up the van. Also got the dumpster super full - it will be emptied tomorrow or Friday.

During the extended pre-Christmas power failure, my freezer thawed out so had to dump about 100 pounds of food. I was up a couple of times as I had a bunch of totes already packed but didn't stay the night. Five days without power.

Heading to Bellingham and then down to the island. Get a bite to eat on the way.

And here we go again - wind

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From the Washington Emergency Management Division twitter feed:

Going to be on the island then.

Crap - a third one

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There was another fatality on I-5. From The Bellingham Herald:

Pedestrian on I-5 struck and killed by semi driven by Deming man in Skagit County
A pedestrian on Interstate 5 was struck and killed by a semitruck driven by a 42-year-old Deming man in Skagit County north of Burlington Tuesday night.

According to the Washington State Patrol release on the incident, which occurred at approximately 7:16 p.m., the pedestrian was in the left lane of southbound I-5, just north of milepost 229.

There was one accident that I had to drive through on December 30th and another one about five days prior to that. I do hope that this was not suicide by truck - what a horrible thing for the driver to have to deal with for the rest of his life.

Just wonderful - cheap televisions

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One reason why they are so cheap - from Tech Dirt:

Vizio Admits Modern TV Sets Are Cheaper Because They're Spying On You
If you've shopped for a TV recently, you may have noticed that it's largely impossible to just buy a "dumb" TV set without all of the "smart" internals. More specifically, most TV vendors don't want to sell you a bare-bones set because they want you to use their streaming services. Even more specifically, they want you to buy their sets with their specific streaming functionality because they want to spy on you. Poorly.

That's always been fairly obvious to most folks, but it was nice to see Vizio CTO Bill Baxter acknowledge that the reason you pay a discount is because your viewing habits are being collected and sold to the highest bidder

Just wonderful - wonder if anyone has developed a Raspberry Pi utility that monitors and blocks this? Probably and probably very easy to set up.

Just looked: here, here, here and here for starters...

Heh - hoist with his own petard

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Fun times - from The Washington Examiner:

Pelosi only gives Trump a bigger audience by canceling State of the Union
It would be an excellent way to snub any other president, but by calling for President Trump to reschedule the State of the Union, Nancy Pelosi has only given him a bigger stage.

It is a remarkable unforced error.

Citing national security, and specifically the difficulties facing the Secret Service and Capitol Police amid the government shutdown, House Speaker Pelosi, D-Calif., is asking Trump either to select a later, post-shutdown date or to submit his comments on State of the Union in writing, which presidents used to do commonly before the television era. But no one should be fooled — the real concern here is that Trump is going to stand up in front of a gigantic audience and literally point the finger at congressional Democrats in the House chamber, blaming them for shutting down the government.

Pelosi has the power to stop Trump from walking into the House of Representatives and delivering a speech, but she can’t stop him from making his case for the border wall in prime time. Just consider the address he delivered from the Resolute Desk last week.

Trump talked for roughly eight minutes and 43.3 million tuned in to watch, according to the AP’s count. Compare that to Trump’s very first joint address to Congress, right after his election, which 48 million watched. No congressional podium last week, and arguably far less interest in the novelty of his presidency, yet Trump drew an audience nearly as large.

If Pelosi insists, then Trump can speak from the Oval Office again if he likes. He could even march down the National Mall and deliver the speech on Pelosi’s doorstep. There could be a band. There could be fireworks. No matter what venue he chooses, there will be an audience, and it will probably be bigger now, thanks to Pelosi.

Like I said, fun times. The State of the Union address is specified as such in our Constitution (Article II, Section 3, Clause 1) (Article II outlines the duties, powers and responsibilities of the President and the Executive Branch)

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient...

Nothing in there that says it has to be presented in the halls of Congress. Behind the Resolute Desk would be fine. He could hire out the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and invite 50,000 of his friends.

Infogalactic page for: "hoist with his own petard"

Fake News - the government shutdown

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Cliff Mass runs some numbers and looks at the government shutdown and weather forecasting:

Is the U.S. Government Shutdown Hurting Weather Model Accuracy?
My phone has been ringing from media asking whether the partial government shutdown is degrading the skill of the National Weather Service model, the GFS.

What is driving this interest? First, a number of media outlets, including the well-known Washington Post Capital Weather Gang, have made the claim of worsening U.S. forecasts (see examples below).



These stories describe a situation in which important observations, the input data streams for numerical weather prediction, are not being used or are degraded because of changes in coding of data formats. As a result, the initialization (starting point) of U.S. global forecasts are degraded, lessening the skill of the predictions.

Our National Weather Service:

One of the first things I did was to check with some very well connected colleagues in NOAA and they confirmed these stories are nonsense. Yes, many NOAA/NWS employees are not working, but since the models are considering essential for national security some staff are working--monitoring the global forecast system doing whatever it takes to keep it working smoothly. Those NOAA/NWS staff are a dedicated lot!

And Cliff's conclusion:

I have looked at many other fields and the answer is the same: there is NO EVIDENCE that the initialization of the U.S. global model has been degraded as a result of the partial government shutdown.

In contrast, the predictions of the University of Washington regional prediction systems HAVE been hurt, because one of the important data streams we get from NOAA--the NOAA/NWS RAP model grids--has been cut off during the government closure. The shutdown is a disaster for weather prediction and weather research, but degradation of the U.S. global forecasts is really not an issue.


Sure, some localized issues but the overall big picture? Just fine. That old FAKE NEWS again...

Back home now

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Quick surf while having lunch - great photo regarding Justice Ginsburg's health:


Isn't that sweet - Senator McCain is saving her a seat.

Out for an hour or two

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Coffee, post office and then the store for a while. Spending tonight here and then back to the island for a Thursday meeting.

Progress is being made - Clinton

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Great news from Judicial Watch:

Federal Court Orders Discovery on Clinton Email, Benghazi Scandal: Top Obama-Clinton Officials, Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes to Respond to Judicial Watch Questions Under Oath
Judicial Watch announced today that United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides will now be deposed under oath. Senior officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap — will now have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The court rejected the DOJ and State Department’s objections to Judicial Watch’s court-ordered discovery plan. (The court, in ordering a discovery plan last month, ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)

Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:

    • Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;
    • whether the State Department’s efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; and
    • whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

Discovery is scheduled to be completed within 120 days. The court will hold a post-discovery hearing to determine if Judicial Watch may also depose additional witnesses, including Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.

More at the site - this is wonderful news.To think that this harpy was once a legitimate candidate for the Office of The President of the United States. Makes me shudder to think about it.

About that cold weather

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Not seeing it here but it certainly hit the rest of the United States. Now, it is Europe's turn - from The London Daily Mail:

RED ALERT issued across Europe as heavy snow continues while a 16-year-old German-Australian boy is killed in an avalanche while skiing with his parents in Austria
Europe's snow chaos has deepened again with hundreds of people trapped after roads were buried by avalanches.

The highest red warnings are in place in Germany and Austria with up to six more feet of snow expected before the weekend.

At least 17 people have died amid the weather chaos including a 16-year-old German-Australian boy who was killed on a ski slope in Austria.

It is the jet stream - same as in the US:

Europe's cold weather is the result of the jet stream forcing cold air from the Arctic over the continent, but blocking it from the UK which has experienced mild conditions.

And, lest we forget, here is a headline from the UK Independent from Monday, March 20, 2000:


Meanwhile, our sun is enjoying another day without sunspots:


And that is it for the evening

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Early wakeup this morning and a long day tomorrow.

YouTube for a bit and then to bed.

A song for our times

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Tip of the hat to Vanderleun

YouTube channel for the performer: Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq

At the farm

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Stopped for a burger at Hal's Drive In in Sedro Wooley. Drive past there whenever I go from farm to island and finally stopped in tonight. Really good food. A pint of cider at the North Fork - would have stayed for two but there is a guy who comes in from time to time who talks in a really loud voice and just talks about himself. Would not be so bad if his life was not so crashingly boring. He comes into the store and has a very normal speaking voice - I guess he turns up the volume when he gets drunk.

Doing some packing from the equipment barn tomorrow - more totes of tools. Brought the camera up so will take photos of the big equipment if I get the time. Got a nice old South bend lathe, a higher end Grizzly mill (each with a lot of tooling) and a Delta contractors saw with the extended table. Downsizing on these three so selling the originals and buying smaller units.

On the road again - Maple Falls

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Got the van warming up - heading North for two days. Got a meeting down here on Thursday so just a short stay.

Yes, there really is a Maple Falls - a nice small waterfall but the trail to it is not maintained and is very steep and slippery. Usually, we send the curious to Nooksack Falls further up the road. Much more interesting to see.

Interesting times in England - Brexit

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Looks like PM Theresa May is having a spot of trouble. From The Beeb:

Brexit: Theresa May's deal is voted down in historic Commons defeat
Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has been rejected by 230 votes - the largest defeat for a sitting government in history.

MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal, which sets out the terms of Britain's exit from the EU on 29 March.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, which could trigger a general election.

That is a wide margin. A bit more:

The defeat is a huge blow for Mrs May - who has spent more than two years hammering out a deal with the EU.

The plan was aimed at bringing about an orderly departure from the EU on 29 March, and setting up a 21-month transition period to negotiate a free trade deal.

In other words, she wanted to pass the bill before we knew what was in the bill. Shades of Obamacare. She wanted to placate the general public by saying: "Look - I support Brexit" while on the back-end, she wanted to cut deals with the elite bureaucrats in Brussels. BINO - Brexit In Name Only. Brexit Light.

First the fire, then the flood

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California is not having a good year. The lands denuded by the wildfires are now moving with no vegetation to hold the soil back. From the Los Angeles CBS affiliate:

Get Out: Deputies Go Door-To-Door To Evacuate Woolsey Fire Burn Area
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for several areas of Malibu and Ventura County hit hard by the Woolsey Fire that are now in danger of mudslides.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies went door-to-door Tuesday to tell residents they should get out before the next round of rain hits Southern California Tuesday. Heavy rainfall sent mud and debris into the lanes of Pacific Coast Highway, causing it to be closed for several hours.

Authorities are particularly concerned with areas near steep slopes or drainage areas.

If only they managed their infrastructure more carefully. But that would take away from all the billions being spent on welfare for illegals, the homeless, the bullet train, subsidizing alt.energy and electric cars. You know - the important stuff.

That Gillette video

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Boy did they get a reaction - just not what they were expecting. Gillette released a video that is 100% pure virtue signalling. You can watch it here if you want. As we can see, the overall reaction has not been kind:


421K Thumbs Down as opposed to 129K Thumbs Up. More than three to one. That has got to hurt. The 115,670 Comments are a fun read - some weapons grade snark...

Supersize that - LHC

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The LHC is the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. It discovered the Higgs Boson and has pioneered basic particle physics for the last eighteen years. Now, they want to build a bigger one. From Motherboard:

CERN’s New Collider Design Is Four Times Larger Than the LHC
The 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson particle at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is widely considered to be one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in history. It validated a half-century of research about the basic building blocks of matter, and remains the crowning achievement of modern particle physics.

Now, CERN wants to follow up on the LHC’s smashing success with a super-sized structure called the Future Circular Collider (FCC). This next-generation particle accelerator would boast 10 times the observational power of the LHC and would stretch across 100 kilometers (62 miles), encircling the Swiss city of Geneva and much of the surrounding area.

CERN published its first conceptual design report for the FCC on Tuesday. The four-volume roadmap was developed over five years by 1,300 contributors based at 150 universities, according to a statement.

Very cool but we could have had it a long time ago - the history of the Superconducting Super Collider is a tragic one (here, here, here and here)

Got the cart finished - I love welding and working with metal in general.

Having a bowl of the soup and doing some paperwork and then heading to the farm.

Picked up some fresh dog bones yesterday so the pups are very happily crunching away downstairs.

Starting to cool off a bit but the air temp went from 28 to 54 in the span of three hours. Warm front moving in - rain forecast. The garage heater was wonderful - really took the morning's chill away. Was able to work in a sweatshirt and not get my jacket or sweater dirty.

An interesting post - plausible

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No confirmation that this is for real but it does sound plausible - from The Daily Caller:

The Daily Caller is taking the rare step of publishing this anonymous op-ed at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose career would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

As one of the senior officials working without a paycheck, a few words of advice for the president’s next move at shuttered government agencies: lock the doors, sell the furniture, and cut them down.

Federal employees are starting to feel the strain of the shutdown. I am one of them. But for the sake of our nation, I hope it lasts a very long time, till the government is changed and can never return to its previous form.

The lapse in appropriations is more than a battle over a wall. It is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.

On an average day, roughly 15 percent of the employees around me are exceptional patriots serving their country. I wish I could give competitive salaries to them and no one else. But 80 percent feel no pressure to produce results. If they don’t feel like doing what they are told, they don’t.

Why would they? We can’t fire them. They avoid attention, plan their weekend, schedule vacation, their second job, their next position — some do this in the same position for more than a decade.

They do nothing that warrants punishment and nothing of external value. That is their workday: errands for the sake of errands — administering, refining, following and collaborating on process. “Process is your friend” is what delusional civil servants tell themselves. Even senior officials must gain approval from every rank across their department, other agencies and work units for basic administrative chores.

Much more at the site - powerful stuff. Worth your time to read and I really hope that this is President Trump's plan.


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Got down to 28 last night.

Got the new heater running in the garage - finish off a project there and then head up to Maple Falls for a few days.

An interesting book - Toxic Pearl

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Saw this on Cliff Mass' website:

An Important New Book Describes How the WA Shellfish Industry is Poisoning our Shoreline Environment
In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote a book, Silent Spring, that documented the profound harm of the pesticide DDT on the natural world. This book led to the of banning of DDT and energized the U.S. environment movement.

During the past week, an important new book has been published, one that may well join the ranks of Silent Spring. The book, Toxic Pearl, describes the poisoning of Washington State's shorelines by a politically connected and highly irresponsible shellfish industry. Toxic Pearl documents the spraying of herbicides and pesticides over State shorelines from Puget Sound to Willapa Bay, the careless spread of plastic pollution, and the physical destruction of shorelines areas by a shellfish industry more concerned with profit than the environment.

A lot more at the site - this will be big.

Crooked family - from The Washington Times:

Company co-founded by Nancy Pelosi's son charged with securities fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged a company cofounded by Paul Pelosi Jr. with fraud on Wednesday after learning that two convicted criminals were running the business.

Paul Pelosi Jr., the son of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), was the president and chief operating officer of Natural Blue Resources Inc., an investment company he cofounded that focuses on “environmentally-friendly” ventures.

The SEC charged four individuals with fraud, including former New Mexico Gov. Toney Anaya, and suspended trading in the company’s stock. Pelosi owned over 10 million shares in the company in 2009.

The SEC said Wednesday the company was “secretly controlled” by James E. Cohen and Joseph Corazzi, both of whom had previous fraud convictions. Corazzi violated federal securities laws and was barred from acting as an officer or director of a public company. Cohen was previously incarcerated for financial fraud.

Cohen and Corazzi said they were “outside consultants,” but according to the SEC, they actually controlled Natural Blue’s business decisions “without disclosing their past brushes with the law to investors.” The pair made hundreds of thousands of dollars off the company.

Time to drain the swamp. I have zero problem with making money but it should be done legitimately - people should not be fleeced.

Pea Soup

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Woke up a few minutes ago and looked outside - thick fog. From the National Weather Service:


The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a Dense Fog Advisory, which is in effect until 9 AM PST Tuesday.
* VISIBILITY...A quarter mile or less.
* TIMING...Through 9 AM Tuesday.
* IMPACTS...A reduction in visibility will make travel slower and potentially more difficult.

Heading out for coffee and breakfast in 20 minutes or so. Taking it very easy...

And it is off to YouTube

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Early day tomorrow.

Hard frost

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Lots of low-lying fog driving home tonight but very very clear skies so perfect conditions for black ice on the roads. Took the dogs out for a bit and the back deck is already covered with frost. Air temp is 34 - got up to 53 this afternoon. Do not know what the ground temp is (weather station down here is a cheap one - looking forward to moving the farm station down and getting it set up).

Going to be careful tomorrow when I go out for coffee...

The Great Undoing

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Really nice essay by Scott Johnson writing at PowerLine:

In his great undoing of the “accomplishments” of the Obama administration, President Trump has withdrawn the United States from the humiliating and destructive Iran nuclear deal. The deal funded a terrorist regime that remains at war with the United States and that continues to avow its dedication to our destruction. The Trump administration has also reimposed sanctions on the Iranian regime.

There was no bridge too far for Obama in seeking to align the United States with the mullahs of Iran. Michael Doran explained the “secret strategy” driving this policy. Whatever the explanation, Obama’s appeasement of Iran represented part of the “fundamental transformation” of the United States that he proclaimed in the days before the 2008 election. I am grateful for the intercession of President Trump and his national security team in its great undoing of Obama administration foreign policy.

Secretary Pompeo is in the Middle East. His trip has been obscured in the news by events at home. The great undoing continues.

Yesterday Pompeo gave a speech at the American University in Cairo. The speech was a sort of counterpart to Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo. Obama’s speech was a nauseating exercise in fake history, destructive diplomacy and strategic self-destruction. By contrast, Secretary Pompeo represents the voice of sanity. In substance he repudiated Obama’s speech and related strategic vision. Pompeo could not have been more blunt:

Remember: It was here, here in this city, that another American stood before you.

He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from an ideology.

He told you that 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East.

He told you that the United States and the Muslim world needed, quote, “a new beginning,” end of quote.

The results of these misjudgments have been dire.

In falsely seeing ourselves as a force for what ails the Middle East, we were timid in asserting ourselves when the times – and our partners – demanded it.

We grossly underestimated the tenacity and viciousness of radical Islamism, a debauched strain of the faith that seeks to upend every other form of worship or governance. ISIS drove to the outskirts of Baghdad as America hesitated. They raped and pillaged and murdered tens of thousands of innocents. They birthed a caliphate across Syria and Iraq and launched terror attacks that killed all across continents.

America’s reluctance, our reluctance, to wield our influence kept us silent as the people of Iran rose up against the mullahs in Tehran in the Green Revolution. The ayatollahs and their henchmen murdered, jailed, and intimidated freedom-loving Iranians, and they wrongly blamed America for this unrest when it was their own tyranny that had fueled it. Emboldened, the regime spread its cancerous influence to Yemen, to Iraq, to Syria, and still further into Lebanon.

Our penchant, America’s penchant, for wishful thinking led us to look the other way as Hizballah, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Iranian regime, accumulated a massive arsenal of approximately 130,000 rockets and missiles. They stored and positioned these weapons in Lebanese towns and villages in flagrant violation of international law. That arsenal is aimed squarely at our ally Israel.

When Bashar Assad unleashed terror upon ordinary Syrians and barrel-bombed civilians with sarin gas, a true echo of Saddam Hussein’s gassing of the Kurdish people, we condemned his actions. But in our hesitation to wield power, we did nothing.

Much more at the site. President Obama's legacy is in tatters. What people will remember him for is just like Jimmy Carter gave us President Reagan, Obama gave us President Trump. Obama made enough people sick of his crap that the majority of Americans voted for the Orange Man. Pompeo is the right man for the job. Much better than J. F. Kerry and Hillary? Don't get me started...

And back home again

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Loaded up the van with some stuff (coolers, older lawnmower and tools) for the sale at the condo and drove to Bellingham. On the island tonight and heading up to Maple Falls tomorrow.

Coming back down, the light was gorgeous so I hit the back roads and took my time driving back. Got two out of three tonight - great light, the geese were in a perfect position but they were just feeding - they were not flying around looking for a place to settle even though it was the proper time of day. Shot some footage anyway and will be processing this through DaVinci Resolve in the next day or two. I am really really liking this software - I will go into more detail in a later post but it really speaks to my workflow and there are some things under the hood that make me smile big-time.

Got a bite to eat on the road, skipped the pints at the local as I want to get an early start tomorrow. Finish the stand for the oven and then get to MF while I still have light to pack.

Not surprising at all - from the Merced Sun-Star:

PG&E calls bankruptcy ‘only viable option’ in California wildfire crisis
Overwhelmed by billions of dollars in claims from the Camp Fire and the 2017 wildfires of Northern California, PG&E said Monday it plans to file for bankruptcy, but insisted it will not go out of business.

The embattled utility gave 15-day notice of its intent to file for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code, as required by a state law enacted last fall to deal with utility fire liabilities. The company made the announcement less than 12 hours after announcing the resignation of its CEO, Geisha Williams.

“We believe a court-supervised process under Chapter 11 will best enable PG&E to resolve its potential liabilities in an orderly, fair and expeditious fashion,” said interim CEO John R. Simon in a prepared statement. He pledged to “continue providing our customers with safe service and investing in our systems and infrastructure.” Simon had been the utility’s general counsel.

Sounds like a well-run utility - not just the fires:

The first tangible financial impact of PG&E’s troubles will come Tuesday, when the company plans to skip a $21.6 million bond payment that’s due, according to the SEC filing. The bonds are unrelated to the wildfire crisis.

The company is facing other pressures, including a federal judge’s threat to order PG&E to inspect its entire electric grid.

I feel sorry for the poor bond holders - they are going to get screwed out of their savings.

And that is it for tonight

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YouTube and then bed. The project in the garage needs another five hours to finish (a stand for my heat-treat oven) plus doing some organization.

Rethinking Vitamin D

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Not surprised but very interesting. From Outside Magazine (which publishes solid science articles - I like them)

Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?
These are dark days for supplements. Although they are a $30-plus billion market in the United States alone, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, beta-carotene, glucosamine, chondroitin, and fish oil have now flopped in study after study.

If there was one supplement that seemed sure to survive the rigorous tests, it was vitamin D. People with low levels of vitamin D in their blood have significantly higher rates of virtually every disease and disorder you can think of: cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, heart attack, stroke, depression, cognitive impairment, autoimmune conditions, and more. The vitamin is required for calcium absorption and is thus essential for bone health, but as evidence mounted that lower levels of vitamin D were associated with so many diseases, health experts began suspecting that it was involved in many other biological processes as well.

A bit more:

Yet vitamin D supplementation has failed spectacularly in clinical trials. Five years ago, researchers were already warning that it showed zero benefit, and the evidence has only grown stronger. In November, one of the largest and most rigorous trials of the vitamin ever conducted—in which 25,871 participants received high doses for five years—found no impact on cancer, heart disease, or stroke.

A bit more:

These rebels argue that what made the people with high vitamin D levels so healthy was not the vitamin itself. That was just a marker. Their vitamin D levels were high because they were getting plenty of exposure to the thing that was really responsible for their good health—that big orange ball shining down from above.

A bit more:

It was already well established that rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and overall mortality all rise the farther you get from the sunny equator, and they all rise in the darker months. Weller put two and two together and had what he calls his “eureka moment”: Could exposing skin to sunlight lower blood pressure?

Sure enough, when he exposed volunteers to the equivalent of 30 minutes of summer sunlight without sunscreen, their nitric oxide levels went up and their blood pressure went down. Because of its connection to heart disease and strokes, blood pressure is the leading cause of premature death and disease in the world, and the reduction was of a magnitude large enough to prevent millions of deaths on a global level.

And a really interesting study:

Still, Weller kept finding evidence that didn’t fit the official story. Some of the best came from Pelle Lindqvist, a senior research fellow in obstetrics and gynecology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, home of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Lindqvist tracked the sunbathing habits of nearly 30,000 women in Sweden over 20 years. Originally, he was studying blood clots, which he found occurred less frequently in women who spent more time in the sun—and less frequently during the summer. Lindqvist looked at diabetes next. Sure enough, the sun worshippers had much lower rates. Melanoma? True, the sun worshippers had a higher incidence of it—but they were eight times less likely to die from it.

So Lindqvist decided to look at overall mortality rates, and the results were shocking. Over the 20 years of the study, sun avoiders were twice as likely to die as sun worshippers.

A bit more:

Meanwhile, that big picture just keeps getting more interesting. Vitamin D now looks like the tip of the solar iceberg. Sunlight triggers the release of a number of other important compounds in the body, not only nitric oxide but also serotonin and endorphins. It reduces the risk of prostate, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. It improves circadian rhythms. It reduces inflammation and dampens autoimmune responses. It improves virtually every mental condition you can think of. And it’s free.

This is a fairly long article - I have been excerpting small chunks. It is well worth reading in full if you are concerned for your health and longevity. Fascinating stuff. Been taking modest Vitamin D supplements for years. Think I will stop now. Already spend a lot of time outdoors without wearing sunscreen so I am fine there.

And I am back

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The soup was fantastic - made enough for another 3-4 servings. Taking it up with me to Maple Falls Tuesday.

Went out to a different local for a couple pints - had a fun discussion with a guy in his early 30's about the environment and nuclear power specifically. He did not know about the newer liquid salt reactors - I may have a convert...

The Government Shutdown

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Heh - found this on the web:


USA Today is reporting on some polling numbers:

Americans blame shutdown on Trump over Democrats by wide margin, poll finds
By a wide margin, Americans blame the longest government shutdown in U.S. history on President Donald Trump, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll published Sunday.

The partial shutdown affects about a quarter of the U.S. government and approximately 800,000 federal workers. Now in its fourth week, the shutdown is the result of an impasse between the president and congressional Democrats over funding for a border wall, which Trump promised during the 2016 campaign.

Sounds pretty bad but this is just rhetoric (or narrative). Let's look at the numbers cited in this news article:

When asked, "Who do you think is mainly responsible for this situation?" 53 percent of Americans told pollsters they blamed Trump and congressional Republicans.

Since when is three points a "wide margin"? Most people don't read beyond the headline and the first paragraph or two. If they did, they would get a completely different story. Buried at the very end of the article is this little gem:

The poll of 788 Americans was conducted Jan. 8-11 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent. 

So the margin of error in the poll was larger than the 3% result. That is in the category of statistical noise. There is no clear answer when your error is larger than your result. USA Today is guilty of biased reporting. They are setting themselves up to be a source of accurate news and they are not doing their job.

Well that was a bust

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A fun wild goose chase but a bust. There were lots of them in one field but this field was not lined up with the sun the way I wanted. The light was coming in from the side and I want it to come in from the rear so I get the best contrast against the darkening sky.

Oh well - the video is out there, I just have not gotten it yet. A quest if you will.

And it was a gorgeous drive through some very pretty farmlands. The Skagit Valley is a delight.

Time for some dinner...

Heading out - wild goose chase

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Breakfast was good - nothing better than scrambled eggs, bacon and hash brown potatoes. Nice to have some ballast in your belly for a day's work.

Spent the afternoon doing two loads of laundry, working on some stuff in the garage and cleaning up the kitchen area a bit.

Swung by the store and picked up the ingredients for a mirepoix  for tonight's soup. Got that all sauteed and the meat browned and stock and barley in. Should be ready in 90 minutes.

The light is turning out gorgeous so heading out with the video camera hopefully to get some snow geese flying as they settle in for the night.

Out for a little while

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Cofee, post office, breakfast and then back home to do a project.

Nice weather today so will head out later for a wild goose chase if the light looks good.

Beef barley soup for dinner tonight.

Must be nice to live off the taxpayer's dime like this - from The Washington Examiner:

30 Democrats in Puerto Rico with 109 lobbyists for weekend despite shutdown
Some 30 Democratic lawmakers left the government shutdown behind Friday on a chartered flight to Puerto Rico for a winter retreat with 109 lobbyists and corporate executives during which they planned to see the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” and attend three parties including one with the show’s cast.


Some 109 lobbyists and corporate executives are named in the memo, a rate of 3.6 lobbyists for every member. They include those from several big K Street firms, R.J. Reynolds, Facebook, Comcast, Amazon, PhRMA, Microsoft, Intel, Verizon, and unions like the National Education Association. 

And of course, no mention of who made the trip. Must be nice...

North Korea - progress

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I had written on the 8th of this month that Kim Jong-Un was making a surprise visit to China at the same time that a US envoy was there to discuss trades and tariffs. Today, from The Korea Times:

Kim Jong-un committed to denuclearization, 2nd US summit: Chinese media
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reaffirmed his commitment to the denuclearization and vowed efforts to produce good results from his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese state media said Thursday.

Kim made the pledge during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday, according to Xinhua News Agency. Kim was in China for a four-day trip, his fourth visit to the neighboring ally in about 10 months.

"The DPRK will continue sticking to the stance of denuclearization and resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation, and make efforts for the second summit between DPRK and U.S. leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community," Xinhua quoted Kim as saying during talks with Xi.

And the old carrot and stick:

Kim's trip to China, which was made at the invitation of Beijing, came amid speculation that a second summit between the North's leader and U.S. President Donald Trump is imminent.

Pyongyang and Washington have been locked in a stalemate over how to carry out the agreements they reached in their first-ever summit in June, at which Kim promised to work toward complete denuclearization in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.

Progress has been slow ever since as the North wants sanctions relief, while the U.S. remains firm that sanctions will remain in place until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons program.

Emphasis mine. Obama would have sent John Kerry over there to "negotiate" from a "strong position" and "send a strongly worded message" and things would be same as it ever was. The Norks would keep their nukes and we would roll back the sanctions "in good faith". President Trump understands the reality and is keeping the pressure up until they completely denuclearize. Kerry is this generation's Neville Chamberlain.

Slow news day

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YouTube and then to bed.

Dinner tonight

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Just got back - the local American Legion hall does a really nice roast beef dinner on the second Saturday of each month. Went to the one in December and really liked it. Tonight was really good too.

Portions are huge and wasn't super hungry tonight so got some nice leftovers. I have some pearled barley so will do beef barley soup for dinner tomorrow.

Two pints at my local and then home for the evening.

Oh wonderful - California

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Perfect example of something that sounds good as opposed to something that actually does good. From CNBC:

California bill would curb use of paper receipts to reduce waste, push digital alternative
A California lawmaker introduced legislation this week that would make the state the first to bar retailers from giving out printed receipts unless a customer requests them.

The proposed measure — Assembly Bill 161 — would require stores to use electronic receipts as the default option. Stores that give out printed receipts without first being asked by the customer could be subject to fines. If passed, the bill could have implications far beyond California, according to experts.

“There’s a negative impact on the environment with these receipts and the inability to recycle them,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, who introduced the legislation.

Christ on a corn dog - most businesses I shop at already do this. They offer me the option of a receipt if I want. I hate emailed receipts because  registering for these invariably brings in "promotional" emails from the company. I do not like spam and try to keep it at a minimum. My store does this - we are happy to print out a receipt for the customer if they want but the default setting for the printer is OFF.

Doing something that sounds good as opposed to something that actually does good is the hallmark of progressive ideologues everywhere. They are out of touch with reality and do not see that the additional layer of legislation does nothing except drive up the cost of government - the cost of which is borne by We The People.

Oh wonderful - Seattle

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Low information voters is the problem. From The Seattle Times:

The Seattle City Council may be up for a big shift all right — further to the left
It’s been conventional wisdom since last summer, when that drive for a “head tax” targeting Amazon collapsed, that our super-progressive City Council had finally gone ’round the bend. Too far, even for lefty Seattle.

The theory went that it was sure to face corrective action now from voters — to move it back more toward the political center.

“With Seattle’s head tax dead, business lobbyists set sights on City Council elections,” headlined a Seattle Times story about efforts to flip the council to a less-activist body.

But noooooo:

Already Democratic Socialist members are running vigorous campaigns for two of those empty seats. Community organizer Tammy Morales is the early favorite in Harrell’s South End district, as she nearly defeated him in 2015. And Shaun Scott, a Black Lives Matter activist and local writer, is vying for Johnson’s seat.

An upcoming meeting will feature Morales, Scott and Seattle’s one current elected socialist, Kshama Sawant, talking about how it’s they who are really going to take back the city.

“Socialists have a different idea of what Seattle should look like,” the announcement says. “How can working class people use the 2019 Seattle City Council elections to build grass roots movements to tax big business and fight for basic needs like publicly owned housing and world class, free mass transit?”

In other words - hand out free government shit and use the infrastructure of the city to pay for it all. Works great until the roads collapse and they run out of money. Oh yes, and raise property taxes. Maybe even try for a state income tax as well (WA State has a high sales tax instead of a State Income Tax).

Socialism has never ever worked - people only advocate for it because they want to be in the elite group with all the money and political power. They are not in it for the common working man.

Nice essay from Conrad Black

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Some thoughtful observations at Canada's National Post:

Conrad Black: America's resurgence is reshaping the world
Almost indiscernible in the endless tumult about President Donald Trump is the objective return of American might, right on our doorstep. A casual sampler of the Canadian, and even the American, media, might think that the United States was so far along in its decline that the entire process of government and normal public discourse had broken down in that country, and that the much-discussed process of national decline was accelerating in a climate of virtual chaos.

In fact, the economy of the United States is astoundingly strong: full employment, an expanding work force, negligible inflation and about three per cent economic growth. And it is a broad economic recovery, not based on service industries as in the United Kingdom (where London handles most of Europe’s financial industry, while most of British industry has fled), and not based largely on the fluctuating resources markets as has often been Canada’s experience. In the eight years of president Obama, the United States lost 219,000 manufacturing jobs; in the two years of Trump, the country has added 477,000 manufacturing jobs. This was not supposed to be possible, and this time, unlike in the great Reagan boom, it cannot be dismissed by the left (and it was false in the eighties) as a profusion of “hamburger flippers, dry cleaners and people delivering pizza,” (all necessary occupations).

Our President is a businessman - he knows how to run things effectively be it a hotel or a nation.

His take on the European Union is spot on:

The problem with the European Union is both practical and theoretical. As a practical matter, it is governed by a bureaucracy of Dutch and Belgian scribes and functionaries that is answerable neither to the ludicrous European Parliament in Strasbourg, the ultimate irrelevant talking shop, nor to the principal member states, and is exacting its revenge for centuries of deference to France, Germany and Britain.

Global issues?

Canadians may not like it; the world may try to pretend otherwise, but however the domestic political tides of America may flow, North Korea is on its best behaviour, the ayatollahs are quaking in their voluminous raiment, and all America’s trade partners, including Canada and China, are accepting what amounts to unilateral renegotiation by the U.S. No other country in the world has any appreciable influence at all more than a few hundred miles from its borders (an area that includes 95 per cent of the population of Canada).

All true and all good for everyone. Some excellent observations and it is worth your time to read the whole essay.
Baron Black of Crossharbour is a very interesting person. He has done a lot and writes well.

The wall - tranquility

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Tucker Carlson takes CNN's Jim Acosta to the woodshed:

Wall now.

Two weather headlines - same website

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Eighteen years apart - same newspaper website:

How's that whole global warming climate change thing working out for you? Hmmmmm?

That cold snap - the midwest

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I had written about a potential cold snap happening two days ago. Looks like it is starting in the midwest - from Accuweather:

Major snowstorm to snarl travel from St. Louis to Cincinnati this weekend
Motorists along the Interstate 64 and 70 corridors of the Plains and Midwest can expect a slow and dangerous journey as a major snowstorm continues through Saturday evening.

For many areas, this will be a long-duration winter storm event that lasts more than 12 hours and perhaps as long as 48 hours in some cases. Over the Central states alone, snow will fall on more than a 1,000-mile-long west-to-east swath.

From The Weather Channel:

Winter Storm Gia Is Spreading Snow and Ice From the Plains and Midwest to the East This Weekend
Winter Storm Gia is spreading a swath of snow and some ice from parts of the Plains and Midwest to the mid-Atlantic, making travel a challenge in these areas this weekend.

An area of low pressure is tapping into cold air from Canada as it tracks eastward this weekend. There will be accumulating snow and some ice along and to the north of where the low tracks.

Snow continues to fall from the front range of Colorado eastward into Ohio. Snow will also begin to reach the ground in the mid-Atlantic later today. Some areas are seeing freezing rain and sleet mix in in parts of southern Missouri, southern Illinois and Kentucky.

So nothing for the Pacific Northwest as yet but the jet stream is definitely dipping down a lot more than usual.

Well crap - restaurant closing

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Not just any restaurant - my very favorite one in Boston. Durgin Park
From the Boston Business Journal:

Durgin-Park to serve last customer
One of Boston's most historic restaurants is closing its doors.

Right now, Durgin-Park in Faneuil Hall is still open for business. There are no signs the place is closing. But the workers have been told their last shifts will be next week, and now, many disappointed customers are trying to get in their final meals.

Like an under-cooked steak, long time customer Jonathan Berg says the news is leaving a bad taste in his mouth.

"This is another passing of a great institution," said Berg.

Rachelle Mazzone is Durgin-Park's bartender and says dozens of long-time workers were told the restaurant would be closing next weekend. She was told it's no longer profitable.

A bit more about the place:

Outside, the restaurant's slogan proudly hangs above the entrance, reading, "Established Before You Were Born." Inside, it's a blast from the past. The menu has traditional "Yankee cooking," like prime rib, clam chowder, Boston baked beans and shepherd's pie.

Since 1827, the business attracted faithful diners and tourists to its Faneuil Hall location, winning several culinary awards. And the wait staff was always encouraged to be rude — in a good way.

"When you saw the same people everyday, you were like, 'Joe, eat your beans. Harry, eat your hot dog, get away from me.' Nothing offensive, though," said Mazonne.

You read that correctly - it opened its doors in 1827 and was owned by the same family until they sold out in 2007. I went to college in Boston (Boston U - Marine Biology) and dropped out when personal computers became a thing. Durgin Park seated you at long tables and I was sitting next to a couple who were discussing their work with an IP21 photomultiplier tube (a very sensitive light detector). I was taking some astronomy classes and had been working with the same RCA IP21 tube (PDF) and I introduced myself and we had a wonderful conversation. Turns out that the guy worked for New England Aquarium and asked me if I was interested in volunteering and helping him out with his project. Got hired full-time soon after and had a wonderful five years there.

Durgin Park was about five blocks from the Aquarium so I had lunch there often. It is another victim of the higher minimum wage movement as well as the gentrification of what was once a working district. Really sad to hear this.

Well that was fun - internet

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Came back from coffee yesterday to find the internet down. Worked here for a while and then went up to Mt. Vernon for some groceries, a couple of errands and then a bite to eat at the Asian Buffet there - much better than the Bellingham one. More selections plus they have a Mongolian Grill.

Heading out for coffee soon - nice day so planning to take the pups to the off-leash park for a while.

Curious times - Magnetic Field

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From Nature:

Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why
Something strange is going on at the top of the world. Earth’s north magnetic pole has been skittering away from Canada and towards Siberia, driven by liquid iron sloshing within the planet’s core. The magnetic pole is moving so quickly that it has forced the world’s geomagnetism experts into a rare move.

On 15 January, they are set to update the World Magnetic Model, which describes the planet’s magnetic field and underlies all modern navigation, from the systems that steer ships at sea to Google Maps on smartphones.

The most recent version of the model came out in 2015 and was supposed to last until 2020 — but the magnetic field is changing so rapidly that researchers have to fix the model now. “The error is increasing all the time,” says Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Centers for Environmental Information.

Not a crisis - the poles have wandered a lot before, gotten stronger, gotten weaker. They have even flipped with the "north" pole being in Antarctica. Still, very curious and worth study. Glad that GPS is so prevalent - compasses are going to be dodgy for navigation.

Two headlines

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And its YouTube

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Planning to putter around here tomorrow (and maybe Saturday) and then back to the farm for a good slug of time. Finish sorting the equipment barn. Time to get my lazy a** in gear for the final push.

Seattle of course

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From Todd Herman (station KTTH) writing at My Northwest:

Q13 FOX editor fired over doctored Trump address video
A Q13 editor was fired Thursday, after it was revealed that they had doctored a clip of President Trump’s Tuesday Oval Office address.

A listener to my program sent me a video that appears to show a deceptively edited video of President Trump’s speech from the Oval Office. We performed a side-by-side comparison of the video from our listener, apparently taken by a smart phone recording of Q13, to the raw video of Trump’s speech from CNN.

That comparison revealed the Q13 video creating a loop of the President licking his lips — making it seem bizarre and unbalanced — it also seems that someone distorted the President’s face and may have added an orange tone to his skin.

Less than a day after placing the editor responsible on leave pending an investigation, Q13 terminated his employment.

“We’ve completed our investigation into this incident and determined that the actions were the result of an individual editor whose employment has been terminated,” said Q13’s news director in a Thursday update.

Video at the site - that is not just orange, the guy put our President firmly into oompa-loompa territory.

Good meeting

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It was the preparedness group and the guest speaker talked about Hypothermia. Good information for cold weather.

Long term indicators look to have a marked cold snap in about three weeks or so. Jet stream &c...

Got nothing for now

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Nothing catches my eye on the internet. Heading out for coffee, the post office, library and then back home to pay some bills, do some filing and work in the garage.

Looks like the worst of the wind was last evening when I was driving. Nothing woke me up and no major utility outages this morning.

Meeting tonight - Preparedness Group

And it is off to YouTube

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That's all folks!

Life in the "nation" of palestine

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Could not happen to a nicer bunch of 9th century bigots. Two stories from The Times of Israel:

Hamas arrests 5 suspects in raid on PA television offices in Gaza
Authorities in the Gaza Strip arrested five men on Saturday on suspicion that they trashed the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority’s television station in the territory a day earlier, the Hamas-run interior ministry said.

A bit more:

The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation is funded by the West Bank-based PA, which has a longstanding dispute with the Hamas terror group, and the building houses offices for Palestine TV and the Voice of Palestine radio station.

During the raid, workers were assaulted and equipment destroyed, Wafa reported.

“At least five people broke into the building, broke the radio door and completely destroyed the main studio, including cameras, equipment, furniture and broadcasting equipment,” a staffer at the radio station said.

AFP correspondents at the scene found a number of video cameras and computers badly damaged, with chairs and doors destroyed

They have been given so much by Israel but all they know how to do is destroy. They smash what they do not understand and there is much that they do not understand. The $14million Gaza greenhouses in 2005 for example.

And the workplace accident - delightful:

Separately on Saturday evening, five people were injured in an explosion in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run health ministry said.

Local media reported the blast emanated from the home of Mohammed Talal Al-Ajani, the Rafah Brigade commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza terror group. The explosion, apparently triggered by explosives, was said to have caused a fire and damage to neighboring buildings.

So close to those white raisins of incredible purity. Golda Meir said it best:

"Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us."

So true. Islam needs a reformation. Christianity used to be a cruel religion but we saw the errors of our ways and reformed. They need to do the same thing. Well overdue.

Clients from Hell

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This is one of my favorite IT / Business / Geek websites - Clients from Hell

One story from today:

Client: I set up the router like you told me but I still don’t have any internet.
Me: Is the router’s WAN light on?
Client: No.
Me: Are any lights on?
Client: No, it’s all black.
Me: Did you plug the router in?
Client: Why should I? It’s wireless, isn’t it?

I can only imagine the author's epic facepalm. Sometimes people are just that clueless. Keeps us IT geeks paid though...

Island life

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Pulled in a few minutes ago. Brought a lot more stuff to the condo in Bellingham. Planning on spending a week or so in MF packing up the last of it and then taking photos of the large tools to display at the garage sale. Getting ready to lighten my load and it feels wonderful.

Barn is actually emptying out!

Surf for a bit and then YouTube

It was blowing pretty strongly on my way down here - around 6PM or so. The van was buffeted pretty intensely - guessing gusts in the 45MPH range. Quiet down here now but we will see if it picks up later.

And I am outta here

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Heading back to the farm - took care of some paperwork at the store.

Island tonight for a couple of days and then back to the farm this weekend.

From Nature Microbiology:

Characterization of a filovirus (Měnglà virus) from Rousettus bats in China
Filoviruses, especially Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV), are notoriously pathogenic and capable of causing severe haemorrhagic fever diseases in humans with high lethality. The risk of future outbreaks is exacerbated by the discovery of other bat-borne filoviruses of wide genetic diversity globally. Here we report the characterization of a phylogenetically distinct bat filovirus, named Měnglà virus (MLAV). The coding-complete genome of MLAV shares 32–54% nucleotide sequence identity with known filoviruses. Phylogenetic analysis places this new virus between EBOV and MARV, suggesting the need for a new genus taxon. Importantly, despite the low amino acid sequence identity (22–39%) of the glycoprotein with other filoviruses, MLAV is capable of using the Niemann–Pick C1 (NPC1) as entry receptor. MLAV is also replication-competent with chimeric MLAV mini-genomes containing EBOV or MARV leader and trailer sequences, indicating that these viruses are evolutionally and functionally closely related. Finally, MLAV glycoprotein-typed pseudo-types transduced cell lines derived from humans, monkeys, dogs, hamsters and bats, implying a broad species cell tropism with a high risk of interspecies spillover transmission.

No word as to just how contagious it is - Ebola is a nasty piece of work.

You do not try to bullshit someone like President Trump. He has seen it all before, he has done it all before. You do not piss on his shoes and try to tell him that it is raining.
From CNBC:

Trump calls meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi a 'total waste of time' after he storms out
President Donald Trump on Wednesday stormed out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over an ongoing partial government shutdown, calling it "a total waste of time."

The breakdown in already fraught negotiations over border wall funding, which have kept nine federal agencies shut down for 19 days and counting, appeared to heighten the possibility that Trump might declare a national emergency.

"I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO," Trump explained in a tweet as Pelosi and Schumer described the walk-out to reporters.

"I said bye-bye, nothing else works!" Trump added.

Those two are a serious liability to the Democratic Party. I have said before, if John F. Kennedy were running for President today, he would get my vote in a heartbeat. The party has lost its way trying to pander to every special interest group out there. It has eaten itself.

Both bastions of liberalism and both destined to fail miserably.

From the NYC NBC affiliate:

NYC Mayor Guarantees Comprehensive Health Care for All in Historic Surprise Announcement
New York City will begin guaranteeing comprehensive health care to every single resident regardless of someone's ability to pay or immigration status, an unprecedented plan that will protect the more than half-a-million New Yorkers currently using the ER as a primary provider, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. 

And from the Los Angeles CBS affiliate:

California Governor Newsom Vows ‘Sanctuary To All Who Seek It’ In Inauguration Speech
California’s new governor is promising the most populous state will be a “sanctuary to all who seek it” in a direct affront to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom challenged the Trump administration repeatedly as he was sworn in to office Monday, particularly on immigration.

The former San Francisco mayor became the state’s 40th governor, succeeding the term-limited Jerry Brown.

These are both very good sentiments but the one question lingers - who is going to be paying for these two very expensive projects? These will cost many billions of dollers to fund - out of whose pocket are these funds coming from? Do they expect the Federal government (our tax dollars) to kick in for their hairbrained projects?

Done with store meeting

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We do these every quarter - see where things are going and what we want to do for the next couple of months.

Heading back to the farm, load up the van and then to Bellingham and Island. Got a big wind and lots of rain coming in tonight so want to be there for it. Back to the farm this weekend though.

Chuck and Nancy - the wall

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Sarah Sanders talks about Chuck and Nancy's rebuttal to President Trump's speech last night

Heading out for the day

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Got a meeting at the store - coffee first. Heading back to the farm to pack up stuff and then to Bellingham and then to the island. Meeting down there tomorrow and want to be there for the wind storm tonight.

Nothing on the web caught my eye.

A good speech

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It will be interesting to see the Democrat rebuttal:

From Cliff Mass:

Huge Storm Offshore
A huge, deep midlatitude cyclone is parked off our coast right now, with very strong winds over the Pacific and large easterly flow in the Columbia Gorge, the Strat of Juan de Fuca, and within east-west passes in the Cascades.

The sea level pressure forecast for 1 PM is impressive and huge, with the low center spread over much of the NE Pacific, with a deep 974 hPa low center due west of the CA/OR border.

The latest visible satellite image illustrates the large scale of the storm, a very long cold front, and the cold, unstable air circling into the low center.


This has been a winter to remember for the wind. May head to the island a day earlier to watch.

From Signs Of The Times:

Nancy Pelosi's father Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. was as crooked as they come
Nancy Pelosi's father Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. allegedly was a "constant companion" of notorious mobster Benjamin "Benny Trotta" Magliano and other underworld figures during his political years in Baltimore, MD. D'Alesandro was a Congressman for five terms from 1938 to 1947, and Baltimore mayor for three terms from 1947 to 1959. Magliano was identified by the FBI as one of Baltimore's "top hoodlums," and he widely was acknowledged as the representative for New York's Frankie Carbo who made his bones with Murder, Inc. and later became a made guy in the Lucchese family. The allegations are included in D'Alesandro's recently-released FBI files which Friends of Ours has obtained pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. 

A lot more at the site including this interesting bit of history:

Meanwhile, the allegations against D'Alesandro continued to pile up. Finally, in January 1961 President John F. Kennedy requested the G-men to address "allegations of D'Alesando's involvement with Baltimore hoodlums; with favoritism in awarding city contracts; [and] protection for political contributors and the prosecution of local cases." President Kennedy wanted to appoint D'Alesandro to the United States Renegotiation Board which was a government watchdog against profit gouging by defense contractors. A February 6, 1961 memo from Hoover to the Baltimore and Washington Field Offices cautiously advises: "The White House has requested that we proceed with a special inquiry investigation but that if substantial derogatory information were developed, we should report this and discontinue any further inquiries because substantiation of any of the allegations would eliminate D'Alesandro."

The FBI inquiry was a perfunctory exercise with little digging which vainly attempted to address two decades of allegations in less than two months, and of course some witnesses had lost their memories and others had died or otherwise disappeared.

And the FBI has not gotten any better in the intervening years. Deep state.

Settled in for the night

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Packed a lot. Only made one trip in to the condo but have enough for two trips tomorrow. Have a meeting on Island Thursday so should get another run or two in Wednesday. Bite to eat in town (Asian buffet (and no, I do not touch the seafood or sushi)) and then two pints of cider.

Surf for a bit - long day tomorrow.

Well crap - The Geek Group

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No news beyond this article - from Michigan Live:

Tech center, once the ‘Geek Group,’ shuts down for good after raid
After a federal raid at its Leonard Street NW business, the National Science Institute, formerly known as The Geek Group, said Friday, Dec. 31, it has shut down.

The non-profit agency, dedicated to science and technology, provided hands-on educational opportunities, including use of high-tech equipment and facilities by students, inventors and others.

It periodically handed out used computers at little or no cost to help children of struggling families.

In a Facebook post, president Chris Boden said the institute – in the former West YMCA building at 902 Leonard St. NW - was a labor of love but it could not generate enough funding to pay its bills.

The Dec. 21 raid by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the IRS, among others, was the last straw.

I love to experiment with high voltage (hell - voltage of any kind) and have built Tesla coils, Jacobs Ladders, lots of stuff. The Geek Group was this shining city on a hill where large-scale experimentation was the norm of the day. I always had it in my mind to do a pilgrimage to Grand Rapids. Sad to see them be shut down and I look forward to when they can tell the story of what really happened.

Funding a wall

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Great reactions from clueless people:

Mexico is defending their border

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With Guatamala - from The Seattle Times:

Mexico to regulate 370 illegal crossings on Guatemala border
The Mexican government has pledged to put guards at some 370 illegal crossing points along the country’s southern border with Guatemala.

The crossings “will be guarded and controlled to prevent the entry of undocumented people,” Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero said Monday.

A bit more - another "grass roots" caravan:

“We have information that a new caravan is forming to enter our country in mid-January,” Sanchez Cordero said. “We are already taking the necessary steps to ensure the caravan enters in a safe and orderly way.”

Again, we are looking at some major logistic hurdles and a lot of money. Who is funding these operations?
Classic Cloward-Piven.

No surprises there - smartphones

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I keep mine in the car most of the time. It is handy but I am not plugged in to it 24/8 (Beatle weeks)
From The Moscow Times:

Russian Patriarch Warns ‘Antichrist’ Will Control Humans Through Gadgets
The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has said that humans’ dependence on modern technology will result in the coming of the Antichrist.

In an interview with Russian state media, Patriarch Kirill explained he does not entirely oppose gadgets, but warned against “falling into slavery” to smartphones.

Patriarch Kirill said that the collection of user data including “location, interests and fears” will make it possible for humans to be controlled by external forces.

“Control from a single point is a harbinger of the coming of the Antichrist,” Kirill told the state-run Rossia-1 TV network on Orthodox Christmas Monday.

“The Antichrist is a personality that will be at the head of the world wide web controlling the entire human race. Thus, the structure itself presents a danger,” he said.

Makes a lot of sense - Facebook, etc... Time to leave the Goolag.

Journalist Don Surber noticed two headlines and did some analysis - the headlines are links:

And here is Don's take:

Kim is in China during trade talks
One and one make two. Trust me on this.

President Trump imposed tariffs on Red China, and the Fake News media cried trade war, and then told us no one wins a trade war.

President Trump imposed sanctions and bluster on North Korea, and the Fake News media cried nuclear war.

Now we just happen to be discussing a new trade deal in Beijing, and Kim just happens to travel to Beijing to celebrate his birthday.

A criminal lawyer once told me that 35 years in the courts had taught him there is no such thing as a coincidence.

Excellent news for everyone. Art of the deal indeed.

At the farm for a few days

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Heading out for coffee and then packing up totes and taking them in to Bellingham.

The 2016 election - back story

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Excellent post mortem on the Democrats attempts to get Hillary into the Presidentcy - from The American Spectator:

Democrats get away with a much worse crime than Watergate.
Since Watergate, the Washington wisdom has always held that it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup that sinks a politician. But that’s only the case when the coverup fails.

But what if the coverup succeeds?

It’s horribly simple. The crimes are never uncovered and the perpetrators are never brought to justice no matter how serious their crimes may be. That is precisely what has happened because of the FBI and Justice Department’s coverup of their abuses of power and illegal actions during the 2016 election.

In this case, the FBI and the Justice Department have succeeded in the most significant coverup in American political history. The abuses of power and crimes they have succeeded in covering up are not only against the law: they are crimes against our system of law and government. They were perpetrated by employees of the government, under color of law, with the intention of affecting the outcome of an election.

For almost two years an investigation into the abuses of power — and probable crimes — committed by the FBI and Justice Department during the election has been conducted by House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes (R-Cal). Rep. Bob Goodlatte — chairman of the Judiciary Committee — and Trey Gowdy — chairman of the Oversight and government reform committee — tried to investigate other aspects of the FBI and DoJ actions.

These investigations have been stonewalled by the refusal of the FBI and Justice Department to produce the documents and provide access to witnesses that would, in all likelihood, prove that the major abuses of power and crimes had been committed.

A lot more at the site - very well researched and documented.

Back from cider

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Ran into a couple people I knew so had some fun catching up on Maple Falls gossip.

The ham came out perfect - it was a 6oz pre-cooked steak for $3.99 so perfect for one portion. I nuked some vegies as a side. The chutney was a nice addition. I have usually just done a glaze with the marmalade and rice vinegar but adding the fruit brought it up a couple of notches and was very easy to do.

Surf for a bit as well as crunch through 200+ emails.

Great comment from Whoopi Goldberg

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Found at Ann Althouse's site:

Whoopi Goldberg to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "Before you start pooping on people and what they’ve done, you got to do something too."
On "The View" today.

My favorite thing about this is, Abby Huntsman immediately intones in the flattest possible voice, "That's well said. That's really well said." She knows her place, Huntsman does. Unlike some people. Pooping people.


Makes perfect sense to me

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From Big Think:

Does manual labor boost happiness?

The author detours to set up a story and then, a few paragraphs later, gets to his thesis.

As Luddites were raging against machines, neuroscientist Kelly Lambert says doctors were prescribing knitting to anxious women. Medical professionals sensed that the act of working with their hands calmed housewives. It appears that using our biological inheritance, a wonderful adaptation of bipedalism—dexterous and flexible hands featuring opposable thumbs—is necessary for optimal mental health.

Sure, the Luddites were concerned about feeding their family, not weaving cotton per se, but losing such an integral part of your identity forces you to confront your value as a sentient being. The combination of repetitive movement (of say, knitting) and the production of a tangible product (a hat or scarf) can be therapeutic. Lambert coined the term "behaviorceuticals" to honor this valuable drug.

In her most recent book, Well Grounded, Lambert notes the devastating effects automation technologies wreak on our brains:

Our view of prosperity in contemporary Western societies with creature comforts such as lush surroundings and various personal services to avoid physical effort may suffocate our neural functions.

Matthew Crawford agrees. He was "always sleepy" while employed at a D.C. think tank. Though earning more money than ever before, he felt a valuable piece of himself being lost. He left the lucrative position to become an auto mechanic, which resulted in his 2009 book, Shop Class as Soulcraft.

In it he posits the idea that as a society we've gotten the role of work backwards. Instead of championing manual labor, which he says is more intellectually engaging than his desk job, we choose to financially and socially reward careers that rely on computers to work for us. With industrialization came automation as warehouse owners sought to maximize capital while minimizing labor costs. In this two-century-long process, an essential part of our humanity is gone.

A lot more at the site - I totally agree with this. I am a lot more fulfilled when working with my hands.

At the farm

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Finally made it up here. Of course, on the way up, there was the most perfect light for photographing the snow geese - warm low-angle sunlight and dark storm clouds for a background. Perfect for emphasizing the white of the geese. The video camera was down on the island. Next time...

Here for  few days - got a Thursday meeting down there. Planning on hauling a** for the next week or two and getting the first garage sale ready and done with.

Picked up a nice small ham steak for dinner - Duroc. Doing a chutney with orange marmalade, rice wine vinegar and a chopped apple and pear.

Out for a couple pints of cider after.


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Talk about a bad spell of weather. From the Stanwood Camano News:

Parade of storms marching toward NW Washington
On the heels of short-but-powerful burst of wind and rain early Sunday morning, the foothills around the Stanwood-Camano region could see a dusting of snow Sunday night and Monday morning.

The National Weather Service office in Seattle issued a winter weather advisory for the central and southern Cascades and foothills through 10 a.m. with 1-4 inches of snow possible above 500 feet and 5-8 inches at pass level.

And this coming week:

However, the next storm arrives Tuesday into Wednesday. That blast will be followed by another low pressure system that will drop in from Alaska.

From the National Weather Service:


Meanwhile, most of South Puget Sound is dealing with power outages:


The EU has been a mistake. From Desmond Lachman writing at the American Enterprise Institute:

An unhappy 20th birthday for the euro
It is disappointing that your editorial “ Challenging times lie ahead for the eurozone” (January 2), commemorating the euro’s 20th anniversary, glosses over how miserably the single currency has failed to deliver on the high economic and political expectations of its founders.

Whereas since the 2008 crisis, the US economy has grown by some 15 per cent, the eurozone economy has barely regained its 2008 pre-crisis peak. At the same time, economic disparities between the eurozone’s north and south have widened, as exemplified by Germany’s economy now being more than 10 per cent above its 2008 level while that of Italy remains 5 per cent below that level.

Far from promoting European political harmony, the euro seems to have done the opposite. Those countries in the eurozone’s economic periphery deeply resent the austerity that has been imposed on them, while those in the north increasingly resent having to bail out those in the south. More disturbing yet, especially since 2008, Europe’s poor economic performance has undermined public confidence in its political elite, thereby contributing to a wave of populism across the eurozone.

A key factor underlying the eurozone’s poor economic and political performance was the locking in a monetary union of a poor productivity performer like Italy with a productivity powerhouse like Germany. Without the ability to devalue, Italy was bound to progressively lose competitiveness to Germany, which has resulted in the disparate economic performance between those two countries.

A perfect indictment of socialism and globalism. Some nations are more productive than others. By hamstringing everyone together to a common currency, there is less incentive for the productive members to be - productive. There is also less incentive for the less productive nations to work to become more productive as they know that their more productive partners will float them along.

This has been tried so many times and has failed every time it is amazing that people can still consider this to be a viable option. Occasional-Cortex needs to get a refund from Boston University for her Economics degree.

RBG - health issues?

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Interesting - from Associated Press:

Ginsburg missing Supreme Court arguments for 1st time
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is missing arguments for the first time in more than 25 years as she recuperates from cancer surgery last month, the Supreme Court said.

Ginsburg was not on the bench as the court met Monday to hear arguments. It was not clear when she would return to the court, which will hear more cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, and again next week.

Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the 85-year-old justice is continuing to recuperate and work from home after doctors removed two cancerous growths from her left lung on Dec. 21.

If she wanted to continue her progressive legacy, she should have retired during Obama's term. Now, will President Trump get to appoint a third Originalist to the Supreme Court? Sure looks like it now.

Heh - border deniers

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Lieutenant Commander Dan Crenshaw (Retired) is the Congressman-elect to replace retiring Congressman Ted Poe as the Representative for Texas’ 2nd Congressional District. In a crowded primary Dan overcame the odds and emerged from a nine candidate field by 155 votes. He earned the Republican nomination by winning almost 70% of the vote in the run-off..

Two from his twitter account:

I love the way he is flipping the narrative - climate deniers? Border deniers.

Long day yesterday

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Ran some errands - got a nice propane space heater for the garage so it will be a lot more comfortable to work in there. The bacon / bean soup was great for dinner and then went out to my local to see a dissapointing Seahawks loss to Dallas. So close and yet so far.

Woke up at 1:00AM with the howling wind - swells in the bay were about two feet high. Still showing a small craft advisory until Monday AM. I used to love these when I owned a sailboat - great weather for sailing.

Looks like most of the power outages are South near Tacoma, Seattle and Everett. Heading up to the farm today - got a lot of stuff to do up there. Coffee and breakfast first.

Two headlines - arctic ice

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Each headline links to the parent story:

Hint - one headline is from a pop culture magazine and one is from a science based website.

From Instapundit:

Ocasio-Cortez tells reporter ‘gotta run’ when asked about shutdown paycheck. “New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is still mum on whether she will follow her own advice to lawmakers to ‘have some integrity’ and give up their salary during the government shutdown. ‘I’ve gotta run,’ the Democratic Socialist told the New York Post on Thursday after being asked about her salary, rushing for a mock swearing-in with newly elected House Speak Nancy Pelosi. The questions follow Ocasio-Cortez’ comments on social media during the early days of the shutdown, urging members of Congress to give up their salaries during the government shutdown just like federal workers.”

From The Tennessee Star:

U.S. Rep. Mark Green Refuses Salary During Partial Government Shutdown
Freshman U.S. Rep. Dr. Mark Green (R-TN-07) has asked that he not be paid during the partial federal government shutdown.

Green sent a letter Friday to the U.S. House of Representative’s Chief Administrative Officer, Philip Kiko, requesting his salary be suspended until a deal is reached and the partial government shutdown ends:

Dear Mr. Kiko,

I am writing today to ask you to withhold my salary as long as the government is partially shut down. I do not believe it is appropriate for Members of Congress to be paid during a lapse in appropriations while hardworking border security agents and other civil servants are furloughed.

Please accept this letter as notice that I will refuse any salary until the government is funded.


Fun times ahead

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Cliff Mass has this to say today:

Major Wind Event For Western Oregon and Washington
A major wind event is now probable for western Oregon and Washington, potentially the strongest windstorm so far this winter.

Very strong winds, with gusts to 50-80 mph, will move up the Oregon coast this evening and then pummel western WA in the morning hours, ending with a powerful surge of westerly winds in the Strait.

This is serious, so I would be prepared (batteries, don't drive around during strong winds, etc.). There will be power outages.

The 8 AM GOES-17 weather satellite imagery shows the storm west of northern CA and southern Oregon (you can see the swirl of the clouds).


Thinking about staying down on the island tonight - the power is more stable down here and I have a bunch of stuff I can be doing - sorting papers and working in the garage.

This is getting downright tiresome...

You guessed it - YouTube

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Nothing else catches my eye on the net...

Out of copyright - where to download

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Great practical article at Motherboard:

How to Download the Books That Just Entered the Public Domain
Starting at midnight on January 1, tens of thousands of books (as well as movies, songs, and cartoons) entered the public domain, meaning that people can download, share, or repurpose these works for free and without retribution under US copyright law.

Per the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, “corporate” creations (like Mickey Mouse) can be restricted under copyright law for 120 years. But per an amendment to the act, works published between 1923 and 1977 can enter the public domain 95 years after their creation. This means that this is the first year since 1998 that a large number of works have entered the public domain.

A lot of links at the article - here are just a handful:

For instance, ReadPrint.com, as well as The Literature Network (mostly major authors), and Librivox (audio books), Authorama (all in the public domain), and over a dozen other sites all have vast selections of free ebooks.


 More at the site - lots of very cool writing - audio books too!

If I lived in the mid-west, I would definitely be a storm chaser. Have always been fascinated by the weather and love big storms - always have, always will. One of the few disappointments on moving to the Pacific Northwest is the lack of really hard weather.

Check out Chasercon - nothing much on their website but they have some really good people giving presentations.

From CNN (note the bias in the headline):

Can Trump's new science adviser convince him that climate change is real?
In the eleventh hour of the outgoing Congress' term, the Senate confirmed one of President Trump's nominees that could have a profound impact on the future of our planet.

Kelvin Droegemeier, a meteorologist and former University of Oklahoma professor, was confirmed to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy on Wednesday-- a role commonly referred to as "science adviser" and the top scientific office in the country.

The position has sat vacant since Trump's presidency began nearly two years ago.

Droegemeier, an expert on extreme weather that has served as The University of Oklahoma's vice president of research since 2009 and has conducted atmospheric research for over 35 years. His extensive background in weather provides some hope among the science community that he can influence the administration, which has disputed the scientific community's view that the planet is warming and that humans are the primary cause of the change.

Emphasis mine - there is no consensus. The "scientific community" has a lot of different opinions about what is happening. The sun is the primary driver of our climate and it is slowing down / cooling off. The idea that humans are the primary cause of the modern warm period is pure hubris on our part.

Anyway, Droegemeier is a strong atmospheric scientist and is a numbers guy, not a narrative guy. He does not tweak the computer models to forecast what he wants, he tries to model what is actually happening. Great choice for the position!

Dinner was really good

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Think I got this recipe nailed down. Really savory and filling. Got enough for three days of leftovers too!

Went out for two pints after - been reading the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. Police procedural and really well written. Hung out at the bar and read for a while. Simple pleasures - good book, cold beer, nice wait staff.

Smelling good - bacon/bean soup

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Got a pot of it simmering away. I use the pressure cooker feature of my Instant Pot so it only takes about 30 minutes to go from dry bean to delicious soup.

House smells delicious. Dinner in about 30 minutes.

Maybe a winter visit - Siberia

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I have always been fascinated by the extreme cold regions of this planet. Found this great photo online:


In 1965 (the year after the great Alaska earthquake) my mom, dad and our church minister flew to a small town in Alaska. The earthquake caused the river they were on to shift its bounds. Our church brought up a sawmill and a movie projector.

As we were coming in for a landing in the bush plane, we saw a bunch of people by the runway (grass strip) waving at us. I thought that they were incredibly friendly until I stepped off the plane and was met with a swarm of mosquitos. They were trying to keep them off.

A bit of Karma in North Carolina

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From CNN:

Cops say a would-be kidnapper chased a woman -- into a karate studio. That was a bad move
A man tries to kidnap a woman by forcing her into his car, in north Charlotte. She breaks free, and runs into a nearby karate studio pleading for help.

You can already see how this ends: with the suspect being carried out on a stretcher after a fight with a karate head instructor.

The incident happened at 9 pm Thursday outside Bushiken Karate Charlotte Dojo, according to CNN affiliate WSOC and the head instructor, Randall Ephraim.

Heh - sucks to be him...

An interesting bit of labeling

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I was at the food coop today and checked out their bulk foods. I like Israeli Couscous. They had it but it was labeled Perl Couscous (and in very small print: "also known as Traditional Israeli Couscous")

A little bit of subtle antisemitism? Virtue signalling to their liberal customers? I am still shopping there - I like the food - but one day, I will have to wear a MAGA hat when I go shopping and watch people's reactions.

And it is another day on the island

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Had a couple of errands to run and it got late. Time to surf for a bit and then fix dinner. Stopped at Del-Fox and got some bacon to do bacon-bean soup. Also got a bag of dog bones so Grace and Bear are very quiet munching away at their treats.

Nice warm day today - got up to 57°F at the house. Still have the Small Craft Advisory for this area and Thunderstorms forecast for Sunday.

Nothing much out there

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Don't see anything that catches my eye - heading out in about an hour to get coffee, post office and then up to Maple Falls.

The wind has passed - we are now at Small Craft Advisory through this evening and a Winter Weather Advisory for up North - snow level is down to 3,500 feet.

If they succeed, the liberals will wish that they had not. From Breitbart:

Rashida Tlaib’s First Day in Congress: ‘We’re Gonna Impeach the Motherf**ker.’
On her first day as a new member of the United States House of Representatives, Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) called on her colleagues to begin taking steps towards impeaching President Trump.

Tlaib was fetted at a raucous reception later in the day by left wing advocacy group MoveOn.org. Her closing remarks there were, “We’re gonna impeach the motherfucker.”

If these people do succeed in removing President Trump from office - what happens? Vice President Mike Pence becomes President. Trump may be a boor but he is a damn good businessman and has been great for America. Mike Pence is like DJT on steroids. Pence is a lot quieter but he is even more of a force for Constitutional Conservatism than Trump has ever been.

Those poor snowflakes will not know what hit them...

Back on the island

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Maple Falls tomorrow for sure. This time. For real.

Had an interesting phone call from my store - someone I used to know in High School in Pittsburgh, PA called the store trying to reach me. They must have searched the public records to see that I was the owner and found the phone number. Interesting.

I graduated from that High School in 1969 so this would be the 50th anniversary - maybe they are doing some reunion. Do not think that I will do a reunion as I have set down roots here and do not like to travel that much. Maybe write something if they ask. Besides, as Andy said: "Pittsburgh is a great place to be from."

Productive day - quick bounce around the internet, a few videos and then to sleep.

Probably back to the island for the night. Like I said before, this place is sticky...

Maple Falls for sure tomorrow!

Wind is starting to pick up - got 322 households without power on the island and scattered outages around Maple Falls. Thank God that the other storms lining up are heading South of us.

Out the door now

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Shaved, showered and ready for my morning coffee. Running a few errands down here, stopping off in Burlington and then up to Maple Falls for a few days.

Yesterday's briefing at the White House

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Pathetic. The equivalent of a little kid holding his hands over his ears and yelling I can't hear you. I had written about this briefing yesterday: Now this would be interesting to see. President Trump was hosting a session with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and various members of Congress. From The Daily Caller:

Democratic lawmakers brought a border security briefing at the White House to a screeching halt Wednesday, refusing to even listen to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, a White House official tells The Daily Caller.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy echoed this version of events to reporters outside the White House immediately after the briefing, saying, “Once the secretary started, Schumer interrupted her and didn’t want to hear it.”

Republican and Democratic lawmakers after the meeting indicated little progress was made toward ending the partial government shutdown and that they agreed to reconvene Friday. The White House official says there was a consensus in the room that negotiations would be put on hold until Pelosi officially assumed her expected role of Speaker.

The White House official told TheDC that both Pelosi and Schumer refused to hear out Nielsen’s briefing and instead advocated for two solutions to end the government shutdown. Neither of the Democratic options would provide the additional funding for border security requested by The White House.

This is not leadership. This is thuggery pure and simple. Schumer is a perfect example of the reason for Term Limits.

Seattle meteorologist Cliff Mass clues us in to what will be happening in the next week or so. Hint: Wind and Rain

Forget El Nino, StormFest is about to Hit the West Coast
Things often calm down after January 1 during El Nino years....but not this year...with the U.S. West Coast from central California to Washington State about to be pummeled by a series of storms. Rain, snow, wind? Plenty for everyone.

A view of the latest infrared satellite imagery shows an amazing line-up of one storm after another stretching way into the Pacific. A traffic jam of storms.

Let's examine our stormy future, using a series of sea level pressure forecasts from the UW WRF weather forecast models (solid lines are sea level pressure, shading in lower atmosphere temperature).

At 10 PM today, a strong low is just off the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

10AM Saturday brings an energetic low center into northern CA.

10 PM Sunday?   Another storm hits central Oregon!  And another system is in the wings.

I am not copying the images - you can go to Cliff's site and see the coming carnage. The bright side?

There is a silver lining of all this action of course:  it will provide an immense amount of water to fill our reservoirs and enhance our snowpack, a snowpack that is now in pretty decent shape (see latest summary below).  Water resources should be fine next summer.

Classical reference in the title: Turtles all the way down

And I am off to YouTube

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Want to head up to Maple Falls tomorrow so early bedtime tonight. Busy couple days of packing - got a tool sale in the near future.

President Trump just sold rice to China. Talk about art of the deal. From farm website ProAg:

For First Time Ever, China Begins Purchasing U.S. Rice
China is buying U.S. rice for the first time. The “South China Morning Post” reported Chinese customs officials cleared American rice for import on Thursday.

It’s not clear how much China will buy, but the U.S. rice industry calls China the 800 pound gorilla for the industry, and a market barrier it’s been trying to break for decades.

Johnny Sullivan of Producers Rice Mill, Inc. says “China is a monster of a market. The facts are based on the consumption rate of rice in China, the short story is China could chew through the entire U.S. crop in 14 days, so it’s unreal.”

Tell me again how the tarrif war is hurting American business?

First photos of Ultima Thule

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From NASA's Space Weather:

FIRST IMAGES OF ULTIMA THULE: The first high-resolution images of Ultima Thule have reached Earth following New Horizons' historic flyby on New Year's Day. Hot off the presses, the photos reveal a pair of roughly spherical planetestimals stuck together in the middle. The contact binary strangely resembles BB-8:


"This flyby is a historic achievement," says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "Never before has any spacecraft team tracked down such a small body so far away in the abyss of space. We're getting our first close-up look at ancient planetesimals."

Planetesimals are the building blocks of planets. Here in the inner solar system, no pristine examples remain for us to study. They have been swallowed by planets, hammered by asteroids, and scorched by solar radiation. Ultima Thule, however, has been preserved in the deep freeze of the outer solar system for more than 4 billion years. It is truly a relic of the genesis of planets.

Mission scientists believe that Ultima Thule formed by accretion. A swarm of smaller planetesimals gathered under the pull of their own meagre gravity to form two spherical bodies, medium-sized planetesimals which themselves slowly bumped together and stuck. The result was Ultima Thule.

These are just the first thumbnails - resolution is about 140 Meters per pixel. Much higher resolution (much larger and longer to transmit) files are going to be arriving over the next couple of weeks. An amazing mission.

Fortunately it is directly out of the South and I am facing North. Lots of trees moving but nothing but squirrely gusts at ground level.

Southern parts of the island are showing 322 households without power now (and we are just getting started)

Puget Sound Electric is showing just a few outages - 83 households out near Bellevue but the cause of that was an accident.

Meeting was good - run really well.

Out for a couple of hours

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Heading out for some errands, an early dinner and then a 6:00PM meeting.

That was Zen - this is Meow

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From here.

Copyrights - great news

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A good explanation of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act at Ars Technica:

Mickey Mouse will be public domain soon—here’s what that means
As the ball dropped over Times Square last night, all copyrighted works published in 1923 fell into the public domain (with a few exceptions). Everyone now has the right to republish them or adapt them for use in new works.

It's the first time this has happened in 21 years.

In 1998, works published in 1922 or earlier were in the public domain, with 1923 works scheduled to expire at the beginning of 1999. But then Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. It added 20 years to the terms of older works, keeping 1923 works locked up until 2019.

Many people—including me—expected another fight over copyright extension in 2018. But it never happened. Congress left the existing law in place, and so those 1923 copyrights expired on schedule this morning.

And assuming Congress doesn't interfere, more works will fall into the public domain each January from now on.

And some examples:

Next January, George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue will fall into the public domain. It will be followed by The Great Gatsby in January 2021 and Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises in January 2022.

On January 1, 2024, we'll see the expiration of the copyright for Steamboat Willie—and with it Disney's claim to the film's star, Mickey Mouse. The copyrights to Superman, Batman, Disney's Snow White, and early Looney Tunes characters will all fall into the public domain between 2031 and 2035.

The expiration of copyrights for characters like Mickey Mouse and Batman will raise tricky new legal questions. After 2024, Disney won't have any copyright protection for Mickey's original incarnation. But Disney will still own copyrights for later incarnations of the character—and it will also own Mickey-related trademarks.

Good - these works have had their run. Let the general public enjoy their use rent-free.

I bet that this is going to be an awesome party.

Now this is beautiful

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Music From The Fibonacci Sequence

Performed by aSoungScout

More on Fibonacci numbers - quite a beautiful series and found very often in nature.


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Talk about over the top - almost sprayed coffee over my laptop. Pitch perfect:

He had way too much fun with this.

Toto - Africa

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Played on sweet potatoes and squash:

Pupsi's YouTube channel is here

Now this would be interesting to see

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I hope C-SPAN is recording this meeting - from Associated Press:

Shutdown Day 12: Lawmakers to hear wall plea at White House
President Donald Trump said his Homeland Security officials will “make a plea” for the border wall with Mexico during a briefing for congressional leaders Wednesday at the White House as the partial government shutdown over his demand for wall funding entered its 12th day.

The president made his case anew ahead of the afternoon session with Democratic and Republican leaders about the migrants arriving at the border in recent days. He said the border is “like a sieve” and noted the tear gas “flying” overnight to deter them. He called the border “very tough” at keeping immigrants out.

“If they knew they couldn’t come through, they wouldn’t even start,” Trump said at a meeting joined by Cabinet secretaries and top advisers, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

We need the security - it is costing us taxpayers way too much to give them a free ride. The Democrats see these invaders as a steady source of votes and as a way to build the welfare system. Get people dependent on it so they do not vote to remove it.

Ho. Li. Crap. Amazing video and audio editing software. Check out DaVinci Resolve 15 from BlackMagic. Got turned on to it a few days ago and been playing with it.

Best part? Free. There is a paid version ($299) that adds a few features but the free version is pretty amazing for what it does. A lot better than Pinnacle in my opinion - suits my workflow better, easier to grok.

Propaganda - North Korea

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave his usual New Year address - from South Korea's The Korea Herald:

NK leader talks of denuclearization, economic development in New Year address
The North Korean leader on Tuesday reiterated his determination to achieve complete denuclearization and also called for economic development in his annual New Year’s address, stressing the need to strengthen the North’s defense.

In the address, Kim Jong-un highlighted last year’s developments in inter-Korean and US-North Korea relations, while calling on his country to seek economic development and modernize its defense industry.

Kim delivered the address while sitting on a sofa in an office with portraits of his father, Kim Jong-il, and grandfather Kim Il-sung in the background. His previous New Year’s addresses had taken place in more formal settings, with Kim standing at a podium.

While Kim’s address included conditions for further talks with the US, Seoul welcomed the speech as a sign of the North Korean leader’s willingness to improve inter-Korean relations and achieve denuclearization.

Regarding relations with the US, Kim said he was ready to meet with US President Donald Trump again at any time, but warned he would “find a new path” if the US were to test North Koreans’ patience with sanctions and pressure.

“I am ready to sit face to face with the US president again at any time going forward, and will make efforts to produce an outcome the international community would welcome,” he said in an apparent response to a series of conciliatory gestures from the US. Trump has said he would like to hold a summit with Kim in January or February.


Now, compare and contrast - CNN:

Kim Jong Un says North Korea isn't making nukes, warns US on sanctions

Here is NPR:

Kim Jong Un Wants New Summit With Trump, But Also Issues A Veiled Warning

How about just listening to the guy and taking what he says at face value. He is gradually easing tensions between the two Koreas: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here aaaand I got a lot more but you get my drift...

Winter winds - upgraded

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Now with more suck blow - Weather.com again:

High Wind Watch for Admiralty Inlet Area, Washington

Here is my neck of the woods:


The red A is Admiralty Inlet - go through that restriction and you get to Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia. The blue C is about where my house is on Camano Island. Looks like it will be time to batten down the hatches tomorrow evening.

Now this will be fun - hackers

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From tech website Motherboard:

Hackers Threaten to Dump Insurance Files Related to 9/11 Attacks
On Monday, New Year’s Eve, a hacker group announced it had breached a law firm handling cases related to the September 11 attacks, and threatened to publicly release a large cache of related internal files unless their ransom demands were met.

The news is the latest public extortion attempt from the group known as The Dark Overlord, which has previously targeted a production studio working for Netflix, as well as a host of medical centres and private businesses across the United States. The announcement also signals a slight evolution in The Dark Overlord’s strategy, which has expanded on leveraging the media to exert pressure on victims, to now distributing its threats and stolen data in a wider fashion.

In its announcement published on Pastebin, The Dark Overlord points to several different insurers and legal firms, claiming specifically that it hacked Hiscox Syndicates Ltd, Lloyds of London, and Silverstein Properties.

“Hiscox Syndicates Ltd and Lloyds of London are some of the biggest insurers on the planet insuring everything from the smallest policies to some of the largest policies on the planet, and who even insured structures such as the World Trade Centers,” the announcement reads.

And this is not an idle jape:

A spokesperson for the Hiscox Group confirmed to Motherboard that the hackers had breached a law firm that advised the company, and likely stolen files related to litigation around the 9/11 attacks.

Time for a bowl of popcorn, sit back and watch the sparks fly. They released a 10GB file of the texts but it is encrypted. They are threatening to release the key if not paid.

Great compilation at The Daily Caller:

Despite increasingly apocalyptic warnings from U.N. officials, 2018 has seen a number of high-profile defeats for policies aimed at fighting global warming. Politicians and voters pushed back at attempts to raise energy prices as part of the climate crusade.

It started in June with election of Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Ontario residents overwhelmingly voted Ford’s conservative coalition into power on a platform that included axing the Canadian province’s cap-and-trade program.

Ford said his first priority upon taking office would be to “cancel the Liberal cap-and-trade carbon tax.” Ford then joined a legal challenge led by Saskatchewan against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s policy of a central government-imposed carbon tax on provinces that don’t have their own.

Carbon tax opponents called Trudeau’s plan an attempt to “use the new tax to further redistribute income, which will increase the costs of this tax to the economy.”

Roughly ten thousand miles away in Australia another revolt was brewing. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saw his power base crumble within days of failing to pass a bill aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

And in my own state, $45million was spent to push a carbon tax initiative spearheaded by our governor Jay Inslee:

However, Washington voters rejected the carbon tax measure in the November election despite Inslee’s support. It was the second time in two years that Washington voters rejected a carbon tax ballot initiative.

In the House of Representatives:

The November elections also saw the defeat of a group of Republican lawmakers in the House Climate Solutions Caucus. Among those defeated was caucus co-chair Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who introduced carbon tax legislation in July.

In France:

It backfired. Angered over the new carbon taxes on fuel, tens of thousands of protesters, called “yellow vests” for the vests drivers are required to have in their cars, took to the streets calling for an end to the taxes and for Macron to resign.

Nice to see that the Normals are waking up. Global Warming - yes. We are heading out of a brief Modern Warm Period from 1960's to present. Every indication shows us heading into a very long period of cooling.

The idea that we humans are completely responsible for the warming is pure fscking hubris. We are simply not that big compared to all of the other natural variables - the biggest of which is our Sun which is a variable star. NASA's wonderful Space Weather website closes out this year with 2018 having 61% sunspot free:

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2018 total: 221 days (61%)
2017 total: 104 days (28%)
2016 total: 32 days (9%)
2015 total: 0 days (0%)
2014 total: 1 day (<1%)
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
2012 total: 0 days (0%)

Heh - the caravan

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A bit of backlash for the faceless "organizers" of this - from Monica Showalter writing at American Thinker:

Sure enough, caravan migrants turn on their organizers
It had to happen. As we suspected would happen.

The caravan migrants, still cooling their heels out of sight of tourists in an isolated redoubt of Tijuana, in line awaiting for their U.S. asylum claims to be adjudicated, have finally turned on their rabidly left-wing organizers – namely, Pueblo Sin Fronteras.

The Associated Press has a pretty good report about the scope of the migrant disgust:

Thousands are now in Tijuana on the U.S. border, where they are likely to be camped for months or longer with no easy way to get into the United States, creating what is fast becoming a humanitarian crisis in this overwhelmed city.

Many blame Pueblo Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, made up of about 40 U.S. and Mexican activists.

Critics, including former allies and some of the migrants themselves, say Pueblo Sin Fronteras downplayed the dangers of such treks, especially for families and small children, and misled the participants about how long they would have to wait on the Mexican side to apply for asylum.

They were Chavistas, and as Chavistas, they were offering up the big goody-style free-stuff packages, except that they wanted Uncle Sam, not Hugo's oil money, to pay for them. When that fell through and the migrants ran into a U.S. president with a serious interest in border laws meaning what they say they mean, they got left high and dry, as stiffed on the promises as Venezuela's fleeing refugees are. The goody pot never materialized, though it might for some of them as they wait their turns in line. With 90% of the migrant caravan composed of military- and gang-aged young men, don't hold your breath.

More at the site. My question through all of this is who was funding the whole operation. They had buses, food depots, etc... It was well organized and funded but billed as a local grass-roots movement.

From The Times of Israel:

69 years after joining, Israel formally leaves UNESCO; so, too, does the US
As the new year began, Israel officially left the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, despite recent efforts by the agency’s head to combat its politicization and alleged anti-Israel bias.

The withdrawal went into effect at midnight Paris time (1 a.m. in Israel). The US departure also took effect at the same time.

“UNESCO is a body that continually rewrites history, including by erasing the Jewish connection to Jerusalem,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told The Times of Israel on Monday.

“It is corrupted and manipulated by Israel’s enemies, and continually singles out the only Jewish state for condemnation. We are not going to be a member of an organization that deliberately acts against us.”

In October 2017, mere days after the US administration announced its withdrawal from UNESCO due to, among other things, its alleged obsession with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he was following the US lead.

“We hope that the organization will change its ways but we are not pinning hopes on this; therefore, my directive to leave the organization stands and we will mo

Fantastic move for both the United States and for Israel. UNESCO was first considered in 1921 and was founded in November of 1945. A great idea but it fell victim to Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

Maybe if enough nations leave, the unelected governing board of UNESCO will be forced to police themselves and become relevant again. They do some good work, the problem is that they pump out a lot of bad ideology too.

On island for two more days

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Remembered that one of my groups has a meeting this Wednesday evening so spending today and tomorrow on island. Got stuff to do so my time will be spent productivly.

Heading out for coffee and breakfast.

Winter winds

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BOHICA - has a nice sort of Carribean sound to it. Actually, Bohica is an acronym for Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.

From Weather.com:

Gale Watch for Northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands

I know this is normal weather for this area and this time of year but sheesh...

Quote of the day - academia

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From Vox Day:

In academia there is no difference between academia and the real world; in the real world there is.

Awakenings around the world - Austria

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Interesting news from the New York Times:

Austria Closes 7 Mosques and Seeks to Expel Imams Paid by Turkey
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of Austria on Friday ordered the closing of seven mosques and the scrutiny of the right of dozens of Turkish imams to remain in the country, citing suspected violations of an Austrian law that bans “political Islam” or foreign financing of Muslim institutions.

A bit more:

“Parallel societies, politicized Islam or radical tendencies have no place in our country,” Mr. Kurz said at a news conference announcing the measures in Vienna on Friday.

Not afraid to speak his mind - I like that! More at the site. The basic problem is that the mosques are supposed (Austrian law) to be locally funded - grass roots. The mosques that are being closed are funded by radical Islamic groups from outside Austria. The congregants of these mosques are not assimilating into Austrian society.

Used to work for them - they used to be science based but for the last 30 years, they are just political and narrative driven.

From The Daily Caller:

Greenpeace quietly admitted in November one of its “Rainbow Warrior” boats was “scrapped on a beaching yard in Bangladesh” — a method it spent years campaigning against.

“We have made a mistake, one that we have tried to correct,” Greenpeace International, based in Amsterdam, admitted in mid-November, adding it allowed Rainbow Warrior II “to be scrapped on a beaching yard in Bangladesh, in a way that does not live up to the standards we set ourselves and campaigned with our allies to have adopted across the world.”

However, the embarrassing admission from one of the world’s largest and most prominent environmental groups flew under the radar of major news outlets. Greenpeace quietly put out a press release on its international website, which few noticed.

Seems that they are not doing that well - a bit more:

Indeed, Rainbow Warrior II’s fate is only the latest in a string of embarrassments and scandals to plague Greenpeace in recent years, including admitting in 2014 it had lost millions in donations betting on currency speculation.

That same year, Greenpeace came under fire from the Peruvian government for damaging the ancient Nazca Lines. Activists damaged the world-famous site with giant protest banners advocating for solar energy and calling for countries to fight global warming.

Lots of asbestos and carcinogenic PCBs in the environment now - thanks Greenpeace. Here is Greenpeace's co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore talking about the organization:

The organization I co-founded has become a monster. When I was a member of its central committee in the early days, we campaigned – usually with success – on genuine environmental issues such as atmospheric nuclear tests, whaling and seal-clubbing.

When Greenpeace turned anti-science by campaigning against chlorine (imagine the sheer stupidity of campaigning against one of the elements in the periodic table), I decided that it had lost its purpose and that, having achieved its original objectives, had turned to extremism to try to justify its continued existence.

Now Greenpeace has knowingly made itself the sworn enemy of all life on Earth. By opposing capitalism, it stands against the one system of economics that has been most successful in regulating and restoring the environment.


Happy new year from President DJT

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Says it all:

January 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Environment and Climate
Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Climate Audit
Climate Depot
Green Trust
Jennifer Marohasy
Planet Gore
Science and Public Policy Institute
Solar Cycle 24
Space Weather
Space Weather - Canada
the Air Vent
Tom Nelson
Watts Up With That?

Science and Medicine
Derek Lowe
Junk Science
Life in the Fast Lane
Luboš Motl
New Scientist
Next Big Future
Ptak Science Books
Science Blog

Geek Stuff
Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF

The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
User Friendly
What The Duck

Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?

Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog

Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
The Online Photographer

A Western Heart
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Power Line
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Weasel Zippers

Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

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