December 2019 Archives

Tip 'o the hat to Mostly Cajun for this:

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Going to be a fun ride. Need to buy more popcorn...

A quiet Sun

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Our sun had a few spots last week from the next cycle but it has been very quiet. How quiet? From Spaceweather:

CENTURY-CLASS SOLAR MINIMUM:
On the sun, 2019 is ending the same way it began--without sunspots. The sun has been blank for 281 days this year. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913 (311 days). This means we are experiencing a century-class Solar Minimum. Forecasters expect these low sunspot counts to continue in 2020. Happy New Year!

No sunspots = quiet sun

Quiet sun = cooler climate on Earth (and the other planets - Mars' icecap is growing)

Global warming? Still waiting for conclusive proof and not the results of some new computer model. CO2 is plant food.

A quiet night

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L is at her home taking it easy. I went out for the last pints of the decade (2X Rainer) and am home looking at an early bedtime. 2018 and 2019 were interesting at best but really looking forward to 2020 - things just feel right this time...

Thank you President Trump

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As a business owner I get far to many of these pestiferous things - from New Jersey / Associated Press:

Trump signs bill to protect you from those annoying robocalls
Consumers just got new tools to combat robocallers as President Donald Trump signed legislation designed to address the problem.

The White House announced late Monday that Trump had signed the bill, a rare example of bipartisan cooperation in Congress. The measure had passed the House, 417-3, and cleared the Senate unanimously.

Nice that the vote was so overwhelming. It will be interesting to see who the three gomers in the House were.

Today in three headlines

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A bunch of splody-dopes stormed the American Embassy in Iran - clickable links:

We have some very interesting precision guided munitions and I bet that a bunch of them are being readied right now. I am reminded of the quote attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto:

I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

3... 2... 1... Ka Boom

Starting in on the garage later. L has been a real help with this. Minimal posting tonight.

Very heavy rainfall...

Well crap - RIP Syd Mead

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One of my favorite futurists and graphic artists - from BoingBoing:

Legendary sci-fi artist Syd Mead dead at 86
The futurist and artist Syd Mead died today, according to his partner and business manager Roger Servick.

The news was first broken by according to auto industry veteran John McElroy and other associates of his on social media, leading fans and peers to post their favorites from the legendary designer's work on social media.

"I've called science fiction 'reality ahead of schedule,'" wrote Mead.

Some samples of his work at the site. He was ahead of his time. Brilliant.

Another day in paradise - Orcas Island

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Spent a wonderful day revisiting some old haunts of mine on Orcas Island. Went to Doe Bay - this used to be a "hippy" hot springs and I would sail in there and hang out for a couple days at a time. It has gone upscale but has preserved its roots and is still a center for alternative health, yoga, hot springs, etc...

Had an incredible dinner at The Kitchen - very clever design for a restaurant menu. Very simple but lots of combinations and they are cleaning up. Very busy. If I ever am in the position of managing a restaurant again, I would blatently rip off their menu and use it. Like I said, simple, great food prepared well and delicious.

L and I are working on organizing stuff here today, she and I will be visiting the storage locker later this morning. Recycling first.

Making some wraps for lunch - heading out to catch the 10:30 ferry boat to the island.

Quick surf now but posting will be non-existent today. And nothing caught my eye.

Back to lunch prep...

Common sense in Seattle - vaccination

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Good news from Seattle station KIRO:

Thousands of Seattle students told to get vaccinated, or don’t come back after winter break
Seattle Public Schools is warning thousands of students that they will be excluded from school after Christmas break unless they get in compliance with Washington's vaccine laws.

The district sent letters home to families warning that students must get in compliance by January 8th.

A notice on the district website says, “Student records must reflect updated immunization status by January 8, 2020, or students cannot attend school until the required information is provided to the school nurse.”

Great - the link between childhood vaccinations and various diseases is absolutely baseless. The original study linking MMR to Autism was abject fraud and the joker (in the pay of an insurance company) had his license to practice medicine stripped and the paper was completely retracted.

Anyone who perpetuates this fraud is guilty of one of the worst forms of child abuse. The child gets sick and dies. Needlessly. All because of some pop-culture pseudo medical bullshit.

Good news from Uraguay

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From FOX News:

Uruguay seizes 6 tons of cocaine worth $1B in country’s largest bust
Naval and customs officers in Uruguay seized a staggering six tons of cocaine this week, with authorities calling it the country's biggest bust ever.

The National Armada said in a press release that on Dec. 26 officers at the Montevideo port were checking four shipping containers with soy flour destined for Lome, the capital of Togo in West Africa.

Authorities said a scanner flagged “abnormalities” in the shipment, which turned out to be a total of 4,003 bricks of cocaine – about 4.4 tons of the drug. One container contained 3,089 bricks of cocaine, each weighing about 2.4 pounds.

West Africa? Part of the trade route:

Nearly a third of the cocaine consumed in Europe is smuggled there via Africa, local media reported.

Wonder if it was addressed to Hunter - is he still involved with the Ukraine kleptocrats?

And that is it for the day

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Got one of the shelves up. Discovered a leak in my water heater which is a good thing. Better a drip... drip... now than a big whoosh later. The upgrade to the garage storage is going to be a multi-day fun-fest.

Reheating some bean soup for dinner - surf after that.

Back to work 'ya bum

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Just like Jeffrey Epstein, those shelves aren't going to hang assemble themselves.

Our quiet Sun

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The K-Index is a measure of solar output at a radio frequency. Because they measure a radio frequency, this is immune to overcast and clouds. Usually, it is around 4. If it hits 6 there is a good chance for aurora (the scale is a Base10 logarithm so 6 is 100 times more than 4):

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It is just barely ticking over. Unusually quiet.

California Shocked To Find...

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Does not surprise me - their politicians live in a bubble and their laws are based on narrative and not actual facts.
From Jazz Shaw at Hot Air:

California Shocked To Find Bill Decriminalizing Retail Theft Resulted In… More Retail Theft
A few years ago, California passed one in a series of bills aimed at emptying the jails and prisons. Proposition 47 carried the disingenuous name of “the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act and its stated purpose was to keep non-violent offenders out of jail. To achieve this goal, the state decriminalized a number of lesser offenses, including retail theft. The law raised the value of the amount of merchandise someone could steal while still only being charged with a misdemeanor to nearly one thousand dollars.

To the great surprise of the government, people noticed this change and began taking advantage of it. They have now recorded multiple years of steadily increasing, organized robbery. These plots are known as “mass grab and dash” thefts and they generally involve large numbers of young people all entering a store at the same time, grabbing armfuls of merchandise and dashing back out to their vehicles and hitting the highway. Not only are robberies on the rise, but arrests and prosecutions are down. Who could possibly have predicted this? (CBS Sacramento)

After searching police reports and arrest records, CBS13 found that while the rate of these grab and dash crimes is on the rise, the rate of arrest is down. We turned to law enforcement and the retail industry for answers. Both blame a California law intended to make “neighborhoods safe.”

“It’s a boldness like we’re seeing never before and just a disregard for fellow human beings,” said Lieutenant Mark Donaldson, Vacaville PD.

He explained these crimes have evolved into more than just shoplifting. It’s organized retail theft and he says it’s happening across the state. Cities like Vacaville, with outlets and shopping centers located near major freeways, tend to be a target for these organized retail crime rings.

And of course, none of the lawmakers will ever be held accountable for the results of their poor decision-making.

And back home for the day

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Costco was having a very nice sale on their heavy-duty shelving units. Picked up a couple for home and for the storage unit. L and I are going to be working on those later this week.

Ran into her at the local supermarket so we went to the coffee place and had some chai and a pastry - an unexpected but very nice break from our schedules. Looking forward to the trip to Orcas Island tomorrow. That is the site for some of the major ham radio repeaters so bringing a walkie-talkie along for fun.

Quick surf and then unload the van and put up shelves. Rest of the week looks positively delightful:

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Experts Warn:

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Whenever I hear that phrase, I wince. From America's Newspaper of Record -  The Babylon Bee:

Experts Warn Global Outrage Levels May Reach Point Of No Return In 2020

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The UN Panel on Outrage Change has confirmed the worst: global levels of outrage may reach the point of no return in 2020.

Outrage levels previously reached dangerous highs during the Bush administration, but Obama was able to reverse the trend. He didn't change much about the way Bush was handling things, but he was a Democrat, so outrage levels went back down as the press stopped reporting on scandals and corruption.

However, in 2016, global outrage reached record highs, especially among Democrats. Republicans had been mildly outraged during the Obama years but mostly had to go to work so didn't have much time to spew toxic, harmful outrage into the environment. Libertarians have generated almost no outrage since they are high all the time.

Experts believe the reelection of Trump in 2020 would be "catastrophic," catapulting outrage levels well into the stratosphere.

"If we do not cut our anger emissions immediately, the world will be consumed by fiery outrage by the end of next year," said outrage expert Dr. Hal Gourd, pointing to a hockey-stick graph. The audience responded by getting really mad, shaking their fists at the sky and making loud grunting noises.

We must DO SOMETHING - scientists are warning us.

The need for machete control in New York

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Guns are essentially banned. Criminals now use machetes. It is the person, not the tool. From The Gateway Pundit:

Suspect — Grafton Thomas — in Synagogue Stabbings Captured after Two-Hour Police Chase
The suspect was identified as 37-year-old Thomas Grafton of Greenwood Lake. On Saturday the suspect stabbed at least five individuals inside a rabbi’s house in Monsey. The anti-Semitic attack occurred during Hanukkah celebrations.

In other news - also from The Gateway Pundit:

DeBlasio’s New York City: Suspect Released Without Bail After Shocking Attacks on Three Jewish Women
Saturday night’s brutal stabbings in Monsey were just the latest in a spree of anti-Semitic attacks in New York City.

There were at least eight anti-Semitic attacks in New York City just last week.

On Saturday Tiffany Harris was released without bail after punching and cursing at three Orthodox women, ages 22, 26 and 31, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn at dawn the day before. Harris was screaming, “F*** you, Jews!” during her assault on the women.

What is it going to take for people to see the rising anti-sematism in the large cities. Another Kristallnacht. Our education system has failed our children that they can grow up to have such irrational hate.

Nothing much to report

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Quick surf but nothing catches my eye. Fix some breakfast and then working on some stuff here. Garage, cleaning out the cars and doing some paperwork - bills, filing and starting taxes.

Illegal immigrants - some numbers

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Something to remember:

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All so that big business can get cheap labor and progressives can get cheap votes.

Very cool - Sounds Like Van Spirit

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Looks like an amazing journey and a lot of fun:

From the website: Sounds Like Van Spirit

A Young Sound Engineer, a Rolling Recording Studio
2 Years, 25 Countries, 50+ Street Musicians
Hi my name is Marten, and I gave myself a mission. I wanted to bring the European Continent a little closer together just with an old rusty van and a bunch of microphones. The ideas was to find the best street musicians from all around Europe, record their music, and share their stories with the world. 2 years and 25 countries later it is finally done. A Collection of Europe’s Pavement Melodies. Released as vinyl, book, and full length documentary movie

Reminds me a little bit of the Playing for Change recordings - wonderful that people are doing this.
A modern-day Alan Lomax

That's it for the night

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Got some stuff to do here - watch some videos after.

And STAY purged - Georgia

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I had written about Georgia's efforts to clean up the voter rolls - over 300K voters were still listed despite their not voting and not responding to a letter. The activist group seeking to keep these voters listed was Fair Fight and I wrote:

And of course, Fair Fight's pedigree is pure Democrat:

Fair Fight, founded by allies of Democrat Stacey Abrams after her defeat in the election for governor last year, is suing the state over obstacles that voters faced last year, including registration cancellations , long lines ,  precinct closures and rejected absentee ballots.

Of course the Dems are going to complain - they have nothing to offer. Their only way to win is to cheat. Busing voters around to multiple polling sites, casting ballots for deceased or moved citizens. That is the only way they can gain an edge. Heaven help them if they try to win on good ideas - their only platform is the narrative

Good news from the legal profession - from PJ Media:

Federal Judge Denies Effort to Restore 98,000 Purged Georgia Voters
A federal judge ruled on Friday that the state of Georgia acted within the law by purging 98,000 voters from registration rolls who hadn't voted in 8 years or responded to a mailed notification letter.

All told, Georgia purged nearly 300,000 people who were either inactive or did not respond to the mailer. Liberal groups fought the purge claiming it was unconstitutional.

But the judge didn't see it that way.

Nothing so sweet as the taste of liberal tears...

And throw away the key - Mexico

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Good news - the untouchables have been touched. From The Guardian:

Mexican police chief arrested in connection to Mormon family killings
Mexican authorities have arrested a municipal police chief for his suspected links to the killing of three women and six children of US-Mexican origin in northern Mexico last month, local media and an official said on Friday.

Suspected drug cartel hitmen shot dead the nine women and children from families of Mormon origin in Sonora state on 4 November, sparking outrage in Mexico and the United States.

Several Mexican media outlets reported that law enforcement agents arrested Fidel Alejandro Villegas, the police chief of the municipality of Janos, which lies in the neighboring state of Chihuahua, on suspicion of involvement in the crime. The reports said he is suspected of having ties to organized crime, but details of his alleged role were not clear.

Mexico needs to do a lot more of this - root out the corrupt police and make their punishment very visible and painful. Not just a slap on the wrist and re-hired after a six month cooling off time.

The Religion of Peace strikes again

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Barbarians - literally. From Reuters:

Truck bomb kills at least 90 in Mogadishu: international organization
At least 90 people were killed when a bomb-laden truck exploded at a busy checkpoint in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday, an international organization working in the country said, in the deadliest attack in more than two years.

And:

No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast but the city’s mayor blamed al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al Shabaab.

Bastards. I hope they rot in Hell for this. Fighting on a battlefield, wearing a uniform and waging war against soldiers of the other side is one thing. Cowardly attacks targeting civilians is something else entirely.

Barbarians? Here: Barbary Coast - these are the muslims who rounded up the Coptic Christians of North Africa and sold them to the rest of the world as slaves. I still find it highly curious that many militant "black power" types convert to the faith of their original captors.

What a clueless twit

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There is a very good reason he was Archbishop of Canterbury for only ten years (2002-2012). From Breitbart:

Former Canterbury Archbishop Warns of ‘Sinister’ Theories Behind Climate Change Denial
The former archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, said Thursday that climate change is humanity’s “largest challenge ever” while warning that some climate change skeptics are driven by “sinister” conspiracy theories.

Some people are reluctant to acknowledge the climate emergency because it would require them to change their behavior, Williams told Grayson Perry in an interview on BBC Radio.

“For some people, it is just too uncomfortable to face,” Williams said. “This will require me to stop doing a lot of things I like doing. It will require our society, our civilization to think again about the levels it expects of comfort and security.”

I had posted a bunch of his earlier proclamations. The guy simply is not that bright:

I could go on but you get the general idea...

To reiterate, the climate is fine. We are entering a period of lower than usual solar output so the next 30-300 years are going to be colder than normal. To think that we are having a major effect on the world's climate is pure fscking hubris.

And it is dinner time

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Making a bean stew - got some 13 bean mix so doing that in my pressure cooker with some tomatoes, carrots, etc... The house smells wonderful with all the garlic and onions.

Had a really nice walk with L at one of the state parks. Looked at the calander yesterday and we only met about three weeks ago. Feels like it is six months - very comfortable.

Working on a couple of projects this evening.

Some great quotes - Philip Glass

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I really like his music - I do not play the same style but I like his work and it stands the test of time.

Very quotable person too - check out Philip Glass Quotes:

I don't know what I'm doing and it's the not knowing that makes it interesting.

The problem with listening, of course, is that we don't. There's too much noise going on in our heads, so we never hear anything. The inner conversation simply never stops. It can be our voice or whatever voices we want to supply, but it's a constant racket. In the same way we don't see, and in the same way we don't feel, we don't touch, we don't taste.

You practice and you get better. It's very simple.

22 more at the site - a lot of wisdom embedded in a few words.

As the day begins

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Dump and recycling run, taking stuff to the thrift store and then back home to do bills and paperwork.

Meeting up with L later.

Leadership - a perfect example

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From our President - from American Military News:

Report: Trump held private, enlisted-only Afghanistan war meetings – ‘No generals or officers, only enlisted guys that have been there’
Since taking office, President Donald Trump has been meeting with enlisted troops to get a better understanding of how they feel the war in Afghanistan has been progressing.

Trump did not want to meet with higher ranking officers, instead choosing to meet with enlisted troops to get a more candid assessment of the America’s longest-running war, Business Insider reported.

“I want to sit down with some enlisted guys that have been there,” Trump reportedly told advisers, according to Peter Bergen, author of “Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos.”

“I don’t want any generals in here. I don’t want any officers,” he added.

I love it - he is talking to the people who have actually been there doing the hard work of keeping peace. Not talking with the REMF's

San Francisco poop problem

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Looks like the canine population is stepping up to the plate - from America's Newspaper of Record - the Babylon Bee:

San Francisco Dogs Begin Bagging People Poop
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The dogs of San Francisco have announced a citywide cleanup initiative, in which the canines will carry little plastic bags with them wherever they go in order to clean up the massive dumps humans keep leaving on the sidewalk.

The initiative is expected to freshen up the city significantly, ridding the sidewalk of millions of pounds of human waste.

"We need to start taking pride in our city," said one labrador as he scooped up a giant turd his owner had just left on the sidewalk and placed it in a nearby human waste bin. "It's incredibly rude what these humans do. They just see some rando's lawn and decide, 'Yeah, that's a good place to drop a deuce.' It's like, we're living in a society, here."

The dogs have begun putting signs up around the city reading things like, "Please Pick Up After Your Owner" and "If Your Human Poops, You Scoop."

How is it possible for an entire city or state to become mentally ill - to consider that to be the new "normal"
Democrat rule - no wonder people are fleeing the state.

Done for the evening

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Nothing catches my eye. Got a busy day tomorrow so early bedtime.

Ukraine - the gift that keeps on giving

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Looks like it is not just the children of John F. Kerry and Joe Biden that are stuck in that financial honey pot.
From President Trump's twitter feed:

The Paul in question is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's son Paul Pelosi who is carrying on the democratic tradition of using their parent's influence to suck up to the trough of corruption. Those sweet sweet Benjamins - so tempting to the liberal brain. No accountability or sense of right or wrong. No morals. Just cash - in large unmarked bills please.

And back home again

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A lot of fun showing L the store and the farm. We had lunch in Bellingham and I showed her some of my favorite places. She has a maker's heart and gets off on hardware stores, art supply stores, etc... Had a wonderful day.

Back home - working here tomorrow - bills and filing, garage and a dump run.

Out for dinner and a beer or two. Nothing catches my eye on the internet for now.

A day away from the computer

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L and I are heading up to the store and to the farm for the afternoon.

Productive day today

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Back from the condo and the walk - L is cooking dinner at her place tonight.

Points North today

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Heading up to the condo for a few hours this morning. L and I are getting together for a walk later. Did a lot of sorting yesterday and need to get a couple of piles moved to the thrift store. Place is starting to look good but a lot more work to do yet..

Because - experts

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From The New York Times - 2016

Paul Krugman: The Economic Fallout
It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?

Frankly, I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear.

Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.

Under any circumstances, putting an irresponsible, ignorant man who takes his advice from all the wrong people in charge of the nation with the world’s most important economy would be very bad news. What makes it especially bad right now, however, is the fundamentally fragile state much of the world is still in, eight years after the great financial crisis.

And today - three years later. From CNBC:

Trump stock market rally is far outpacing past US presidents
President Donald Trump’s stock market stacks up well against the majority of his presidential predecessors.

The S&P 500 has returned more than 50% since Trump was elected, more than double the 23% average market return of presidents three years into their term, according data from Bespoke Investment Group dating to 1928.

The bellwether index gained more than 28% this year, well above the average 12.8% return of year three for past U.S. presidents.

Krugman won the Nobel Prize for economics but he has never been right in any published prediction. He does toe the narrative line though - useful for that.

Living in the past - Hillary

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She tweeted merry Christmas just yesterday using a file photo from 2000:

Even the tree is crooked.

Just keeps getting better - Darktable

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I used Adobe's Lightroom for organizing my photos as well as doing minor tweaks to them. Adobe has been moving toward a software subscription business model which I do not like. Looked around for alternatives, I found Darktable and have been using it for the last couple of years. Love it love it love it!

They just released version 3.0 - open source and free to use.

Not surprising - soil productivity

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Seems that the less you do to "improve" your cropland, the better the soil gets. From Eureka Alert:

Organic crop practices affect long-term soil health
Prior organic farming practices and plantings can have lasting outcomes for future soil health, weeds and crop yields, according to new Cornell University research.

The study recently published in the journal Agriculture Systems also breaks down how specific components of soil health - such as the abundance and activity of soil animals and soil stability - affect crop productivity.

"With growing interest from farmers in being able to harness and exploit soil health, this research really helps us to get to the point of being more and more prescriptive about it," said Kyle Wickings, associate professor of entomology and co-author of the study.

Looks like a well-run study - they started in 2005 and used four different techniques on four different plots. In 2017, they plowed everything under and planted a standardized sorghum and measured the cropping rates in each plot.

Less tillage (plowing) and less weed "management" (sprays) resulted in better soil health. DUH...

Two headlines - California

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Click to get the full story:

Clueless. Zero leadership skills. Panders to the narrative instead of seeing where the real problems are.

Chinese again for dinner

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Had a good five mile walk with the pups. We all enjoyed it.

Was feeling peckish after so went up to the same Chinese place as yesterday - good food and good people. Met a local photographer and we hit it off - always fun to meet new friends.

Surfing for a bit and then an early bedtime - planning to head up to Bellingham tomorrow - got a lot of things for the condo yard sale.

Bean soup tomorrow...

And I am out the door - walking the dogs

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Heading North to take the pups for a walk. Dinner at home - making some bean soup.

Chuck Peddle? He designed the 6502.
6502? Read on - from Hack A Day:

HONORING CHUCK PEDDLE; FATHER OF THE 6502 AND THE CHIPS THAT WENT WITH IT
Chuck Peddle, the patriarch of the 6502 microprocessor, died recently. Most people don’t know the effect that he and his team of engineers had on their lives. We often take the world of microprocessor for granted as a commonplace component in computation device, yet there was a time when there were just processors, and they were the size of whole printed circuit boards.

Chuck had the wild idea while working at Motorola that they could shrink the expensive processor board down to an integrated circuit, a chip, and that it would cost much less, tens of dollars instead of ten thousand plus. To hear Chuck talk about it, he got a cease-and-desist letter from the part of Motorola that made their living selling $14,000 processor boards and to knock off all of the noise about a $25 alternative.

In Chuck’s mind this was permission to take his idea, and the engineering team, elsewhere. Chuck and his team started MOS Technologies in the 1970’s in Norristown PA, and re-purposed their work on the Motorola 6800 to become the MOS 6502. Lawsuits followed.

My first experience programming was batch processing on an IBM System 360. Hand in your deck of cards. The operator would wish you good luck and you would come back that next morning for your printout.

A couple years later, I was working for a computer business in Boston and these things called KIM-1 came out. A single board computer for $150 complete with peripheral ports, keyboard and rudimentary display. It could run BASIC and had a pretty goot monitor program in ROM so programming was pretty easy. I was hooked. Fun times.

The KIM-1 was sort of the Raspberry Pi of its day.

More at the site - a fun trip down memory lane. More here.

Merry Christmas from the Bidens

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Quid Pro Joe posted a nice Christmas tweet earlier this morning:

Mmmmm - doesn't he have a son? Hunter? Probably in the bathroom doing a line....

The Christmas Present

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Heh - how to defuse a potentially bad situation - from PJ Media:

Trump Unfazed by Kim Jong-Un's 'Christmas Gift' Threat: 'Maybe He Sends Me a Beautiful Vase'
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un is worried. He demands sanctions relief... and he demands it now. Well, at least before the end of the year. If the international community and especially the United States do not comply, he will send some kind of "Christmas president": an unspecified action that's supposed to scare us all to death.

Sadly for Kim, President Donald Trump isn't impressed. Whatever North Korea does, Trump said while speaking at Mar-a-Lago, the U.S. will "deal with it very successfully." What's more, he argued, perhaps everybody's mistaken; maybe, it wasn't a threat but a promise for a "nice present."

"Maybe," Trump said, "he sends me a beautiful vase."

Hehe. Who knows, it could be. I'm sure that they make beautiful vases over there in North Korea. I mean, they can't produce much else, can they? Except for ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs, that is.

Kim really needs hard currency to keep his Apparatchiks paid off and for his family to remain in power. He is rattling his sabers trying to get President Trump to budge on the sanction. President Trump does not do "budge". His reply was perfect - let Kim know that he has no power on the world stage and if he does do something stupid, the rest of the world will come down on his nation with a ton of bricks. It does not hurt that we are in the middle of some very successful negotiations with Communist China - North Korea's biggest state sponsor.

Another fun morning

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L did not have to be with her patient until this afternoon so she showed up at my door with a latte and we proceeded to put in a solid five hours of sorting and triage. Got a lot done and the thrift store is going to have a lot of very happy customers.

We were unpacking a few of my household boxes - one of the things we unpacked was a figurine of a great hero of mine, Nikola Tesla. She looked at it (there is no nameplate) and said that she was a big fan of Nikola Tesla too. My heart jumped a beat. I think I am in love 😁

Anyway, she is off to her patient and I am here sorting through boxes. Going to take the pups for a run soon.
There is a nearby railroad right of way that gives them (and me) a nice five mile walk.

That is it for the night

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Some YouTube, a glass or two of red wine and an early bedtime.

And to all, a good night.

And off to dinner

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Saw that my favorite Chinese place was going to be open so heading up there for dinner.

Swing by Walmart - L wanted me to get a few things for the kitchen and they are open until 6PM tonight. Ho Ho Ho...

WTF - Nancy Pelosi

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Not having a good day:

Fake News Olive Oil

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L mentioned that Extra Virgin Olive Oil coming from Italy might be corrupt and/or contaminated. Found the video she was talking about and it is #1) - sobering and #2) - recent:

60 Minutes Agro Mafia - Full 14 minute story from Corto-Olive Co. on Vimeo.

I think I am going to stick with California or Spain for my EVOO from now on. I do like that some of the farmers and producers are standing up to the Mafia on this - nice to see the pushback against the bullies.

Christmas Eve, 1968

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...in hope that Saint Nicholas would soon be there - a look at a D.C. chimney from Tom Stiglich:

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A fun morning

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L showed up early today with a coffee for me and a loaf of crusty sourdough bread for breakfast. Had toast with orange and ginger marmalade, sat down with our coffees and then proceeded to go to work - finished the kitchen and started in on another room. She had not been to the dump so that was a fun excursion. She is spending the rest of today and tomorrow with her patient - we will celebrate Christmas sometime later this week.

Words to the wise

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"I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but rather leading or driving them out of it."
--Benjamin Franklin

Exactly - too many people find it easy to slip into the culture of dependency. They vote people into office who promise free government cheese without thinking of where that money comes from.

I am not saying that there should not be a safety net - shit happens. It should be there for emergencies, not as a lifestyle.

And we are back to normal

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The waters of the mighty Stillaguamish river are back to normal after this week's pineapple express:

20191224-stilly.png

Quite the disturbance in the force...

Pendulums swinging all over - Sweden

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Interesting - Sweden has long been a "vibrant diverse multi-cultural" nation but this has failed them as the immigrants never assimilated. The general population is heading back toward Nationalism. From Russia Today:

Triumph of the right in Sweden is a result of the total failure of liberalism
Sweden’s right-wing Sweden Democrats are now neck and neck with the ruling Social Democrats in opinion polls. Though vilified and demonized, the party’s success represents a complete failure of liberalism in the face of reality.

The Sweden Democrats - who were until recently dismissed as a fringe, racist party - are now surging in the polls. A voter survey, commissioned by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper last week, puts the party within 0.2 percentage points of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s left-wing Social Democrats. Moreover, voters now agree with the party’s policies on nine out of nine issues.

On immigration, 43 percent of voters side with the party and its leader, Jimmie Akesson. Only 15 percent favor Lofven’s policies. Likewise, 31 percent favor Akesson’s position on law and order, compared to 19 percent for Lofven.

Proper governence is not a matter of saying the right things, it is a matter of doing the right things. There is a huge difference between the two. Facts and effective accountable public policy - not narrative and rule by committee.

Glad to see this great nation coming around to reality.

Well that did not work as planned

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Mexican place was closed for Christmas and my local was having their employee party. I could have stayed there but it would have been awkward. They were doing some games and team building stuff, gifts, etc...

Had a big bowl of pasta at another place and having a glass or two of red wine here. L is coming over tomorrow morning to do some more organizing - she offered to bring my morning latte.

Surf for a bit.

Time for dinner

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Heading out for some Mexican and a pint or two.

So true

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Rock 'n roll - Mag 6 in BC

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Fortunately, it was a good ways offshore but still - from the Vancouver Sun:

Earthquakes rattle the north coast of Vancouver Island
A trio of earthquakes rattled northern Vancouver Island on Monday morning but no damage was reported.

The first quake, which was centred off the northwest coast of the Island about 162 kilometres west of Port Hardy, struck at 8:44 a.m. and measured 5.1.

It was followed by two larger quakes — a 5.6 tremor at 11:13 a.m. and a 5.8 shaker at 11:49 a.m. — in the same area.

Earthquakes Canada received no reports of damage from the quakes, and none was expected.

The earthquakes were not felt on land and a tsunami was not expected, the agency said.

This is priceless - from The Gateway Pundit:

Hunter Biden Accused Of $156M Ukraine Money Laundering Scheme In Court Filing
A new filing in an Arkansas lawsuit against Hunter Biden claims that the former Vice President's son "is the subject of more than one (1) criminal investigation involving fraud, money laundering and a counterfeiting scheme."

Filed by private investigator Dominic Casey of D&A Investigations on behalf of Lunden Alexis Roberts - with whom Hunter fathered a child, Monday's "Notice of Fraud and Counterfeiting and Production of Evidence" alleges that Hunter Biden and associates Devon Archer and John Kerry stepson Christopher Heinz engaged in a money laundering scheme which accumulated over $156 million between March 2014 and December 2015.

According to the document, Biden, Archer and Heinz became directors of consulting firm Rosemont Seneca Bohai, LLC in order to "conceal their family members ownership," establishing financial accounts at Morgan Stanley and China Bank, the latter of which was used in a money laundering scheme.

Links to court documents - this should be fun. I am glad that Ms. Roberts is lawyering up. Biden is not anyone to trust.

Words of wisdom

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"Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice."
--Thomas Paine

Order out of chaos

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L worked some substantial magic and the kitchen is now looking quite wonderful. We work well together - great sense of humor.

Today is a lucky day as well - the local center has a quilting group and they raffled off one of their creations as a fund raiser. We bought six tickets each and got a phone call this afternoon that one of mine had won. Gorgeous work!

She is back with the person she is taking care of and has events scheduled for the next two days but she left me enough work to do here - the proverbial honey-do list.

Michigan teachers got Right To Work legislation passed six years ago. Teacher's Union membership is no longer mandatory. Guess what. From Michigan's Capital Confidential:

Dues-Paying Membership In Teachers Union Has Collapsed Since Right-To-Work
By December 2013, Michigan’s new right-to-work law had been in effect for nine months.

The Michigan Education Association was collecting dues from 113,147 active members. Its spokesman said the union’s response to the new law was to get the word out to members about what the MEA could do for them.

And the result six years down the road?

Six years later, the MEA’s active, dues-paying membership has fallen to 78,475, down 31%. That is despite the sales pitches and contract extensions.

Under right-to-work, employees in workplaces organized by a union – including people in most government and school jobs – can no longer be compelled to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

“We don’t know what to expect,” the MEA’s Doug Pratt told the Detroit Free Press when the law was enacted in December 2013. “What we can do is continue to explain to our members why membership is of value. Have we had to increase our efforts on that? Sure we have.”

They were not offering anything of perceived value so the customers stopped buying once it was no longer mandatory. Classical example of market forces.

Do not get me wrong - unions very much had their place in the American work force 100 years ago. Workers were being horribly exploited, the idea of picking up and moving to a different city was completely foreign to most people and the wages were not sustainable. The unions helped a lot but they have not kept up with the times.

What is worse is that in some cases, they have negotiated unreasonable benefits and pensions and the employers (State of Illinois - I am looking at you) are unable to fund them.

From the Canadian Broadcast Corporation:

School division apologizes after Christmas concert deemed 'anti-oil'
A Saskatchewan school division has apologized after parents raised concerns a Christmas concert last week had an anti-oil agenda.

On Thursday, the Oxbow Prairie Horizons School's annual concert featured a show titled: "Santa Goes Green."

This didn't sit will with some audience members, as Oxbow is a community where a good number of workers are in the mining and resource industries. In fact, the town's logo prominently contains a pumpjack.

Mike Gunderman, whose daughter was in the show, took to Facebook to express his concerns about the play, saying the concert was a "kick in the groin" to anyone working in the struggling oil industry. The post has since been shared more than 650 times.

And the official resoponse:

"There was no political agenda," said Audrey Trombley, chair of the division's Board of Trustees. "The teacher chose the song because of the rhythm and the beat, and thought the kids would like it."

Pants on fire. The teacher who did this needs to get suspended for a few weeks. A strong message needs to be sent. Science, not politics. Facts, not narrative.

Fun day today

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L is coming over in two hours to help me organize this place and get a lot of the clutter put away.

If she can stand working with me, she is a keeper. She volunteered.

From The Washington Free Beacon:

China Violates Disclosure Law to Publish Propaganda in NY Times, WaPo
China routinely broke federal law by not disclosing how much it spent to publish regime propaganda in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers, an expert review of foreign agent registration filings concluded.

China Daily, an official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, has published hundreds of propaganda articles designed to look like ordinary news stories in some of America's most influential newspapers. While foreign agents may place ads in the United States, the propaganda outlet has repeatedly violated the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) by failing to provide full disclosures about its purchases.

China Daily has published propaganda in mainstream outlets for decades, but did not disclose its purchases of space in American newspapers to the Department of Justice until 2012. Even after it began acknowledging its relationship with the papers, the regime mouthpiece continued to violate federal disclosure requirements. China Daily has failed to provide breakdowns of spending activities and withheld copies of online ads, among other omissions that violate federal law, according to experts who reviewed years of its FARA filings.

Lots more at the site incluing links to numbers. They are spending a lot of money hoping that we will buy their technology while overlooking their egregious human rights violations. This latest from ShareAmerica.gov.

China coerces Uighur women into unwanted marriages
In China’s western Xinjiang province, Uighur women are marrying Han men, but not because they want to. If they refuse, the women and their families could be arrested or sent to an internment camp.

The Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim, Turkic ethnic minority, while the Han are China’s largest ethnicity. Historically, levels of inter-marriage were low.

The Chinese government wants to change that.

All in the name of cultural assimilation only in China, the culture assimilates YOU. There is only one culture there, Han.
There is only one government, the State. To quote that failed Italian socialist B. Mussolini

All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

Did him a lot of good...

ShareAmerica?

ShareAmerica is the U.S. Department of State’s platform for communicating American foreign policy worldwide. We share compelling stories and images that spark discussion and debate on important topics like religious freedom, rule of law, economic prosperity, human dignity, and sovereignty.

Yikes - nasty stuff

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From CNN:

A cancer-causing green slime was found oozing onto a highway in a Detroit suburb, officials say
A green liquid was found oozing onto Interstate 696 in the Detroit suburb of Madison Heights Friday, causing authorities to block off portions of the highway and call in federal agencies to investigate.

By Saturday, it was discovered that the mysterious liquid was the chemical hexavalent chromium and was leaking from a local business, Michigan State Police said on Twitter.

Hexavalent chromium is usually produced during industrial processes like plating and is known to cause cancer, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The chemical is harmful to the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes.

Someone call Erin Brockovich.  I hope that company gets more than a slap on the wrist. With the volume of leakage we are looking at, they had to know that something was not right.

Be here now: RIP Ram Dass

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A guru from my earlier years - nice obituary from the New York Times:

Baba Ram Dass, Proponent of LSD and New Age Enlightenment, Dies at 88
Baba Ram Dass, who epitomized the 1960s of legend by popularizing psychedelic drugs with Timothy Leary, a fellow Harvard academic, before finding spiritual inspiration in India, died on Sunday at his home on Maui. He was 88.

The death of Ram Dass, who was born Richard Alpert, was announced on his official Instagram account.

Having returned from India as a bushy-bearded, barefoot, white-robed guru, Ram Dass became a peripatetic lecturer on New Age possibilities and a popular author of more than a dozen inspirational books.

The first of his books, “Be Here Now” (1971), sold more than two million copies, and established him as an exuberant exponent of finding salvation through helping others.

He started a foundation to combat blindness in India and Nepal, supported reforestation in Latin America, and developed health education programs for American Indians in South Dakota.

He was particularly interested in the dying. He started a foundation to help people use death as a journey of spiritual awakening and spoke of establishing a self-help line, “Dial-a-Death,” for this purpose.

When Mr. Leary was dying in 1996 — and wishing to do it “actively and creatively,” as he put it — he called for Ram Dass. Over the years, Ram Dass had alternately been Mr. Leary’s disciple, enemy and, at the end, friend. In a film clip of the two men preparing for Mr. Leary’s death, Ram Dass turns to Leary, hugs him and says, “It’s been a hell of a dance, hasn’t it?”

I really liked that he walked the walk - starting those foundations to take care of real-world problems. His family were well-off and had a large farm in New Hampshire. Visited there several times. Was going to college in Boston at the time.

Aaaand he's out - Boeing CEO

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From Seattle station KOMO:

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg to step down immediately
Boeing's CEO is resigning amid ongoing problems at the company over the troubled Max 737 aircraft.

The Chicago manufacturer said Monday that Dennis Muilenburg is stepping down immediately. The board's current chairman David Calhoun will officially take over on January 13.

The board said a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company as it works to repair relationships with regulators and stakeholders. The Max was grounded worldwide in March after the second of two crashes of its jet, killing a combined total of 346 people.

Good - the 737 was a good airplane until they added a much larger engine and tried to adjust the flight performance in software. Never a good idea. Time for the 737-Max to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

An interesting bit of legislation

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Big tobacco is going to hate this - from the New York Post:

President Trump approves raising legal smoking age to 21
By signing the $738 billion Defense Spending Bill, on Friday, President Donald Trump has raised the legal age for smoking to 21 nationwide — news that went largely unnoticed.

The new rules include cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

The smoking age hike had bipartisan support in the Senate, and was co-authored by Democrats Brian Schatz and Dick Durbin, and Republicans Mitt Romney and Todd Young, CNN reported.

Now that Trump’s signature is on the bill, the Food and Drug Administration has 180 days to update its regulations — and the new age requirement will go into effect 90 days later, ABC News reported.

I used to smoke a pipe and do enjoy a nice cigar every so often ( once a year or so) but regular smoking is a serious health hazard. Time to break the cycle of addiction.

More faster please - REE Mines

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Rare Earth Element - from The Epoch Times:

US Rare Earth Element Processors to Help Break China Stranglehold
The developers of the Round Top Mountain rare earth element (pdf) (REE) mine in Texas are building a pilot plant to process the mine’s ore in the United States, according to a press release. The development means that the U.S. can further increase supply-chain security for the provision of REE minerals and critical minerals to strategic industries such as defense and electronics while reducing reliance on supplies from China—which currently supplies over 80 percent of REEs globally.

Rare earth elements are notoriously difficult to process and refine. While the United States and its allies also have considerable REE deposits, China’s lax environmental standards combined with low labor costs and a raft of government subsidies have allowed it to slash REE production costs, undercutting some processors in the West to the point of bankruptcy. Illegal and undocumented production is also commonplace in China, and is responsible for 20 to 40 percent of Chinese production, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). China’s virtual monopoly on the REE industry has meant that even the ore mined at California’s Mountain Pass mine is currently being shipped to China for processing.

China’s communist regime is not afraid to remind geopolitical rivals of its monopoly, however. During their 2010 standoff over the disputed Senkaku Islands, China cut off exports of REEs to Japan—though the Chinese maintained it was merely introducing export quotas to protect the environment. In May of this year, China threatened to cut off rare earth exports to the United States as part of its trade war tactics against the Trump administration.

Used everywhere - cell phones, medical devices. Everywhere.

Time for the environmentalists to put a sock in it and realize that by denying a well run mine here, they are moving the problem out of their backyard over to another nation where the environmental impact will be a lot greater. Plus human rights. The need for these materials is not going away, time to recognize that and deal with it intelligently.

Seems that China does not like our new branch of the military - from the London Daily Mail:

China attacks the newly formed U.S. Space Force as a 'direct threat to outer space peace and security'
Rising space power China today attacked the newly created U.S. Space Force, labeling it a 'direct threat to outer space peace and security'.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that China is 'deeply concerned about it and resolutely opposed to it'.

'The relevant U.S. actions are a serious violation of the international consensus on the peaceful use of outer space, undermine global strategic balance and stability, and pose a direct threat to outer space peace and security,' Geng said at a regular briefing.

What do they have to complain about? Are they plotting something?

Key thing here is that our day-to-day lives depend on the satellites in orbit. They are incredibly delicate and would be very easy for someone to destroy.

And that is it for the night

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Was up a bit late last evening so early bedtime tonight. A bit of YouTube and then to bed.

Found a great tea shop in town and been enjoying their Dream Catcher - good sleep-promoting tea to drink before bed.

A different Beetlejuice

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Something is up with Betelgeuse (no, not this one). From NASA's Spaceweather:

THE FAINTING OF BETELGEUSE: One day, perhaps in our lifetimes, perhaps 100,000 years from now, the red giant Betelgeuse will dim a little--and then explode. The supernova will rival the full Moon in the night skies of Earth and cast shadows after dark. This month, Betelgeuse has dimmed a little. So far it has not exploded. 

Betelgeuse caused a sensation among professional astronomers earlier this month when Edward Guinan of Villanova University and colleagues reported a significant "fainting" of the star. "[Betelgeuse] has been declining in brightness since October 2019, now reaching a modern all-time low of V = +1.12 mag on 07 December 2019 UT," they wrote. "Currently this is the faintest the star has been during our 25+ years of continuous monitoring."

Astronomers have long known that Betelgeuse is on the precipice of an energy crisis. It's about to run out of fuel in its core. When that happens, the star will collapse and rebound explosively, producing the first known supernova in the Milky Way since 1604. Experts in stellar evolution believe Betelgeuse could die at any time during the next 100,000 years--a blink of an eye on time scales of astronomy.

The current dimming did not herald that final blast. Betelgeuse is also a slow variable star, and this seems to be no more than an episode of slightly deeper-than-usual dimming. Orion remains in tact ... for now.

A super-nova would be spectacular. Not holding my breath though...

Interesting - plants making noise

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From Live Science:

Plants 'Scream' in the Face of Stress
In times of intense stress, people sometimes let out their angst with a squeal ⁠— and a new study suggests that plants might do the same.  

Unlike human screams, however, plant sounds are too high-frequency for us to hear them, according to the research, which was posted Dec. 2 on the bioRxiv database. But when researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel placed microphones near stressed tomato and tobacco plants, the instruments picked up the crops' ultrasonic squeals from about 4 inches (10 centimeters) away. The noises fell within a range of 20 to 100 kilohertz, a volume that could feasibly "be detected by some organisms from up to several meters away," the authors noted. (The paper has not been peer reviewed yet.)

Animals and plants might listen and react to the silent screams of plants, and perhaps humans could too, with the right tools in hand, the authors added. The idea that "sounds that  drought-stressed plants make could be used in precision agriculture seems feasible if it is not too costly to set up the recording in a field situation," Anne Visscher, a fellow in the Department of Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology at the Royal Botanic Gardens in the U.K., told New Scientist.

Interesting and not unexpected. Especially interesting in that the range of 20 to 100 kHz is well within the range of cheap ($3 - $5) ultrasonic sensors so the tests can be easily duplicated although I do not particularly want to stress my 'maters - I want to keep them as healthy and as happy as possible.

I know that there had been a lot of earlier work (1980's) culminating in The Secret Life of Plants. It would be interesting to revisit these experiments with modern technology.

Dinnertime

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One of yesterday's left-over burritos. Looking forward to it.

More posting later.

I know that I love mine - Raspberry Pi

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Been playing around with them and with the Arduino single-board computers. Interesting announcement from ZD Net:

Raspberry Pi has now sold 30 million tiny single-board computers
Developers and makers around the world have snapped up 30 million units of the Raspberry Pi since the diminutive British-designed computer began selling in February 2012. 

Raspberry Pi Foundation co-founder Ebert Upton had far more modest expectations at the outset, predicting sales of just 10,000 units.

But the $35 mini computer — which has grown through four generations and branched out to the smaller form factor Raspberry Pi Zero — has turned into a permanent fixture on the DIY tech scene.

It hits a real sweet-spot in design. Powerful enough to do some real work. Cheap and small enough to be dedicated to a specific task.

A Merry H. P. Lovecraft Christmas

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Those familiar with his writings will know the characters involved. He wrote about the New England coastline around Rhode Island and some of the eldritch and macabre characters who inhabit it.

More here: H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society

Heh - Santa

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From the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida:

American Airlines Mechanic Pleads Guilty to Attempted Aircraft Destruction Charge
MIAMI -Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office announced that Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, 60, of Tracy, California pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke, to a single count indictment charging him with attempted destruction of an aircraft.

According to the court record, including the facts admitted at the change of plea hearing, on or about July 17, 2019, Alani, a mechanic then employed by American Airlines at Miami International Airport (MIA), tampered with the air data module (ADM) system of an aircraft that was scheduled to depart MIA for Nassau, Bahamas.

And some history of the moke - clickable headlines:

From the last link:

Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani was fired from Alaska Airlines, part of Alaska Air Group Inc. in 2008 after he helped install the wrong type of battery on an aircraft. Soon after, Alani, a native of Iraq, filed suit against Alaska claiming he was fired based on his national origin, according to court documents.

Alani's suit was unsuccessful as in the case's development it was found Alani committed four significant errors during his mechanic duties and was found to be clocked in for both Alaska and American Airlines Group Inc. at the same time during multiple occurrences.

Willfully damaging aircraft and clocked in twice. Just a peach. The ISIS connection is the frosting on the top. Makes me want to take an airplane ride.

So sad - wolves

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We were talking about wolves the other night - this caught my eye:

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Heh - words of wisdom

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From the internet:

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Dinner

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Dinner was delicious - we had a lot of fun talking about everything. Heading out for a walk this afternoon - the pineapple express has blown intself out.

The big MS-13 bust earlier this week

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Eaton Rapids Joe raises a very good point with this. The bust was supposed to be a major effort but the reality is quite different. From his website: Much ado about nothing? (an excerpt)

Suffolk County, NY is in the New York Metropolitan area with 20 million people. 96 arrests in a metropolitan area of that size is noise.

In industry, a factory can hobble along with 30% absenteeism. It is not super-efficient, but it can run.

I consulted with an expert (who did not give me permission to list his name).

He told me of a much smaller community where a massive effort resulted in 70 gang members being incarcerated in a very short time. The net result was a minor logistical hiccup that lasted about a half week.

He said "retired" older gang members reactivate. Wives and girlfriends are given assignments or took over for absent husbands/boyfriends. Brothers shifted over to cover brothers. Gangs are not efficient. They are grossly larded with excess people. That makes them extremely resilient to reduction in force.

The other oddity was the emphasis on machetes. The MS-13 is documented as having shoulder fired, surface-to-air missiles and belt-fed weapons. Machetes? Really? Piss those guys off and your helicopter comes down in a trail of flame and smoke.

Machetes? Next, you will be bragging about the number of screwdrivers and toothpicks you confiscated from them. Like London.

ERJ is a daily read for me - great storytelling, interesting farming / orchard management and insightful observations on the human condition.

Fun times in Chicago

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From FOX News:

13 people were shot at a Chicago house party honoring a man killed earlier this year
A Chicago house party devolved into chaos when a dispute led to the shootings of 13 people — possibly at random, police said.

The 13 victims range from 16 to about 48 years old, said Fred Waller, chief of the Chicago Police Bureau of Patrol.

Four of the victims — including the 16-year-old — are hospitalized in critical condition. The other victims are in stable condition, Waller said.

And not just one person shooting:

Police said shots were fired in three different locations.

“Shots were fired within the residence, which caused everyone to start to leave,” Waller said.

As partygoers fled the home, police believe one of them opened fire outside, police said.

“Then a vehicle was driving down the street. One of the people also who left the residence fired upon this vehicle,” Waller said. “So we had three different scenes, all within a close proximity.”

Chicago has some of the most draconian gun laws of any city in the nation. Guns are basically illegal. How's that working out for you. Thanks to the website Hey Jackass (Illustrating Chicago Values) we can see that the year-to-date butcher's bill is as follows:

Year to Date
Shot & Killed: 449
Shot & Wounded: 2231
Total Shot: 2680
Total Homicides: 501

Nice place to raise a family. I do not regret leaving all large cities. Seattle has some fun stuff going on and planning a trip down in January sometime but live there again? No.

Anti-Vax = big money

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I have always wondered why the movement against vaccination is so persistent. There is zero scientific backing and the initial study linking MMR to autism was found to be completely fabricated for money, the paper was retracted and Dr. Andrew Wakefield is now Andy Wakefield - his license to practice medicine was stripped from him.

Now this, from Texas' Laredo Morning Times:

Major funder of the anti-vaccine movement has made millions selling natural health products
The nation's oldest anti-vaccine advocacy group often emphasizes that it is supported primarily by small donations and concerned parents, describing its founder as the leader of a "national, grass roots movement."

But over the past decade a single donor has contributed more than $2.9 million to the National Vaccine Information Center, accounting for about 40 percent of the organization's funding, according to the most recent available tax records. That donor, osteopathic physician Joseph Mercola, has amassed a fortune selling natural health products, court records show, including vitamin supplements, some of which he claims are alternatives to vaccines.

In recent years, the center has been at the forefront of a movement that has led some parents to forgo or delay immunizing their children against vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles. Health officials say falling vaccination rates contributed to the infectious virus sickening more than 1,200 people in the United States this year, the largest number in more than 25 years. Measles outbreaks are surging worldwide, including in Samoa - where nearly 80 people have died since mid-October, the great majority of them young children and infants.

The Northern Virginia-based National Vaccine Information Center lists Mercola.com as a partner on its homepage and links to the website, where readers can learn about and purchase Mercola's merchandise.

Last month, Mercola wrote on his website that measles "continues to be a Trojan Horse for increasing vaccine mandates." A page that was recently removed said that "vitamin C supplementation is a viable option for measles prevention." Elsewhere on the site, a page about vitamin D includes the headline, "Avoid Flu Shots With the One Vitamin that Will Stop Flu in Its Tracks."

Mercola, whose claims about other products have drawn warnings from regulators, has also given at least $4 million to several groups that echo the anti-vaccine message. His net worth, derived largely from his network of private companies, has grown to "in excess of $100 million," he said in a 2017 affidavit.

Mercola needs to be muzzled. He is promoting faulty science for personal financial gain. He is personally responsible for the measles deaths. I rarely wish anyone personal harm or injury but in the case of Mercola, I will make an exception...

And out the door - dinner

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Heading out. Got the apple crisp ready to roll and L asked me to bring a few items - she is doing Mexican tonight.

A bit of excitement

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Was driving yesterday and noticed a whole lot of SAR (Search and Rescue) vehicles from various administrations gathered on the new salt marsh. Because there were rigs from about five or six different jurisdictions, I thought it was a training exercise. Turns out it was a rescue. From Seattle station KOMO:

Stranded duck hunters near Stanwood, Stillaguamish River get rescued from rising water
Two stranded duck hunters are back on dry ground again after fast rising river water near Highway 532 caught them off guard.

“The water came up a lot faster than expected," said Spencer Cynkar of Yelm.

He and his brother-in-law didn’t realize that the hunting trip would end the way it did Friday with a dozen people making sure they could safely get back on land.

“It’s definitely, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Cynkar said.

They were on the new salt-marsh area - Leque Island - here (drone overflight) and here

With the pineapple express, the river was near flood stage so this close to the ocean, it amplified the tidal effect. Water came up a lot faster than usual.

That is it for a while

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Cleaning up and sorting laundry - too many tee shirts.

Heading out for coffee in about an hour - read for a bit there and then back home to make dessert for tonight's dinner.

First they get Trump elected, now they are coming after Santa 😜 From Forbes:

Earth’s Magnetic North Pole Has Officially Moved (Toward Russia)
Earth’s magnetic north pole has been moving East at an unusually fast pace, heading from the Canadian Arctic toward Russia.

The rapid change of the magnetic poles has caused concern over navigation, GPS systems, military operations, etc.

The northern magnetic pole has been drifting toward Russia at a speed of 34 miles per year (55 kilometers per year) but has slowed recently to 25 miles per year (40 kilometers per year).

More on this from Popular Mechanics:

Magnetic North Pole Changes Time Zones, Just Keeps Drifting
Live Science says Earth’s magnetic field is still on the move, according to the latest report in a series that comes out every five years. The magnetic north pole has crossed the Prime Meridian in the newest update from the National Centers for Environmental Information and the British Geological Survey.

The magnetic poles have drifted and entirely changed places dozens of times in Earth’s history, but this time it seems to be happening very fast, and within a shorter overall time interval than it did in prehistory.

Kind of a big deal as it is our magnetoshphere that prevents the solar wind from blowing our atmospheric gasses out into space. It deflects the highly charged wind around our planet.

And speaking of light - some common sense

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From Reuters:

U.S. rolls back standards on energy saving light bulbs
The Trump administration on Friday said it has finalized a decision to roll back a 2007 rule calling for energy-efficient light bulbs, a move that states including New York and California are challenging in the courts.

The administration finalized a proposal made in September to roll back the standard that Congress passed in 2007 when George W. Bush, a Republican, was president and which was to come into effect next year. The Department of Energy said that increasing the efficiency of bulbs could cost consumers more than 300% compared to incandescent bulbs and that Americans do not need regulation because many are already buying efficient bulbs.

Great news - when the temps are cold, I use incandescent bulbs in a reflector to keep my hummingbird feeders warm. It has been getting really difficult to find them at the local box store. A bit more:

The move is part of the administration’s push to ease regulations by requiring agencies to ditch two old regulations for each one they propose.

Thank you President Trump. And of course, the nanny staters want to enforce what is "best" for us:

The roll back on light bulbs has been challenged in court by 15 states and Washington, D.C. who say it would harm state efforts to fight emissions blamed for climate change.

Environmental groups decried the decision. The Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit, said it would cost consumers $14 billion in energy bills annually and create the need to generate the amount of electricity provided by an additional 30 500-megawatt power plants.

Excuse me but I am perfectly capable of looking at what I want to do and making an informed decision. Thank you very much. The NRDC does not represent me. I do not have to kowtow to their non-scientific emotional appeals.

And the Winter Solstice

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Official a bit after 8PM tonight - the days will start getting longer. About time too - this is getting old.

And I am outta here - long day

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Heading over to L's tomorrow for dinner. Couple of errands first. Now? Youtube and then bed.

Brought down the rest of my clothing from the farm yesterday so been doing lots of laundry. Donating much of it to a local thrift shop connected to the island community center but need to wash and sort first.

From CNN:

CNN Poll: US economy receives its best ranking in nearly 20 years
As 2019 comes to a close, the US economy earns its highest ratings in almost two decades, potentially boosting President Donald Trump in matchups against the Democrats vying to face him in next year's election, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.

Overall, 76% rate economic conditions in the US today as very or somewhat good, significantly more than those who said so at this time last year (67%). This is the highest share to say the economy is good since February 2001, when 80% said so.

And there is the 2020 election wrapped up with a pretty bow for you. I'm good with that.

Good news from New York State

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Got a bunch of them - from FOX News:

MS-13 crackdown -- the largest ever in New York -- ensnares nearly 100 members, associates
New York prosecutors have announced the arrests Friday of nearly 100 members and associates of MS-13 in what officials say is the largest crackdown against the gang in the state’s history.

The developments come following a two-year investigation involving law enforcement from the local to the federal level in Suffolk County, one of the gangs’ longtime hotbeds.

“The goal of this investigation was to deliver a major blow to the gang’s leadership, operations and recruitment in our region… we did exactly that," Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini told reporters Friday.

What they got:

Sini said throughout the investigation, authorities recovered drugs in gang members' possession such as cocaine and fentanyl, as well as handguns and more than $200,000 in cash. Investigators' efforts resulted in the arrests of the leaders of nine cliques of the gang operating in Suffolk County -- and foiled seven alleged murder plots, he added.

And right there is your opioid problem. Cheap to synthesize, fentanyl and the much stronger carfentanyl are cheap to synthesize and available from Chinese labs. Cut the heroin with this, people are not used to the increased strength and overdose. Get this shit off the streets and the opiod problem will dissapear.

UPDATE at the bottom

Sanctuary cities are just peachy for the progressives. Let all the criminals come to America to live off our labors and tax dollars. Any other kind of sanctuary? Then it becomes strictly nyet tovarisch. From Associated Press:

Official: Gun sanctuary resolutions have ‘no legal effect’
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Resolutions passed by local governments declaring themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries” have “no legal effect,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said Friday.

Since Democrats won majorities in the state Senate and House of Delegates in November, more than 100 cities, towns and counties have passed such resolutions, vowing to oppose any new gun laws they believe violate the Second Amendment.

On Friday, Herring issued an advisory opinion on the resolutions. Herring said localities “cannot nullify state laws” and must follow gun violence prevention measures passed by the General Assembly.

Heh - this will be interesting for the state to try to enforce as the local police are very much in favor of maintaining the citizens individual rights of protection. In the original Bill of Rights as it were...

UPDATE: Noticed this - from Law Enforcement Today

National Guardsman: "We will not comply" if ordered by Virginia governor to arrest police, confiscate guns
Editor’s note: In the increased advancement of the infringing on our 2nd Amendment rights, a member of the Virginia National Guard is putting his/her state legislators on notice.

He’s submitted a powerful response to an article we ran recently about lawmakers in that state threatening to call in the Guard to confiscate guns and arrest the cops that refuse to violate then Constitution.

For obvious reasons, the name of this writer has been kept anonymous.

Much more at the site. Sobering reading - lines are being drawn. Law Enforcement Today is not a conspiracy site. It is a respected news aggregator for police/fire/rescue, community service and the miltary.

Not a bad way to go - Recompose

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Startup near Seattle - an alternative mortuary service: Recompose

WHAT WE DO
Recompose offers an alternative choice to cremation and conventional burial methods. Our service - recomposition - gently converts human remains into soil, so that we can nourish new life after we die.

OUR MODEL
We believe that death care is an essential part of life. In addition to creating a system that will gently return us to the earth, we encourage participation and strive to make the experience transparent and meaningful for everyone.

Lots more at their Frequently Asked Questions - takes about 30 days and costs around $5,500.

Not planning on going anytime soon - looking at another 20-30 on this planet but - when the inevitable happens, this might not be a bad way to go.

Totally free for basic stuff. They get you for processing payments but no more than Square or any of the others. They also charge for payroll but not that much either. Looks really good. Check out Wave Financial

They were started in 2010 and were recently acquired by H&R Block so they are not going anywhere soon. Have to try it out for my blacksmithing business.

Dinnertime

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Thawing an ahi tuna steak for dinner - sear it and serve with some white rice. Archetypal Hawaiian meal - helps mitigate the constant cold rainfall. Saute some chard to go with. Some pineapple would be nice but only have the canned stuff.

What a difference nine hours (and a pineapple express) makes - the mighty Stillaguamish River at Arlington:

20191220-rain01.png

From 13,000 Cu. Ft. / Second up to 22,900 Cu. Ft. / Second. The trend line is starting to flatten out but no end in sight.

Took the pups for a walk this afternoon along the banks of the Skagit river and it was several feet higher than usual.

Poor widdle Hunter

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So sad - the whole world is ganging up on him. From the London Daily Mail - headline and the talking points:

EXCLUSIVE: Hunter Biden complains his stripper baby mama is trying to 'embarrass' him because he is Joe's son by demanding details of his cash from Ukraine during bitter paternity dispute

    • Hunter Biden had his December 13 filing in his paternity case with baby mama Lunden Roberts, 28, unsealed by a judge Thursday, DailyMail.com can disclose
    • His legal team argued information that came from his deposition scheduled for December 23 could 'unreasonably annoy, embarrass or oppress' Biden
    • Roberts filed papers in Independence County, Arkansas in May, saying Biden is the father of the 16-month-old child. A DNA test proved Biden to be the father
    • She is seeking child support from Biden, 49, and is demanding for him to turn over his financial details so the court can establish how much he should pay
    • Biden has been trying to keep his details about his money under seal
    • On Wednesday, Roberts accused Biden of refusing to hand over his financial records and demanded him for him to turn over all documents
    • DailyMail.com revealed last Friday that Biden's wife Melissa Cohen, who he married after a 10-day romance in May, is pregnant with his fifth child

They have the whole sordid timeline - Hunter is a piece of work and not in a good sense. He has skated through life without doing anything of substance. Life of privilege. The 500+ comments are good.

Rainfall - local river

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Yesterday's rainfall did not take long to manifest in the local river:

20191220-rain.png

No sign of slowing down and more rain in the forecast.

Now that did not take long - Brexit

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Not sitting around - from the Beeb:

Brexit: MPs back Boris Johnson's plan to leave EU on 31 January
MPs have backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan for the UK to leave the EU on 31 January.

They voted 358 to 234 - a majority of 124 - in favour of the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which now goes on to further scrutiny in Parliament.

The bill would also ban an extension of the transition period - during which the UK is out of the EU but follows many of its rules - past 2020.

The PM said the country was now "one step closer to getting Brexit done".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told his MPs to vote against the bill, saying there was "a better and fairer way" to leave the EU - but six of them backed the government.

The people voted for Brexit. Corbyn stalled.
Door, ass, bang. Next?
The people have spoken.

Now this looks interesting: Tenet

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Trailer for the new thriller from Christopher Nolan:

Wonder if the Tenet refers to the ancient palindrome: sator arepo tenet opera rotas

It is a palindrome in more ways than one:

SATOR
AREPO
TENET
OPERA
ROTAS

(The farmer Arepo plows his fields) - website here: TENET

Rain rain go away - sunspots

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That pineapple express is heading right toward us. Rained about 0.7" last night and more expected for today - forecast calls for 100% rain. Puts a bit of a dent into our afternoon walks for a day or so...

Looking at our sun, we have not only matched the record set in 2008, we continue to blow past it. We are now at 77% of 2019's days being free of sunspots whereas, 2008 was 71%. The previous record was back in 1913. Unusually quiet.

68 years ago today

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The first instance of practical electricity generation via nuclear power. I blogged about it a few days ago but it deserves remembering: Coming up on a bit of interesting history

20191217-nuke.jpg

It is also worth remembering that these first reactors have formed the basis for the designs of the reactors we use today - in other words, very very old designs All of the big reactor accidents we have had so far have been units based on these first designs - Three Mile Island, Windscale, Chernobyl, Fukushima

Just as personal technology has advanced exponentially in the last 30 years, designs for nuclear reactors have been developed as well - there are now designs that are walk-away safe, minimize the problem with long-lasting nuclear waste (much more efficient use of fuel) and are much cheaper to build (operate at STP - no pressure vessel needed).

All this and carbon-free too - what is not to love.

Climate change - Cliff Mass

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Once again, Cliff Mass is the absolute voice of reason in a herd of shrieking moon-bats. From today's post:

A Science-Based Approach to Dealing with Climate Change in Washington State
Sometimes I muse about it--if I were in control of Washington State's response to global warming, what would I do? What would a rational, science-based approach look like, devoid of the hype and politics that is hindering progress today?

I would start by noting few principles:
1. The implications of global warming for the Northwest is serious (more extreme rainfall, warmer temperatures, less mountain snowpack, rising sea level in place) but it won't be existential and changes will initially be relatively small, accelerating later in the century.

2. Scientists and politicians must communicate the truth--the best estimates of our science. Exaggeration and hyping impacts "to get people to do the right thing" is both unethical and counterproductive. It produces unnecessary fear or turning away from the problem.

3. The effort MUST be bipartisan. Nothing major is ever accomplished by one party, something particularly true of our divided state and nation. We must not mix political goals (e.g., social engineering) with dealing with what is essentially a scientific/technical problem (increasing concentrations of one gas).

4. Few people are willing to sacrifice today to stop global warming tomorrow (including climate scientists with huge travel-related carbon footprints). Thus, all steps should provide benefits in the short run or not produce large additional costs.

5. Global warming and its impacts will be solved with science and technology.

Very rational and well thought out - read the whole thing.

Oh Christ No - just make it stop.

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From The Gateway Pundit:

Breaking: Adam Schiff Sets Eyes on Pence – Tells MSNBC He’s “Acquired Evidence” from Vice President’s Office on Ukrainian Investigation
Adam Schiff went on with Rachel Maddow last night to push their Trump-Ukraine conspiracy — something that was completely debunked everywhere after three weeks of testimony except on CNN, MSNBC and the fake news media.

During their conversation Schiff announced he was going after Vice President Mike Pence next and may have “acquired evidence” that the Vice President is hiding information in the House Ukrainian investigation.

Adam Schiff: Well, we have acquired a piece of evidence, classified by Jennifer Williams, something she alluded to in her open testimony. Then going back and looking through her records she found other information that was pertinent to that phone call that we asked her about and made that submission. There is nothing that is classified in the document but the vice president’s office has said they are going to classify… It is not proper to classify something because it would be embarrassing or incriminating. And that submission does shed light on the vice president’s knowledge. We think the American people should see it.

The 2020 elections will be interesting. Fun to see all the hair on fire and heads exploding.

President Trump is NOT impeached

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You read that right - from Bloomberg:

Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate
Now that the House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump, what is the constitutional status of the two articles of impeachment? Must they be transmitted to the Senate to trigger a trial, or could they be held back by the House until the Senate decides what the trial will look like, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi has hinted?

The Constitution doesn’t say how fast the articles must go to the Senate. Some modest delay is not inconsistent with the Constitution, or how both chambers usually work.

But an indefinite delay would pose a serious problem. Impeachment as contemplated by the Constitution does not consist merely of the vote by the House, but of the process of sending the articles to the Senate for trial. Both parts are necessary to make an impeachment under the Constitution: The House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial.

If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all.

That’s because “impeachment” under the Constitution means the House sending its approved articles of to the Senate, with House managers standing up in the Senate and saying the president is impeached.

And they are holding off on this step. Interesting... Time for another bowl of popcorn.

Trump Derangement Syndrome - it's a thing. Read about it here: TDS 

One of the by-products of the whole Mueller/Impeachment nothingburger was the railroading of Mr. Carter Page - a loyal CIA employee who was painted as working for the Russians when in fact, he was one of the very good guys.
Jonathan Turley writes a very humble apology and a full explanation of what happened at The Hill:

An apology to Carter Page
After he was acquitted in a major fraud trial, former Labor Secretary Ray Donovan asked, “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?” The trial was ruinous for Donovan, personally and financially, and the question was a fair one. Donovan, however, at least received a trial. Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page has never been given a fair hearing, let alone a trial, to clear his name. As the two political parties spin the results of a report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, one matter remains unaddressed. Someone needs to apologize to Page.

I do not know Page and have had only one conversation with him that I can recall. Indeed, my only impression of him was shaped by the image, repeated in endless media segments, of a shady character who was at worst a Russian spy and at best a Russian stooge. Page became the face and focus for the justification of the Russia collusion investigation. His manifest guilt and sinister work in Moscow had to be accepted in order to combat those questioning the allegations of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians. In other words, his guilt had to be indisputable in order for the Russia collusion investigation to be, so to speak, unimpeachable.

Ultimately, special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion or conspiracy by Trump associates or the campaign with those Russians intervening in the election. However, Horowitz found that the FBI never had any real evidence against Page before beginning its investigation, codenamed Operation Crossfire Hurricane. Soon after the investigation was opened, it became clear that Page had been wrongly accused and was, in fact, working for the CIA, not the Russians. Page himself later said he was working with the CIA, yet the media not only dismissed his claim but was very openly dismissive while portraying him as a bumbling fool.

Horowitz found that FBI investigators and lawyers had determined that the allegations involving Page fell short of a case for probable cause to open a secret warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Those investigators were then told by the eventually fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to look at the Steele dossier, which was actually funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The Clinton campaign denied repeatedly that it funded the dossier but finally admitted doing so after being confronted by media with new information.

Despite warnings about the credibility of Steele and red flags over the unreliability of the dossier, Horowitz found that “FBI leadership” used the dossier to justify its application for a FISA warrant. Democratic members of Congress and a wide array of media outlets have long told the public that the dossier was just one part of the FISA application. That is false. Horowitz states that the dossier played the “central and essential role” in securing the secret surveillance of the Trump campaign, including four investigations with both electronic surveillance and undercover assets.

Long read but really worth it so that people on both sides of the fence can now what actually happened under the auspices of a radicalized Federal Bureau of Investigation and how the deep state worked to try to bring down a duly elected President. Refreshing to see some actual painstaking journalism and accurate reporting.

Back home again - no meeting

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I needed to attend the next meeting due to some things being presented. I forgot that traditionally, there is no December meeting so need to be at January's meeting. DOH!

Was driving down and stopped off at a favorite Chinese place. The cookie tonight said: "Explore an unpaved road with a new friend" How in he%% do they know that L and I have been talking about taking two weeks off and driving through the Southwest to get some heat and sun.

Got the van mostly unpacked - as I said to L:

I have too many tools (said no man ever)

Points North

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Heading up to Bellingham and then to the farm today - couple of things need to be taken care of.

Ham radio meeting tonight.

Downright Christmas-y today: No L  :(

And that is it - full day tomorrow

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Some things at the farm need my attention and there is the monthly ham radio meeting tomorow night.

Just because

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The New York Post - a two-fer

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Two clickable headlines. I am liking this newspaper - they cover a lot of the stories that the fake news people simply do not touch.

Say goodbye to the foot (survey)

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The United States just got 28.3 feet wider. From Associated Press:

US finally giving boot to official foot measurement
Change is afoot for the official measuring stick used to size up big places in America.

The reason? There are actually two different definitions of the 12-inch measurement known as a foot.

Some land surveyors use what’s known as the U.S. survey foot. Others use the definition that’s more accepted by the broader world: the international foot.

The difference between them is so tiny that you can’t see it with the naked eye on a 12-inch ruler. But over big distances, it matters. So, to reduce the chance for errors and confusion, the federal government has announced it’s finally giving the boot to the survey foot.

The international foot is the smaller one — adding about an eighth of an inch of difference when measuring a mile. That means the United States is 28.3 feet wider when measured using the international foot instead of the survey foot.

The change started in 1959, when the federal government mandated that everyone use the international foot but allowed surveyors to keep to the old U.S. survey foot for a while. That temporary reprieve has lasted 60 years, but it will finally end in 2022, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology announced in October.

Surveyors in 40 U.S. states and territories still use the larger U.S. foot. The rest use the smaller international one.

“We have chaos,” says Michael Dennis, a project manager for NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey. Geodetics is surveying that takes into account the curve of the Earth. “This is a mess.”

Good news. Standards are wonderful - that is why we have so many of them. Bleagh...

Now that was fun - Christmas Lights

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A lot larger than I expected and since it was Wednesday with rain in the forecast, we had the place practically to ourselves. The venue was about 15 acres and there were maybe 2,000 people. No lines except for the train and we got great seats on the first try. Going to email them and see what the total wattage is - there were a lot of lights over a large area. Well organised. Definitely something to do for the holidays.

Mexican and this sounded like fun: The Lights of Christmas

Good news from FORD

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Always liked Ford - driven their trucks, currently own one of their vans. From The Detroit News:

Ford gets incentives to invest $1.5 billion in Metro Detroit, add 3,000 jobs
Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett's vision for a mobility corridor stretching along Michigan Avenue from Detroit's Corktown neighborhood to Ann Arbor is growing to include the production of future vehicles.

The Dearborn automaker on Tuesday received approval for up to $35.3 million in incentives from the state of Michigan to invest more than $1.45 billion in Wayne County manufacturing facilities that would add 3,000 jobs — a piece of the $6 billion, 8,500-job commitment Ford made in its contract with the United Auto Workers ratified last month.

The investments into the manufacturing of new vehicles, including the Ford Bronco SUV, autonomous and electric vehicles — and their battery packs — will complement research being done in those sectors at Ford's future Corktown campus anchored by Michigan Central Station and its Dearborn headquarters, which is set for a redesign, officials said.

"This solidifies Ford’s presence in Michigan for both the electrification of their future vehicles as well as their autonomous vehicle operations," said Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., whose governing body approved the state incentives. "We think it was critical to make Michigan the center of that."

FORD was the one manufacturer to not take the Obama government bailouts. They are a well-run company and make a good product and were not in need of them. Love my Highlander but I think my next vehicle will be an Explorer.

The impeachment process

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As explained by America's Newspaper of Record - the Babylon Bee:

The Bee Explains: Impeachment
Impeachment can be confusing. But The Babylon Bee is here with an explainer so you will know how the process works and what it takes for Dems to snap their fingers together and make Trump disappear in a cloud of dust.

What is impeachment?
It's the official, constitutional method for screaming at the sky because Trump is president.

Why is Trump being impeached?
Trump has committed some very serious offenses, from not being a Democrat to being a Republican. He also won the 2016 election, which rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. He also restored the celebration of Christmas after eight years of winter with no Christmas under Obama. This drove Dems up a wall so they drummed up some charges against him.

Why didn't Democrats include any criminal offenses in the articles of impeachment?
There were just so many of them, it was hard to pick one. So, instead of laying out actually impeachable offenses, the Democrats summarized it all with two main articles of impeachment: 1.) Trump is president. 2.) TRUMP IS PRESIDENT.

What does it take to remove the president from office?
Faith, trust, and pixie dust.

Will Trump be removed from office?
Lol.

If we believe in ourselves and try hard, and Trump is removed, Hillary Clinton becomes president, right?
Actually, Mike Pence would become president, basically making the United States into a Handmaid's Tale-style dystopia.

What happens if Trump is impeached in the House but acquitted in the Senate?
Democrats don't get the big prize, but they each get a complimentary copy of Impeachment: The Board Game.

Once the House votes to officially impeach President Trump, what happens next?
Trump wins the 2020 election.

It is just that simple...

A nice walk - Google Lens

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The day was overcast but dry so after coffee, we went to one of the state parks and walked along the beach. We both had questions about the various plants so I installed Google Lens on my phone yesterday. Ho. Li. Crap. Amazing image recognition software. It takes all the information from your phone (focus distance, position, direction of view, location, etc...) and uses it along with the image to try to figure out what it is looking at. Identified everything I pointed it at.

There were places along the trail where there was no cell service so I just took a photo and Google Lens was able to retreive the image from Google Pictures and make its determination.

Available for both Android and iPhone as well as a stand-alone web site - seriously, check out Google Lens

Heading out for coffee

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Got a pineapple express coming through for the next couple of days so the nice long afternoon walks with L are on the back burner for a while. She is meeting me for coffee today and we will take it from there. Post office and bank first.

The Biden Ukraine connection - 2016

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From John Solomon Reports:

Latvian government says it flagged ‘suspicious’ Hunter Biden payments in 2016
As the U.S. presidential race began roaring to life in 2016, authorities in the former Soviet republic of Latvia flagged a series of “ suspicious” financial transactions to Hunter Biden and other colleagues at a Ukrainian natural gas company and sought Kiev’s help investigating, according to documents and interviews.

The Feb. 18, 2016 alert to Ukraine came from the Latvian prosecutorial agency responsible for investigating money laundering, and it specifically questioned whether Vice President Joe Biden’s younger son and three other officials at Burisma Holdings were the potential beneficiaries of suspect funds.

“The Office for Prevention of Laundering of Proceeds Derived from Criminal Activity … is currently investigating suspicious activity of Burisma Holdings Limited,” the Latvian agency also known as the FIU wrote Ukraine’s financial authorities.

The memo was released to me by the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office and confirmed by the Latvian embassy to the United States.

Biden is as crooked as Obama and Hillary ever were.

California's new "gig" economy

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Actions have consequences:

20191218-gig.jpg

Tip of the hat to Charles Glasser at Instapundit.

I made a snowman

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Swiped in toto from Denny at Grouchy Old Cripple:

It snowed last night…
8:00 am: I made a snowman.
8:10 – A feminist passed by and asked me why I didn’t make a snow woman.
8:15 – So, I made a snow woman.
8:17 – My feminist neighbor complained about the snow woman’s voluptuous chest saying it objectified snow women everywhere.
8:20 – The gay couple living nearby threw a hissy fit and moaned it could have been two snow men instead.
8:22 – The transgender man..women…person asked why I didn’t just make one snow person with detachable parts.
8:25 – The vegans at the end of the lane complained about the carrot nose, as veggies are food and not to decorate snow figures with.
8:28 – I was being called a racist because the snow couple is white.
8:31 – The middle eastern gent across the road demanded the snow woman be covered up .
8:40 – The Police arrived saying someone had been offended.
8:42 – The feminist neighbor complained again that the broomstick of the snow woman needed to be removed because it depicted women in a domestic role.
8:43 – The council equality officer arrived and threatened me with eviction.
8:45 – TV news crew from CBC showed up. I was asked if I know the difference between snowmen and snow-women? I replied “Snowballs” and am now called a sexist.
9:00 – I was on the News as a suspected terrorist, racist, homophobe sensibility offender, bent on stirring up trouble during difficult weather.
9:10 – I was asked if I have any accomplices. My children were taken by social services.
9:29 – Far left protesters offended by everything marched down the street demanding for me to be arrested.
By noon it all melted
Moral:
There is no moral to this story. It is what we have become, all because of snowflakes.

So close to the truth it is a sad commentary on today's society.

The scientific journal Nature

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Looks like they got seriously WOKE.

Four days ago, they were whinging about the use of the word supreme when referring to quantum computing.
Now this - from Czech physicist Luboš Motl:

Nature's shocking "top ten" scientists
Fer137 has told us about an incredible list published at Nature

Nature's 10.

which is supposed to enumerate the most influential people in science of the year. As Alex correctly said, Nature basically became a new brand of toilet paper. How will they compare to Presto!?

Well, there have been numerous indications of this "evolution of purpose" of that journal but now they have jumped the shark, indeed.

As Nature openly admits, Ricardo Galvão was chosen for his being a Latin American "Amazon" activist and for his frictions with Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, whom the leftists at Nature consider politically incorrect. He clearly didn't do anything revolutionary in the science of forests or in biology in general. In fact, he is a physicist!

Victoria Kaspi was clearly chosen for her failure to be male in a field that is overwhelmingly advanced by males, astrophysics. You should look for "fast radio bursts" at Google Scholar to become sure that she isn't really a leader of this subfield. Even if you add CHIME, the name of her key experiment, to the query, it doesn't become better.

Nenad Šestan was chosen for the good old left-wing "atheist" reasons. This guy works on the fuzziness of "brain death" so he can take people from God, thus proving the ill-definedness of the religious concepts including death itself. This would be a preferred scientific topic of the leftists some 20 years ago but these days, it's no longer too hot. And incidentally, Nature just copied the name from the New York Times, a left-wing daily, that promoted Šestan in the summer. At any rate, he is one of the 3 or so actual star scientists in the list.

Sandra Díaz is a hot Venezulean model. OK, they meant this Sandra Díaz which is somewhat less pretty. She is both female and associated with the "biodiversity" hysteria. Clearly, no important advances in the "science of biodiversity" took place in the recent year or several years and she wasn't the key in those that took place earlier.

And there are six more "scientists" at the site. What is up with this once prestigious Scientific Journal and when will they return to the academic rigor for which they were renowned. Like I said in my post four days ago, they have fallen victim to O'Sullivan's Law and to Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy Sad really.

Thinning the herd

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First Wisconsin did it - purging more than 200,000 non-compliant voters from their rolls (moved, died, etc.)

Now, Georgia's The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the same:

Judge allows Georgia to purge 309K voter registrations overnight
About 309,000 names were set to be erased from Georgia’s list of registered voters Monday night, a mass cancellation that a federal judge allowed to move forward.

A voting rights group, Fair Fight Action, said in federal court Monday that the registration cancellations target roughly 120,000 inactive voters who would otherwise be eligible to participate in elections but are being removed because they haven’t cast a ballot since at least 2012. The rest of the people on the cancellation list either moved from Georgia or mail sent to them by election officials was undeliverable.

And of course, Fair Fight's pedigree is pure Democrat:

Fair Fight, founded by allies of Democrat Stacey Abrams after her defeat in the election for governor last year, is suing the state over obstacles that voters faced last year, including registration cancellations , long lines ,  precinct closures and rejected absentee ballots.

Of course the Dems are going to complain - they have nothing to offer. Their only way to win is to cheat. Busing voters around to multiple polling sites, casting ballots for deceased or moved citizens. That is the only way they can gain an edge. Heaven help them if they try to win on good ideas - their only platform is the narrative

Talk about a righteous smack-down

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Nancy Pelosi is missing and the last place she was standing is now covered in a few inches of sulfur smelling ash and brimstone. From The White House:

Letter from President Donald J. Trump to the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Dear Madam Speaker:
I write to express my strongest and most powerful protest against the partisan impeachment crusade being pursued by the Democrats in the House of Representatives. This impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by Democrat Lawmakers, unequaled in nearly two and a half centuries of American legislative history.

The Articles of Impeachment introduced by the House Judiciary Committee are not recognizable under any standard of Constitutional theory, interpretation, or jurisprudence. They include no crimes, no misdemeanors, and no offenses whatsoever. You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!

By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy. You dare to invoke the Founding Fathers in pursuit of this election-nullification scheme—yet your spiteful actions display unfettered contempt for America’s founding and your egregious conduct threatens to destroy that which our Founders pledged their very lives to build. Even worse than offending the Founding Fathers, you are offending Americans of faith by continually saying “I pray for the President,” when you know this statement is not true, unless it is meant in a negative sense. It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!

Heh - a few excerpts:

Everyone, you included, knows what is really happening.  Your chosen candidate lost the election in 2016, in an Electoral College landslide (306-227), and you and your party have never recovered from this defeat.  You have developed a full-fledged case of what many in the media call Trump Derangement Syndrome and sadly, you will never get over it!  You are unwilling and unable to accept the verdict issued at the ballot box during the great Election of 2016.  So you have spent three straight years attempting to overturn the will of the American people and nullify their votes.  You view democracy as your enemy!

And this:

There is nothing I would rather do than stop referring to your party as the Do-Nothing Democrats.  Unfortunately, I don’t know that you will ever give me a chance to do so.

And this:

Look at yourself and others.  Do not take our country down with your party.

Ouch!  And this:

I have no doubt the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election.  They will not soon forgive your perversion of justice and abuse of power.

It is a very long and very comprehensive letter and whomever wrote it really did an excellent job. Talk about scorched earth. I would love to hear her reply - if she doesn't have a stroke first.

Glad to see the gloves coming off finally. Much much more at the site.

Ho Li Crap - The Far Side is back

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Website here: The Far Side

The back story here: 

About Gary Larson, The Far Side, and its official online home
Welcome to TheFarSide.com, the first official online home of The Far Side! Created by Gary Larson, the single-panel cartoon ran daily in newspapers from 1980 to 1995. In those fifteen years, The Far Side went from garnering controversy to becoming one of the most beloved cartoons of its time. Until now, it has never been offered online. We encourage you to read Gary's Letter to find out why. (Yes, he is definitely still alive.)

Everything is wonderful with the universe. I met L a month ago. The Far Side is back. What more can I ask for...

Heh - so true

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"The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions."
--Dwight D. Eisenhower

This will be fascinating to watch as the impeachment process implodes and Trump wins an even larger landslide next November. The Democrats will be standing there like Wiley E. Coyote with a dumb expression on their faces and their entire body covered with blast residue.

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Heading out for coffee

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Post office, etc. Meeting up with L later today for a walk at one of the island parks.

One hundred and sixteen years ago today

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From Vanderleun

We seldom have an image of the exact moment when the history of the world changed. But we do have this one from one hundred and sixteen years ago today at 10:35 AM Atlantic.

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Sixty-six years later:

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Truly a fun time to be alive.

Done spaghetti western style:

The impeachment comes to the Senate

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And will get a righteous slapdown - from Breitbart:

McConnell Suggests Senate Will Move to Dismiss Impeachment After Opening Arguments
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hinted in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday morning that the Senate will move to dismiss the pending articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump after opening arguments in the expected trial.

McConnell was reacting to a proposal by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Monday that the Senate call four additional, in-person witnesses that were not called, or not available, during the House inquiry, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA).

But McConnell dismissed that suggestion out of hand, arguing that Schumer was trying to make “Chairman Schiff’s sloppy work more persuasive.”

McConnell accused Schumer of going straight to the news media with his proposals rather than speaking to him in person, as Senate leaders had done in the past.

He also noted that Schumer had misquoted the Constitution. The Democrat leader had claimed the Constitution gave the Senate “sole Power of Impeachment,” whereas Article I, Section 3 actually states: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”

“We don’t create impeachments over here … we judge them,” he declared.

And it is over in 3... 2... 1... Next?

The impeachment - day 5,297...

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From America's Newspaper of Record - the Babylon Bee:

Articles Of Impeachment Updated To Read 'Orange Man Bad'
The two articles of impeachment leveled against President Trump were originally announced to be abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

These didn't poll very well, however, so Democrats went back to the drawing board to come up with something that might play well with their base of radicals. Nancy Pelosi announced Monday that the articles of impeachment will now just read, "ORANGE MAN BAD" in giant letters.

"It's clear, to the point, and honest," said Pelosi. "We congresspeople aren't very used to honesty, so we'll see how this goes. But hopefully, people will see the crime of Trump being a bad orange man definitely rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors."

It is just getting more and more absurd - they have nothing. This will seriously backfire in 2020.

Coming up on a bit of interesting history

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68 years ago on December 20th, 1951, these lights were lit:

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The story? From Nuclear Power.net

History of Nuclear power plants
Electricity was generated by a nuclear reactor for the first time ever on September 3, 1948 at the X-10 Graphite Reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the United States, and was the first nuclear power plant to power a light bulb. The second, larger experiment occurred on December 20, 1951 at the EBR-I experimental station near Arco, Idaho in the United States. On June 27, 1954, the world’s first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid started operations at the Soviet city of Obninsk.The world’s first full scale power station, Calder Hall in England opened on October 17, 1956. The first full scale power station with a PWR-type reactor was a Shippingport Atomic Power Station, commisioned on May 26, 1958.

The electricity generated by the X-10 reactor was generated by thermoelectricity - a thermocouple. A few watts at best and not  enough to light a lightbulb let alone four 200 watt units. The Russian reactor was an open graphite core design which evolved into the RBMK design famous for the Chernobyl disaster.

I was only eight years old at the time but I remember Shippingport being a Very Big Deal - I toured the plant a few years later with a school group.

The very first reactor? That would be Enrico Fermi's Chicago Pile - from the University of Chicago:

How the first chain reaction changed science
The Atomic Age began at 3:25 p.m. on Dec. 2, 1942—quietly, in secrecy, on a squash court under the west stands of old Stagg Field at the University of Chicago.

Today, Henry Moore’s “Nuclear Energy” sculpture and the Mansueto Library occupy the area at the corner of Ellis Avenue and 57th Street where Enrico Fermi and his colleagues engineered the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction 70 years ago. Their experiment was a key step in the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb during World War II.

That initial chain reaction was too weak to power even a single light bulb. It nevertheless transformed the world, and the University of Chicago along with it, in a range of endeavors spanning physics, chemistry, interdisciplinary research, policy analysis, and nuclear medicine. Even in 1942, those present at the historic event sensed how influential their work would be.

There is some exciting research being done with new designs for commercial power. We know how to do it, we know how to process the waste materials and to render them harmless ( recycle them into new fuel and inert waste) but thanks to President Jimmy Carter, we are not allowed to so this. Still, we are heading in the right direction.

In other words - they can not fix it.

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From the Everett Herald:

Boeing to indefinitely suspend 737 Max production in January
The Boeing Co. will indefinitely halt production of the grounded 737 Max in January, a move that will deepen the crisis engulfing the planemaker, complicate its eventual recovery and ripple through the U.S. economy.

Employees at the Renton factory where the Max is built will continue 737-related work or be temporarily reassigned to other programs, the company said in a news release Monday.

The 737 was a decent airplane. Their mistake was trying to graft a much larger engine on it and then to "fix it in the software". Not gonna happen...

Out for a meeting

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Board meeting tonight - good group of people. L and I are meeting up tomorrow for a walk. We both like to take a couple mile walk every day. Fun to talk about stuff while doing it.

Did a scramble for dinner tonight - saute half onion, some tofu and garlic. Toss in two eggs and there is dinner. Was craving some protein.

Back in a couple of hours. We usually go to a local pub after the meetings. Like I said, good group of people.

Their best and brightest - immigration

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Some surprising numbers. Actually not so much. From NOQ Report:

Remain in Mexico: Out of 47,000 asylum applications, only 11 qualified
Migrant Protection Protocols, better known as the “Remain in Mexico” program, has yielded shocking results that can be attributed to sharp decline in illegal border crossings in recent months. Over 47,000 foreign nationals applied for asylum through the program, but a mere 11 qualified. The rest will have to stay in Mexico or return home.

The program calls for non-Mexican asylum-seekers to be transferred back across the border until their claims are adjudicated. This is a change from the “catch-and-release” policy that allowed illegal immigrants to claim asylum while having no intention of actually following through with the process. They were being released into the interior where they established their lives living illegally in the country, bypassing the legal immigration system and “jumping the line” ahead of those who recognize our national sovereignty.

And in reality?

Those who suffer from economic hardship have legal avenues through which they can become legal immigrants. The asylum system was designed for those who have credible fears for their lives, not for those seeking better opportunities in America.

The low number of qualified applicants demonstrates the efficacy of the program. Asylum claims were being used as a ticket to bypass the border and find opportunity in the shadows in the United States. If they had credible fears for their lives, their applications would have been accepted, yet the vast majority were denied.

If there was an honest humanitarian crisis, I could see 10,000 or more people being approved. Even 500. 17? There is no humanitarian crisis - these people are being told to say that so they can get through the border. Watch - they will find another loophole to exploit.

Good news - Covington

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From Mike Cernovitch:

Big Win – Covington Boys Lawsuit Against CNN Moves Forward
Nicholas Sandmann’s lawsuit against CNN will proceed to discovery, a federal judge has ruled. This will be a devastating blow to CNN, which will now have all of its emails examined by lawyers for a severely wronged client.

Sandmann was one of the the high school student falsely accused of a racially-motivated attack against Nathan Phillips in Washington, D.C. Phillips was called a “Vietnam veteran” by the media, when in fact Philips was stolen valor. He never served in the Vietnam War and he was discharged from the military under circumstances suggesting a poor service record.

Sandmann sued CNN for lying about him.

Sandmann had been confronted earlier by a group known as the Black Hebrew Israelites – the group responsible for the deadly terrorist attack at a New Jersey Deli.

CNN wasn’t the only outlet to attack Sandmann. The National Review’s Rich Lowry and Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro joined the hate mob against Sandmann – although they at least sort-of apologized after realizing they had been hoaxed by the left wing media. (Why do those guys trust the media would be a good question for conservatives to ask them.)

Although the judge’s ruling was short, the court’s rationale was explained in the orders allowing Sandmann’s lawsuit to go forward against the Washington Post.

Fake news. Time for CNN et. al. to get their comeuppance.

From the liberal-leaning Huffington Post:

Chuck Schumer: Hunter Biden Testifying Would Make Impeachment Trial A ‘Circus’
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) suggested he doesn’t believe former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, should be called to testify as a witness in a possible impeachment trial in the Senate, saying it would turn the process into a “circus.”

Earth to Chuck. The impeachment already IS a circus and you people are the clowns. Not very funny either.

Our quiet sun

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Here is the post from Spaceweather:

SUNSPOTS BREAK A SPACE AGE RECORD: Solar Minimum is becoming very deep indeed. Over the weekend, the sun set a Space Age record for spotlessness. So far in 2019, the sun has been without sunspots for more than 270 days, including the last 33 days in a row. Since the Space Age began, no other year has had this many blank suns.

The previous record-holder was the year 2008, when the sun was blank for 268 days. That was during the epic Solar Minimum of 2008-2009, formerly the deepest of the Space Age. Now 2019 has moved into first place.

Solar Minimum is a normal part of the 11-year sunspot cycle. The past two (2008-2009 and 2018-2019) have been long and deep, making them "century-class" Minima. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days.

Last week, the NOAA/NASA Solar Cycle Prediction Panel issued a new forecast. Based on a variety of predictive techniques, they believe that the current Solar Minimum will reach its deepest point in April 2020 (+/- 6 months) followed by a new Solar Maximum in July 2025. This means that low sunspot counts and weak solar activity could continue for some time to come.

20191216-sun.jpg

We will see. We do not know enough about what is going on inside the sun so any forecast is just a roll of the dice.

Excellent excellent observation

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From the Master:

"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all."
--Frédéric Bastiat

I have never had a problem with people getting a hand up in life - food, some money to get a car, stuff like that.

My complaint is that this needs to start at the grass-roots level with community groups, then maybe the city. Then maybe the individual state and only then, the federal government. The idea that the federal government can manage any number of interlinking agencies that hand out money to someone who claims poverty is just asking for gross negligence and inefficiency. We see it time and time again but we still keep doing it. Keeps the unelected bureaucrats in power.

They don't want anyone messing around with their rice bowl.

And it is coffee time

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Dinner was wonderful - did a salad, minestrone soup and some farfelle with homemade tomato sauce topped with roasted root vegetables. We sat in front of the fireplace and talked for hours.

She is taking care of someone with some medical issues - they are down in Everett today and I have a meeting tonight. Heading out for some coffee and then working around the house for today.

From Key & Peele:

Poor little Greta - train ride

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From climate tool Greta Thunberg's twitter feed:

From the Washington Examiner - a reply from the railroad company that she was riding:

'Your seat in first class': Train company hits back over photo of Greta Thunberg sitting on floor
Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg received criticism from the German railway company Deutsche Bahn after claiming her trip aboard a train was overcrowded.

"Traveling on overcrowded trains through Germany. And I’m finally on my way home!" the 16-year-old posted Saturday evening, along with a photo of her sitting on the floor of a train. Thunberg has explained her refusal to travel by air by citing concerns that planes cause environmental damage.

"love #Greta , thank you for supporting us railroad workers in the fight against climate change! We were pleased that you were on the ICE 74 with us on Saturday. And with 100 percent green electricity," Deutsche Bahn responded in a Sunday tweet before adding, "It would have been even nicer if you had also reported how friendly and competent you were looked after by our team at your seat in first class."

Re-read that last sentence one more time:

"It would have been even nicer if you had also reported how friendly and competent you were looked after by our team at your seat in first class."

Yeah - fake news. And what is it with the picture of her looking up to the right facing some light. I had posted about this yesterday - very popular visual trope for propaganda - here is the image once again:

20191214-trope.jpg

I wish her well and hope that she is not too crushed when the people manipulating her decide that she is no longer of use to their agenda and throw her under the bus. Anyone hear of David Hogg or Cindy Sheehan any more? They used to be 24/7...

We are now at 270 days with no sunspots (77% of the total year). The last recent record was 2008 with 268 spot-free days and before that, we have to go back to 1913. I had written about this two days ago here: And it is a tie - sunspots

Stock up on firewood and warm clothing - the next couple of years might be an interesting ride.

So true

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Found at Terrierman's

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That is the one mistake that God made - giving dogs their 15 year lifespan.

And that is it for the night

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Long but wonderful day tomorrow.

It's the economy

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From Brickmuppet:

A Few Christmas Anecdotes
I've been an employee at U.P.S. for 27 years. In all that time I've never seen a Christmas like this one. I've seen it get heavy, but I'd never seen every day for over a week be higher than our peak day last year, nor heard the belts grinding from too much volume all day for three days. I have never, ever, until Tuesday, seen a 53 foot trailer come onto our lot bulging like a can with botulism. The other day one of the drivers from one of the big sort hubs came in to help after dropping off a load. He said that the hub was so packed that it took him 25 minutes to get from the bay door where the trailer was parked to the guard shack at the gate.

I honestly don't think I've been this sore every day since basic training.

Frankly, this is not any failure on the company's part, we're just experiencing the biggest Christmas EVER and our physical plant wasn't designed for an economy this good. It does bring a smile to my face to see all the Amazon packages coming through though. It seems that after declaring that they didn't need us and were never going to ship with us again...well... it looks from my modest vantage point that the Bezos brigade completely choked, as we've been getting trailer upon trailer of Amazon boxes that Amazon couldn't handle, and, despite this unexpected surfeit of cardboard, at least at my building, we haven't rolled anything over to the next day yet. Everything's gotten delivered. The hours are quite insane though.A few years ago I worked some double shifts and still didn't make as much overtime as I have this week. Today was odd, we actually finished early, however, as a result Monday's start time has been moved up to Sunday.

Monday's gonna suck.

On the other hand, I've lost 13 pounds and my pants are threatening to fall off.

Sights and sounds of a very good and very strong economy. Thank you President Trump and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Christ on a corn dog - "Woke" science

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This is just simply absurd - these people are beclowning themselves. From Nature of all places:

Supremacy is for racists — use ‘quantum advantage’
We take issue with the use of ‘supremacy’ when referring to quantum computers that can out-calculate even the fastest supercomputers (F. Arute et al. Nature 574, 505–510; 2019). We consider it irresponsible to override the historical context of this descriptor, which risks sustaining divisions in race, gender and class. We call for the community to use ‘quantum advantage’ instead.

The community claims that quantum supremacy is a technical term with a specified meaning. However, any technical justification for this descriptor could get swamped as it enters the public arena after the intense media coverage of the past few months.

In our view, ‘supremacy’ has overtones of violence, neocolonialism and racism through its association with ‘white supremacy’. Inherently violent language has crept into other branches of science as well — in human and robotic spaceflight, for example, terms such as ‘conquest’, ‘colonization’ and ‘settlement’ evoke the terra nullius arguments of settler colonialism and must be contextualized against ongoing issues of neocolonialism.

Two things come to mind:

First - O'Sullivan's Law

Named after British journalist John O'SullivanO’Sullivan’s Law states that any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time.

Leftism (more properly: socialism) is in and of itself a form of decay. It’s what happens not just to television shows but to nations, churches and universities as the energy given off by the big bang of their inception slowly ebbs away. Rather than expend vitality in originality and creation they become obsessed with introspection, popularity and lethargy. Leftism is entropy of the spirit and intellect. Its parasitic nature attracts it to existing money and power.

-- An enterprise can stave off O'Sullivan's Law only if its creators keep it in mind and remain vigilant and truthful.

Of this last sentence - South Park is an excellent example where the creators have remained vigilant. Take a look at Marvel Comics for the opposite. Design by committee.

Second - Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy

His best-known "law" is "Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy":

In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.

He restated it as:

...in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representatives who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

Sad to see such a prestigious journal such as Nature get taken over by the braying jackasses of social justice.

I have zero problem with the word Supremacy. If I am choosing between two items, I want the item to be supreme. I do not want to let political correctness force me to choose the mundane.

Are they going to go after 1960's Motown groups next. Shades of Harrison Bergeron.

The New Jersey shooting

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A good observation from Tam at view from the porch (an excerpt):

Let's see...

U-Haul full of guns and bomb-making materials, they get cornered by the cops, and their first response is to shoot the cop, then drive to the nearest Kosher supermarket, popping a Hasidic pedestrian along the way, and run in and start shooting Jewish shoppers?

This pretty much narrows it down to Jihadis or Nazis and, frankly, if it were Nazis, their names and faces would be all over the news while the talking heads wrung their hands about the dangers of white supremacy. So if I were going to place a bet right now...

Well, it certainly can't be the religion of peace or racism now could it. That would not fit the narrative.

A delightful four hours

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Took a bit of a break this afternoon and met up with L at a local park. We walked for a couple miles and then sat down on a log and started talking about everything under the sun. Our personalities are very well matched. Looking forward to having her over for dinner tomorrow.

Heh - a meme and a visual trope

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20191214-impeach.jpg

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Climate change is pure propaganda: about 10% science and 90% the sun.

From tech news aggregator Slashdot:

37-Year-Old Mom Finds Instagram's Sex Predators By Pretending To Be 11
Sloane Ryan is a 37-year-old woman who runs the Special Projects Team at Bark, a child-safety tech company selling a $9-a-month software that monitors text messages for bullying, threats of violence, depression, and sexual predators. "In 2018 alone, Bark alerted the FBI to 99 child predators. In 2019? That number is more than 300 -- and counting."

Bark had wanted a way to depict the problem to the public without using actual conversations -- so Ryan began posing as an underage minor on Instagram.

Over the past nine months, I've been 15-year-old Libby and 16-year-old Kait and 14-year-old Ava. I've been a studious sophomore contemplating bangs and a lacrosse player being raised by her aunt and an excitable junior eager for prom....

At the beginning of the week, on the very first night as [11-year-old] "Bailey" two new messages came in within 52 seconds of publishing a photo. We sat mouths agape as the numbers pinged up on the screen -- 2, 3, 7, 15 messages from adult men over the course of two hours. Half of them could be charged with transfer of obscene content to a minor. That night, I had taken a breather and sat with my head in my hands.

The second half of the article includes examples of particularly graphic conversations with what the perpetrators think are an 11-year-old girl instead of the 37-year-old woman who's investigating them. "I exit the conversation with @ XXXastrolifer to see another nine requests pending... Over the course of one week, over 52 men reached out to an 11-year-old girl."

Ryan also says they've formed "continuous working relationships" with law enforcement agencies, and "We've seen arrests and sentencings. We've provided testimony in court and invaluable information to investigations."

Now they're using the conversations they've collected to train artificial intelligence algorithms to better detect sexual predators automatically.

Great use of technology - AI works (kinda) but it needs to be trained. Having Ms. Ryan do the work gets these turds off the internet and off the streets.

There may be some legal issues with using AI for catching these goblins but it will never be a full-on Minority Report kind of thing - the AI will flag (and save) the suspicious behaviour and it will be reviewed by a real human for prosecution.

Off to work I go

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Cleaning up the house - stuff to storage locker and the dump.

Coffee on the way.

Good news - cleaning up the voter rolls

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The state of Wisconsin is doing some house cleaning - from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal:

Judge orders state to purge more than 200,000 Wisconsin voters from the rolls
An Ozaukee County judge on Friday ordered the state to remove hundreds of thousands of people from Wisconsin's voter rolls because they may have moved.

The case is being closely watched because of the state's critical role in next year's presidential race. Circuit Judge Paul Malloy also denied the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin's petition to intervene.

Lawyers for the League and for the Wisconsin Elections Commission indicated they will appeal and asked Malloy to stay his ruling pending those appeals, but he declined.

At issue is a letter the state Elections Commission sent in October to about 234,000 voters who it believes may have moved. The letter asked the voters to update their voter registrations if they had moved or alert election officials if they were still at their same address.

Heh - 234,000 fewer democrat votes. Love it!

And it is a tie - sunspots

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From Spaceweather:

20191214-sunspot.JPG

Last time we had so few sunspots was in 2008 - another solar minimum. What makes things really interesting is this from Paul Dorian writing at Watts Up With That:

Deep solar minimum on the verge of an historic milestone
The sun is currently in the midst of a deep solar minimum and it is about to reach an historic milestone. So far this year the sun has been blank (i.e., no visible sunspots) for 266 days and, barring any major surprises, it’ll reach 269 days early next week which will be the quietest year in terms of sunspots since 1913 when the sun was spotless for 311 days. In fact, the current stretch of consecutive spotless days has reached 29 and for the year the sun has been blank 77% of the time. The current record-holder in the satellite era for spotless days in a given year is 2008 when the sun was blank for 268 days making the 2008-2009 solar minimum the deepest since 1913.

Solar minimum is a normal part of the 11-year sunspot cycle, but the last one and the current one have been far deeper than most. One of the consequences of a solar minimum is a reduction of solar storms and another is the intensification of cosmic rays. The just ended solar cycle 24 turned out to be one of the weakest in more than a century – continuing a weakening trend that began in the 1980’s – and, if the latest forecasts are correct, the next solar cycle will be the weakest in more than 200 years.

And back to Spaceweather:

COSMIC RAY UPDATE: Something ironic is happening in Earth's atmosphere. Solar activity is low--very low. Yet atmospheric radiation is heading in the opposite direction. Cosmic rays percolating through the air around us are at a 5 year high.

Take a look at these data gathered by cosmic ray balloons launched by Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus almost weekly since March 2015:

20191214-cosmic.jpg

Radiation levels have been increasing almost non-stop since the monitoring program began, with recent flights registering the highest levels of all.

What's happening? The answer is "Solar Minimum"--the low point of the 11-year solar cycle. During Solar Minimum (underway now) the sun's magnetic field weakens and allows energetic particles from deep space to penetrate the Solar System. As solar activity goes down, cosmic rays go up; yin-yang.

When cosmic rays hit the top of Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles and photons that rain down on Earth's surface. This is what our balloons measure--the secondary spray. We use X-ray and gamma-ray detectors sensitive to energies in the range 10 keV to 20 MeV. This type of radiation, which you can also find in medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners, has increased more than 20% in the stratosphere.

But it is all the fossil fuel use that is causing this... Right?

Our sun is entering a period of low output and we are set to experience a cooling trend on Earth.

Unreal - they tried it on President Trump. It did not work. Now, they are trying it on Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
From The Federalist:

Fusion GPS Tries To Run Russian Collusion Hoax Redux Against Boris Johnson
The founders of Fusion GPS, the Democrat-backed consulting firm behind the famously discredited Christopher Steele dossier at the heart of the Russia hoax, are blaming Russia for the liberal Labour Party’s loss in the U.K. elections Thursday. Seriously.

Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch penned an editorial published in the The Guardian, a British newspaper, asserting Russia was behind the triumphant re-election of Brexit-supporting conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Simpson and Fritsch are now urging the British government to launch an investigation into Russian interference in its elections mirroring the size and scale of the U.S. Robert Mueller probe, a two-year investigation studying the Russian collusion conspiracy theory that did irreparable harm to the United States and was based on a web of lies.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. (source)
These people are living in a bubble of their own making - wake up and smell the cappuccino...

And I am outta here

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Lots to do tomorrow. 

Finally - Mt. Baker to open this Sunday

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From their website:

It's official: Mt. Baker opening day is SUNDAY DEC. 15th!
We're doing it in classic Baker style, with over 30" of new snow since Wednesday night! The crew has been out on the hill since dawn, assessing conditions and preparing the mountain and facilities for opening. And things are looking good - check out the video and photos below!

We will be open Sunday from 9:00 - 3:30 out of the Heather Meadows Base Area with Chairs 1, 2, 3 & 4 operating. We hope to also open Chair 5 and more of the mountain as the day progresses. Heather Meadows Day Lodge will be open, and Raven Hut will be open with Grab-and-Go service only.

Looking further out, the weather is expected to go cold and clear-ish starting around Sunday, then snow is expected to return towards the middle-to-end of next week. This could set us up with a nice refresh for the weekend and Santa Photos on the 21st and 22nd!

Sweet news! It has been cold enough up there but the jet stream kept all the moisture down South.

A fishing trip

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This will be fun - from Zero Hedge:

Rudy Giuliani Can Barely Contain Himself Over His Ukraine Findings
Rudy Giuliani is grinning like the Cheshire cat. His standard smile.

For the past several weeks, the personal attorney to President Trump has been in Ukraine, interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence to shed light on what the Bidens were up to during the Obama years, and get to the bottom of claims that Kiev interfered in the 2016 US election in favor of Hillary Clinton. He has enlisted the help of former Ukrainian diplomat, Andriy Telizhenko, to gather information from politicians and ask them to participate in a documentary series in partnership with One America News Network (OANN) - which will make the case for investigating the Bidens as well as Burisma Holdings - the natural gas firm which employed the son of a sitting US Vice President in a case which reeks of textbook corruption.

According to the Journal, Giuliani will present findings from his self-described "secret assignment" in a 20-page report.

Trump and Giuliani say then-Vice President Biden engaged in corruption when he called for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had investigated a Ukrainian gas company where Hunter Biden served on the board. The Bidens deny wrongdoing, and ousting the prosecutor was a goal at the time of the U.S. and several European countries. -Wall Street Journal

(Note the Wall Street Journal's use of a straw man when they write: "The allegations of Ukrainian election interference are at odds with findings by the U.S. intelligence community that Russia was behind the election interference."

And there is this wonderful bon mot:

Upon his return to New York on Saturday, Giuliani says he took a call from President Trump while his plane was still taxiing down the runway, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"What did you get?" Trump asked. "More than you can imagine," answered the former New York mayor who gained notoriety in the 1980s for taking down the mob as a then-federal prosecutor.

Over 950 comments. Too bad that the public pillory has fallen out of favor. This is going to be fun.

And that is it for the evening

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Fix some dinner. L had to go South for the day - she is stuck in rush-hour traffic. So glad I no longer live in the city. Been emailing back and forth.

Feeling tired so calling it an early bedtime.

Interesting - apples and trees

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There is a saying that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Children will be greatly shaped by their parents.

Here is an interesting example - Mayor Pete. From the Infogalactic entry for Pete Buttigieg:

Buttigieg was born in South Bend, Indiana, the only child of Joseph Buttigieg and Jennifer Anne (Montgomery) Buttigieg.

Father was a University professor for 29 years. He is also the president of the International Gramsci Society

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Gramsci was one of the worst people to have been born - from The Stream:

The Most Dangerous Socialist in History
As a matter of principle, Marxists aren’t troubled by scruples. They will kill, steal, lie, railroad the innocent — whatever it takes to advance the Revolution. Marx himself never shied away from what his program entailed. “When our turn comes,” he wrote in 1849, “we shall not make excuses for the terror.” The actions of his apostles, ranging from Lenin to Stalin, Che Guevara, Mao, and Pol Pot, to the Castro brothers, prove just how “principled” Marxists are willing to be, even if it means gulags, “reeducation” camps, or simple murder.

In the long-term, however, it may well be that the most effective of Marxists was an Italian philosopher, journalist and Communist official who spent the last 11 years of his life in Mussolini’s prisons. Unlike some other Communists of his generation, Antonio Gramsci had no blood on his hands. He signed no execution orders. He was even considered somewhat of a heretic by more mainstream Marxists of his time. Gramsci’s ideas, however, help explain why so many of the West’s cultural institutions today are rotten with leftist ideas and rhetoric.

More here, here and here - sobering. I could only imagine what Mayor Pete would have come up with once he was elected. Glad that this is not happening.

Been there, done that, got the shirt

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Networking fun and games:

20191213-net.jpg

Heh - from FOX News:

Fox News boasts best primetime ratings ever, finishes on top of basic cable for 4th straight year
Fox News Channel enjoyed the best primetime ratings in the network’s 23-year history as “Hannity” topped cable news for the third straight year.

FNC also finished 2019 as the most-watched basic cable network for the fourth consecutive year, averaging 1.4 million viewers. No other network cracked the one-million total day viewer plateau.

FNC averaged 2.5 million viewers between 8-11 p.m, and “Hannity” averaged 3.3 million viewers.

And the others?

MSNBC averaged 990,000 to finished second among total day viewers, followed by ESPN, Nickelodeon and HGTV.

MSNBC followed by a sports channel, a kids channel and a lifestyle channel. CNN? Anyone? Bueler?

Real news sells. Fake news does not.

And I am out the door

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Heading out for a little while. L is coming over for dinner Sunday so doing a major push to clean and de-clutter.

Great idea - 988

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Sad that it is needed but this will save lives. From United Press International:

FCC approves 988 as new U.S. suicide prevention hotline number
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday agreed to move forward with plans to adopt a three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

The five-member commission voted unanimously to approve the proposal to designate 988 as the national number for the hotline, opening it up for public comment and beginning the rule-making process.

"988 has an echo of the 911 number we all know as an emergency number. And we believe that this three-digit number, dedicated for this purpose, will help ease access to crisis services," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. "It'll reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health conditions. And it'll ultimately save lives."

President Donald Trump signed a law last year ordering the FCC to select a number for the hotline that would be easy to remember during a crisis.

Good news - this is a problem that we are seeing more and more in today's confused society. Having a single point of contact makes help that much easier to get.

Russian collusion

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Don Surber asks some inconvenient questions this morning:

Why did Putin want to Make America Great Again?
For 3 years, the media and the rest of the Democrat Party have insisted that President Donald John Trump is a puppet of Vlad Putin, the chief commissar of Russia.

Don quotes some mainstream media types and then asks the following:

Having endured 3 years of this conspiracy theory by the tinfoil-hatted mainstream pundits, I am left with 10 questions.

    • Why did Putin want to Make America Great Again?
    • Why did Putin want America to rollback unnecessary regulations?
    • Why did Putin want Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, and 50 new conservative judges on America's appellate courts?
    • Why did Putin want our personal income and corporate tax rates cut?
    • Why did Putin want our unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%?

Five more at the site. Don makes some very good points.

From New York Magazine's Intellegencer:

American Leftists Believed Corbyn’s Inevitable Victory Would Be Their Model
The British election results, like any election results, are the result of unique circumstances and multiple factors. They are also, however, a test of a widely articulated political theory that has important implications for American politics. That theory holds that Corbyn’s populist left-wing platform is both necessary and sufficient in order to defeat the rising nationalist right. Corbyn’s crushing defeat is a decisive refutation.

Many writers, not only on the left, detected parallels between the rise of Corbyn and the movement around Bernie Sanders. The latter is considerably more moderate and pragmatic than the former, and also not laden with the political baggage of Corbyn’s widely derided openness to anti-Semitic allies. And yet many leftists have emphasized the similarities between the two, which are indeed evident. Both built youth-oriented movements led by cadres of radical activists who openly set out to destroy and remake their parties. Both lost in somewhat close fashion, Sanders in 2016 and Corbyn the next year. And fervent supporters of both men treated their narrow defeats as quasi-victories, proof of victory just around the corner.

I love that the author compares Corbyn with Sanders. Both are innumerate twits who are decoupled from reality.

In their words: "Both built youth-oriented movements led by cadres of radical activists who openly set out to destroy and remake their parties". This is demagoguery. This is not leadership. The intelligent citizens want intelligent leaders. It is just that simple.

Great news from across the pond

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The People have Spoken - from PJ Media:

Boris Johnson After Landslide Victory: 'Irrefutable, Irresistible, Unarguable Decision' to Get Brexit Done
"With this mandate and this majority," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked his supporters after his party won a landslide victory against Labour, "we will at last be able to do what?" "Get Brexit done!" the crowd responded. "You've been paying attention!" he answered.

Thursday night was quite a night in Britain. Recent polls had indicated a tightening race between Boris Johnson's Conservative Party and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party. I didn't believe those polls to be correct. And, I'm happy to say, they weren't. It wasn't anywhere near close. The Tories destroyed Labour. As of this writing, 649 out of 650 seats have declared. The Conservatives have won 364 seats in the House of Commons. Labour has to make do with 203. It's truly a historic result.

The Overton Window is sliding back for both of our nations. Glad tidings indeed. Johnson's use of: "Irrefutable, Irresistible, Unarguable" is downright Churchillian. So glad to see that some adults are in charge.

Out the door - dinner with L

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Having a wonderful time.

Sanctuary cities - Seattle

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Seattle station KOMO has a sobering story about an illegal immigrant and how a sensless murder could have been avoided:

ICE challenges King County sanctuary law after another murder
This week, Julio Cruz-Velazquez was in court for the murder of 56-year-old Sam Lam.

Cruz-Velazquez, 25, was arrested Nov. 7 and charged with second-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree.

Police said Cruz-Velazquez opened fire on a South Park home early on the morning of Nov. 3, killing Lam who was sleeping inside.

Local officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Cruz-Velazquez was in the country illegally and had history of run-ins with the law.

Assuredly the best and brightest. More:

 ICE said they had requested a detainer on two prior arrests, asking to be notified when Cruz-Velazquez was released from jail.

“Had those detainers been honored, or had ICE been notified on any of the other multiple occasions he was arrested and released from local jails, we would have taken him into custody,” Asher said.

But King County has a sanctuary law which prevents local law enforcement from sharing information with federal immigration officials.

Good Lord - how many people have to be killed or injured before we follow the laws of the land and stop virtue signalling. Build the wall. Deport the criminals. Mexico is doing the same thing to us that Fidel Castro did with the Mariel Boatlift. From the link:

The arrival of the refugees in the U.S. created political problems for U.S. president Jimmy Carter, first when his administration struggled to develop a consistent response to the immigrants and then when it was discovered that a number of the refugees had been released from Cuban jails and mental health facilities.

The government of Mexico is more than happy to aid these people in getting across our border - that way, they do not have to take care of them.

No Go to Bellingham

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Too much stuff to do here. Went through most of the day thinking that this was Friday (oopsie)

Finishing lunch - back to work...

Great observation from The Silicon Graybeard:

Noted in Passing: the Opioid “Crisis” is Not Due to Prescription Drugs
I've written on the so-called opioid crisis several times in the last few years and have come to the conclusion that the narrative we're being fed simply isn't true; that the stories are manufactured for reasons that aren't necessarily clear, but that could track back to some well known politicians (hint - one of the names is associated with Arkancide).  For example a couple of years ago, Mylan, the company that makes Epinephrine injector pens - the kind used to stop anaphylactic shock in people with allergies to things like bee stings - raised the price a factor of 4x and the media howled like banshees.  The company that makes Naloxone, the drug used to stop people from dying of opioid overdose from dying, raised their price 17x and the media didn't say a word. 

The Raconteur Report takes this and runs with it - their proposal:

The solution is simple, and two-fold:
Ban Narcan for 5 years.
Build. The. Wall.

Bonus: it requires neither doubling down, nor outright surrendering in the War Mutually Beneficial Slapfight On (Some) Drugs, With Collateral Damage.
Libertarian drug-lovers, rejoice.

Within a year, you'll be able to count opiate OD deaths on your thumbs in most states, annually. Because after addicts die the first time, recidivism drops off precipitously!
Mirabile dictu!

Of course, in this political climate, this would never come to pass but it is an excellent idea. Put a big dent in the homeless problem too.

And that is it for now

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Coffee and dump. Back to load up for storage and then up to Bellingham for the day.

Minimal posting.

Heh - The Campaign Trail

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Found on the web:

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Cover your a**

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Democrat fellow travelers are backing their wagons into a circle. From The Washington Post:

Eric Holder: William Barr is unfit to be attorney general
As a former U.S. attorney general, I am reluctant to publicly criticize my successors. I respect the office and understand just how tough the job can be.

But recently, Attorney General William P. Barr has made a series of public statements and taken actions that are so plainly ideological, so nakedly partisan and so deeply inappropriate for America’s chief law enforcement official that they demand a response from someone who held the same office.

Psychological projection much? Holder was at the heart of this scandal - not during the election but in the run-up.

FBI having some problems

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Great exchange: Senator Ted Cruz and the Inspector General from Representative Mark Meadows' twitter: 

Another day, another 2¢

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Working on stuff at home. Dump run and a trip up to Bellingham. Dinner with L tonight.

Rain incoming

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Cliff Mass has a way with words here:

The Northwest Weather Machine Shifts Gears
You can tell something has changed.

A look at the latest wave vapor satellite image (which shows the amount of water vapor in the middle to upper troposphere) leaves one's mouth agape, with a HUGE plume of water vapor (light color) inundating the entire West Coast. This doesn't look like the pineapple express, more like the pineapple train yard.

Emphasis mine - here is the satellite image:

20191211-satellite.jpg

Mt. Baker is pretty happy too:

Wednesday December 11 - Pre-Season Update
Everyone's snow dancing is working! It has started snowing on the mountain and the latest forecasts are calling for 20+ inches of new snow between Wednesday and Saturday morning. Given this forecast and the snow we already have on the ground, WE COULD BE OPEN AS EARLY AS TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK!

With the way the snow is coming in, we should have a good idea of where we are sitting by this Saturday afternoon and will hopefully have more details on a possible Opening Day. Looking further out, the snow is expected to return towards the middle-to-end of next week, which could set us up with a nice refresh for the weekend and Santa Photos on the 21st and 22nd!

This all depends, of course, on how the weather unfolds, so stay tuned here for daily updates and the most up-to-date info on Opening Day.

Great news for the store. Ski season is our second best time of the year.

Peak Oil - some actual numbers

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A great post from al fin next level - the headline is: Just. Wow.

Oil: For Every Barrel Consumed, Two Are Discovered

“For every barrel of oil consumed over the past 35 years, two new barrels have been discovered.” In other words, technology has increased the available oil despite the fact that humans have been using it at an increasing rate for over a century. For the past 15 or so years, fracking (and directional drilling) is the main reason that proved reserves have increased. __ https://www.e-education.psu.edu/emsc240/node/527

Peak Oil Armageddon is postponed, as global oil reserves keep rising.

Much more at the site. I knew we had oil reserves but had no idea they were so massive. We are set for the next couple hundred years at least and that is not counting new abiogenic deposits. More than enough time to get a decent intelligent nuclear design scaled out.

And back to work

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Enough lollygagging...

Nasty people with an agenda of hate

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There was a public shooting at a Jersey City deli - they were targeting jews. From the New York Daily Post:

Jersey City shooting suspects identified as David Anderson and Francine Graham
One of the two shooters who fatally shot up a Jersey City Jewish deli in what officials say was a “targeted” attack posted anti-Jewish and anti-police messages to social media before the chaotic attack that left three civilians and a cop dead, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.

Sources said David Anderson, who committed the deadly Tuesday attack with a woman identified as Francine Graham, was a one-time follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement and made the hateful postings on his social media page.

Geee - now where have we heard of that group before. From FOX News - January 22nd, 2019

Report: Black Hebrew Israelites confronting Covington Catholic students a ‘hate group’
In a statement released Sunday to the media, Covington Catholic High School junior Nick Sandmann, who was shown over the weekend standing face-to-face with an indigenous man Friday in Washington, D.C., said the standoff took place after four African-American protesters said “hateful things” to Sandmann and a group of his classmates.

“They called us ‘racists,’ ‘bigots,’ ‘white crackers,’ ‘faggots’ and ‘incest kids.’ They also taunted an African-American student from my school by telling him that we would ‘harvest his organs.’ I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear,” Sandmann wrote.

They are so off the charts that the Southern Poverty Law Center has this to say:

In its magazine, “Intelligence Report,” the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the Black Hebrew Israelites a hate group that is “becoming more militant.”

The website is here - the group is called out about 75% down the page.

And of course, Nicholas Sandmann filed suit February against Washington Post, CNN and NBC for their defamatory reporting.  The Gateway Pundit has a November update:

UPDATE: All Three Nicholas Sandmann Lawsuits Against Liberal Media Move Forward… WaPo, CNN, NBC
Federal Judge William Bertelsman reopened the $250 million defamation case filed by Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann against the Washington Post in late October.

Sixteen-year-old Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann was smeared and maligned by the liberal press after he was harassed in Washington DC following the March for Life.  The Washington Post accused the teen of blocking and impeding Nathan Phillips as the native American elder was harassing the Catholic boys in Trump hats.  It was all a lie and the Washington Post was one of the leading liberal outlets attacking the young Catholic boys.

The same judge has now ruled in similar cases against CNN and NBC.
This allows the cases to move forward on the same basis as the WaPo case.

Good. These lawsuits need to be very public and the judgment needs to actually hurt. Hurt a lot. Teach them a lesson that will be incorporated into their corporate DNA.

Well dang - Crooked River

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I have had a great delight in reading the Agent Pendergast series from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Special Agent Pendergast is - to say it very mildly - a very eccentric character. Highly intelligent but very quirky in his training, skill set, upbringing, etc...

Recently received an email from the authors mailing list saying that there was a new book coming out. Immediately went to the library website to place a hold only to discover that there were 32 people ahead of me. News travels fast on this little island.

Please Note - the series is highly chronological and needs to be read in order. The first two or three are well written but nothing really special but they take off after that and are most excellent reading. Start with Relic. Website here.

Delightful afternoon

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Back home again. L had won an item in a raffle at a local glass studio so after coffee, we went to pick it up. There is a favorite off-leash place nearby so we went there and had a good five mile walk. It is a disused railroad right of way (off to the left and to the North - the railbed extends quite a bit further than the indicated road). The tracks and ties have been removed so it is just an elevated level gravel walkway that nobody seems to use. 

She continued on to Mt. Vernon for some shopping and I am back home to shuffle stuff around between the dump, the storage unit and Bellingham - do a dump run and load up the van for Bellingham tomorrow. 

Surf for a bit and back to work.

And I am out the door

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Coffee & the usual. Playing with the radio today - think I got it programmed correctly. It picks up all the local frequencies. Now, I get to learn all about DMR...

I can dream can't I? SJW

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SJW stands for Social justice warrior - once considered in a positive light but with all the political correctness flinging around, the term is now derogatory. Still, we can dream:

20191211-sjw.jpg

From Vanderleun

As liberal heads explode

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President Trump appointed an openly gay man to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - from the Washington Blade
(America's LGBT News Source):

SHOCKER: Senate confirms Trump nominee as highest-ranking out gay judge
In a counter-intuitive development, the U.S. Senate approved on Tuesday an openly gay federal prosecutor named by President Trump for a seat on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, making him the highest-ranking openly gay federal judge in the country.

The Republican-majority chamber approved Patrick Bumatay, who previously worked as a U.S. attorney in Southern California, to a lifetime seat on the federal appeals court. The vote was 53-40.

With Republicans voting in his favor and Democrats voting against him, the traditionally party roles on LGBTQ rights were shifted on the confirmation vote.

And this is curious but not surprising:

Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the only out lesbian in the Senate, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), the only open bisexual, were among the Democrats voting against Bumatay. Also voting against was Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the chief sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate.

Their TDS outranks their solidarity with their gay brethern.

Winds and warmer temperatures

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Got a gale warning for today - warmer temps and rain.

Working at home today - out for coffee with L later and then back here to work some more. Planning a trip to the farm for later this week.

Three more days and we beat the recent record for sunspot-free days.

The IG Report - statistical analysis

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Kerl Denninger gives a lengthy but excellent analysis of the Inspector General's Report - here is the intro:

The IG **Admits** DOJ/FBI Attempted A Putsch
The IG report, after reading through a good part of it, states that seventeen "errors" were made by the FBI.

May I remind you of an indisputable fact: Errors are randomly distributed.

That is, let's assume you intend to drive at 40mph.  If you make an error you will operate your car some of the time at 38mph, and some of the time at 42mph.  The errors, if they are actual errors, will be randomly distributed around the correct action.  Some of the errors will place you inside the correct action and some of them will be place you outside of the correct action.  Approximately an equal number of errors will fall on each side of the correct action; some will help you, some hurt, but given enough errors there should be an approximately equal number in each direction.

If your speed, as measured at 1 minute intervals, is 40, 42, 45, 43, 41, 40, 46, 50, 42 and 45 mph that is not "error."  You are instead driving with a floor of 40mph; your intent is to drive at no slower than 40mph.

The probability of an error is 50% in each direction.  Therefore half the errors should have been to Trump's benefit.

However, exactly zero of them were to Trump's benefit.

The odds of this being random chance can be computed.

The probability of the first error being to Trump's detriment is 0.5 (50%.)

Each successive "error" is also equally probable to be of either benefit or detriment.  So when the second error occurs for them to both be to Trump's detriment by random chance -- that is, if it's an actual error without motivation or bias, is 0.50 * 0.50, or 1 in 4.

For seventeen "errors" to be all in the same direction is 0.5 ^ 17, or exactly 1 in 131,072.

This is not quite as bad of odds as winning the Powerball but it clowns the claim that such were errors and not intentional acts that evince a predetermined goal or desire.

Go and read the rest - this was not a finding, this was a manipulation of data.

Tip of the hat to Peter Grant at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link. Peter adds:

The question is, will they, and the FBI, be allowed to get away with it?  The IG report suggests that the "deep state" would like to ensure that they do.  Attorney General Barr's comments on that report suggest that they may not - a consummation devoutly to be wished by any and all Americans who value the Constitution and laws of this country, irrespective of their political views.

I am hoping for justice and from recent events, it looks like we may get it. As well as four more years of rooting out the deep-state.

A reminder - history

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Great quote:

“No living man was ever charged with political crimes of such multiplicity and such enormity . . . . He has been denounced without end as a perjurer, a usurper, a tyrant, a subverter of the Constitution, a destroyer of the liberties of the country, a reckless desperado, a heartless trifler over the last agonies of an expiring nation. Had that which has been said of him been true there is no circle in Dante’s Inferno full enough of torment to expiate his iniquities.”
—New York Times, May 1864, describing Northern media descriptions of Abraham Lincoln, cited in Larry Tagg, The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln: The Story of America’s Most Reviled President.

A couple of elves

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Here is a photo of me and L at yesterday's party:

20191211-elves.JPG

Tired

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Off to bed. Worked hard today and will probably feel it tomorrow. Got to get back in the habit of going to the gym - have not in the last two weeks.

Heh - art

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From the internet:

20191210-240.jpg

Sigh - antivaxxing

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Child abuse runs rampant in Samoa - from Brickmuppet:

Anti-Vaxxers Making A Difference
All schools and public services are shut down because of a measles outbreak in American Samoa, which has declared an emergency and is engaged in a massive, belated, vaccination campaign.  The situation is even worse in the nearby Kingdom of Samoa which has over 4800 people sick and over 70 deaths, mostly children.

The people who fall for this idiocy need to be educated with a cluebat. Nothing but child abuse.

Good - Saudis in the USA

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From FOX News:

After NAS Pensacola shooting, Pentagon suspends flight training for hundreds of Saudi students, officials say
The Pentagon on Tuesday suspended more than 850 Saudi students from flight training in response to the deadly shooting by a Saudi student last Friday at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, senior defense officials told Fox News.

The suspension was part of a broader Defense Department review of all international training on U.S. military bases after Friday's massacre.

The officials said all 852 Saudi military students will be immediately confined to classroom training, while all operational training in the air, land, and sea "will pause."

Good - open a review board on them. Check their social media (the shooter was very vocal in his hate for America).

Excellent rant from Cliff Mass - read the whole thing, not just my excerpt:

Promoters of Climate Anxiety
There is a special place in the underworld for those who promote anxiety, desperation, and terror in the most vulnerable. A place where the infernal warmth is particularly torrid.

And one does not have to spend much time looking for candidates for this netherworld--the front page of the Seattle Times will do fine.

On Sunday, our local tabloid featured a story about fearful/desperate folks dealing with their apocalyptic fears about climate change.

Like I said, go and read the whole thing - he links to the various fear-mongering in the media and excoriates them for what they are. Good stuff. The 70+ comments make for good reading.

And back home again - long but fun day

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The event was a lot of fun. Santa showed up, there were elves and even two real raindeer. I got to skritch them as I love large animals. The arts group got a room to ourselves and we provided tree ornaments for the kids to decorate (glue, glitter, etc...) as well as coloring activities, popsicle stick art projects. It was organised chaos but a lot of fun and we had about 500 people come through. This is a great event for the local community and nice exposure for our group.

L helped set up and was there for a couple hours but she has someone she is taking care of (medical issues) so did not stay for the whole time. We are meeting for coffee tomorrow.

Out the door

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Coffee and stuff - meeting up with L to volunteer at the "Afternoon with Santa" event later today. Should be fun.

And it is closed for the season - SR-20

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From the WA Department of Transportation:

SR 20 North Cascades Highway, between Diablo and Mazama, closing to vehicles until 2020
A snowy forecast means State Route 20 North Cascades Highway will close for the season at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11. This is the latest road closure date in more than a decade.

Washington State Department of Transportation crews close this stretch of SR 20 every year once snow fills the avalanche chutes that line the highway, which poses a safety risk to travelers and road crews.

Road closure points
The closure points start at milepost 134/Ross Dam Trailhead and at milepost 171/Silver Star Gate. When significant snow begins to fall, WSDOT crews will move the western closure point back to milepost 130/Colonial Creek Campground and the eastern closure point to milepost 177/Early Winters Campground. These weather-dependent changes usually happen in January. Signs along SR 20 are posted in advance of the closure point and updates on the WSDOT website will reflect where the road is closed.

Winter recreation on SR 20
Hikers, skiers, snowmobilers and other recreationalists can access the closed portion of highway during the winter season. Users should park in designated parking areas to allow plow drivers the space they need to clear snow around the closed stretch’s access gates.

WSDOT closes this stretch of highway due to avalanche risk, so anyone using this area should check forecasts and be aware of quickly changing conditions in the mountains. Travelers can also check conditions with North Cascades National Park before trips to this area.

And that is it for the season. Yes, this is the latest date for closure in a decade but if you go back a few more years, this is not an unusual date by any means. Last week I posted this:

The current statement is that this is the latest that the pass has stayed open in the last decade - climate change.

Actually, if you look at the numbers, you can see that it closed on January 3rd, 1990 with December 8th, 13th, 15th, 17th, 18th and many other dates past today. This is the effect of weather, not climate.

In other news, Mt. Baker is looking at maybe opening next week:

Tuesday December 10 - Pre-Season Update
After some anxious waiting, we are finally seeing snow headed our way!

The forecast is looking positive; we should see a fair amount of new snow hit Mt. Baker Ski Area over the coming week and based on the forecast we have the potential to do setup early next week with a good possibility of opening as early as middle of next week! This depends, of course, on how the weather unfolds, so stay tuned here for daily updates and the most up-to-date info on Opening Day.

November has been an unseasonably dry month - time for the jet stream to shift back to its normal path and deliver us some moisture... R. U. Listening?

George Nader - from the London Daily Mail June 4th, 2019:

Convicted sex offender George Nader, 60, who was a key witness in Mueller's probe, is charged with bringing child porn into the US after being found with 'explicit videos of little boys engaging in beastiality on his phone' at JFK Airport
George Nader, who was a key witness in FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian election meddling investigation, has been arrested in New York and charged with bringing child pornography into the US for a second time.

From the United States Department of Justice - December 3rd, 2019

California CEO and Seven Others Charged in Multi-Million Dollar Conduit Campaign Contribution Case
Earlier today, an indictment was unsealed against the CEO of an online payment processing company, and seven others, charging them with conspiring to make and conceal conduit and excessive campaign contributions, and related offenses, during the U.S. presidential election in 2016 and thereafter.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant Director in Charge Timothy R. Slater of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted Ahmad “Andy” Khawaja, 48, of Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 7, 2019, along with George Nader, Roy Boulos, Rudy Dekermenjian, Mohammad “Moe” Diab, Rani El-Saadi, Stevan Hill and Thayne Whipple. The 53 count indictment charges Khawaja with two counts of conspiracy, three counts of making conduit contributions, three counts of causing excessive contributions, 13 counts of making false statements, 13 counts of causing false records to be filed, and one count of obstruction of a federal grand jury investigation. Nader is charged with conspiring with Khawaja to make conduit campaign contributions, and related offenses. Boulos, Dekermenjian, Diab, El-Saadi, Hill, and Whipple are charged with conspiring with Khawaja and each other to make conduit campaign contributions and conceal excessive contributions, and related offenses.

They do not say who received the money though. But, from the New York Post:

George Nader, key Mueller witness, charged with funneling money to Clinton campaign
A key witness in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has been hit with federal charges for allegedly conspiring to funnel more than $3.5 million to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

George Nader, a Lebanese-American lobbyist busted for child pornography earlier this year, and seven others were named in a 53-count indictment unsealed in Washington, DC, federal court Tuesday.

It is almost always liberals. Biden, New York CityMark ZaidTerry Bean, teachers (here, here, here, here and here), Katie Hill... I could go on but you get the drift.

Heh - the IG report

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The house of cards is teetering - from The Gateway Pundit:

BREAKING: US Attorney John Durham Releases Statement Disputing IG Report Conclusions
The DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz finally released his report on FISA abuses on Monday.

The report revealed what we knew to be true all along — the FBI defrauded the FISA court and purposely omitted exculpatory information from the FISA judges in order to obtain FOUR FISA warrants on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.

As an aside - Carter Page is going to be set for life after he sues the FBI for what they did to him. His settlement will be in the multi-millions and the discovery process will expose the machinations at the FBI up to the top levels. Good.

Horowitz, however concluded that the FBI investigation into Trump was not politically motivated — and John Durham hit back.

We need to remember that although Horowitz is doing a decent job, he was an Obama appointee so his conclusions are different from mine regarding the 51 violations and 9 false statements

US Attorney from Connecticut John Durham immediately released a statement following the release of the FISA report and disputed Horowitz’s findings and conclusions.

“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff. However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” John Durham said in a rare statement.

John Durham was tapped by Bill Barr earlier this year to conduct an investigation into the origins of Spygate.

Looks like things are getting a bit hot for some miscreants in D.C.  I wonder how they are going to pace this as the 2020 elections are just 11 months away. Going to be an interesting summer - I can tell you that much.

Quid pro quo - Obama

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Obama was crooked, just like Hillary, Biden, Kerry, etc. etc. etc. From American Thinker:

Obama gave Common Core contract to publisher, got $65-million book deal in return?
As far-left Democrats yell about bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors, let's turn to their own side of the aisle, starting with the once penniless President Obama, who left public office a very, very rich man.

He just bought a Martha's Vineyard mansion for a cool $11.75 million, which is in addition to his Kalorama lookout post, his Chicago home, and possibly a Hawaii spread.  At some point, you've made enough...but not him.

Ostensibly, it's mainly the work of his book deals.  No bribery there, right?

Well, ahem...

According to Investment Watch (IWB), something doesn't quite look right.

Obama gave Pearson Publishing $350 million to create Commoncore text and Pearson gave Obama a $65 million dollar book deal in return.

Much more at the site - Pearson publishes the common core materials. Obama's book was published by Penguin Random House Publishing but it turns out that the same umbrella company owns major shares in both companies.

The article also touches on Obama's Netflix deal:

It's not the first time Obama has done things like this, either.  IWB notes that Obama's net neutrality stance benefited Netflix, and surprise, surprise, he got a lucrative deal with Netflix, too.

The whole lot of them are gaming the system - dirty as hell...

...really cute commercial. From YouTube:

Brexit, actually. Boris Johnson's funny election advert parodies Love Actually but makes an important point: this election is too close to call. On Friday 13th December, we could have a hung parliament and Jeremy Corbyn could be Prime Minister, or a Conservative majority that gets Brexit done.

Your vote could be the difference. Vote Conservative on Thursday 12th December.

From Vanderleun who calls him England's Trump - so true and so needed. Time to move on. Get great things done.
Enough chattering and whinging from the children.

Outta here

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The carne asada is calling my name. Back in a bit. My local is closed for a private party so no beers for me 😒

Feeling nervous John?

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From The Gateway Pundit:

Brennan Lashes Out at President Trump After IG Horowitz Releases Report on FISA Abuse
Former CIA Director John Brennan lashed out at President Trump Monday evening after DOJ IG Michael Horowitz released his 476-page report on FISA abuse.

The report revealed what we knew to be true all along — the FBI defrauded the FISA court and purposely omitted exculpatory information from the FISA judges in order to obtain FOUR FISA warrants on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.

The FISA abuse report also showed 51 violations and 9 false statements, according to the appendix.

Brennan's response:

“The damage being inflicted by President Trump on our national conscience & our government is tragic. Members of Congress & staffers who defend & misrepresent his indefensible actions are telling Americans it’s ok to be dishonest, unethical, & corrupt,” Brennan said.

Pot meet kettle - a classic case of psychological projection.

This defines her life - Fauxcahontas

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From ABC News:

Elizabeth Warren campaign to hold star-studded fundraiser in Los Angeles as Harris exits stage
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is set to host her first campaign fundraiser in the Los Angeles area Saturday. And while Warren won't be there -- she'll be stumping in New Hampshire -- the event is shaping up to have as many stars as a Hollywood movie premiere.

The gathering promises to be replete with celebrity faces -- and a life-size cardboard cutout of Warren.

Emphasis mine - in Texas they call it "All Hat and No Cattle" She talkum heap big but has nothing substantive to offer.

20191209-wash.jpg

Obama and Ukraine

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This does not surprise me one bit. From the New York Post:

Obama administration knew Hunter Biden was shady, witness admits
Of all the supposedly shocking revelations that have emerged from the impeachment hearings this week, here’s one that the Democrats in Congress hope you don’t hear about: The Obama White House knew that Hunter Biden’s extremely lucrative appointment to the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which occurred the month after his father was named the administration’s “point person” on Ukraine, reeked of corruption — and they didn’t do anything about it.

In Congressional testimony Friday, former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch confirmed for Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), that in 2016 the Obama State Department privately ran her through a series of practice questions and answers to prepare Yovanovitch for her Senate confirmation hearing.

Scandal-free administration? Hardly.

I do hope this is not Ender's Game

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From China's english language Global Times:

Game targeting Hong Kong ‘traitors’ popular on mainland social media
An online game calling on players to hunt down traitors who seek to separate Hong Kong from China and fuel street violence has reportedly begun to attract players across Chinese mainland social media platforms.

The game, "fight the traitors together," is set against the backdrop of the social unrest that has persisted in Hong Kong. The script asks the player to find eight secessionists hidden in the crowd participating in Hong Kong protests.

Players can knock them down with slaps or rotten eggs until they are captured. Online gamers claim the game allows them to vent their anger at the separatist behavior of secessionists during the recent Hong Kong riots.

The eight traitors in the game, caricatured based on real people, include Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, Martin Lee Chu-ming and Joshua Wong Chi-fung, prominent opposition figures who have played a major role in inciting unrest in Hong Kong. There are also traitor figures in ancient China.

"Hong Kong is part of China and this can't be meddled with by outside powers," reads the game cover page.

DuckDuckGo Ender's Game Ending if you have not read the book or seen the (very good) movie.

Cold outside

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It was supposed to be sunny this afternoon but a cold fog moved in instead. Air temp is 43°F outside but feels colder - the humidity sucks the body heat right out of you. The rest of the week looks delightful as well...

Got a hankering for some carne asada so working here for a little bit more and then heading out. L and I emailed back and forth a bit - meeting up tomorrow to volunteer at the local community center. 500 kids and parents meet with Santa.

Still playing with the new radio - a lot to learn.

Our quiet sun

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From Space Weather:

ONE WEEK FROM A SPACE AGE RECORD: 2019 is about to set a Space Age record. So far this year, the sun has been blank (no sunspots) for 262 days, including the last 25 days in a row. If the streak continues for only 7 more days, 2019 will break the Space Age record for spotless suns.

Presaging another Maunder Minimum?

The Maunder Minimum, also known as the "prolonged sunspot minimum", is the name used for the period starting in about 1645 and continuing to about 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time.

The term was introduced after John A. Eddy published a landmark 1976 paper in Science. Astronomers before Eddy had also named the period after the solar astronomers Annie Russell Maunder (1868–1947) and E. Walter Maunder (1851–1928), who studied how sunspot latitudes changed with time. The period the husband and wife team examined included the second half of the 17th century. Two papers were published in Edward Maunder's name in 1890 and 1894, and he cited earlier papers written by Gustav Spörer. Due to the social climate of the time, Annie's contribution was not publicly recognized.

And what is so important about sunspot numbers? Sunspots are a great proxy for solar activity - the more spots, the more active the sun is. The more energy it is giving off. The warmer we are. Little Ice Age anyone?

476 pages: Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane Investigation

Not planning to read the whole thing - lots of other people will be doing just that and reporting whatever tid-bits are buried within. Nice to see daylight starting to creep in to the remains of the Obama administration.

Working at home all day

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Heading out for coffee in 45 minutes or so. Been doing some more paperwork - got another file cabinet so getting stuff organised for the business and for the arts group stuff.

I have always used a Brother label printer for doing the file folder tabs - love it for that. Legible and easy.

Published this morning. From John Solomon:

IG report lays out compelling evidence FBI misled FISA court in Russia case, sources say
The Justice Department inspector general’s report into the Russia collusion investigation lays out incontrovertible evidence that the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court through false information and omissions, according to sources familiar with its findings.

The evidence that the judges were misled is so sweeping that it could provide grounds, if Attorney General William Barr chooses, to withdraw the FBI’s application for the surveillance warrants that began in October 2016 to target ex-Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the sources added.

Such a move, while mostly legally symbolic since the probe is long since closed, would still amount to a resounding rebuke to an FBI probe that the bureau, Democrats and their media allies relentlessly defended.

And a bit more:

The report is expected to conclude the FBI’s decision to open a counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia in 2016 was adequately predicated but that its subsequent reliance on the so-called Steele dossier and execution of FISA warrants to assist the probe were problematic.

That reliance became even more troubling in early 2017 when the FBI conducted an interview with one of Christopher Steele’s sources that raised further concerns about the reliability of a dossier that was funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Heh - they have NOTHING. Quit this impeachment stupidity now and get back to work. Kabuki theater.

So true - President John F. Kennedy

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If he were running today, I would vote for him in a heartbeat:

20191209-kennedy.jpg

The first trailer was posted today:

Did not bother to see the 2016 "politically correct" reboot. Woke does not do it for me. Glad to see some clear heads are bringing it back to its roots. Loved the original. July 10th.

Not just me - end of the world

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Yesterday, I linked to this: Rough times ahead. Today, Bayou Renaissance Man posted this:

It's the end of the world as we know it - and we feel terrible!
Three articles struck a powerful chord in me over the past few days.  They all approach a central theme from different directions, but their conclusions are very similar:  today's extremists see politics, ideology, and life itself in religious terms rather than secular.  Their beliefs may have nothing to do with any Deity that we might recognize, but they're nevertheless oriented towards a cause that assumes God-like proportions in their eyes.

First, Alma Boykin (a good friend in meatspace as well as cyberspace) compares the attitudes of modern, secular millennialist extremists to religious fundamentalism:

Millennialism, leaning on Richard Landes’ definition and discussion, is an emotional, socially perfectionalist movement with an apocalyptic anticipation that rise[s] out of and then fall[s] back into “ordinary time.” Communism, Nazism, the Ghost Dance, the Millerite movement in the 1830s-40s in the US, the Münster Anabaptists, all fit this description and pattern. Society has become fatally corrupt, and there are signs that the end is coming, be it the Christian idea of the End Times, or Marx’s rising up of the proletariat against the owners of capital. The goal of the believers is to purify themselves and society so that when the End comes, they are ready for the new world that will arise. Often, they believe that their actions can bring about the coming of the End, or at least their inaction will lead to them failing to reach the better world (or for it to arrive at all – Ghost Dance.)

Much much more at the site. It pays to be prepared and to avoid large urban areas.

#1) - no, the sky is not falling but
#2) - situational awareness is a good thing to have (and continually practice).

Heh - New York Times prints fake news

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Shocked I tell you! From the Newsbusters:

New York Times Flunks Fact Checking 101: Their Star 'Trump Voter' Never Voted in 2016
The nation's leading newspapers have asserted their role as the most important "independent fact-checkers" in politics. So why do they fail to fact-check their own interviewees? On Twitter, Jeryl Bier noted The New York Times had to add an embarrassing correction to a two-month old story on Friday. Reporter Trip Gabriel did an entire story on a Trump voter iin Erie, Pennsylvania changing his mind....except records showed the man never voted.

The original story on October 7 began: "Mark Graham, a real estate appraiser in this faded manufacturing hub, sat with friends at a gym named FitnessU on the morning after the Democratic debate in mid-September. He had voted for Barack Obama, but in 2016 he took a gamble on Donald Trump."

Now he was willing to vote for the Democrat in 2020, whoever it is. Then came the Editors' Note:

Editors’ Note: Dec. 6, 2019
After this article was published, local news media reported that Mark Graham did not vote in the 2016 election. The Times has confirmed that Mr. Graham did not vote in the election.While Mr. Graham acknowledged misspeaking about his voting record, he said the article accurately reflects his feelings about the 2016 race and President Trump’s performance in office.

So why did Trip Gabriel (and his copy editors) fail to check on whether Graham voted in 2016? It's not rocket science. They linked in their correction to Erie ABC affiliate JET 24:

And this is my surprised face - NOT! Basic fact checking. Simple to do.

That is it for tonight

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Devoting my time to the new radio. The software that comes with it greatly eases programming so makes a big difference. The digital part of the programming is hard enough that I need all the help I can get. (If I am off by one bit, I can cause interferrence with the net over a very wide area). I have a dummy load so will operate with that instead of an antenna at first just to get a feel for it.

Geeking out tonight

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Recently purchased a new radio - the Baofeng DMR-6X2. What makes this one interesting is that it is your regular two-band FM ham radio handheld walkie but it also supports digital transmissions using the DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) protocols. These were developed by commercial and emergency services to allow encrypted communication over digital radio. This allows more "channels" (called "talkgroups") in a band. The repeaters can be connected to the internet so you can be driving down I-5 and keep on your talkgroup as you get handed off from repeater to repeater. Different technology but it works a lot like a cell phone.

Something new to learn.

Found on the web:

20191208-kittens.jpg

Heh - 74 pounds of CMUs and some zip ties. Pure genius.

Speaking of Antifa

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The little twits are active in Seattle - from Law Enforcement Today:

Antifa terrorizes Seattle. Police told to stand down while Thin Blue Line flag torched in front of them.
Whenever you have some event that pertains to anything pro-police, or pro-Trump, or really anything that is a gathering of those right-of-center; you can count on the likes of Antifa to make an appearance and act like buffoons.

Just yesterday in Seattle, Washington, Pro-Trump activists held a “Mega MAGA March” that was crashed by the soy-milk infused likes of Antifa.

The current crop are just whiny little kids acting out. I worry that their big brothers might be waiting in the wings.

Woe is us - backlash?

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Why do they simply just police their own. If enough Muslims stood up to the terrorists, they would back down.
From PJ Media:

Here We Go Again: Pensacola Muslims Fear 'Backlash' After Jihad Massacre
The Pensacola News Journal was first out of the gate this time around with what is a recurring feature of establishment media coverage of jihad attacks: the follow-up weeper about how the local Muslims are shocked (Shocked!) by the massacre, and are now cowering in fear of an “anti-Muslim backlash.” That backlash rarely, if ever, materializes, but when has the media ever allowed reality to intrude upon a good narrative?

The News Journal interviewed Salma Ashmawi of the Islamic Center of Northwest Florida, and Ashmawi hit all the expected notes, asking: “What can anybody do in a case like that except pray?” Ashmawi added, said the News Journal, that “the mosque’s membership is also raising money to help the victims.” She said: “We are all Pensacola residents. We’re hurt and we’re in mourning.”

Amid all this pious magnanimity, Ashmawi also remembered to play the victim: she “said parents who usually take their children to Sunday school at the mosque are planning to keep their children home this week out of fear they will become targets of backlash aimed against Muslims.”

Why will you not let us live in peace? We will do this when you stop your terrorist programs. Simple as that.

The Religion of Peace website tracks terrorist killings and for the last thirty days, the butcher's bill has been: 102 Islamic attacks in 23 countries, in which 470 people were killed and 492 injured.

Rough times ahead

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Things might be ramping up - another reason to avoid all big cities. From Status 451

Days of Rage
“People have completely forgotten that in 1972 we had over nineteen hundred domestic bombings in the United States.” — Max Noel, FBI (ret.)

Recently, I had my head torn off by a book: Bryan Burrough’s Days of Rage, about the 1970s underground. It’s the most important book I’ve read in a year. So I did a series of running tweetstorms about it, and Clark asked me if he could collect them for posterity. I’ve edited them slightly for editorial coherence.

Days of Rage is important, because this stuff is forgotten and it shouldn’t be. The 1970s underground wasn’t small. It was hundreds of people becoming urban guerrillas. Bombing buildings: the Pentagon, the Capitol, courthouses, restaurants, corporations. Robbing banks. Assassinating police. People really thought that revolution was imminent, and thought violence would bring it about.

One thing that Burrough returns to in Days of Rage, over and over and over, is how forgotten so much of this stuff is. Puerto Rican separatists bombed NYC like 300 times, killed people, shot up Congress, tried to kill POTUS (Truman). Nobody remembers it.

Also, people don’t want to remember how much leftist violence was actively supported by mainstream leftist infrastructure. I’ll say this much for righty terrorist Eric Rudolph: the sonofabitch was caught dumpster-diving in a rare break from hiding in the woods. During his fugitive days, Weatherman’s Bill Ayers was on a nice houseboat paid for by radical lawyers.

Most ’70s of the bombings were done as protest actions. Unlike today’s jihadists, ’70s underground didn’t try to max body count. And ’70s papers didn’t really give a shit. A Puerto Rican group bombed 2 theaters in the Bronx, injuring eleven, in 1970. NYT gave it 6 paragraphs.

This is a long essay but well worth reading and very timely despite having been written almost three years ago. What with groups like Antifa and Black Panthers gaining traction, it will not be long before urban violence like what we had in the 1970's will rise again.

Tip of the hat to Vanderleun for the link.

Well crap - RIP René Auberjonois

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Obit from Variety:

René Auberjonois, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Boston Legal’ Actor, Dies at 79
René Auberjonois, best known for his roles in “Boston Legal” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” died at his home in Los Angeles due to metastatic lung cancer. He was 79.

His son Rèmy-Luc confirmed the news to the Associated Press.

Auberjonois was a prolific television actor, appearing as Paul Lewiston in 71 episodes of “Boston Legal” and as Clayton Runnymede Endicott III in ABC’s long-running sitcom “Benson” — a role that earned him an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor in a comedy in 1984. He played shape-shifter Changeling Odo in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and carried that role into video games, voicing Odo in “Harbinger” and “The Fallen.” His appearance as Judge Mantz in ABC’s “The Practice” earned him another Emmy nod for guest actor in a drama in 2001.

His guest roles were numerous, appearing on classics like “Murder, She Wrote,” “The Jeffersons,” “The Outer Limits,” “L.A. Law,” “Stargate SG-1,” “Frasier,” and the more recent hit “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

A great actor and seems to have been a really wonderful person.

Now this is interesting - MREs

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Someone from our local preparedness group turned me on to these. We all know about the millitary MREs - Meals Ready to Eat. This is shelf-stable food packaged in a foil pouch and is ready to eat. Some of them even have heating strips so you pull a tab and five minutes later, a hot meal. Not for the epicurians out there but tasty and nutritious.

Well - DOH! - it turns out that other military services have their own MREs and Amazon sells them. Check out:

There is more if you click on the vendor and search their products. A good bit more expensive than 50 pounds of rice, 50 pounds of beans but looks really good and just the thing to stash in your car's emergency pack. Keep you well fed for a couple of days.

A wonderful day

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Back home again - had a nice walk with L and her friend S. S had to undergo a medical procedure so L is staying over and taking care of her. We didn't walk too far (S is still a little shaky) but it was a gorgeous cloudy day and the views of the South Sound were delightful. (Barnum Point here and here)  We are having a great time getting to know each other. Really sweet woman.

Parted ways a couple hours ago - I got some dinner on the road and am back home for the night. No beers.

We are meeting up on Tuesday to volunteer at a local Community Center - Day with Santa. I wish I had a Krampus costume to wear just for fun.

A quiet news day

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Heading out for a walk with L in a bit. Nothing much else planned for today.

Heading towards a record low - sunspots

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We have already beaten the record for 2009 at 261 days with no sunspots. 2008 is the next goalpost - there were 268 days with no sunspots and we have 23 days left in this year.

As an example, there were zero days without sunspots in 2015, 2013 and 2012. This is an incredibly deep solar niminum.

Sunspots are an excellent proxy for solar output - the more sunspots, the warmer it is on Earth (and all other planets - we can see the Martian icecaps grow and shrink). Another aspect of the quiet sun is that the lower solar output means more cosmic rays hitting earth. The solar wind acts as a shield when it hits our magnetic field. Here is an excerpt of the neutron count from 1965 through current recorded at the Oulu Observatory in Finland:

20191208-oulu.jpg

Heading towards some cold cold weather...

From Reuters:

Trump takes aim at trickle-down toilets, faucets
President Donald Trump said on Friday he has directed his environmental regulators to find answers to what he said is a big problem - water-conserving showers, faucets and toilets.

“We have a situation where we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms,” Trump told a meeting of small business leaders at the White House. “You turn the faucet on in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water ... and you don’t get any water,” he added.

He said the Environmental Protection Agency was looking “very strongly at my suggestion.”

The fixtures “end up using more water,” Trump told the roundtable where U.S. officials also reviewed his agenda of slashing regulations such as those on efficient light bulbs. “People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once,” he said.

And this from San Francisco:

San Francisco Mayor London Breed accused Trump of “taking swipes” at her city for “no reason other than politics.” It was the latest clash between the Republican president and Democratic officials in the state.

I wonder if Mayor Breed read this article from the February 28th, 2011 San Francisco Chronicle:

Low-flow toilets cause a stink in SF
San Francisco's big push for low-flow toilets has turned into a multimillion-dollar plumbing stink.

Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes, said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission. That has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park and elsewhere, especially during the dry summer months.

The city has already spent $100 million over the past five years to upgrade its sewer system and sewage plants, in part to combat the odor problem.

San Francisco is dumping large quantities of bleach to mitigate the bad odors and is having to inject municipal drinking water into the sewage lines to "flush" the accumulations through the system.

Low flow may be a very wise idea in the desert but in an area with plentiful water - especially an area with older treatment plants, low flow can be a disaster.

Batteries - coming down in price

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An interesting observation at Energy Dive:

Average market prices for battery packs have plunged from $1,100/kWh in 2010 to $156/kWh in 2019, an 87% fall in real terms, according to a report released Tuesday

Much more at the site. Fun time to be alive.

From nature.medicine:

Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span

Abstract
Although intermittent increases in inflammation are critical for survival during physical injury and infection, recent research has revealed that certain social, environmental and lifestyle factors can promote systemic chronic inflammation (SCI) that can, in turn, lead to several diseases that collectively represent the leading causes of disability and mortality worldwide, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders. In the present Perspective we describe the multi-level mechanisms underlying SCI and several risk factors that promote this health-damaging phenotype, including infections, physical inactivity, poor diet, environmental and industrial toxicants and psychological stress. Furthermore, we suggest potential strategies for advancing the early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of SCI.

United Press International has a writeup on this paper - some of their findings:

  • Roughly half of all deaths worldwide are caused by inflammation-related diseases.
  • "This is a substantial public health crisis," co-author George Slavich, a research scientist at the Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA, said in a statement. "It's also important to recognize that inflammation is a contributor not just to physical health problems, but also mental health problems such as anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, self-harm and suicide."
  • According to Slavich, risk factors for chronic inflammation include obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, social isolation, stress and inadequate or poor sleep. Exposure to environmental and industrial toxins can also cause inflammation, as can infections, particularly when left untreated.

Scary stuff - our society is twitching us to death.

Done for the day

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Ran a couple of errands and worked at home. Up to Mt. Vernon for dog food and Chinese dinner.

Back home and about ready to crash - quick surf around the internet first.

It's coffee time

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Working at home today

L and I are volunteering at a local event next Tuesday - should be a lot of fun. Meeting up for a walk tomorrow.

Back in a bit.

The Ukraine in the news - Pelosi

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Looks like the corruption is spread further than we knew - from National File:

BREAKING: Nancy Pelosi’s Son Was Exec At Gas Company That Did Business In Ukraine
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s son Paul Pelosi Jr. visited Ukraine in 2017 to meet with government officials in connection to a business initiative. Now, unearthed records reveal that Paul Pelosi Jr. was an executive of a gas industry company that did business in Ukraine – and his mother Nancy Pelosi was featured in one of the company’s promotional videos.

Much more at the site - links to videos and screen caps of "dissapeared" web pages. Dirty as can be.

Too cute - from Don Surber:

Now this is interesting

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From NOQ Report:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg blocks House Democrats from obtaining the President’s tax records
The left’s favorite Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dealt House Democrats a stunning blow in their efforts to obtain President Trump’s tax records. The 86-year-old Clinton appointee issued an administrative temporary stay for one week against the order by the 2nd Circuit Appeals Court for President Trump to hand over his financial records from House Democrats to Deutsche Bank and Capital One. They have until December 11 to respond.

This gives more time to let the impeachment circus get even more clowny.

The Naval Base shooting

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Interesting development from the New York Times:

Florida Shooting Updates: Authorities Say It’s Too Early to Know if It’s Terrorism
A member of the Saudi Air Force training to be a pilot killed three people at Naval Air Station Pensacola before he was shot dead by officers responding to the scene, the authorities said.

But, a few paragraphs later, there is htis:

Other Saudis on the base are being questioned.
Six other Saudi nationals were detained for questioning near the scene of the shooting, including three who were seen filming the entire incident, according to a person briefed on the initial stages of the investigation.

Three were filming it? It was planned so therefore, it was terrorism. Case closed.

Then, we have this from the London Daily Mail -  there was a manifesto. There is always a fscking manifesto:

Saudi Air Force trainee condemned US as 'nation of evil' in hate-fueled Twitter manifesto, just house before he killed three and injured eight at Pensacola naval base - as six others are arrested, including three who FILMED the attack
The Saudi Air Force trainee who killed three and injured eight when he opened fire at a naval base in Florida on Friday assailed the United States as 'a nation of evil' just before his shooting rampage, AFP reports.

The man, identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, opened fire inside a classroom at Naval Air Station in Pensacola early Friday morning. Police quickly responded to the scene and he was shot dead.

Terrorism - nothing else.

And out the door

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Meeting L for dinner in a few minutes. No more posting for today.

Time to get back to work - impeachment

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From FOX News:

White House won’t participate in impeachment hearings, tells Nadler to 'end this inquiry now’
The White House said Friday it will not participate in House Judiciary Committee impeachment proceedings, blasting the inquiry as "completely baseless" in a curt response to Democrats ahead of Monday's scheduled hearing.

“House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade," White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a scathing one-page letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., obtained by Fox News. "You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings."

Yeah really - the dems are not doing their jobs. They need to move on.

Another public shooting - Navy base

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From Associated Press:

US digs into Saudi shooting suspect motive in Navy shooting
U.S. law enforcement officials were digging into the background of the suspected Florida Naval station shooter Friday, to determine the Saudi Air Force officer’s motive and whether it was connected to terrorism.

As questions swirled about the shooting, which left four people dead and multiple people wounded, officials identified the suspect as 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, an aviation officer in the Saudi Air Force. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Alshamrani was attending the aviation school at the base, one of hundreds of international military members who are receiving training there. The shooter opened fire in a classroom building on Friday morning.

The U.S. has long had a robust training program for Saudis, providing assistance in the U.S. and in the Kingdom. And the Trump administration has sent several Patriot missile batters and hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia this year in the wake of attacks on the kingdom that officials blame on Iran.

On Friday, President Donald Trump said he got a call from Saudi King Salman, who expressed “his sincere condolences” and sent sympathies to the families of those involved.

It will be interesting to see if King Salman starts prosecuting terrorists. The Saudis have been very lax so far but since oil prices are so low, they have more incentive to play nice.

Unraveling - Ukraine

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They had a corrupt government and their citizens voted in a President who is fighting it. This should be interesting.
From Interfax - Ukraine:

MPs demand Zelensky, Trump investigate suspicion of U.S.-Ukraine corruption involving $7.4 bln
Ukrainian members of parliament have demanded the presidents of Ukraine and the United States, Volodymyr Zelensky and Donald Trump, investigate suspicions of the legalization of $7.4 billion by the "family" of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych through the American investment fund Franklin Templeton Investments, which they said has ties to the U.S. Democratic Party.

At a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine agency on Wednesday, MP Andriy Derkach announced that deputies have received new materials from investigative journalists about international corruption and the participation of Ukrainian officials in it.

"Last week, November 14, the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO), unnoticed by the media, announced a new suspicion to the notorious owner of Burisma, ex-Ecology Minister Zlochevsky. According to the suspicion, the Yanukovych family is suspected, in particular, with legalizing (laundering) of criminally obtained income through Franklin Templeton Investments, an investment fund carrying out purchases of external government loan bonds totaling $7.4 billion," Derkach said.

And a bit on Franklin Templeton Investments:

"The son of Templeton's founder, John Templeton Jr., was one of President Obama's major campaign donors. Another fund-related character is Thomas Donilon. Managing Director of BlackRock Investment Institute, shareholder Franklin Templeton Investments, which has the largest share in the fund. It is noteworthy that he previously was Obama's national security advisor," Derkach said.

Biden:

The activities of Shokin, according to the MP, irritated then U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during his fifth visit to Kyiv in two years. The visit on December 7-8, 2015, was devoted to solving the issue of Shokin's resignation for the affairs of Zlochevsky and Burisma, he said.

"The subject of pressure was the $1 billion credit guarantee that the United States should have provided to Ukraine: Biden himself acknowledged the pressure in his speech to the U.S. Foreign Relations Council in January 2018," Derkach said.

Dirty - Biden, Kerry and a lot of other people. Jail time would be wonderful.

True words

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Especially these days with all that is happening in D.C.


"To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture."
--Thomas Paine

Out for a bit

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Coffee & bank. Running a load up to Bellingham this afternoon and then L and I are getting dinner. Something nice is happening here - feels very good.

Nice bust in Massachusetts

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From Boston, MA station WHDH:

‘Operation Throne Down’ results in charges against dozens of Latin Kings leaders
Federal authorities announced racketeering, drug and firearms charges on Thursday against more than 60 members of the Latin Kings, including the leaders of the street gang’s East Coast operations, following “Operation Throne Down,” which was the largest takedown in FBI Boston history.

Among those arrested is Michael Cecchetelli, a 40-year-old Springfield, Massachusetts resident with ties to the Genovese crime family who oversaw the gang’s operations from Massachusetts down to Florida, according to Joseph Bonavolonta, head of the FBI’s Boston office.

Authorities said Cecchetelli and other gang leaders ran the gang with a Mafia-style hierarchy, with a council of leaders and as many as 11 chapters across Massachusetts alone. They say the leadership approach has become a model for other Latin Kings regions in the country.

The Latin Kings have also grown to become the largest gang in Massachusetts prisons, with an estimated 400 members, including leaders who face charges for continuing to coordinate criminal activity outside the prison, authorities said.

“It’s a big hit precisely because we are able to take out all of the leadership,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling of the five-year investigation by the FBI and the State Department. “It will be extremely difficult for the gang to regroup in the region.”

Good news - they got the leadership so it will take a year or so for replacements to move into position. I am betting that the feds already know who the contenders are and are closely monitoring their activities. This is how the opioid crisis started and is being maintained.

California take close note: When you fail to maintain your infrastructure, things happen. From Breitbart:

Nationwide Blackout Leaves 65% of Venezuelan States in the Dark
At least 15 of Venezuela’s 23 states woke up without access to electricity on Wednesday after another power outage occurred in the early hours of the morning.

According to local media, the affected entities included the states Nueva Esparta, Zulia, Táchira, Mérida, Lara, Falcón, Miranda, Carabobo, Yaracuy, and some areas of the capital Caracas. There were also reports of minor disruption in the states of Bolívar and Barinas.

Although power had been restored by mid-morning, another blackout took place around 3 p.m., affecting 15 states across the country, many of whom lost access to the internet.

The end game of socialism - you run out of other people's money.

Turnabout is fair play - France

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Remember French President Emmanuel Macron laughing at our President Trump at the NATO meeting a few days ago?
At least, we do not have this - from the London Daily Mail:

Who's laughing now, Macron? France is paralyzed by worst nationwide strike for decades, with schools shutting and public transport grinding to a halt, as furious public sector workers protest pension reforms
More than 800,000 demonstrators marched on cities throughout France today, with railway workers, teachers and hospital staff joining the largest strike in decades.

Authorities in Paris barricaded the presidential palace and deployed some 6,000 police as activists, many in yellow vests, gathered for a major march aimed at forcing President Emmanuel Macron to abandon his pension reform plans.

Officers were forced to use tear gas to disperse rioters who set fire to a vehicle and smashed windows as tensions heightened close to the Place de la Republique square.

The labor unions over there demanded large pensions for their retired workers but the government did not fund them and they are starting to run out of money. Any attempt to fix this is met with protest. Unfortunately, the government has spent a lot of the money on alt.energy and other social feel-good scams so they are between a rock and a hard place.

Meanwhile, back at home, from CNS News:

158,593,000 Employed in November: 24th Record Breaker for Trump
President Donald Trump frequently points to the strong economy as one of his major accomplishments, and today's employment summary gives him more bragging rights:

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics says the economy added a whopping 266,000 jobs in November; and for the sixth month in a row, a record number of Americans were counted as employed.

158,593,000 Americans were working in November, the 24th record of Trump's presidency.

The unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to 3.5 percent, a 50-year low.

Leadership - not feel-good rhetoric.

And it's Miller Rainier time

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Heading out for a couple of pints. Things are fairly maudlin there as one of the waitresses lost control of her car and was killed last Tuesday. She was a real sweetie - husband and kids.

Back in a while - full day tomorrow so minimal posting later.

Political correctness run amok - Canada

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From CTV News:

$1,500 payout over drinking fountains with English-language buttons
The Federal Court has ordered the Senate to pay a Montreal-area man $1,500 in compensation after he complained that his language rights were violated by the drinking fountains with English-language push-button labels he encountered on Parliament Hill.

In a judgment delivered Thursday, Federal Court Justice Luc Martineau ruled the Senate of Canada failed to meet its obligations under the Official Languages Act because its drinking fountains had metal buttons embossed with the English word “PUSH.”

Some of the fountains in the Parliament Hill building also included the equivalent word in Braille, but none of them had the French word “POUSSEZ.”

Words fail - just because some "activist" got his feewings hurt.

He should have been laughed out of the courtroom - Pour encourager les autres

Chambers Flintlock Machine Gun from the 1700s
Joseph Chambers invented a repeating flintlock weapon in the 1790s, and I think it is appropriate to consider it a "machine gun". The design used a series of superposed charges in one or more barrels, with specially designed bullets that has hollow central tubes through them. This would allow the fire form a detonation charge to transit through a bullet at the rear and set off a subsequent charge. The result was a single trigger pull to use a flintlock action to start an unstoppable series of shots. Chambers made pistol and musket versions, as well as a full-on mounted machine gun.

More information at the YouTube site.

Grouchy Old Cripple delivers a fine rant:

OPEC Is In Trouble
Came across this story in the Atlanta Urinal and Constipation.

VIENNA — The countries that make up the OPEC oil-producing cartel ended talks late Thursday without an announcement on possible deep cuts to production that would support the price of fuel around the world.

The price of oil is dropping because there is a glut of oil. Even with the loss of the oil production of the socialist utopia of Venezuela and sanctions against Iran there is still an oversupply of oil.

Hey! Whatever happened to peak oil? Remember that? We were supposed to run out of oil by now. Of course we were also not gonna be able to produce enough food to feed the planet either.

Whenever booger eatin’ moh-rons like Paul Ehrlich speak, ignore them. Same goes for the climate crisis dipshits. It’s all bullshit.

Denny is just getting started... Truth to power

North Cascades Highway

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The snow here is variable - the North Cascades Highway is a good "barometer" as it closes whenever enough snow accumulates to make transit dangerous (avalanche hazard). The record going back to 1972 can be found here.

The current statement is that this is the latest that the pass has stayed open in the last decade - climate change.

Actually, if you look at the numbers, you can see that it closed on January 3rd, 1990 with December 8th, 13th, 15th, 17th, 18th and many other dates past today. This is the effect of weather, not climate.

In other news: the Department of Transportation blog has a nice interview with Mazama the Avalanche Rescue Goat

A star is born on our mountain passes

20191205-mazama.jpg

Bursting onto the scene last winter season, Mazama the Avalanche Rescue Goat has become the furry face of our northern snow and ice program. She may pop up on SR 20 North Cascades Highway helping assess conditions at Washington Pass, or could appear on US 2 Stevens Pass keeping an eye on avalanche danger for crews clearing the highway. And wherever she shows up, fans follow.

Can a goat really have fans? Oh yes, Mazama's debut last year was nothing short of a fan frenzy. "Mazama is the hero we all need," one person said on social media, where she regularly racks up among our most likes, comments and questions of any of our content.

"All the attention I've gotten, it's humbling," Mazama said during a recent exclusive interview. "It's nice that I can bring attention to the great work our avalanche teams do, because they're the true stars. The fans, I love them, but it's not something I ever expected."

It's been a long road to our agency for Mazama. Born in the deserts of Patagonia, her wanderlust led her to Mount Hood in Oregon, where a chance meeting with a ski area worker brought her to WSDOT. That worker was the son of Mike Stanford, our North Central Region Avalanche Forecast and Control Supervisor. Knowing we're always on the lookout for great employees, Stanford recruited Mazama on the spot and she made her way to our neck of the woods.

"And the rest is history," she said. "It was really meant to be."

More at the site - too cute!!!

The Deep Sea

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My major in college (Boston U) was Marine Biology and Physical Oceanography - I wanted to be another Jacques Cousteau right around the time that 30,000,000 other guys my age wanted to be him. No jobs, no money so dropped out. The first personal computers were starting to appear so got in on these.

Anyway, enough rambling - go here and scroll down. Keep scrolling. And scrolling. Wonderful website.

And meanwhile...

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From Rasmussen Reports:

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows that 52% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-seven percent (47%) disapprove.

When you create a booming economy, record low unemployment numbers and trade deals favorible to us, people will think highly of you. Simple as that. It is called leadership.

Meet Jim Biden - just as creepy

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Joe's brother is being sued. From the Knoxville, Tennessee Knox News:

FBI probing terroristic threat against McMinnville couple suing Joe Biden's brother
The FBI is investigating the delivery — via the mail — of a terroristic threat to a McMinnville couple who are suing the brother of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, Knox News has confirmed.

The threat came in August in a plain white envelope to the McMinnville home of Michael Frey and his wife, Natalie Frey, just days after Knox News publicly revealed their claims of fraud and deception against Biden’s brother, Jim Biden, in a federal lawsuit.

Inside the envelope was what appeared to be blood-stained currency from a Middle Eastern country commonly known as a haven for terror groups and a “torture ticket” — a voucher for the infliction of torture.

The Freys revealed the receipt of the threat in an exclusive interview with Knox News late last month. The U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed this week the threat was under investigation by the FBI. The office and the FBI declined to comment further.

The lawsuit:

The Freys founded Diverse Medical Management and partnered with Dr. Mohannad Azzam to create a blueprint for turning struggling rural hospitals into one-stop shops for physical and mental health services for residents.

The Freys and Azzam say in a lawsuit filed earlier this year in U.S. District Court by attorney Robert Peal that Jim Biden used his brother’s star power to convince them to turn over that blueprint and then stole it — pitching it to Turkish investors as a “white paper” bearing the names of “His and Her Excellency Jim and Sarah Biden" and omitting the names of Frey and Azzam.

A very sordid mess - there is a lot more detail at the site. Jim Biden is an odious man.

This is downright surreal - from Yahoo News:

Trump’s mental state is deteriorating dangerously due to impeachment with potentially ‘catastrophic outcomes’, psychiatrists urgently warn Congress
A group of mental health professionals led by a trio of pre-eminent psychiatrists is urging the House Judiciary Committee to consider Donald Trump‘s “dangerous” mental state arising from his “brittle sense of self-worth” as part of its inquiry into whether to approve articles of impeachment against him.

“We are speaking out at this time because we are convinced that, as the time of possible impeachment approaches, Donald Trump has the real potential to become ever more dangerous, a threat to the safety of our nation,” said Yale Medical School Professor Dr Bandy Lee, George Washington University Professor Dr John Zinner, and former CIA profiler Dr Jerrold Post in a statement which will be sent to House Judiciary Committee members on Thursday.

The statement will be accompanied by a petition with at least 350 signatures from mental health professionals endorsing their conclusions.

And have any of these highly trained mouthpieces actually sat down with him for an evaluation? No. This is a political hack job, nothing less, nothing more. These three mokes and the 350 virtue signalling useful idiots are shaming the field of psychology.

Great quote - Ayn Rand

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"A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others."
--Ayn Rand

So true - this is the case with all the artists I have been meeting.

Back to work

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Truck has warmed up - heading to the dump.

Quid pro Joe in the news again

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YAG - Yet Another Gaffe - from The Federalist:

Biden Fat Shames Iowa Voter Who Says Hunter’s Ukraine Work Is Disqualifying
During a town hall in Iowa on Thursday, 2020 Democratic hopeful and Former Vice President Joe Biden took a jab at a voter’s weight. The voter expressed concerns over Biden’s age and his son’s controversial relationships in Ukraine. Biden snapped back in a critical and confrontational manner.

“We all know Trump has been messing around in Ukraine… but, you on the other hand, sent your son over there. He not only worked for a gas company, but he had no experience in … You’re selling access to the President just like [Trump] is,” said the Iowa man.

“You’re a damn liar man,” Biden responded.

“I saw it on the TV,” the voter said.

“You see it on TV? No, I know you do. By the way, that’s why I’m not sedentary, I get up,” Biden said.

Biden proceeded to challenge the man to a push-up competition.

“Let’s run; Let’s do whatever you want to do,” Biden said.

Toward the end of their spat, Biden addressed the man saying, “Look, fat…” Audience members gasped and look at each other.

Video at the site - this is the man who wants to run our nation? Class act.

And back again

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Met up with L at the coffee place. Back home and doing a dump run this afternoon. Quick surf while doing a quick lunch.

And it is coffee time

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Bookwork this morning - filing and bills. Out for a coffee break and run some errands.

Zimbabwe was taken over by a tyrant - Robert Mugabe - who lived high on the hog while the nation of Zimbabwe crashed and burned. You can buy a 100 million dollar Zimbabwean bank note for about $30 - that is how badly crashed their economy is. His leadership "appropriated" farms from white owners and gave them to politically connected blacks. Guess what happened. From NWO Report:

Zimbabwe Begs White Farmers To Return As Nation Teeters On Brink Of ‘Manmade Starvation’
Crisis-torn Zimbabwe is on the brink of “manmade starvation” with most households unable to obtain enough food to meet basic standards, a UN envoy has said.

This comes 17 years after Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwean government seized large swathes of land from white farmers in the country, triggering a rapid downturn in the country’s economy.

The people of Zimbabwe are slowly getting to a point of suffering a manmade starvation,” said Hilal Elver, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food.

More than 60% of the population of a country once seen as the breadbasket of Africa is now considered food insecure, with most households unable to obtain enough food to meet basic needs due to hyperinflation,” said Elver.

How did the “breadbasket of Africa” reach the point of “manmade starvation“?

News24 reports that Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party launched the controversial land reforms in 2000, forcibly seizing white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks. Mugabe said the reforms were meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances.

A simple search for mugabe palace turns up some amazing images. Must have been nice for him and his cronies but he sure sucked the life out of his country.

So true - wealth redistribution

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In one meme:

20191205-detroit.jpg

Vote fraud - Ohio

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Illegal voters - it is a problem. From PJ Media:

Battleground Ohio: Investigation Uncovers Hundreds of Illegally Registered Non-Citizen Voters
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced on Wednesday that an investigation by his office has uncovered hundreds of illegally registered non-citizen voters, 77 of whom cast ballots in the November 2018 election.

In a letter to Attorney Dave Yost on December 4, LaRose, a Republican, explained, "As a result of our review, my office has identified 277 individuals who registered to vote in Ohio and 77 individuals who cast a ballot in an Ohio election and who appear to be legally present, noncitizens."

The tip of the iceberg. Get them into the sanctuary cities, sign them up for free government stuff and tell them to vote Democrat. That is the sum total of their strategy and platform.

A new impeachment witness

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From America's Newspaper of Record - the Babylon Bee:

House Hears Testimony From Renowned, Unbiased Legal Scholar Hillga Clintonheimer

20191205-hillary.jpg

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In an effort to prove that impeachment is constitutionally sound and definitely not a politically motivated circus performance, Rep. Jerrold Nadler called on his final witness of the day: renowned legal scholar Hillga Clintonheimmer.

Dr. Clintonheimmer teaches at Lund University in Sweden. The legal scholar was flown out by the Judiciary Committee to give her expert testimony this morning as impeachment hearings resumed.

"This Donald Trump of yours, yah, he is very corrupt, yah, and you should impeach him, yah?" she began, drawing applause from the Democrats on the panel. "He is, how you Americans say, very bad man, ya?"

"I think we've heard enough. It's clear from the testimony of this legal expert that we should impeach. All in favor?" Nadler said. But just then, Clintonheimmer stood up to go, and her vaguely European-looking scarf fell from her head, revealing that the woman was actually Hillary Clinton in disguise.

"You'll never take me alive!" she cried, pulling a revolver from her purse and pointing it frantically out of the room as she backed away slowly. She broke into a run and dove into a waiting SUV, which narrowly escaped congressional security staff.

Clinton previously found herself in hot water after posing as White House janitor Hillarita Clintonez.

Spot on.

Another day, another pile of stuff

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Spending today sorting through more stuff. Got a wonderful email from L this morning - doing dinner in a day or so.

Quick surf and then to work...

...and just talking about it. From Daily Caller:

The Senate Confirmed Four Federal Judges While The House Heard Impeachment Testimony
The Senate confirmed four trial court nominees to the federal bench Wednesday, among them a public interest lawyer Democrats say will trim abortion rights.

The package passed as the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from constitutional scholars pursuant to its impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

Regarding the Democrats complaints - I offer this quote from the internet (in the comments):

It’s always a constitutional crisis when liberals don’t get what they want.

True dat.

The impeachment hearings - so boring

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That even one of their own could not stay awake. From PJ Media:

AWKWARD: Jerry Nadler Dozes Off During Impeachment Hearing
Sure, it got boring at times, with Democrats repeating the same talking points over and over again, but you would think that Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who was actually running today's hearings, would be able to stay alert.

But, as the video below shows, he couldn't quite make it.

They have nothing so of course it is not exciting. They all know it is based on big lies - they are just flinging poo and hoping to siphon off some voters who would otherwise reelect President Trump. Their problem is that the gullible voters were the ones voting for Hillary.

I love this tree

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Great idea for a Christmas tree:

20191204-christmas.jpg

A delightful evening

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L showed up and we sat together at the potluck and had the most wonderful conversations. She was here with a friend of hers (a member of the group) but Chris is a lot of fun so the energy at the table was really good - a good group of people. She gave me her email so things might get really interesting really soon.

My beans were a real hit - I did four pounds of beans (soaked weight - two pounds dry) and two pounds of bacon so the crock pot was full to the brim. Just some scrapings left - a half-cup if that. Got several requests for the recipe so sending out a bunch of emails tomorrow.

Bill and Jeffrey - part two

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The Clinton family stay at the Epstein ranch? Of course not - but I bet the travel records show different - from PJ Media:

Clintons Deny Ever Staying at Jeffrey Epstein's 'Wild West' Property in New Mexico
A security expert interviewed by the Daily Mail says that while he was employed by Jeffrey Epstein at his New Mexico property he was told that the Clinton family stayed there several times. Apparently, Epstein built a "cowboy-themed village," complete with wooden sidewalks and a saloon and sleeping quarters that housed guests. Jared Kellogg was hired to install security cameras around this property. He reported that the ranch manager, Brice Gordon, often bragged about the celebrity sightings at the ranch, including the whole Clinton family.

A feel sorry about Brice's upcoming suicide.

Waiting a couple of days - impeachment

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The Democrats are flinging so much poo these last two days it is a real Schiff-show. Giving this a couple days so some elementary fact checking can be done. They have nothing but they are ramping up the lies. Here is nine minutes worth watching from someone who is not a Trump supporter and did not vote for him:

Jonathan Turley, professor at George Washington University Law School, delivers his opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee's public impeachment hearing.

Waiting for the beans to cook

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Did a big batch of lima beans and bacon for the potluck tonight. Ran into someone at coffee - we have always smiled and said hello to each other. She sat down this morning and we chatted for a good 20 minutes - turns out she is going to the potluck as well. Should be an even more fun evening. Asked if she could be my apprentice for blacksmithing.

The house is again awash in allium (but not spem) fragrance. Really like the sous vide technique for bacon too - it rendered out a good two cups (from four pounds) of fat so I can use that for other cooking - great for scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Quick surf while things get going in the crock pot.

Nothing on the internet

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The people behind the impeachment proceedings continue to beclown themselves.

Heading out for coffee, library, post office. Back to cook the beans and bacon for tonight's potluck. Looking forward to it - great group of people.

Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself

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And neither did his banker of twenty+ years - from True Pundit:

Jeffrey Epstein’s Private Banker at Deutsche & Citi Found Swinging From a Rope; Executive ‘Suicide’ Before FBI Questioned Him
Jeffrey Epstein’s private wealth banker, who brokered and signed off on untold multiple millions of dollars in controversial Deutsche Bank and Citibank loans spanning two decades for the convicted pedophile, has died from a reported suicide.

The news of yet another mysterious Epstein-linked death comes shortly after the FBI was seeking to interview the bank executive about loans he approved for Epstein and the indicted child trafficker’s labyrinth of US-based and offshore companies.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner confirmed Thomas Bowers died by an apparent suicide by hanging at his home before Thanksgiving.

As they say, the story is developing...

Being at the top in a totalitarian government can be a cushy job with plenty of opportunities for personal gain but...
We The People have a nasty habit of demanding freedom from oppression. From American Thinker:

Chicom Nightmare: Hong Kong protests spread to gigantic Guangdong province
The Chicoms have a problem.

Seems the Hong Kong protests they are so desperate to tamp down have started to ignite elsewhere, deep into China's cities.

Here's one the Chicoms really didn't want:

Protesters in southern Guangdong province, China, took to the streets last week to demand the communist government not build a polluting crematorium near their town, adopting slogans common to the Hong Kong protest movement, Time magazine noted on Monday.

The Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, which openly supports the anti-communist movement, reported the use of slogans such as "revolution of our times," which China considers seditious hate speech, and "just like you, Hong Kong!" in Guangdong. As China heavily censors coverage of the Hong Kong protests and bans all statements of support from the few permitted social media sites in the country, the adoption of the Hong Kong movement's slogans and tactics is a sign that people within Communist China are informing themselves regarding the protests through unapproved means.

The Guardian reports that the Chicoms stomped them out, like an out-of-control campfire.  But the danger to the regime remains.

As I wrote earlier, this is Beijing's worst nightmare come to life:

In short, there's evidence that amid that sea of millions of Hongkongers protesting communism from China, some of them are mainland Chinese. Message: the mainland Chinese are getting ideas. The Chicoms of Beijing cannot wall them out from Hong Kong nor can they stop this.

And this raises the specter of what happens when they return to China, because many of these Chinese have their families there, and they will. Are these Chinese going to return back to China and spread that democracy 'virus' they passionately embraced in Hong Kong, kicking off similar protests in Chengdu, Tianjin, Harbin, Shenzhen, Wuhan and other giant cities to duplicate what the Hongkongers launched? It actually seems plausible. What's more, it will be an awakening as Chinese finally come to the realization that they deserve the same freedoms their fellow Chinese in Hong Kong have enjoyed until recently. When ten or twelve Chinese megacities start holding the kinds of protests Hong Kong is holding, Bejing's old gray rulers will have a hell of a problem on their hands. And that is their worst, their very worst, nightmare.

Not only is China failing to keep the revolt in Hong Kong out of the consciousness of the Chinese people, but protests now are taking inspiration from the Hong Kongers.

Heh - their vision of a Communist State is crumbling in their hands. Good. Communism only killed about 100,000,000 of its citizens. To think that people in our nation would even consider Communism or it's "lite" cousin Socialism shows that our education system is seriously in need of an overhaul.

Corruption in the Ukraine

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From The Daily Wire:

Husband Of Democrat In Impeachment Hearings Took $700K From Firms Tied To Ukrainian Oligarch ‘Accused Of Ordering Contract Killings’: Reports
The husband of Democrat Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, reportedly took $700,000 from firms connected to a Ukrainian oligarch who has allegedly been “accused of ordering contract killings.”

Democrats are set to move their impeachment hearings from the Intelligence Committee to the Judiciary Committee this week with hearings to officially begin tomorrow.

The Miami Herald reported last year:

Public records show that Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s husband, Robert Powell, spent much of the last 10 years as general counsel for companies owned at least in part by Igor Kolomoisky, a wealthy Ukrainian businessman involved in banking and mining. In federal financial disclosures, Mucarsel-Powell reported that her husband of 15 years earned most of their household income during the previous two years — at least $695,000 — from a ferroalloys trading corporation associated with Kolomoisky.

And yes, everything IS interrelated:

Robert Powell’s connections to Kolomoisky could create a significant distraction for Democrats during their impeachment hearings since they launched their inquiry into President Donald Trump over a July 25 phone call that he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

A lot of people are sweating very quietly in DC hoping this will all blow over. I sincerely hope not. The depth and breadth of the corruption is staggering. Makes Teapot Dome and Tammany Hall look like a cakewalk.

Nice if you can get it - EBT Cards

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Electronic Benefits Transfer cards are the current iteration of food stamps. Aid given to low-income people and families.
Seems that some of the aid is being spent in very posh places - from the Boston Herald:

Aloha! Massachusetts EBT cards used at posh hotels in Hawaii
EBT card holders from Massachusetts have spent their tax-funded benefits in almost every state — including popular vacation spots like Hawaii where welfare money was withdrawn at hotels in “paradise,” right on Waikiki Beach and the “best address” on Hanalei Bay, records show.

A Herald review of more than 2 million EBT expenditures in fiscal year 2019 found the cards being used in Hawaii on 18 different occasions. Thousands of other out-of-state transactions included cash withdrawals in Las Vegas, and numerous card uses in Alaska, California, Florida and Louisiana. The state Department of Transitional Assistance on Monday did not provide any explanation for the out-of-state spending of benefits that are intended for the needy and hardship cases.

How about quarterly reviews of balances and spending. Cut down on a lot of fraud and waste. These should be used for genuinely needy people and not by people trying to game the system and get free shit from the government. It is not free - you and I are paying for this.

Soup for dinner

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Got the bacon in the sous vide, fixed a can of soup for dinner with a par-baked half baguette from Walmart. Probably way too much salt but it tastes good, cheap and easy to fix. Heading out in a short while.

Heh - Joe's No Malarkey tour

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Retired Senator Orrin Hatch riffs on it - just visit his twitter account and keep scrolling

A fun ride - Cannonball Express

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The record just got broken shattered - from Road and Track:

These Guys Just Drove an E63 AMG Across America in a Record 27 Hours 25 Minutes
Three guys you've probably never heard of recently broke a speed record most people don't care about—the New York to Los Angeles run referred to colloquially among aficionados as the Cannonball. Unlike most speed records and races, there's no sanctioning body or official rules. That's because setting a Cannonball record invariably involves breaking multiple traffic laws. In other words, it's illegal. But that doesn't stop people from doing it.

You may or may not be aware of its existence, but there's a robust subculture within the automotive enthusiast community that obsesses over the New York-to-L.A. land speed record. Many of them even go so far as to race beater cars coast to coast every year (also against the law) in most-holds-barred Cannonball-style races called the 2904 and the C2C Express. Two members of the informal "fraternity of lunatics," as it calls itself, are Arne Toman and Doug Tabbutt, who—along with a new-to-the-mania young spotter named Berkeley Chadwick—are the latest Cannonball champions. At least two dozen attempts are known to have been made by others since the last record was set in 2013, but only one managed to break 30 hours. Toman, Tabbutt and Chadwick succeeded not just in breaking a record many people thought would be difficult or impossible to break. They utterly destroyed it, making the trip in less than 27 and a half hours.

That was an average speed of 103 MPH.

That would be a tough decision

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As to where to live:

20191203-hell.jpg

Keep flinging more. From The Washington Post:

Democrats quietly debate expanding impeachment articles beyond Ukraine
House Democrats are debating whether to expand articles of impeachment to include charges beyond abuse of power in the Ukraine controversy, setting up a potential internal clash as the party races to impeach President Trump by Christmastime.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee and other more liberal-minded lawmakers and congressional aides have been privately discussing the possibility of drafting articles that include obstruction of justice or other “high crimes” they believe are clearly outlined in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report — or allegations that Trump has used his office to benefit his bottom line.

Mueller Report? Nothing. Impeachment? Complete fabrication. They are hitting the bottom and they still keep digging.
This will only cement President Trump's re-election by a landslide. Thanks idiots ☺

Punching back twice as hard - CNN

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Looks like someone is taking CNN to the woodshed for fake news - from Breitbart:

Devin Nunes Sues CNN: Reveals He Was Not in Vienna in Late 2018, Did Not Meet Victor Shokin
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against CNN for a fake news story the outlet printed about him before Thanksgiving, revealing in the lawsuit that he was never as CNN alleged in Vienna in late 2018 and did not meet with the ousted Ukrainian prosecutor CNN alleged he met with there.

Nunes’s lawsuit includes revelations of key facts that undermine the case CNN made against him, severely harming the news outlet’s credibility. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Virginia, shows Nunes is seeking more than $435 million in damages from CNN over the fake news it printed against him. But more importantly, it demonstrates that Nunes was 100 percent correct when he told Breitbart News before Thanksgiving that CNN’s story was untrue–and that CNN was completely inaccurate in its reporting and had relied on a compromised source for its piece.

It remains to be seen how successful this lawsuit will be–it is very difficult for public figures to successfully sue media outlets because of a variety of protections the media are afforded–but the facts as laid out by Nunes and his attorney in this suit are particularly damning for CNN as Nunes and his team successfully demonstrate that the network engaged in printing and then disseminating demonstrably false information about him.

Much more at the site - lots of links. Absolutely fake news. CNN deserves to be hurt publicly and in the wallet.

Bill and Jeffrey

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Turns out the whole Clinton family was friends with Epstein - from the London Daily Mail:

EXCLUSIVE: Bill Clinton was Jeffrey Epstein's closest 'celebrity mate' and a frequent guest at his New Mexico ranch with wife Hillary, staying at the pedophile's cowboy-themed village, say estate workers
Bill and Hillary Clinton stayed at Jeffrey Epstein's notorious 'baby-making ranch' almost every year after they left the White House, according to the disgraced financier's estate manager.

The former president was Epstein's closest 'celebrity mate' and the Clintons, along with daughter Chelsea, visited Zorro Ranch 'a whole bunch of times', a former contractor who ran the IT system at the property told DailyMailTV in an exclusive interview.

The family visited the 10,000-acre estate in the New Mexico desert often, but never stayed in the main house.

Instead, the Clinton family bunked down in a special cowboy-themed village created by Epstein, which is a mile south of his own luxury mountaintop villa. They'd use one of the two guest houses, which look like they're straight out of the 19th century.

And Jeffrey did not kill himself.

From the Washington Examiner:

Schiff hired former colleague of alleged whistleblower Eric Ciaramella the day after Trump-Ukraine call
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff hired a former National Security Council aide who worked with alleged Ukraine whistleblower Eric Ciaramella at the NSC during the Obama and Trump administrations the day after the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

It was previously reported by the Washington Examiner that public records indicated Sean Misko, 37, started work on Schiff’s committee in August as a professional staff member. A specific start date was not available until this week when the latest congressional quarterly disbursements were released.

The new records show that Misko’s official hire date was July 26.

Misko was the director for the Gulf States at the NSC between 2015 until the first half of 2018. The Washington Examiner has established that the whistleblower is a CIA officer who was on the NSC during the Obama administration and worked on Ukrainian issues with Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic candidate, when he was vice president.

Ciaramella, 33, is a career CIA analyst and was the Ukraine director on the NSC from 2016 until the summer of 2017. In October 2016, he was Biden's guest at a State Department banquet.

Much more at the site - names and dates. Their friendship was well known:

Both Ciaramella and Misko started their tenures during the Obama administration and left during the first year of the Trump administration. The Washington Examiner was told by a former senior White House official that both had a close, “bro-like” relationship while working at the NSC together.

For him to be hired the day after the call shows that this whole thing is a setup based on lies and inuendo.

These people are deranged

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President Trump did an open Q&A with the press at the NATO conference - almost a full hour. Here is what he had to say about Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi:

Could not have said it better myself...

Back home again - productive day

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Got a lot of stuff transferred to the condo - staging for a very large garage sale there in early spring. Tools. Next sale is technology and the third one is culinary and misc.  Glad to be getting rid of all this crap. Good crap but still, stuff I do not need anymore.

And points North

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Got the highlander loaded up and heading to Bellingham for the day. Quick trot around the internet and then out the door.

UPDATE: Nothing catches my eye - see you in a couple of hours...

The beers were good

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Long and early day tomorrow - heading up to Bellingham and maybe the farm if I can get done before sunset. Spending Tuesday down here as I need to cook for Wednesday's potluck.

Heading over to watch some videos and have a glass or two of red wine.

Raining lightly - could of sworn I saw some snowflakes in a very very light flurry around 2:00PM. Cold enough up a couple hundred feet but the ground air temps have been pretty warm.

Mt. Baker has a 6" base but it does not look good for the next week or two. Crap. That really drives the store in Maple Falls - the ski season is our second busiest season of the year.

Great quote

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All I want is peace, peace is happiness at rest and happiness is peace in motion
--Naval Ravikant

From Yahoo / Bloomberg:

America Braces for Possible French Fry Shortage After Poor Potato Harvest
Potato processors are rushing to buy supplies and ship them across North America in order to keep French fries on the menu after cold, wet weather damaged crops in key producers in the U.S. and Canada.

Cool conditions started to hit growing regions in October, lashing potatoes with frost. Farmers in Alberta and Idaho were able to dig up some damaged crops for storage. But growers in Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota received snow and rain, forcing them to abandon some supplies in fields.

As the wild weather hurt crops, an increase in fry-processing capacity in Canada has boosted demand. The combination will lead to tight supplies, and it’s likely that potato prices could climb this year across North America, Stephen Nicholson, a senior grains and oilseeds analyst at Rabobank, said in a phone interview. International costs may also rise as the U.S. won’t be able to export as much.

Cold weather to blame - it is cooling, not warming.

Corruption and violence in Ukraine

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Even with a new president who is rooting out corruption, there is still a lot of it there. From the UK Independent:

Ukrainian politician’s three-year-old son killed in assassination attempt
The three-year-old son of a Ukranian politician has been shot dead during an assassination attempt on his father.

Vyacheslav Sobolev, a businessman and member of the Kiev regional council, was at the wheel of his Range Rover when gunmen opened fire in the country’s capital, Kiev, on Sunday.

Mr Sabolev and his wife were unharmed but his son Oleksandr was hit by a bullet and died in an ambulance on the way to hospital, the Kyiv Post newspaper reported.

The attackers then fled the scene in a Lexus.

Police have arrested two suspects, aged 18 and 19.

A bit more:

Mr Sobolev is a businessman from Donetsk, a flashpoint of pro-Russian insurgency in Ukraine. In 2010-2011 he was an executive at Ukraine’s state energy company Naftogaz.

There have been several murders of well-known figures on the streets of Kiev since Russia annexed Crimea and a pro-Moscow rebellion flared up in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

The Russian oligarchs are not nice people. They want the Ukraine back again. It will be interesting to read about the current NATO meetings in London. President Trump is over there now.

From Barf Blog:

Man had hundreds of tapeworms in brain, chest after eating undercooked pork
Alexandria Hein of Fox News reports a 43-year-old man in China who was suffering from seizures and loss of consciousness went to the doctor after his symptoms persisted for several weeks, only to discover that he had hundreds of tapeworms in his brain and chest, reports say.

The patient, identified as Zhu Zhongfa, allegedly had eaten undercooked pork, which was contaminated with Taenia solium, a parasitic tapeworm.

“Different patients respond [differently] to the infection depending on where the parasites occupy,” Dr. Huang Jianrong, Zhongfa’s doctor at Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, told AsiaWire. “In this case, he had seizures and lost consciousness, but others with cysts in their lungs might cough a lot.”

Jianrong explained that the larvae entered Zhongfa’s body through the digestive system and traveled upward through his bloodstream. He was officially diagnosed with cysticercosis and neurocysticercosis, and given an antiparasitic drug and other medications to protect his organs from further damage, according to AsiaWire.

Jianrong said his patient is doing well after one week, but the long-term effects from the massive infestation are unclear.

Chinese agricultural practices are also to blame:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cooking meat at a safe temperature and using a food thermometer in an effort to avoid taeniasis. Humans are the only hosts for Taenia tapeworms, and pass tapeworm segments and eggs in feces which contaminate the soil in areas where sanitation is poor. The eggs survive in a moist environment for days to months, and cows and pigs become infected after feeding in the contaminated areas.

Chinese farmers spread human manure on the fields - the critters get into it and become carriers for the tapeworm. Proper food handling is not rocket science. Just a few temperatures and practices to learn.

Dinnertime

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Having some leftovers for dinner tonight - Chef Mike will be doing the honors.

Two headlines - climate

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The Pelosi junket is funded with our tax money and she is not staying in a Motel Six while over there.

Slapping down the woke whiners

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Great news from Alabama - from Legal Insurrection:

In 9-0 Ruling, Alabama Supreme Court Upholds Confederate Monument Law
Confederate monuments came under attack from the radical left several years ago.  In 2017, the SPLC joined the fray and published a list of places and monuments with “Confederate names” that they claimed had the potential to act as “catalysts” to “unleash more turmoil and bloodshed.”

The city of Birmingham, Alabama, decided that it would be a great idea to hide a Confederate monument behind plywood screens after the state sued the city more than two years ago.

This week, the Alabama Supreme Court unanimously ruled that this action violated state law.

NPR reports:

Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the city of Birmingham broke state law when it ordered plywood screens be placed around the base of a Confederate monument in 2017.

The 9-0 ruling by Alabama’s high court reversed a ruling by a lower court that was favorable to the city.

More at the site. 9-0 sends a wonderfully strong message to the activists out there.

A new Christmas accessory

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From America's Newspaper of Record - the Babylon Bee:

New Greta On The Shelf Doll Will Track Your Climate Sins

20191202-greta.jpg

A fun new "Greta on the Shelf" doll will watch you every day and fly back to the UN each night to report your climate sins to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The doll is equipped with eye sensors programmed to detect activities that are harmful to the environment.

"Greta sees you when you're sleeping, she knows when you drive your SUV to the store instead of taking public transportation," the manufacturer said. "She knows if you've been bad or carbon-neutral, so be carbon-neutral for goodness' sake!"

One couple in Portland proudly displayed their new doll and lectured their children on the true meaning of Christmas: fighting climate change. "We're gonna play a fun game for the holidays this year -- try to be good little carbon-neutral children, or Greta will tell on you!"

"How dare you!" the doll chanted as the kids of the household left the door open while the heater was on. "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood." The doll then blasted off toward UN headquarters using its jet engines to report on the naughty children, who will receive coal in their stocking. They will be snitched on again, however, if they burn the coal for warmth.

I can see Alexa doing this - why I do not have one and never will.

They released a 123 page rebuttal to the Democratic impeachment proceedings - full text here.

The Executive Summary sums it up pretty well:

The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system. The Democrats are trying to impeach a duly elected President based on the accusations and assumptions of unelected bureaucrats who disagreed with President Trump’s policy initiatives and processes. They are trying to impeach President Trump because some unelected bureaucrats were discomforted by an elected President’s telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. They are trying to impeach President Trump because some unelected bureaucrats chafed at an elected President’s “outside the beltway” approach to diplomacy.

Heh - President Trump does not play well with the deep state. Good for him. Of course, he tweeted:

He is having way too much fun with these morons. He has done nothing wrong, knows it and is just stringing them along - giving them enough rope to turn a phrase.

The Los Angeles Times thinks they understand "us deplorables":

Trump has turned the suburbs into a GOP disaster zone. Does that doom his reelection?
For decades, there was an unvaried rhythm to life in America’s suburbs: Carpool in the morning, watch sports on weekends, barbecue in the summer, vote Republican in November.

Then came President Trump.

The orderly subdivisions and kid-friendly communities that ring the nation’s cities have become a deathtrap for Republicans, as college-educated and upper-income women flee the party in droves, costing the GOP its House majority and sapping the party’s strength in state capitals and local governments nationwide.

The dramatic shift is also reshaping the 2020 presidential race, elevating Democratic hopes in traditional GOP strongholds like Arizona and Georgia, and forcing Trump to redouble efforts to boost rural turnout to offset defectors who, some fear, may never vote Republican so long as the president is on the ballot.

I hope the editorial staff do not have any money riding on the 2020 election. Looking forward to an even larger majority and another eight years of awesome.

Back home again

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Ran a bunch of errands. Planning on heading to Bellingham tomorrow with another load for the condo.

Doing an food experiment tomorrow involving bacon. Ran into this post two days ago: Overnight Sous Vide Bacon

Hmmm... Doing lima bean and bacon as a side dish for the potluck Wednesday so thought I would give it a try. Looks really simple to do and if it delivers on the crispy / melt-in-your-mouth promise, I will add this to my arsenal. The nice thing is that you can do the sous vide process and then freeze the results. Thaw and crisp up when needed.

Going to be using four pounds (dry) of large lima beans and four pounds of bacon. Making a big batch - usually 100+ people at this event.

And out for a couple of hours

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Coffee &c... Costco, food coop, bank, post office - usual stuff...

The joys of alt.energy

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Taking your Tesla for a drive? Don't forget that cold weather cuts battery life. From the London Daily Mail:

The surprising moment 15 Teslas wait in line to be charged in California on Thanksgiving as drivers navigate across the country for the holiday season
As thousands of travelers drive across the country over the holiday weekend, several Tesla owners in California were stuck waiting in line for a backed-up charging station.

In a video titled, 'Tesla Energy Crisis,' footage shows a massive line of Teslas waiting for their turn at a Supercharger station in San Luis Obispo around 4.45pm on Thanksgiving day.

Welcome to the future...

A bit of recent history

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From Walter Russell Mead writing at The American Interest - February 24th, 2017

Trump Isn’t Sounding Like a Russian Mole
With his latest effusive remarks to Reuters on the importance of expanding the U.S. nuclear arsenal, President Donald Trump has sent the press into a panic once again.

What the press has largely ignored about Trump’s latest pronouncement is an obvious truth that undermines its own narrative: someone who was safely in Vladimir Putin’s pocket wouldn’t run around saying things like this.

And Dr. Mead's thesis:

If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:

    • Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
    • Blocking oil and gas pipelines
    • Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
    • Cutting U.S. military spending
    • Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran

That Trump is planning to do precisely the opposite of these things may or may not be good policy for the United States, but anybody who thinks this is a Russia appeasement policy has been drinking way too much joy juice.
Obama actually did all of these things, and none of the liberal media now up in arms about Trump ever called Obama a Russian puppet; instead, they preferred to see a brave, farsighted and courageous statesman. Trump does none of these things and has embarked on a course that will inexorably weaken Russia’s position in the world, and the media, suddenly flushing eight years of Russia dovishness down the memory hole, now sounds the warning that Trump’s Russia policy is treasonously soft.

So true - people are not thinking when they spout off the accepted narrative. They are unaware of just how silly they sound. Unaware.

Coming out of her bubble - Lisa Page

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What an entitled whiny little bitch. From PJ Media:

Lisa Page: 'There's No Fathomable Way That I Have Committed Any Crime at All'
As America awaits the inspector general report into whether or not the FBI abused its power by investigating potential collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, a key figure in that drama has stepped forward. In an interview with the Daily Beast published Sunday evening, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page insisted that she committed no crimes and she predicted that the report should exonerate her. Yet the Obama administration's pursuit of the Trump-Russia investigation stinks to high heaven, regardless of her denials.

Page became notorious for text messages she sent to FBI agent Peter Strzok, with whom she was having an affair. Both were involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails and in the Trump-Russia investigation. In the text messages, Strzok promised, "we'll stop" Trump from getting elected. They also discussed an "insurance policy" should Trump get elected, anyway.

President Trump has repeatedly mocked Page and Strzok, and he has suggested that the former FBI lawyer committed treason. The Daily Beast interview cast Page as a victim of Trump's misogyny and harassment, agreeing with her suggestion that she did nothing wrong — besides the illicit affair (Page is still married to her husband and has small children).

They need to be prosecuted. To have all the dirty laundry made public. To be mocked and run out of government "service" and never hired by the public sector ever again. A disgrace to our nation and everything it stands for.

From Breitbart:

Polish Former President: Hunter Biden Got Burisma Job Due to Family Name
A prominent member of the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian oil and gas conglomerate at the center of the impeachment inquiry, admitted on Friday that Hunter Biden was tapped to join the company because of his father’s political influence.

Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former president of Poland who joined Burisma’s board around the same time as the younger Biden, told the Associated Press it was normal for corporations to seek out well-connected figures for advisory positions. The former president admitted that both he and Hunter Biden secured their posts with Burisma, which at times paid as much as $83,000 per month, due to the influence afforded by their names.

A lot more at the site - the author digs into the backstory and it is corruption all the way down. Be sure to check some of the 2,800+ comments - nobody is thinking that this is an innocent turn of events.

Sheesh - third time's the charm

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This is getting ridiculous - from Politico:

Justice’s election-year conundrum: How to probe team Trump
The Justice Department is in another election-season jam — faced with politically loaded decisions over how aggressively to investigate President Donald Trump and his allies in the heat of the 2020 campaign.

Legal experts see signs that DOJ is laying the groundwork for a potential criminal probe into whether the president and his top advisers broke federal laws by withholding a White House meeting and nearly $400 million dollars in foreign aid from Ukraine unless the country’s new leaders agreed to investigate Trump’s political rivals.

They had nothing with the Mueller Report, they have nothing with the impeachment fiasco, they will find nothing with this new "trumped up" investigation. They need to get back to doing the jobs for which they were hired.

Two headlines

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These caught my eye:

Both are worth reading regardless of what side of the fence you are on. Obama makes Jimmy Carter look good.

Like running this Nation. From The Hill:

White House's letter to Nadler saying it won't participate in impeachment hearing
White House counsel Pat Cipollone on Sunday night informed House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) that they will not take part in the panel's first impeachment hearing later this week.

Read the letter Cipollone sent to Nadler on behalf of President Trump below.

You can read all five pages yourself at ScribD - pretty much tears their process and thesis apart.

Another nothingburger. It will be fun to see the 2020 election results - people are getting pissed at the Dems being so focused on their Trump Derangement Syndrome and not doing the actual work they were elected to office for.

Mmmmmmmm - two pints

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Sounds really good. Back in a few...

Charter Schools in the news

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The news is that Charter Schools work much better than the union controlled public school system and parents want them for their children. All parents. From the New York Times:

Minority Voters Chafe as Democratic Candidates Abandon Charter Schools
The night before Democratic presidential candidates took to a debate stage here last week, black and Latino charter school parents and supporters gathered in a bland hotel conference room nearby to make signs they hoped would get the politicians’ attention.

“Charter schools = self-determination,” one sign read. “Black Democrats want charters!” another blared.

At issue is the delicate politics of race and education. For more than two decades, Democrats have largely backed public charter schools as part of a compromise to deliver black and Latino families a way out of failing district schools. Charters were embraced as an alternative to the taxpayer-funded vouchers for private-school tuition supported by Republicans, who were using the issue to woo minority voters.

But this year, in a major shift, the leading Democratic candidates are backing away from charter schools, and siding with the teachers’ unions that oppose their expansion. And that has left some black and Latino families feeling betrayed.

The Democrats do not want families with self-determination. That scares the Shiff out of them. The only way they can survive and keep the reigns of power is to keep the voters living on the Democratic plantation; give them free shit and hope they never wake up.

I am reminded of this graph:

cato_education.jpg

It comes from page two of this PDF report: State Education Trends - Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years by the CATO Institute.

The teachers unions are not there for the teachers. They are not there for the kids. They are there for themselves - they have political power and they do not want to lose it.

From Presque Isle, Maine station WAGM:

Van Buren man dies at his home, after being shot by homemade security device
During the early evening of Thursday, November 28th, the Van Buren Police Department was dispatched to a residence on St. Francis Avenue, answering a 9-1-1 call from a male reporting that he had been shot. Officer Chandler Madore and the Van Buren Ambulance Service arrived on scene, assisted by the US Border Patrol, and provided emergency medical assistance to the injured man, identified as the homeowner, 65-year-old Ronald Cyr.

While on scene, officers discovered that the front door of the residence had been outfitted with a device designed to fire a handgun, should anyone attempt to enter the door. Other unknown devices were also discovered, alarming investigators to contact the Maine State Police Bomb Squad.

Following an extensive investigation that lasted into the early morning hours by the Maine State Police, the Maine State Police Bomb Squad and the Van Buren Police Department, it was determined that Cyr had been shot as the result of the unintentional discharge of one of his homemade devices.

Should have done a flash-bang - more effective and not lethal. Booby traps are illegal even on private property.

Another righteous shooting

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From the Fort Wayne, IN Journal Gazette:

Man shot during break-in charged
A home invasion turned violent for an intruder after the apartment dweller took aim in the dark and shot him.

Police quickly caught up with Edwin D. Calligan, 23, of the 500 block of Leith Street, after he was driven by his companions to Lutheran ER Statewood.

Due to the serious nature of his wound – a gunshot to the right upper thigh that exited his posterior – Calligan was transported to a regular hospital, court records said.

Calligan was charged Monday with burglary with a deadly weapon, carrying a handgun without a license, residential break-in and criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon.

Calligan entered the apartment at Black Hawk Apartments on the city's northeast side about 4 a.m. March 31 after breaking down the front door, court documents said.

The man who shot him was with his girlfriend when they they heard glass break and realized it was the front door.

The man grabbed his Tactical AR-15 pistol after hearing what he thought were multiple people entering his apartment and took a position on one knee, pointing his firearm toward his bedroom doorway, documents said.

Calligan appeared wearing all black and a mask and came into the doorway pointing a semi-automatic handgun.

Mug shot here:

20191201-goblin.jpg

Got to love the gang tatoos on the face - pure class act.

Another case of deferred maintenance - from MSN:

Major sewage spill in Orange County, Calif., closes several beaches
A spill of about 4 million gallons of raw sewage prompted the Orange County Health Care Agency to close ocean and bay water areas from Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Beach to Poche Beach at the Dana Point and San Clemente border, health officials said.

Spending all sorts of money on rat-holes but not maintaining the infrastructure they have. Downright stupid.

Some simple gun facts

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From photographer Oleg Volk:

20191201-england.jpg

Oleg's comments are worth reading - Britain is in decline. Sad.

Winter storm

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I may (and do) gripe about being cold but am really glad that I do not live on the East coast - two headlines:

These are both from Weather.com

Yikes - shipping gone wrong

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From Seattle station KOMO:

Misdelivered urine sample triggers hazmat evacuation at North Bend theater
A urine sample with a rather dire warning attached to the package triggered the evacuation of a movie theater and a trip to the hospital for a manager after the package got delivered to the wrong address.

The mysterious package arrived at the North Bend Theater Friday evening and when the theater manager opened it, found a box with a liquid inside labeled "highly contagious human substance," according to Sgt. Paul Graham with Snoqualmie Police, which provides police services to North Bend.

Hazmat crews raced to the scene as the theater was evacuated and nearby streets were closed as crews tried to determine what the substance was. Meanwhile, the manager was taken to a local hospital to be checked out due to regular exposure protocol, Graham said.

100% perfect call - the pee was packaged for shipping but the recipients did not know that. All they saw was the label. It was supposed to go to a medical clinic in Tacoma - about 40 miles away.

Manufactured hate - liberals

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Liberals have built up a big narrative about how full of hate and intolerance this world is and how they are the only ones that can fix it - if you would just vote them into permanent power. Unfortunately for them, we actually live in a very tolerant and peaceful society so their narrative fails. What do they do? Manufacture incidents of fake hate. For one example, see: Smollett, Jussie.

Here is one such item from the Beeb:

Birmingham mosque attacks: Shia Muslim jailed
A Shia Muslim has been jailed for three years and nine months for vandalism attacks on five mosques in Birmingham.

Arman Rezazadeh, who is of Iranian descent, used a sledgehammer to smash windows and doors in Perry Barr, Aston and Erdington on 21 March.

The 34-year-old admitted religiously aggravated criminal damage .

Judge Michael Chambers QC said Rezazadeh had been "motivated by religious hatred" and all the mosques he attacked were used by Sunni Muslims.

And of course, the moke is one of Iran's best and brightest:

Prosecutor Tom Walkling said the defendant had been drinking alcohol to celebrate the Iranian new year on the eve of the attacks and that he had a history of mental issues linked to cannabis use.

Isn't alcohol haram?

About that London terrorist

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From the New York Post:

London Bridge stabber belonged to jihadist group that admired Hitler
The knife-wielding terrorist who was subdued by civilians, then shot dead by police on London Bridge on Friday was a paroled bomb plotter who once hoped to start a jihadist training camp in Kashmir — and whose fellow Islamists admired Hitler and downplayed the Holocaust.

At the time of Friday’s attack, Pakistan native Usman Khan, 28, had been free a year after serving just half of a 16-year sentence for plotting with eight others in 2010 to bomb such London landmarks as the stock exchange, American embassy, and Westminster Abbey.

He was still wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet when he went berserk with two long knives after speaking about his own “rehabilitation” during a Cambridge University-sponsored criminal justice conference in London, killing two and injuring three.

And the Hitler love-fest:

The camp would be disguised as a legitimate Muslim school, but its graduates would return to the UK as highly-trained terrorists who would commit deadly attacks, according to court proceedings cited by The Guardian.

Investigators bugged the extremist group, and heard members talking favorably about Hitler, who they called an ally of Islam because he understood “the Jews were dangerous,” the Guardian reported.

Group members also claimed that fewer than 100,000 Jews died in the Holocaust.

The group plotted to set off a pipe bomb in the London Stock Exchange, and were also targeting the US embassy and the home of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, then London’s mayor.

For an excellent exegesis of this complete with links to the various verses of the Koran, Robert Spencer has this post online: London Bridge jihad-murderer belonged to Muslim group that admired Hitler. Known by the company they keep. Sobering reading.

It is cold out

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Air temp is 41°F - a couple degrees warmer than it has been these last few days but it feels much colder. Humidity is up so heat wicks away faster. Digging out my big puffy winter jacket - building a fire too. Cleaning up the kitchen. Been doing a lot of cooking and need to put stuff away, do dishes and get it back to some semblance of organization.

The Arts Association is doing their Christmas Potluck this wednesday so starting some lima beans to soak - doing some beans and bacon for my side dish. Simple stuff but really delicious.

Cute

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Tip of the hat to Gerard:

Now this is big - oil exports

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From Yahoo / Bloomberg:

U.S. Posts First Month in 70 Years as a Net Petroleum Exporter
The U.S. solidified its status as an energy producer by posting the first full month as a net exporter of crude and petroleum products since government records began in 1949.

The nation exported 89,000 barrels a day more than it imported in September, according to data from the Energy Information Administration Friday. While the U.S. has previously reported net exports on a weekly basis, today’s figures mark a key milestone that few would have predicted just a decade ago, before the onset of the shale boom.

President Donald Trump has touted American energy independence, saying that the nation is moving away from relying on foreign oil. While the net exports show decreasing reliance on imports, the U.S. still continues to buy heavy crude oil from other nations to meet the needs of its refineries. It also buys refined products when they are available for a lower cost from foreign suppliers.

“The U.S. return to being a net exporter serves to remind how the oil industry can deliver surprises -- in this case, the shale oil revolution - that upend global oil prices, production, and trade flows,” said Bob McNally, a former energy adviser to President George W. Bush and president of the consulting firm Rapidan Energy Group.

Thank you President Trump. Unraveling Obama's "legacy" bit by bit.

And the mainstream media will cover this in 3... 2... 1...

...

...

--- crickets ---

Slow Joe Biden - off the rails

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A direct quote from a campaign stop in Wilmington, Delaware - from The Gateway Pundit who has the video:

Joe Biden: And by the way I sit on a stand, I got hot, I got hairy legs that turn, that, that, that, turn blond in the sun. And the kids used to come up and reach in and pull and rub my legs, and watch the hairs rise up again. So I learned about roaches. I learned about kids jumping up on my lap. And I love kids jumping on my lap.

Ewwwww - talk about Too Much Information - video here

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