August 2009 Archives

Some fun times!

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I seem to have touched a nerve when I posted about the "epic fail" of the script kiddies who are attempting to post comment spam. Someone out there has posted to date, ten thousand spurious emails to all of the accounts on my server and they have also posted other emails with forged headers that would suggest that they originated from the accounts on my server. I make some money by hosting two commercial websites -- these are clients I have had for ten years and for now, there is very little work on my end but a very good feeling back and forth and about $5K into my pocket every year. Both clients know that I use the excess server space for my own personal projects and they are cool with that. The fun thing is that one of these accounts is a Seattle Law Firm and that I have all of the log files and the searching tools to nail some little man to the wall. YES: You caused a disruption and I had to spend some time away from the people I love. NO: You are soooooooooooooo nailed. (snarky grin) tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick earth shattering ka-boom...


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From Scientific American:
How Sunlight Controls Climate
New computer models begin to suggest how changes in the sun's strength might change weather patterns

Small changes in the sun's brightness can have big impacts on our planet's weather and climate. And now scientists have detailed how that process might work, according to a new study published August 28 in Science.

For decades some scientists have noted that certain climate phenomena�warmer seas, increased tropical rainfall, fewer clouds in the subtropics, stronger trade winds�seem to be connected to the sun's roughly 11-year cycle, which causes ebbs and flows in sunspots that result in variations in solar output.

That variation is roughly equal to 0.2 watt per meter squared�far too little to explain, for instance, actual warming sea-surface temperatures. A variety of theories have been proposed to explain the discrepancy: ozone chemistry changes in the stratosphere, increased sunlight in cloudless areas, even cosmic rays. But none of these theories, on its own, explains the phenomenon.
It will be interesting to see how widely this paper is reported. The correlation has been noted by a lot of people but for it to reach the hallowed halls of Science, a majorly peer-reviewed journal is a wonderful thing.
From the Observatory website:
Monday, 31 Aug 09, 5:30 pm PDT - As I mentioned earlier, we have lost the new backup power to the mountain. In anticipation of a possible loss of all power to the Observatory, where the MWO webserver is located, this update site will be relocated to I will continue posting material on the current server, but if and when it goes dark, please make a note now to try the other URL if you are interested in keeping in touch with this situation from our perspective. In this event, the Towercam will also go dark. In the meantime, please keep coming to this site.
The CHARA page is 404 at this time. Keeping fingers crossed...

Mt Wilson update

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They have evacuated all people off the mountain. Sky and Telescope has a good writeup. Observatory Director Hal McAlister is blogging. There is a webcam but it is being hit really hard and doesn't always come up.
From the New York Post:
It's the university of reading, writing and "Guitar Hero."

NYU undergrads coughing up $50,000 a year to attend the Greenwich Village institution can earn college credit for playing air guitar and kickboxing this fall.

Psychology prof Gary Marcus is offering a freshman seminar on video games and human cognition called "Guitar Heroes (and Heroines): Music, Video Games and the Nature of Human Cognition."

"Video games are an understudied area," said Marcus. "People dismiss them unfairly, but 'Guitar Hero' is a good tool for teaching and I'm interested in the nature of learning."

The course will tackle questions such as: "Why are human beings so easily sucked in by video games?" The class, which Marcus capped at 16 students, had a waiting list, he said.
And the parent's aren't saying anything? I went to Boston University and had the time of my life studying Biology, Physical Oceanography (including several months down at a marine lab in the Bahamas), Astronomy and Genetics. They worked us hard but the education was top notch and the teachers a lot of fun. I was offered a job at the New England Aquarium so dropped out for a while and then these computer things happened so I never went back to finish but I took a lot away from the two years I was there. The idea of wasting my time on phony classes like these is deplorable -- the graduates will be fit for little else but asking if the customer wants fries with their happy meal...
Geekdom off the charts here -- the mountaintop is used by several organizations for their Observatories. It has some of the best 'seeing' in the US and, despite the hellacious light pollution from LA, is still fantastic for non-visible light observing (and Solar). The UC Berkeley Astronomy Department runs the Infrared Spatial Interferometer Array. The Principal Investigator is Charles Hard Townes -- that name was familiar to me and yes, it is the Charles Townes who invented the Laser with his Brother-in-Law Arthur Leonard Schawlow. Both Nobel Prize winners to say the least... Cool -- Townes is a formidable intellect and it is cool to see that he is still very much a player!

California Wildfires

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The fires near Los Angeles are getting close to Mount Wilson. There is a major (and historic) Observatory there, there are also the antennas for 22 LA Television stations, 25 FM Radio stations plus all of the police, fire, emergency and public utility units. From the LA Times:
Flames from Station fire move within 2 miles of Mt. Wilson
The Station fire burned within 2 miles of Mt. Wilson today, sending smoke toward its century-old observatory as well as communications towers that house transmitters for every major television station in Los Angeles.

[Updated at 5:40 p.m.: Officials now say the fire is moving rapidly toward Mt. Wilson and its landmark observatory.]

The top of the 5,712-foot mountain, which sits above Altadena, is home to multimillion-dollar astronomy projects for UCLA, USC and UC Berkeley. Georgia State University also operates a $20-million facility and a powerful telescope array at the Mt. Wilson Solar Observatory.

�A lot of people think of an observatory as one dome, but Mt. Wilson Observatory is actually a 40-acre tract of land with 50 to 60 buildings on it,� said Dr. Harold McAlister, director of the nonprofit Mt. Wilson Institute, which runs the observatory. �None of that stuff is portable, and to move telescopes out of there takes many weeks. We�re strictly at the mercy of nature and the great competence of the firefighters.�
The Mt. Wilson Observatory has frequent postings as well. There is a very good shelter-in-place facility at the Observatory so anyone remaining should be just fine.

An example of the spamming idiocy

Just to show how persistent and manic some of these spamming attempts are, I have the entire list posted below the fold. Remember, the text "fluffy bunny" is replacing one common prescription drug name, not multiple and yes, this is from one spam that came in this afternoon. The joke of it is that it came from an IP address that was in the spamhaus database of known spammers so all of that typing was for naught. Also, to prevent search engines from finding this, I am replacing a few of the vowels with symbols: a=% e=@ i=! o=0 159 lines of FAIL I am surrounded by mouth-breathers...

Transparent and free of politics

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Those are the words Obama used when talking about the Stimulus Plan. Not so -- from Yahoo News/Associated Press:
AP IMPACT: Secret process benefits pet projects
A sleepy Montana checkpoint along the Canadian border that sees about three travelers a day will get $15 million under President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan. A government priority list ranked the project as marginal, but two powerful Democratic senators persuaded the administration to make it happen.

Despite Obama's promises that the stimulus plan would be transparent and free of politics, the government is handing out $720 million for border upgrades under a process that is both secretive and susceptible to political influence. This allowed low-priority projects such as the checkpoint in Whitetail, Mont., to skip ahead of more pressing concerns, according to documents revealed to The Associated Press.

A House oversight committee has added the checkpoint projects to its investigation into how the stimulus money is being spent. The top Republican on that committee, California's Rep. Darrell Issa, sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Wednesday, questioning why some projects leapfrogged others.
The article goes on to cite specific examples of crossings that were passed over and crossings that got more than they should have. It's like nobody wants to blink in Washington...

Some interesting numbers

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From Rasmussen Reports:
57% Would Like to Replace Entire Congress
If they could vote to keep or replace the entire Congress, just 25% of voters nationwide would keep the current batch of legislators.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% would vote to replace the entire Congress and start all over again. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure how they would vote.

Overall, these numbers are little changed since last October. When Congress was passing the unpopular $700-billion bailout plan in the heat of a presidential campaign and a seeming financial industry meltdown, 59% wanted to throw them all out. At that time, just 17% wanted to keep them.
In their eyes, their job is not to represent us, their job is to get re-elected. Time to toss them all out and start over again...

First Light - plasma

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Over the top geekdom. Famulus is building a superconducting Bussard Reactor, making the design open source and blogging about it. He had his first plasma yesterday:

First Plasma from famulus fusion on Vimeo.


Fifty Days

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We have now gone fifty days without a sunspot. From Spaceweather:
Sunspot number: 0

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 50 days
2009 total: 192 days (80%)
Since 2004: 703 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
Very quiet, very cool. This winter is going to be interesting to say the least...

A word in your ear from Dick Cheney

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A very good point from Dick Cheney -- from Fox News:
Cheney: Obama Team Should Be Debriefing CIA Interrogators, Not Investigating Them
Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday said the Obama administration should be debriefing CIA interrogators about keeping the country safe rather than trying to punish them for doing their jobs.

In an exclusive interview taped to air this weekend on "FOX News Sunday," Cheney called the Justice Department probe of interrogators an "outrageous political act" that will do long-term damage to the United States' capacity to protect the country.

"We had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from al Qaeda. The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, 'How did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?'" Cheney said.

"Instead, they're out there now threatening to disbar the lawyers who gave us the legal opinions -- threatening contrary to what the president originally said. They're going to go out and investigate the CIA personnel who carried out those investigations," Cheney added.
And with the media reporting every twist and turn in this story, our enemies are being kept up to date. What the Obama camp is doing (especially Holder's actions) is ham-handed and just plain wrong on so many levels. A six year old child could see that this is wrong.

A shift in North Korea

Reading between the lines here but this looks really interesting. From Google/AFP:
NKoreans on quiet US trip on food aid
North Korean officials quietly visited Los Angeles last week to talk about resuming food aid, which the impoverished state cut off five months ago during a standoff, participants have said.

The move comes as tensions gradually ease with North Korea, which stunned the world by conducting a nuclear test earlier this year but in recent weeks has made overtures for dialogue.

Five North Korean officials received special US permission to visit Los Angeles where they met representatives of non-governmental organizations that provide relief worldwide, according to the groups.

Richard Walden, president of Operation USA, said the charity picked up the North Koreans at the airport as a goodwill gesture and took them on a tour of its warehouse stocked with medicine and medical equipment to be sent overseas.

"They were very open, very nice and very cordial," Walden told AFP. "They looked like they were from any other aid ministry in any country."

Walden said the North Koreans' three-day trip came about after former president Bill Clinton visited Pyongyang on August 4 to free two US journalists.

"This was something useful made possible by Clinton's visit," Walden said, while declining details on how the trip came about. "I was delighted that the State Department gave visas almost immediately."

The delegation, which also met with other relief groups, included four members of the Korea-US Private Exchange Society, the North Korean body charged with handling relief goods from US non-governmental organizations.

A fifth delegation member came from North Korea's mission at the United Nations and received special permission to travel beyond the New York area, Walden said.
Richard Nixon opened up China to the rest of the world. Maybe Bill Clinton will be remembered as the person who opened up North Korea. Very cool if it happens -- being a state sponsor of terrorism is not the way to go through life...

Spammers = Losers

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Did a few tweaks to the algorithm and am now getting 100% success rate in blocking comment spam with about a 95% success rate in passing legitimate comments. The few comments that were blocked got put into moderation and were allowed after I checked them out. Two memos to spammers: #1) -- burying your URL in a huge block of text does not work #2) -- if I am looking for some text -- say: "fluffy bunny" The first time I run across it, your precious little package is going to get its ass kicked into the dumpster. Your comments like:
free prescriptions for fluffy bunny
fluffy bunny online
medical fluffy bunny
website doctors prescribe fluffy bunny
and on and on and on for 50 more lines...
are going to get flagged at the first instance of "fluffy bunny" I know that you are looking to increase your chances of a given search engine to find this but if you bother to spend some time thinking about it (a stretch I know), you will see that it is useless... All in all:


Didn't take long for this to bob to the surface like a turd in a punchbowl. From The London Times:
Secret letters reveal Labour�s Libyan deal
During the past year a small ship bristling with computers and seismic equipment has been crisscrossing the Gulf of Sidra, in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast. Its mission: to help to find BP�s next offshore oilfields.

The company�s search for oil off Libya and in a 20,000-mile area in the west of the country potentially offers as much as �15 billion in new revenue. But less than two years ago it was feared that the deal could founder � and the reason was wrangling over Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the jailed Lockerbie bomber.

BP was finally given the go-ahead six weeks after a volte-face by the British government to include Megrahi in a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya under which prisoners could serve out sentences in their home countries. Jack Straw, the justice secretary, revealed this decision in a letter to his Scottish counterpart. He cited �wider negotiations� and the �overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom�.
A bit more:
Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, said last weekend: �The idea that the British government and the Libyan government would sit down and somehow barter over the freedom or the life of this Libyan prisoner and make it form part of some business deal ... it�s not only wrong, it�s completely implausible and actually quite offensive.�
It is not offensive -- it is far far worse. I wonder what Kenny MacAskill's political career will look like. Did he realize that he was being set up to take the fall? The next few weeks should prove interesting as more gets released...

I'm on a boat

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We all know the Incredibad version with T-Pain:
Well, some crewmembers of the destroyer John Paul Jones decided to mix it up a little...
Fun was had!

Nanny State in Denmark

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From MarineBuzz:
Laura Dekker: Too Young to Sail Solo Around the World
Laura Dekker, 13 year old Dutch girl, is too young to sail solo around the world. Though her parents have given consent for her two year trip around the world from September 01, the Dutch Council for Child Protection has objected to her sailing adventure.

The Dutch court is also right in banning her voyage, and has placed her under state care for two months, till psychologists assess her suitability to sail solo around the world.
Good lord -- I could see if it was a six year old, that is too young but 12 is old enough to have the ability to carry this off. Her website (English version not online yet but Dutch is not that hard to figure out) is here: Laura Dekker Her parents are avid world sailors, Laura was born on a sailboat and hold dual citizenship with New Zealand (her parents were there when she was born) and is planning to emigrate to NZ if the Dutch hassle her any more. The youngest man to do this was 15 when he started. The Guppy looks like a nice and capable boat -- I had one very similar to it when I lived in Seattle. Spent a lot of time cruising in the San Juan islands and up to Canada.

The Right Stuff

NASA has perfected a re-hydration drink and has licensed the manufacturer to a company in Boulder, Colorado. No carbohydrates -- this is not an "energy" drink, this is just for hydration.

Check out The Right Stuff

Here is the NASA announcement:

NASA Develops Rehydration Beverage
To help keep astronauts at peak performance during missions, NASA researched, qualified and patented a highly effective electrolyte concentrate formula that maintains and restores optimal body hydration levels quickly and conveniently. Developed as a remedy for dehydration, it helps prevent the loss of body fluids during heavy exercise, heat exposure and illness. It also can be used to treat and prevent dehydration caused by altitude sickness and jetlag.

NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., licensed the patented rehydration formula to Wellness Brands Inc., Boulder, Colo. Wellness Brands plans to launch its first electrolyte concentrate brand, 'The Right Stuff' in June 2009.

"We developed the hydration formula to perform optimally under the most extreme conditions. The health of our highly trained astronauts was paramount," explained John Greenleaf, now a former Ames research scientist and inventor of the formula. "With all that Americans and the government have invested in the space program and our astronauts, this is one clear way to protect and maximize that investment. And now the general public will benefit from this research as well."

The novel electrolyte formula contains a specific ratio of key ingredients, sodium chloride and sodium citrate, for rapid restoration of hydration. These electrolytes, dissolved in water, optimize the levels of sodium ions in the body. The beverage is an isotonic formulation that restores both intra- and extracellular body fluid volumes in dehydrated astronauts, athletes and others.

It is a concentrate that is added to 16oz of your own fluid. A bit on the pricey side though given its ingredients. Two strikes against for retail sales...

Hugo Chavez - a great leader

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What a clown. He squanders Venezuela's oil income on bread and circuses instead of infrastructure; he meddles in the political process of neighboring nations; he lets corporations come in and build his infrastructure (telephone, electricity, oil) and when they start to become profitable, he nationalizes them. Now he is shuttering his nations Golf courses. From the Wall Street Journal:
Ch�vez Takes a Swing at Golf
A 'bourgeois' sport? Or a forced march spoiled?

Scots must be shaking their heads. Fresh from nationalizing almost every capitalist enterprise that yields a profit (or used to anyway), Latin American strongman Hugo Ch�vez has found a new class enemy: golf. Declaring it a "bourgeois" sport, the Venezuelan leader has ordered the shut-down of some of the country's best-known golf courses.

For a socialist like Mr. Ch�vez, banning golf might be considered, ahem, par for the course, even if he is a bit late to the game. The likes of China, Russia and Cuba banned golf decades ago�although today they all enjoy practicing their swing. Perhaps this is exactly the historic precedent Mr. Ch�vez fears. The Soviet Union built its first golf course in 1988�and a year later the Berlin Wall fell.

Or maybe Mr. Ch�vez�known for his paranoia about alleged Western plots to overthrow him�has read up on Scottish history. In 1457, King James II of Scotland banned the game from the hills on which it was created. He argued that golf was a danger to national security as it distracted his soldiers from practicing their archery.

The People of Walmart

This website is on the par with Look at this f&^%$ Hipster

Check out The People of Walmart

A sweet wish

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From Stingray to Lab Rat over at Atomic Nerds. Go there and read: Can�t Say It Any Better Than Before� Awwwww...

Now these two bills are not good at all

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We are so focused on the health care fiasco that other venal crap is happening without our knowledge. Craptastic bill number one -- from cNet News:
Bill would give president emergency control of Internet
Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.
Like hell you will... A bit more:
The source said that one primary concern was the electrical grid, and what would happen if it were attacked from a broadband connection.
That was the SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) vulnerability and that was discovered and squashed about two years ago. The industry has responded perfectly and there is now a Center for SCADA Security run by Sandia National Laboratories. Again, there is no need for Governmental oversight. The problem was recognized by the industry and the industry responded by putting together it's own group to watch for any security violations. This is what capitalism is all about... Craptastic bill number two -- from Natural News:
Wake Up, America: Forced vaccinations, quarantine camps, health care interrogations and mandatory "decontaminations"
The United States of America is devolving into medical fascism and Massachusetts is leading the way with the passage of a new bill, the "Pandemic Response Bill" 2028, reportedly just passed by the MA state Senate and now awaiting approval in the House. This bill suspends virtually all Constitutional rights of Massachusetts citizens and forces anyone "suspected" of being infected to submit to interrogations, "decontaminations" and vaccines.

It's also sets fines up to $1,000 per day for anyone who refuses to submit to quarantines, vaccinations, decontamination efforts or to follow any other verbal order by virtually any state-licensed law enforcement or medical personnel. You can read the text yourself here:
I had a great time living in Boston back in the late 1970's and 1980's -- worked for some incredible places and did a lot of traveling. I went back a few years ago and I would never want to live there again... This odious little bit of legislation is about as bad as NAIS that the US Government wants to ram down rural people's throats.

Why no Tort Reform

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One of the key expenses for a practicing Doctor is the malpractice insurance -- frequently $30K to $40K per year. If we were able to place a cap on malpractice lawsuits -- limiting the awards to two or three million dollars -- we would see a dramatically smaller yearly cost to the Doctor and therefore a reduction in overall medical expenses. Why we haven't had this kind of Tort Reform? From CNS News:
Howard Dean: Democrats Left Tort Reform Out of Health Care Bill Because They Feared 'Taking On' Trial Lawyers
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, a medical doctor who served as governor of Vermont, said at a town hall meeting on Tuesday night that Democrats in Congress did not include tort reform in the health care bill because they were fearful of �taking on� the trial lawyers.

�This is the answer from a doctor and a politician,� said Dean. �Here is why tort reform is not in the bill. When you go to pass a really enormous bill like that the more stuff you put in, the more enemies you make, right? And the reason why tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on, and that is the plain and simple truth. Now, that�s the truth.�
Trial lawyers working for someone of modest income will offer to work for a percentage of the winnings -- it is not in their interest to limit winnings...
This is a political fuck-up of epic proportions. From Reuters News Service:
U.S. moves toward formal cut off of aid to Honduras
U.S. State Department staff have recommended that the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya be declared a "military coup," a U.S. official said on Thursday, a step that could cut off as much as $150 million in U.S. funding to the impoverished Central American nation.

The official, who spoke on condition he not be named, said State Department staff had made such a recommendation to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has yet to make a decision on the matter although one was likely soon.

Washington has already suspended about $18 million aid to Honduras following the June 28 coup and this would be formally cut if the determination is made because of a U.S. law barring aid "to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree."

The official said that $215 million in grant funding from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation to Honduras would also have to end should Clinton make the determination that a military coup took place.

About $76 million of that money has already been disbursed and a second U.S. official said this implied that the remaining roughly $139 million could not be given to Honduras should the determination be made.

Diplomats said that the United States had held off making the formal determination to give diplomacy a chance to yield a negotiated compromise that might allow for Zelaya's return to power.
It is bad enough that elements of this government are trampling our own Constitution, that we should export this and allow the Hondurans to trample their Constitution into the mud is heinous. The Honduran Constitution allows for two terms of office. Zelaya had served those two terms and was trying to get a voter referendum to change the Constitution to allow him to become President for Life. No Honduran printer would print the ballots but Chavez provided them to him. Good buddy there! Before the election happened, Zelaya was escorted out of Honduras, in accordance with Honduran law. Zelaya's offices were then raided and vote tallying computers were found with the votes already tallied showing a victory for Zelaya from an election that never happened. The above Reuters article is interesting as well:
The official, who spoke on condition he not be named
Some of Obama's transparency operating here? This is political brinkmanship of the worst order. We are meddling in another nations Democratic process and this kind of cultural imperialism has to stop...

National Health Care

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A blast from the past -- National Health Care debates -- 35 years ago:
From Moving Meat

Preventing mold on Berries

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The Pacific Northwest is a treasure-trove of berries of all kinds. The soil and climate is perfect. The problem of buying perfectly ripe berries directly from a farm is that they go moldy in a heartbeat. It seems that pasteurizing them works wonders -- from the New York Times:
Prolonging the Life of Berries
One of summer�s great pleasures is eating berries of all kinds by the basketful. One of summer�s great frustrations is having baskets of berries go moldy overnight, or even by nightfall.

Over the years I�ve come up with various strategies for limiting my losses, but this summer I came across a surprising one, the most effective I�ve ever tried. Thermotherapy, it�s been called. A very hot fruit bath.

Fruits go moldy because mold spores are everywhere, readily germinate on the humid surfaces of actively respiring, moisture-exhaling fruits, and easily penetrate the smallest breach of their thin skins.
A bit more talking about technique:
The strawberries fared best when I heated them at 125 degrees for 30 seconds. In two samples from different sources, this treatment gave a total of 1 moldy berry out of 30, where the untreated baskets had 14. I also treated some bruised berries, including one with a moldy tip. After 24 hours none were moldy. The tip mold not only hadn�t spread, it had disappeared.

I tried the same treatment, 125 degrees for 30 seconds, on raspberries and blackberries, and got the same good results. There were many fewer moldy berries in the heated samples.

For thicker-skinned blueberries, a Canadian study recommended a 140-degree treatment for 30 seconds. I tested it twice, with samples of around 150 berries each time. That heat took the bloom off. It melted the natural wax that gives the berries their whitish cast, and left them midnight blue. It also cut the number of moldy berries from around 20 per sample to 2.

Research has also shown that exposure to hot air slows fruit spoilage. But hot air can take several hours, and I found it harder than hot water to apply precisely in the kitchen. I did spread some raspberries out on a sheet pan lined with towels, and put them in a 150-degree non-convection oven for 20 minutes. The berry bottoms got hotter than the tops, which were cooled by evaporation. Still, only 1 out of 48 heated berries became moldy, compared with 7 out of 52 in the unheated basket.
Interesting -- hot air also works well according to the article. Most berries are sorted and cleaned on an open mesh conveyor belt and part of the cleaning process involves a fan blowing air up through the belt to carry off leaves and dirt. Easy enough to attach a heater...

Two jokes

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Naaa -- not Reid and Pelosi (rimshot) From Miss Celania:
The Texan
A cowboy rode into town and stopped at the saloon for a drink. Unfortunately, the locals always had a habit of picking on newcomers. When he finished, he found his horse had been stolen.

He comes back into the bar, handily flips his gun into the air, catches it above his head without even looking and fires a shot into the ceiling. "Who stole my horse?" he yelled with surprising forcefulness.

No one answered.

"I'm gonna have another beer and if my horse ain't back outside by the time I'm finished, I'm gonna do what I dun back in Texas and I don't want to have to do what I dun back in Texas!"

Some of the locals shifted restlessly.

He had another beer, walked outside, and his horse was back! He saddled up and started to ride out of town.

The bartender wandered out of the bar and asked, "Say partner, what happened in Texas?"

The cowboy turned back and said, "I had to walk home!"
From Theo Spark:
TRUE LOVE.............
An elderly gent was invited to an old friend's home for dinner one evening. He was impressed by the way his buddy preceded every request to his wife with endearing terms such as: "Darling", "Honey", "My Love", "Pumpkin", "Sweetheart", etc.

The couple had been married FIFTY years and, clearly, they were still very much in love.

While the wife was in the kitchen, the man leaned over to his host, and said: "I think it's wonderful that, after all these years, you still call your wife those loving pet names." The old man hung his head. "I have to tell you the truth," he said. "Her name slipped my mind about 10 years a go, -- and I'm scared to death to ask the old bitch what it is."
Went into town to run a couple errands, one of which was closing down the bank account for the store that we had at Bank of America. We have been running an account at a local Credit Union for the last six months and just love it. It took a while to get the various direct deposits and credit cards and food stamp deposits switched over -- wanted to let the BofA account sit with zero transactions for a couple months just to make sure there were no gotchas... The Branch Manager processed our request and you could see in her face that this was not a unique transaction. Made a major point to reassure her that this was nothing to do with the local branches, it was our dissatisfaction with the upper-level management that prompted our change. Then went out for a meeting about this event: Ride 542 The two local Chambers of Commerce are sponsoring an Eat 542 event on Saturday and the store will be sponsoring and running the food and water station at the top of the hill climb. We had an organizational meeting for that event this evening at a local restaurant. For someone who semi-retired out into the country, life is about as busy as when I was working full-time in Seattle except this time, it's all community and fun stuff.

A cry from the left

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Interesting to say the least. Tikkun is a very liberal magazine.
by Bruce Marshall

Seven months into the new administration, it is clear that Obama is on his way to failure and worse, potentially dragging a whole range of progressive causes down to defeat. For so many disappointed activists, the honeymoon is over and the thrill is gone, and what remains is a trail of broken promises and betrayals. The question is no longer how to save Obama, but how to defend causes that were here long before Obama arrived, and will be here long after he is gone. In 1979, it was evident to Sen. Ted Kennedy that Jimmy Carter was wrecking the Democratic Party and had to be opposed. Kennedy fell short of the nomination, but his valiant campaign undoubtedly did much to keep the Democratic opposition alive during the long nightmare of Reagan-Bush. Today, a timely primary challenge to Obama by a candidate without Kennedy�s baggage might capture the nomination and avoid the new nightmare of a Mitt Romney presidency. In the short run, we need a revival of the peace movement on the Afghanistan issue.
What he said...

Herb Moses

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Sometime it is good to remember things. Politicians do not like that. The curious case of Herb Moses is one example. From The Delaware Curmudgeon:
Who Is Herb Moses?
From Business & Media Institute:
"Moses was the assistant director for product initiatives at Fannie Mae and had been at the forefront of relaxing lending restrictions at the company for rural customers, according to the Feb. 23, 1998, issue of National Mortgage News (NMN).
And since Barney Frank has declared that a person�s family is fair game for campaign discussion, we find out a little more about Herb Moses:
"The July 3, 1998, Reliable Source column in The Washington Post reported Frank, who is openly gay, had a relationship with Herb Moses, an executive for the now-government controlled Fannie Mae. The column revealed the two had split up at the time but also said Frank was referring to Moses as his �spouse.� Another Washington Post report said Frank called Moses his �lover� and that the two were �still friends� after the breakup.

While the relationship reportedly ended 10 years ago, Frank was serving on the House Banking Committee the entire 10 years they were together. The committee is the primary House body which along with the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) has jurisdiction over the government-sponsored enterprises.

While Moses served at Fannie Mae and was Frank�s partner, Frank was actively working to support GSEs, according to several news outlets.

According to an article by Kathleen Day in the Oct. 8, 2003, Washington Post, Frank opposed giving the Bush administration the right to approve or disapprove business activities that �could pose risk to the taxpayers.� He told the Post he worried the Treasury Department �would sacrifice activities that are good for consumers in the name of lowering the companies� market risks".
Frank continues to deny any culpability in the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac debacle. And while the government investigation currently underway is only going to address issues starting in 2007, the damage began long, long ago.

And Frank was right in bed with it.
Frank is no stranger to scandals either. From the New York Times:
House, 408 to 18, Reprimands Rep. Frank for Ethics Violations
After an emotional and often rancorous debate, the House of Representatives voted today to reprimand Representative Barney Frank for ethical breaches involving his relationship with a male prostitute.

The vote of 408 to 18 came after lawmakers turned back attempts by Republicans for the more severe rebukes of expulsion or censure of the Massachusetts Democrat. The punishment had been generally expected.
The case in question -- from the Washington Post:
TV Movie Led to Prostitute's Disclosures
'Mayflower Madam' Gave Gobie Idea

Prostitute and pimp Stephen L. Gobie settled in with his "girls" in his Georgetown town house one evening in late 1987 to watch "The Mayflower Madam" on television. As Candice Bergen portrayed upscale madam Sydney Biddle Barrows, Gobie's companions had an idea.

"The girls turned to me and said, 'You're just like her,' " Gobie recalled in an interview yesterday. "That's when I realized that I was in the middle of a developing story that could be worth something someday. I told them, 'One day, don't be surprised if you see me on TV.' "

Gobie's dream has come true. His accusation that Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) knew that Gobie had operated a prostitution service out of Frank's Capitol Hill apartment became national news after it was first reported Friday by the Washington Times.
What goes on between two consenting adults is their own business. What crosses the line is when it starts to involve questions of ethics and morality. Frank's involvement with Moses -- someone who was responsible for the course of Fannie Mae -- was unethical. One of them should have recused themselves. As for Gobie -- if he wanted to run his own string of "girls", Frank could have rented him a place to do it. Operating out of Frank's own apartment was questionable to say the least...

Alpha Wolf

Goes to show that Scientific ideas are free to change when more information is available. There is no "consensus" in true Science.

Wildlife research biologist David Mech (pronounced Meech) was the guy who brought the idea of a pack leader or Alpha when he was studying wolves.

Now, it seems that the idea of Alpha only applies to artificial populations in Zoos and game reserves:

Outmoded notion of the alpha wolf
The concept of the alpha wolf is well ingrained in the popular wolf literature at least partly because of my book "The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species," written in 1968, published in 1970, republished in paperback in 1981, and currently still in print, despite my numerous pleas to the publisher to stop publishing it. Although most of the book's info is still accurate, much is outdated. We have learned more about wolves in the last 40 years then in all of previous history.

One of the outdated pieces of information is the concept of the alpha wolf. "Alpha" implies competing with others and becoming top dog by winning a contest or battle. However, most wolves who lead packs achieved their position simply by mating and producing pups, which then became their pack. In other words they are merely breeders, or parents, and that's all we call them today, the "breeding male," "breeding female," or "male parent," "female parent," or the "adult male" or "adult female." In the rare packs that include more than one breeding animal, the "dominant breeder" can be called that, and any breeding daughter can be called a "subordinate breeder."

Fascinating stuff...

Hat tip to Atomic Nerds for the link.

Congressional Health Care - FEHB

A look at what members of Congress and Federal Employees get for Health Insurance. Why doesn't Obamacare just expand the Federal Employees Health Benefits program? From Fact Check:
Health Care for Members of Congress?

Q: What type of health insurance do members of Congress receive? Is it a single-payer, government-run system?
A: Members of Congress are covered by private insurance under the same system that covers all federal workers.


Members of Congress have good health insurance by any standard, but it�s not free and not reserved only for them � and it�s not government insurance. House and Senate members are allowed to purchase private health insurance offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which covers more than 8 million other federal employees, retirees and their families.

It�s not a "single-payer" system where the government acts as the one and only health insurance company. As President Bush�s chief of personnel Kay Coles James said in 2003, while lecturing at the conservative Heritage Foundation, "the FEHB program is not centralized, government-run health care." It has drawn praise both from conservatives and liberals, including President Obama, who held it up as a model for his own health care proposals.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the FEHBP offers about 300 different private health care plans, including five government-wide, fee-for-service plans and many regional health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, plus high-deductible, tax-advantaged plans. All plans cover hospital, surgical and physician services, and mental health services, prescription drugs and "catastrophic" coverage against very large medical expenses. There are no waiting periods for coverage when new employees are hired, and there are no exclusions for preexisting conditions. The FEHBP negotiates contracts annually with all insurance companies who wish to participate. There is plenty of competition for the business; FEHBP is the largest employer-sponsored health plan in the U.S.

Those who don�t like their coverage may switch to another plan during a yearly "open season" period. To help with the choices, FEHBP conducts an annual "satisfaction survey" of each plan with more than 500 members and publishes the results.

Like other large employers, the government pays a large share of the cost of coverage. On average, the government pays 72 percent of the premiums for its workers, up to a maximum of 75 percent depending on the policy chosen. For example, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard fee-for-service family plan carries a total premium of $1,120.47 per month, of which the beneficiary pays $356.59. Washington, D.C.-based employees who prefer an HMO option might choose the Kaiser standard family plan. It carries a total premium of $629.46 per month, of which the employee pays only $157.36.
The FEHB is already the largest employer-sponsored health plan in the U.S. Why not just expand it to cover those five to ten million additional people who are currently not able to get coverage. With eight million already insured, this only doubles the ranks -- it doesn't create a new bureaucracy and limit people's options.

Light rail ridership in Seattle

Has anyone sat down and run the numbers?

In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer there is an article about a glitch with the hardware used to count passengers.

It mentions that for a given weekday, there are about 14,784 riders. Let's call it 15K It also mentions that the entire project has cost $2.3 Billion of State and Federal funding. Now, the way I look at it, 2.3B divided by 15K gives me 153,333. So each regular rider is consuming about $150K of my Tax dollars.

It would have been cheaper to give them all a Prius or a SmartCar and still have $100K left over from each person for gas money and some new busses for Metro...

Heh - the conspiracy begins

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From Medium Large:
Click to embiggen...

Maggie's Farm - a comment on Insurance

An interesting comment on Insurance costs at Maggie's Farm:
Cheap Insurance
Via No Left Turns:
Private insurance works well where it�s least regulated. To find the unaffordable disasters, you must head to states such as New York or New Jersey that have pioneered the reforms Obama is peddling for the entire country. . . .

A 55-year-old man in Allentown, Pa., can choose from 99 plans starting as low as $141 a month for hospital coverage. A zero-deductible HMO plan costs $418 a month. Or he can pick a more flexible PPO, with a higher deductible and pay less monthly out-of-pocket for the premium.
The difference between states accounts for the majority of the insurance costs.

Ted Kennedy - an interesting comment

Was listening to the radio and someone mentioned that if Ted Kennedy had been a powerful Conservative Senator for 40+ years, the media would now be interviewing someone from Mary Jo Kopechne's family...
As I said in an earlier post:
I do hope that Mary Jo Kopechne is waiting on the other side with a swimming pool full of salt water and a 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 attached to a crane. To be done every day for a few thousand years�

Hugo Chavez on the run

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The neighboring Nation of Columbia starts to get friendly with the United States and all of a sudden, Hugo Chavez lashes out. From CNN:
Chavez: Ready to cut ties with Colombia
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he is preparing to break off diplomatic relations with Colombia over the neighboring country's plan to allow U.S. troops access to its military bases.

"It is going to happen," Chavez said on Tuesday in a state broadcast. "We are going to prepare for this, because the Colombian bourgeoisie hates us. And now, it just isn't possible to make up. No, it is impossible.

"The agreement of the seven bases is a declaration of war against the Bolivarian Revolution," Chavez added, referring to his socialist political movement, which he named after 19th-century Venezuelan leader Simon Bolivar.
Colombian bourgeoisie -- he actually said that? Shows you whose playbook he reads. Karl Marx -- the original trust-fund baby who never worked a day in his life but spent his time writing about how workers should be treated... A bit more:
Colombia says the troops will tackle drug traffickers and leftist guerillas. And the United States says it needs the bases because Ecuador has ordered the closing of a U.S. installation there.

Chavez says the troops have an ulterior motive: They could be used to unseat him.

Tension between the two countries heightened in recent weeks, after Colombia said Venezuela supplied Colombian guerillas with shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons.

Three anti-tank weapons seized from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, had been traced to Venezuela, Colombia said earlier this month.
Chavez probably has this vision of a workers paradise funded by oil, weapons export, counterfeiting and narcotics and is royally pissed that the rest of his socialist comrades are not playing along. Hugo -- go jump a shark somewhere, your days are numbered. Not that we would invade Venezuela and depose you, naaa. We will just let your citizens decide...

RIP Ted Kennedy

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Sarah says it best:
I would like to extend our sympathies to the Kennedy family as we hear word about the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy. He believed in our country and fought passionately for his convictions.
--Sarah Palin and family
Can you say big fat lawsuit? I knew you could... From the American Pharmacists Association:
Grand jury indicts Oklahoma pharmacist and Board of Health member on felony drug charges
As part of an Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) investigation, Haskell Lee Evans Jr., 68, a Lawton, OK, pharmacist and member of the State Board of Health, was recently indicted for allegedly �recklessly� selling pseudoephedrine to make the illegal stimulant methamphetamine. Evans was named in four felony (selling methamphetamine precursors) and three misdemeanor (willful failure to report information to the OBN) counts in an indictment unsealed in Comanche County District Court. Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is pursuing a sentence of up to 43 years in prison.

Evans, the owner of Haskell�s Prescription Shop in Lawton, allegedly sold pseudoephedrine to undercover agents with valid licenses who had not exceeded the limit of purchase. The pseudoephedrine sales were considered "reckless" on one count because the agents arrived in the same vehicle.
Emphasis mine. I know nothing of the possible causes of suspicion against Dr. Evans' previous practices and there is no mention if Dr. Evans observed the agents getting out of the car or if they walked into his shop together. Either way, I would bet that he is lawyering up and the lawyer is looking at a nice new car right around now...

Interesting times for the Fed

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The Fed tried to keep the list of companies it gave money to secret. Manhattan Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said no. From Bloomberg:
Court Orders Fed to Disclose Emergency Bank Loans
The Federal Reserve must for the first time identify the companies in its emergency lending programs after losing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Manhattan Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled against the central bank yesterday, rejecting the argument that loan records aren�t covered by the law because their disclosure would harm borrowers� competitive positions.

The Fed has refused to name the financial firms it lent to or disclose the amounts or the assets put up as collateral under 11 programs, most put in place during the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression, saying that doing so might set off a run by depositors and unsettle shareholders. Bloomberg LP, the New York-based company majority-owned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sued on Nov. 7 on behalf of its Bloomberg News unit.

�The Federal Reserve has to be accountable for the decisions that it makes,� said U.S. Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, after Preska�s ruling. �It�s one thing to say that the Federal Reserve is an independent institution. It�s another thing to say that it can keep us all in the dark.�
It is one thing to protect a client but it is another thing to obfuscate a legitimate inquiry. Their rationale:
Banks are worried that the disclosure of borrowers� identities by the Fed, the lender of last resort, would cause customers to empty their bank accounts in a run on the bank, said Scott Talbott, vice president of governmental affairs at the Washington-based Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group.

�This issue is: �This bank borrowed X billion from the Fed, therefore they must be in trouble, therefore I�m going to pull my money out,� said Talbott. �That�s the type of danger that we�re worried about. That�s the risk.�
It is not that. I am involved in a local foundation just starting up and we specifically chose not to use one local bank because they had taken TARP money. When a bank does this, they are subject to additional regulation and scrutiny from the Federal Government and this is one camels nose under the tent that I simply will not deal with. The board felt this too -- unanimously. Now that Ben Bernanke is getting a second term as head of the Fed, things will only continue on their slide. Bernanke is a Keynesian. We need an Austrian to pull us out of this depression.
From the NY Times:
�Peak Oil� Is a Waste of Energy
REMEMBER �peak oil�? It�s the theory that geological scarcity will at some point make it impossible for global petroleum production to avoid falling, heralding the end of the oil age and, potentially, economic catastrophe. Well, just when we thought that the collapse in oil prices since last summer had put an end to such talk, along comes Fatih Birol, the top economist at the International Energy Agency, to insist that we�ll reach the peak moment in 10 years, a decade sooner than most previous predictions (although a few ardent pessimists believe the moment of no return has already come and gone).

Like many Malthusian beliefs, peak oil theory has been promoted by a motivated group of scientists and laymen who base their conclusions on poor analyses of data and misinterpretations of technical material. But because the news media and prominent figures like James Schlesinger, a former secretary of energy, and the oilman T. Boone Pickens have taken peak oil seriously, the public is understandably alarmed.

A careful examination of the facts shows that most arguments about peak oil are based on anecdotal information, vague references and ignorance of how the oil industry goes about finding fields and extracting petroleum. And this has been demonstrated over and over again: the founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil first claimed in 1989 that the peak had already been reached, and Mr. Schlesinger argued a decade earlier that production was unlikely to ever go much higher.

Mr. Birol isn�t the only one still worrying. One leading proponent of peak oil, the writer Paul Roberts, recently expressed shock to discover that the liquid coming out of the Ghawar Field in Saudi Arabia, the world�s largest known deposit, is around 35 percent water and rising. But this is hardly a concern � the buildup is caused by the Saudis pumping seawater into the field to keep pressure up and make extraction easier. The global average for water in oil field yields is estimated to be as high as 75 percent.

Another critic, a prominent consultant and investor named Matthew Simmons, has raised concerns over oil engineers using �fuzzy logic� to estimate reservoir holdings. But fuzzy logic is a programming method that has been used since I was in graduate school in situations where the factors are hazy and variable � everything from physical science to international relations � and its track record in oil geology has been quite good.

But those are just the latest arguments � for the most part the peak-oil crowd rests its case on three major claims: that the world is discovering only one barrel for every three or four produced; that political instability in oil-producing countries puts us at an unprecedented risk of having the spigots turned off; and that we have already used half of the two trillion barrels of oil that the earth contained.
The author then proceeds to dismember and kill the three major claims and lay to rest the theory of Peak Oil. Again, I say that I challange anyone to point me to a case where a Malthusian has been correct in their prediction...

Alloy artifacts

Interesting website on old machine tools. Alloy Artifacts I ran into it while trying to track down history of the Vlchek Tools and found quite the trove. One of the more interesting facts about Frank Vlchek and his company:
Vlchek was also a pioneer in cost analysis, and established a special Cost Department to keep up-to-date estimates of the costs of production. This move was prompted by Vlchek's observation that many of his competitors didn't know whether they were operating at a profit or loss until the books were closed at year's end; obviously, this would be a major problem in a period of fluctuating prices. The combination of efficient production and good business management allowed Vlchek Tool to expand its factory several times between 1909 and 1920.
A good blacksmith and a great businessman. The idea that a company would not know it's profit and loss statement until the end of the fiscal year is amazing. Things have come a long way from then until the copy of QuickBooks that sits on our office computer. My Mom's side of the family ran a paper warehouse in Erie, PA and I remember the room full of old ledgers handwritten by my Grandmother in her fine Copperplate hand. Whenever we went up from Pittsburgh, PA to visit, they would let me travel along with one of the salesmen so I got infected with the printing bug at an early age. The old presses were magic and the Linotype machine was pure magic... Fast forward to the last fifteen years, I was an early adopter of Xerox's Ventura Desktop Publisher which had one of the coolest diskette box packages ever. I got very familiar with that program and could out-edit anyone using Pagemaker on one of these fussy little Mac things. Ventura ran on the GEM graphical interface that ran on top of MS-DOS -- this was very much pre-Windows. An interesting span of time...
A perfect idea of something that never should have been implemented. From the Beeb:
1,000 cameras 'solve one crime'
Only one crime was solved by each 1,000 CCTV cameras in London last year, a report into the city's surveillance network has claimed.

The internal police report found the million-plus cameras in London rarely help catch criminals.

In one month CCTV helped capture just eight out of 269 suspected robbers.

David Davis MP, the former shadow home secretary, said: "It should provoke a long overdue rethink on where the crime prevention budget is being spent."
The city spent 500 Million GBP (about $825 M smackers) on these cameras and the people to maintain and monitor them and this is the result. Idiots! The final line:
A Home Office spokeswoman said CCTVs "help communities feel safer".
That classic line: Our appearance of careful management is rather a careful management of apperances... Hat tip to BoingBoing for the link.

The joys of free health care for all

Some places in the USA have already gotten on board with socialized medicine plans. Massachusetts tried it and nearly bankrupted the state. San Francisco has it and here is one example of the consequences. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Chronic drunks' treatment costs S.F. big bucks
San Francisco has paid at least $150,000 for Kenny Walters in the past year. He isn't employed, has an arrest record as long as his hair, and can often be found passed out in a doorway on Haight Street.

Kenny Walters' job is to get drunk.

He's certainly not alone. "Chronic inebriants" are a grim and disturbing fact of life in San Francisco. They also cost the city millions.

The frustration is that the public service network - police, fire and medical professionals - doesn't seem to make a dent when it comes to people like Walters. There are suggestions, like a pilot program for high-impact users at the Department of Public Health, or the Community Justice Center to target frequent users, but nothing seems to get traction.

A five-year study found that 225 high ambulance users cost the city an average of $13 million annually, said Maria X. Martinez, a deputy director at the Department of Public Health.

A bit more -- they interview him:

"I do get caught for drinking out here every day," he said affably. "I wish I had another beer right now."

He said he gets $953 a month in Supplemental Security Income for disabled and aged citizens and pays $650 a month for a hotel room in the Tenderloin under the city's Care Not Cash program.

With free meals available from local charities, that leaves $300 a month for booze. Walters says he doesn't do hard drugs, just pot. He just drinks, usually "40 ouncers," big, cheap bottles of beer.

All these highly thought of social programs and not one of them addresses the problem, they just support the abuser in their lifestyle. Moral high-ground but that ground is littered with people dying very expensively.

Awww crap - RIP Larry Knechtel

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The guy that we bought our house from was Larry Knechtel -- an amazing musician, did the piano part on Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge over Troubled Waters, played with Bread and was recently on tour with the Dixie Chicks. Passed away from a heart attack last Thursday. 69 is way to early to go...

Obama's visit to Montana

They are running scared if they are doing crap like this. From Dissecting Leftism which only hotlinks the day, not the individual articles -- scroll down a few inches...
Obama's "Potemkin" Town Hall meeting in Montana

He is afraid of the American public. I received the story below by email from someone I know who claims to know the sender. As the meeting has already been described by many as a Potemkin (false front) setup, I think this just adds some very interesting and rather disturbing detail.
By now you have probably heard that President Obama came to Montana last Friday. However, there are many things that the major news has not covered. I feel that since Bill and I live here and we were at the airport on Friday I should share some facts with you. Whatever you decide to do with the information is up to you. If you chose to share this email with others I do ask that you DELETE my email address before you forward this on.

On Wednesday, August 5th it was announced locally that the President would be coming here. There are many groups here that are against his healthcare and huge spending so those groups began talking and deciding on what they were going to do. The White House would not release ANY details other than the date.

On about Tuesday Bill found out that they would be holding the "Town Hall" at the airport. (This is only because Bill knows EVERYONE at the airport) Our airport is actually located outside of Belgrade (tiny town) in a very remote location. Nothing is around there. They chose to use a hangar that is the most remotely located hangar. You could not pick a more remote location, and you can not get to it easily. It is totally secluded from the public.

FYI: We have many areas in Belgrade and Bozeman which could have held a large amount of folks with sufficient parking. (gymnasiums/auditoriums). All of which have chairs and tables, and would not have to be SHIPPED IN!! $$$$$

During the week, cargo by the TONS was being shipped in constantly. Airport employees could not believe how it just kept coming. Though it was our President coming several expressed how excessive it was, especially during a recession. $$$$$

Late Tuesday/early Wednesday the 12th, they said that tickets would be handed out on Thursday 9am at two locations and the President would be arriving around 12:30 Friday.

Thursday morning about 600 tickets were passed out. However, 1500 were printed at a local printing shop per White House request. Hmmmm......900 tickets just DISAPPEARED.

This same morning someone called into the radio from the local UPS branch and said that THOUSANDS of Dollars of Lobster were shipped in for Obama. Montana has some of the best beef in the nation!!! And it would have been really wonderful to help out the local economy. Anyone heard of the Recession?? Just think...with all of the traveling the White House is doing. $$$$$ One can only imagine what else we are paying for.

On Friday Bill and I got out to the airport about 10:45am. The groups that wanted to protest Obama's spending and healthcare had gotten a permit to protest and that area was roped off. But that was not to be. A large bus carrying SEIU (Service Employees International Union) members drove up onto the area (illegal)and unloaded right there. It was quite a commotion and there were specifically 2 SEIU men trying to make trouble and start a fight. Police did get involved and arrested the one man but they said they did not have the manpower to remove the SEIU crowd.

The SEIU crowd was very organized and young. About 99% were under the age of 30 and they were not locals! They had bullhorns and PROFESSIONALLY made signs. Some even wore preprinted T-shirts. Oh, and Planned Parenthood folks were with them.....professing abortion rights with their T-s hirts and preprinted signs. (BTW, all these folks did have a permit to protest in ANOTHER area)

Those against healthcare/spending moved away from the SEIU crowd to avoid confrontation. They were orderly and respectful. Even though SEIU kept coming over and walking through, continuing to be very intimidating and aggressive at the direction of the one SEIU man.

So we had Montana folks from ALL OVER the state with their homemade signs and their DOGS with homemade signs. We had cowboys, nurses, doctors you name it. There was even a guy from Texas who had been driving through. He found out about the occasion, went to the store, made a sign, and came to protest.

If you are wondering about the press.....Well, all of the major networks were over by that remote hangar I mentioned. They were conveniently parked on the other side of the buildings FAR away. None of these crowds were even visible to them. I have my doubts that they knew anything about the crowds.

We did have some local news media around us from this state and Idaho . Speaking of the local media...they were invited. However, all questions were to be turned into the White House in advance of the event. Wouldn't want anyone to have to think off the top of their head.

It was very obvious that it was meant to be totally controlled by the White House. Everything was orchestrated down to the last detail to make it appear that Montana is just crazy for Obama and government healthcare. Even those people that talked about their insurance woes........the White House called our local HRDC (Human Resource and Development Committee) and asked for names. Then the White House asked those folks to come. Smoke and mirrors...EVERYTHING was staged!!!!!!!!!!!

I am very dismayed about what I learned about our current White House. The amount of control and manipulation was unbelievable. I felt I was not living in the United States of America , more like the USSR !! I was physically nauseous. Bill and I have been around when Presidents or Heads of State visit. It has NEVER been like this. I am truly very frightened for our country. America needs your prayers and your voices. If you care about our country please get involved. Know the issues. And let Congress hear your voices again and again!! If they are willing to put forth so much effort to BULLY a small town one can only imagine what is going on in Washington DC . Scary!!
The blog author, John Ray, is the real deal and if he vets an email, I consider it to be accurate...

Fscking coward - Ryan Jenkins

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Nominated for asshat of the year. Ryan Jenkins. Murders his wife, knocks out her teeth and cuts off her fingers to throw off the identification, tosses her into a dumpster, doesn't realize that her nice new fake boobies have serial numbers, flees to Canada. Dead by his own hand. From MyWay/Associated Press:
Police say fugitive reality TV star found dead
Canadian police say fugitive murder suspect Ryan Jenkins has been found dead of an apparent suicide in a motel in British Columbia. Sgt. Duncan Pound of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police border integrity unit says police responded to a call about a dead person in Hope, east of Vancouver, and then called investigators who were part of the massive manhunt for Jenkins.

The real estate developer and reality show contestant was wanted in California on first-degree murder charges after the mutilated body of his ex-wife was found near Los Angeles.

Jenkins, 32, disappeared last week but his boat was found Wednesday at a marina not far from the U.S.-Canada border south of Vancouver.

Pound says police don't yet know how long Jenkins was at the motel before his body was discovered.
Like I said, coward. He did this and didn't want to man up and take the responsibility for his actions. Not very bright either as he could have found other options for getting rid of the body and could have disappeared himself a lot better. There is a special room in a special circle of Hell waiting for Mr. Jenkins. Right now, he is going through entry processing. Yes actually, Hell is staffed with bureaucrats...

An interesting look at wealth

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From The Austrian Economists:
More Evidence That We're All Getting Richer
While looking for something else, I stumbled across this Census report on household income from 2006. What's really interesting is to look at the percentage of households in each income category and how that's changed over time. If the prophets of doom and decline and rising inequality are right, we would expect to see, I'd think, lots more rich households and lots more poor ones as the supposed gap widens. Some prophets of doom might expect to see fewer households in the upper brackets as the highest income categories are dominated by a few people getting very, very rich.

The reality, as it turns out, is different. From 1980 to 2006, the percentage of US households earning $100,000 or more (in constant 2006 dollars) grew from 8.6% to 19.1%. The percentage between $75k and $100K grew from 10.3 to 11.3 percent. At the other end, the percentage under $15K fell from 16.6% to 13.4% and the percentage between $15K and $34K fell from 26.2% to 23.3%. Thus all three categories below $35K fell a total of 6.1 percentage points.

The middle classes fell too, though by less. The sum total across the $35K to $75K categories fell by 5.4 percentage points. In other words: the net movement of households was an 11.5 percentage point gain in households above $75K and a net reduction of 11.5 percentage points in houses below $75K. So the percentage above $75K rose from 18.9% to 30.4%. That is, it increased by over 50%.

Let me repeat that: over 30% of US households in 2006 earned above $75K compared to under 20% in 1980. Over the same period, the percentage of US households earning under $35K fell from 42.8% to 36.7%. Fewer households are poor, fewer are middle class, and a hunk more are above $75K. (And in case you were wondering, those general trends hold for black and hispanic households too - with the percentage of black households under $35K falling by 10.9 percentage points and the number above $75K increasing by 8.9 percentage points, for example.)

Throw on top of this the fact that most everything people buy costs less in real terms and you have a recipe for increasing wealth across the board. Not bad for what so many people claim is 30 years of stagnation.
Very true -- people that consider themselves to be poor now have television sets, cell phones and cars. The rising tide floats all boats. The Socialist/Marxist idea that there is a fixed pool of money and that social inequities stem from that pool not being spread around enough is a pure unadulterated joke and it serves to show just how out of touch with reality these people are.
The rot starts at the top. From Foreign Policy magazine:
Still Going Nowhere Man
A scathing confidential memo by a senior Norwegian diplomat leaked to the press yesterday has taken public what up until now has been the quiet and increasingly despairing concern at the United Nations about Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Indeed, Ban might now be facing what must have seemed unthinkable only a few months ago: a single term as the head of the United Nations.

In her damning memo, Deputy U.N. Ambassador Mona Juul called Ban -- the South Korean foreign minister elected secretary-general in 2007 -- "spineless," "charmless," and, most importantly, "incapable" of setting an agenda. Her critique echoed a series of pieces in the international press -- in The Economist, The Times of London, and by yours truly in Foreign Policy -- that in recent months have called Ban out for his miserable performance, citing his lack of vision, leadership, or policy prowess. Of course, Ban and his staff have aggressively tried to combat this emerging image. My own article drew an outraged letter from Ban's chief of staff, who claimed my criticisms were part of some unnamed "political agenda." I doubt he can say the same of Juul's.
The Mona Juul memo is here Odd for anyone at such a corrupt and ineffectual organization to be calling anyone ineffectual -- pot and kettle department. Time to disband and start over again...
From The Examiner:
Serial killers and politicians share traits
By: Law Enforcement Examiner Jim Kouri

Psychopathy is a personality disorder manifested in people who use a mixture of charm, manipulation, intimidation, and occasionally violence to control others, in order to satisfy their own selfish needs. Although the concept of psychopathy has been known for centuries, the FBI leads the world in the research effort to develop a series of assessment tools, to evaluate the personality traits and behaviors attributable to psychopaths.

Interpersonal traits include glibness, superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, and the manipulation of others. The affective traits include a lack of remorse and/or guilt, shallow affect, a lack of empathy, and failure to accept responsibility. The lifestyle behaviors include stimulation-seeking behavior, impulsivity, irresponsibility, parasitic orientation, and a lack of realistic life goals.

Research has demonstrated that in those criminals who are psychopathic, scores vary, ranging from a high degree of psychopathy to some measure of psychopathy. However, not all violent offenders are psychopaths and not all psychopaths are violent offenders. If violent offenders are psychopathic, they are able to assault, rape, and murder without concern for legal, moral, or social consequences. This allows them to do what they want, whenever they want. Ironically, these same traits exist in men and women who are drawn to high-profile and powerful positions in society including political officeholders.

The relationship between psychopathy and serial killers is particularly interesting. All psychopaths do not become serial murderers. Rather, serial murderers may possess some or many of the traits consistent with psychopathy. Psychopaths who commit serial murder do not value human life and are extremely callous in their interactions with their victims. This is particularly evident in sexually motivated serial killers who repeatedly target, stalk, assault, and kill without a sense of remorse. However, psychopathy alone does not explain the motivations of a serial killer.

What doesn't go unnoticed is the fact that some of the character traits exhibited by serial killers or criminals may be observed in many within the political arena. While not exhibiting physical violence, many political leaders display varying degrees of anger, feigned outrage and other behaviors. They also lack what most consider a "shame" mechanism. Quite simply, most serial killers and many professional politicians must mimic what they believe, are appropriate responses to situations they face such as sadness, empathy, sympathy, and other human responses to outside stimuli.
Emphasis mine -- Kouri nails it. His website is not up at this time but he writes columns for American Daily and Renew America. From his biography:
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
His other columns are a good read -- the guy is sharp and knows what he is talking about...

The popularity of Obamacare - tanking

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An interesting turn of events -- from the Washington Post:
Health Care Reform Drawing More Criticism From Left
Through most of the summer, opposition to President Obama and his health-care initiative has come almost entirely from the right. In the past week, however, the president has been trying to tamp down a noisy uprising on the left.

The immediate cause for the rebellion is growing concern among Obama's progressive allies that he is prepared to deal away the public insurance option to win passage of a health-care bill. Obama insists that he still prefers the public option as part of any eventual legislative package, but some of his friends on the left now clearly doubt his resolve.

That has given way to broader criticisms: Is Obama tough enough to defeat the interests arrayed against health-care legislation? Has he lost the passion that was such an asset during the campaign? Have his rhetorical skills been muted as he descends into the dry, arcane details of health care? Is he too enamored of bipartisan consensus, given what is seen as Republican implacability? Has he given up the moral high ground in the health-care battle?
In other words, the Democratic Congress members are seeing the writing on the wall and are afraid of loosing their jobs. 2010 is not that far away and all of flyover country is waking up and not liking what they see. Word up -- we hired you to represent us. Get back to doing your job...

Digging deeper

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Do you think that our national debt is too high? Get ready to revise your thinking -- from USA Today/Associated Press:
AP sources: $2 trillion higher deficit projected
The Obama administration expects the federal deficit over the next decade to be $2 trillion bigger than previously estimated, White House officials said Friday, a setback for a president already facing a Congress and public wary over spending.

The new projection, to be announced on Tuesday, is for a cumulative 2010-2019 deficit of $9 trillion instead of the $7 trillion previously estimated. The new figure reflects slumping revenues from a worse economic picture than was expected earlier this year. The officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity ahead of next week's announcement.

Ten-year forecasts are volatile figures subject to change over time. But the higher number will likely create political difficulties for President Obama in Congress and could create anxiety with foreign buyers of U.S. debt.

Earlier this week, the White House revealed that it expects a budget deficit for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 to be nearly $1.6 trillion. That figure was lower than initially projected because the White House scratched out $250 billion that it had initially added to the budget as a bank rescue contingency. The administration ultimately did not ask Congress for that money.

Still that number, together with the 10-year projection, represents a huge obstacle for an administration trying to undertake massive policy overhauls in health care and the environment.
I bet that Jimmy Carter is smiling. This makes him the Second-Worst President this Nation has ever had...

Lieutenant William Calley apologizes

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A curious story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Calley apologizes for My Lai massacre
For more than 40 years, William Calley refused to talk about his role in the notorious My Lai Massacre, which led to the deaths of up to 500 Vietnamese civilians and his conviction as an American war criminal.

But on Wednesday, Calley talked � and apologized. To the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus. And just as suddenly as he appeared, he vanished. Attempts to contact him at his Atlanta home Friday were unsuccessful; his closest friends stressed his desire to resume his silence.

�He spoke to the Kiwanis, but he won�t talk to the media,� said retired broadcaster Al Fleming, a member of the Kiwanis who says he has been a friend of Calley�s for 25 years. �He is very sensitive about this.�

Fleming said he invited Calley to speak to the club but had no idea Calley would use the occasion to make an apology.

�There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai,� Calley said. �I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry.�

The My Lai Massacre was one of the darkest moments in the Vietnam War. On March 16, 1968, 2nd Lt. William �Rusty� Calley ordered his platoon to kill everyone in the South Vietnamese hamlets of My Lai and My Khe. It was reported that between 347 and 504 people � mostly unarmed women and children � were slaughtered.
A bit more:
The appearance might have gone unnoticed, if not for Dick McMichael, a retired journalist who now blogs in Columbus. McMichael attended the meeting, blogged about it and his story was picked up by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

�The questions were asked respectfully and politely, which could give the impression they were softball,� McMichael blogged later. �I don�t think that was the case. The questions got right to the crux of the matter, in my view, and Calley didn�t dodge any of them.�

McMichael said Calley never denied that he carried out the massacre, but reiterated that he was following orders.

�I thought it was positive and humbling,� said James Walton, the Kiwanis secretary. �He spoke from the heart. He knows it was wrong and knows he has to live with it. The club was very pleased.�

The club gave him a standing ovation at the end of the speech.

�We had 50 members listen to him and you could hear a pin drop,� Fleming said. �When he was done, it was the first time we ever gave anyone a standing ovation. A couple of people didn�t stand, but most of us did.�
What Calley did was unconscionable but I do not doubt that a higher officer ordered the murders -- this was to make an 'example' for the Viet Cong. With his apologies, Calley is doing the honorable thing.

Sunspots fading away

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Not only are the sunspot numbers declining, it seems that the magnetic strength of each spot is declining precipitously as well. From SpaceWeather:
Sunspots are made of magnetism. The "firmament" of a sunspot is not matter but rather a strong magnetic field that appears dark because it blocks the upflow of heat from the sun's fiery depths. Without magnetism, there would be no sunspots.

That's what makes the following graph a little troubling:

According to Bill Livingston and Matt Penn of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, sunspot magnetic fields are waning. The two respected solar astronomers have been measuring solar magnetism since 1992. Their technique is based on Zeeman splitting of infrared spectral lines emitted by iron atoms in the vicinity of sunspots. Extrapolating their data into the future suggests that sunspots could completely disappear within decades. That would be a bummer for

Don't count out sunspots just yet, however. While the data of Livingston and Penn are widely thought to be correct, far-reaching extrapolations may be premature. This type of measurement is relatively new, and the data reaches back less than 17 years. "Whether this is an omen of long-term sunspot decline, analogous to the Maunder Minimum, remains to be seen," they caution in a recent EOS article.

One thing is certain. Solar Minimum is a lot more interesting than it sounds: more.
This is going to make food prices very interesting in the next five years if this is what I think it is. Time to look into an equatorial bolt-hole...

Penn and Teller saw a woman in half

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Pure genius!

Main-stream media starting to notice

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Finally... From the McClatchy news service:
Drop in world temperatures fuels global warming debate
Has Earth's fever broken?

Official government measurements show that the world's temperature has cooled a bit since reaching its most recent peak in 1998.

That's given global warming skeptics new ammunition to attack the prevailing theory of climate change. The skeptics argue that the current stretch of slightly cooler temperatures means that costly measures to limit carbon dioxide emissions are ill-founded and unnecessary.

Proposals to combat global warming are "crazy" and will "destroy more than a million good American jobs and increase the average family's annual energy bill by at least $1,500 a year," the Heartland Institute, a conservative research organization based in Chicago, declared in full-page newspaper ads earlier this summer. "High levels of carbon dioxide actually benefit wildlife and human health," the ads asserted.
Why do none of the climate models that the warmists are using account for the sun being a variable star? And why do none of the models predict with any accuracy events leading up to the present when fed 200 years of prime historical data?

41 days and counting

It has been forty one days since we have had a sunspot.

Very quiet, very cool sun.

Got a couple projects on the front burner so that is it for reading the internet... Off to the DaveCave(tm)

The big push and its consequences

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Interesting to see this line of commentary from a liberal blog. From ABC News' The Note:
Obama Ally: Dem Majority Is History If Health Reform Fails
A top Obama ally predicted Wednesday in an interview with ABC News that Democrats will lose their congressional majority in next year's midterm elections if they fail to put a health-care reform bill on President Obama's desk.

"I think we're talking losing control of Congress," said Andy Stern, the president of the Service Employees International Union. "[The failure of health-care reform] would totally empower Republicans to kill all change."

"It's hard to imagine the Democrats convincing the public that Republicans are to blame for health-care reform going down when the Democrats have such large majorities," he added. "After last year's promise of change, voters will start feeling buyer's remorse."

Stern, who was invited to sit with the Obama family during the president's inaugural parade, is watched closely on health-care reform not only because of the labor muscle he wields as the head of the 2-million member SEIU but also because of the effort he has made to work with business groups: in 2007, he started "Divided We Fail," a coalition which joined SEIU and AARP with the Business Roundtable and National Federation of Independent Business to promote the general principle of universal health care coverage.
Emphasis mine -- interesting that SEIU and AARP are linked. I knew that NFIB was not anything I would be interested in -- back in Seattle, I had an agent of theirs try to sign me up and when I looked online at what they advocated, it was just big business interests, not small business interests. When a liberal media outlet gets nervous, it gives me no end of encouragement!!!

A bit of Pittsburgh history

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I was born in Pittsburgh, PA. Ran into this article in the Post-Gazette about a Pittsburgh legend. Haven't thought about the place in a long long time... From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Angelo Cammarata, the world's longest-serving bartender, readies for last call
Angelo Cammarata, whom the Guinness Book of World Records recognized as the world's longest-serving bartender, is coming up on last call.

At least at Cammarata's Cafe, the West View watering hole where he's been pouring for most of his 77 years of tending bar.

The place, which he still helps his sons John and Frank run, has been sold, and the Cammaratas will be out of there within weeks when the new owners are approved by the state.

John Cammarata, who suffered a heart attack at a Steelers game about a year ago, said they sold it in great part because of his health. "I just turned 59. My brother is 60."

Their dad is 95, but still coming in every morning, doing the books, and tending bar for an hour or three. Most days he still has the Jim Beam bourbon and Coke that is his drink of choice.

"And one is enough," he says with his easy grin.

He laughs at the notion of other job offers; the owners of the new place, Danny's, asked him to stay on. But he's ready to finally actually retire, so he can take care of his wife, Marietta, at the Ross home where they moved a few years ago after decades of living above the bar.

"Closing after 77 years" read hand-lettered signs out front, offering customer-appreciation $1 drafts and $2 bottles right up to the day-long party (date to be determined) that will end it all.

"Camm," as people call him, started serving beer at his father's North Side grocery the moment Prohibition ended at midnight on April 7, 1933. The memory is as clear to him as the strike of the library clock that signaled it was time to start opening bottles of Fort Pitt. His immigrant father built a bar on that site in 1935 and Angelo kept working there, taking a break to serve in the Navy in World War II.
It's people like this that make America what it is.

Cool news - South Bend Lathes

I own a nice South Bend 9" metal lathe and use it regularly. Rather than getting something that was bubba'd beyond all recognition (a LSO or Lathe Shaped Object), I waited until I found a unit that was purchased new by the guy's granfather and spent $1,200 for it with bench and a bucketload of tooling at the estate sale. The only problem is that parts are next to impossible to get. The company was founded in 1906 but had gone through several reorganizations, buyouts, an employee stock purchase and was in business but not really. Until this year. I just found out that Grizzly Tools purchased the company plus all of the metal casting patterns and they are using an ISO-9001 factory in Taiwan to resume manufacture of these parts. They are also starting production of all of the classic lathes and mills using the original designs but using modern bearings, casting materials and electricals. This is being run as a seperate company - check out South Bend Lathes. Welcome back!

From an email list - Living Will

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Last night, my kid and I were sitting in the living room and I said to them, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'

They got up, unplugged the Computer, and threw out my wine.

They�re such asses.
Heh -- I resemble that remark...

I knew it!

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It's from The Onion so it has to be true...

Oil for thee but not for me

Sarah Palin is not sleeping -- she is quite active on Facebook and is putting up some interesting editorials:

Today's Wall Street Journal contains some puzzling news for all Americans who are impacted by high energy prices and who share the goal of moving us toward energy independence.

For years, states rich with an abundance of oil and natural gas have been begging Washington, DC politicians for the right to develop their own natural resources on federal lands and off shore. Such development would mean good paying jobs here in the United States (with health benefits) and the resulting royalties and taxes would provide money for federal coffers that would potentially off-set the need for higher income taxes, reduce the federal debt and deficits, or even help fund a trillion dollar health care plan if one were so inclined to support such a plan.

So why is it that during these tough times, when we have great needs at home, the Obama White House is prepared to send more than two billion of your hard-earned tax dollars to Brazil so that the nation's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, can drill off shore and create jobs developing its own resources? That's all Americans want; but such rational energy development has been continually thwarted by rabid environmentalists, faceless bureaucrats and a seemingly endless parade of lawsuits aimed at shutting down new energy projects.

I'll speak for the talent I have personally witnessed on the oil fields in Alaska when I say no other country in the world has a stronger workforce than America, no other country in the world has better safety standards than America, and no other country in the world has stricter environmental standards than America. Come to Alaska to witness how oil and gas can be developed simultaneously with the preservation of our eco-system. America has the resources. We deserve the opportunity to develop our resources no less than the Brazilians. Millions of Americans know it is true: "Drill, baby, drill." Alaska is proof you can drill and develop, and preserve nature, with its magnificent caribou herds passing by the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), completely unaffected. One has to wonder if Obama is playing politics and perhaps refusing a "win" for some states just to play to the left with our money.

Written earlier today and already has over 2,000 comments. The Wall Street Journal article she is referencing (psst: Sarah -- links!!!) is here:

Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling
Too bad it's not in U.S. waters.

You read that headline correctly. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is financing oil exploration off Brazil.

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas.

But look on the bright side. If President Obama has embraced offshore drilling in Brazil, why not in the old U.S.A.? The land of the sorta free and the home of the heavily indebted has enormous offshore oil deposits, and last year ahead of the November elections, with gasoline at $4 a gallon, Congress let a ban on offshore drilling expire.

Now don't get me wrong -- I like Brazil. I think President Lula is doing an incredible job running this country and I am happy that they have these off-shore oil reserves. That being said, I can see using US funds to jump-start the oil production rather than what the Chinese are doing 80 miles off of Miami and what the Russians are doing damn near everywhere else but still, we have the reserves and we should be tapping them. Cutting back on Middle-East oil would do a lot to capture the attention of the people (Wahhabist Saudi Arabians) funding the terrorists and I mean that in a best of all ways.

From the Vancouver Sun:
Thousands of surgeries may be cut in Metro Vancouver due to government underfunding, leaked paper
Vancouver patients needing neurosurgery, treatment for vascular diseases and other medically necessary procedures can expect to wait longer for care, NDP health critic Adrian Dix said Monday.

Dix said a Vancouver Coastal Health Authority document shows it is considering chopping more than 6,000 surgeries in an effort to make up for a dramatic budgetary shortfall that could reach $200 million.

�This hasn�t been announced by the health authority � but these cuts are coming,� Dix said, citing figures gleaned from a leaked executive summary of �proposed VCH surgical reductions.�

The health authority confirmed the document is genuine, but said it represents ideas only.

�It is a planning document. It has not been approved or implemented,� said spokeswoman Anna Marie D�Angelo.

Dr. Brian Brodie, president of the BC Medical Association, called the proposed surgical cuts �a nightmare.�

�Why would you begin your cost-cutting measures on medically necessary surgery? I just can�t think of a worse place,� Brodie said.
A "planning" document but why set things like this to paper when you aren't somehow planning to implement them.

AARP having membership problems

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AARP is a giant lobbying business run (hopefully) to stand up for the rights of Citizens over the age of 50. AARP has come out in favor of Obamacare. AARP has had about 60,000 of its members quit over this. From USA Today:
AARP loses members over health care stance
About 60,000 senior citizens have quit AARP since July 1 due to the group's support for a health care overhaul, a spokesman for the organization said Monday.

The membership loss suggests dissatisfaction on the part of AARP members at a time when many senior citizens are concerned about proposed cuts to Medicare providers to help pay for making health care available for all.
Heh... I am eligible but see no benefit from joining, especially now.
Bad science here -- from Portland, OR station KATU:
UW research: you�re breathing toxic air on a plane
New research from the University of Washington could back a Washington woman�s claim that the air she was exposed to inside planes made her sick.

Terry Williams was a former flight attendant who is plagued by tremors and migraines. She said it all began when she saw smoke blowing through a vent on an MD-82, which is made by Boeing-owned McDonnell Douglas.

Half of the air on passenger planes is "bleed air", which comes through jet engines.

University of Washington researchers said toxic air can get into plane cabins.

�There�s a danger of inhaling compounds that are coming out of the engine,� said University of Washington professor Clement Furlong. �The engine seals fail and there�s very potent toxins that can come on board when the engine seals fail.�

A British study said about two dozen pilots who complained of being exposed to contaminated air did have neurological problems.

Doctors said if certain proteins are present in someone�s body, they can make the toxins more potent.

Boeing said the air on its planes is safe.
First of all, Dr. Furlong's area of expertise -- from the UW Website:
Clement Furlong
Research Professor of Genome Sciences and of Medicine

One of the main questions addressed in Dr. Furlong's laboratory is the genetic variability of insecticide metabolism and sensitivity in humans. His research group has cloned and sequenced the cDNA's from humans, rabbits, and mice that encode paraoxonase (PON1) an HDL-associated enzyme that inactivates the toxic metabolites of several toxic organophosphate pesticides and nerve agents. The molecular basis of the genetic polymorphism in humans that specifies high or low metabolism has been identified. Dr. Furlong has worked closely with Dr. Lucio Costa in developing a mouse model that has provided valuable information on the role of PON1 in protecting against insecticide exposure.
A Geneticist and he is talking about seals on jet aircraft? Of course, there are other geneticists who are going off on wilder tangents without understanding what they are talking about but... A turbofan engine is a wonderfully simple device:
Image taken from this WikiPedia article: Turbofan Note that there is significant airflow around the combustion chamber as well as through it. The bleed air comes from here. If there was a contaminant in it, it is not from the exhaust as the flow through the turbofan is up in the 600MPH range, if the contaminant was anything else, it would be the lubricating oil that is being circulated through the bearings. If lubricating oil was entering the bleed air, it would mean that there was a bearing failure and that the engine would be shut down. The bleed air comes out at about 40PSI and is compressed -- work has been done to compress it and when that happens, it heats and absorbs more moisture from the atmosphere. When the air pressure is lowered and it is injected into the cabin, that cooling causes the moisture to precipitate out in the form of water vapor or cool steam. This is what Ms. Williams was seeing. I would suspect that the illnesses she is suffering will have a different cause, either psychosomatic or a different medical condition than smoke on a plane...

Dave Carroll - United Airlines - Song Two

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United Breaks Guitars (here and here) -- he said that he would be doing three songs about this and Song #2 just hit YouTube.
This isn't just United, this is the wakeup and smell the Cappuccino call for businesses everywhere...

Been one of those days

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And Neanderpundit captures it perfectly:
Note to self:
do NOT lick the bugzapper AGAIN.

Hell no, I won't go

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I do not have a problem -- I can step away from the computer at any time... I do not have a problem -- I can step away from the computer at any time... I do not have a problem -- I can step away from the computer at any time... I do not have a problem -- I can step away from the computer at any time... I do not have a problem -- I can step away from the computer at any time... I do not have a problem -- I can step away from the computer at any time... From Seattle station KING5:
Internet addiction treatment center opens in Fall City
China, South Korea and Japan have several already. Now, the first in-patient treatment center for Internet addiction is launching in Fall City.

And it already has its first patient: a 19-year-old whose parents tried everything before finding this program.

Ben Alexander is a long way from his home in Iowa City. At the reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program, he feels a world away from his gaming addiction.

"My game of choice was 'World of Warcraft,'" said Alexander.

He played so much, it started affecting his schoolwork.
The site I swiped the graphic from earlier has a nice little ten-question test on Global Warming. Take it here and see how you do: GLOBAL WARMING TEST When you submit your answer, you are provided with a new screen that has the explanation for the answer as well as external links to corroborating data.
Do you want to see a perfect example of politicized "science"? Check out this at CNN:
Study: Global warming sparked by ancient farming methods
Ancient man may have started global warming through massive deforestation and burning that could have permanently altered the Earth's climate, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Primitive slash-and-burn agriculture permanently changed Earth's climate, according to a new study.

The study, published in the scientific journal Quaternary Science Reviews and reported on the University of Virginia's Web site, says over thousands of years, farmers burned down so many forests on such a large scale that huge amounts of carbon dioxide were pumped into the atmosphere. That possibly caused the Earth to warm up and forever changed the climate.

Lead study author William Ruddiman is a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and a climate scientist.

"It seems like a common-sense idea that there weren't enough people around 5, 6, 7,000 years ago to have any significant impact on climate. But if you allow for the fact that those people, person by person, had something like 10 times as much of an effect or cleared 10 times as much land as people do today on average, that bumps up the effect of those earlier farmers considerably, and it does make them a factor in contributing to the rise of greenhouse gasses," Ruddiman said.
Now compare this to some real data - taken from this website: Geocraft -- Global Warming
Black line is CO2 and the blue line is temperature. The data is taken from the Vostok Ice Core. They can tell the CO2 as the gas is dissolved in the frozen water. Temperature is determined by proxy from pollen and other debris as well as the ratios of dissolved gasses. The scales are quite different -- but you can plainly see that last quarter inch on the right representing the last 10K years or so. This in no way represents human activity. The CO2 present in the atmosphere is at record lows and on a geological scale, the overall trend is cooling. We had a spate of warming weather in the last 30 years but the high-point was in 1998 and it has been cooling ever since. Yes, there is a link between overall CO2 concentration and Earth temperature but it is the CO2 that lags the temperature by several hundred years, CO2 is not the driver of the temperature...

Don't mess with Fiji

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Interesting article on the bottled Fiji Water at Mother Jones:
Fiji Water: Spin the Bottle
The offsetting effort has been the centerpiece of Fiji Water's $5 million "Fiji Green" marketing blitz, which brazenly urges consumers to drink imported water to fight climate change. The Fiji Green website claims that because of the 120-percent carbon offset, buying a big bottle of Fiji Water creates the same carbon reduction as walking five blocks instead of driving. Former Senior VP of Sustainable Growth Thomas Mooney noted in a 2007 Huffington Post blog post that "we'd be happy if anyone chose to drink nothing but Fiji Water as a means to keep the sea levels down." (Metaphorically speaking, anyway: As the online trade journal ClimateBiz has reported, Fiji is using a "forward crediting" model under which it takes credit now for carbon reductions that will actually happen over a few decades.)

Fiji Water has also vowed to use at least 20 percent less packaging by 2010�which shouldn't be too difficult, given its bottle's above-average heft. (See "Territorial Waters.") The company says the square shape makes Fiji Water more efficient in transport, and, hey, it looks great: Back in 2000, a top official told a trade magazine that "What Fiji Water's done is go out there with a package that clearly looks like it's worth more money, and we've gotten people to pay more for us."

Selling long-distance water to green consumers may be a contradiction in terms. But that hasn't stopped Fiji from positioning its product not just as an indulgence, but as an outright necessity for an elite that can appreciate its purity. As former Fiji Water CEO Doug Carlson once put it, "If you like Velveeta cheese, processed water is okay for you." ("All waters are not created equal" is another long-standing Fiji Water slogan.) The company has gone aggressively after its main competitor�tap water�by calling it "not a real or viable alternative" that can contain "4,000 contaminants," unlike Fiji's "living water." "You can no longer trust public or private water supplies," co-owner Lynda Resnick wrote in her book, Rubies in the Orchard.

A few years back, Fiji Water canned its waterfall logo and replaced it with a picture of palm fronds and hibiscus: "Surface water!" Resnick wrote in Rubies. "Why would you want to suggest that Fiji came from surface water? The waterfall absolutely had to go." One company newsletter featured the findings of a salt-crystal purveyor who claimed that Fiji Water rivals the "known and significant abilities of 'Holy Healing Waters' in Lourdes, France or Fatima, Portugal." Switching effortlessly from Catholic mysticism to sci-fi, he added that the water's "electromagnetic field frequency enables Fiji Water to stimulate our human self-regulation system."
So you have a product with a very carefully managed veneer of feel-good hooey all the while it comes from a Military dictatorship and it was founded by David Gilmour whose environmental dealings are quite less than good and was sold in 2004 to a California family -- the Resnicks -- who epitomize all that is wrong with corporate power. A fascinating three-page read...

Those pesky water levels

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First we have oceanographer Bob Ballard finding evidence of civilization 300 feet under the Black Sea -- a civilization whose sudden flooding during the Holocene might have given rise to the Noah's Ark story. Now, from Science Daily:
Archeological Evidence Of Human Activity Found Beneath Lake Huron
More than 100 feet deep in Lake Huron, on a wide stoney ridge that 9,000 years ago was a land bridge, University of Michigan researchers have found the first archeological evidence of human activity preserved beneath the Great Lakes.

The researchers located what they believe to be caribou-hunting structures and camps used by the early hunters of the period.

"This is the first time we've identified structures like these on the lake bottom," said John O'Shea, curator of Great Lakes Archaeology in the Museum of Anthropology and professor in the Department of Anthropology. "Scientifically, it's important because the entire ancient landscape has been preserved and has not been modified by farming, or modern development. That has implications for ecology, archaeology and environmental modeling."

A paper about the findings is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Co-authors are O'Shea and Guy Meadows, director of the Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratories and a professor in the departments of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, and Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences.

O'Shea and Meadows found features that they believe to be hunting pits, camps, caribou drive lanes and stone piles used to attract the caribou to the drive lanes. Drive lanes are long rows of rocks used to channel caribou into ambushes. The 1,148-foot structure they believe is a drive lane closely resembles one on Victoria Island in the Canadian subarctic.

The hunting formations are on the 10-mile-wide Alpena-Amberley ridge that stretches more than 100 miles from Point Clark, Ontario to Presque Isle, Michigan. The ridge was a bridge between 10,000 and 7,500 years ago when water levels were much lower. Its surface is relatively unspoiled, unlike coastal areas where scientists believe other archeological sites exist. These coastal sites would now be deeply covered in sediment, so they're often considered lost forever.
Very cool -- and the braying ninnies complain that it is us that is causing an imperceptible rise in the sea level. Someone needs to put the bong down and study some history...
I would vote for him as President in a heartbeat. He knows more about the American Political system and our history than 99% of the people at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The complete speech and Q&A's can be found here: Daniel Hannan Speaks at The Army and Navy Club, August 2009 Great stuff! Hat tip to Denny Wilson for the link.

The tide is turning slowly

A nice metric to show what is happening in direct reaction to Obama's policies. From CNS News:
Conservatives Now Outnumber Liberals in All 50 States, Says Gallup Poll
Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals in all 50 states of the union, according to the Gallup Poll.

At the same time, more Americans nationwide are saying this year that they are conservative than have made that claim in any of the last four years.

In 2009, 40% percent of respondents in Gallup surveys that have interviewed more than 160,000 Americans have said that they are either �conservative� (31%) or �very conservative� (9%). That is the highest percentage in any year since 2004.

Only 21% have told Gallup they are liberal, including 16% who say they are �liberal� and 5% who say they are �very liberal.�
Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people...

The Canadian Healthcare system

As spoken by Canada's top Doctor -- from Verum Serum:
Canada�s Top Doc on Problems with Their System
You just can�t make this stuff up. The incoming head of the Canadian Medical Association is Dr. Anne Doig. She had this to say about the Canadian �Medicare� system in today�s Globe and Mail:
�Canada�s doctors are not opposed to medicare, [and neither of my predecessors was opposed to medicare by the way.] We don�t want a health system where people can be beggared, crippled and bankrupted by medical expenses. That is anathema to Canadian physicians.

�But we can�t just sit back and smugly say we have the best health system in the world while our system is crumbling around us,� Dr. Doig said.
More interesting quotes from the Verum Serum website...

I voted Democrat because...

Nice list over at E3 gazette:
Why I voted Democrat...
I voted Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry my boat.

I voted Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.

I voted Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I ever would.

I voted Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.
Seven more at the site...

The Historic Bridges of the United States

Very nice website chronicling the older bridges that can be found in the USA. Nice search-by-state and -by-county functions.

Day 37

Today marks the 37th day that the sun has been without sunspots. Low sunspot numbers correspond with low solar output and relatively cooler temperatures on Earth. We have been experiencing a very low number of sunspots over the last three years as Solar Cycle 23 winds down and Cycle 24 fails to show anything but the occasional spot or two.

The price of bicycles in Portland, OR

An interesting article on the invisible hand operating in Portland, Oregon. From the New York Times:
Bicycle Inflation in Paradise?
Portland, Oregon, the current darling of America�s food and environmental writers, is arguably the county�s most bicycle-obsessed city. Bike use was up 28 percent in Portland between 2007 and 2008, and on the Hawthorne Bridge, a main thoroughfare, bikes now make up 20 percent of all vehicles. The New York Times estimated in 2007 that there were 125 bike-related businesses in Portland employing 600 to 800 people. There�s even a store in the city that sells only tricycles.

When I arrived in Portland last month, the first thing I wanted to do was buy a bike and get around the way the locals do. Since I wouldn�t be in town for too long, and it wasn�t clear that I�d be able to take the bike with me when I left, I wanted something extremely cheap.

There were bike shops on every other corner in Southeast Portland, the sort of Brooklyn-ish neighborhood where I was staying. I walked into what looked like the grungiest of them � a store that sold mostly used bikes. There was one employee, and he was heavily tattooed and seemed pretty cool. I completely leveled with him: I didn�t know anything about bikes, really; I could barely change a tire; I was only going to be in town for a little while; and I wondered if he had something cheap that I could use for puttering around town.

I know this is sort of quaint, but the last time I bought a bike, I think I spent $35 and it wasn�t hot. It was a road bike; it had 18 speeds, I think; it squeaked; and it served my needs (biking from my house to school every day) perfectly well. (The bike later died a peaceful death at Burning Man, but that was due to maltreatment, not poor quality.) I was looking for something like that.

The guy in the store asked me how much I wanted to spend.

I sort of stuttered my way and ultimately refused to answer the question because I was embarrassed to say something like �less than a hundred dollars,� for fear of coming off like Borat inspecting the Hummer before buying the ice-cream truck.

Yeah, the bike guy answered, he had something super-cheap for me, an old road bike that they�d fixed up. It wasn�t exactly my size, but it would do. It was a 1991 model, a Trek, I think. It was in good working condition, it had some newer components, and it came with a warranty. I could have it, he said, for $475.

So I went to another store. Same deal, more or less. There was one bike for $275, but it was a girl�s Raleigh from the 1960�s with a wicker basket.

I started looking around the web. At the down-to-earth-sounding Recyclery, another Portland used bike shop � and probably a great one � there are currently 59 used bikes on offer. But 34 of them cost more than $1,000, only eight are priced under $500, and there are none under $300. Even to rent a bike for one week from the Recyclery costs $175 � more than I paid for my weekly rental car the previous time I was in Portland.
Hey Robin -- it is called the market. Items with a higher-perceived value are worth more to people. Stores selling these items can get the higher prices so that is what they charge. If my store sold milk for $12/gallon, we would not sell any of it. We sell it for $3.48 and it flies out the door. A bicycle is just another commodity item like a gallon of milk or a pair of socks.
From Japan's Mainichi News:
Student drowns while testing concrete canoe
A university student here died after a test on a concrete canoe in the Yodogawa River went disastrously awry on Sunday afternoon.

The body of Ken Kitamura, 19, was found by firefighters at the bottom of the river, about an hour after the canoe capsized. He was taken to hospital, but died shortly afterwards. Another student in the canoe managed to swim safely back to the bank.

Kitamura, a student at the Osaka Institute of Technology, built the canoe along with other members of the university's civil engineering culture research club.

Kitamura was not wearing a life jacket. Police are continuing to investigate.
Ouch -- and they were testing it in a river, not a controlled environment like a lake or swimming pool. Big-time Darwin award.

Reader's Digest files for Chapter 11

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Talk about an American Icon -- the magazine had been in print since 1922. From the Washington Post:
Is Nothing Sacred in This Recession? Reader's Digest Set to File for Bankruptcy
Reader's Digest -- an American media icon of the 20th century, thanks to its inspiring, safe-for-family-reading articles and folksy, cornpone humor -- is planning to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

Parent company Reader's Digest Association has had trouble since going private in 2007, cutting costs and trying to stay relevant in the post-ironic, niche-driven 21st-century media landscape, a place than can be tough sledding for an earnest, general-interest magazine. The magazine still maintains it is the world's largest paid circulation magazine, selling 8 million copies per month in the U.S.

According to the magazine's demographic research, the median age of a Reader's Digest reader is 52 and has a household income of about $58,000.
A bit more about going private:
Debt is hurting Reader's Digest; the bankruptcy plan -- which has been accepted by creditors -- allows it to cut debt from $2.2 billion to $550 million.

When a public company goes private, it has to buy back stock from shareholders to get it all out of circulation. To do so usually requires borrowing money. If you over-borrow and under-perform, then you get a debt problem. This is exactly what has happened to media giant Tribune in its $13 billion going-private transaction in 2007 and why it declared bankruptcy one year later.
They sure picked a bad time to go private -- the stock prices would have been a lot higher back in 2007 and the businesses value overstated. Chapter 11 allows them to restructure. The writing was very much on the wall back then -- people like Nouriel Roubini were warning about the ongoing recession but everyone was caught up in the bubble.
Sitting here enjoying a wonderful concert of coyotes singing outside. There are three groups that live in the valley and they call back and forth every so often. They hang out on the wooded hillside and rarely visit the cleared property or come near the house. Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to check email. The first of the local corn is ripe -- had two ears this evening that I watched being picked at 4:30 this afternoon, still not quite ripe but very delicious. This was an early-ripening Sweet Sheba -- the really good variety, Peaches and Cream, will be ready in another week or two.

Burt Rutan - climate change skeptic

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Very cool -- Rutan is an Engineers Engineer and very intelligent. He took a look at the arguments for Anthropogenic Global Warming and did not like what he saw. From Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That:
Burt Rutan: engineer, aviation/space pioneer, and now, active climate skeptic
Recently after some conversations with a former chemical engineer who provided me with some insight, I�ve come to the conclusion that many engineers have difficulty with many of the premises of AGW theory because in their �this has to work or people die� world of exacting standards, the AGW argument doesn�t hold up well by their standards of performance.

Today I was surprised to learn that one of the foremost and world famous engineers on the planet, Burt Rutan, has become an active climate skeptic. You may be familiar with some of Rutan�s work through his company, Scaled Composites.

Thanks to WUWT reader Dale Knutsen, I was provided a PowerPoint file recently by email presented by Mr. Rutan at the Oshkosh fly-in convention on July 29th, 2009 and again on August 1st, 2009. It has also now been posted online by an associate of Mr. Rutan�s.

There were a number of familiar things in the PowerPoint, including data plots from one of the USHCN stations I personally surveyed and highlighted, Santa Rosa, NM. Rutan had an interest in it because of the GISS adjustment to the data. For him, the whole argument is about the data. He says about his presentation in slide #3:
Not a Climatologist�s study; more from the view of a flight test guy who has spent a lifetime in data analysis/interpretation.
In the notes of his PowerPoint on slide #3, Rutan tells us why he thinks this way(emphasis mine):
My study is NOT as a climatologist, but from a completely different prospective in which I am an expert.

Complex data from disparate sources can be processed and presented in very different ways, and to �prove� many different theories.

For decades, as a professional experimental test engineer, I have analyzed experimental data and watched others massage and present data. I became a cynic; My conclusion � �if someone is aggressively selling a technical product who�s merits are dependant on complex experimental data, he is likely lying�. That is true whether the product is an airplane or a Carbon Credit.
The PowerPoint is here. A PDF conversion is here. Well worth your time to look at the 33 slides. I will be printing them out and keeping them at the store as the data is clearly and simply presented and makes a devastating case for climate as usual and for CO2 being a red herring.

I am surrounded by ID10T's

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A new spammer on the block and they just will not give up. Over 20 attempts today. Over 20 blocks on my end and they still keep coming. I will be banning their IP address in a while -- was curious about how persistent they would be. Einstein again:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
--Albert Einstein
Fish in a barrel...

A business model for these times

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From The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid (great blog name):
MORTGAGE SCAMDOWN See? Capitalism will always find a way! From Time:
Brooke Boemio, a bouncy, sweet, recently remarried 31-year-old mom... is doing great during this recession. In fact, she's never had a job that paid as well: she made more than $100,000 last year. Even better, she's willing to show me how messed up the real estate scene is.

Boemio specializes in short selling, in a particularly Vegas way. Basically, she finds clients who owe more on their house than the house is worth (and that's about 60% of homeowners in Las Vegas) and sells them a new house similar to the one they've been living in at half the price they paid for their old house. Then she tells them to stop paying the mortgage on their old place until the bank becomes so fed up that it's willing to let the owner sell the house at a huge loss rather than dragging everyone through foreclosure. Since that takes about nine months, many of the owners even rent out their old house in the interim, pocketing a profit.
Reading the market and making it work for you. And all she is doing is selling the new house so she doesn't get involved in the foreclosure hassles. Very clever!

That is it for the night...

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Read through the entire internet (dirty job but drew the short straw this year), didn't see anything that caught my eye so I am heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to check email and then to bed and to sleep in for ten hours or so.

Long night for our Sun

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35 days without a single sunspot. 10.7cm Solar Radio Flux is low as well. It is getting colder. CO2 certainly contributes to the overall global temperature. It does not drive it. There is a whale of a big difference here...
Like I said, I am normally a night person. I like to get to bed around midnight or one and wake up around nine or ten. Since I had to be at the CERTS class by 9:00am, I woke up with Jen at 6:00am (she being a morning person). My ass is dragging right now... The class was a lot of fun. The program is four hours each Saturday for ten days and then an exam and practicum. Where I live is 45 minutes away from the nearest city and although there is a very good volunteer fire department and a County Sheriff lives about two miles away, things happen and it is good to get training on what to do during an emergency. Even something as simple as directing traffic will allow the trained professionals to deal directly with the problems instead of having to do peripheral tasks.

Town meeting - 8-12-2009 Hagerstown, MD

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These are not people carrying printed signs shouting slogans. These people are not AstroTurf, they are not mobsters, they were not bussed in en masse; they are citizens who want their country back again. The dragon has awakened and it cheers my heart to see...

Department of irony - lisping

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Adapted from an email thread. Someone who suffers from the speech impediment of lisping is unable to pronounce their affliction. What is worse is that the offithial term for this problem is sigmatism -- a two-fer...

Early morning tomorrow

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Off to the DaveCave(tm) The CERT training starts tomorrow morning and I want to be whatever passes for bright-eyed and bushy-tailed... Jen watched the previous post regarding Rahm Emanuel and mentioned that Dick Cheney was just as dirty. This is true which is why I said that both sides of the aisle need to be cleaned out.

Rahm Emanuel's connections

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Talk about dirty:
Not that big a fan of Beck as he can go off on a rant and not really get to the point. I have listened to his show at times and it's like he and the people in his studio are sharing some great joke but it's not apparent to the listener exactly what the punchline is. That being said, when he sets words to paper, they are well worth reading and he didn't get to be where he is today by being incoherent. Stuff like this is a stunning insight into what passes for honesty in today's government and I fully agree that the rot is in both parties. Time to clean House (and Senate).

Always classy - Senator Harry Reid

From The Hill's Briefing Room blog:
Reid: Protesters are 'evil-mongers'
Town hall protesters are "evil-mongers," says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

Reid coined the term in a speech to an energy conference in Las Vegas this week and repeated it in an interview with Politics Daily.

Such "evil-mongers" are using "lies, innuendo and rumor," to drown out rational debate, Reid said.
In other news, Senator Nancy Pelosi spoke to a bunch of protesters and had this to say:
"So I thank all of you who have spoken out for your courage, your point of view. All of it. Your advocacy is very American and very important."
Unnhhh -- that was on January 17th, 2006 and it was to a bunch of Iraq protesters. Fscking hypocrites...

Good for the goose

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Heh... When the TEA parties and town hall meetings started getting noticed by the nattering nabobs in Washington, the liberals got organized and started busing in members of ACORN and the SEIU to the meetings to counter-protest. They are following a strict rulebook (and here) codified by Saul Alinsky. Fortunately, the liberal people attending these events aren't the sharpest tools in the bunch and they only repeat what they are told by their puppet masters. Using this rigidity, it is easy to deflect and confuse them. Fortunately, I ran into this website: Derailing for Dummies From the introduction:
You know how it is. You�re enjoying yourself, kicking back and relaxing at the pub or maybe at the library; or maybe you�re in class or just casually surfing the internet, indulging in a little conversation. The topic of the conversation is about a pertinent contemporary issue, probably something to do with a group of people who fall outside your realm of experience and identity. They�re also probably fairly heavily discriminated against - or so they claim. The thing is, you�re having a good time, sharing your knowledge about these people and their issues. This knowledge is incontrovertible - it�s been backed up in media representation, books, research and lots and lots of historical events, also your own unassailable sense of being right.

Yet all of a sudden something happens to put a dampener on your sharing of your enviable intellect and incomparable capacity to fully perceive and understand All Things. It�s someone who belongs to the group of people you�re discussing and they�re Not Very Happy with you. Apparently, they claim, you�ve got it all wrong and they�re offended about that. They might be a person of colour, or a queer person. Maybe they�re a woman, or a person with disability. They could even be a trans person or a sex worker. The point is they�re trying to tell you they know better than you about their issues and you know that�s just plain wrong. How could you be wrong?

Don�t worry though! There IS something you can do to nip this potentially awkward and embarrassing situation in the bud. By simply derailing the conversation, dismissing their opinion as false and ridiculing their experience you can be sure that they continue to be marginalised and unheard and you can continue to look like the expert you know you really are, deep down inside!
Heh. Like playing whack-a-mole... As for the "activists" and members of ACORN and SEIU being bussed in to counter the grass-roots protests, it is real and it is happening all over the USA. From the L.A. Times:
Wanted: Obama healthcare reform volunteers willing to be paid $15 an hour
It seems that, despite all the media attention lavished on e-mail appeals to his supporters, not everyone pushing for President Obama's embattled healthcare reform plan these warm August days is an idealistic volunteer in it for the sake of helping move the country forward and gaining medical attention for millions of uninsured Americans.

The website's large-type headline announces: "Work to Pass Obama's Healthcare Plan and Get Paid to Do it! $10-15 hr!"
It is happening in Sacramento and Pennsylvania, New Hampshire. Here is a 30 second clip of two schoolbusses filled with ACORN redshirts leaving the Pennsylvania rally:
The liberals accuse the conservatives of being run by high-paid operatives and being a mob. Pot -- meet kettle...

Light night for this one

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I am at heart a night person and I have a couple of early mornings ahead of me so I'm heading off early to the DaveCave(tm) to check email, do some work and head off to bed. Have an inspection at the store tomorrow with the County Fire Marshall. Saturday I start CERT training. I live in a small community and having this training is another tool in the box. Last Winter, we had major flooding and an earth movement that took out four houses. Looking out the dining/living room windows, I can see the summit of an active volcano. At this time, even with the recent rain, fire danger is at an all-time high with burn bans on all private land and campfires only allowed in commercially made firepits at campsites where there is a ranger on duty (personal propane and charcoal BBQ's are exempt). The valley we live in has burned twice in recorded history. Becoming a member of the Community Emergency Response Team is a good thing. A few other people are in this town but the more the merrier...

Buncha Asshats... From the Seattle Times:

NW Power Council deadlocks over proposal
Members of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council have deadlocked over a plan that calls for 85 percent of the region's new power needs over the next 20 years to be achieved through conservation.

Council spokesman John Harrison said the eight members of the panel voted 4-4 during a meeting in Spokane on Wednesday on whether to release the plan to the public for 60 days of comment.

The members from Montana and Idaho voted against the proposal, while the members from Washington and Oregon voted for it.

Harrison said the panel will meet again in a few weeks to continue work on a plan for meeting the region's future energy needs. The Portland-based council drafts a regional power plan every five years for the four states. The next one is due by the end of this year.

IF they start to scramble now, they can get some clean nuclear power plants online in ten years. I am not anti-conservation, I am very much pro-conservation but conservation will only yield less than thirty percent of power needs and power needs are growing, like it or not, growth is the reality of the matter. Based on 2005 figures, ALL of the alternative energy sources in the US amounted to less than two percent of total energy usage. Repeating something time and time again will not make it happen the way that you want. There lies insanity.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
--Albert Einstein

Look at France -- they get 80% of their electricity from Nuclear and they have enough left over to export to neighboring countries to the extent that Nuke power is their fourth largest cash export. Japan is also around 80% (don't have current figures). The continental USA has known reserves of fuel for five hundred years of projected growth. Yes, there is a reprocessing problem (thanks Jimmy) and a waste storage problem but other nations are successfully dealing with their wastes without incident. Those who are prone to doom and gloom scenarios would do well to look at the testing that goes into the use of Nuclear Casks (here, here and here)

Bur*ing Man jumps the shark

Hard to imagine but yes. From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
Snatching Rights On the Playa
In a few weeks, tens of thousands of creative people will make their yearly pilgrimage to Nevada�s Black Rock desert for Burning Man, an annual art event and temporary community celebrating radical self expression, self-reliance, creativity and freedom. Most have the entirely reasonable expectation that they will own and control what is likely the largest number of creative works generated on the Playa: the photos they take to document their creations and experiences.

That�s because they haven�t read the Burning Man Terms and Conditions.

Those Terms and Conditions include a remarkable bit of legal sleight-of-hand: as soon as �any third party displays or disseminates� your photos or videos in a manner that the Burning Man Organization (BMO) doesn�t like, those photos or videos become the property of the BMO. This �we automatically own all your stuff� magic appears to be creative lawyering intended to allow the BMO to use the streamlined �notice and takedown� process enshrined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to quickly remove photos from the Internet.

The BMO also limits your own rights to use your own photos and videos on any public websites, (1) obliging you to take down any photos to which BMO objects, for any reason; and (2) forbidding you from allowing anyone else to reuse your photos (i.e., no licensing your work no matter what is depicted, including Creative Commons licensing, and no option to donate your work to the public domain).

Moreover, the Burning Man Terms and Conditions also strip attendees of their trademark fair use rights. The ticket terms forbid any use of Burning Man trademarks on any website, which means that ticket-holders can�t label their photos �Burning Man 2009� or even use the words �Burning Man� on their Facebook walls or Twitter updates.
A shame really. The fact that it is the EFF that is raising the stink may help to relax the Terms and Conditions -- I hope they do as the individual reports after the event are always a great read...

RIP Les Paul

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I heard of his passing on the radio this afternoon as I was driving into Bellingham. Talk about changing an industry -- inventing the solid body electric guitar, inventing multi-tracking and tape delay echo lines; he was a picker who taught himself electronics so he could build his studio the way he wanted to. His right arm was frozen into place after shattering his elbow in an automobile accident. When the doctors told him that he could pick any angle he wanted, he chose the angle he used to play the guitar. He was still gigging regularly in New York City up until a few months ago. 94 years old. Micheal Jackson may have been the King of Pop but it was people like Les Paul that gave music its soul... The Gibson Music website has an awesome obituary.
A most excellent analysis from Kyle-Anne Shiver writing at American Thinker:
Obama Failed to Master Alinsky's Rule #12
Alinsky's 12th Rule of Tactics: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying, �You're right - we don't know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us.'

Why is President Barack Obama suddenly drowning in a sea of widespread resistance to his centerpiece legislation? Because it has now become quite clear to Harry & Louise Q Citizen that this was a man without a "constructive alternative" to the out-of-control healthcare system he has badgered and rhetorically beaten bloody to a pulp.

Obama himself, Organizer in Chief, had no plan. He proposed no plan to Congress. He has let committee after committee of witless tax-and-spend, haggard old liberals write the convoluted mess they're calling healthcare reform, and has virtually done nothing for own his part but bash the insurance companies, the doctors and even the patients, who ask for individual control over their own life-and-death choices.
A bit more:
Leaders don't fall from the sky without proof they ever made friends and dated girlfriends and earned grades and had businesses and wrote papers, folks. Leaders have visible trails; they have made a record of their successes and proudly show them whenever asked. Barack Obama resides in the White House without ever showing a shred of genuine evidence that he is the greatly-gifted man he and his media sycophants say he is. And 52% of the American electorate has bought this faster than they would buy a used car from a slick-suited salesman on a shady lot.
Some wonderful and spot-on writing there. Well worth a few minutes of your time to read and reflect...
Interesting opinion piece over at Fox News:

Analysis: Press Largely Ignored Incendiary Rhetoric at Bush Protest
News outlets that are focusing on the incendiary rhetoric of conservatives outside President Obama's town hall meeting Tuesday ignored the incendiary rhetoric -- and even violence -- of liberals outside an appearance by former President George W. Bush in 2002.

When Bush visited Portland, Ore., for a fundraiser, protesters stalked his motorcade, assailed his limousine and stoned a car containing his advisers. Chanting "Bush is a terrorist!", the demonstrators bullied passers-by, including gay softball players and a wheelchair-bound grandfather with multiple sclerosis.

One protester even brandished a sign that seemed to advocate Bush's assassination. The man held a large photo of Bush that had been doctored to show a gun barrel pressed against his temple.

"BUSH: WANTED, DEAD OR ALIVE," read the placard, which had an X over the word "ALIVE."

Another poster showed Bush's face with the words: "F--- YOU, MOTHERF---ER!"

A third sign urged motorists to "HONK IF YOU HATE BUSH." A fourth declared: "CHRISTIAN FASCISM," with a swastika in place of the letter S in each word.

Although reporters from numerous national news organizations were traveling with Bush and witnessed the protest, none reported that protesters were shrieking at Republican donors epithets like "Slut!" "Whore!" and "Fascists!"

Frank Dulcich, president and CEO of Pacific Seafood Group, had a cup of liquid thrown into his face, and then was surrounded by a group of menacing protesters, including several who wore masks. Donald Tykeson, 75, who had multiple sclerosis and was confined to a wheelchair, was blocked by a thug who threatened him.

Protesters slashed the tires of several state patrol cruisers and leapt onto an occupied police car, slamming the hood and blocking the windshield with placards. A female police officer was knocked to the street by advancing protesters, badly injuring her wrist.

The angry protest grew so violent that the Secret Service was forced to take the highly unusual step of using a backup route for Bush's motorcade because the primary route had been compromised by protesters, one of whom pounded his fist on the president's moving limousine.

All the while, angry demonstrators brandished signs with incendiary rhetoric, such as "9/11 - YOU LET IT HAPPEN, SHRUB," and "BUSH: BASTARD CHILD OF THE SUPREME COURT." One sign read: "IMPEACH THE COURT-APPOINTED JUNTA AND THE FASCIST, EGOMANIACAL, BLOOD-SWILLING BEAST!"

Yet none of these signs were cited in the national media's coverage of the event. By contrast, the press focused extensively on over-the-top signs held by Obama critics at the president's town hall event held Tuesday in New Hampshire.

The lead story in Wednesday's Washington Post, for example, is headlined: "Obama Faces 'Scare Tactics' Head-On."

"As the president spoke, demonstrators outside held posters declaring him a socialist and dubbing him 'Obamahdinejad,' in reference to Iran's president," the Post reported. "People screamed into bullhorns to protest a bigger government role in health care. 'Nobama Deathcare!' one sign read. A young girl held up a sign that said: 'Obama Lies, Grandma Dies.' Images of a protester wearing what appeared to be a gun were shown on television."

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that a Democratic congressman discovered that "an opponent of health care reform hanged him in effigy" and was confronted by "200 angry conservatives." The article lamented "increasingly ugly scenes of partisan screaming matches, scuffles, threats and even arrests."

No such coverage was given to the Portland protest of Bush by The New York Times or the Washington Post, which witnessed the protest.
The man has a point -- the liberals aren't so happy when the shoe is on the other foot and they are having to defend an unpopular situation...
Sobering bit of video even if you know what things are like in countries with socialized health care.
I was listening to the radio this afternoon and they were talking with a French family who was living in the US. The Grandmother fell into a coma. In France you are given one week of life support and then you are unplugged. Patients in France have to pay 50% of all of their treatment costs -- there is private insurance available but not all people can afford it. Interesting bit of information, the British National Health Service is the third largest employer in the world after Chinese National Army and the Indian National Railroad system. There are more Bureaucrats than there are Doctors and Nurses. There are so many people working for NHS that the voting bloc does not allow it to be disbanded...

A sweet ride - electric motorcycle

Not just any electric motorcycle but one built by Orange County Choppers... From Wired:
Orange County Choppers Builds an EV. Seriously


Known for building machines as brutish as they are loud, Orange County Choppers has produced this paradoxical bike touted as the �first custom electric American chopper.� The showpiece exhibits the trademark OCC outrageous ode to flair and themed design, but this time you won�t hear it coming from a mile away.

On Wednesday, Siemens, the electronics and electrical engineering global powerhouse, unveiled the Smart Chopper it commissioned from the renowned custom motorcycle outfit. Siemens claims the bike has a 60-mile range and a 100 mph top speed. An onboard charging unit can be plugged into any 110-volt socket to charge the bike in five hours, and Siemens says it�ll charge in as little as one hour when plugged into a higher-voltage station. A single-speed, clutch-less transmission delivers the power from a 27-hp electric motor.
Cool and considering who is doing the design and engineering, we can be assured that these are real numbers and not something inflated (cough-Tesla-cough) for the press releases. Hat tip to Neatorama for the link.

Camille Paglia on Nancy Pelosi

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I do not always agree with what Camille Paglia has to say. Hell, I seldom agree with her ideas on which direction the United States of America should be taking -- but -- I respect her to the end. She is intelligent and this woman is not afraid to speak her mind. Her thought processes are not colored by the political mots des jure. Here she is in fine form weighing in on the little problem of Nancy Pelosi. From Salon:
Obama's healthcare horror
Heads should roll -- beginning with Nancy Pelosi's!

Buyer's remorse? Not me. At the North American summit in Guadalajara this week, President Obama resumed the role he is best at -- representing the U.S. with dignity and authority abroad. This is why I, for one, voted for Obama and continue to support him. The damage done to U.S. prestige by the feckless, buffoonish George W. Bush will take years to repair. Obama has barely begun the crucial mission that he was elected to do.

Having said that, I must confess my dismay bordering on horror at the amateurism of the White House apparatus for domestic policy. When will heads start to roll? I was glad to see the White House counsel booted, as well as Michelle Obama's chief of staff, and hope it's a harbinger of things to come. Except for that wily fox, David Axelrod, who could charm gold threads out of moonbeams, Obama seems to be surrounded by juvenile tinhorns, bumbling mediocrities and crass bully boys.

Case in point: the administration's grotesque mishandling of healthcare reform, one of the most vital issues facing the nation. Ever since Hillary Clinton's megalomaniacal annihilation of our last best chance at reform in 1993 (all of which was suppressed by the mainstream media when she was running for president), Democrats have been longing for that happy day when this issue would once again be front and center.

But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises -- or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.
And one bit more:
I just don't get it. Why the insane rush to pass a bill, any bill, in three weeks? And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy.

As with the massive boondoggle of the stimulus package, which Obama foolishly let Congress turn into a pork rut, too much has been attempted all at once; focused, targeted initiatives would, instead, have won wide public support. How is it possible that Democrats, through their own clumsiness and arrogance, have sabotaged healthcare reform yet again? Blaming obstructionist Republicans is nonsensical because Democrats control all three branches of government. It isn't conservative rumors or lies that are stopping healthcare legislation; it's the justifiable alarm of an electorate that has been cut out of the loop and is watching its representatives construct a tangled labyrinth for others but not for themselves. No, the airheads of Congress will keep their own plush healthcare plan -- it's the rest of us guinea pigs who will be thrown to the wolves.
Well, cap and trade did get pushed through in three five weeks and the backlash was predictible. "You did what?�?�?�" And one reason why she is not in my pantheon:
Republican politicians, with their endless scandals, are hardly exemplars of traditional moral values. Nor have they generated new ideas for healthcare, except for medical savings accounts, which would be pathetically inadequate in a major crisis for anyone earning at or below a median income.
cough--bullshit--cough Outside of these occasional bits of myopia, she calls 'em as she sees them and nails it. Lots more at the Salon article.
Despite trying to shed 7,000 jobs, the State of California now has 2.3% more workers than one year ago. From The Sacramento Bee:
Despite cuts, state still hiring
California's government continues to grow despite a historic recession, budget cuts and employee layoff warnings, new data show.

About 4,000 more full-time workers drew state checks in June compared to a year before, with the biggest increases coming in prison hospitals, the state's unemployment agency and the Franchise Tax Board.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has initiated the elimination of 7,000 state jobs from the state's deficit-ridden general fund, but it is unclear if that will offset the overall state job gains over the past year. State officials don't know how many of those general fund workers will find jobs in state agencies financed by other funds.

While the Governor's Office says monthly payroll costs have dropped nearly 10 percent because of the furloughs Schwarzenegger ordered, the job gains show that the goal of some to permanently reduce the state work force remains elusive.
What does it take to break this cycle of abuse? A tip of the hat to To which I replied... for the link.

Best commercial ever - Johnny Walker

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Amazing commercial, single take shot on a Red.
Hat tip Vanderleun at American Digest.

Wonderful speech translated from the Spanish at The Examiner:

What the US can learn from Colombia President Uribe's response to Chavez
Translated from Spanish by Aimee Kligman
This speech was delivered by President Uribe from Calamar (a Colombian municipality in the North of the Bolivar region)
As published in: Noticiero Digital

'Allow me, Calamar compatriots, to change the subject of the topic that concerns us, to give a few thoughts on President Chavez' declaration.

President Chavez, the truth, as witnessed, is that I allowed you to negotiate with FARC, as you requested. I allowed you to meet with FARC, as you requested. I allowed you to meet with ELN. (note: ELN is a lesser known rebel group than FARC). I allowed that Rodgrigo Granda to be moved from Cuba to Venezuela. (Rodrigo Granda is the leader and main spokesperson for the most powerful revolutionary guerrilla group in Latin America, FARC).

And as in so many previous instances, FARC continued to lie and not comply.

The truth, President Chavez, and the witnessed truth, is that when there are no arguments left, and one resorts to insults, as you do, it not only affects international relations, but in this case, you, with your insults and lack of arguments, hurt the dignity of the very people of Venezuela that you represent.

The truth, President Chavez, is that we need to mediate against terrorism rather than mediate with those who legitimize terrorism. Your words, your behavior, give the impression that you are not interested in peace for Colombia, but rather that Colombia fall victim to a FARC led terrorist government.

And it keeps getting better and better and better.

Chavez is probably well meaning but he is a simpleton who fails to grasp the damage he is wreaking on the nation of Venezuela and the pain that Venezuela will go through once the oil market is gone.

He is frittering away the resources on bread and circuses instead of building hospitals, schools, infrastructure...

And what are you in for? 'Maters...

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Former Kraft exec gets prison in tomato scandal
A former Kraft Foods purchasing manager was sentenced to two years and three months in prison Tuesday for taking $158,000 in bribes from a broker for a Central California tomato processor, the first prison term imposed in a federal investigation of corruption in tomato products sales.

Robert Watson, 59, of White Plains, N.Y., pleaded guilty in January to defrauding his company by accepting the bribes between January 2004 and April 2008 from Randall Rahal, then a sales broker for SK Foods of Lemoore (Kings County).

In exchange, prosecutors said, Watson made sure that Kraft bought processed tomato products and other items from SK Foods. He also allegedly provided inside information to SK Foods that allowed it to sell 230 million pounds of products to Kraft at inflated prices.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton of Sacramento ordered Watson to pay $1.85 million to Kraft as restitution for its losses.

Good that they caught him and this can serve pour encourager les autres

Ed Koch on Obamacare and Socialized Medicine

An interesting article from an otherwise Obama supporter.

From Real Clear Politics:

Falling Out of Love with Barack Obama
I continue to be a supporter of President Barack Obama. He has had several outstanding successes. The major one has been a positive change in the economy due primarily, I believe, to his hand-picked team of economic advisers who, from all indications, have fashioned an effective economic recovery plan. The recovery still has a long way to go, but using the language of my doctors at the hospital in which I recently spent six critical weeks recovering from open-heart surgery, "All the numbers are going in the right direction." I also believe his reaching out to our allies and those not allied with us has somewhat calmed the world's roiled waters.

Yet, strangely, the President's support is waning. A recent CNN poll gave him a C-minus after 200 days in office, whereas at the end of his first one hundred days, he got almost universally a B-plus.

And on the subject of Mr. Koch's open heart surgery:

In order to keep costs from rising, most people acknowledge the need for some kind of limitations on spending. Rationing of public monies makes sense, e.g., should public monies be used to give a kidney or heart transplant to a 90-year-old patient, when it is necessary to reduce the costs of Medicaid and Medicare to keep them solvent? Both programs are totally government funded and operated. I would say no.Then the question becomes what about private funds being used by an individual willing to buy gold-plated insurance to provide unlimited medical expenditures for their health and survival? Should the government be able to limit such expenditures? My answer would be no.

I speak from personal experience. I have been told that the cost of my hospital care, including the services of 20 doctors and 72 nurses and medical technicians over a six-week period may ultimately cost a million dollars. My private insurance policy is paid for by my law firm, Bryan Cave LLP, and because I still work full-time, that insurance policy is my primary one, not Medicare, even though I am 84 years old. Will that continue to be the case under any law signed by President Obama or will I be denied the right to spend my own money and my law firm's for such unlimited coverage?

The President, I believe, has said that there will be no restrictions on private insurance coverage, other than to expand that coverage for all by, for example, denying the insurance companies the right to reject persons with prior existing medical conditions. But he has not spoken loudly enough, nor has there been any discussion on the premiums that companies will be able to charge in such cases.

Most alarming for people like me, who at 84 years of age recently needed a quadruple bypass and aortic valve replacement, are the pronouncements of President Obama's appointee, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who, according to a New York Post op ed article by Betsy McCauley, former Lt. Governor of the State of New York, stated, "Savings, he writes, will require changing how doctors think about their patients: Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, 'as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others' (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008)." He also stated, "...communitarianism' should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those 'who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens...An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.' (Hastings Center Report, Nov.-Dec. '96). "

I had posted about Doctor Emanuel's statements before here: What people are saying - Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (Rahm's brother)

To think that a turd like this has a hand in setting the Health-care policies of the United States is unreal. Rope. Tree. Some assembly required...

I am shocked -- shocked I tell you!!! From Yahoo/McClatchy:
Where did that bank bailout go? Watchdogs aren't entirely sure
Although hundreds of well-trained eyes are watching over the $700 billion that Congress last year decided to spend bailing out the nation's financial sector, it's still difficult to answer some of the most basic questions about where the money went.

Despite a new oversight panel, a new special inspector general, the existing Government Accountability Office and eight other inspectors general, those charged with minding the store say they don't have all the weapons they need. Ten months into the Troubled Asset Relief Program, some members of Congress say that some oversight of bailout dollars has been so lacking that it's essentially worthless.

"TARP has become a program in which taxpayers are not being told what most of the TARP recipients are doing with their money, have still not been told how much their substantial investments are worth, and will not be told the full details of how their money is being invested," a special inspector general over the program reported last month. The "very credibility" of the program is at stake, it said.
Time to drain the swamp come 2010 and start over...
From the Investor's Business Daily:
Honduras Has Won
In a welcome about-face, the State Department told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Richard Lugar, R-Ind., in a letter Tuesday that the U.S. would no longer threaten sanctions on Honduras for ousting its president, Mel Zelaya, last June 28.

Nor will it insist on Zelaya's return to power. As it turns out, the U.S. Senate can't find any legal reason why the Honduran Supreme Court's refusal to let Zelaya stay in office beyond the time allowed by Honduran law constitutes a "military coup."

This marks a shift. The U.S. at first supported Zelaya, a man who had been elected democratically but didn't govern that way. Now they're reaching out to average Hondurans, the real democrats.

Sure, the U.S. continues to condemn Zelaya's ouster and still seeks mediation of the dispute through Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. But no U.S. sanctions means Hondurans have won.

Things could have worked out differently. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez first called for invading Honduras. That threat passed as it became clear Chavez couldn't project his power there.

Next, civil unrest was threatened by Zelaya. But Hondurans astounded the world by standing by their Congress, Supreme Court, attorney general, businesses and the church, all of which declared that Zelaya had violated the constitution and had to go.

Zelaya might have regained power, but only by becoming a dictator and ending Honduras' democracy. The people ended that.

The scariest outcome for Honduras was U.S. sanctions. They would have crushed the tiny country dependent on the U.S. for 80% of its trade. No sanctions, no Zelaya.

This isn't to say U.S. policymakers are happy or that the dispute is over. Honduras is still suspended from the Organization of American States, its trade has been disrupted, Venezuela's oil is still cut off, and its officials still can't get U.S. visas. But the worst is over. Whatever changes that come will be by Honduran consent alone.
Wonderful news! Hat tip to Irons in the Fire for the link.

A great optical illusion

Check this out.


You are looking at four concentric circles -- there is no spiral pattern whatsoever...

Swiped from TYWKIWDBI

Nancy Pelosi is a piece of work to put it mildly. From Fox News:
In a Tight Spot, Pelosi Calls Health Care Critics 'Un-American'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turned the health care debate up a notch Monday, penning a column along with her top deputy that questioned the patriotism of those disrupting town hall meetings to air their complaints.

Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer claimed such behavior is "simply un-American."

It's hardly the first time Pelosi, who earlier this year accused the CIA of lying to Congress and repeatedly has called Republicans unpatriotic, has employed some serious name-calling to characterize her opponents' views.

The jab Monday drew swift scorn from Republicans and critics who say the health care demonstrations are as American as apple pie.

"I, like most Americans, would find that kind of characterization of citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to be offensive," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., told FOX News. "There's nothing more American than letting your elected representatives know how you feel about important issues facing the nation."

House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, released a statement calling the charge "outrageous and reprehensible."
Respectful dissent and dialog is highly Patriotic and American. It is the foundation of our Republic. To claim otherwise is batshit insane...

The true price of cap and trade

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Some analysts over at The Heritage Foundation have looked at what the Cap and Trade bill will mean for the average American consumer and it is not pretty:
The Economic Consequences of Waxman-Markey: An Analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009
After a truncated debate and last-minute changes, the House of Representatives narrowly passed climate-change legislation on June 26, 2009, designed by Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA). The 1,427-page bill would restrict greenhouse gas emissions from industry, mainly carbon dioxide from the combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas.

Since energy is the lifeblood of the American economy, 85 percent of which comes from CO2-emitting fossil fuels, the Waxman-Markey bill represents an extraordinary level of economic interference by the federal government. For this reason, it is important for policymakers to have a sense of the economic impact that accompanies any environmental benefits.

Analysis by The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis (CDA) makes clear that Waxman-Markey promises serious perils for the American economy for the years and decades ahead. Waxman-Markey requires arbitrary and severe restrictions on the current energy supply and infrastructure. These restrictions can be met only through large-scale deployment of still-undeveloped or uneconomical technologies and alternative energy sources. In addition to the direct impact on consumers' budgets through higher electric bills and gasoline prices, the resultant increase in energy costs will reverberate throughout the economy and inject unnecessary inefficiencies at virtually every stage of production. It would suppress economic activity and reduce employment, especially in the manufacturing sector. Virtually all costs would eventually filter down to the American people.
The bullet points:
  • Cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) losses are $9.4 trillion between 2012 and 2035;
  • Single-year GDP losses reach $400 billion by 2025 and will ultimately exceed $700 billion;
  • Net job losses approach 1.9 million in 2012 and could approach 2.5 million by 2035. Manufacturing loses 1.4 million jobs in 2035;
  • The annual cost of emissions permits to energy users will be at least $100 billion by 2012 and could exceed $390 billion by 2035;
  • A typical family of four will pay, on average, an additional $829 each year for energy-based utility costs; and
  • Gasoline prices will rise by 58 percent ($1.38 more per gallon) and average household electric rates will increase by 90 percent.
The review is a long one and has a lot of references and footnotes. We got hosed on this one...
FRAUD... From the UK Telegraph:
Britain's secret mission to expose Scientology leader as 'fraud'
Whitehall officials discovered the science-fiction writer, who invented a religion now followed by celebrities such as Tom Cruise, awarded himself a PhD from a sham college he had acquired in California.

The information was gathered in secret by workers at the British consulate in Los Angeles on behalf of the government, which feared a libel action following its 1968 decision to ban followers from entering Britain to visit the sect's headquarters in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

The documents show Britain was not alone in probing Scientology. The dossier of evidence, gathered during the 1970s, included the extraordinary claim by an American official that the sect had sent bogus doctors to hypnotise a legal investigator and declare him �mentally ill� to thwart his inquiries into their activities.

The Department of Health files, many of which were classified until 2019, have been released by the National Archive following a Freedom of Information request by The Times.

They include a signed statement by former senior Scientologist, John McMaster, who said Hubbard and others faked �qualifications� in Dianetics, the spiritual �science� behind Scientology.
It should be interesting to see the reaction to this little bit of news... Of course, there are people whose thought processes are so lax that they will follow anything put before them but this should shake up a few of the true believers.

Comment spam

Bunch of different new spamming techniques but they are stupid and use the same layout and design as the old ones which do not work. All of the new ones are 100% blocked and I am just sitting here, clicking and harvesting IP addresses of zombie systems...


Meanwhile, three legitimate comments were posted. Two of them were posted immediately and one of them was kicked into moderation (the author uses a proxy IP address and when I saw who it was, I approved it).

Union beating and a response

I posted about Black Conservative Kenneth Gladney getting beaten up (four of them beating one of him) and having to spend the evening in the hospital here: Union thugs beating up on citizens Video was taken and the only people arrested were SEIU union members. Here is Representative Russ Carnahan's reply when questioned about the beating:
Fscking weasel... Hat tip to the Midwest Conservative Journal. And there was a counter protest at the SEIU offices -- Gateway Pundit has some photos and the story. The 500+ comments are a nice mixture of reason and moonbattery.
The White House is claiming that the people showing up to demonstrate in opposition to Obamacare are paid for by high-level Republican operatives. This is a classical example of The Big Lie. People are being paid to show up at the demonstrations but it is for those in favor of Obamacare. Major hat tip to Dr. Melissa Clouthier for noticing these entries at her local Craigslist jobs column:
Click to embiggen...
This is not grass-roots -- this is heavily organized and funded...
I am very interested in low-power FM and starting a station here when the FCC opens licensing again. One group that is very active in this is the Prometheus Radio Project While I can respect a person's beliefs, I do require a knowledge of the facts regardless of viewpoint and it is a shame to see them spouting the Marxist party line on their website. Specifically:
People Gather to learn about Honduran Coup, Corporate Media Lies and Grassroots Resistance
On June 30, 2009, a military coup ousted the democratically elected government of Honduras and president Manuel Zelaya. In response to a proliferation of misinformation in the corporate media concerning this coup, the Prometheus Radio Project along with local immigrant organizing group, Juntos, and the news website, Upside Down World, hosted an event at the Philadelphia Library to offer an alternative perspective. The event entitled "Community Media in times of popular struggle, political mobilization, and repression- from Venezuela to Oaxaca to Honduras" featured Adrienne Pine, a militant anthropologist, assistant professor at American University in D.C., and the author of "Working Hard, Drinking Hard, on Violence and Survival in Honduras", Ramor Ryan, an Irish anarchist writer who lives in Chiapas, Mexico and reports on popular struggle, and Prometheus� own Cory Fischer- Hoffman and Andy Gunn.
The facts:
  • Manuel Zelaya was elected president.
  • The Honduran constitution allows for two terms in office.
  • Zelaya wanted to become "President for Life" so he introduced legislation to allow for an open-ended term of office. This was to be voted on by the Honduran people.
  • No printing company in Honduras would produce these ballots.
  • Zelaya had his friend and political ally Chavez print the ballots.
  • At this time, the military stepped in and removed Zelaya from office.
  • At the time they did this, they also raided his offices and found computers with the election results already tabulated showing a majority of voters wanting to keep Zelaya in office.
  • There are protesters in Honduras urging Zelaya's reinstatement but they are all Union and will be paid off if he returns. This echos Obama's connections to organized labor in the USA.
Chavez is running a bread and circuses scam in Venezuela draining the net worth of the nation and putting it into feel-good programs for the people and not using it to build infrastructure or schools. Now that oil prices have come off the bubble from last year, he is starting to hurt for money and is instituting price controls. The upshot of this is that Venezuela now imports coffee and has nationalized swaths of major industries. Zelaya wants to turn Honduras into another workers paradise but while Venezuela gets about 50% of it's total economy from oil exports (GDP per person of about $13K), Honduras is not so well off (second poorest nation in Central America and a GDP per person of about $4K). Simply put, Honduras just does not have the cash to support a dictator and a Marxist form of government. It is a tragedy that people cannot open their eyes and see the truth...

The General Motors Bailout

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One side effect of the GM bankruptcy and bailout is reported at the AutoBlog:
REPORT: GM gets out from under its polluted sites scot-free
Among those clamoring for attention and payouts from Motors Liquidation Co., the company that assumed General Motors' unwanted assets after its Chapter 11 filing, are the environmental and economic redevelopment departments of state governments. According to reports, when GM exited bankruptcy, its polluted factory and land sites were consumed by the Motor Liquidation, allowing the automaker to avoid the responsibility of cleaning up its mess, and state leaders fear there won't be any money to clean the locations.

Before bankruptcy, GM estimated it had $1.9 billion in environmental issues and litigation liabilites. Motors Liquidation Co., though, has only about $1.2 billion to manage the entire wind-down of its affairs -- and as one might expect, attorneys handling the matter are expected to get a huge chunk of that. The figure to clean up sites in places like Buick City, Michigan and Massena, New York has been pegged at $530 million. However, the way it's looking, there won't be anywhere near that much money to get the job done.

The affected areas are afraid they will have to pay for the clean ups or simply let the land go unused. The problem with that: those local governments don't have the money. And they can't expect a developer to spend millions to clean up an old mess. If not Motors Liquidation or GM, civic representatives want the government to foot the bill since the current administration orchestrated the deal. No one knows how it will -- or won't -- be resolved, but the EPA has said that it's in touch with states and Motors Liquidation to "identify any environmental cleanup requirements that existed at the time of bankruptcy."
Toyota trucks are looking better and better to me with Ford being a close second despite my problems with their vans back in the 1980's.

TEA party in Denver

Nancy Pelosi made a visit to Denver and, needless to say, a large crowd showed up. There were two components, a bunch of citizens who wanted to make their thoughts known and a bunch of people who were paid to come to the event to support Obama's 'visions'. The difference between the two groups is patently obvious and funny. Check out these photographs from Looking At The Left:
Nancy and the Astroturfers


This was the scene when I arrived at Stout Street Clinic in downtown Denver. Nancy Pelosi is to pay a visit to the clinic within the hour. About 200 people opposed to Obama�s healthcare agenda braved the mile high Denver sun and high temperatures to show their opposition. Their signs indicate that they are well aware that they have been vilified and targeted in an Oval Office astroturfing campaign designed to discredit their opposition.


First let�s look at the messages and faces of these hardy dissenters. Take a close look so you can compare them to the community organizers who will soon enter the scene and harass them. These citizens have been described by the Democratic National Committee in an ad as �angry mobs organized by desperate Republicans and their well funded allies.�


The Democrat party that funneled billions in the stimulus package to ACORN community organizers to organize, protest and agitate, this same party is now livid that private citizens attend townhall meetings.

These protesters told me that they pay their own way and question what the government is attempting to do to their health care.
And then, the Obama people show up:

Lots more pictures and text at the website.

Union thugs beating up on citizens

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Chicago politics now reaches out to a national level. From Woody's Place comes this video:
The asshats in the blue teeshirts are from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) -- buddies and co-conspirators with ACORN -- and when National Public Radio thinks something is fishy in this liberal dreamland, something is well past their sell-by date... (more on ACORN here) Denny over at Grouchy Old Cripple found the SEIU press release for the event and gave it the fisking it so deserved:
SEIU Statement
Gotta love this. The SEIU issued a statement on the thuggery that occurred last night in Mehlville Missouri at Russ "Clueless" Carnahan's townhall meeting.
"Last night, in St. Louis, a Reverend and SEIU member was assaulted at a town hall dedicated to discussing our national healthcare crisis. The incident, along with a town hall in Tampa, Florida, has been all over the radio and cable news shows. GOP operatives are rushing to paint it as SEIU thug violence. That couldn't be further from the truth.
Who ya gonna believe? This dipstick or your own lying eyes.
"In fact, the Reverend, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, and others who attended in hopes of a peaceful dialogue about our nation's healthcare crisis, endured the latest attempt by right-wing fringe groups to hijack the democratic process through violence if necessary. Last night, the Teabaggers' violent tactics broke and dislocated the shoulder of the Reverend.
We know the cops must be in on it since they only arrested the SEIU choirboys.
"Let's be clear: These groups, backed by insurance companies and corporate front groups, want nothing more than to preserve the status quo system of rationing, where HMOs choose doctors, and insurance companies deny us the care we need. Their dearest hope is that by resorting to outrageous charges of Nazism and euthanasia, they can make the American public too afraid to support real reform.
What are you dudes afraid of? If the bill is such a great thing, why are you trying to ram it through? Shouldn't there be a long and extended debate on the bill's merits? Shouldn't there be public hearings? Shouldn't there be a national dialogue. As someone at one of the rallies states, "It took Obama 6 months to decide on a dog and he wants to ram health care reform through Congress in three weeks."
"But SEIU and hardworking women and men all over this country are standing up to their bullying tactics. We deserve a national conversation about how we will fix our failing healthcare system and help make this an economy that works for everyone."
But you assholes don't want a national conversation on health care. And as for the bullying tactics, let's talk about Kenneth Gladney the black dude who started all the violence. The SEIU dude's fist was minding its own business when BAM! Gladney's face attacked it. And then to make things worse, the innocent SEIUs dudes' feet were minding their own business when Gladney's body, which had gone down on the ground to fight dirty, attacked their feet. What a sneaky mobster he is!
I want my Republic back again dammit!
Corruption in Congress? Naaaaaa... Meet Representative Edolphus Towns, Democrat, 10th District of New York based in Brooklyn.
On December 10, 2008, the House Democratic Caucus formally elected Rep. Towns as Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. See where this is going yet? From Bloomberg:
Lawmaker Blocking Countrywide Subpoena Received Loans From Firm
The chairman of a U.S. House committee who has refused Republican requests to subpoena Countrywide Financial Corp. over questions about preferential treatment for lawmakers received at least two loans from the company, records show.

One of the loans to Representative Edolphus Towns, a New York Democrat, was processed through an office the company used to prepare so-called VIP loans, according to public mortgage documents. Towns, as head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has rejected calls from Republicans to subpoena the company for details of the VIP program.

�Congressman Towns did not receive, nor did he seek, any special mortgage benefits,� Towns spokeswoman Shrita Sterlin said in an e-mail yesterday. �We have no reason to believe there is anything to this matter.�
Emphasis mine -- Oink Flap Oink Flap Oink Flap The article goes into a lot more detail -- Towns is dirty.

A cozy home for the winter

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Fun story from Oregon - from ABC News:

Mouse Builds Nest in Oregon ATM With $20 Bills
A mouse found inside an automatic teller machine � along with a nest it had built with chewed-up $20 bills � gave an Oregon gas station employee the surprise of her life.

The mouse, discovered Thursday, had thoroughly torn up two bills and damaged another 14 to line his nest. Employee Millie Taylor says she screamed and slammed the machine's door shut.

The bank replaced all the money that wasn't extensively damaged, and the ATM has continued to work just fine. The mouse also got a reprieve: He was evicted from his nest but set free outside the station.

Other workers at the Gem Stop Chevron in La Grande in eastern Oregon say they're mystified about how the mouse got inside the machine.

Mice can fit through incredibly small holes and ATMs always have a hole for the phone line and the power line. Little guy probably thought he had a great new home...

Trouble at the Fed

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An interesting five minute video. Congressman Alan Grayson is interviewing Elizabeth A. Coleman - the Inspector General of the Federal Reserve. Ms. Coleman's duties include the following:
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducts independent and objective audits, inspections, evaluations, investigations, and other reviews related to programs and operations of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board). OIG efforts promote integrity, economy, efficiency, and effectiveness; help prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse; and strengthen accountability to the Congress and the public. The OIG's work assists the Board in managing risk and in achieving its overall mission to foster the stability, integrity, and efficiency of the nation�s monetary, financial, and payment systems so as to promote optimal macroeconomic performance.
With that in mind, check out this video:
A big tip o' the hat to The Daily Bail

Congressional perks - the three new jets

Swiped from Theo:


FSCK - got a call from the store

Someone had waited until there were a bunch of people in the store and they ran off with a case of beer. It isn't the $32, it's the principle of the thing. And besides, it was New Belgium Fat Tire -- one of my favorite beers!!!

Now I have to sit here waiting for the Police to call to take the report.

Worked on some computer stuff today and then got the equipment loaded in the truck to do PA for an event. A local real-estate business changed hands and had their grand opening today. A good turnout with about 50 people. They had someone scheduled to come in a play guitar and sing but they bailed two days before the event so, as my iPod's batteries were flat, Jen's iPod saved the day. There were two people who sang a couple karaoke songs but for most of the event, it was Creedence and some Celtic music for entertainment. Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to check email and then off to an early bed. Looking forward to September when things start to slow down a bit...
From Portland, Oregon station KATU:
OSU study: ice ages due to shifts in solar radiation
Researchers at Oregon State University said they have found the reason for the Earth�s ice ages.

They said ice ages are linked to shifts in solar radiation caused by changes in the earth�s rotation and axis and not changes in carbon dioxide levels or ocean temperatures.

Scientists said the findings are important because they will help scientists predict how the earth�s existing ice sheets will react in the future.
Not just the ice -- all aspects of our climate. The Sun is the chief driver and the Sun is a variable star...

The Big Picture - Greenland

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The Boston Globe's Big Picture feature is one that I turn to several times/week to see what is new. The current presentation is about Greenland and it is gorgeous. I had the great pleasure of spending two months in Iceland back in 1974, the year after the Vestmannaeyjar volcanic eruption. Greenland looks a lot like Iceland and I would not mind visiting.
From Yahoo News/Reuters:
Cash-strapped Cuba says toilet paper running short
Cuba, in the grip of a serious economic crisis, is running short of toilet paper and may not get sufficient supplies until the end of the year, officials with state-run companies said on Friday.

Officials said they were lowering the prices of 24 basic goods to help Cubans get through the difficulties provoked in part by the global financial crisis and three destructive hurricanes that struck the island last year.

Cuba's financial reserves have been depleted by increased spending for imports and reduced export income, which has forced the communist-led government to take extraordinary measures to keep the economy afloat.

"The corporation has taken all the steps so that at the end of the year there will be an important importation of toilet paper," an official with state conglomerate Cimex said on state-run Radio Rebelde.
Cuba has financial problems because their nation is run by idiots who still think that Communism is a good form of government. This is not how to treat your citizens and the return of capitalism cannot come soon enough for these poor people.

Heh - Republican Disease

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I wonder just how whacked the thought process of some liberals are. From OpEd News:
Ten Telltale Signs of Republican Disease
A recent Daily Kos poll indicated 58 percent of Republicans either believe President Obama isn't a US citizen or aren't sure. Out here on the left coast, we don't know many Republicans, so it's hard for us to understand how they can be that stupid.

There may be a medical explanation. Perhaps the Republican daily diet of whoppers has caused organic brain rot, a variant of mad cow disease. On the other hand, their failure to accept reality might be psychological, early onset dementia resulting from excessive exposure to Fox News and hate radio.

Whatever the source, Republican disease has readily identifiable symptoms. There are ten telltale signs, core Republican beliefs that cause rational Americans to conclude the person they see ranting on TV or disrupting town-hall meetings is pathological.
(1) George W. Bush kept America safe. Republicans believe that George Bush and Dick Cheney bear no responsibility for 9/11. Evidently the attack was an act of God rather than evidence of incompetence. For Republicans, the fact the US survived proves Bush/Cheney were strong leaders.
And nine more of these at the site. Hate radio? Since when is practicing the first amendment considered hate. Since when was 9/11 caused by anyone's incompetence. We have been soft-pedaling the Islamofascists way to long. We labor under the delusion that they will come to the negotiating table. Bullshit! An amazing insight into the way some people "think".

Our Congress - a little known fact

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From PolitiFact:
Public Citizen gets it right about insider trading rules
Little known fact: Members of Congress are exempt from rules that prevent insider trading.

Or so says the left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen in a July 10, 2009, e-mail sent to supporters.

"The federal government has finally got the message that it�s time for stronger oversight of Wall Street and the financial services sector. It�s also time to put an end to secret spending and insider trading," the e-mail reads. "A dangerous legal loophole still exists which allows members of Congress and high-powered executive branch appointees to exploit 'insider' knowledge of the financial industry in order to turn personal profit."
Yet another reason to vote the bums out of office. Wonder what other wonderful nuggets are lurking out there...

No posting tonight - long long day

Got up early -- the roofers are still working on the house and today, they started working on the bedroom roof. Worked on some of the new computers and then had to run into town to pick up a few things as well as the CSA for the store. A local bakery celebrated it's first year of operation and then a neighbor of ours came by to pick up a freezer and a temperature controller to hold the freezer at 50 degrees. This makes a perfect beer fridge... Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) for a bit to check email and then to bed...

A life well lived - The Style Saloniste

Those who know me know that the World of Fashion and my own lifestyle are about as good a definition of orthogonal as you can get. That being said, there is a huge difference between what passes for Style and Class these days and the period, lost not that long ago, when people had it. Check out The Style Saloniste What brought Diane's writing to my attention was her wonderful tale of meeting Gayatri Devi and the story of her life. Talk about a life well lived...
I wonder who the idiot was that thought of this and how they will be able to weather the storm that this is going to cause. From the website:
Facts Are Stubborn Things
Opponents of health insurance reform may find the truth a little inconvenient, but as our second president famously said, "facts are stubborn things."

Scary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the internet, breathlessly claiming, for example, to "uncover" the truth about the President�s health insurance reform positions.

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can�t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we�re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to
Emphasis mine. WTF is this, 1930's Germany? 1950's Russia? Mailinator is your friend. Hotmail accounts are also easy to get and proxy servers can be found online to conceal your IP address. The Truth, as they say, IS out there...
Nothing profound but these made me laugh. From the Daily Humors:
Random Charts & Flowcharts to Make You Smile
One example:

Obama as the Joker

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This wonderful image has been cropping up all over the internet and on posters in the meat-world, originating in L.A.
Needless to say, the liberals have their knickers in a bunch. The Anchoress has a wonderful examination and analysis of the comments:
Obama as the Joker
For reasons that baffle me, a big deal is being made over someone photoshopping the president�s face into a representation of The Joker from the The Dark Knight. The LA Weekly, eager to play the racism card says �the only thing missing is the noose.�


Now, I can see if someone had taken a picture of President Obama and photoshopped whiteface for spite and without context, (or, for that matter, blackface as done here to Michael Steele) then one might have a credible case for crying �racism.�

But this is making a clear reference to a known fictional character called The Joker, and there is clearly the word �Socialism� beneath the portrait. This is political commentary; whoever came up with it is using a familiar visual image, and giving us an actual word which delivers a two-point message: he or she thinks the president is a joke, and a socialist.

This -until very recently- used to be called �free speech.� It is protected in this country, and thought very highly of. And protest or dissent, we have been told, is the very highest form of patriotism.
Some good comments as well. Whomever did this image really captured the essence of the problem...

Yikes - Pneumonic Plague in China

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Fortunately a small town and the Chinese have locked it down. From PhysOrg:
China seals off NW town as plague kills 2nd man
China locked down a remote farming town after two people died and 10 more were sickened with pneumonic plague, a lung infection that can kill a human in 24 hours if left untreated.

Police set up checkpoints around Ziketan in northwestern Qinghai province, where townspeople reached by The Associated Press by phone Monday said the streets were largely deserted and most shops shut.

Authorities urged anyone who had visited the town of 10,000 people since mid-July and has developed a cough or fever to seek hospital treatment.

On Sunday, a 37-year-old man identified only as Danzin became the second reported fatality from the outbreak. He lived next door to the first, a 32-year-old herder. The 10 sickened, mostly relatives of the herder, were undergoing isolated treatment in hospital, the local health bureau said.

The World Health Organization office in China said it was in close contact with Chinese health authorities and that measures taken so far to treat and quarantine sickened people were appropriate. It did not comment on the move to seal off the town.

"This form of pneumonic plague is probably the least common but the most severe," said WHO's spokeswoman in China, Vivian Tan. "It has a very high fatality rate and generally spreads quite easily. So we're certainly concerned about the situation."
Swine Flu just rates a Meh? from me -- of the 700 people killed by it worldwide, all cases were people whose health was otherwise compromised. It is worth remembering that the U.S.A. averages about 200,000 hospitalizations due to plain old garden variety Influenza and 36,000 deaths. Now Pneumonic Plague is scary -- 98% of the cases happen in Africa. For it to show up in a rural area of China makes me wonder if there is an underlying Bubonic infestation. Same bacteria, different infection sites...

Adapt or die - the plant world

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An interesting article on the continual adaption by plants to fit their environment. From Carl Zimmer writing at the Yale University Environment 360:
First Comes Global Warming, Then An Evolutionary Explosion
In 1997, Arthur Weis found himself with an extra bucket of seeds. Weis, who was teaching at the University of California at Irvine at the time, had dispatched a student, Sheina Sim, to gather some field mustard seeds for a study. When Sim was done with her research, Weis was left with a lot of leftover seeds. For no particular reason, he decided not to throw the bucket out. �We just tossed it in a cold, dry incubator,� said Weis.

Weis is glad they did. When a severe drought struck southern California, Weis realized that he could use the extra bucket of seeds for an experiment. In 2004 he and his colleagues collected more field mustard seeds from the same sites that Sim had visited seven years earlier. They thawed out some of the 1997 seeds and then reared both sets of plants under identical conditions. The newer plants grew to smaller sizes, produced fewer flowers, and, most dramatically, produced those flowers eight days earlier in the spring. The changing climate had, in other words, driven the field mustard plants to evolve over just a few years. �It was serendipity that we had the seeds lying around,� says Weis.

Weis is convinced that his experiment is just a harbinger of things to come. Global warming is projected to drastically raise the average global temperature, as well as producing many other changes to the world�s climate, such as more droughts in California. And in response, Weis and other researchers contend, life will undergo an evolutionary explosion.

�Darwin thought evolution was gradual, and that it would take longer than the lifetime of a scientist to observe even the slightest change,� says Weis, who is now at the University of Toronto. �That might be the average case, but evolution can also be very rapid under the right conditions. Climate change is going to be one of those things where the conditions are met.�
I disagree with their assessment of the magnitude of Global Warming. I do not deny that we have been experiencing some warming but I also know that 1998 was the warmest it got and the temperature has stayed stagnant or cooled since then. There is also some measure of confusion between evolution and adaptation but the ability of an organism to evolve rapidly has long been known -- case in point Manchester, England's Pepper Moths. An interesting read with some fun comments - some scientists and some moonbats...

Bill the Bagman

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Laura Ling and Euna Lee are 'reporters' working for Al Gore's media outlet Current TV. They were arrested on March 17th trying to sneak into North Korea from China and were sentenced to twelve years at hard labor. From the UK Guardian:
Profiles: Laura Ling and Euna Lee
Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for Al Gore's Current TV, were detained by North Korea along the border with China in March. Accused of illegally entering the country and engaging in "hostile acts", the pair were sentenced to 12 years' hard labour in June.
Well, Bill Clinton waltzes over there and sets things right. From the New York Times:
North Korea Is Said to Pardon Two American Journalists
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, pardoned two jailed American journalists, the official KCNA news agency has reported, according to Reuters. The report came after former President Bill Clinton met with the reclusive and ailing Mr. Kim in Pyongyang on Tuesday.

Mr. Kim granted �a special pardon,� KCNA said in a statement. It was not clear how rapidly the two journalists, Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, might be allowed to leave the country. They were being held near Pyongyang after having been sentenced to 12 years at hard labor for entering North Korea illegally.

The Ling and Lee families issued a joint statement Tuesday afternoon in which they thanked the Obama administration, President Clinton and �all the people who have supported our families through this ordeal.� They added that they were �counting the seconds to hold Laura and Euna in our arms.�
I am sorry but I do not believe this 'diplomatic action' at all. What the fuck did we offer North Korea that they would back down so suddenly. And how will it come back and bite us in the ass...
From the Beeb:
Venezuela seizes coffee companies
The Venezuelan government has seized temporary control of the processing plants of two of the country's biggest coffee companies.

Officials said the measure was designed to guarantee supply to consumers.

They said the plants, Fama de America and Cafe Madrid, would be audited for any irregularities and could face nationalisation if these were proved.

In March, the government set quotas for 12 basic foods, including coffee, to be produced at regulated prices.
Like this is going to turn out well -- we tried price fixing once (Carter Gas lines and resultant stagflation anyone?) and it worked really well for us. Chavez is incompetent.

Heh - Day by Day

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is spot on today:
Click to embiggen...
Day by Day website is here. A daily read.

The Mount Baker Blues Festival

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I wrote yesterday that we had gone to this event and had a wonderful time. Here are some photos I took:
Junior Cadillac on stage



The two young guys that played -- excellent!

Sound was excellent -- a great venue

The Fat Tones -- incredible!

A fantastic time -- like I said, I have the Fat Tones three CDs coming soon from CD Baby and looking forward to playing them on heavy rotation...
Peak oil ten years away - expert
Global oil production is likely to peak in about 10 years, a leading energy economist says.

The warning from the chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol comes as figures show Australia's crude production has fallen by 24.92 per cent in the past five years.

Domestic importation of oil is also predicted by the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics to fall to 24,665 megalitres in 2008-09.
Talk about a fundamental lack of understanding of economics. There is a lot of oil out there that is not being tapped as the cost is too high. Right now, the low hanging fruit is in the Middle East and when that is depleted, other sources will come online. There have been major finds off Israel, Brazil, Cuba (all throughout the Caribbean), the Arctic... You name it, there is probably oil underneath. The problem is these fields are almost ten miles deep. That is expensive to drill and to pump so the price at the pump will be a bit higher. A bit more from Dr Birol:
"One day we will run out of oil, it is not today or tomorrow, but one day we will run out of oil and we have to leave oil before oil leaves us," Dr Birol told British newspaper The Independent.

"The earlier we start, the better, because all of our economic and social system is based on oil, so to change from that will take a lot of time and a lot of money and we should take this issue very seriously," he said.
Ahhh -- the good Doctor is just wanting to implement some social engineering for our own good of course. And he knows what is best because, after all, he is a Doctor. I do not like the fact that Malthusians get so much media attention. It is easy to see why -- forecasts of doom and gloom always sell newspapers and especially when these forecasts are far enough out that the net result is titillation and not outright panic. They have never been right though -- I cannot think of one Malthusian prediction that ever bore out. Can you?
Two new kinds and getting about ten to thirty each evening. And guess what... Each and every one of them fell into the


category. All caught, all sent into administration and all deleted and their IP addresses banned with a single mouse click. Heh -- stupid mouth breathers...
We went to the Mt. Baker Blues Festival today -- a friend of ours had an extra pass so that was too good to pass up... We got there in time to see Junior Cadillac's full set -- they were a perennial Seattle Bar Band and one of my two favorites (still miss Kidd Africa -- they disbanded in 1983) They then had two kids up who were amazing -- one of them's voice hadn't broken yet so he didn't have the range or power but he could really belt out a song and both of them were excellent guitar players. It must have been a lot of fun for them to play with such an incredible lineup of backup musicians. Didn't get anyone's name but they were all first rate. Up next was a band called The Fat Tones Jen and I were blown away -- the guitarist was one of the best that we have ever heard. Just incredible. CD Baby carries their albums and three of them are on their way here. I took a bunch of photos and will have them online in a day or two.

Revising the caduceus

What with all the changes a government run health-care system will bring about, the doctors are looking at re-designing the caduceus**, the symbol of their profession. The new design is presented below:
#1) - re: ** - yes, I know that the proper symbol is the Rod of Asclepius but the Caduceus is so widely used, it is what most people think of... #2) - swiped from Denny.
What a wonderful idea. You can either ask your own questions or use the ones they provide. Attend a public forum and have a friend with a camcorder. If the Congressman tries to weasel out of your question, send in the video and they will post it. Check out Operation EMBARRASS YOUR CONGRESSMAN
Talk about needing a wallop with the clue-bat. From NBC New York:
College Grad Can't Find Job, Wants $$$ Back
She went to college to boost her chances of finding a great job once she got out of school, but now that that hasn't happened, Trina Thompson wants her money back.

Thompson, a graduate of Monroe College, is suing her school for the $70,000 she spent on tuition because she hasn't found solid employment since receiving her bachelor's degree in April, according to a published report.

The business-oriented school in the Bronx didn't do enough to help her find a job, Thompson alleges, so she wants a refund. The college says it does plenty for grads.

The 27-year-old information-technology student accuses the school's Office of Career Advancement for not living up to its end of the deal and offering her the leads and employment advice it promised.
So Trina, just because you spent the time to go through and get your Masters, you think the world owes you a job on a silver platter? Why don't you go an stand in the back of that line over there -- the one that wraps around the block several times and is filled with highly qualified IT people. If there are no jobs in New York, move. Kansas City, Orem Utah, anyplace that has a large datacenter. Check out where the big Insurance business have their datacenters. Don't stand there and try to sue the very entity that gave you the leverage to get a good position if you apply yourself... Geezzzeee... (sound of world's smallest violin playing in background)

Just doing his job - Sheriff Joe Arpaio

It seems that there is a conflict between Homeland Security and the Sheriff's department of Maricopa County, Az. From
Arizona Sheriff Balks at Feds' Enforcement Change
The self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America" has never gotten so much resistance from the federal government.

The Homeland Security Department wants Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., to stop arresting illegal immigrants whose only crime was crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without documents.

The thing is, Arpaio doesn't much care.

"I'm not going to bend to the federal government, I'm going to do my job," he said. "I don't report to the federal government, I report to the people."

Shifting winds in Washington have led the Homeland Security Department to rework a federal program that has allowed Arpaio's deputies to make federal immigration arrests since February 2007.

It's not yet known whether Arpaio - who has 160 deputies and jail officers trained to make federal immigration arrests and speed up deportations - will sign the new deal.

If he doesn't, the feds say he would lose his authority to make any federal immigration arrests.

The revamped program would require Arpaio to clear plans for immigration sweeps beforehand with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and coordinate with ICE before releasing information about such enforcement actions to the news media.
Emphasis mine -- just another governmental power grab. Arpaio does a better job than they do so rather than improving their performance, they try to insert themselves between Arpaio and the Media. And these are the people we want ruining running our health care?

The Dot Com bubble

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An excellent analysis of WTF happened by an insider. From Gullyborg writing at Resistance is futile!:
Dot com bubble burst - what really happened in 2000?
The comments to this post demonstrate a general lack of understanding, so allow me to explain - at least about the dot com part.

Before I begin, some background. I used to work in the dot com world, before, up to, and very shortly after the bust. I was, among other things, my employer's unit coordinator for Y2K readiness. In case you forgot, or lived in a cave, or are under 9 years old, back before the year 2000, programmers lacking foresight wrote lots of software (and manufactures built many microprocessors hard coded) to a two-digit standard for years in dates. The problem being, when the year rolled over in 2000, the systems would make the assumption that the year was 1900. There was much panic, mostly unfounded, that malfunctioning computers would result in nuclear missiles firing themselves, airplanes and satellites falling out of the sky, every grid going down, dogs and cats living together, and the end of the world as we know it.

Unfounded as much of this was, there was a legitimate need by the industrial world and the information society to correct the problem. This led to a huge upturn in business, starting around 1998 or so, in the tech sector. Companies like Dell, HP, etc., were cranking out new machines loaded with Y2K compliant software. That's what most consumers saw. But behind the scenes, industry was buying a ton of products and paying for a ton of services to ensure that things like robotic equipment, networking systems, telecommunications, medical equipment, and vast numbers of other devices were fully upgraded. In my workplace, we installed new operating systems on industrial tools used to manufacture memory chips because they would have malfunctioned otherwise. This resulted in a huge demand, so the tech sector ramped up production while prices climbed.

Many purchasers, at the personal computer level as well as at the level of massive industrial applications, saw this as a good time to invest in complete system upgrades rather than simply spending on more cost-effective patches. Why spend $500 on a new operating system and software when, for $900, you could buy a whole new system, complete with a faster processor, bigger hard drive, etc.?

You've heard the phrase "a rising tide lifts all boats." Well, it was true in the tech sector. The demand for products resulted in a corresponding demand for related goods and services. Sales of new computers meant sales of more memory chips - so my employer was rolling in profit. Similar situations occurred with manufacturers of modems, monitors, floppy discs and CD ROMs, and applications software. And companies that made these things all needed to expand their factories, resulting in huge profits for companies making things like assembly-line robots, photolithography equipment, silicon wafers, and the like. And this trickled into raw materials. Companies selling chemicals, industrial gases, even cardboard for boxes, made more money.

All this profit resulted in a stock surge. The NASDAQ doubled. Then it doubled again. Fast.
I was working at MSFT at the time and the worry there wasn't so much Microsoft's own software but all the embedded systems in the HVAC and the electrical power distribution equipment. They had standby generators for crucial buildings. Nothing went down and there were only a few 'interesting' incidences nationwide.

A dearth of posts

Not that much happening today either. Just got back to the house -- worked until 8:00PM and went out for a few Margaritas after. DaveCave(tm) and then bed. Two good links: A 1955 article at The Economist synopsizing the work of C. Northcote Parkinson and specifically, Parkinson's Law as it applies to Government Bodies. First, Parkinson's Law:

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

From The Economist:

Parkinson's Law
IT is a commonplace observation that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Thus, an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and despatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent in finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half-an-hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and twenty minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar-box in the next street. The total effort which would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety and toil.

Granted that work (and especially paper work) is thus elastic in its demands on time, it is manifest that there need be little or no relationship between the work to be done and the size of the staff to which it may be assigned. Before the discovery of a new scientific law - herewith presented to the public for the first time, and to be called Parkinson's Law* - there has, however, been insufficient recognition of the implications of this fact in the field of public administration. Politicians and taxpayers have assumed (with occasional phases of doubt) that a rising total in the number of civil servants must reflect a growing volume of work to be done. Cynics, in questioning this belief, have imagined that the multiplication of officials must have left some of them idle or all of them able to work for shorter hours. But this is a matter in which faith and doubt seem equally misplaced. The fact is that the number of the officials and the quantity of the work to be done are not related to each other at all. The rise in the total of those employed is governed by Parkinson's Law, and would be much the same whether the volume of the work were to increase, diminish or even disappear. The importance of Parkinson's Law lies in the fact that it is a law of growth based upon an analysis of the factors by which that growth is controlled.

The validity of this recently discovered law must rest mainly on statistical proofs, which will follow. Of more interest to the general reader is the explanation of the factors that underlie the general tendency to which this law gives definition. Omitting technicalities (which are numerous) we may distinguish, at the outset, two motive forces. They can be represented for the present purpose by two almost axiomatic statements, thus:
Factor I. - An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals; and

Factor II. - Officials make work for each other.

A wonderful read written back when Management was an appreciated art-form and not something practiced by lawyers on an off day...

The other link is this -- we, the general public, are trying to understand the science of climate as it relates to the variations of temperature on this planet. A lot of people were banging the "anthropogenic Global Warming" drum, they are now banging the "Climate Change" drum and the drum circle for "Man-made Atmospheric Change" is gaining traction.

What is staggering is the lack of historical knowledge about prior climate changes and the successes and failures of civilizations based on these shifts.

Greenland was named Greenland for a specific reason while Iceland is now nice and temperate. Everyone is familiar with the El Niño/La Niña events (three to eight year cycle), a bunch of people know about the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (20-30 year cycle), I just found out about Bond events today (otherwise known as Dansgaard-Oeschger). When we consider that the current state of the art climate models are not able to reproduce what we have experienced in the last 200 years when fed the data; how in everything that is Holy can these mokes claim legitimacy to their dire predictions of warming when everything points to a gradual cooling -- the Eady Minimum.

Science needs to drive politics, not the other way around.

Al Gore has made a butt-load of money in the last ten years from preaching (he bailed out of Seminary School) about Inconvenient Truths.

Turns out they were his own fabrications...

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

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

Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog

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

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

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

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2009 is the previous archive.

September 2009 is the next archive.

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