December 2009 Archives

IPCC - follow the money

The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change is the driving body behind the whole global warming scam. The President of this august body is an Indian Railway Engineer named Dr Rajendra Pachauri. Christopher Booker and Richard North have been doing a little digging and published their results in the UK Telegraph:
Questions over business deals of UN climate change guru Dr Rajendra Pachauri
The head of the UN's climate change panel - Dr Rajendra Pachauri - is accused of making a fortune from his links with 'carbon trading' companies, Christopher Booker and Richard North write.

No one in the world exercised more influence on the events leading up to the Copenhagen conference on global warming than Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN�s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and mastermind of its latest report in 2007.

Although Dr Pachauri is often presented as a scientist (he was even once described by the BBC as �the world�s top climate scientist�), as a former railway engineer with a PhD in economics he has no qualifications in climate science at all.

What has also almost entirely escaped attention, however, is how Dr Pachauri has established an astonishing worldwide portfolio of business interests with bodies which have been investing billions of dollars in organisations dependent on the IPCC�s policy recommendations.

These outfits include banks, oil and energy companies and investment funds heavily involved in �carbon trading� and �sustainable technologies�, which together make up the fastest-growing commodity market in the world, estimated soon to be worth trillions of dollars a year.

Today, in addition to his role as chairman of the IPCC, Dr Pachauri occupies more than a score of such posts, acting as director or adviser to many of the bodies which play a leading role in what has become known as the international �climate industry�.

It is remarkable how only very recently has the staggering scale of Dr Pachauri�s links to so many of these concerns come to light, inevitably raising questions as to how the world�s leading �climate official� can also be personally involved in so many organisations which stand to benefit from the IPCC�s recommendations.
What follows is an amazing trail of power and influence affecting not only India but the US as well -- he owns oil companies in Texas, a lobbying company in Washington, DC, his interests are very wide ranging and diverse. To think that he is in the direct position to leverage benefits to his businesses through climate change legislation is about as corrupt as it gets... Well, the reaction to this article was interesting to say the least. Richard also blogs and today's post was interesting:
Rather preoccupied
Bound by a vow of silence which might have something to do with this and this (see pic above, plus pages 55 and 107), a certain newspaper article and a blog called EU Referendum.

Plus I have had a newspaper piece to write ... which with luck you will see on Sunday � so I hastily bid you all a Happy New Year and hope I'm still around to enjoy blogging it. TERI-Europe part 2 will be posted later today.
Bishop Hill had this to say (it was here that I got the original links):
Leaning on North
It looks as though Pachauri may be getting nasty over North and Booker's revelations of his conflicting interests in the Telegraph. There is a very mysterious posting up at his blog now.

Spread the word.


North in the comments to his posting gives some clues to the contents of the lawyer's letter he has received:
An entertaining, four-page missive. The last paragraph reads: "Please do not mistake our client's resolve to take whatever action is necessary to protect their reputations. If we do not hear from you in the timeframe indicated, proceedings will be issued."

Ho hum! The letter is barking mad but it still needs hours of constructing a careful response, the net effect of which will be the same as two Anglo Saxon words.
This looks to me to be one of those quiet nudge-nudge, wink-wink moments that proceeds a veritable shit-storm of epic proportions. I hope that the malfeasance and corruption is going to get blown out of the water.

The current internet meme

From a photography blog:
If You Put That Picture On The Internet I�ll Call My Lawyer

This guy was on the corner of Stockton and Columbus in San Francisco yelling at a homeless man. Anger, conflict, drama � sounds like a great shot to me. I crossed the street but was unable to get anything interesting, since I only had my 50mm lens on the camera and I was just too far away.

However, Mr. Angry Overreaction Man decided that he now had a problem with me. He confronted me, demanding my camera. Of course, I refused. He got in my face and started threatening me, telling me that I cannot take his photo without his permission. I told him that yes, in fact, I can. He then walked up and bumped into me, trying to act tough. I told him that one more touch and I would call the police.

Of course, he didn�t like that very much, and at that point told me that if I put his picture on the internet, he would call his laywer. I assured him that his photo would be on the internet, and he then walked up and grabbed my camera lens. Well, that�s just not something that I will put up with, so I pulled the camera away from him and reached for my phone and started dialing. Once he saw that he turned away, still yelling threats, and continued on his way.

I felt bad for his daughter, who was with him, because she was obviously embarrassed by his antics and kept pleading with him to stop. I have a great shot showing her looking up as if saying �Oh boy, here he goes again�. But I�m not going to post that one, as she was not acting like an idiot and I don�t want to embarrass her. Mr. Angry Overreaction Man seems to do enough of that.

So, Mr. Angry Overreaction Man, your photo is now on the internet. Call your lawyer. Tell him somebody on a public sidewalk took your photo while you were on a public sidewalk. Then tell him you physically assaulted the photographer. See what he says.
Of course, the image is now cropping up all over... As for the legal element, Attorney Bert P. Krages has a wonderful The Photographer�s Right downloadable in PDF format. Mr. Krages has also authored the more detailed Legal Handbook for Photographers. The upshot, aggressive Mr. anti-photo dude doesn't have a leg to stand on. The 360+ comments are a fun read.

The delights of socialized medicine

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When rationing happens (but they never call it by its name) From The Scottish Sun:
OAP John�s digit ripped
Grandad John Docherty had his wedding finger ripped off on a railing - when his ring snagged on the fence after he slipped on ice.

John, 67, was left with blood spurting from the wound as he lay in agony on the pavement outside his home.

But he was denied treatment at his local hospital in Ayr where he was told to take a TAXI to Glasgow - and had to share it with a medic travelling elsewhere. John was helping wife Sheena, 61, carry shopping when the gruesome accident happened last week.

The ex-baggage handler said: "I went straight up in the air and tried to grab the railing.

"But my wedding ring got stuck and my finger was ripped clean off - blood was spurting out like oil from the ground."

John was rushed to Ayr Hospital with his digit wrapped in a bag of frozen peas.

But health chiefs said they had no suitable surgeons and made him take a cab to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

And a doctor going to Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, hitched a lift in his taxi.

John said: "I arrived at the Royal around 2pm, almost three hours after I fell. Eventually a surgeon said he could try reattaching it, but the chances of it healing were slim."
Seriously WTF??? If they had not rationed surgeons at the first Hospital (isn't a Hospital supposed to be where Surgeons work?), he would have had his finger sown back on in a jif. Putting it on a bag of frozen peas was perfect so he should have had a successful recovery if he had gotten to a surgeon within an hour or so. Ayr looks to be a gorgeous seaside town but it also looks to be about 40 miles from Glasgow:

View Larger Map

Heh - a bit of speculation

From Emanuel Derman's Blog, via Marginal Revolution, via BoingBoing:
Trading Places
I had a fantasy in which the Fed and the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) switched roles.

If a bank failed at 9 a.m. one morning and shut its doors, the TSA would announce that all banks henceforth begin their business day at 10 a.m.

And, if a terrorist managed to get on board a plane between Stockholm and Washington, the Fed would increase the number of flights between the cities.
Dang -- a mouthful of caf� latte sure hurts when it comes out your nose...

Now this is just wonderful if it is true

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From the London Times:
US 'stopped Dutch installation of full body scanners'
The United States prevented Dutch authorities from installing full body scanners before the suspected Christmas Day bomb plotter passed through security at Amsterdam's airport, the Dutch government claimed today.

The Dutch claimed that they had been trying to install the machines for flights to the US since 2008 but had been blocked by US officials who wanted passengers to all destinations screened.

In light of the failed attack all passengers travelling from Holland to the US will now have to go through full body scanners the Dutch Interior Minister announced following discussions with the Americans.

Guusje ter Horst said the millimetre wave scanners that can see beneath passengers' clothes will be in use at Schiphol airport within three weeks and remain a permanent fixture for all flights to the US.

Asked whether the new scanners could have prevented the suspected plotter, Umar Farouk Almutallab, from getting on the flight, Ms ter Horst said: "From the moment that you put in millimetre wave scanners then you would have been able to detect that he [Mr Almutallab] was carrying something on his body.

"We didn't have this at the time and we know that metal detectors can't detect explosive materials.

"The US didn't want these put in exclusively for American flights but as a general rule across the airport. But we have discussed with the US so that all passengers will go through these body scanners before they board."

A spokesman for the Dutch counter-terrorism department told The Times that discussions with the US about installing body scanners date back to last year.

The two countries were at a deadlock over their installation because the US didn't want them exclusively for American bound flights.
Jeezzz... I get a good ten minute pat-down because of my hip replacement. I would much prefer a few moments in a scanner. They are talking about sneaking explosives on board, they are not mentioning the large number of over-the-counter ceramic knives that you can buy for under $50 that would pass right through a magnetometer.

A great New Year's resolution - Move your Money

From Huffington Post:
Move Your Money: A New Year's Resolution
Last week, over a pre-Christmas dinner, the two of us, along with political strategist Alexis McGill, filmmaker/author Eugene Jarecki, and Nick Penniman of the HuffPost Investigative Fund, began talking about the huge, growing chasm between the fortunes of Wall Street banks and Main Street banks, and started discussing what concrete steps individuals could take to help create a better financial system. Before long, the conversation turned practical, and with some help from friends in the world of bank analysis, a video and website were produced devoted to a simple idea: Move Your Money.

The big banks on Wall Street, propped up by taxpayer money and government guarantees, have had a record year, making record profits while returning to the highly leveraged activities that brought our economy to the brink of disaster. In a slap in the face to taxpayers, they have also cut back on the money they are lending, even though the need to get credit flowing again was one of the main points used in selling the public the bank bailout. But since April, the Big Four banks -- JP Morgan/Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo -- all of which took billions in taxpayer money, have cut lending to businesses by $100 billion.

Meanwhile, America's Main Street community banks -- the vast majority of which avoided the banquet of greed and corruption that created the toxic economic swamp we are still fighting to get ourselves out of -- are struggling. Many of them have closed down (or been taken over by the FDIC) over the last 12 months. The government policy of protecting the Too Big and Politically Connected to Fail is badly hurting the small banks, which are having a much harder time competing in the financial marketplace. As a result, a system which was already dangerously concentrated at the top has only become more so.
Here is the Move Your Money website. Plug in your Zip Code and it will return a list of B or higher rated banks in your geographical area. We did this with our personal and business accounts (and my Dad's) this summer and have been very very happy with the results. We were at BofA and are now at a County Credit Union. Their security is a lot better, the people at the various branches are very nice to deal with. Should have done this years ago.
A town about 20 miles away published its "best of" excerpts from the Police Blotter. The town of Blaine hosts the largest of the US/Canada border crossings so some of it's more interesting cases relate to that. From the Blaine The Northern Light:
Best of 2009 Police Reports
January 2: Officers were advised that a person being interviewed for a job at a convenience store stole 3 packs of cigarettes during a lull in the application process. When the theft was discovered the business invited the applicant to pay for the goods or face prosecution. He paid up and withdrew his job application.

January 17: While on patrol an officer saw a man alongside Peace Portal, assuming a classic rustic outdoor posture normally reserved for stands of tall timber, not traffic signs. The officer contacted the subject and gave him a quick rundown on Washington state laws regarding lewd acts. The subject chose to use nearby porcelain facilities, in lieu of the stainless model that the county provides at the jail. Or is that �in loo of��

March 16: An E Street resident came in to the police department to report that an prankster had knocked on her door late on Friday the 13th. Saturday morning she stepped outside to find her porch awash in Silly String. Officers were not able to tie the loose ends to a suspect.

That's it for the evening

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Off to the DaveCave(tm) to check email and deal with an online purchase that went bad. I am on a couple music email lists and a guy posted offering some pieces of equipment for reasonable prices. We struck up a rapport and I PayPal'd him for one if the items (an analog sequencer-- modern design but based on the old Moog units used by Tangerine Dream and the like). After the PayPal transaction -- Nada. Zip. Zero. Nothing. I post on this list to see if anyone else is having the same problem and two other suckers are. I had been cutting the guy some slack as he might have been visiting for the holidays but now I am starting to get pissed. PayPal does offer retribution so I and the other two people will be initiating that tonight. See what happens. And if he was visiting for the holidays, he could have emailed the list stating that he was going away until X date. Grrrrrrrrr...

Huge Marijuana grow-op taken down in Louisiana

From the Bastrop, LA Daily Enterprise:
Mother, son jailed on drug charges
Marijuana growing in a local residence landed a mother and son behind bars.

Agents from the Morehouse Parish Sheriff�s Office received information Tuesday afternoon that marijuana was being grown in a Summerlin Lane residence. The agents went to 1109 Summerlin Lane and spoke to Angela Hughes, 51. She gave officers consent to search the home and a box was found with a marijuana plant inside it. A light attached to the box was shining on the plant.
The photograph that accompanies this story is ridiculous:
Either they were looking for something else and used the pot as an excuse to go fishing or the Bastrop Police Force has waaay too much time on its hands.

A potential nail in the coffin

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Interesting news from Anthony at WUWT:
Major northern hemisphere cold snap coming
Cold event setups in atmospheric circulation patterns are aligning. Two days ago I brought to your attention that there was a strong downspike in the Arctic Oscillation Index and that the North Atlantic Oscillation Index was also negative. See The Arctic Oscillation Index goes strongly negative.

Yesterday, Senior AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi let loose with this stunning prediction on the AccuWeather premium web site via Brett Anderson�s Global warming blog:
What is facing the major population centers of the northern hemisphere is unlike anything that we have seen since the global warming debate got to the absurd level it is now, which essentially has been there is no doubt about all this. For cold of a variety not seen in over 25 years in a large scale is about to engulf the major energy consuming areas of the northern Hemisphere. The first 15 days of the opening of the New Year will be the coldest, population weighted, north of 30 north world wide in over 25 years in my opinion.
The Climate Prediction Center discussion for their forecast also concurs with both of the above:
The Pacific Northwest will come out unscathed -- it is a nice and toasty 33 degrees outside now with an inch or two of snow melting away. Nothing like the single digit temps that started this winter's season off for us. Supposed to have more precipitation this week. Nice conditions up on the mountain -- lots of very happy powderhounds...

Now this is going to turn out well

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From the Washington Examiner:
Napolitano wants to unionize TSA employees despite safety concerns
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano hasn't exactly inspired confidence after proclaiming "the system worked" in response to the recent thwarted terrorist attack. A radical Islamic terrorist -- whose father had warned the U.S. embassy of his dangerous intentions -- smuggled explosives on board a flight into the U.S. and nearly detonated them. It was hardly a victory for Homeland Security. In fact, this paper called for her resignation this morning.

Well, as if that weren't bad enough, Napolitano was already at work undermining security measures long before the most recent terrorist attacks. Over the weekend, Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., sounded the alarm about the Obama administration's attempts unionize Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) employees:
The administration is intent in on unionizing and submitting our airport security to union bosses [and] collective bargaining, and this is at a time, as Senator Lieberman says, we've got to use our imagination we've got to be constantly flexible. We have to out think the terrorists. When we formed the airport security system we realize we could not use collective bargaining and unionization because of that need to be flexible. Yet that appears to be the top priority of the administration.
The flexibility that DeMint speaks of is crucial. After a British airliner bombing plot was uncovered in 2006, the TSA overhauled security procedures in a matter of 12 hours to deal with the threat of liquid explosives. It's difficult to imagine that kind of flexibility under ossified union rules.

The reason why DeMint is concerned about unionizing TSA is twofold. One, the President's nominee to head up the TSA, Eroll Southers, refuses to say whether he would allow collective bargaining. And two, this exchange between Demint and Napolitano earlier this month probably did not reassure the Senator from South Carolina:
Sen. DeMint: My question to you is not whether or not you've seen it work at a state or local level, but the whole point of homeland security and particularly TSA is the security of our -- of the passengers, and if -- in the beginning -- and our debate -- and every previous administrator at TSA has said that collective bargaining is not consistent with the flexibility and the need to change. You were telling us that you're going to collectively bargain, even though there's apparently no reason to protect workers. There's not any reason to standardize various work requirements. Why do we need to bring collective bargaining into this process when we see TSA making the improvements that it needs to make our passengers more secure?

Sec. Napolitano: Well, thank you, senator, for noting the improvements of our -- of TSA and the employee workforce we have there, but again, I go back to the basic point that I do not think security and collective bargaining are mutually exclusive, nor do I think that collective bargaining cannot be accomplished by an agency, such as TSA, should the workers desire to be organized in such a fashion.

Sen. DeMint: Okay. Thank you for answering my question.
To sum up, DeMint asks Napolitano what reason there is for collective bargaining in light of security concerns. Despite the pleasantries, it's clear Napolitano won't or can't answer the question, even though the safety of American travelers depends on her answer.
What a buffoon.

Another fine upstanding citizen

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From Tacoma - from MS/NBC:
Thief calls 911 after stolen truck breaks down
A Tacoma man called 911 to report the truck he had just stolen had run out of gas. But not only was he arrested, he learned not all vehicles run on the same type of fuel.

The Washington State Patrol says at about 12:30 p.m. Monday, a City Transfer employee headed south on State Route 167 spotted the silver 1985 Chevy truck that was stolen from their yard earlier that day. Someone was seen in the truck as it sat, disabled, on the shoulder in Renton.

Minutes later, and before troopers arrived, the suspect called 911 to report the vehicle had run out of gas. When troopers got there, they say the suspect tried to disguise himself as a City Transfer worker by wearing a fluorescent green reflector vest he found in the truck.
And the punchline:
As it turns out, the truck did not run out of gas. The suspect apparently didn't realize that the truck took diesel. He filled it up with unleaded instead and it became disabled.

My Dad co-authored a long-selling College-level Physics textbook (Halliday and Resnick) so I have had a ground level introduction into the world of publication and printing (my Mom's family owned a large Paper Warehouse and I would visit a lot of printers as a kid).

If you want a very accurate cinematic portrayal of the Publishing business, check out the 1994 movie Wolf with Jack Nicholson.

Anyway, check out Tom's Glossary of Book Publishing Terms A few examples:

ADVANCE COPY: A bound book that when opened by an editor will instantly expose an embarrassing mistake.
AUTHOR TOUR: A hazing ritual intended to make authors compliant to their publishers.
COPYRIGHT: A concept invented by lawyers as a hedge against unemployment.
EDITOR: A writer with a day job.
LETTERHEAD: Colloquialism for a typographer.

Lots more at the site. Fun stuff!

The invasion of the snatchers

Classy act -- from the Wall Street Journal:

Invasion of the Election Snatchers
Even in an economic recession, Americans in urban areas continue to buy second homes in rural parts of the country, frequently helping to revitalize depressed areas. Inevitably, though, political operatives have also been seizing on weekend residents as a way to change the political complexion of rural communities.

Nowhere is the battle being more fiercely fought than in New York's Columbia County, a two-hour drive up the Hudson River from New York City. Local Democrats have encouraged weekend residents to register and vote on the theory that their ballots aren't needed in New York City, where Democrats already hold an overwhelming registration edge. In a lightly-populated upstate community, however, a few transplant votes can represent the balance of power.

That was certainly the case last month in the town of Taghkanic, which has about 1,500 people. In a closely contested race for local offices, more than 20% of the ballots were cast by absentees, almost all of them by weekend residents who appeared to have delivered narrow victories to local Democrats. In response, Republicans have sued, pointing to evidence that many of the absentees were people whose jobs, drivers licenses and primary residences were in New York City and legally should have voted there. Some may even have voted in both jurisdictions. Approximately 60 absentee ballots are at issue and could sway the result of some races if disqualified.

The case will be heard by a local judge in State Supreme Court in Columbia County tomorrow. Evidence before him will include spreadsheets showing that many of the county's absentee voters had signed affidavits for property tax exemptions on homes outside of Columbia County or signed second-home riders on mortgages securing their Columbia County property. Those riders explicitly say their primary residences are elsewhere.

"We are not against weekenders," says John Faso, a former GOP state legislator from Columbia County, who is supporting the legal challenge. "They don't realize they've been encouraged to vote in a way that isn't in accordance with the law." But Democrats are arguing that legal precedents allow people to choose where they can vote -- some have even launched a Web site called that urges weekenders to "vote where your heart is."

A charming sentiment, but it flies in the face of New York's election law, which includes several criteria for determining where someone can legally vote, including place of employment, location of tax payments and where a family's children go to school.

Flooding rural elections with newbie voters who really live somewhere else is a clever tactic, but it appears to violate election law and can also exacerbate often delicate relations between long-time local residents and newcomers. If weekenders want to vote where they claim their hearts are, let them give up their city tax breaks, their exemption from local jury duty and their often blissful indifference to the real problems and challenges of their adopted communities from Monday through Friday.

Nothing like a strong sense of ethics -- gotta love those "progressives" coming into a place that they only visit on weekends and muck up the local politics while thinking that they know what is best for these communities. And don't forget to check out the comments section -- nothing says love like a comment that begins with:

I guess the subtleties of the Constitution evade your grasp.

Now that is a lot of ammunition

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I had seen it on a few of the sketchier websites (Free Republic) and discounted it until I checked the proverbial horse's mouth. From Winchester Ammunition:
Winchester Awarded Department of Homeland Security Contract
Winchester� Ammunition was recently awarded a contract by the Immigration, Customs and Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security

Winchester� Ammunition was recently awarded a contract by the Immigration, Customs and Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security to supply a maximum of 200 million, 40 cal. rounds over the next five years.

�Winchester has a proud tradition of providing high quality ammunition to our nation�s law enforcement agencies,� said Dick Hammett, president, Winchester Ammunition. �No matter if they�re protecting our block, our city or our borders, each special agent is an invaluable resource and we are committed to giving them the best products available.�

The load selected for this contract is a 135-grain, hollow point designed for the office of Field Operations of Customs and Border Protection. It will fall under the Winchester� Ranger� line of products.
First of all, this was posted in August and is being recycled through the web the last week. Old news. Second, this is for a maximum of -- this is a price-point specification, not a contractual deliverable. Still, that is a lot of ammo to be talking about: up to and including 40M rounds per year. Let's see -- DHS Website, About:
The Department of Homeland Security has a vital mission: to secure the nation from the many threats we face. This requires the dedication of more than 230,000 employees in jobs that range from aviation and border security to emergency response, from cybersecurity analyst to chemical facility inspector. Our duties are wide-ranging, but our goal is clear � keeping America safe.
Let's be generous and call the "more than 230,000 employees" an even 300K. That is 133 rounds for every single man, woman and child employed by DHS per year. Again, that is a hella lot of ammo considering that probably one employee out of one hundred is issued a firearm -- that pencils out to 13K rounds each person each year. That much target practice? Planning something sinister?
Two things came to me today. Why blow up an airplane on landing? #1) - Landing and taking off are the two times when the airframe is under maximum stress. If you wanted to ensure the biggest bang for the buck, you would detonate at these times otherwise, you might just blow a big hole in the side and do nothing else. Why blow up an airplane on landing? #2) - Newton's First Law and basic airplane operation. #2a) - An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Even if the object becomes a loose collection of formerly airplane-shaped objects, it is still subject to the First Law and will continue on its flightpath. #2b) - when taking off, you want the wind at your back so as to gain from the speed of the wind and to need less runway. When landing, you want to land into the wind so it slows you down (relative to the ground surface) and you need less runway. The upshot is that you have a bunch of planes stacked up at the windy end of the runway, waiting to take off in between airplanes coming in to land. If Abdulmutallab had been successful and if Flight 253 did explode, the debris would have flown toward the airplanes sitting there waiting to take off. This is war and Abdulmutallab needs to be pumped for whatever information he has and then be executed by a firing squad -- preferably with bullets dipped in pigs blood. The fact that he has a civil lawyer is a mockery of the Body of Laws this Nation was founded upon...
The people who planned the bombing and prepped Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to kill himself and more than 300 other souls have a bit of interesting history. From Brian Ross at ABC News:
Two al Qaeda Leaders Behind Northwest Flight 253 Terror Plot Were Released by U.S.
Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.

Both Saudi nationals have since emerged in leadership roles in Yemen, according to U.S. officials and the men's own statements on al Qaeda propaganda tapes.

Both of the former Guantanamo detainees are described as military commanders and appear on a January, 2009 video along with the man described as the top leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, Abu Basir Naser al-Wahishi, formerly Osama bin Laden's personal secretary.

In its Monday statement claiming responsibility for the Northwest bombing, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula called bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab a "hero" and a "martyr" and lauded him for beating U.S. intelligence.
We had them, we taught them how to do pretty pictures (happy little trees) all the while they were laughing behind our backs and calling us weak. The turned around and tried to murder more citizens.

Air travel these days - our security

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Bruce Schneier is someone widely respected in the Computer Security field. He writes about the two Nigerians and offers some ideas:
Separating Explosives from the Detonator
Chechen terrorists did it in 2004. I said this in an interview with then TSA head Kip Hawley in 2007:
I don't want to even think about how much C4 I can strap to my legs and walk through your magnetometers.
And what sort of magical thinking is behind the rumored TSA rule about keeping passengers seated during the last hour of flight? Do we really think the terrorist won't think of blowing up their improvised explosive devices during the first hour of flight?

For years I've been saying this:
Only two things have made flying safer [since 9/11]: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.
This week, the second one worked over Detroit. Security succeeded.

EDITED TO ADD (12/26): Only one carry on? No electronics for the first hour of flight? I wish that, just once, some terrorist would try something that you can only foil by upgrading the passengers to first class and giving them free drinks.
So true -- I wonder just how long it will be until we are strapped into one of these:
bolted down onto the floor where the seats used to be, dosed full of Ambien and revived when the airplane touches down again. How about handing out a baseball bat to every passenger as they board. True, the terrorists will have one too but there are more of us than there are of them...

I like guns

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Steve's website is here: I Like Guns What he said...

Dave Berry's 2009 Year in Review

Some fun writing from Dave Berry at The Miami Herald:

Dave Barry's year in review: 2009
It was a year of Hope -- at first in the sense of "I feel hopeful!" and later in the sense of "I hope this year ends soon!"

It was also a year of Change, especially in Washington, where the tired old hacks of yesteryear finally yielded the reins of power to a group of fresh, young, idealistic, new-idea outsiders such as Nancy Pelosi. As a result Washington, rejecting "business as usual," finally stopped trying to solve every problem by throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at it and instead started trying to solve every problem by throwing trillions of taxpayer dollars at it.

To be sure, it was a year that saw plenty of bad news. But in almost every instance, there was offsetting good news:

BAD NEWS: The economy remained critically weak, with rising unemployment, a severely depressed real-estate market, the near-collapse of the domestic automobile industry and the steep decline of the dollar.

GOOD NEWS: Windows 7 sucked less than Vista.

BAD NEWS: The downward spiral of the newspaper industry continued, resulting in the firings of thousands of experienced reporters and an apparently permanent deterioration in the quality of American journalism.

GOOD NEWS: A lot more people were tweeting.

BAD NEWS: Ominous problems loomed abroad as -- among other difficulties -- the Afghanistan war went sour, and Iran threatened to plunge the Middle East and beyond into nuclear war.

GOOD NEWS: They finally got Roman Polanski.

In short, it was a year that we will be happy to put behind us. But before we do, let's swallow our anti-nausea medication and take one last look back, starting with. . . .

. . . during which history is made in Washington, D.C., where a crowd estimated by the Congressional Estimating Office at 217 billion people gathers to watch Barack Obama be inaugurated as the first American president ever to come after George W. Bush. There is a minor glitch in the ceremony when Chief Justice John Roberts, attempting to administer the oath of office, becomes confused and instead reads the side-effect warnings for his decongestant pills, causing the new president to swear that he will consult his physician if he experiences a sudden loss of sensation in his feet. President Obama then delivers an upbeat inaugural address, ushering in a new era of cooperation, civility and bipartisanship in a galaxy far, far away. Here on Earth everything stays much the same.

The No. 1 item on the agenda is fixing the economy, so the new administration immediately sets about the daunting task of trying to nominate somebody -- anybody -- to a high-level government post who actually remembered to pay his or her taxes. Among those who forgot this pesky chore is Obama's nominee for Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, who sheepishly admits that he failed to pay $35,000 in federal self-employment taxes. He says that the error was a result of his using TurboTax, which he also blames for his involvement in an eight-state spree of bank robberies. He is confirmed after the Obama administration explains that it inherited the U.S. Tax Code from the Bush administration.

Elsewhere in politics, a team of specially trained wildlife agents equipped with nets and tranquilizer darts manages, after a six-hour struggle, to remove Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office. He is transported to an undisclosed swamp, where he is released into the wild and quickly bonds with the native ferret population.

On a more upbeat note, the nation finds a new hero in US Airways Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, who, in an astonishing feat of aviation, manages to land a US Airways flight safely in the Hudson River after it loses power shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia. Incredibly, all 155 people on board survive, although they are immediately taken hostage by Somali pirates.

In entertainment news, an unemployed California mother of six uses in-vitro fertilization to give birth to eight more children, an achievement that immediately catapults her to a celebrity status equivalent to that of a minor Kardashian sister. But even this joyous event is not enough to cheer up a nation worried about the worsening economy, which becomes so badin . . .

Eleven more months to go. Heh...


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Remember when you saw Star Wars for the very first time. That sense of excitement, that they got it right. We had the same feeling walking out of the theater tonight. Do not waste your time with the 2D version, see it in 3D -- the technology has improved a lot and the effect is very natural. I read criticisms based on the weak story-line. It may be a story known to everyone but it is a story that has been successful for the last 6,000 years or so -- the classical Hero's Journey. It may be fashionable to call this a writers hack but it has empowered may a tale told around a distant campfire, many a play on stage, many a novel or poem and certainly many a motion picture. It is common because it works and it resonates with the common man. I would bet that "the serious critics" who object to the banality of the storyline probably have the complete works of Joseph Campbell sitting proudly on their bookshelves... The visual story is drop-dead gorgeous -- they got the physics right on the spaceship. The creatures of Pandora are not earthlike but they are lifelike. Brings to mind the requirement of another Campbell (John W.) who, as Editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine told his writers: "Write me a creature that thinks as well as a man, or better than a man, but not like a man" There are a lot of wonderful visual throw-aways and references to other films, particularly the Star Wars canon but James Cameron tells a hell of a better story. One can almost hear him telling George Lucas to: "Eat my shorts" We are planning to see it again at an Imax theater. A wonderful way to spend a couple of hours...
From CNN:
New Detroit scare declared 'non-serious'
A security alert aboard a Northwest Airlines jet ended Sunday after investigators determined the incident -- the second in two days involving a Detroit, Michigan-bound flight -- was "non-serious," federal authorities said.

The crew of Northwest Flight 253 reported a "verbally disruptive" passenger Sunday and requested police meet the plane when it arrived from the Netherlands, the airline told CNN. The man was questioned by police after the plane landed in Detroit early Sunday afternoon.

The Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight is the same one targeted Friday in what prosecutors called a failed attempt to blow up a jetliner. Sandra Berchtold, a spokeswoman for the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Detroit, said Sunday's alert was caused by a passenger who "spent a lengthy time in the restroom."

"This raised concerns, so an alert was raised," she said. "JTTF investigated, and the investigation shows that this was a non-serious incident and all is clear at this point."

The passenger spent about an hour in the bathroom and got upset when he was questioned by the crew of the flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, according to government sources. Law enforcement agents questioned the man Sunday.

The jet had the same designation -- Flight 253 -- as the one on which a Nigerian man is accused of attempting to set off an explosive device Friday, said Scott Wintner, a spokesman for the Wayne County Airport Authority. Winter told CNN the flight "requested emergency assistance and was pulled aside upon arrival in Detroit."
Couple of things, this CNN story fails to tell you that the first Nigerian was a professed radical Islamist who had his own father so concerned that the father contacted the US Embassy in Nigeria last November. That moke spent a lot of time in the bathroom before returning to his seat, putting a blanket over his lap (he complained about a bad stomach ache) and proceeding to try to blow himself up. The story we get from FOX News really fills in the gaps:
Detroit-Bound Airline Passenger Was Ill, Not a Threat, Sources Say
Police removed an airline passenger Sunday following a disruption on the same Detroit-bound flight that was subject to a failed bomb attack on Christmas Day.

An FBI spokeswoman in Detroit said Sunday's incident turned out to be nothing serious.
And the meat of the story:
The official says the passenger was taken into custody after becoming verbally disruptive on landing. Subsequent interviews by investigators determined he was a businessman who became ill during the flight.

A source confirmed this report to Fox News, saying the passenger was indeed sick and that the incident appears to be "a non-event at this point."

Authorities did not find any sign of explosives.

A federal law enforcement official said the man, who was from Nigeria, was interviewed by authorities and the aircraft was swept. But the official said the incident was all an incredible coincidence.
So we have a second Nigerian, trying out the same flight number and the same basic tactics -- just minus the final step. The FBI is reporting:
...indications at this time are that the individual's behavior is due to legitimate illness...
but I am willing to bet that they did not take him to a hospital to be checked out. A serum sample would be interesting. The word that is forming in my mind is feint:
1. a mock attack or movement designed to distract an adversary, as in a military manoeuvre or in boxing, fencing, etc.
2. a misleading action or appearance
Like I said in an earlier post -- these assholes have been studying us closely and know how our media and progressive liberals and government work and they are playing us like a two-dollar violin. We need to man up, kick them to the ground and steal their lunch money...

Dogpile on Napolitano

She seems to be the hot topic this morning. From Jonah Goldberg at The National Review:
Fire Napolitano
Understandbly, the White House is trying very hard to get out in front of the would-be Christmas bomber story. The head of the Department of Homeland Security isn't helping. I watched her on three shows and each time she was more annoying, maddening and absurd than the pevious appearance. It is her basic position that the "system worked" because the bureaucrats responded properly after the attack. That the attack was "foiled" by a bad detonator and some civilian passengers is proof, she claims, that her agency is doing everything right. That is just about the dumbest thing she could say, on the merits and politically. I would wager that not one percent of Americans think the system is "working" when terrorists successfully get bombs onto planes (and succeed in activating them). Probably even fewer think it's fair that they have to take off their shoes, endure delays and madness while a known Islamic radical - turned in by his own father - can waltz onto a plane (and into the country). DHS had no role whatsoever in assuring that this bomb didn't go off. By her logic if the bomb had gone off, the system would have "worked" since it has done everything right.

Napolitano has a habit of arguing that DHS is a first responder outfit. Its mission is to deal with "man-caused-disasters" afer they occur. It appears she really believes it. If the White House wants to assure people that it takes the war on terror seriously (a term Robert Gibbs used this morning by the way), they could start by firing this patenly unqualified hack.

The biggest losers - State population decline

Nothing says good government like having people flee your State in droves. The biggest five Losers from Yahoo/CNN Money:
Biggest Losers: Where Americans Aren't Moving
Through most of the decade Florida was one of the fastest growing states. But the sunny clime -- and 6 others -- lost more residents than they gained in the year ended July 1.

1. California
Net loss: 98,798 residents

For years more people have fled the Golden State than have arrived. In the year ended July 1, California was the country's biggest loser, with nearly 100,000 more residents leaving than moving in.

Still, that was an improvement over earlier losses: In 2006 the net decline was 313,081.

2. New York
Net loss: 98,178 residents

Like California, New York is, historically, a major exporter of it citizens. The state depends upon foreign migration for its population growth. But also like California, New York's out-migration eased in the year ended July 1.

In 2006, nearly a quarter million more people left the state than moved in, two and a half times the 2009 total.

The state has not gone through the same housing crisis that engulfed bubble states. The unemployment rate is lower than the nation as a whole and foreclosure problems have been relatively minor.

Still, New York is the decade's biggest loser: The state a total of 1,686,583 residents, more than anywhere else.
And the other three? Michigan, Illinois and Ohio -- all strong Blue States. All with "progressive" governments. And what is the answer to losing all these people? Raising the taxes on the ones that remain. Would the last person leaving please remember to turn out the lights?

The system worked

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Which is why you should never ever have a political appointee in a position where actual job performance is required -- witness this statement from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. From Politico:
Napolitano: "The system worked"
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday that the thwarting of the attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-Detroit airline flight Christmas Day demonstrated that "the system worked."

Asked by CNN's Candy Crowley on "State of the Union" how that could be possible when the young Nigerian who has been charged with trying to set off the bomb was able to smuggle explosive liquid onto the jet, Napolitano responded: "We're asking the same questions."

Napolitano added that there was "no suggestion that [the suspect] was improperly screened."
It worked because the guy got onto the plane even though his name was on the no-fly list and his father had contacted the USA Embassy in November with his concerns about his son? The system worked because the screening process didn't catch the explosives or the syringe? It worked because it was a couple other passengers that stopped him? The idiots at TSA are fighting their last wars. Richard Reid put a bomb in his shoe so now we all have to take our shoes off for X Ray. This latest idiot used a blanket on his lap to conceal what he was doing so now we cannot have anything on our laps for the hour prior to landing. They are fighting their last wars -- they are taking the tactic the enemy used and adding it to the arsenal of ways to annoy us instead of learning, adapting and thinking of other tactics that can be used. Napolitano's legacy as Governor of Arizona is not a good one. Her treatment of Veterans in Arizona while she was governor is shameful. Her statement that returning Iraq Veterans are potential domestic terrorists should have been an immediate call for her resignation:
Hat tip to The Blogmocracy for the link.
From FOX News:
Police Arrest 'Disruptive' Passenger Aboard Plane at Detroit Airport
Police have arrested a Nigerian man who reportedly became verbally disruptive and barricaded himself in the bathroom of a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight on Sunday.

Several police vehicles and a police command unit have surrounded a plane at Detroit's Metro Airport, after the pilot of a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight requested emergency help.

Two sources tell Fox News that the suspect boarded a plan in Lagos with no baggage, and said the FBI has already sent an email alert to other federal agencies notifying them of the incident.

The source said the man taken into custody at the Detroit airport was a Nigerian man in his 30s. Federal officials know who the suspect is, but won't provide any more details. He allegedly barricaded himself in the plane's bathroom for an hour.

Detroit's Metro Airport spokesman John Witner said there was a report of suspicious activity on the Delta/Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam Sunday. That is the same flight number as the flight that Nigerian man Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was suspected of attempting to blow up over Detroit on Christmas Day.

Feds are trying to determine whether there is any connection with Abdulmutallab, who was arrested on Christmas.
How many more times does something like this have to happen before the administration owns up to the fact that #1) - these people are in a declared state of war with the Western culture and that #2) - these people are not stupid. They have studied our culture, they know how to exploit our weaknesses to their advantage, our legal system, our population who thinks that appeasement is the only answer, our media who considered them to be our equals. This is war and needs to be prosecuted as such otherwise, the Islamofascists will keep picking off civilians and we sit back doing nothing as they grow more bold. What will be the wakeup call -- a suitcase nuke in New York?

Whole Foods, Obamacare, the left, etc...

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Bleagh -- knowing what I am up against just makes me sad for this nation... From William M. Briggs:
It�s not to late to avoid the worst�reconciliation coming; Or, What does Whole Foods have to do with health care?
It�s not too late to prevent the worst in health care. The Senate bill must still be force-fit to the House bill during reconciliation. We still have time to discuss what requiring a new health tax means. The opportunity to sway our masters, at least a little, still exists.

Time might be out for Whole Food�s chief John Mackey, however, who earlier this year wrote an editorial for the Wall Street Journal in which he quoted Margret Thatcher: �The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people�s money.�

The result: an 8.4 on the Richter scale of quaking and shaking and sputtering from the left. Cries of �How could he!� echoed from blog to blog. Bitter tears! Condemnation! The assumption of the wounded was that any man who would sell expensive carrots must have been a socialist, just as they were.

No attempt was made, incidentally, by the weeping minority to refute the Iron Lady�s quip, for the simple logical reason that you cannot prove invalid what is true. The left were incensed merely because Mackey had the gall to say publicly what he did.

Judas himself did not get as much heat from his Christian brethren as Mackey took from the socialists. A boycott of Whole Foods was on!

An internet site sprang forth: Their tag line is �Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, says healthcare is NOT a right and used his corporate bully pulpit to spread insurance industry lies. Join other shoppers who will not spend dollars supporting Mackey�s right wing agenda.�

The hilarity of that statement is undoubtedly unintentional. The �right wing agenda� of which they speak means, as judging by Mackey�s actions, to provide health insurance to your employees, and supply them with flexible �health dollars� on top of the insurance.

Mackey also wanted to, e.g. �Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines�, and �Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost�. Gosh darn Republicans and their gosh darn right wing agendas!

The effect of the boycott�maybe�was to force Mackey to remit his title of �chairman.� He is still CEO, still on the board, presumably still has his shares, and will likely continue charging very large piles of lettuce for very small piles of�but you don�t really want that joke to end, do you?

The Whole Foods fiasco is important because it illustrates the mistakes in thinking, false assumptions, and incorrect conclusions of the health care debate. The meat of the entire thing is in that one mystical word: right.

It is a lovely word, but it is only one side of a coin. Socialists always assume its flip side, responsibility, can be ignored, or can be assumed to mean one fixed thing�exactly what Thatcher said: the responsibility for anything is on whoever has more money. Which is what makes socialism a self-limiting (and painful) disease. The money always runs out.

You cannot have a right without creating a responsibility, just as you cannot have a coin which only has one side. This is why we will have a discussion in the coming week over what responsibilities are implied in the �right� that socialists are claiming.

We can dispense with some arguments from the boycott site immediately. The site is, I think, a fair representative of socialist thinking. The link brings you to a page written by a �PhD� (!), who believes he has rebutted Mackey�s common sense approach.

�Healthcare IS a right in other countries� can be answered with, If all those other countries jumped off a cliff, would you, too?

�Does health reform mean a �government take-over?� Ridiculous question but NO!� But YES! as they admit in their next breath, when they say, �Free markets do not work without rules and an independent arbiter.� The arbiter, the ruler, that is, will be the government. The assumption is that an arbiter is necessary. This assumption is false generally.

�Repealing mandates on what insurance must cover & state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines�will leave some consumers vulnerable.� Even if this is true, it is not an argument for the �right� which they claim. The buried assumption that �consumers� should be cared for and coddled is in there, of course, but that is another claim that is not true generally.

�Health Savings Accounts � Why they don�t work.� They do in fact �work�, if by �work� we mean they pay (at least some, or even all) of the expenses for care. It is only true that these accounts to not bring health to everybody. But no system can.

There are several other points, but they are marginal and involve only the particulars of certain plans, and do nothing to answer the central question: Why do people have a �right� to health insurance?
Too good to excerpt -- swiped in toto. William's blog is a great read and will be added to the blogroll at its next revision.

The case of the missing engines

The two missing General Electric J85-21A engines -- each worth about $15M... From the Financial Times:

Missing jet engines spark crisis in Malaysia
The Malaysian government is facing a fresh corruption crisis after officials admitted that two US-made fighter jet engines had disappeared from an air force base after apparently being illicitly sold by military officers to a South American arms dealer.

Najib Razak, prime minister, said there would be a full investigation of the thefts, which happened in 2007 and 2008, when he was defence minister. However, opposition parties accused the government of covering up the incidents.

Lim Kit Siang, parliamentary leader of the opposition Democratic Action party, said the authorities had been "super slow" and claimed that the prime minister's response had painted "a frightening picture of a government of thieves".

Idris Ahmad, spokesman for the allied Parti Islam SeMalaysia, said "powerful people" had been involved. "We don't want only the ikan bilis [anchovies] to be arrested while the sharks are allowed to swim freely," he said.

The General Electric J85-21A engines, each worth about M$50m ($15m), were spares for the Royal Malaysian Air Force's Northrop Grumman F-5E Tiger II fighters, which fly from the Butterworth air base near the country's northern border with Thailand.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, defence minister, said the engines and associated equipment were �believed to have been sent to a South American country� after being moved to the Sungai Besi air force base in Kuala Lumpur for maintenance.

A bit more:

Mr Najib has flatly denied any personal corruption, including opposition claims of involvement in an allegedly corrupt submarine deal while he served as defence minister.

Corruption charges were brought this month against a senior port executive and two other officials linked to a controversial development near Kuala Lumpur known as the Port Klang Free Trade Zone.

The arrests followed a damning parliamentary report that found widespread corruption and cost overruns at the project, which has run up debts of more than $1bn.

A bit more at the Malaysian Insider:

Jet engine theft mystery deepens -- The Malaysian Insider
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has now said a brigadier-general and several others sacked in 2007 have nothing to do with the embarrassing theft of two F-5E jet engines found only missing in 2008.

That makes sense.

After all, how can they be sacked before the theft was discovered?

But there precious little sense and details of the theft that has put international spotlight on Malaysia's lax security, possible role in the global black market arms trade and corruption that has put the country at 56 in the Transparency International graft rankings.

The police are now saying the engines -- the General Electric J85-21A turbojets -- have been traced to Argentina. It apparently went there by way of a Middle-East nation, believed to be Iran, from Port Klang. And police are now looking for the documentation for the shipping.

No one has yet shed light how the thieves sneaked the engines, the size of a small car, out of the RMAF Sungei Besi airbase, to the port. It is also not known why the engines, said to be spares, are kept in Sungei Besi when the F-5E squadron is based in the RMAF Butterworth airbase.

The greater mystery is why would anyone want to acquire jet engines first made 30 years ago? No one has yet to reveal the answer to that, especially when the RMAF has the F/A-18Ds and the MiG-29Ns using far superior powerplants made with better technology.

For the record, Malaysia bought the 14 F-5Es in 1974 and decommissioned them in 1999. One crashed in the Malacca Strait near Perak on May 31, 1995. There are 13 now but only six are operational after they came back to service in 2003.

Selling the jet engines to Iran also does not make sense as the Islamic republic has 65 F-5 of the A, B, E and F variants, according to Wikipedia. The United States had sold them to Iran in the 1970s when the Shah was in power before being toppled in 1979.

Why would Iran want technology for a jet engine it already possesses? All the more so when its an engine made in the 1970s. Iran already has scientists said to be working on military-capable nuclear technology, so this jet engine technology is obsolete for it.

Curiouser and curiouser -- an engine for a drone with a nuke warhead (my WAG) Untraceable until now... Malaysia is very much Islamist -- thought that these people were supposed to set an example and be above corruption and all that rot...

Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to check emails and work on some stuff...

A good thing to do for the Environment

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Swiped from David St.Lawrence who offers these words:
Maybe it's time to recycle Congress
We started out, as I recall, with a representative form of government which has gradually morphed into an elite group of lawmakers who are no longer accountable to the people who elect them.

For example, our Congress critters vote themselves raises even as the economy tanks because of their inept leadership. These same public servants have a health care system that is not affected by the health care legislation that was voted on today.

In case after case, we find the leadership of the House and Senate buying votes through special deals, funneling money to relatives through contract awards and special tax breaks, and holding closed-door sessions to circumvent established procedures.

I think the problem began with us voters assuming that our representatives would represent our interests and not realizing that once in Washington, DC. our representatives play to a different audience.

Too many Congressmen and Senators have turned a deaf ear to constituent's complaints. Some have even utilized union goons to intimidate voters who asked embarrassing questions. We are seeing a climate of corruption that is getting worse every month.
Visit his site to read the rest of this excellent short rant. Well said!

From the Wall Street Journal comes this wonderful little bit of news about Michigan's forced Unionization of Childcare Workers:

Michigan Forces Business Owners Into Public Sector Unions
After hemorrhaging members for decades, labor unions have hit upon a new way to shore up their annual dues revenue.

Michelle Berry runs a private day-care service from her home on the outskirts of this city, the birthplace of General Motors. "The Berry Patch," as she calls the service, features overstuffed purple gorillas, giant cartoon murals, and a playroom covered in Astroturf. Her clients are mostly low-income parents who need child care to keep their jobs in a city that now has a 26% unemployment rate.

Ms. Berry owns her own business - yet the Michigan Department of Human Services claims she is a government employee and union member. The agency thus withholds union dues from the child-care subsidies it needs to her on behalf of her low-income clients. Those dues are funneled to a public-employee union that claims to represent her. The situation is crazy - and it's happening elsewhere in the country.

A year ago in December, Ms. Berry and more than 40,000 other home-based day care providers statewide were suddenly informed they were members of Child Care Providers Together Michigan - a union created in 2006 by the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union had won a certification election conducted by mail under the auspices of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission. In that election only 6,000 day-care providers voted. The pro-labor vote turned out.

Many of the state's other 34,000 day-care providers never even realized what was going on. Ms. Berry tells us she was "shocked" to find out she was suddenly in a union. The real dirty work, however, had been done when the state created an "employer" for the union to "organize" against.

Of course, Michigan's independent day-care providers don't work for anybody except the parents who were their customers. Nevertheless, because some of these parents qualified for public subsidies, the Child Care Providers "union" claimed the providers were "public employees."

And of course, this idea comes from California and the SEIU is in the thick of it:

The federal question may be raised soon, as other states have pursued similar unionization schemes over the past decade, primarily at the behest of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union, better known as the SEIU. Fourteen states have now enabled home-based day-care providers to be organized into public-employee unions, affecting about 233,000 people. And nine have done so with home health-care providers. The idea to unionize in this way was hatched in California, though ironically Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed legislation to unionize child-care providers.

It's telling that in several states that have gone down this road, state and federal subsidies are the source of the union dues. In Michigan, the scheme is essentially throwing a cash lifeline to unions like the UAW, which are hemorrhaging members.

There's another, ironic twist to the story in the Great Lakes state. Last month the Michigan Economic Development Corporation granted a for-profit SEIU subsidiary, the SEIU Member Action Service Center, a $2 million refundable tax credit to locate a new business facility in the state that will provide administrative services for the union and other local labor organizations. The subsidy strikes us as inappropriate because it categorized the SEIU subsidiary as a business and occurred just before the 5,000 member SEIU local 517M granted the state wage concessions. Shamelessly, the SEIU requested the credit because Michigan has high labor costs.

Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy writ large:

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people. First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers are scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

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

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

The Unions these days are a pale and corrupt shade of their former glory. They only exist to suck on the taxpayers teat and to promote their upper and middle level management. They do absolutely nothing for the rank and file workers under their 'care' Hat tip to Mark Perry for the link.

Memo to self - after robbing a restaurant

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do not sit down to a meal. From the UK Sun:
Diner gunman nicked as he scoffs meal after raid
A dozy robber was nicked while scoffing a chicken dinner at a restaurant he held up at gunpoint 20 minutes earlier. The 38-year-old is accused of stealing several hundred pounds after waving an airgun at terrified staff.

But he then sniffed the tasty aromas at the Southern Fried Chicken branch and demanded: "Give me one of those Hunga Busta Meals too."

He sat down to eat the meal and was still tucking in when armed cops alerted by staff burst into the diner in Colchester, Essex.

An Essex police source said: "We've come across some stupid criminals in our time but this beats all. Normal practice is to grab the cash and run. But this man was obviously controlled by his belly rather than his brain.

"After running in with a hoodie and scarf hiding his face, he took them both off to stuff his face with chicken.

"The staff he'd just waved a gun at were gobsmacked.

"He sat there eating for 20 minutes so they had tons of time to dial 999.

"Staff thought it was a bizarre TV stunt. It just goes to show, you shouldn't carry out a heist on an empty stomach."
Words fail...

The State of Our Climate is Settled

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That is it:
Sorry Copenhagen - rules is rules...

A Christmas Special from RegrEtsy

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Two minutes, thirty-seven seconds of fun from RegrEtsy.
Talk about harshing someone's mellow -- from the Journal of Commerce:
Arrow Trucking Shutdown Strands Drivers
Flatbed carrier Arrow Trucking suspended operations this week, stranding hundreds of drivers around the country on Christmas Eve as the company reportedly tries to get new financing to resume business.

Company drivers learned of the shutdown when the Tulsa, Okla.-based company canceled its fuel credit cards on Tuesday, according to published reports. The company sent workers at its headquarters home Wednesday and by Thursday its phones were not operating and Web site was shut down.

Truckload carrier Schneider National issued a statement Thursday saying its trucks and drivers would offer rides home, �or as close to home as possible,� to an estimated 1,400 drivers who may have been stranded by Arrow�s abrupt action.
But fortunatly, all is not Scrooge and his minions. From the Christian Science Monitor:
Arrow Trucking: Drivers band together to help those dumped by Arrow
For Arrow Trucking drivers like Jenn Cruthis, it was the worst of times.

The Tulsa, Okla., company wouldn't pay for simple repairs on her first truck. So Ms. Cruthis used $787 of her own money to get a second truck back to Arrow Trucking headquarters about a week ago. Mechanics sent her home: They wouldn't be fixing her truck until after the New Year for lack of funds, they said. As she was driving home to Georgia, she got a call telling her to come back.

The next morning, Arrow Trucking suspended its operations, shuttered its Tulsa headquarters, and shut off its fuel cards, leaving some of its 1,400 or so drivers stranded around the country with no fuel to get back home. Now back in Macon, Ga., Cruthis and dozens of other truckers have banded together to help their stranded bretheren.

"The way these truckers are getting out there and helping each other is amazing," Cruthis says. "They�ll sit on the radio and curse at each other all day and fight all day and then for them to stand up and help everybody like this? It's great."

The Owner-Operated Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) put together a Facebook page where truckers have been posting their routes in case they can pick up stranded Arrow drivers along the way. OOIDA has helped half a dozen truckers get home so far, wrote spokeswoman Norita Taylor in an e-mail. Truckers from Michigan to Alabama chimed in with their phone numbers and upcoming routes, offering free rides, laundry at their homes, and hot meals.

By Tuesday afternoon, Daimler Trucks was offering bus tickets home or $200 cash to Arrow drivers who turned in their Freightliner trucks to a Freightliner dealer. The company leased about 1,000 trucks to Arrow. By Wednesday evening, some 350 Arrow drivers had called Daimler, according to Jack Ferry, spokesman for Daimler Trucks Financial, the company's finance arm.

On Wednesday morning, Navistar matched the offer for Arrow drivers with International trucks. "We're a good corporate citizen and it's the holidays," says Roy Wiley, a spokesman for Navistar. Also, "they're our trucks. We want to make certain [the drivers] take care of them."
And a bit more:
Compounding trucker frustration is the fact that because Arrow has not formally fired its employees or gone bankrupt but only suspended operations. That makes it impossible for employees to file for unemployment benefits.
Talk about a poor way to run a company. Cutting the fuel off cold is just evil. Doing this with zero prior warning is evil. I love the way the other companies and drivers are opening their homes to the stranded drivers...

Well that was a big bust - Avatar

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Turns out all of Whatcom County had the same idea as we did. The parking lot for the theater was jammed and all of the 3D showings were sold out. Back at home and reading the entire internet for pleasure...

Light posting today

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Heading into Bellingham to pick up my Dad. A local butcher does really nice small (2-3 pound) smoked hams so we are having that for Christmas dinner and then heading back into town to watch Avatar. Probably post some more after we get back from Avatar but not very much. Still fuming over the Senate votes on health-care and debit ceiling...

A white Christmas

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No snow here but that is definitely the minority 63% of the USA is snow covered and 99% of Canada
Hat tip Anthony
Bad science and that they would promote it as fact is heinous. From PlanetArk -- Your Daily Guide to Helping the Planet:
A Male Polar Bear Carries The Head Of A Polar Bear Cub It Killed And Cannibalized In An Area About 300 Km North Of The Canadian Town Of Churchill

A male polar bear carries the head of a polar bear cub it killed and cannibalized in an area about 300 km (186 miles) north of the Canadian town of Churchill in this picture taken November 20, 2009.

Climate change has turned some polar bears into cannibals as global warming melts their Arctic ice hunting grounds, reducing the polar bear population, according to a U.S.-led global scientific study on the impacts of climate change.
Yes, male bears of all sorts will kill the offspring of females who have mated with other males. This causes the female to go into heat again and the new male will then father his own pups. Simple evolutionary domination. The idea that this is due to global warming is abject bullshit. The idea that the male is eating this pup because it is hungry is bullshit. These people are downright stupid. Their hearts may be in the right place and they are trying to save the planet but seriously, anyone who has read anything about animal behavior will know exactly what is going on. If the people from Planet Ark promoted their political agenda with verifiable Scientific Facts, their arguments would carry a lot more weight with the general public. Instead, they promote themselves as a bunch of onanistic feel-good hippies with a strong political axe to grind and precious little scientific training and definitely zero time spent in the field doing basic research. Here is an account of the same behavior in the Smithsonian: The Truth About Lions
The whole scene looked like a �takeover,� a brief, devastating clash in which a coalition of males tries to seize control of a pride. Resident males may be mortally wounded in the fighting. If the invaders are victorious, they kill all the young cubs to bring the pride�s females into heat again. Females sometimes die fighting to defend their cubs.

Mayon Volcano Bulletin 12

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From the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology:
Mayon Volcano (13.2576 N, 123.6856 E) continued to show an intense level of activity during the past 24-hour observation period. Ninety-six (96) ash explosions were observed during times of good visibility. These explosions produced light brown to grayish ash columns that reached heights of up to 2 km. One hundred twenty five (125) rumbling and booming sounds from the volcano were heard at the Lignon Hill Observatory in Legaspi City. Seismic activity remained elevated as the seismic network recorded a total of eight hundred seventy one (871) volcanic earthquakes. Ninety eight (98) rock fall events, related to detachment of lava fragments at the volcano�s upper slopes, were also detected. Three of these events were observed to have generated pyroclastic flows that moved down within 2 km from the crater. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emission rate was high and was measured at an average of 2,738 tonnes/day yesterday.
Continuing to heat up -- no prediction on when and if there will be a major eruption (if this doesn't qualify already). Sulfur Dioxide production is down over the last couple days.

Merry @#$% Christmas

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Two items were passed in late-minute sessions. #1) - Health "Care" -- from Breitbart/Associated Press:
Senate OK's health care bill in victory for Obama
In an epic struggle settled at dawn, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed health care legislation Thursday, a triumph for President Barack Obama that clears the way for compromise talks with the House on a bill to reduce the ranks of the uninsured and rein in the insurance industry.

The vote was 60-39, strictly along party lines, one day after Democrats succeeded in crushing a filibuster by Republicans eager�yet unable�to inflict a year-end political defeat on the White House.

At the White House, Obama called the vote historic, and said because of it, "we are incredibly close to making health insurance reform a reality in this country. Our challenge now is to finish the job."
They are delusional as this article at Politico shows:
Dems not worried about post-vote backlash at home
Democrats today have repeatedly expressed a confidence that they won't face a backlash for their votes when they return home for the holidays, which would stand in marked contrast to the August recess.

"This is a happy day. (Senate Republican Leader) Mitch McConnell said on the floor that we're going to go home and hear our constituents rail against this bill. I don't believe that. I believe that the negativity that Leader McConnell and others have continually displayed on the floor has peaked, and now when people learn what's actually in the bill�and all the good it does�it is going to become more and more popular because it is good for America, good for the American people, and a true symbol of what we can do if we all pull together," said Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.

On the floor before the vote, Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "We're going to hear an earful, but it's going to be an earful of wonderment and happiness that people waited for for a long time."
Reid is up for re-election in 2010 and polls show him crashing... #2) - The National Debt - from Breitbart/Associated Press:
Congress raises debt ceiling to $12.4 trillion
The Senate voted Thursday to raise the ceiling on the government debt to $12.4 trillion, a massive increase over the current limit and a political problem that President Barack Obama has promised to address next year.

The Senate's rare Christmas Eve vote, 60-39, follows House passage last week and raises the debt ceiling by $290 billion. The vote split mainly down party lines, with Democrats voting to raise the limit and Republicans voting against doing so. There was one defection on each side, by senators whose seats will be on the ballot next year: GOP Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio and Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.

"I would not support raising the debt ceiling because Congress has not adopted a credible process to restrain spending and eliminate red ink," Bayh said a statement after the vote.

The bill permits the Treasury Department to issue enough bonds to fund the government's operations and programs until mid-February. The Senate will vote again on the issue Jan. 20.

Obama must sign the measure into law to prevent a market-rattling, first-ever default on U.S. obligations. The government piled up a record $1.4 trillion deficit in 2009 to counter a meltdown in financial markets and help bring the nation out of its worst recession in seven decades.

The early-morning vote followed the Senate's passage of a landmark bill to overhaul the nation's health care system. They were the Senate's last votes of the year.
Ahh yes -- the old "Spend your way into Prosperity" bullcrap...

Appropriate Technologies

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Wonderful story -- with all the snow and freezing weather hitting Europe, people trying to travel are getting hit hard. England has a large enough population density that railroads are a viable commuter option but a lot of these trains were shut down in the snow with people stranded on board. Guess who came to the rescue -- from the London Daily Mail:
All aboard the polar express: Steam locomotive takes home passengers stranded by snow-delayed modern trains
Passengers stranded when modern-day trains fell victim to the freezing weather have been rescued by the crew of a steam engine.

About 100 passengers climbed aboard the first mainline steam locomotive to be built in Britain for almost half a century at London Victoria when electric trains were delayed.

The 1940s technology used to power Tornado, a �3million Peppercorn class A1 Pacific, was able to withstand the snow and ice that brought much of the South East to a standstill on Monday night.

The locomotive's 'Cathedrals Express' service was offering festive trips in the region when staff on board heard about the stranded passengers.

The travellers were offered free seats and were dropped off at stations as it chuffed through Kent, said Mark Allatt, chairman of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the charity which built Tornado.

Mr Allatt said they were pleased to be able to help some of London's stranded commuters 'get home in style' and joked that rail operators could learn lessons from them. 'It's amusing because this engine is predominantly made up of 1940s' technology and we were able to keep running despite modern trains not being able to,' he said.

'If any of the rail operators would like to use this technology for themselves, we would be more than happy to build them an engine.'
The website for this group of Steam Fanatics is here: The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust
The A1 Steam Trust would like to wish visitors to this website a very Merry Cristmas and a Happy New Year. We would like to thank all of you who have supported Tornado during 2009, either travelling on the trains, donating to the Trust or just turning out at the lineside to witness history being made. This success has only been possible because an army of volunteers has worked extremely hard behind the scenes to make it happen and we would like to thank them all, from the board to the cleaners, the engineers and the sales team, the support crew and the train stewards and countless others whose work is often unseen by the public but ensures that we now have steam for the 21st Century!

In 1990 a group of people came together to share an extraordinary ambition - to construct a brand new Peppercorn A1 Pacific. After nineteen years of incredible effort that locomotive, No. 60163 Tornado, moved under it own power for the first time a year ago.

This website tells the story of Tornado's construction, an amazing tale of cooperation, skill and sheer hard graft which defied the critics who said it could never be done. The A1 Trust now has over 2000 regular supporters (covenantors) who have all played some part, small or large, in guaranteeing that we have steam on the main line in the 21st Century.
Wonderful! Hat tip to Bayou Renaissance Man for the link.

Piriform Speccy

I love the people behind Piriform Software.

I use their CCleaner (old name was CrapCleaner) all the time on my systems to get rid of temp and log files as well as to clean out loose ends in the Registry.

For Disk Fragmentation issues, Defraggler seriously rocks.

For file recovery (that short unit of time between when you say "Yes" to delete a file and the realization that this was not a file that you wanted to delete is measured in Ohnoseconds) they have Recuva.

Well, they just released a public beta version of Speccy. You run it, it crunches for 20 seconds or so and then gives you an incredibly detailed examination of your system hardware and OS. It will run either off a thumbdrive as a portable app or installed on your system. Oh yeah, all of these apps are free for download and personal use.

There is a tip jar -- use it. This is excellent software.

The Snow

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The Boston Globe's Big Picture focuses on snow around the world Sure is a lot of it -- and again, more than 50% of the United States is covered in snow. This happened last year and is relatively rare these days... Here is one photo from the Globe with some local poignance:
High winds whip snow off the western peaks of
Mount Hood, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, as seen from
Government Camp, Oregon, where rescuers were waiting to begin
their search for two missing climbers.
The rescue mission was later suspended,
the climbers assumed to have died on the mountain.
(AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Some amazing and beautiful photography.

Whole lotta shaking goin' on - Mt. Mayon

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Philippine volcano Mt. Mayon is about to blow. From the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology:
Mayon Volcano Bulletin 10
23 December 2009 - 7:00 AM

Mayon Volcano (13.2576 N, 123.6856 E) continued to show an intense level of activity during the past 24-hour observation period. Seismic activity remained elevated in number and size as the seismic network detected 1,051 volcanic earthquakes and continuously recorded harmonic tremors. Many of these volcanic earthquakes were recorded at maximum deflection. Sixty six (66) ash explosions were observed during times of good visibility. These explosions produced grayish to light brown ash columns that reached height from 100 to 1000 meters above the summit before drifting towards southwest.

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emission rate remained very high and was measured at an average of 6,737 tons per day (t/d) yesterday. Two hundred eighty (280) audible booming and rumbling sounds were intermittently heard for the past 24 hours. Red hot lava also continuously flowed down along the Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi and Lidong gullies.
There had been talk of pyroclastic flow at some time -- hope the people in the villages evacuate as this could be a biggie...

Those long Antarctic nights

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Michael Becker lives and works in Antarctica. He blogs about it at The Dry Valleys Tonight, he deals with the long Antarctic nights:
Lonely Nights




I think I violated the Antarctic Treaty.

A model city - Detroit

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For a good look at what Unions and Socialism can do to a city, you have only to look at Detroit. Steven Crowder takes us on a tour:
The Unions negotiate people's salary to the $75/hr range (including all the benefits), companies pull out and relocate, the state raises taxes to compensate for the lost corporate revenues, people pull out and relocate to find jobs, crime rate soars, more people leave. If the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan would cut personal taxes and really cut business taxes a lot (maybe offer six years of no taxes to businesses that start up or move into the state and then greatly reduced taxes thereafter), if they made education a priority instead of a union sinecure for the teachers, they might be able to turn this around. Somehow, I don't see this happening anytime soon -- they are too entrenched in the Democrat entitlement mentality... Hat tip to Doc Mercury at Maggie's Farm for the link.

Quote of the week

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From Emory University professor Drew Westen writing on the Huffington Post:
Like most Americans I talk to, when I see the president on television, I now change the channel the same way I did with Bush. With Bush, I couldn�t stand his speeches because I knew he meant what he said. I knew he was going to follow through with one ignorant, dangerous, or misguided policy after another. With Obama, I can�t stand them because I realize he doesn�t mean what he says � or if he does, he just doesn�t have the fire in his belly to follow through. He can�t seem to muster the passion to fight for any of what he believes in, whatever that is. He�d make a great queen � his ceremonial addresses are magnificent � but he prefers to fly Air Force One at 60,000 feet and �stay above the fray.�
Heh... Swiped from Verum Serum
A story from Europe -- from the UK Guardian:
European weather deaths pass 100
More than 100 people have been killed in the cold snap across Europe, with temperatures plummeting and snowfall causing chaos from Moscow to Milan.

In Poland, where temperatures have dropped to as low as -20C in some areas, police appealed for tip-offs about people spotted lying around outside. At least 42 people, most of them homeless, died over the weekend.

In Ukraine 27 people have frozen to death since the thermometer dropped last week. Authorities in Romania said 11 people had succumbed to the chill, and in the Czech Republic the toll was 12. In Germany, where temperatures have fallen to -33C in certain parts, at least seven people are known to have lost their lives in the freezing weather.
What harm would a few degrees more warmth do? It would open up huge swaths of land in Russia and Canada for agriculture, navigation through the Northwest and Northeast passage would cut the cost of shipping. Sea-level rise is negligible -- some tropical islands are sinking. CO2 is only minimally related to greenhouse effect -- water vapor, methane and CFCs have a much greater effect. To hamstring global economies over something that has already been proven erroneous is lunacy.

So true

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Just go here and read this. So true it hurts...

Interesting times in Iran

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Iran is not what I would call a state that tolerates freedom in its citizens. This news report from the Beeb is all the more interesting because of this:
Iranian crowd stops execution and frees convicts
A crowd of people have helped two convicts escape a public execution in Iran, officials there say.

The crowd overpowered security services and helped two men convicted of robbery to escape hanging in the province of Kerman, the Fars news agency reported.

The men were recaptured hours later, and justice department officials say they will be put to death on Wednesday.

Iran executes more people than anywhere else in the world except China, human rights groups say.

The members of the crowd who aided their escape will also be punished, officials said.
No word as to what the criminals did that was punishable by execution or who the rescuers were (guessing family) but the level of courage they had to do this is incredible. I wonder what will be the tipping point -- I thought it would have been Neda Agha-Soltan.

O.M.G. - we need to DO SOMETHING!!!

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Forget Climate Change -- I just found out about Anthropogenic Continental Drift. This menace to the planet must be stopped! From The People's Cube:
Anthropogenic Continental Drift: An Incoherent Truth

Industrial Nations Threaten Globe Again
A new menace to the planet has been discovered and validated by a consensus of politically reliable scientists: Anthropogenic Continental Drift (ACD) will result in catastrophic damage and untold suffering, unless immediate indemnity payments from the United Sates, Europe, and Australia be made to the governments of non-industrial nations, to counteract this man-made threat to the world's habitats.

Science in Unquestionable
The continents rest on massive tectonic plates. Until the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the mid 18th century, these plates were fixed in place and immobile. However, drilling for oil and mining for minerals has cut these plates loose from their primordial moorings and left them to drift aimlessly. "The potential for damage is truly catastrophic," said Hans Brinker, a spokesman for the International Panel on Continental Drift (IPCD). "The continents are adrift due to the ruthless capitalist exploitation of the environment for profit. Unless immediate steps are taken to halt all oil and mineral extraction, we can expect a massive surge in earthquakes and volcanos by next Tuesday." The representative seemed close to tears during his announcement, a clear indicator of the severity of the threat.

Villages in Peril
The IPCD bureaucracy has gone even further, proposing immediate indemnity payments from the United Sates and Europe be paid to the governments of non-industrial nations. "These non-industrial nations will be hardest hit by the looming catastrophe. No right-thinking scientist can question that," pronounced Brinker after composing himself. "On one coast they will see increased surf levels on their beaches as their continents accelerate, while on the opposite coast the flow turbulence will wipe out entire ecologically appropriate semi-neolithic fishing villages." These villages, it must be pointed out, are the primary raisers of children. Only massive infusions of industrial-nation cash can avert these effects.
We have to do something to prevent this disaster. How about spending lots of money to penetrate the earth's crust and remove all the petroleum waste materials that are serving as a lubricant and getting rid of them by burning them or something like that... Yeah -- that's the ticket...

Ahhh crap - R.I.P. Kim Peek

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Savant and model for Rain Man. From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Murray man inspired the movie 'Rain Man'
Kim Peek, the Murray man who inspired the 1988 movie "Rain Man," died Saturday of a sudden heart attack.

Peek, 58, was likely the world's most famous savant, enduring mental handicaps while at the same time possessing extraordinary gifts of memory and recall.

"He had a depth and breadth of knowledge and a memory that was just unbelievable," said Daniel Christensen, a professor with the University of Utah's Neuropsychiatric Institute. "He was unique. I don't know if there will ever be another person quite like Kim."
A bit more:
Peek was born on Nov. 11, 1951. At 9 months, doctors said he was severely mentally retarded.

"They told us we should institutionalize him because he would never walk or talk," Fran Peek said. "But we refused to do that."

By 16 months, Peek demonstrated extraordinary abilities. He could read and memorize entire volumes of information.

"He could find anything he wanted to. He read all of Shakespeare, the Old and New Testaments," Fran Peek said.

An MRI later showed that his brain lacked a corpus callosum -- the connecting tissue between the left and right hemispheres. Peek said his son's brain lacked the normal filtering system for receiving information. The condition left him able to retain nearly 98 percent of everything he read, heard or watched on television. The average person only retains about 45 percent.

As both a child and adult, Peek's favorite place was the library, where he devoured books at a confounding rate. At the time of his death, Peek is believed to have committed at least 9,000 books to memory. He could recite so many gigabytes of facts that people often called him Kim-puter. NASA made him the subject of MRI-based research.
An ever-retreating line in the sand. The more we think we know about the brain, the more we find out just how little we actually do know. The individual can range over such a territory of abilities and yet, society is still able to function (except for current events in Washington, DC but then, I am just feeling snarky). Rest in Peace Kim -- you are one of a kind...
Don't know how tightly coupled this cause and effect are but it is still interesting. From Cassy Fiano:
Gun sales surge, violent crime drops
When Obama was voted into office as president, the gun surge began. People started stocking up on their guns and ammo, mostly out of fear that Obama would start instituting anti-gun laws. The right to bear arms is one of our most cherished rights, and also one of the most attacked. Liberals just hate the thought of someone owning a gun and being able to defend themselves from a criminal� or from a tyrannical government. Part of this is because liberals are big wussies who are terrified of any thought of manly force. Another is because they can�t get the idea out of their head that holding a gun doesn�t automatically make someone a criminal. They just can�t understand that guns do not spontaneously fire without someone willingly pulling the trigger. A gun laying on a desk is harmless, until someone picks it up � but they just can�t get that.

Another thing I wonder about is if liberals don�t like the idea of people being able to protect themselves. Libs want people to be completely reliant on the government, so does that maybe factor into their paranoia about ordinary citizens owning guns? Who knows, but it�s an interesting thought.

Despite the fact that Obama has always been extremely in favor of gun control, he quickly spun that around during the election last year and has pretty much left it alone. It didn�t convince many Americans, and the gun surge continued.

Unlike what liberals would assume, though, there was also a drop in violent crime� at the same time as gun sales were skyrocketing.
Preliminary statistics released by the FBI for the first half of 2009 show that violent crime continues a downward trend that began in 2006. The figures show crime falling in all categories�robbery, aggravated assault, motor vehicle thefts, etc.�with murders down a remarkable 10 percent from the previous year.

The FBI statistics undermine a favorite argument of anti-gun groups and some mainstream media that �more guns equal more crime,� especially when you consider that the decrease in violent crime from late 2008 through the first half of 2009 occurred at the same time that firearm sales were surging.

The most popular firearms selling at that time were handguns and modern sporting rifles (AR-style rifles)�two types of firearms that anti-gunners never miss an opportunity to demonize.
The idea that an increased prevalence of firearms would cause criminals to re-think their plots is an entirely plausible one. Good call on the link Cassy!

That is it for the evening...

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Off to the DaveCave(tm) Celebrating the Winter's Solstice with a bonfire and some nice soups. We had informally invited people to come by for the fire and the meal but nobody showed up on this rainy cold blustery Monday night -- oh well... We now have two weeks of food in the fridge. I made Beef Stew and also some multi-bean with ham hocks. Still loving the new Cuisinart Pressure Cooker -- one of the better $60 spent at Costco. I can go from a bag of dried beans to a completed soup in about twenty minutes. It takes a little longer as I have to wait for the hock to cool down so I can pick the meat off and add it back to the soup but still... UPDATE: Jen also cooked her awesome tomato soup. She starts with the stuff that she got from the Andy Warhol store (the cans look just like his pictures so I know this is true), opens the can (how is that for mad cooking skillz) and puts it in a pot on the stove. (ducking thrown ramekin) Her tomato soup seriously rocks -- sorry for forgetting to mention it! Same thing with the Beef Stew -- I use V8 Spicy juice for the stock and it makes a lot of difference. Twenty minutes in the pressure cooker and the meat is fork tender and the spuds and vegetables are just right. The unit sits on the countertop and just, simply, works. Cleanup is a snap too as the internal cooking surfaces slide out and can be run through the dishwasher. I am stuffed and happy. See what the email faeries have brought in. It will be nice to have the days getting longer again -- living in the country, you really notice the difference.

Finally, a new look at Thorium

About time... Wired magazine has a nice writeup on Kirk Sorensen and his push to build reactors that use Thorium rather than Uranium:

Uranium Is So Last Century - Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke
The thick hardbound volume was sitting on a shelf in a colleague's office when Kirk Sorensen spotted it. A rookie NASA engineer at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Sorensen was researching nuclear-powered propulsion, and the book's title - Fluid Fuel Reactors - jumped out at him. He picked it up and thumbed through it. Hours later, he was still reading, enchanted by the ideas but struggling with the arcane writing. "I took it home that night, but I didn't understand all the nuclear terminology," Sorensen says. He pored over it in the coming months, ultimately deciding that he held in his hands the key to the world's energy future.

Published in 1958 under the auspices of the Atomic Energy Commission as part of its Atoms for Peace program, Fluid Fuel Reactors is a book only an engineer could love: a dense, 978-page account of research conducted at Oak Ridge National Lab, most of it under former director Alvin Weinberg. What caught Sorensen's eye was the description of Weinberg's experiments producing nuclear power with an element called thorium.

At the time, in 2000, Sorensen was just 25, engaged to be married and thrilled to be employed at his first serious job as a real aerospace engineer. A devout Mormon with a linebacker's build and a marine's crew cut, Sorensen made an unlikely iconoclast. But the book inspired him to pursue an intense study of nuclear energy over the next few years, during which he became convinced that thorium could solve the nuclear power industry's most intractable problems. After it has been used as fuel for power plants, the element leaves behind minuscule amounts of waste. And that waste needs to be stored for only a few hundred years, not a few hundred thousand like other nuclear byproducts. Because it's so plentiful in nature, it's virtually inexhaustible. It's also one of only a few substances that acts as a thermal breeder, in theory creating enough new fuel as it breaks down to sustain a high-temperature chain reaction indefinitely. And it would be virtually impossible for the byproducts of a thorium reactor to be used by terrorists or anyone else to make nuclear weapons.

Weinberg and his men proved the efficacy of thorium reactors in hundreds of tests at Oak Ridge from the '50s through the early '70s. But thorium hit a dead end. Locked in a struggle with a nuclear- armed Soviet Union, the US government in the '60s chose to build uranium-fueled reactors - in part because they produce plutonium that can be refined into weapons-grade material. The course of the nuclear industry was set for the next four decades, and thorium power became one of the great what-if technologies of the 20th century.

Today, however, Sorensen spearheads a cadre of outsiders dedicated to sparking a thorium revival. When he's not at his day job as an aerospace engineer at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama � or wrapping up the master's in nuclear engineering he is soon to earn from the University of Tennessee - he runs a popular blog called Energy From Thorium. A community of engineers, amateur nuclear power geeks, and researchers has gathered around the site's forum, ardently discussing the future of thorium. The site even links to PDFs of the Oak Ridge archives, which Sorensen helped get scanned. Energy From Thorium has become a sort of open source project aimed at resurrecting long-lost energy technology using modern techniques.

And the online upstarts aren't alone. Industry players are looking into thorium, and governments from Dubai to Beijing are funding research. India is betting heavily on the element.

Kirk's blog is here: Energy from Thorium and is worth checking out. There is a lot of Thorium in this Earth's crust -- several thousand years worth and that is without breeding new fuel. The design for the reactors is dirt simple and self regulating. Cheap to build and to run. Glad to see other people taking an interest if not people in the USA. The path is so clear, it is strange that people are not swarming to it...

Prickly City is spot on today

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This is always a great strip but today's is awesome:
Click to embiggen...
Knock me over with a feather -- from Reuters:
Banks with political ties got bailouts, study shows
U.S. banks that spent more money on lobbying were more likely to get government bailout money, according to a study released on Monday.

Banks whose executives served on Federal Reserve boards were more likely to receive government bailout funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to the study from Ran Duchin and Denis Sosyura, professors at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

Banks with headquarters in the district of a U.S. House of Representatives member who serves on a committee or subcommittee relating to TARP also received more funds.
How about let's just drain the swamp and start over again. The bailouts are one reason why we pulled all of our accounts from BofA and moved them to a local Credit Union. We are very happy with them now that we have been with them for a couple months -- much better security, they pay more attention to account activity and their rates on savings and CDs are comparable to any bank out there.

Google Street View

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The Google street view camera car met its match. From Gizmodo:
Heroic Bird Avenges Google Street View Victims


For anyone who's ever been caught truck partying or pantsless on Street View, a brave pigeon in Los Angeles has taken the fight to the Google Van.

Of course, we'll never know who the true identity of our avian avenger, but it's good to know that he's out there, watching over us, ready to unleash hell guano in our darkest hours.
Here is the street view for our neck of the woods — a lot of fun and I wish we had the chance to stage something fun for the camera when it came through...

View Larger Map

On the right path - Vaclav Klaus

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Once a hero -- from Dan Sernoffsky writing at Pennsylvania's Lebanon Daily News:
Czech president smelled warming rat
Among the most reviled men in Europe today is Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic.

Klaus alone among most of the leaders in the European Union has been attempting to stem the growing tide of the new communism known as environmentalism, or, in its latest incarnation, "climate change."

"It is evident that the environmentalists don't want to change the climate,"Klaus warned at a conference in March. "They want to change our behavior ... to control and manipulate us."

The advocates of man-made global warming were quick to excoriate Klaus, pointing to the preponderance of "scientific data" supporting their cause.

As it turns out, Klaus was incredibly prescient. The so-called "scientific data" upon which the man-made global warmists were basing their case for shutting down the world's most productive economies turned out to be a hoax.

The release of e-mails and other documents from the mecca of the global warmists, the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, revealed the deliberate destruction of records, the deliberate manipulation of data to hide any evidence contrary to the unit's working hypothesis, and the deliberate effort to malign opponents of man-made global warming while silencing them by preventing them from publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

Despite the best efforts of the global warmists to deny the damning evidence - including further prevarications by the high priest of the Church of Global Warming, Al Gore, who claimed the most recent e-mails in the information released were 10 years old when they were, in fact, just a month old - "Climategate" has simply helped to reveal the real purpose behind the global-warming alarmists: the destruction of free societies.

That much has become evident in the implosion of the U.N.'s Copenhagen climate conference. The very arrival of the conference delegates revealed precisely how much "climate" was a real concern. To get to Copenhagen, the delegates wound up using 140 private jets, and for transportation around the city, delegates engaged about 1,200 limousines. Comfort, for the elite, obviously trumps any "carbon footprint" that might be left on the environment.

Beyond the elitism - an all-too-common trait among those who would dictate to others - the real purpose of Copenhagen was further brought to light when the so-called "Danish Text" was leaked. The text basically wound up punishing developing countries, which, in turn, led to a walk-out by African delegates, followed by the appropriate apologies and the return of the boycotting delegates.

The bottom line, however, has been that every initiative pushed by the conference is designed simply as a transfer of wealth from industrialized nations to other countries, a wealth transfer that will simply empower third world dictators like Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe while destroying the societies that have embraced freedom.
Dan closes with these words:
Vaclav Klaus was born in 1941 and spent most of his life living under communism. That back ground gave him a perspective on political reality that has largely been only an academic exercise for those who lived in the freedom afforded them by the West. His understanding of the insidious encroachment of communism, in any incarnation, is founded on experience. His analysis, that the ultimate goal of environmentalists is the complete control of society, continues to be supported by the actions of the global warmists.

Alexander Hamilton once observed, "No man in his senses can hesitate in choosing to be free, rather than a slave," yet the constant drumbeat of the leftists who are chanting the false mantra of global warming is that they know best, and that slavery to their dictates is to be much preferred over freedom. For those who are unwilling to believe the growing body of evidence that global warming is a hoax, Mark Twain said it best.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
Will we see words like these in the New York Times? For some reason, I do not think so...

The End Times are Nigh

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From the �ber-Liberal Seattle Times:
President Obama, Congress should set health-care reform aside
The health-care dance in Washington, D.C., has gone on long enough. Congress needs to focus on the economy and set health care aside.

This is a change of position for us. This page supported Barack Obama for president, enthusiastically. We have supported the health-care effort until now. We still support universal coverage as a social goal.

But the longer the fight goes on, the more it feels that the timing is all wrong. The economy is wounded. Employers are hurting. The time to think about loading employers with new burdens is when they are strong. Not now.

Right now, Congress needs to focus on the economy. It needs to follow the lead of Sen. Maria Cantwell and re-enact Glass-Steagall, the law that separated investment banking from commercial banking and for 50 years helped maintain sanity on Wall Street. It needs to bolster the antitrust laws. It needs to lower the estate tax.

It needs to target the rest of the stimulus money at things that really stimulate � all of these actions to provide breathing room to small- and middle-sized family businesses that were once the backbone of the economy and can be again.

It needs to rejuvenate a trade agenda, starting by ratifying the agreement with Korea.
A bit of a surprise to hear this coming out of the Seattle Times but it is nice to see that even progressives can wake up and smell the fscking Cappuccino from time to time...

What he said...

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Just had the pleasure to find the writing of Gerald Warner. From The Scotsman:
Finally, the great climate change lie begins to unravel
Accord? Accordion, more like � a concertinaed agreement with carbon emissions restrictions unspecified, no legal sanctions and no international consensus. Altogether, a very satisfactory fiasco. But what better venue to devise a climate Danegeld than Copenhagen? Western taxpayers are to be mugged for $30bn over three years, then for $100bn in 2020 (we shall see about that).

Hans Christian Andersen was outclassed in his home town last week, in the fabrication of fairy tales. The Brothers Grim � Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri � are possessed of imaginations so rich as to dwarf the inventive powers of conventional story tellers. "Once upon a time," Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman Pachauri opened the proceedings by recycling all the much-loved, if long discredited, bedtime favourites.

Up it came, like the words of Widow Twanky's song at the climax of the pantomime � the notorious CRU East Anglia graph, the tortuous fabrication of which is now familiar worldwide, thanks to leaked e-mails and computer codes. There is not another room in the world where that tired imposture would not have provoked belly laughs; but neither is there one where Robert Mugabe would have received an ovation or "Two-Jags" Prescott been hailed as a crusader against carbon emissions.

Pachauri described his personal experience of sea-level rise in Bangladesh, which is curious since sea level in Bangladesh has fallen slightly, so that an extra 70,000 sq km of land surface is now exposed compared with 1980, as world expert Dr Nils-Axel Morner has described. When global warming zealots seek to discredit any sceptical commentator, they invariably sneer: "But he's not a scientist." Apparently the post of IPCC chairman is exempt from that stricture: Rajendra Pachauri is a railway engineer. The world's boiler is being damped down by the Fat Controller.

Carbon trading � Cecil Rhodes would have loved it. Rheumy-eyed retired sjambok-wielders thought the days when members of the pallid-skinned races could support a luxurious lifestyle by working Africans to death were gone for good. They reckoned without the invention of the carbon market, today's smarter, more profitable version of the slave trade. Al Gore could tell you that what Copenhagen was all about was increasing the price of carbon from $12 to $50 a tonne.
Gotta love the reference to Rhodes -- the progressives love to label successful nations as being imperialist but Cecil Rhodes OWNS the imperialist label. He owned Rhodesia, governed it fairly and turned it from a backwards cluster of tribes into the breadbasket of Africa -- it was a very rich nation before Mugabe took over and reduced it to a backwards cluster of tribes with a very rich and corrupt leader.

Rodger Phil and Me

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Irish journalist Phelim McAleer wanders through the Copenhagen conference asking if anyone knows where Climatic Research Unit Director Phil Jones is. A classic re-branding of Michael Moore's tactics. Fun to see the tactics of the "progressives" being used against them to good effect.
Hat tip to Bishop Hill for the link.

Updated Blogroll

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Got some new stuff up on the right.

LHC at 2.36TEV

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Seems to be an evening for abbreviations... From Popular Mechanics comes this excellent introduction to the Large Hadron Collider that is starting to do some good work.
The LHC Hits 2.36 Trillion Electron Volts�But What Does it Mean?
After more than a year of inactivity the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located 300 feet below the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland, is finally up and firing on all its superconducting magnets. On Nov. 30, a little over a week after it began sending protons zooming across a 17-mile circular tunnel, the LHC became the world's most powerful particle accelerator by accelerating its twin proton beams to 1.18 TeV (or 1.18 trillion electron volts). The previous record, 0.98 TeV, was set by Fermilab's Tevatron in 2001. And just two days ago, the LHC achieved another first�the highest-ever energy collision events, at 2.36 TeV (1.18 TeV per beam).

To wrap your head around such a mind-bogglingly huge number, it helps to start with some basics. An electron volt is a unit of energy that is commonly used in particle physics to describe atomic and nuclear processes (a volt, it should be noted, is not). More specifically, it is the kinetic energy gained by an electron as it is accelerated through a potential difference of one volt. A volt is equivalent to one joule (J), another measure of energy, per coulomb (C), a measure of electric charge. A single electron volt comes out to 1.602 � 10-19 J. The record-smashing energy generated by the LHC's collision events, therefore, only corresponds to 3.78 � 10-7 J, a minuscule quantity of energy. A 100-watt light bulb left on for an hour, by comparison, consumes 360,000 J.

When you look at it in the context of the vast amounts of energy that we regularly expend throughout our daily lives, it seems almost bizarre that such an infinitesimal amount of energy could provoke so much excitement among the scientific community. And that is precisely the point�you have to look at it on a subatomic scale to appreciate why this represents such a breakthrough.

An electron volt gives a proton enough kinetic energy to accelerate to 0.005 percent of the speed of light (3 x 108 meters per second). One trillion electron volts (TeV) would take it within a hair's breadth of the speed of light (99.999956 percent). But, again, one TeV is not big news, energy-wise; a TeV also holds roughly the kinetic energy of a fast-moving ant. The key difference, of course (and the reason why physicists are thrilled), is that an ant is much larger, and thus heavier (around 0.1 of a gram), than a proton (1.65 � 10-24 of a gram). So while a TeV may not seem like much by our standards, it is a huge amount of energy for a single proton.
A fun time to be alive! This machine is going to do some groundbreaking work -- a macroscope into the Universe.

BAC at 0.385%

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Holy Shite -- from Australia's Northern Territory News:
DUI man close to death at 0.385%
A territory man has been arrested for allegedly driving while almost clinically dead after an enormous booze binge.

NT Police struggled to find the words after the 32-year-old man allegedly returned a blood alcohol reading of .385 per cent - or nearly eight times the legal limit.

Medical experts say a person can die from alcohol poisoning with a reading of .4 or above.

Territory Duty Superintendent Michael Murphy said it was one of the highest readings taken in the Territory.

"It's just ridiculous," he said.

Police yesterday estimated they would have to give the Katherine man 20 hours to sober up in his cell before he was capable of understanding the charges he was facing.
At that level, I am surprised he was even able to start the car and get it out of park. The resilience of the human body can be amazing at time...

Censorship - climate and skepticism redux

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An interesting turn of events. Yesterday's post: Censorship - climate and skepticism prompted me to leave a comment on the same website that was a little bit more inflammatory than the comment left by Bishop Hill that had been censored. To my surprise, it was accepted and subsequent comments are also talking about the files and are skeptical of the contents of the emails.

Follow the money - health care reform

Why we will not see Tort Reform any time soon. From Doug Ross:

Top Nine Health Care Charts You've Never Seen Before


Trial lawyers are the second biggest donor to the Democrats' Political Action Committee, trailing only the union bosses of the IBEW.


The "lawsuit industry" gives more money (roughly $127 million in 2008) to Congress than the every sector of the health care industry, combined.


Medical malpractice costs continue to skyrocket to new historical highs, growing far faster than any other component of health insurance premiums.

Visit the site to see the rest. Basically, 75% of what we pay for medicine goes to the lawyers one way or the other. Tort reform would be a great way to knock this down to 15% or so (you do need some measure of malpractice insurance) and cut people's medical costs by well over half. Unfortunately, Tort Reform is a States Rights issue so although the lawyers are lobbying in Washington, they cannot be legislated against except at a state level. Texas did this with great success.

Censorship - climate and skepticism

An interesting story over at Bishop Hill:
In which I go beyond the pale
The Yale Climate Forum has a post up about Climategate - standard "move along now nothing to see here" fare. Perhaps attracted by the Yale name, I decided to make a small contribution to the debate there, picking up on some remarks by the piece's author Zeke Hausfather. Here's what he said about "hiding the decline":
This may be somewhat dubious in that it gives the impression that proxy reconstructions match the observed temperature record better than they otherwise would.
My comment was that "somewhat dubious" is a remarkable way to describe what Jones did. I pointed out that if he had done this as part of a share issue he would be looking at a long jail term. This is factually correct, and was posted pretty much in the terms I've given here.

Unfortunately though, The Yale Climate Forum viewed the posting of a true statement in mild terms as being completely beyond the pale and they decided to delete my comment.
One of his commentors left this wonderful observation:
I suppose the burning of heretics would be carbon neutral...
I put up my own post and took a screencap:
It will be interesting to see if that gets censored as well. Some of the 1,073 emails are defensible; a lot of the 3,400+ (150MB+) files are not.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Big court victory for O'Hare expansion
In a major victory for the city of Chicago's O'Hare Airport expansion plans, a DuPage County judge ruled Friday that the city can proceed with condemnation proceedings to acquire St. Johannes Cemetery, which stands in the way of the completion of a new runway.

St. John's United Church of Christ in Bensenville - which owns the 1,100-grave burial ground - had fought the acquisition, arguing it would cause great grief for families of those buried there. Joseph Karaganis, an attorney for the church, said he plans to challenge the court ruling.

Fortunately for the Chicago politicians, the dead always vote the straight Democratic ticket...

An end of a good long ride but a shame still. From the New York Times:
A Lament for Saab, Quirky but Loved
The ignition was in the floor. It had a rear hatchback, not a trunk. The hood was hinged at the front, so it opened away from the windshield. And many of its owners � including Jerry Seinfeld�s character on his long-running sitcom � were intensely loyal.

Auto enthusiasts across the country were dismayed by the news Friday that General Motors was planning to shut down Saab, the Swedish carmaker it bought two decades ago, after a deal to sell it fell apart.
Used to have a Saab 900 Convertible (bright red natch!) and loved it. Not so much during winter as the defrost system never got all of the fog from the windshield but for the rest of the year, it made the daily commute a lot of fun and weekend roadtrips were a blast. I guess that this is what to expect when the government gets into the car business...

Nobama care loses support

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An interesting turn of events -- from The Hill:
Union pulls back on supporting bill
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) backed out of an event with other organizations promoting the Senate healthcare reform bill Wednesday over concerns about changes made to the legislation to accommodate centrist Democrats.

The SEIU had planned to participate in a Capitol Hill press conference along with the AARP, the liberal advocacy group Families USA, Consumers Union and the American Cancer Society Action Network. As recently as Tuesday morning, the organizations distributed an advisory to the news media that included the SEIU.

But the move by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to excise provisions of the healthcare reform bill to create a government-run public option health insurance program and to allow people between 55 and 64 years old to buy into Medicare gave the labor union pause, spokeswoman Lori Lodes said.

"That decision has to be made by our leaders and our members," Lodes said. The event with the AARP and the other groups was scheduled before Reid made changes to the bill.
I think that this perfectly describes my objections to this bill. It is all about political compromise and consolidation of power, it is not about providing health care to their constituents (you and me). I had the option to choose from a couple of healthcare plans and Jen and I took the one we wanted. Neither of us would like one that was shoved down our throats and represented -- at best -- a leveling of choices. There are so many other ways to reform the health-care system that will cut costs, allow for more options and will encourage new Doctors and other Medical Professionals to enter the system.

Copenhagen was a great big ______________

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Depends on who you listen to. From Financial Times:
Climate 'deal' confusion
The United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen ended in apparent disarray last night with some world leaders hailing a "meaningful agreement", while others said no deal had been struck.
From Breitbart/Associated Press:
Obama: 'Meaningful breakthrough' on climate change
President Barack Obama declared Friday a "meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough" had been reached among the U.S., China and three other countries on a global effort to curb climate change but said much work was still be needed to reach a legally binding treaty.
From the UK Independent:
Obama's climate accord fails the test
World leaders late last night agreed a hugely watered-down version of a new global pact on climate change, after an astonishing day of deadlock, disagreement, misunderstandings, walkouts and insults at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen.
And, saving the best for last -- from FOX News:
Copenhagen Chaos Could Imperil Senate Climate Bill
The chaotic conclusion of the two-week international conference on climate change could imperil, or at least water down, climate legislation stuck in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., warned about that possibility two days ago when he first arrived in Copenhagen, saying that without a solid deal it would be "exceedingly difficult" to persuade fence-sitting lawmakers to get on board with the kind of emissions-curbing legislation that passed the House months ago.

Copenhagen didn't make that task any easier, observers said. The Obama administration announced a "meaningful agreement" late Friday following a marathon day of talks, but the deal is non-binding and far from the comprehensive agreement sought by Obama and other leaders. And with China resisting the kind of verification standards the United States was pushing for, concerns linger that China would not be making a shared sacrifice and that U.S. reductions would be meaningless without enforceable cuts from the developing world.
Good news! The whole Global Warming tactic is being exposed for what it is, a blatent political and financial power grab. The 2010 election cycle is going to be very interesting to say the least...

Who is involved in the IETA

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IETA? International Emissions Trading Association A list of their members: The list contains the usual suspects: energy producers and manufacturing giants but it also has (in my eyes) a disproportionate number of accounting, banking and legal companies. Here are just a few of them:
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Barclays Capital
  • Deloitte & Touche
  • Det Norske Veritas
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Doha Bank
  • Ernst & Young Global Ltd.
  • Fortis Bank
  • JP Morgan Chase Bank
  • KPMG
  • Morgan Stanley & Co. International Limited
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
It is not the climate, it is about money, big big money...
A good look at the Energizer Bunny of Anthropogenic Global Warming. From Lawrence Solomon writing at Canadian National Post:
Wikipedia�s climate doctor
How Wikipedia�s green doctor rewrote 5,428 climate articles

The Climategate Emails describe how a small band of climatologists cooked the books to make the last century seem dangerously warm.

The emails also describe how the band plotted to rewrite history as well as science, particularly by eliminating the Medieval Warm Period, a 400 year period that began around 1000 AD.

The Climategate Emails reveal something else, too: the enlistment of the most widely read source of information in the world � Wikipedia � in the wholesale rewriting of this history.

The Medieval Warm Period, which followed the meanness and cold of the Dark Ages, was a great time in human history � it allowed humans around the world to bask in a glorious warmth that vastly improved agriculture, increased life spans and otherwise bettered the human condition.

But the Medieval Warm Period was not so great for some humans in our own time � the same small band that believes the planet has now entered an unprecedented and dangerous warm period. As we now know from the Climategate Emails, this band saw the Medieval Warm Period as an enormous obstacle in their mission of spreading the word about global warming. If temperatures were warmer 1,000 years ago than today, the Climategate Emails explain in detail, their message that we now live in the warmest of all possible times would be undermined. As put by one band member, a Briton named Folland at the Hadley Centre, a Medieval Warm Period �dilutes the message rather significantly.�

Even before the Climategate Emails came to light, the problem posed by the Medieval Warm Period to this band was known. �We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period� read a pre-Climategate email, circa 1995, as attested to at hearings of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works. But the Climategate transcripts were more extensive and more illuminating � they provided an unvarnished look at the struggles that the climate practitioners underwent before settling on their scientific dogma.
And WikiPedia:
Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known � Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia�s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world�s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.

All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn�t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it � more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred � over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley�s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia�s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.

The Medieval Warm Period disappeared, as did criticism of the global warming orthodoxy. With the release of the Climategate Emails, the disappearing trick has been exposed. The glorious Medieval Warm Period will remain in the history books, perhaps with an asterisk to describe how a band of zealots once tried to make it disappear.
Well, the Medieval Warm Period is back but it has been castrated to within an inch of its life. They are using a variant of the Mann Hockey Stick graph that has a little bump where the MWP was and they are saying that it was a localized phenomenon. Compare and contrast to these readings from the central Greenland ice core:
That is a much better picture of the MWP and yes, it was a lot warmer than it ever has been in the last fifty years and there was a time about -1200 BC before that that was warmer still. These braying ninnies that seek to line their pockets while toeing the Marxist line are hypocrites and their Science is a sham. William Connolley, you are an asshat and charlatan of the first order...

Long day today

Went into a nearby town to get hay from the feed store, bucked it and then went into Bellingham to get some shelving for the store. We are starting the expansion construction -- very stoked! The store now has a cat -- this cute bundle of fur has been hanging around the building for a week now so we have been letting it come in and hang out. He is very quiet and mellow -- most of the time you don't even know he is here. Today, a couple came in and O.M.G. -- that is our cat! So "Scout" left with them and turned back up at the store about 45 minutes later. I set out a litter box in a corner and we will see what happens...

Ever classy -- this is how you do it

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From the London Daily Mail:
Your (commuter) carriage awaits! Thrifty Queen catches ordinary passenger train on her journey to Sandringham for Christmas
There was a buzz at King�s Cross this morning as platform 11b began crawling with police.

Could it be a drug bust, the crowd wondered? Or was a rock star about to board a train?

Then a small lady in a headscarf appeared, a handbag on one arm and a posy on the other.

Fellow passengers on the 10.45 First Capital Connect service to King�s Lynn couldn�t quite believe their eyes as the Queen stepped on board a first class carriage.
A bit more:
The Queen, 83, appeared perfectly relaxed as she chatted with her aides for the first leg of the 100 mile journey to King�s Lynn, the nearest station to Sandringham.

But after the train�s stop at Cambridge a secretary opened a briefcase and the Queen spent most of the rest of the journey opening and reading her Christmas cards.

Other first class passengers who tried to join her compartment were told by the four plain-clothes royal protection guards to sit in another first class section in the train.
Sandringham is the family estate. Also, I have spent time in London and the traffic there is unreal. Makes New York City look like bumpercars. A limo from B.P. would be a lot slower and logistically more complex. She does not like to fly. More:
Only a toddler penetrated the tight security as he ran up the alleyway followed by his father and pressed his nose against the glass.

He was too small to reach the button to open the door. But he did win a cheery smile from the Queen.

Asked by a passenger, one security guard confirmed that the Queen � and all her attendants � had bought tickets for the journey.
But.but.but... They must have used a private coach:
A Buckingham Palace spokesman added: �Members of the Royal Family, including the Queen, frequently use scheduled train services.

�We have to look at issues such as cost effectiveness and security but do try to when it is appropriate.�

The Queen does, of course, also have use of the Royal Train � but that costs taxpayers �57,142 each time it is taken out of its sidings.
Like I said; this is how you do it. Not like Nancy Pelosi. From The New York Post:
Pelosi's climate air farce
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading a large delegation on at least two Air Force jets to Copenhagen for the climate summit -- where participants harshly condemn the use of jet airplanes for the high amounts of CO2 they emit.

"This may be the largest congressional delegation I have ever heard of," said a source at the 89th Air Wing stationed at Andrews Air Force Base of the trip to the UN summit, which is increasingly being criticized as a farce.

Using her authority as speaker, Pelosi reserved at least two jets based at Andrews AFB to fly her and her delegation to Denmark for the final days of the two-week conference.

But Republicans on Capitol Hill and the 89th Air Wing source said Pelosi actually reserved five planes to carry a delegation that includes as many as 24 Democrats and six Republicans.
A bit more:
The roundtrip cost to Copenhagen and back for the C-32A would cost taxpayers $160,000.
And we are talking about two of these plus a couple smaller jets. No complete passenger manifest as yet but it will be a good voting guideline when 2010 and 2012 roll around...

Send in the clowns...

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Iowahawk weighs in on Copenhagen:
The Miming is Settled: It Is Time To Take Forceful Antics Against Climate Change
by Carbie the Climate Clown

Emmett K. Bozo Distinguished Professor of Climate Pantomimology, University of East Anglia
EU Regional President, Union of Concerned Climate Scientists and Street Performers

The scientific evidence is everywhere we look -- in our vanishing polar ice caps, in our melting greasepaint, in the way our lapel flowers struggle to squirt. Man-made climate change is upon us, and if we do not act at once Earth itself faces an immediate catastrophic ecological pie in the face.

As provost of the University of East Anglia's cutting edge Centre for Climate Pantomimology, I work closely with multidisciplinary climate scientists, both within the University and in the clown science community at large. There can be no disputing the peer reviewed models that show the Earth's temperature curving ever upwards, like the expanding tail of a tube balloon, propelled by mankind's relentless exhalation of carbon dioxide. If we are to avoid the coming explosion, we must tie off the end of the balloon as soon as possible. Then we must carefully shepherd and shape the balloon as nature intended, perhaps as one of nature's majestic balloon poodles.

To underscore the seriousness of this global threat, the UCCSSP convened an emergency academic symposium in Copenhagen this week to present our latest peer reviewed findings in support of the COP15 climate accords. Dr. Jingles Hansen of the US Goddard Institute for Space Science gave the plenary address, further documenting climate change by pulling a shocking unbroken string of temperature station windsocks from his sleeve. He was followed by Professor Pif-Pif of the Brussels Institute of Geophysical Mime Modeling, who demonstrated how rising temperatures will leave man in an invisible box, struggling in vain against growing surface convection winds.

In light of these findings, the UCCSSP delegates passed a multipoint draft resolution calling for immediate action on clown-driven climate justice and sustainability. Protocols include:
  • By 2011, a mandatory 50% increase in minimum clown carpooling passenger loads.
  • Immediate reductions in wasteful shoe sizes.
  • Immediate replacement of carbonated seltzer water in all spritz bottles with recycled urine.
  • By 2013, an 80% increase in target levels for clown child abductions and murder.
  • A 300% increase in UN clown research funding, including first class upgrades on all junkets to international clown meetings.
  • Violent lunatic street rioting.
These conclusions were not only endorsed by the scientific and clown communities, but by a broad cross-section of experts across scholarly disciplines. Among these included the Association of People Dressed Up Like Polar Bears, The Organization of Hysterically Weeping Science Journalists, the EU Centre for Scientific Self-Immolation, Monarchs and Despots United for Scientific Gaia Worship, Ed Begley Jr., and the prestigious International Society of Scientists With Intense Daddy Issues. All of whom, I might add, have a minimum of 15 years in graduate school.

Despite such an overwhelming scientific consensus, enacting climate change regulations has proven difficult. On one side you will find the rational voices of the peer reviewed experts: scientists, scholars, clowns, lachrymose journalists, beloved dictators, former sitcom stars, rioting people in polar bear costume who start themselves on fire. On the other side are the anti-science denialists, funded by a secret cabal of economic interests.

Unfortunately, some members of the public have been duped by so-called "skepticlowns" like Shotgun and Spanky. They have cynically sought to shut down clown science by demanding that I reveal to them my raw climate data, when they damn well know doing so would violate the Sacred Science Law of the Clowns. Do not be deceived. Shotgun and Spanky have never worked in either a tenure track university or circus, and therefore do not have proper clown credentials. They are merely rodeo clowns, mercenaries for beef industry plutocrats like Ronald McDonald who are desperate to avoid restrictions on their precious methane.

I am confident, however, that this misconception will be corrected once the public has the real facts. I am now collaborating with Nobel Prize medalist Al Gore on a new 50 city three-ring awareness tour to assure the public that the miming is settled. Get your tickets online before December 31st and you're automatically registered for a free carbon credit gift pack from Goreco!

And if that still isn't enough to convince you that man-made climate change is scary? Then I'll be happy to drop by your window sometime.
On a serious note, David's day job requires a lot of mathematical heavy lifting and he has this post that walks you through creating your own Hockey Stick with little more than a spreadsheet and 45 minutes of your time. A bit of an eye-opener...
Ran into town with the trailer to get the four freezers. These are the units to replace the backstock freezer that died earlier this week. Although we have a nice large trailer, it was not large enough so I had to make two trips to get all four. Got them offloaded and unpacked; I'll get them set up in place and powered up tomorrow -- the story about letting them sit for ten hours before plugging them in is very true. Sometimes compressor oil will splash around and if the compressor tries to compress an incompressible material (the oil), it can break. Heading out with the trailer again tomorrow to get hay for our critters -- down to the last couple bales. Off to the DaveCave(tm) for some email...

A new episode of Simon's Cat

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Hat tip to Ms. Cellania Simon has a website: The Official Simon's Cat Website

Between a rock and a hard place

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An interesting problem for the South Side of Chicago. From Mark Perry who found it in the Chicago Sun-Times:
The time for a South Side Wal-Mart has come. Unemployment in the Chicago region hovers above 11 percent, with higher rates among blacks. Even Mayor Daley, who hasn't pushed hard for Wal-Mart for fear of alienating the unions, is publicly going to bat for the superstore. It's now up to Ald. Edward M. Burke to make it happen.

An ordinance to allow for a long-awaited Chatham Wal-Mart Supercenter, which sells groceries, has languished for months in the City Council Finance Committee, which Burke chairs. This is just the latest delay in a five-year battle by Ald. Howard Brookins to get a Wal-Mart at a former industrial site at 83rd and Stewart.

Burke, an unabashed union supporter, has said Wal-Mart is welcome in Chicago, so long as it hammers out a "living wage" compromise with union leaders.

In a perfect world, we'd like a living wage agreement, too. Too bad that's not the world we live in. We live in a world where South Siders need fresh groceries, where South Siders need the amenities available at Wal-Mart, where South Siders need jobs.

And the jobs don't exactly pay the slave wages Wal-Mart opponents suggest. At Chicago's only Wal-Mart, in Austin, the average hourly wage, excluding managers, is $11.30.That Wal-Mart created 400 permanent jobs and, since opening three years ago, $16.3 million in sales tax revenue.

Who is Ald. Burke to say no to Chicagoans who want these jobs? The Chatham Wal-Mart proposal deserves a vote in City Council, and Burke now holds the key. His committee should move quickly to hold hearings on the proposed Wal-Mart and then move forward with a vote.

Each day that passes is one extra day without jobs and groceries for deserving South Siders. The time for a South Side Wal-Mart has not only come -- it's also way past due.
So... The Union Leaders are seeking the best for their constituents? The Chicago Politicians are seeking the best for their constituents (or the moneybags Unions who fund their campaigns). Let up hope that the politicians do the right thing -- something like a Wal-Mart supercenter would turn that neighborhood around. Other businesses would locate nearby (restaurants, auto repair, Churches) as the popularity of the Wal-Mart would provide a zone of security.

A bit of history - Argentina

With the naked grasping for power going on in Washington, a little bit of history might be in order.

This nation is not unique -- there have been other nations that have been wide reaching and powerful.

Some have been imperialist and conquering (Rome and Great Britain come to mind) Some have been focused on building themselves up and becoming a strong nation beholden to no other nation. We fit in that category until the 1930's.

Doug Ross writes about what could very well happen here. I am reprinting this in full as it deserves as wide an audience as possible:

Don't Cry For Me, America


In the early 20th century, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. While Great Britain's maritime power and its far-flung empire had propelled it to a dominant position among the world's industrialized nations, only the United States challenged Argentina for the position of the world's second-most powerful economy.


It was blessed with abundant agriculture, vast swaths of rich farmland laced with navigable rivers and an accessible port system. Its level of industrialization was higher than many European countries: railroads, automobiles and telephones were commonplace.


In 1916, a new president was elected. Hipolito Irigoyen had formed a party called The Radicals under the banner of "fundamental change" with an appeal to the middle class.


Among Irigoyen's changes: mandatory pension insurance, mandatory health insurance, and support for low-income housing construction to stimulate the economy. Put simply, the state assumed economic control of a vast swath of the country's operations and began assessing new payroll taxes to fund its efforts.


With an increasing flow of funds into these entitlement programs, the government's payouts soon became overly generous. Before long its outlays surpassed the value of the taxpayers' contributions. Put simply, it quickly became under-funded, much like the United States' Social Security and Medicare programs.


The death knell for the Argentine economy, however, came with the election of Juan Peron. Peron had a fascist and corporatist upbringing; he and his charismatic wife aimed their populist rhetoric at the nation's rich.


This targeted group "swiftly expanded to cover most of the propertied middle classes, who became an enemy to be defeated and humiliated."


Under Peron, the size of government bureaucracies exploded through massive programs of social spending and by encouraging the growth of labor unions.


High taxes and economic mismanagement took their inevitable toll even after Peron had been driven from office. But his populist rhetoric and "contempt for economic realities" lived on. Argentina's federal government continued to spend far beyond its means.


Hyperinflation exploded in 1989, the final stage of a process characterized by "industrial protectionism, redistribution of income based on increased wages, and growing state intervention in the economy..."


The Argentinian government's practice of printing money to pay off its public debts had crushed the economy. Inflation hit 3000%, reminiscent of the Weimar Republic. Food riots were rampant; stores were looted; the country descended into chaos.


And by 1994, Argentina's public pensions -- the equivalent of Social Security -- had imploded. The payroll tax had increased from 5% to 26%, but it wasn't enough. In addition, Argentina had implemented a value-added tax (VAT), new income taxes, a personal tax on wealth, and additional revenues based upon the sale of public enterprises. These crushed the private sector, further damaging the economy.


A government-controlled "privatization" effort to rescue seniors' pensions was attempted. But, by 2001, those funds had also been raided by the government, the monies replaced by Argentina's defaulted government bonds.


By 2002, "...government fiscal irresponsibility... induced a national economic crisis as severe as America's Great Depression."


In 1902 Argentina was one of the world's richest countries. Little more than a hundred years later, it is poverty-stricken, struggling to meet its debt obligations amidst a drought.


We've seen this movie before. The Democrats' populist plans can't possibly work, because government bankrupts everything it touches. History teaches us that ObamaCare and unfunded entitlement programs will be utter, complete disasters.

Today's Democrats are guilty of more than stupidity; they are enslaving future generations to poverty and misery. And they will be long gone when it all implodes. They will be as cold and dead as Juan Per�n when the piper must ultimately be paid.

References: A tear for Argentina's pension funds; Inflation in Argentina; The United States of Argentina. Linked by: Dan Riehl.

Thank you Doug for taking the time to put this together. Hat tip to Denny for the link.

What is good for the goose...

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Political "progressives" have a very short playbook. Short because it has worked very well up until now. For small confrontations (demonstrations) and overall local strategies, they have Saul Alinski's Rules for Radicals. It is worth noting that #1) - Hillary Clinton's 1969 Poli. Sci. Thesis was on Alinski and #2) - Obama taught Alinski strategies as part of his "Community Organization. From L. David Alinsky writing in the Boston Globe (son):
Son sees father's handiwork in convention
All the elements were present: the individual stories told by real people of their situations and hardships, the packed-to-the rafters crowd, the crowd's chanting of key phrases and names, the action on the spot of texting and phoning to show instant support and commitment to jump into the political battle, the rallying selections of music, the setting of the agenda by the power people. The Democratic National Convention had all the elements of the perfectly organized event, Saul Alinsky style.

Barack Obama's training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.

I am proud to see that my father's model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.

For large policy changes, the Cloward-Piven Strategy of creating crises, overloading the system and then swooping in and taking it over. This should be all too familiar to anyone who has been keeping their eyes open during the last ten months. Fortunately, these rules are not rocket science and people from other walks of life are starting to study and learn them and use them. Case in point -- a group called CFACT was in Copenhagen and had some fun with some Greenpeace ships:
CFACT drops the banner on Greenpeace ships in daring land and sea raids

(Copenhagen, Denmark, December 16, 2009) Global warming skeptics from CFACT yesterday pulled off an international climate caper using GPS triangulation from Greenpeace's own on-board camera photos to locate and sail up long-side of the infamous Greenpeace vessel, Rainbow Warrior. Then in Greenpeace-like fashion, the CFACT activists unfurled a banner reading "Propaganda Warrior" which underscored how the radical green group�s policies and agenda are based on myths, lies, and exaggerations.

Earlier in the day the activists daringly boarded Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise with neither stealth nor force, but by baffling the crew with doughnuts, and unfurled a banner that read �Ship of Lies� off the starboard side.

�Greenpeace has been using these kinds of tactics for decades, and now they can find out what it�s like to have a little taste of their own medicine, � said CFACT executive director Craig Rucker who masterminded the operation.

CFACT unfurled the banners for two reasons, CFACT president David Rothbard explained. �Greenpeace ships, like the Rainbow Warrior and Arctic Sunrise, have become global symbols for radical environmentalism, and we wanted to call attention to the harm these groups are causing. And second, it seemed appropriate to use one of Greenpeace�s favorite tactics to make this point.�
Fun to see people like this get a dose of their own medicine. One of the two founders of Greenpeace dropped out over their lack of science. I was active in the Seattle branch back in the 1980's and dropped out after a few years for the same reason. Really nice people but it was like talking to a wall. Next couple of years should be interesting to say the least...

Musta touched a nerve or something...

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Go into town to run some errands and come home to find about thirty spam. About 20 of them were touting the same set of websites (ones that had been already blocked over six months ago) so none of the spam attempts seceded (but they did give me a nice fresh list of IP addresses to block. What caught my eye was that they were all directed toward posts on the Climategate fiasco. The very fact that they are trying to lower my credibility by putting spam on these posts lowers their credibility. Talk about being a turd in a punchbowl...

A classic updated -- the Bailout Song

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From Theo

Come for the story, stay for the comments

The story is from the Manchester, New Hampshire Union Leader:

6 students arrested after Hesser dorm brawl
Police charged six Hesser College students with felony riot early Tuesday morning when confronted with 50 screaming students while answering a call about an out-of-control fight, police said.

The incident took place during finals week, and the six students, three of them women, appeared in Manchester District Court Tuesday. Five face additional misdemeanors such as assault or resisting arrest. All were held on $1,000 cash or surety bail.

They were forbidden from returning to the Hesser College campus unless allowed by college authorities.

Police Chief David Mara said he is satisfied with the way police acted, but several Hesser students complained of excessive force.

50 screaming students and the same students are complaining about excessive force? All six arrestees are from neighboring Massachusetts -- all resisted arrest in some measure. All are black. The comments section is a wonderful train-wreck. A few samples:

who made this a racist issue anyways? Its quite Simple, MA losers + act like ghetto thugs = Arrest.


One thing comes through loud and clear after reading the comments posted by Hesser students and graduates : They don't know how to structure a sentence; they don't know how to spell; they don't know proper punctuation; and they basically do a very poor job of expressing themselves. If this is the caliber of student that Hesser graduates, then the school is an embarrassment to the education system.


If these students are paying their own way, then give them their day in court. If they are going to school on my dime, their behavior doesn't warrant a free education. Remove and replace with students who want to learn, not fight.

Hesser offers very easy to get scholarships and loans. And (from a Hesser student):

Everyone is quick to down Hesser students and call them imature but profiling people on were they come from and what race they are is not too imature right please most of the people that commented on this page need to grow up and stop being so imature especially because they weren't even their!!!!

I rest my case -- lots more at the site... Hesser's website is here: Hesser College

I like his attitude

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From Yahoo/AFP comes this story of a mans 102nd birthday:
Brazil's 102-year-old architect spends 'crap' birthday
Brazil's most famous architect, Oscar Niemeyer, celebrated his 102nd birthday Tuesday in typical fashion: at work on projects rather than pondering his supercentennial age.

"Turning 102 is crap, and there is nothing to commemorate," he told AFP.

Niemeyer, who was born in 1907 in Rio de Janeiro, where he still lives, is famed for designing some of Brazil's most distinctive buildings, among them Rio's Sambodrome and the nearby Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum, and many of the futuristic edifices of the capital Brasilia.

His inspiration for the domes, curves and sweeping lines that make up his style he has said is "the body of the Brazilian woman."

Niemeyer has witnessed Brazil's progression from a chaotic new republic, a 1964-1985 military regime that forced him into exile in Paris, and the increasingly prosperous return to democracy that the country now enjoys.

His conclusion on Tuesday? Brazil is more "egalitarian since a former worker arrived in power," the former Communist said, referring to Brazil's current president, former trade union leader and steelworker Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
A National Treasure! And Lula is doing a very good job running Brazil. Chavez and his ilk would do their people a great favor by taking notes...

Christmas Shopping -- then and now

A look at two common items from 1958 and 2009 From Mark Perry at Carpe Diem First, a stereo:
Christmas Shopping, Stereo System: 1958 v. 2009

In 1958, the �best stereo sound equipment" Sears had to offer was advertised for sale in its Christmas catalog for $84.95 (pictured on left above), boasting that �You�ll be amazed at the �living sound� you�ll hear on this newest development in portable phonographs. Four tubes per rectifier. Hear every note, every shading of tone.�

I doubt anybody today would be too amazed at the sound quality of that 1958 state-of-the-art stereo equipment, and nobody would trade his or her iPod for that system, especially considering that the "time cost" of today�s iPod (12.51 hours of work at today�s average hourly manufacturing wage of $18.59 to earn enough income [ignoring taxes] to purchase a $229.99 iPod at Wal-Mart ) is almost 71 percent cheaper than Sears� best stereo equipment in 1958 for (42.9 hours of work at the average wage of $1.98 per hour to earn enough income to purchase the $84.95 stereo in 1958).
Second, a television set:
Christmas Shopping for a TV: 1958 vs. 2009

In 1958, American holiday shoppers paid $269.95 for Sears� �best 24-inch console TV� (Update: black and white) in its 1958 Christmas catalog (see photo above on left), or it would have taken 136.34 hours of work at the average manufacturing hourly wage then of $1.98 to earn enough income (ignoring taxes) to purchase the TV.

Today you can purchase a Sansui 26-inch widescreen LCD high-definition TV (see picture on right) on the Sears website for about $350 (or chose from the several hundred other TVs available), which would be a �time cost� today of only 19.03 hours of work at today's average hourly wage of $18.39, and this represents an 86 percent reduction in the cost compared to the 1958 TV.

Alternatively, it would be slightly less costly for a holiday shopper to purchase seven 24-inch TV sets today (133.21 hours of work at the average hourly wage) than it would have been for a 1958 holiday shopper to purchase just a single 24-inch TV (136.34 hours of work at the average hourly wage).
Yes, we are going through some temporary rough times but still, we live in an age of plenty. Interesting to see the numbers laid out like that...

The joys of United Nations Management

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The United Nations is the body that organized the Copenhagen conference. This is a very high-profile event and there is a lot of media coverage. Too much it turns out. From Anthony:
AP�s Seth Borenstein left out in the cold at Copenhagen for 7 hours thanks to U.N. incompetence
I try to remind people that the U.N. has not succeeded at much of anything during its history. Mostly it just makes pronouncements and consumes cash. When it comes to doing any real work, they fall down on the job, because most of the people that make up the U.N. have never had to do any real work themselves.

So I hope this lesson on the U.N. to Seth Borenstein sinks in. He�ll hardly forget his day in the cold I�m sure.
And the reason for this delightful experience:
With U.N. security letting in only those cleared last week, hundreds of accredited delegates, journalists and NGO representatives were left to stand for hours in near-freezing temperatures before being let through. �It was crazy,� AP�s Seth Borenstein said. �You couldn�t leave the line. You couldn�t go to the bathroom, you couldn�t eat. Then snowflakes started falling. One woman even said, �if lightning strikes me, would they take me out of line?��
With 40,000 people registered and Bella Center�s capacity only 15,000, the U.N. introduced a new quota system and ordered NGOs to cut down their numbers. Police shut down the Bella Center�s subway stop in a bid to ease the congestion. The situation can only get worse as more than 100 heads of state and government, including President Obama, show up this week with their entourages.
And these are the people who plan to administer these treaties? They cannot even administer their own conference.

Fun times at the store

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We have a display freezer out on the floor that has our frozen foods -- pizzas, meats, juice, etc... We also have a slightly smaller freezer in our backstock area for storage. As we sell things from the display freezer, we restock from the backstock freezer. That units compressor died last evening. Over $1K of food was thawing this morning when we opened up... A lot of very happy Maple Falls residents went home with their groceries plus a bunch of free pizzas, deserts, cans of juice concentrate, tater tots, cool whip, frozen vegetables, etc. etc. etc. A replacement compressor for this unit is $3K. The freezer itself is 45 years old and replacement parts are no longer made. A new freezer is about $10K Tomorrow, I am heading into the local Sears store and seeing what kinds of upright freezers are available. They may not be as well constructed as a unit that managed to last 45 years but they will see us through to next summer when we are making money again (the business is very seasonal). Fun times being a small business owner -- maybe I can get some stimulus money...
The direct measurement outside shows a temperature of 23 degrees but when I normalize it to fit the recline, it turns out to be a balmy 74 with soft zephyrs wafting in from the north. There is that anomalous precipitation of ice crystals than needs to be incorporated into the next generation of climate models but since we don't allow for it with this model, I'll just ignore the four inches that have accumulated. Hide the decline? There is no decline to hide. It is delightful out and I have some wonderful ocean-front property in Colorado to sell to you. Now about my grant money for 2010...
A team was able to compile some of the source code from the whistleblown CRU files -- here is a screen-shot of it running:
From Anthony at Watts Up With That comes this delightful news:
DOE sends a �litigation hold notice� regarding CRU to employees � asking to �preserve documents�
It appears bigger things are brewing related to CRU�s Climategate.

WUWT commenter J.C. writes in comments:
I work at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. I�ve been following the Climategate scandal since its inception. The first time many of my coworkers had heard of the situation was when I asked them about it.

Well, well, well.

Look what was waiting in every single email Inbox on Monday morning:
�December 14, 2009
DOE Litigation Hold Notice

DOE-SR has received a �Litigation Hold Notice� from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) General Council and the DOE Office of Inspector General regarding the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. Accordingly, they are requesting that SRNS, SRR and other Site contractors locate and preserve all documents, records, data, correspondence, notes, and other materials, whether official or unofficial, original or duplicative, drafts or final versions, partial or complete that may relate to the global warming, including, but not limited to, the contract files, any related correspondence files, and any records, including emails or other correspondence, notes, documents, or other material related to this contract, regardless of its location or medium on which it is stored. In other words, please preserve any and all documents relevant to �global warming, the Climate Research Unit at he University of East Anglia In England, and/or climate change science.�

As a reminder, this Litigation Hold preservation obligation supersedes any existing statutory or regulatory document retention period or destructive schedule. The determination of what information may be potentially relevant is based upon content and substance and generally does not depend on the type of medium on which the information exists. The information requested may exist in various forms, including paper records, hand-written notes, telephone log entries, email, and other electronic communication (including voicemail), word processing documents (including drafts, spreadsheets, databases, and calendars), telephone logs, electronic address books, PDAs (like Palm Pilots and Blackberries), internet usage files, systems manuals, and network access information in their original format. All ESI should be preserved in its originally-created, or �native� format, along with related metadata. Relevant backup tapes and all indexes for those tapes should also be preserved. Further, information that is reasonably accessible must nonetheless be preserved, because such sources will, at the very least, need to be identified and, under compelling circumstances, may need to be produced.

If you have any doubts as to whether specific information is responsive, err on the side of preserving that information.

Any employee who has information covered by this Litigation Hold is requested to contact Madeline Screven, Paralegal, SRNS Office of General Council, 5-4634, for additional instructions.

Michael L. Wamsted
Associate General Council�

Everyone on-site who has an email account received this letter. That�s somewhere in the neighborhood of 8000 people. How about that?
And this is the first official mention of the entire subject that I have seen.
NOTE: DOE-SR = Department of Energy Savannah River
SRNS = Savannah River Nuclear Solutions
SRR = Savannah River Remediation Heh -- I would love to stand outside the Climatic Research Unit selling toilet paper and clean underwear -- I could make a fortune... I wonder what is happening at Penn State and NASA GISS The DOE is very much at the center of the United States Climate Change research:
Climate Change
The Office of Policy and International Affairs (PI) serves as the focal point within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the development, coordination, and implementation of DOE-related aspects of climate change technical programs, policies, and initiatives. The Office of Climate Change Policy and Technology, located within PI, provides supporting policy, planning, technical and analytical services to carry out this function. To the extent delegated by the Secretary, the Office provides similar services to other Federal agencies and to Cabinet and sub-Cabinet-level interagency policy committees that work on climate change-related policy, science, technology, and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation programs.
Time to fix a big bowl of popcorn and sit down and watch the show. Discovery can be fun process to watch -- as long as you are on the right side...

Why they became extinct

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By Michael Ramirez, swiped from Mostly Cajun

Good analogy for Copenhagen

From Island Turtle:

'Social Justice' (Socialism) is what warmists yearn for - not global cooling
The forebodings the Jews of Europe had as they were herded onto cattle cars to an unknown destination are the same feelings of helplessness I have as the Copenhagen Climate Summit reaches its conclusion. It is the concern that unaccountable, unelected and unresponsive individuals will seal my fate and squander my assets to bring 'social justice' to the world. Make no mistake, global warmists are more interested in achieving an agenda of undoing Westernism than cooling the planet. It is Westernism that has brought unbridled prosperity to most of the world, and where it doesn't exist (North Korea, Cuba, Myanmar for instance) it leads to abject poverty and suffering. Yet it is our very prosperity they seek to destroy.

I'm not sure what 'social justice' is precisely, other than it is preached from the pulpit of the likes of the Reverend Wright when he attacks 'rich white people.' And it is being preached from the pulpits of liberal newspapers. I think it is what Joe the plumber objected to. But most of all I don't understand how transferring the world's treasure to corrupt regimes will ever alleviate poverty in those countries. It hasn't before and there is no reason to believe it will in the future. But read a sample of the misguided logic from the liberal Guardian:
Social justice demands that the industrialized world digs deep into its pockets and pledges cash to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and clean technologies to enable them to grow economically without growing their emissions. The architecture of a future treaty must also be pinned down - with rigorous multilateral monitoring, fair rewards for protecting forests, and the credible assessment of "exported emissions" so that the burden can eventually be more equitably shared between those who produce polluting products and those who consume them.
When Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa, found it couldn't feed itself because Mugabe's racist policies forced productive white farmers off their farms, the UN came to the rescue. It provided free maize (corn) to the government to feed its people. But then the government of Zimbabwe sold this gift to acquire foreign exchange. When the UN insisted its personnel oversee the distribution of its largesse to the hungry, Mugabe kicked them out. All efforts to alleviate misery were stymied unless it enriched the corrupt regime.

A good observation -- the cheering news is that with the slide into socialism, more and more people are waking up and saying no.

Look upon my works and despair

Curious news from the Amazon basin -- from New Scientist:
Ancient Amazon civilisation laid bare by felled forest
Signs of what could be a previously unknown ancient civilisation are emerging from beneath the felled trees of the Amazon. Some 260 giant avenues, ditches and enclosures have been spotted from the air in a region straddling Brazil's border with Bolivia.

The traditional view is that before the arrival of the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th century there were no complex societies in the Amazon basin - in contrast to the Andes further west where the Incas built their cities. Now deforestation, increased air travel and satellite imagery are telling a different story.

"It's never-ending," says Denise Schaan of the Federal University of Pare in Belum, Brazil, who made many of the new discoveries from planes or by examining Google Earth images. "Every week we find new structures." Some of them are square or rectangular, while others form concentric circles or complex geometric figures such as hexagons and octagons connected by avenues or roads. The researchers describe them all as geoglyphs.
Fascinating! A bit more:
Though there is no evidence that the Amazonians built pyramids or invented written language as societies in ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia did, "in terms of a trend towards increasing social complexity and domestication of the landscape, this wasn't just a pristine forest with isolated nomadic tribes", McEwan adds. "These were substantive, sedentary and in the long term very successful cultures."

While some Inca sites lie just 200 kilometres west of the geoglyphs, no Inca objects have been found at the new sites. Neither do they seem to have anything in common with Peru's Nasca geoglyphs.

"I have no doubt that this is only scratching the surface," says Alex Chepstow-Lusty of the French Institute for Andean Studies in Lima, Peru. "The scale of pre-Columbian societies in Amazonia is only slowly coming to light and we are going to be amazed at the numbers of people who lived there, but also in a highly sustainable fashion. Sadly, the economic development and forest clearance that is revealing these pre-Columbian settlement patterns is also the threat to having enough time to properly understand them."
Just when we think we have a handle on things. Also, the people complaining about the "deforestation" of the Amazon basin need to re-adjust -- this is not a primeval forest, it has been cleared before and will be cleared again. Cutting a tree is not forever, trees are renewable; it just takes forty years or so...

Jimmy Speaks

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From Jim Hoft writing at Gateway Pundit:
Jimmy Carter: Abuse of Women Including Genital Mutilation is the Fault of Catholics & Southern Baptists
America�s worst president attacked Catholics and Southern Baptists for the abuse of women in a speech he gave in Australia.

He even blamed these traditional religious groups for female genital mutilation.

Lifesite News reported:
In an address to a gathering sponsored by the World Parliament of Religions (PWR) last Friday, former US President Jimmy Carter has once again blamed traditional religion, particularly Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics, for �creating an environment where violations against women are justified.�

�In opposition to the vast majority of authentic scholars and historians, Carter asserted: �It�s clear that during the early Christian era women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets.� He added: �It wasn�t until the 4th century or the 3rd at the earliest that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant position within the religious hierarchy.�

Contrary to the theorizing of Carter, Pope John Paul II taught, �The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.� He added: �the Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.� (Catechism of the Catholic Church; 1577)

Carter singled out the Southern Baptist Convention and Roman Catholic Church, claiming that they �view that the Almighty considers women to be inferior to men.� However, both Christian faiths hold to the Scriptural truth that God created men and women equal.

Their continuing choice provides a foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world,� said Carter. Carter goes on to list horrific violations against women such as rape, genital mutilation, abortion of female embryos and spousal battery.

Responding to Carter�s nearly identical points in July, John Paul Meenan, Professor of Theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry�s Bay, Ontario characterized Carter�s points as �ridiculous,� noting that there was no evidence of the ordination of women in the early Church.
Last I checked it was the Muslims who performed female genital mutilation.

But, Jimmy Carter would never have the guts to single out Muslims like that.
How can that man live with himself -- to be so willfully blind.

Bread and Circuses

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Instead of leadership -- from the UK Telegraph (they are on a roll this morning):
Hugo Chavez plays Father Christmas with cut-price socialist toy fair
Some 124,000 cut-price dolls, puzzles and trucks were up for sale at the country's first socialist toy fair this weekend. The inaugural feria socialista de juguetes was a huge hit with parents who swamped the capital Caracas in such numbers that police officers on horseback intervened to impose order.

"It's amazing. There were thousands waiting this morning even before we opened," Jesus Alvarez, a government co-ordinator told the Guardian. Inside dozens of workers, all dressed in red, unpacked boxes of toys while an official with a megaphone appealed for calm.

Depleted stocks of dolls, puzzles and remote control cars may force the fair, which opened on 7 December, to close this Wednesday, a week early, the paper reports. Barbies sold out within the first few days.

With discounts of up to 80 per cent, there is no mystery to its success.

Venezuela is in recession and suffering 26 per cent inflation, Latin America's highest. Many families are struggling to buy food, let alone gifts.

Inflation has eroded Mr Ch�vez's popularity with many, but parents who heaved away bulging sacks of toys had no complaints. "God bless the president. He is our maximum leader," said Carmen Usecha, 37. The nursery school assistant had bought a battery-powered buggy for her nine-month-old son and a train set for her five-year-old.
Emphasis mine -- an you know what? After the Christmas euphoria dies down, Chavez will still remain unpopular. He is trashing the nation and handing out cheap toys to buy popularity.

Why I love the Church of England

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NOT! Talk about being a braying moron -- from the UK Telegraph:
Taliban 'can be admired for religious conviction' says forces bishop
The Rt Rev Stephen Venner called for a more sympathetic approach to the Islamic fundamentalists.

The Church of England�s Bishop to the Forces said it would be harder to reach a peaceful solution to the war if the insurgents were portrayed too negatively.
And what kind of blue-blind idiot would let a person like this get into a position like that:
Bishop Venner said he admired the sacrifices made by the British forces fighting in Afghanistan but he called for a reassessment of how the Taliban were viewed.

�We�ve been too simplistic in our attitude towards the Taliban,� said Bishop Venner, who was recently commissioned in his new role by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

�There�s a large number of things that the Taliban say and stand for which none of us in the West could approve, but simply to say therefore that everything they do is bad is not helping the situation. The Taliban can perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other.�

The Taliban have been responsible for public beatings, amputations and executions, and have launched bomb attacks on Afghans.
Williams is a syphilitic twit of the worst order. The very idea that he represents the Anglican Church makes my skin crawl. If you want to pander to the moral equivalency crowd, join the U.C.C. -- there is already that church-lite to pander to your views. We need John Joseph Pershing now more than ever...

I was wrong about the weather here...

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Many thanks to reader Geran Imo for the reminder that when I had posted about the four degree temperatures recently, I had forgotten to normalize them. There is no decline. None at all. In fact, it is in the mid-seventies and wonderfully balmy. I was wondering why my initial temperature readings were so low all the while I was not having to use any suplimental heat or dress accordingly. In fact, I have all the windows open for a nice warm breeze. We now return to our normal state of delusion...

People unclear on the concept

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From the Edmonton Sun:
Frigid climate protest
About 120 people braved frigid conditions to show initiative and demand leadership from politicians engaged in international climate change talks in Copenhagen, say ralliers.

"It doesn't matter what the temperature, we have to have our voices heard in Alberta," said Susan Miller, icicles clinging to her eyelashes in the -29 C cold on the steps of the Alberta legislature last night.

"Who knows what could happen in 50 years? If we don't do something about (climate change) now, this (weather) might be mild, or we might not even have winters," said Brian Johnson through a full-face balaclava.
These poor sods would not recognize the reality if it jumped out of the sky and said Boo! Wait... It just did... I love the bit about the icicles. And from the Globe and Mail:
Dangerously cold weather hits Prairies
Dangerously cold temperatures have settled in across much of the Prairies and northern Ontario this weekend.

Environment Canada has issued warnings, saying the wind chill could reach -50C.
The next few years will be interesting. It is almost like a Ponzi scam -- there is no graceful exit strategy for such a large falsification of data.

Time to put Queen Christine out of a job

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From the Washington Policy Blog:
Unemployment Insurance Taxes to Increase 54% in 2010
No sooner has the dust settled from the Governor's announcement that she intends to seek tax increases in 2010 to help shore up the $2.6 billion budget deficit than the Employment Security Department today announced that Unemployment Insurance taxes for the state's employers are going up in 2010.

In a release from ESD, Commissioner Karen Lee outlined the plan that will see the average total tax rate to increase from 1.55 percent in 2009 to an estimated 2.38 percent in 2010 -- a 54% increase, even if the 2010 rate is less than the previous recession-recovery years of 2004-05.
The joys of being a small business owner... Our Governor was an incompetent Attorney General before she ran for the office of Governor. If I didn't love where I lived and what I am doing, I would think about packing up and moving to Texas...

So true

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Hat tip to Jeff Id at The Air Vent

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

At least some people are doing well in this economy. From USA Today:
For feds, more get 6-figure salaries
Average pay $30,000 over private sector

The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.

Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months � and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.

Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time � in pay and hiring � during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.

The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available.

When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.

The trend to six-figure salaries is occurring throughout the federal government, in agencies big and small, high-tech and low-tech. The primary cause: substantial pay raises and new salary rules.

"There's no way to justify this to the American people. It's ridiculous," says Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a first-term lawmaker who is on the House's federal workforce subcommittee.

Jessica Klement, government affairs director for the Federal Managers Association, says the federal workforce is highly paid because the government employs skilled people such as scientists, physicians and lawyers. She says federal employees make 26% less than private workers for comparable jobs.

USA TODAY analyzed the Office of Personnel Management's database that tracks salaries of more than 2 million federal workers. Excluded from OPM's data: the White House, Congress, the Postal Service, intelligence agencies and uniformed military personnel.

The growth in six-figure salaries has pushed the average federal worker's pay to $71,206, compared with $40,331 in the private sector.
All these numbers are coming from our tax dollars -- we are paying these people these high salaries and they are being paid that without our knowledge or consent.

Talking 'bout the weather

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From Australia's The Weather Zone:
A snowy dusting in Victoria's summer
Most people consider summer a time to wear shorts and thongs wherever one pleases, with little thought of ski jackets or snowboards. However Victoria's Mount Baw Baw saw a light dusting of snow, and it's already two weeks into summer.

A cold front crossed the nation's southeast during Thursday, bringing gusty winds and some good falls to southern Victoria.
From the Cape Cod Times:
Winter weather increases dolphin, turtle strandings
The high tides and harsh winds have wreaked havoc on marine mammals in the past 10 days, causing several dolphin strandings, according to a local animal rescue official.

The past week and a half has brought almost "a dolphin a day" stranding on Cape shorelines, said C.T. Harry, assistant coordinator of the International Fund for Animal Welfare's stranding network.

Early yesterday morning, the stranding team was busy responded to a sick common dolphin at Rock Harbor, Harry said. Then they were headed to Campround Beach in Eastham for another dolphin stranded and struggling in ice-covered water, according to the Eastham police and Harry.

The high tides, strong winds and now bitter cold have combined to make it difficult for the marine mammals moving through the region, Harry said. It was 2-degrees with the wind chill at Rock Harbor Friday, Harry said.
From Canadian Broadcasting Company:
Snowstorm buries central Ontario
A storm blasted heavy snow through central Ontario Friday, and was expected to bury some areas waist-deep overnight, forcing the closure of a major highway.

A snow squall warning was in effect through much of the region east of Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay Friday evening. Strong, cold westerly winds coming off the lake were generating whiteout conditions, Environment Canada reported.

West Parry Sound OPP closed a section of Highway 400 until further notice due to deteriorating weather and road conditions.
And El Ni�o is here with a vengeance -- from the Los Angeles Times:
Rainstorm wallops Southern California
The strongest of three back-to-back rainstorms is expected to clear out by midday today after walloping Southern California on Saturday, sending mud and rocks tumbling onto roads, trapping about 90 vehicles on mountainous Angeles Crest Highway for hours and causing officials to issue mandatory evacuation orders for more than 40 homes.

There were no reports of major damage or injuries late Saturday night. But more rainfall was expected overnight and into the morning, further saturating wildfire-denuded hillsides.
And of course, there was the post earlier this morning about Copenhagen. Sure could use some of that warming...

Our betters - population control

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From National Review
What I Meant Was You People Should Only Have One Child
"The whole world needs to adopt China's one-child policy," writes Canadian journalist Diane Francis, mother of two.

An insightful interview at Copenhagen

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Lord Monkton talks with a Greenpeace spokeswoman and has a delightful ten minute give and take interview. For this person, it was a matter of faith and not of science.
Hat tip Maggie's who got it from the puppy blender.

The Turkey that Ate St. Louis

Wonderful trailer shot in 1969. From the about page:
One of the many doubtful activities of my youth was making films. I started doing this at age 11, and by the time I was a teenager, my buddy Jerry Rebold and I had already constructed a sound system that occasionally worked with our wind-up, 16mm camera.

In 1967, while in grad school, fellow student Bob O'Connell, Jerry Rebold and I made a half-hour film entitled "The Teenage Monster Blob from Outer Space, Which I Was." This parody of 1950s sci-fi films starred six pounds of Play-Doh.

The film bombed. It was, as O'Connell called it, "a turkey." This disgusting failure prompted us to change our cinematic strategy in two ways: (1) our next film was just going to be a trailer, rather than a complete film -- that way we could save money and just put in the good parts, and (2) if we were making turkeys, why not make a REAL turkey?

Ergo, this short "preview" film, shot mostly at Caltech and at that school's Owens Valley Radio Observatory. Observant viewers will note then-department chair Jesse Greenstein in the role of Walter Cronkite, and a few other astronomers too (including yours truly).

"The Turkey that Ate St. Louis" was entered in the Baltimore International Film Festival, and automatically inserted into the feature-film category, where it faced competition from major motion pictures from both America and Europe. Despite this uneven playing field, "The Turkey" lost.

"The Teenage Monster Blob" eventually became more popular. Too late.

Seth Shostak
I present The Turkey that Ate St. Louis
And where is he now?
Seth Shostak (born July 20, 1943) is an American astronomer. He earned his physics degree from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology.

He is the Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and the 2004 winner of the Klumpke-Roberts Award awarded by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy.
SETI home page here

The Gore effect hits here

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One to three inches of white stuff are predicted and it is starting to snow as I type. Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) and the shop to build some fires - plan on working out there this afternoon and they both take an hour or so to warm up. Not as cold as it has been -- ground and air temperature is a balmy 29 degrees...

The Gore effect hits Copenhagen

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The site is in Danish but is pretty easy to parse. Check out: Regionaludsigt for K�benhavn og Nordsj�lland Copenhagen is at 0.4 degrees Celsius with snow and wind from the South at six meters/second. They could use some of that warming...

This just in

Elin Nordegren moved to the top of the money list on the PGA tour today after "beating" the world's #1 golfer.

The win came after the top golfer played several of the wrong holes and lost track of his score.

Copenhagen demonstrators

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A trenchant comment from Lord Monkton:
Hitler Youth indeed. History is repeating itself before our eyes...

That which is seen cannot be unseen

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Do not click on this link (here) as it will take you to a page with an image so horrifying as to warp your reality, give you devastating nightmares and render you unfit for human contact for the rest of your life. The screams you are hearing in the distance are my entreaties to Cthulu to eat my soul so as to end the pain.

Little Green Footballs

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When 9/11 happened, I started asking questions and did not like the answers I was getting from the liberal media and websites. I recognized that we were at war with these fascists and that we could not negotiate with them. I started looking around at other websites and Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs was one of the first to put two and two together regarding the Wahabists in Saudi Arabia funding the mosques that preached jihad. Charles opened my eyes to the terror attacks that go unreported as their victims are non-Western peoples. Hundreds of these per month. (The Religion of Peace...) Last couple of months though, Charles has been going off the rails and has swung firmly over to the liberal camp. To fund this, he is now selling the Charles Johnson calendar -- but wait, there's more:
Hat tip to Gerard And Charles, I hope that they are worth it because you truly have burned your bridges...

Geothermal energy - what's shaking?

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Talk about unintended consequences - from the New York Times:
Geothermal Project in California Is Shut Down
The company in charge of a California project to extract vast amounts of renewable energy from deep, hot bedrock has removed its drill rig and informed federal officials that the government project will be abandoned.

The project by the company, AltaRock Energy, was the Obama administration�s first major test of geothermal energy as a significant alternative to fossil fuels and the project was being financed with federal Department of Energy money at a site about 100 miles north of San Francisco called the Geysers.

But on Friday, the Energy Department said that AltaRock had given notice this week that �it will not be continuing work at the Geysers� as part of the agency�s geothermal development program.

The project�s apparent collapse comes a day after Swiss government officials permanently shut down a similar project in Basel, because of the damaging earthquakes it produced in 2006 and 2007. Taken together, the two setbacks could change the direction of the Obama administration�s geothermal program, which had raised hopes that the earth�s bedrock could be quickly tapped as a clean and almost limitless energy source.
And a bit more:
But a resident of the nearby town of Anderson Springs, which is already shaken by quakes generated by less ambitious geothermal projects, reacted with jubilation when told it appeared the new project was ending.

�How I feel is beyond anything that words can express,� said the resident, Jacque Felber, who added that an unnerving quake had rattled her property the night before. �I�m just so relieved, because with this going on, I�m afraid one of these days it�s going to knock my house off the hill.�
Dang. They should have hired some Icelandic engineers -- they get a lot of their energy from geothermal. Shame not to be able to use this as, after all, it is a few million degrees down there...

A quick thought on nuclear Iran

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With all the talk about Iran's "peaceful" nuclear programs, I was thinking today. What moron sold them the yellowcake in the first place...

A wonderful dinner

Good Lord was that ever a wonderful steak. New York strips are a bit gristly by nature but the flavor is superb. The fat on the meat had that wonderful old ivory/amber color that comes from being 100% grass fed.

We are able to sell them for about $13/lb at the store so I think they will go over pretty well. This jives with premium meat prices in town.

Interesting times in politics

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From Paul A. Rahe writing at Big Government
The Coming Republican Surge
Back in early May, James Carville gleefully published a book entitled 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation.

In part, an extended rant against George W. Bush and his administration, it also purported to show that �the Republicans are going to keep getting spanked again and again for forty more years because we�re right and they�re wrong, and Americans know it.�

Of course, Carville added, �the Republicans have been down before, and the Democrats have won Congress before, and we�ve still managed to lose.� But, he continued, �this time we strung our policies together into a coherent, appealing narrative. And we did it with the help of the historically diverse, historically Democratic young people who will be the foundation for a lasting Democratic majority.�

This may have seemed a plausible claim late in 2008 or early in 2009 � when the ragin� Cajun sent off his book to Simon & Schuster. By the time of publication, however, the Republicans in Congress had shown that they still had some fight in them, and the Tea-Party Movement had already made its appearance.

To anyone with any political nous, it was obvious that the Democrats were not going to have a cakewalk. In the course of the summer recess, it became clear that they had a war on their hands.

There had been what I called in August �The Great Awakening,� and it threatened to turn American politics upside down.

That it really may do just that is now evident in the polling data.

I cannot think of any time in the course of my long life in which there has been a political turnaround on this scale in so short a time. If there is not another sharp reversal in public opinion, the Republicans will take the House in 2010 and may secure the Senate as well.

Some will, indeed, get spanked � but not the party that James Carville had in mind. So much for the dreams of the ragin� Cajun.
Heh - voters will put up with some measure of crap as long as they are happy with the overall outcome. What has been happening over the last year would be enough to wake up Rip Van Winkle from his twenty-five year nap.
From television station WITI in Milwaukee, WI:
Going "green" causes problem for public works crews in West Bend
New technology can provide new solutions and new problems. In West Bend, the energy-saving traffic lights are giving public works crews something more to do in the cold. They're also giving drivers a new reason to be careful.

All of the snow we had this week formed a white cap on a lot of the traffic lights in West Bend. The old incandescent lights usually provided enough warmth to melt away those snow caps. But the new LED lights generate hardly any heat. Therefore, the snow stays and prevents drivers from seeing the signals.

The LED light problem led to a crash at the intersection of Westwood and Washington in West Bend.

Four, two-person crews spent Friday using make-shift scrapers to clear the LED lights of the snow.

West Bend officials say the LED traffic lights say the city nearly $100 a month at each of its 24 intersections.
Heh -- one of those things you wouldn't even think of especially since you are not going to be installing these puppies in the middle of winter. Of course, now they need to purchase and install the optional heater units that will take more energy than the original incandescent lamps...

Another long day

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Went into town to pick up some more apple cider from a local cidery. We have been doing business with them for about three years and they have amazing products -- both the apples and juice but also cider spices, peanut butter made fresh onsite as well as cider vinegar and apple syrup. Good people... Also went by Bennett Ranch -- they specialize in grass-fed beef. We had been working with a coop fifty miles south of us -- they had an amazing product too but the logistics were too great to deal easily with them; they were set up more for larger stores. This is our first order with Bennett Ranch and I have two New York strip steaks thawing out on the counter and the grill heating up. Steam some fingerling potatoes and broccoli, a salad and that is dinner for tonight. Taking one for the team -- after all, someone has to check quality control of what we sell... Finally, went into Bellingham to get a few things for the store and for the shop. Dinner now and blogging will resume in an hour or two...
Wonderful little clip. Registered Irish Journalist Phelim McAleer is given two questions to ask Stanford Professor Stephen Schneider at the United Nations Climate Change conference in Copenhagen. He is not given the chance to receive the full answer to his first before he is escorted from the room by armed guards.
If the Science was so settled, why the knee-jerk reaction? Hat tip to Jeff Id at The Air Vent for the link. UPDATE: For shits and giggles, checked my copy of the CRU emails and Schneider's email and name are all over them. I just looked at ten or so tonight (it's late) and some of the emails were just chat about conferences but a couple of them were interesting regarding data manipulation. He may not have been an active participant but he was aware of the emails and what was being done. Now we can understand his priceless reaction...

Long day today

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Nothing big -- a run into town for some banking and some hardware and Costco, then neither of us were into what was lurking in the fridge so we went out to a local roadhouse and Jen had Country Fried Steak with sausage gravy and I had an open-faced hot turkey sandwich. We are fat and happy. Going to surf a little and then head out to the DaveCave(tm) to see what the email fairies have brought in. The weather is finally moderating -- cloudy and overcast at 25 degrees; a welcome change from the single digits. Snow due in a day or so.

A Christmas Story

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Amazing story from Bayou Renaissance Man. This is just an exerpt -- go and read the whole thing at the link above.
The night Christmas became real
It had been a bad day. A very bad day.

Members of the so-called 'Mass Democratic Movement' (MDM - a front organization for terrorists) had been trying to 'politicize' a township in South Africa for some time. Most of them were members of one particular tribe - and in Africa, one's tribe counts for quite a lot. Their efforts had been resisted by many residents, who were members of another tribe, and didn't see why these upstarts from an 'inferior' tribe should be allowed to push them around.

Needless to say, the apartheid police, always eager to 'divide and rule', had encouraged the rivalry through not-so-discreet egging-on of the resisters. If Black people could be induced to spend their time fighting each other, instead of uniting to fight apartheid, it was a net gain for the State. Who cared about those who got caught in the crossfire? They were only Black, after all, and the State was White. That's the way it was, in that year, in that part of the country.

Matters came to a head the week before Christmas. The MDM moved a group of 'comrades' into the township, trying to enforce a consumer boycott of White businesses, threatening violence to those who resisted. Some women were forced to drink the liquid soap and cooking-oil they'd bought, and ended up in hospital. Others were threatened. Minibus taxis taking shoppers to a nearby town were met at the outskirts of the township, and forced to turn back. In response, the police shut down deliveries to the few shops in the township itself. Very quickly, people began to run out of food and essential supplies.

I got a phone call in the afternoon of December 24th from a pastor in the township. I'll call him 'Fanyana' for his safety (he's still working there).

"Hey, Fanyana, what's up, brother?"

"It's bad, Peter." (Sound of scattered gunshots in the background. He was breathing quickly, shallowly, the fear evident in his voice.) "The 'comrades' have been trying to shut the place down all week, and the miners have finally had enough. They've ganged together and they're out on the streets, looking for the outsiders. It's bad, man."

I sobered, very fast. If Fanyana was this scared, and didn't mind showing it, it was bad indeed. The previous year he'd dragged me clear of a riot, both of us bleeding, me almost unconscious. He had guts to spare.

"What about the cops?"

"Oh, hell, man, the usual, you know! They're sitting on the outskirts, watching the fighting, and doing ****-all. They don't care."

"What do you need?"

"Can you get the brothers and sisters together, Peter? I'm opening the church to refugees, but we have nothing. Nothing. The 'comrades' have stopped all shopping in (the White town nearby), and all the shops here are empty. We need food, medical supplies, and anything else you can find for us."

"We're on our way. Usual meeting-place?" (A crossroads on the outskirts of town, on the bush side, where the police usually didn't go.)

"Yes. I'll try to have someone there in three hours to meet you. Be careful, my brother. You've got the wrong color of skin to be in here after dark, remember."
An amazing and moving story. Tangentially: There was a movie called District 9 that came out last August. Amazon has it for sale starting on December 22nd. It is a must-see movie. Amazing.

The Insufficency of Humbug - part two

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Last night, I ran into this wonderful rant at Atomic Nerds Reader JBrock posted this little ditty this afternoon:
Dashing to the mall
in a fleet of rented trucks,
a million hairless apes are out
to spend some plastic bucks.
It�s Christmas time again
(or maybe World War Three)
and to keep the spirits happy now
we�ve got to kill a tree.

Oh, kill a tree, kill a tree, kill a tree for Christ
(Jolly old St. Nicholas, accept this sacrifice!)
Kill a tree, kill a tree, kill a tree for Christ:
Not sure what we�re doing, but it seems to work out nice.

We each deserve a ton
or two of shiny crap,
but to keep the goodies coming now
we�ve got to spill some sap.
And string electric lights,
and raise the ritual star,
and bribe our friends and fam�lies to
forget what jerks we are.

And kill a tree � (etc.)

We always kill a tree.
That�s always been enough
for videos and GI Joes
and all that kiddy stuff.
But Mommy wants a Hog
and Daddy wants a boat.
That�s prolly gonna cost at least
a chicken and a goat.

But kill a tree � (etc.)

The fifteen reasons why...

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I am posting this in full as it is an incredible, spot-on observation from Don Surber:
Why they fell for the global warming hoax
They called us Global Warming Holocaust Deniers � sneered at us, snarked at us, and snubbed us.

None of them bothered to read �The Emperor�s New Clothes.�

I have no time for paybacks or saying I told you so.

But pay attention to why they fell for this billion-dollar hoax which almost became a trillion-dollar tragedy.

1. The pseudo-intellectuals fell for it because none of them ever cracked a science book.
2. The policy wonks fell for it because it gave the government more control.
3. The bleeding hearts fell for it because they always want to save the Earth.
4. The communists fell for it because it portrayed capitalists as destroying the Earth to make money.
5. The capitalists fell for it because they saw a new way to make money.
6. The Hollywood crowd fell for it because it made their pampered lives seem to have a meaning and purpose.
7. The newspapers fell for it because it was new.
8. The teachers fell for it because it was a new thing to teach the children to teach their parents.
9. The children fell for it because they wanted to show how well they are doing in school.
10. The parents fell for it because they wanted their children were doing so well in school and they wanted to be supportive.
11. The utility companies fell or it because they can raise rates.
12. The Nobel Peace Prize committee fell for it because Al Gore should have won in 2000.
13. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences fell for it because Al Gore should have won in 2000.
14. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys) fell for it because Al Gore should have won in 2000.
15. The 30,000 scientists fell for it because while it was not in their field of study, they wanted to be supportive of science.

The only people who didn�t fall for it were we mouth-breathing, Bible-thumping, beer-guzzling, cousin-humping, baby-bumping, overfed, inbred, illiterate, gun-clinging, buck-toothed, trailer-park-living, truck-driving, ATV riding, Wal-mart shopping, knuckle-dragging, military-supporting, ain�t-recycling, patriotic, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, racist hillbillies with cooties.
Hey me and my friends resemble that last paragraph... Hat tip to The Daily Bayonet for the link. Lots of great stuff over there too...
Hey, remember back on November 23, 2009, Andrew Breitbart released the information that the San Diego Acorn office was alerted that it was about to be visited by the California Attorney General. That Acorn office proceeded to dump a huge quantity of their files into a public dumpster. Well, the private investigator who 'rescued' these documents is starting to release what he found and it is not good for Acorn... From Derrick Roach writing at Breitbart's Big Government:
ACORN Document Dump: Citibank Jeopardizes Customers for ACORN
What does the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai and ACORN have in common? Both of them have some bankers on Wall Street worried. When brokers and traders returned to work after the Thanksgiving Holiday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average went on a wild rollercoaster ride dropping as much as 233 points during the trading session due to an announcement that Dubai would be rescheduling the repayment of $3.5 billion in bonds. This unexpected announcement was not what Wall Street wanted to hear on Black Friday when retail sales were already down by 8% compared to the prior year and Cyber Monday sales were less than robust with individual online purchases being 2% less than they were last year. All of this at a time when brokers, traders and economists across the country are watching to see if cash strapped consumers are going to bailout retailers from what is shaping up to be a dismal retail Christmas season.

It is understandable why Wall Street would be concerned about Dubai. Why would they be concerned about ACORN? On October 24, 2009, revealed that the San Diego office of ACORN dumped thousands of documents into a dumpster in advance of an investigation into the organizations activities by California Attorney General Jerry Brown. I retrieved the documents from a shared public dumpster located behind the local ACORN office. The documents that were retrieved filled the back of my Suburban. Much of what was retrieved was truly trash, items such as banana peels, coffee grounds and marketing materials. After sorting through the documents, though, the 20,000 documents that were retained included sensitive personal information, financial records and documents outlining the internal and political workings of ACORN. One of the documents obtained by shows that ACORN had business relationships with 28 major financial institutions for the purpose of assisting homeowners whose mortgages were in foreclosure.
What follows are scans of a few of these documents -- damning evidence. Roach has redacted the crucial information but that these pages containing people's identifies, bank account numbers and addresses is unconscionable. And to think that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The 2010 election cycle is going to be interesting for sure. Sit back with a bowl of popcorn and watch the show...

Cold all over

The air and the ground were at four degrees at 8:00AM this morning. At 2:30PM, things have warmed to a positively balmy eighteen.

Central US is getting hit too -- from FOX News/Associated Press:

Dec. 9: Residents of Freeport, Ill., shovel a foot of snow on
State Avenue. At least 17 have died in
the severe winter storms across the U.S.
AP Photo
Huge Snowstorm Batters U.S., Leaving at Least 17 Dead
DES MOINES, Iowa - A deadly, windy storm that tortured a wide swath of the country for days threatened to drop a foot or more of snow on parts of New York, Pennsylvania and New England Thursday before finally blowing off the coast of Maine.

Commuters from Des Moines to Chicago braced for single digit temperatures and icy roads, while wind chill values as low as negative 25 were forecast for parts of Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.

"Like I stuck my face in the freezer," was how Bincy Mathew described the Chicago air.

The storm will have affected about two-thirds of the country by the time it moves out Thursday night, and has been blamed for at least 17 deaths, most in traffic accidents.

One storm affecting two-thirds of the USA. Seattle is getting hit too -- from the Seattle Times:

Record lows overnight: 18 degrees at Sea-Tac, 6 degrees in Olympia
The temperature dipped to 18 degrees this morning at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, setting a record low for the date.

Meteorologist Johnny Burg at the National Weather Service office in Seattle said the previous record low at Sea-Tac for the date was 21, set in 1972.

Olympia also set a record low of 6, Burg said, breaking the 1972 record of 10.

A 37 year record... Cliff Mass, a local weather guru, shows warmer temps and moisture coming in Tuesday with some snow over this weekend as a precursor.

Like this isn't going to have long-term consequences. From Politico:
Dems to lift debt ceiling by $1.8 trillion, fear 2010 backlash
In a bold but risky year-end strategy, Democrats are preparing to raise the federal debt ceiling by as much as $1.8 trillion before New Year�s rather than have to face the issue again prior to the 2010 elections.

�We�ve incurred this debt. We have to pay our bills,� House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told POLITICO Wednesday. And the Maryland Democrat confirmed that the anticipated increase could be as high as $1.8 trillion � nearly twice what had been assumed in last spring�s budget resolution for the 2010 fiscal year.

The leadership is betting that it�s better for the party to take its lumps now rather than risk further votes over the coming year. But the enormity of the number could create its own dynamic, much as another debt ceiling fight in 1985 gave rise to the Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction act mandating across-the-board spending cuts nearly 25 years ago.

Already in the Senate, there is growing pressure in both parties for the creation of a novel bipartisan task force empowered to force expedited votes in the next Congress on deficit reduction steps now shunned by lawmakers.
Emphasis mine -- bold??? More like a clueless attempt at triangulation and damage control. Just how out of touch are these morons...

Another look at the Hockey Stick

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From J. Storrs Hall writing at Watts Up With That:
Hockey stick observed in NOAA ice core data
One thing that Climategate does is give us an opportunity to step back from the details of the AGW argument and say, maybe these are heat-of-the-moment stuff, and in the long run will look as silly as the Durants� allergy to Eisenhower. And perhaps, if we can put climate arguments in perspective, it will allow us to put the much smaller nano arguments (pun intended) into perspective too.

So let�s look at some ice.

I�m looking at the temperature record as read from this central Greenland ice core. It gives us about as close as we can come to a direct, experimental measurement of temperature at that one spot for the past 50,000 years. As far as I know, the data are not adjusted according to any fancy computer climate model or anything else like that.

So what does it tell us about, say, the past 500 years? (the youngest datum is age=0.0951409 (thousand years before present) � perhaps younger snow doesn�t work so well?):

Well, whaddaya know � a hockey stick. In fact, the �blade� continues up in the 20th century at least another half a degree. But how long is the handle? How unprecedented is the current warming trend?

Yes, Virginia, there was a Medieval Warm Period, in central Greenland at any rate. But we knew that � that�s when the Vikings were naming it Greenland, after all. And the following Little Ice Age is what killed them off, and caused widespread crop failures (and the consequent burning of witches) across Europe. But was the MWP itself unusual?

Well, no � over the period of recorded history, the average temperature was about equal to the height of the MWP. Rises not only as high, but as rapid, as the current hockey stick blade have been the rule, not the exception.
Dr. Hall shows a few more plots (we are very very lucky climate-wise) and concludes with this 'graph:
For climate science it means that the Hockey Team climatologists� insistence that human-emitted CO2 is the only thing that could account for the recent warming trend is probably poppycock.
Perfect word to use -- poppycock Nothing like a couple of plots to put things into perspective...

Follow the Money

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This is hearsay but I would give it a good chance of being accurate. From Bishop Hill:
Follow the money
This is stolen from the comments at WUWT:

A reader commented as follows:
... it is possible that this is just a big conspiracy by climate scientist around the world to boost their cause and make themselves more important. Though I find it hard to believe that thousands of scientists...all agreed to promote bogus science ...Pretty hard to do without being discovered.
To which another reader, a scientist named Paul Vaughan, responded as follows:
Actually not so hard.
Personal anecdote:

Last spring when I was shopping around for a new source of funding, after having my funding slashed to zero 15 days after going public with a finding about natural climate variations, I kept running into funding application instructions of the following variety:

Successful candidates will:
1) Demonstrate AGW.
2) Demonstrate the catastrophic consequences of AGW.
3) Explore policy implications stemming from 1 & 2.

Follow the money � perhaps a conspiracy is unnecessary where a carrot will suffice.

This confirms the stories that I've been hearing over the last few years.
And it is well worth reading the comments to this post -- a few examples:
A similar anecdote:

A friend is a lecturer in a Higher Education establishment (an agricultural college in fact; I won't say more because there are not many and he won't want to be identified).

He showed me their prospectus for next year's courses. It is entirely stuffed with wibble about "green farming", "environmental" this that and the next thing, "low-carbon" so-and-so, and is suffused with the underlying assumption that the AGW hypothesis is completely true and unchallengeable.

I commented on this.

He agreed, and pointed out that "if you don't do this stuff, you won't get any funding".

As an interesting comment a few months back I reviewed a short technical paper on gas diffucion through butyl rubber septa that are used to seal sampling vials (vacutainers etc.) The opening sentence in the introduction was 'With the onset of global warming.....'
And another:
"The final bill provides $3.5 billion for energy R&D at the Department of Energy (DOE) and would fund climate change-related projects in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)"
As I said, at this moment these stories (except for the last one) are anecdotal but I would not be surprised if scans and screencaps are "leaked" in the next week or two. Fraud on the highest level...

Santa as System Administrator

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From the ever wonderful Miss Cellania:
How Santa resembles a System Administrator
1. Santa is bearded, corpulent, and dresses funny.

2. When you ask Santa for something, the odds of receiving what you wanted are infinitesimal.

3. Santa seldom answers your mail.

4. When you ask Santa where he gets all the stuff he's got, he says, "Elves make it for me."

5. Santa doesn't care about your deadlines.

6. Your parents ascribed supernatural powers to Santa, but did all the work themselves.

7. Nobody knows who Santa has to answer to for his actions.

8. Santa laughs entirely too much.

9. Santa thinks nothing of breaking into your HOME.

10. Only a lunatic says bad things about Santa in his presence.
Hey - I resemble some of those...

A rant of epic proportions

Go and read...

The Insufficency of Humbug
Astute readers may have noticed the calendar creeping steadily on to the most magical arbitrary date of the year, Christmas. That splendid and magical time of the year where we all still hate each other just as much and are just as pissed off as any other time, but now we have to pretend that everybody loves each other, peace in our time on earth, good will towards that rat bastard man, etc.

I suspect my position on the matter has grown clear already, but let me just hit a few of the high notes that grate with particular vigor on my sanity starting any time after Halloween.

To start with, let's address the music. I am firmly of the position that if the music is so fucking terrible that it is only acceptable once per year, then it's probably a good idea to just skip it then, too. There are of course excuses and cop-outs. After all, there's a long tradition of utterly insipid crap being wildly popular, such as Raffi. Raffi, however, is targeted at a group too young to realize that the proper response to such music is unabashed violence. Their parents know this, but have to listen to it anyway. This, in turn, supports the hard liquor industry, and I benefit from that, so crap like Raffi gets a pass. Christmas carols, on the other hand, serve no useful purpose other than to inspire rage and hatred. The night would be a lot more silent if you wailing dupes would shut the fuck up. I have no particular inclination to cavort about in an open sleigh when I have a truck with this remarkable little device called a heater that will cause the trip to suck several orders of magnitude less. The little boy with the drum can just go sit on those drumsticks - aside from the saccharine message of the whole thing, what sort of retarded jackass starts banging away on a drum like Keith Moon in front of a fucking newborn? As for the classic and thus clearly intellectual "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies," I've reached the point where I feel applause is the correct response should anybody take it upon themselves to shove an oboe up the player's posterior sideways and then use the combined entity to set fire to an oboe factory. Possibly also a small cash award and commemorative plaque.

And Stingray is just getting warmed up...

It's that Sun thing again...

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I posted earlier today about Professor Henrik Svensmark's comments in Copenhagen regarding the Sun driving the Earth's climate. Anthony has some more and some historical data:
Solar geomagnetic activity is at an all time low � what does this mean for climate?
I�ve mentioned this solar data on WUWT several times, it bears repeating again. Yesterday, NOAA�s Space Weather Prediction Center released their latest data and graph of the interplanetary geomagnetic index (Ap) which is a proxy for the activity of the solar dynamo. Here is the data provided by SWPC. Note the graph, which I�ve annotated below.

At a time when many predicted a ramp up in solar activity, the sun remains in a funk, spotless and quiet. The Ap value, for the second straight month, is �3″. The blue line showing the smoothed value, suggests the trend continues downward. To get an idea of how significant this is in our history, take a look at this data (graph produced by me) from Dr. Leif Svalgaard back to the 1930�s.

The step change in October 2005 is still visible and the value of 3.9 that occurred in April of this year is the lowest for the entire dataset at that time. I�m hoping Dr. Svalgaard will have updated data for us soon.
More at Watts Up With That It just doesn't get any clearer. Those politicians and "scientists" at Copenhagen are going to be looked at as fools at best. It has all been a house of cards and the big gust of wind happened a couple weeks ago...
One of the big bugaboos in climate science is the urban heat island problem. Pro-AGWers are saying that this is not an issue -- the temperature data is good. After all, the Science is settled... Anti-AGWers are saying that the heat island effect swamps any other potential variation. Spend six minutes with this kid and his dad and watch as they start from the original NASA GISS data and demonstrably show the heat island effect. A game of hockey anyone?
Hat tip to Coyote Blog

A good time was had by all

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Wonderful group of people -- only one employee was not able to make it (they have a newborn child). Devoured nine large pizzas and many pints of wonderful beer with only a slice or two left over. And we did not have to clean up... Ground temperature is five degrees, air temp is eight. The night sky is drop-dead gorgeous -- the milky way is crystalline, the stars are beacons of light. One of the best nights for seeing in a long long time.

Ho Ho Ho

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Store Christmas party tonight. Instead of making a mad dash to clean our house, we are hosting it here: The North Fork Brewery, Pizzeria, Beer Shrine and Wedding Chapel An ex-employee of ours will be manning the store while we are there so everyone can stuff themselves full of Christmas cheer (and pizza).
From Ice Age Now:
Siberian Blast about to hit Europe and The Summit!
All down to Global Warming of course!

9 Dec 09 - Email from a reader in the UK


Take a look at what is forecast for Europe next weekend, a full on Siberian blast 70�s style!

Can�t wait for the poor summit pictures, all down to Global Warming of course! Copenhagen is under the -15C!

Brilliant, you would have thought that they would have scheduled this for a summer conference at least.

Seriously, there is some major winter weather about the hit Europe, all down to a huge mid-latitude blocking High near Greenland, and these a very difficult to shift if the cold pool becomes established.

Great site.

Adrian Rowley
Heh... Full image can be found here

A breath of fresh air in Copenhagen

From the UK Telegraph:

Copenhagen climate summit: global warming 'caused by sun's radiation'
As the world gathered in the Danish capital for the UN Climate Change Conference, more than 50 scientists, businessmen and lobby groups met to discuss the arguments against man made global warming.

Although the meeting was considerably smaller than the official gathering of 15,000 people meeting down the road, the organisers claimed it could change the course of negotiations.

Professor Henrik Svensmark, a physicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen, said the recent warming period was caused by solar activity.

He said the last time the world experienced such high temperatures, during the medieval warming period, the Sun and the Earth were in a similar cycle.

Professor Nils-Axel Morner, a geologist from Stockholm University, said sea level rise has also been exaggerated by the 'climate alarmists' using computer models.

He said observational data from lake sediments, coast lines and trees show sea levels have remained stable.

Professor Cliff Ollier, another geologist from the University of Western Australia, also said the environmental lobby have got it wrong on ice caps. He said the melting of ice sheets is caused by geothermal activity rather than global surface temperatures.

Geeee -- 'ya think??? The sun contributes the bulk of the heat to the Earth (our core does the rest) and variations of the solar flux coorespond to variations in sunspot activity and solar output. Every indicator on the sun is down and has been down for a decade. Solar Cycle 24 was supposed to have started three years ago and the sun remains dead quiet. As for this comment:

He said the melting of ice sheets is caused by geothermal activity rather than global surface temperatures.

there is a curious parallel between volcanic activity and overall temperatures. Check out this map of antarctic temperatures from NASA and compare it with this map of known volcanos:


This is the average temperature trend from 1982 to 2004 - note the areas of warming and the areas of cooling.


Both photos are thumbnails and can be enlarged by clicking on them. More here, here, here, here, here, here and here. I could keep going all day but you get my drift...

What a bunch of idiots - Italian Mafia

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Sad story from the London Times:
Lost Caravaggio painting 'was burnt by Mafia'
A lost painting by Caravaggio which art lovers have long hoped might still be found was burnt and destroyed by the Mafia, according to a former hitman turned pentito (informer).

The painting, Nativity with Saints Francis and Lawrence, was stolen from the oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo in 1969. Its whereabouts since then have remained a mystery despite investigations not only by police but also by scholars and art lovers.

Gaspare Spatuzzo, who was imprisoned in 1997 on multiple counts of murder and turned informer last year, has told magistrates that Filippo Graviano, a Mafia boss for whom he was a hitman, told him in 1999 in prison that the painting was destroyed in the 1980s.

He said that Graviano, who with his brother Giuseppe Graviano ran one of the most powerful Cosa Nostra clans, had told him that the painting, said to be worth at least �20 million, was handed for safe keeping to the Pullara family, part of the Santa Maria di Gesu clan in Palermo, who hid it in a farm outbuilding. "There it was eaten by rats and pigs, and so was burnt," Spatuzza said.
The sheer level of stupidity -- I hope Satan has a nice warm spot picked out especially for the people involved...
From USA Today:
Fast-food safety rules trump those for school lunches
Major fast-food chains and some premium grocery stores impose standards for their beef that are more stringent than those set by the Agricultural Marketing Service for beef supplied to the National School Lunch Program.

Here's how the school lunch program's standards for various pathogens compare with those set by Jack in the Box, which maintains one of the industry's most rigorous food safety programs.
STANDARDS: Fast-food meat tops schools
OLD-HEN MEAT: Fed to pets and schoolkids
SALMONELLA: Call to close plant for inspection
This is the index and synopsis of a three-part article -- the three links above lead to the full story. Not a surprise there. Meat that otherwise would go for pet food is going to our children. And these folks want to manage our healthcare?

Freezing the balls off a brass monkey

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Four degrees out now. As for the expression -- it comes from early Naval terminology. Cannon balls were stacked by each cannon in a pyramid and held in place with a metal jig called a monkey. Since you are dealing with black powder, you do not want any sparks. Metal hitting against other metal or stone can strike a spark so a non-ferrous metals was used. There is a differential rate of expansion and contraction and when the brass got cold enough, the balls would pop out of the jig. Hence...
Not that kind of steam room. This kind:
Lots more photos and story at Steampunk Workshop (blotting drool from my mouth -- oh to be in NYC for a few days)

When the Tiger Woods story first broke and people weren't really sure what happened, his sponsors were united in saying that they will not pull their endorsements.

A bit of a different story in this article at Bloomberg:

Tiger Woods TV Ads Disappear After Reports of Affairs
Advertisements featuring Tiger Woods have disappeared from prime-time broadcast television and many cable channels following reports of his extramarital affairs, according to data from Nielsen Co.

The last prime-time ad featuring the 33-year-old golfer was a 30-second Gillette Co. spot on Nov. 29, according to New York- based Nielsen. Woods also was absent from ads on a number of weekend sports programs, including NFL games, Nielsen said.

"Last weekend there wasn't any advertisement during those games," said Aaron Lewis, a spokesman at Nielsen.

The No. 1 ranked golfer's standing with the public has plunged in the wake of reports of infidelity that followed a Nov. 27 car accident outside his home near Orlando, Florida. Woods's ranking among celebrity endorsers tumbled to 24th from 6th, according to the Davie Brown Index, which is used to gauge the ability of personalities to influence shoppers.

Woods has endorsement agreements with Accenture Plc, Nike Inc., PepsiCo Inc.'s Gatorade, Tag Heuer International SA watches, Electronic Arts Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.'s Gillette. Neither Mark Steinberg, Woods's agent, nor Glenn Greenspan, a spokesman, responded to phone messages or e-mails seeking comment.

The golfer's $110 million in annual income from endorsements and tournaments, as estimated by Forbes magazine, hinges on his standing with consumers. Woods ranked as the world's fourth-highest paid celebrity in the 12 months through June 30, the magazine said. In October, he became the first athlete to top $1 billion in career earnings.

Ouch -- two days and all of the advertising is pulled. Swift and brutal. The thing that gets me is that his wife is so beautiful and all of the photos of his mistress show someone who I wouldn't kick out of bed for eating crackers but nowhere near is good looking as Elin. As Paul Newman once remarked: "Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?"

Cold times today

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Ground temperature is fifteen. Air temperature is seventeen. Sky is dead clear so it is going to get even colder when the sun goes down. I love this place but every so often, you get the distinct impression that Mother Nature really is trying to kill you...

Fun times in Copenhagen

Heh -- in the continuation of an honorable tradition... From the UK Guardian:
Copenhagen climate summit in disarray after 'Danish text' leak
The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations.

The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.

The so-called Danish text, a secret draft agreement worked on by a group of individuals known as "the circle of commitment" -- but understood to include the UK, US and Denmark -- has only been shown to a handful of countries since it was finalised this week.

The agreement, leaked to the Guardian, is a departure from the Kyoto protocol's principle that rich nations, which have emitted the bulk of the CO2, should take on firm and binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, while poorer nations were not compelled to act. The draft hands effective control of climate change finance to the World Bank; would abandon the Kyoto protocol -- the only legally binding treaty that the world has on emissions reductions; and would make any money to help poor countries adapt to climate change dependent on them taking a range of actions.

The document was described last night by one senior diplomat as "a very dangerous document for developing countries. It is a fundamental reworking of the UN balance of obligations. It is to be superimposed without discussion on the talks".
The Guardian's copy of the Danish Text is wrapped in an online viewer - cutting and pasting not allowed. You do have the option to download but you need to be registered with Scribd first. Just skimming it makes me want to puke. The photo that accompanies the Telegraph news item sums it up perfectly:
The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today
after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents.
Photograph: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images
First, kill all the diplomats...
And Charles Krauthammer considers the consequences:
From Breitbart TV

Time to make a bowl of popcorn

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Like this is going to turn out well... From Breitbart/Associated Press:
Chavez: Venezuela acquires thousands of missiles
President Hugo Chavez said Monday that Venezuela has received thousands of Russian-made missiles and rocket launchers as part of his government's military preparations for a possible armed conflict with neighboring Colombia.

"They are preparing a war against us," Chavez said during a televised address, repeating a charge he has been making for months. "Preparing is one of the best ways to neutralize it."

Both Colombia and Washington deny having any plans to attack Venezuela, but Chavez argues they are plotting together a military offensive against Venezuela. Chavez says his government is acquiring more weapons as a precaution.

"Thousands of missiles are arriving," Chavez said. The former paratrooper-turned-president did not specify what type of missiles, but said Venezuela's growing arsenal includes Russian-made Igla-1S surface-to-air missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.

Chavez, who has been feuding with Colombia for months, claims an agreement between Bogota and Washington allowing the U.S. military to increase its presence at seven Colombian military bases poses a threat to his country. Colombia says the deal is only to help it fight the war on drugs and insurgents inside its territory.

Chavez also said Monday that Russian tanks, including T-72s, will be arriving "to strengthen our armored divisions."

Venezuela has bought more than $4 billion worth of Russian arms since 2005, including 24 Sukhoi fighter jets, dozens of attack helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. In September, Russia opened a $2.2 billion line of credit for Venezuela to purchase more weapons.
Gotta love it -- Chavez accepted a $2.2 billion line of credit and is burning his way through it like a drunken sailor. The question he needs to be thinking about is how well trained are his people, what is the quality of the Russian equipment and did he think to get spares for the fancy stuff. Kalashnikov's are a global commodity and parts (when they break which isn't often) are available cheaply. The T-72 was first introduced in 1971 -- almost forty years ago. The Sukhoi fighter jets are sweet -- Chavez did well there. The Igla-1S is an anti-aircraft missile -- decent but not that new. Chavez is putting his country further in hock to the Russians over some paranoid fever dream and the stuff that he is buying is not that well thought out. Readers, feel free to comment and correct me but this is going to be interesting. Like I said, time for popcorn...
This just in from Andrew Breitbart -- an interesting behind-the-scenes of just who wrote the playbook for the universal health plan or Obamacare. From Joel B. Pollak, writing at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government:
Was Democrats� Health Care Strategy Written In Federal Prison?
On August 31, I headed to the health care town hall meeting of my congressional representative, Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). I suspected that she planned to stack the meeting with paid organizers, after she vowed on Real Time with Bill Maher to bring �millions� of people into the streets to support the so-called �public option.� So I brought a video camera.
A friend and I took turns filming protesters on both sides of the issue. We caught an organizer from the group Health Care for America Now (HCAN) instructing followers to block dissenting views: �So if they stand up and start asking questions, and you�re in that area, simply stand up, and start chanting� �Health care now! Health care now!��

My experience at Rep. Schakowsky�s town hall meeting that night convinced me to challenge her in the 2010 election. I had already stood up to Rep. Barney Frank at Harvard University, when I asked him about his role in the financial crisis. I could not simply watch thugs drown out the people of my own community back home, and do nothing.

The HCAN video became a YouTube sensation, the �smoking gun� in the controversy over which side of the debate was �Astroturfing��i.e. creating a false image of grass roots support. I have since discovered that the video contains clues about how the entire nationwide health care campaign was planned and executed by congressional Democrats and the White House.

It turns out that the organizer in the video is John Gaudette, the Illinois director of HCAN. Gaudette also works for a left-wing group linked to ACORN called Citizen Action/Illinois. Rep. Schakowsky sits on the Policy Council of the group, which suggests that she may have known about or even coordinated the suppression of her own constituents� views by HCAN.

The plot thickens.

Rep. Schakowsky�s husband, Robert Creamer, used to be the leader of Citizen Action/Illinois. He also founded its predecessor, Illinois Public Action, in which Ms. Schakowsky served as Program Director. He runs a political consulting firm, the Strategic Consulting Group, which lists ACORN and the SEIU among its clients and which made $541,000 working for disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

Creamer resigned from Citizen Action/Illinois after the FBI began investigating him for bank fraud and tax evasion at Illinois Public Action. He was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to five months in federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, plus eleven months of house arrest.

While in prison�or �forced sabbatical,� he called it�Creamer wrote a lengthy political manual, Listen to Your Mother: Stand Up Straight! How Progressives Can Win (Seven Locks Press, 2007).

The book was endorsed by leading Democrats and their allies, including SEIU boss Andy Stern�the most frequent visitor thus far to the Obama White House�and chief Obama strategist David Axelrod, who noted that Creamer�s tome �provides a blueprint for future victories.�

In the book, Creamer draws lessons from decades of experience on the radical left, including the teachings of arch-radical Saul Alinsky, and several episodes from Rep. Schakowsky�s political career. He also lays out a �Progressive Agenda for Structural Change,� which includes a ten-point plan for foisting universal health care on the American people in 2009:
  • �We must create a national consensus that health care is a right, not a commodity; and that government must guarantee that right.�
  • �We must create a national consensus that the health care system is in crisis.�
  • �Our messaging program over the next two years should focus heavily on reducing the credibility of the health insurance industry and focusing on the failure of private health insurance.�
  • �We need to systematically forge relationships with large sectors of the business/employer community.�
  • �We need to convince political leaders that they owe their elections, at least in part, to the groundswell of support of [sic] universal health care, and that they face political peril if they fail to deliver on universal health care in 2009.�
  • �We need not agree in advance on the components of a plan, but we must foster a process that can ultimately yield consensus.�
  • �Over the next two years, we must design and organize a massive national field program.�
  • �We must focus especially on the mobilization of the labor movement and the faith community.�
  • �We must systematically leverage the connections and resources of a massive array of institutions and organizations of all types.�
  • �To be successful, we must put in place commitments for hundreds of millions of dollars to be used to finance paid communications and mobilization once the battle is joined.�

Creamer adds: �To win we must not just generate understanding, but emotion�fear, revulsion, anger, disgust.�
And they are following this bulleted list line item by line item and are coming close to getting away with it. People, this is what happens when you elect a dirty Chicago politician to the White House, you get Chicago politics writ large. The 200+ comments are a real treat to read -- it is not hard to see which camp the commenter is in and the conservative side comes out a lot better behaved and articulate.

A skeptics dictionary

Wonderful homage to Ambrose Bierce. From Tunku Varadarajan at The Daily Beast: A taste:

Very nearly a hundred years ago, Ambrose Bierce compiled A Devil's Dictionary, in which he sought to puncture the cultural cant of his time. Here is an attempt at much shorter length to prick a very contemporary kind of cant, that which has swollen the debate on climate change to ungovernable proportions.

A is for anthropogenic: (as in anthropogenic global warming, or "AGW"), a $10 word for "man-made" which global-warmists wield as proof of expertise -- no one more so than Al Gore, who, after having invented the Internet, turned his prodigious mind to the conundrum of AGW.

B is for Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish professor whose book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, should have put Al Gore out of business forever; for the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) that aren't ready to abandon the good, carbon-burning life just yet; and for boondoggle (see "ethanol," infra).

C is for the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, the now-discredited source of much of the data used to fuel climate hysteria. In November, in an episode that was oh-so-predictably dubbed Climategate, a cache of leaked emails showed that researchers systematically hid or manipulated data that was inconsistent with the accepted narrative of man-made climate change. (Read John Tierney's clear-headed critique here.) Don't forget carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless gas once considered essential to life on earth, not to mention bubbles in Champagne. (Although it's now regarded as a poisonous pollutant, you can, however, trade it.) Think also of consensus -- the idea that science is settled by an asserted poll of experts after all objections from dissenting scientists have been suppressed.

Heh... Be sure to check the link for the Devil's Dictionary too -- some wonderful stuff there. Still very relevant after 100 years.

68th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

Sixty Eight years ago today, the Japanese attacked the Hawai'ian naval base at Pearl Harbor. That event changed the course of American history. It is an eerie thing to be looking at the wrecked hull of the Arizona, seeing the occasional drop of oil float to the surface and realize that there are still sailors on board. I have also stood near the plaque on the Mighty Mo where the Japanese surrender was signed. We forget so much of what our father's generation has done for us and for the United States. We have become complacent and are suffering for it.

Color me surprised (not so much)

From The Copenhagen Post:

Denmark rife with CO2 fraud
Denmark is the centre of a comprehensive tax scam involving CO2 quotas, in which the cheats exploit a so-called "VAT carrousel", reports Ekstra Bladet newspaper.

Police and authorities in several European countries are investigating scams worth billions of kroner, which all originate in the Danish quota register. The CO2 quotas are traded in other EU countries.

Denmark's quota register, which the Energy Agency within the Climate and Energy Ministry administers, is the largest in the world in terms of personal quota registrations. It is much easier to register here than in other countries, where it can take up to three months to be approved.

Ekstra Bladet reporters have found examples of people using false addresses and companies that are in liquidation, which haven't been removed from the register.

One of the cases, which stems from the Danish register, involves fraud of more than 8 billion kroner. This case, in which nine people have been arrested, is being investigated in England.

The market for CO2 trade has exploded in recent years and is worth an estimated 675 billion kroner globally.

And these booger-eating morons want to institute this kind of silliness in the USA? Hell No!

It is freaking cold outside

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Temps are at 17 degrees and the wind is 15 gusting to 25. Not a night to be outside... Our critters have lots of feed, water and shelter so they are fine. Perfect night for astronomy -- dead clear, no moon and the air is so clear that the lights of Abbotsford are not visible from here -- normally there is a dull glow to the north. We get about 10 nights like this per year so I do not have a large scope. Oh well...

The joys of being under the weather

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NOT... Got some low-grade stomach bug that had been nosing around my immune system for the last day to two. Feels like 30% of my brain processing power has been removed and that I have eaten a couple pounds of portland cement. Little bit of a sore throat. Two years ago, I had something like this right around the time I had to run the store payroll. Had to run the checks four times until I got everything right and then, I forgot to sign them. Had to drive into Bellingham for one employee as neither of us had noticed the omission -- everyone else caught the error... Off to the DaveCave(tm) and an early bedtime...

Global Warmingists

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Swiped from Denny

The Joy of Soy

Running down the Cobalamin links reminded me about this article on the cautions of eating unfermented Soy products:

Newest Research On Why You Should Avoid Soy
The propaganda that has created the soy sales miracle is all the more remarkable because, only a few decades ago, the soybean was considered unfit to eat - even in Asia. During the Chou Dynasty (1134-246 BC) the soybean was designated one of the five sacred grains, along with barley, wheat, millet and rice.

However, the pictograph for the soybean, which dates from earlier times, indicates that it was not first used as a food; for whereas the pictographs for the other four grains show the seed and stem structure of the plant, the pictograph for the soybean emphasizes the root structure. Agricultural literature of the period speaks frequently of the soybean and its use in crop rotation. Apparently the soy plant was initially used as a method of fixing nitrogen.

The soybean did not serve as a food until the discovery of fermentation techniques, some time during the Chou Dynasty. The first soy foods were fermented products like tempeh, natto, miso and soy sauce.

At a later date, possibly in the 2nd century BC, Chinese scientists discovered that a puree of cooked soybeans could be precipitated with calcium sulfate or magnesium sulfate (plaster of Paris or Epsom salts) to make a smooth, pale curd - tofu or bean curd. The use of fermented and precipitated soy products soon spread to other parts of the Orient, notably Japan and Indonesia.

The article is fairly long and very detailed with links to the studies. Unfermented soy is not a good thing to be chowing down on on a regular basis. One can look at the asians and see that with all the soy they are eating, they are doing just fine but taking a closer look at the actual numbers, a different picture comes forth:

Just How Much Soy Did Asians Eat?
In short, not that much, and contrary to what the industry may claim soy has never been a staple in Asia. A study of the history of soy use in Asia shows that the poor used it during times of extreme food shortage, and only then the soybeans were carefully prepared (e.g. by lengthy fermentation) to destroy the soy toxins. Yes, the Asians understood soy all right!

Many vegetarians in the USA, and Europe and Australia would think nothing of consuming 8 ounces (about 220 grams) of tofu and a couple of glasses of soy milk per day, two or three times a week. But this is well in excess of what Asians typically consume; they generally use small portions of soy to complement their meal. It should also be noted that soy is not the main source of dietary protein and that a regime of calcium-set tofu and soymilk bears little resemblance to the soy consumed traditionally in Asia.

Perhaps the best survey of what types/quantities of soy eaten in Asia comes from data from a validated, semi quantitative food frequency questionnaire that surveyed 1242 men and 3596 women who participated in an annual health check-up program in Takayama City, Japan. This survey identified that the soy products consumed were tofu (plain, fried, deep-fried, or dried), miso, fermented soybeans, soymilk, and boiled soybeans. The estimated amount of soy protein consumed from these sources was 8.00 - 4.95 g/day for men and 6.88 - 4.06 g/day for women (Nagata C, Takatsuka N, Kurisu Y, Shimizu H; J Nutr 1998, 128:209-13).

According to KC Chang, editor of Food in Chinese Culture, the total caloric intake due to soy in the Chinese diet in the 1930's was only 1.5%, compared with 65% for pork. For more information on the traditional use of soy products, contact the Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.

Curious stuff -- I use tamari and miso for cooking but not a big fan of tofu...

Just a thought - cobalamin deficiency

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Cobalamin is Vitamin B12 and is only available to us through milk and meat. If you are deficient in cobalamin, there are a number of symptoms than can manifest. From first link:
Among 141 consecutive patients with neuro-psychiatric abnormalities due to cobalamin deficiency . . . We conclude that neuropsychiatric disorders due to cobalamin deficiency occur commonly in the absence of anemia or an elevated mean cell volume and that measurements of serum methylmalonic acid and total homocysteine both before and after treatment are useful in the diagnosis of these patients.
From second link:
We describe a young single male vegetarian who developed a cobalamin-induced psychotic episode without preceding neurologic manifestations and without any hematologic symptoms.
A lot of young people experiment with vegetarian and vegan diets. Makes me wonder if that could explain a lot of the behavior at political demonstrations. A lot of them have cats as well and that would open them up to toxaplasmosis. Double whammy...
Our representatives in Washington have just our own interests at heart. And I have some oceanfront property in Colorado to sell you. From the Washington Post:
House Homeland Security Committee faces ethics inquiry
At a hearing in late March, the nation's credit card companies faced the threat of expensive new rules from an unlikely regulator: the House Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).

The committee had never before dealt with credit card issues, but Thompson warned Visa, MasterCard and others that Congress might need to impose tighter security standards costing millions of dollars to protect customers from identity theft.

Behind the scenes, some of Thompson's staff members sensed a different motive -- an attempt to pressure the companies into making political donations to the chairman, according to several former committee staff members.

Now the House ethics committee is investigating the propriety of the committee's operations, and whether its members' interactions with companies compromised its work. Within a few weeks of the hearing, Thompson collected $15,000 in donations from the credit card industry and its Washington-based lobbyists, a Washington Post analysis shows. No legislation on card security has been introduced.
And if Thompson had been a Republican, this would be headline news, not some item on page 7 below the fold. What amazes me is that these people can be bought off for as little as $15K. Shaking down the big credit card companies should net a lot more than that...

Do as I say, not as I do

Our betters are certainly being treated well. From the UK Telegraph:

Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges
On a normal day, Majken Friss Jorgensen, managing director of Copenhagen's biggest limousine company, says her firm has twelve vehicles on the road. During the "summit to save the world", which opens here tomorrow, she will have 200.

"We thought they were not going to have many cars, due to it being a climate convention," she says. "But it seems that somebody last week looked at the weather report."

Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier. The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. "We haven't got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand," she says. "We're having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden."

And the total number of electric cars or hybrids among that number? "Five," says Ms Jorgensen. "The government has some alternative fuel cars but the rest will be petrol or diesel. We don't have any hybrids in Denmark, unfortunately, due to the extreme taxes on those cars. It makes no sense at all, but it's very Danish."

The airport says it is expecting up to 140 extra private jets during the peak period alone, so far over its capacity that the planes will have to fly off to regional airports - or to Sweden - to park, returning to Copenhagen to pick up their VIP passengers.

This is not climate science, this is political theater pure and simple. Fscking hypocrites...

Career limiting move

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Memo to self -- when BASE jumping, check the surrounding territory first. From the Chicago Sun Times:
Arizona man dies after parachuting from cell tower
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. -- Authorities say a Tucson man has died after parachuting from a cell phone tower at night and hitting high-voltage power lines.

Pinal County sheriff's Lt. Tamatha Villar says 23-year-old Darrell Dunafon and two friends broke into a cell tower site about 30 miles south of Phoenix on Friday night and were parachuting off the approximately 400-foot-tall antennae.

Dunafon's parachute became tangled in nearby 12,000-volt power lines and he was shocked with a live wire.

Villar says the two friends called for help, and rescue crews turned off the power and cut Dunafon down. He had a slight pulse but was pronounced dead at a hospital in the nearby town of Casa Grande.

Dunafon was a Tucson resident who recently moved to the southeast Phoenix suburb of Queen Creek.
Darwin award for sure. This is a tragedy and I feel sorry for his friends and family but seriously, what was he thinking to jump with power lines close by...

Mr. Popularity

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Forty nine spam attempts last night. All caught, all from known spam IP addresses. Some internet entrepreneur you are, living in your mom's basement masturbating to the latest Adam Lambert video. Fscking looser...

Gateway Pundit under attack

The website Gateway Pundit has come under attack (denial of service) for posting some not-so-nice links to Obama's Safe Schools Czar�s predilection for child pornography. From Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit:
Gateway Pundit Comes Under Cyber Attack After Report On Obama Safe Schools Czar�s Child Porn Books
BREAKING: Gateway Pundit blog came under at least two cyber attacks tonight that shut down the First Things website.

This came after the report today on Barack Obama�s Safe Schools Czar�s child porn books.

Scott Baker from and Co-Host of �The B-Cast� submitted a shocking report today on Obama�s deviant Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings.

Scott Baker reported: I was recently approached by a team of independent researchers that I have known for some time and have come to trust. They prepared this report involving �Safe Schools Czar� Kevin Jennings and the organization he founded, GLSEN, and asked that I find a way to help draw attention to what they uncovered. Knowing that Gateway Pundit has followed Kevin Jennings since his appointment, as we have on The B-Cast (here, here, and here), and on (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here), I felt this would be an appropriate place for this report.
Jim's initial posts at Gateway Pundit are here and here He gives excerpts from the books that are to be given to school children to read. The excerpts are very explicit - be warned. The choices that this administration have made for its staff are stunningly inept. Their social secretary, Van Jones, John Holdren, their economists and now this guy. The one good choice he made -- McChrystal -- he doesn't listen to...

How to deal with a recession

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"So a president early in his first term is faced with a recession that includes a stubborn unemployment rate. What does he do? Why he calls a conference on unemployment to bring together business, labor, and political leaders to figure out what should be done to solve the problem by urging cooperation and planning rather than competitive, market-driven solutions."
From Steven Horwitz at The Austrian Economists He continues:
Obama? Nope, Herbert Hoover. Not only several as president in 1929, but also as Secretary of Commerce during the 1920-21 recession. In the 1920-21 case, it was all a lot of hot air as none of his plans went into practice and the economy recovered reasonably quickly.

The 1929 case was a different story, as it was out of a series of such conferences that emerged the promises to maintain nominal wages in the face of falling prices. Those promises were sufficiently kept to drive unemployment up even higher, eventually to the 25% range that characterized the depths of the Great Depression.

Thankfully nothing that bad seems to have come out of this week's conference, but given the current administration's Hoover-like distrust of private enterprise as well as its Hoover-like track record, perhaps it's only a matter of time.
Nothing like sudying the previous recessions to see what worked and what did not...

Always classy - Professor Andrew Watson

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Swiped from Theo

Where is he now - Neel Kashkari

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You know this name as he was the person administring TARP From the Washington Post:
The $700 billion man
He wears no coat though it's freezing, shines no light though it's near midnight, carries no shotgun though he's tramping on the pine-needled tracks of black bears.

He wants to be lost in these woods.

"Come on, you bums," Neel Kashkari calls to his dogs, two giant Newfoundlands. "Boys, let's go."

He is walking through the smoke of a controlled burn in the Sierra Nevadas. He is talking about the people and the life he left behind in Washington.

" . . . and it wasn't about politics, they were non-political. These people were killing themselves -- in Don's case, literally."

The moon hits his stubble, which is six days old. And the sweater he hasn't changed in three or four days. His BlackBerry -- he can't kick it -- rang once today. A year ago in D.C., it buzzed every few seconds. All night, he'd roll over to its bluish glow. His Treasury Department assistant slept with hers, powered up, on her pillow.

"It's like a dream," Kashkari says, his work boots crunching pine cones. "Sometimes I think: Was it real?"

It all began as it ended, abruptly. Kashkari was a 35-year-old business school graduate from a suburb of Akron, Ohio, who had gone to Washington in 2006 to learn how government worked. Then came the recession, and through a freakish set of circumstances, mixing pluck, cataclysm and luck, he was appointed by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson as the federal bailout chief.

Suddenly, he was in charge of $700 billion.

Congress savaged him. Wall Street Journal editorials doubted him. His home-town buddies urged him to use the money to buy the Cleveland Browns and fire the coaches. His wife spoke to him so rarely, she described them as "dead to each other." He lost sleep, gained weight and saw a close adviser, Don Hammond, suffer a heart attack at his Treasury desk. On May 1, after serving seven months under Presidents Bush and Obama, he resigned.

Within a week, Kashkari and his wife put their belongings into "indefinite storage." They moved to a cabin near the Truckee River in Northern California. "Off the map," he told his friends. He threw away his business cards, and made a list of the things he wanted to do:

1. build shed

2. chop wood

3. lose 20 pounds

4. help with Hank's book

He called his four-step program "Washington detox."
A smart man...

Long day

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Just got back from the local Chamber of Commerce's Annual General Meeting. Fun to sit down and talk with people that we generally wave to in passing. For a small sleepy community 30 miles from anywhere, things can be busy at times... Heading off to the DaveCave(tm) for email.

HP Printers - bleagh...

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Our office printer died yesterday so I went in to Costco to get a new printer. Picked up an HP OfficeJet 6500 multi-function unit (fax/scan/print) and had two observations. #1) - HP did not offer the option of just installing the driver. It installed a "suite of applications including the Yahoo Toolbar and some print-to-web app that opened up a dialog box every single time I opened a web page. I was able to uninstall these but still, to do this sort of fundamental system change without giving me the option to refuse is a very bad customer experience for me. #2) - the printer has separate print heads and ink cartridges. Priming the printer used up enough ink to drain the Magenta cartridge. If I didn't already have a couple of replacements, I could not have used the printer at all until I got another cartridge. Not a good customer experience either considering that it was 6:00PM, I had some stuff that needed printing and the Costco was 30 miles away. For small office printers, HP is one of the best but they have always, until now, been good about keeping craplications to a minimum. This is not a good trend. And yes, I will be letting HP know my feelings as well...

Like this is going to turn out well

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From The Federal Times:
Napolitano: TSA collective bargaining �can be accomplished'
Granting collective bargaining rights to Transportation Security Administration employees can be accomplished without jeopardizing aviation security, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said today.

Collective bargaining could become legal at the agency under a bill approved in September by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. A companion bill has not been introduced in the Senate.

Napolitano told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that state and local law enforcement agencies already practice collective bargaining without any harm to security.

"I believe it can be accomplished [at TSA] in such a way that we're never at one moment sacrificing one layer of security," Napolitano said.

Some Republican lawmakers were skeptical, though.

"Allowing screeners to bargain through unions could have serious consequences for TSA's mission," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. "It's important that our screeners will not be able to strike, and will not have bargaining rights that cause work slowdowns ... things just short of a strike."
Just what we need to introduce, a layer of corruption... Audit the SEIU anyone?

Hello Goodbye Dubai

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Always struck me as being over-leveraged. From Breitbart/AFP:
Opening of world's tallest tower marks end of Dubai era
Next month's opening of the Burj Dubai tower, the world's tallest building, will bring Dubai's era of exuberant expansion to a juddering halt as hundreds of other building projects are already mothballed.

Plunging property prices and weak demand had already put a dampener on new schemes even before last week's shock announcement by state-owned giant Dubai World that it wants to halt debt payments for six months.

"It's not exactly going to improve investor confidence," said Matthew Green, associate director at property agency CB Richard Ellis, which has reported a 55 percent year-on-year drop in downtown Dubai commercial rental rates and a 67 percent fall outside the centre.
Dubai has nothing to offer -- no oil, no energy, no resources, no water. They leveraged the farm to build a New Jerusalem and now that people are not buying in, they are in deep financial trouble. Shades of the Ryugyong in NoKo.

It's just that warming thing

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Heh -- Al Gore is not the hot ticket he once was. From Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters:
Al Gore Cancels $1,200 Per Handshake Event In Copenhagen
Al Gore apparently has canceled a high-priced speaking engagement during the upcoming climate change conference in Copenhagen.

As NewsBusters reported Tuesday, the Nobel Laureate was slated to lecture about his new book "Our Choice" where attendees could pay over $1,200 a ticket for the right to meet the Global Warmingist-in-Chief and have their picture taken with him.

According to Danish newspaper Berlingske, this has been canceled due to "unforeseen changes" to Gore's schedule.
An inconvenient something or other. Hope he has his money with Bernie as I think that pot 'o gold is drying up...

Back again

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More later -- a good auction but I wish I had about 3,000 sq ft more shop space...

A simple idea

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Had the thought that the first Climate Scientist that comes clean will retain a lot of credibility in the real world. Who will that be... JH?
Something very scary happened in Atlanta on November 17th. From The Blogmocracy:
Dry Run for Jihad?
I was listening to KNZR1560 out of Bakersfield today and Jaz McKay (a host who has Pam Geller on frequently) was talking about this. Seems AirTran flight 297 from Atlanta to Houston was delayed due to Muslims acting up as usual. Here is an eyewitness accounting of what when on, which you will never hear on the MSM.
One week ago, I went to Ohio on business and to see my father. On Tuesday, November the 17th, I returned home. If you read the papers the 18th you may have seen a blurb where a AirTran flight was cancelled from Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get off of his cell phone before takeoff. It was on Fox.

This was NOT what happened.

I was in 1st class coming home. 11 Muslim men got on the plane in full attire. 2 sat in 1st class and the rest peppered themselves throughout the plane all the way to the back. As the plane taxied to the runway the stewardesses gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with. At that time, one of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively. This took the 1st stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones were not permitted at the time. He ignored her as if she was not there.

The 2nd man who answered the phone did the same and this took out the 2nd stewardess. In the back of the plane at this time, 2 younger Muslims, one in the back, isle, and one in front of him, window, began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before, and were very loud about it. Now�.they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad. If a Muslim man goes into a strip club, he has to view the woman via mirror with his back to her. (don�t ask me�.I don�t make the rules, but I�ve studied). The 3rd stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time. To which one of the men said �shut up infidel dog!� She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic. At that exact moment, all 11 of them got up and started to walk the cabin. This is where I had had enough! I got up and started to the back where I heard a voice behind me from another Texan twice my size say �I got your back.� I grabbed the man who had been on the phone by the arm and said �you WILL go sit down or you Will be thrown from this plane!� As I �led� him around me to take his seat, the fellow Texan grabbed him by the back of his neck and his waist and headed out with him. I then grabbed the 2nd man and said, �You WILL do the same!� He protested but adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to go. As I escorted him forward the plane doors open and 3 TSA agents and 4 police officers entered. Me and my new Texan friend were told to cease and desist for they had this under control. I was happy to oblige actually. There was some commotion in the back, but within moments, all 11 were escorted off the plane. They then unloaded their luggage.
More at the website -- just because they haven't struck since 9/11 does not mean that they are not out there, probing, planning, calculating. This is terror, not human caused disaster. I am by no means a chemist but there are binary explosives that can be brought through airport security without raising an eyebrow. There are ceramic weapons that can pass undetected through all but the newest of sub-millimeter whole body scanners. Hell, a fully charged laptop battery has about the same potential energy as a hand grenade. You do not engage these a**holes in dialog -- you beat them down until they slink off to their caves and jerk off to grainy beheading videos. What we are seeing is pure evil walking the earth. A generation of lost children trained to worship the prophet of satan.

Off for a day

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Heading down to the auction in an hour or so -- couple places in Seattle that I want to check out today (Seattle City Light surplus store and Seattle Pottery Supply for some forge chemicals) and getting up bright and early for the bidding wars tomorrow. I'll have the netbook with me but no word as to internet availability at the hotel.

Jon Stewart Talks Climategate

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You know when you have made it when Jon Stewart satirizes you:
Poor Al Gore, Global Warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented. Oh the Irony...

How not to manage a nation

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As much as I am pissed at Obama, I am also very happy that I am not living anywhere else. North Korea for example... From the London Times:
North Koreans in shock as cash is 'banned'
All cash transactions in North Korea have been frozen after the Government�s shock decision to revalue the won currency in an effort to crack down on the country�s burgeoning free-market economy.

In the capital, Pyongyang, today only the few shops and restaurants permitted to trade in foreign currencies, patronised by the privileged elite and the city�s small foreign population, were open for business.

All other enterprises and services based on cash, including markets, long-distance bus services, barbers, saunas and bath houses, have been suspended until the revaluation is completed next week.

There was confusion after the announcement of the measure, which requires North Koreans to swap existing won notes with new ones at an exchange rate of one to 100, knocking two zeroes off their value. There is a cap of 100,000 won (�419) per family, which means that anyone with significant holdings of cash will have their savings wiped out.
What a complete and perfect example of mismanagement and why strong central government simply does not work. Those poor people...

Heh... Damage control

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That July 2011 Afghanistan withdrawal date -- maybe not so much... From FOX News:
Gates Signals Afghanistan Withdrawal Date Could Move
The Pentagon will "evaluate" next year whether the military can meet its goal of starting to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by July 2011, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday under tough questioning, signaling that the withdrawal date could move back if violence spirals out of control.

President Obama said in announcing the timeline Tuesday night that the withdrawal would be based on conditions on the ground. But Sen. John McCain pressed Gates on Capitol Hill, calling the scenario "logically incoherent" and saying the national security team needs to choose which is more important: sticking to the timeline or providing security.

Gates said U.S. forces should be able to move out of "uncontested areas" by the summer of 2011 but that the United States would not transfer security responsibility to the Afghans in any province until they can stand up on their own. He said the security team would review the situation at the end of 2010 to see whether the military "can meet that objective" with regard to the timeline.

"If it appears that the strategy's not working and that we are not going to be able to transition in 2011 then we will take a hard look at the strategy itself," he said. "We're not going to just throw these guys into the swimming pool and then walk away."
Nice to see that some people are still willing and able to do their jobs in this administration.

Text of Obama's speech tonight

The transcript can be found here: Afghanistan Speech The number of times "I" was said: 45 The number of times "Victory" was said: 0 Nothing like telling our enemies: "Hey, we'll be outta here in three years, just hold tight until then - OK?"

Big auction Thursday

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Haven't been to a good auction for a while. I like it for the theater as well as for the deals to be found. When you get two people bidding for a $30K piece of equipment, it is a lot of fun to watch the interplay between them and the auctioneer. Well, CNC Machining and Fabrication of Kirkland, WA is throwing in the towel and auctioning off their shop. Lots of nice big iron there but I am interested in tooling, a good vice or two and anything interesting that might catch my eye. The big CNC systems are around $300K each so it will be interesting to see what they go for (and watching the people as they bid on them!). My other favorite item at auctions is that, with any industrial facility of this size, there was a person whose job it was to keep things running. The lots in that area are great as it is a lot of small parts and electronics that are perfect for my interests and these frequently go for pennies on the dollar. Cheap fun!

Monckton weighs in on Climategate

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I knew this was coming and have been waiting for it with baited breath. Lord Christopher Monckton just published a 43-page report on his analysis of Climategate and what the leaked documents, files and emails revealed about the state of climate research and global warming in general:
Climategate: Caught Green-Handed!
The whistleblower deep in the basement of one of the ugly, modern tower-blocks of the dismal, windswept University of East Anglia could scarcely have timed it better.

In less than three weeks, the world�s governing class � its classe politique � would meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, to discuss a treaty to inflict an unelected and tyrannical global government on us, with vast and unprecedented powers to control all once-free world markets and to tax and regulate the world�s wealthier nations for its own enrichment: in short, to bring freedom, democracy, and prosperity to an instant end worldwide, at the stroke of a pen, on the pretext of addressing what is now known to be the non-problem of manmade �global warming�.
The full report available in PDF format here. Sitting here, eating dinner (turkey leftovers) and grinning...

Saves the cost of a trial

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They got the guy who killed the four officers Sunday. From the Seattle Times:
Lakewood police shooting suspect killed by officer in South Seattle early today
Maurice Clemmons, the suspect wanted in the slaying of four Lakewood police officers, was shot and killed in South Seattle early this morning by a Seattle police officer making a routine check of a stolen car.

The shooting occurred about the same time as Pierce County sheriff's detectives took into custody a man believed to have acted as a getaway driver in Sunday's slayings of the Lakewood officers.

Police also booked three people into jail on suspicion of providing assistance to Clemmons, said sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer.

Several other people also will be taken into custody for helping Clemmons, Troyer said.
What happened:
The officer was on routine patrol when he saw a car with the hood up and the engine running, police officials said.

The officer ran the license plate and determined the car had been stolen, said Seattle Assistant Chief Jim Pugel.

The car had been reported stolen from the 4800 block of South Chicago Street about 12:45 a.m., a law enforcement source said.

As the officer sat in his patrol car doing paperwork on the stolen car, he noticed a man was approaching the driver's side of the patrol car from behind.

The officer immediately recognized the man as matching the description of Clemmons and got out of his patrol car, Pugel said.

"He ordered the person to stop. He ordered the person to show his hands, that person would not show his hands, and also began to run away counterclockwise around the vehicle," Pugel said.

The officer again told him to stop and he didn't comply, Pugel said.

As the officer drew his gun, the man "reached into his waist area and moved," the department said in a written statement.

The officer then fired several shots at the man, striking him at least twice, the statement said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man collapsed near some bushes on the north side of the street, the statement said.

The man has been tentatively identified as Clemmons based on his description and other information, Pugel said.

A check of the serial number on the handgun found on Clemmons showed that it belonged to one of the Lakewood police officers, Pugel said.
Much has been made of Governor Huckabee's pardoning this moke. Turns out the facts are a bit different -- Clemmons had committed Burglary and also Robbery and at age 16, was sentenced to 108 years in jail. Huckabee did not pardon Clemmons, he commuted his sentence from 108 years to 47 years which opened him up for parole. From an interview with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: Now, did you study it? Did you study it? I mean, look, governors have a lot of this stuff.


O'REILLY: Did you study this guy? Did you spend a lot of time on it, or did you just take the advice of your advisers?

HUCKABEE: No, I looked at every case file, and I had 1,200 of these a year. This is what people need to understand. Ninety-two percent of the time they were denied. But in this case, the judge in the case was also recommending and the parole board on a 5-0 vote, because at the age of 16, the sentence he got for the crimes he committed back in 1989 was excessive for anything else that was in Arkansas.

O'REILLY: OK, but it was a bad guy in prison, and the prosecutors told you, so they say, "Hey, this is a hard-core guy. This isn't some kid who went wrong."

HUCKABEE: We didn't have any information from the prosecutors. We sent notices, which is the practice in Arkansas, to five different people: the attorney general, secretary of state, the prosecutor, the judge, and law enforcement. The only official that we have record of getting notification from is the judge who agreed with the recommendation of the parole board. So that's what we acted upon, what I acted upon. I'm responsible for that. And, you know, my heart is broken for four families tonight.

O'REILLY: Well, it's not your fault, governor. I mean, look, you've got 1,200 of these cases a year. You've got to look at them. I'm not saying it's your fault. I don't think anybody watching thinks it's your fault. But the judges in Washington state, come on. I mean, this guy moves from your state, Arkansas, to Washington state, and then he racks up eight felony charges. Eight felonies, including the rape of a 12-year-old.

HUCKABEE: That's inexcusable, Bill.

O'REILLY: And these clowns, these judges give him a $15,000 walk, which he makes through a bail bondsman. And I mean � and then they don't even return our calls to say, like you are right now, "Here's why we did it." I mean, this is insane. When you have a guy like that, a rape charge against a 12-year-old, and you let the guy out on $15,000? That's � there's no excuse on earth for that, governor. Would you agree?

HUCKABEE: I would totally agree, Bill. And one of the things that's sad is that, after this guy was commuted, that just made him parole-eligible. Then he qualified for parole and was paroled. But he violated his parole in Arkansas, was put back in prison. Now, here's the real tragedy. The prosecutors failed to file the paperwork in a timely way, and so they had to drop the charges. That's what released him the second time.

O'REILLY: And then he got back out again.

HUCKABEE: Then he went to Washington.

O'REILLY: But the judges in Washington state, they knew all of his history from age 16 onward.

HUCKABEE: Yes. But at this point, this guy is a career criminal...

O'REILLY: He's a career criminal.

HUCKABEE: ...with escalating sense of violence and psychotic behavior. And, no, there's no explanation for why he was out on the streets.
A tragedy but it is good that this asshole is dead.

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