September 2010 Archives

Just Wow!

The Cowboy Junkies played for a good solid two and a half hours with two encores. A great performance -- it shows that they have been playing for a while. The band is absolutly tight.

Winning hearts and minds

How not to promote an agenda:
Hat tip to Anthony. More at his website.

Heading into town in a few hours

Got tickets for this: An Evening with the Cowboy Junkies The Mt. Baker Theater is a gorgeous venue -- perfect acoustics. Looking forward to this show.

Sucks to be you - Al Sharpton

Good move -- claim to be a 'leader' and then flaunt the laws. From the New York Post:
Sharpton 538G tax bill
Al Sharpton is fending off Uncle Sam again after the IRS took legal action claiming he owes more than a half million dollars in taxes from last year.

The IRS slapped Sharpton with a lien saying he owes an estimated $538,652, the Detroit News reported.
And his non-profit is also in financial kimchee -- the Washington Post:
Sharpton's organization still paying back taxes
The Rev. Al Sharpton's civil rights organization, the National Action Network, said Tuesday that it is putting its deep financial difficulties behind it.

The statement came in response to a news report providing more details about the organization's shaky financial footing at the end of 2008. Tax records show it was constantly in debt and owed nearly $2 million in back taxes.
What a bufoon...

There ought be a law

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With all of the problems the USA is facing right now, you think that the legislators would focus on something a little less trivial. From Yahoo News/Associated Press:
Senate votes to turn down volume on TV commercials
Legislation to turn down the volume on loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for their remote controls looks like it'll soon become law.

The Senate late Wednesday unanimously passed a bill to require television stations and cable companies to implement industry standards capping the volume of commercials and equalizing the volume between ads and other programming.

The House has passed similar legislation but minor differences have to be worked out when Congress returns to Washington after the Nov. 2 election.
The idea that something like this needs to have Federal regulation just shows how far down the big government path we have strayed. Let the market self-regulate. If you do not like the advertisement, do not buy the product. End of story...

Moving the attention away from all the bedbugs

There is a reason I do not live in New York City. I have visited and had a lot of fun but the idea of living there gives me a case of the blue-blind paralytic willies. Reason #1,247 - from FOX News:
New York Apartment Overrun by Venomous Spiders
The poisonous brown recluse spider is a very rare sight in New York City. So imagine one woman's surprise upon finding the venomous creature in her sink.

Gail Ingram claims she found the first recluse spider in the sink of her apartment on Gramercy Park in Manhattan. And despite the wave of bedbugs sweeping through the city -- the latest such infestation was discovered in shock jock Howard Stern's office -- poisonous spiders are a different story entirely.

Yet there it was.
Maybe they moved in to eat the bedbugs...
From Yahoo/CNBC:
Will Dodd-Frank Help High Frequency Traders Crash The Bond Market Too?
Lawmakers may have unintentionally opened the bond-market up to high frequency traders by passing controversial derivatives-clearing requirements as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill.

The Blanche Lincoln-sponsored clearing-house requirements will force certain derivatives, including many credit default swaps (CDS) on corporate bonds, to be cleared by centralized clearing houses and traded on swaps exchanges. The hope is the this will make the market in derivatives more transparent and reduce counter-party risk.

Very little attention has been paid to the likely unintended consequences of this move. Let's begin with a simple observation: government intervention into established market processes always produces unknown and unintended consequences.
Emphasis mine -- Boy Howdy! Let us not forget Dodd's comment back in mid-September:
�I don't know what it is. I never heard of it before,� said a flabbergasted Dodd to TPMDC. �It's kind of unique isn't it?�
He never read (or comprehended) the bill that carries his name. Thirty-five days and counting to get these morons out of office...

Long day and light posting

The friend who is working on her truck ran into a day's lead time for some parts so she and I spent today mucking out the shop and getting some stuff moved around. She has a genius for organization so the place is looking so much better. She is also a morning person -- I am not so I got up a few hours earlier than normal to meet and work with her. Went out to dinner and just sitting down to the computer for the first time today. I'll maybe do a post or two but no guarantees...

The Kombucha kerfuffle

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Kombucha was a popular item at our store. I say "was" because the US FDA and the TTB decided to get themselves involved. A good writeup on the whole mess can be found at Inc. Magazine
Small Kombucha Brewers Find Themselves in Hot Water
Demand for very few products has grown as fast as that for kombucha, the fizzy, tea-like beverage with the tart, vinegary taste. Packed with probiotics because it's brewed with a living culture, kombucha has been promoted for aiding digestion, boosting energy, and providing other health benefits.

During the product's meteoric rise, celebrities talked it up, Whole Foods embraced it, and dozens of small brewers sprang up to meet burgeoning demand. Sales doubled annually for the past four years, reaching $150 million in 2009.

Then, just as suddenly as stores started stocking kombucha, various brands of the drink disappeared from beverage cases around the country.

What happened? Interviews with small producers and industry insiders suggest an intricate web of events that led to the nascent's industry implosion. The story seems to begin with a retired software entrepreneur in Maine who wanted to teach his daughter a lesson in entrepreneurship, and ends with a federal inquiry into the tea�s content. Along the way, the country's largest natural foods retailer pressured a major distributor into halting national delivery of kombucha.

The Communist Manifesto

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I was listening to Mark Levin's radio show this afternoon while driving back from Bellingham. He is opening each show by reading a bit from the Communist Manifesto. Today, he presented this little list of Communist goals -- my comments inline:
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
Hell no -- now get off my lawn! Eminent domain has been misused more often than it has been beneficial.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
Don't we already have this? 2% of the population accounts for 40% of tax revenue and almost 50% of the population pays nothing.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
Being talked about as we speak. Thanks a lot Bill. Anything over two million is taxed at confiscatory rates and for a lifetime of work and thrift, $2M is not unusual.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
This is already being talked about in a business sense -- from the Wall Street Journal
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
The Fed. Fannie Mae. Freddy Mac. Look at how well these institutions are doing...
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
Oh -- like Obama's Internet Kill bill? How about his backdoor to social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc...)
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
How about Government ownership to two of the three major automotive companies, how about Government ownership of many small and not so small financial institutions. As for ag -- look at what the EPA and FWS are doing to hurt our agricultural ability. They are manufacturing a crisis so they can step in and save us.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
And the pay is damn good -- public sector jobs pay a lot better than equivalent private sector ones; better benefits too. Only problem is who pays for all of this.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
Seeing this right now with clueless "urban planning" that fail to take into account people's preferences and lifestyle choices.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children�s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.
And we are seeing problems with this right now -- many schools are excellent but many are horrible and with unionized teachers, there is no way to fire bad ones. Eerie how close we are to Marx's ideal society...

Who are you

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Remember this asshat -- North Carolina Congressman Bob Etheridge Well, some people are letting the soon-to-be former Congressman know:
Hat tip Big Journalism.

An interesting news item

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Consider the following paragraph:
Over the weekend the FBI announced that it was investigating Joe Iosbaker for possible connections to overseas terror groups. Iosbaker and his wife Stephanie Weiner, both anti-war activists, are suspected of activities �concerning the material support of terrorism.�
Variations of the above are being reported in the major Chicago news outlets. What is not being reported is that Mr. Iosbaker is an SEIU Union Steward -- basically a middle-level manager. From Warner Todd Huston at Breitbart's Big Journalism:
Chicago Media Omit Fact That FBI Terror Suspect is Chief Steward for SEIU
One might think it would be big news that a Chief Steward for a local chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is being investigated by the FBI for possible connection to overseas terror networks. Apparently, though, several Chicago news outlets didn�t see a reason to add this little fact to their stories.

And even if it wasn�t big news that the FBI is investigating a union member, one would think that his profession would at least make an appearance somewhere in properly formulated coverage of the story� right?
A bit more:
According to the SEIU Local 73 website, Iosbaker is listed as the Local 73 Chief Steward. Iosbaker was also quite active earlier in the year protesting the closing of the Republic Windows & Doors factory that made the national news. Iosbaker was then listed as an executive board member of the SEIU.

It is interesting to note that this fact escaped most of Chicago�s TV coverage. Michelle Gallardo of ABC 7 TV seems to have forgotten to mention the union connection, CBS channel 2 also missed this fact, WGN TV channel 9 also forgot to mention the SEIU, and Channel 5 NBC also missed it, all accidentally I�m sure.
But it isn�t just TV that missed this fact. The Associated Press also seems to be blind to the fact that Iosbaker is a union operative.
And the media wonders why their numbers are down and why FOX is cleaning their clock...

Not the way to go through life

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Meet David Jonathan Winkelman.
From The Register:
Iowa police mugshot exposes world's worst tattoo
Spare a thought if you will today for David Jonathan Winkelman, a 48-year-old Iowa man whose arrest last week for failing to appear in court to answer a minor misdemeanor charge prompted his rapid elevation to net celebrity.

The reason for Winkelman's fifteen minutes of fame is pretty clear, because the silly sod's mugshot shows an unmissable tattoo for radio station KORB.

The poor bloke has been promoting KORB since 2000, when he and his stepson Richard Goddard responded to a disc jockey's offer of a six-figure sum for anyone who tattooed the station�s ident on their forehead.

The pair duly obliged, and presented themselves at the station sporting �93 Rock� and �Quad City Rocker" tats, only to be told they were the victims of a jolly jape.

The two subsequently sued, although Winkelman later dropped his suit and a judge dismissed Goddard's claim when he failed to show in court.

Winkelman would probably have lived out the rest of life in relative peace, had he presented himself before the beak to answer a charge of "operating a motor vehicle without the owner�s consent", and therefore avoided exposure in the Scott County Jail Inmate Listing.

To add insult to injury, The Smoking Gun explains that KORB changed its name following the tattoo kerfuffle, and is now known as "KQCS, Star 93.5".
Words fail...

Over-extending your reach

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One should #1) - never get over-confident and #2) - consider your reach to be significantly larger than it is in reality. These two could cause your ass to be bit. Take for example Richard Trumka, President of the AFL/CIO labor union:
Again, Trumka is saying:
we need to fundamentally restructure our economy and re-establish popular control over the private corporations which have distorted our economy and hijacked our government. That�s a long-term job, but one we should start now.
Excuse me. I am involved in a few local private corporations that hire people and I like to think that these people are well paid and happy in their jobs. WTF are you saying -- are you saying that you have the right to come into my business and shake me down? You will be met with some righteous 'community organizing' if you try. FSCKing moron...

More on the Stuxnet worm

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Now that news is starting to come out of Iran, people are starting to piece things together. From Simon at Classical Values:
Plant Breakdown
Over the last few days I have been piecing together a number of reports on the Iranian nuclear efforts. The reports lead me to some interesting conclusions/speculations. More on the conclusions/speculations later. First let me start with the breakdown of Iran's enrichment centrifuges from July of this year.
Iran has suffered a series of technical setbacks to its nuclear programme in the past 12 months, triggering suggestions that western intelligence agencies are sabotaging its likely ambition to build an atomic weapon.

As Iran continues to defy international sanctions, western security analysts say the country is making progress towards the ability to test a nuclear bomb in the next few years.

But a series of recent reverses, notably affecting Iran's ability to enrich uranium, is prompting debate over whether the programme is being undermined by sabotage, sanctions, or the incompetence of the regime's scientists.

In the past year, a dramatic reduction has taken place in the number of centrifuges enriching uranium at the regime's nuclear plant in Natanz.

In May 2009, the International Atomic Energy Agency said there were 4,920 operational centrifuges. Twelve months later the IAEA stated that Iran was running only 3,936, a reduction of 20 per cent.

Iran also appears to be having difficulties on other fronts. Ivan Oelrich, of the Federation of American Scientists, said the centrifuges were only working at 20 per cent efficiency. The latest IAEA report says that 4,592 centrifuges are installed at Natanz - but are sitting idle and doing nothing at all.
Well isn't that interesting?
Heh... An interesting read and Iran is the first successful target of a weapons-grade worm.

The future of Oil for Iran and Venezuela

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A very long and fascinating post over at M. Simon's Power and Control:
Oil Outlook
This is a really long piece by A. Jacksonian. He wrote this as a series of e-mail exchanges with me and I edited it making some minor corrections which A. Jacksonian has approved. It covers the outlook for oil production for the next 5 to 10 years. The short version: Iran and Venezuela will probably be dropping out of the oil market as producers.
First published in 2007 but well worth the fifteen minutes to read...

Long day

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Got up four hours earlier than normal to clear out some crap in the shop and yes, I did find the gear puller. Tina has the right front end of her truck successfully disassembled and we are ready to press in the new bearing tomorrow. Had to run into town to pick up four large HP 8100 printers that I won at a local university auction. Everyone is going for the small desktop ink-jet printers but they cost 20-30 cents/page where these are less than a penny. Plus, they will last for ever. At $50/each it was a no-brainer. One is already in the DaveCave(tm), one will be in the Server Room (slash camping and winter gear storage room) and I will have two for other projects. Had a water board meeting tonight and then, talked for about 90 minutes with a local businessman about helping to build up their business. Nice people but never run a business before. Heating up an Amy's Non-Dairy Pot Pie for dinner. A customer had requested we carry them and I picked one up at a local food co-op to see if they are anything special. I'll know in ten minutes. Surf for a little bit, head out to the DaveCave(tm) for some email and then to bed. Long day tomorrow too...

Jackie Chan v/s The Eye of Sauron

From the ever wonderful Miss Cellania


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The San Francisco Chronic has to be one of the more liberal newspapers out there and for them to print something like this:
No endorsement in U.S. Senate race
Californians are left with a deeply unsatisfying choice for the U.S. Senate this year. The incumbent, Democrat Barbara Boxer, has failed to distinguish herself during her 18 years in office. There is no reason to believe that another six-year term would bring anything but more of the same uninspired representation. The challenger, Republican Carly Fiorina, has campaigned with a vigor and directness that suggests she could be effective in Washington - but for an agenda that would undermine this nation's need to move forward on addressing serious issues such as climate change, health care and immigration.
I was never expecting them to endorse Carly but to come down so hard on Barbara is unusual to say the least. A bit more:
Boxer, first elected in 1992, would not rate on anyone's list of most influential senators. Her most famous moments on Capitol Hill have not been ones of legislative accomplishment, but of delivering partisan shots. Although she is chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, it is telling that leadership on the most pressing issue before it - climate change - was shifted to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., because the bill had become so polarized under her wing.

For some Californians, Boxer's reliably liberal voting record may be reason enough to give her another six years in office. But we believe Californians deserve more than a usually correct vote on issues they care about. They deserve a senator who is accessible, effective and willing and able to reach across party lines to achieve progress on the great issues of our times. Boxer falls short on those counts.
That one is going to leave a mark. One last quote:
Boxer's campaign, playing to resentment over Fiorina's wealth, is not only an example of the personalized pettiness that has infected too much of modern politics, it is also a clear sign of desperation.
Carly Fiorina earned her money a dollar at a time. Her managerial and organizational skills promoted Compaq to the head of the line at a time when the competetion for servers was cut-throat. She will bring some much needed skills to the Senate floor.


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Bernie Marcus is the CEO and co-founder of Home Depot. In this video, he apologizes for creating 300,000 jobs:
Very high geekdom. I have been following the Stuxnet worm since its initial discovery this summer (I am on a few black-hat email lists). It was precisely written and specifically targets a particular operating system running particular software. Yesterday, Computerworld published this news item:
Iran confirms massive Stuxnet infection of industrial systems
Officials in Iran have confirmed that the Stuxnet worm infected at least 30,000 Windows PCs in the country, multiple Iranian news services reported on Saturday.

Experts from Iran's Atomic Energy Organization also reportedly met this week to discuss how to remove the malware.

Stuxnet, considered by many security researchers to be the most sophisticated malware ever, was first spotted in mid-June by VirusBlokAda, a little-known security firm based in Belarus. A month later Microsoft acknowledged that the worm targeted Windows PCs that managed large-scale industrial-control systems in manufacturing and utility companies.

Those control systems, called SCADA, for "supervisory control and data acquisition," operate everything from power plants and factory machinery to oil pipelines and military installations.

According to researchers with U.S.-based antivirus vendor Symantec, Iran was hardest hit by Stuxnet. Nearly 60% of all infected PCs in the earliest-known infection were located in that country.

Since then, experts have amassed evidence that Stuxnet has been attacking SCADA systems since at least January 2010. Meanwhile, others have speculated that Stuxnet was created by a state-sponsored team of programmers, and designed to cripple Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor.
Even if they do wipe the disks and re-install Windows, some mole comes along with a USB thumb-drive and the fnu starts all over again. If they just remove the software, I bet there is a hidden copy lying dormant that checks for this, waits and day and starts re-infecting.

The Gold Bubble

Wondering if Gold is right for you? Read this:

The Gold Bubble
From ancient Egypt to the Middle Ages and beyond, adventurers have tried to transmute base metals into gold. They've used private incantations, exotic lore, and secret formulas. Nothing worked - until now. A group of entrepreneurs has just discovered a way of taking nickel, copper, and zinc and turning them into bullion. It's called the television commercial.

Speaking with the authoritative voices of Wall Street gurus, spokesmen - including the old Nixonian G. Gordon Liddy, commentator Glenn Beck, and actor Dann Florek - have persuaded thousands of investors to trade their hard-earned cash for gold. And why not? After all, the goldbugs point out, the government can print money, but it can't print gold. The precious metal has tripled in value since 2001, and it may rise even higher, providing an ideal hedge against inflation. Plus, throughout human history, gold has always had some value. In the spokesmen's words, "it's never been worth nothing" unlike certain securities that went south in the recession.

This all sounds plausible until the prospective investor takes a second look and realizes that there's no logical reason that gold should retain its stratospheric value. One can measure a company by its price-to-earnings ratio, its rate of dividends, its management competence, and its history. Gold, by contrast, is simply an element dug from the ground. Its price is determined by what people can be persuaded to pay for it, not any intrinsic worth. Further, gold is not only prohibitive to purchase these days; it's expensive to keep, lying in a guarded safe-deposit box.

In his multiple-edition book Stocks for the Long Run, Jeremy Siegel comments on the questionable history of gold for the U.S. investor. He charts the rise of two separate dollars invested in 1801 - the first in stocks, the second in gold. The dollar invested in stocks, he notes, would be worth $8.8 million today; the dollar invested in gold would be worth $14.

It's true that gold has enjoyed a dramatic rise in price over the last few years. But so did dot-com companies and real estate before their bubbles burst. It's well to remember, too, that gold produces no tangible income. Companies do. Gold provides no jobs (except, of course, for those who peddle it). Companies can. And gold isn't regulated. Companies are.

Ergo: gullible viewers should keep a 24-carat caveat emptor in mind every time they pick up the remote.

Not to say that you shouldn't have an ounce or two stashed away for those pesky TEOTWAWKI moments but as an investment? If it was such a good investment, people would be very very quiet while buying up as much of it as they could. They wouldn't be blatting it out on the airwaves. For a level-headed look at the metals market, KitCo is by far the best place.

The Bilderberg Group

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An interesting observation from James Delingpole at the UK Telegraph:
Global Cooling and the New World Order
Bilderberg. Whether you believe it�s part of a sinister conspiracy which will lead inexorably to one world government or whether you think it�s just an innocent high-level talking shop, there�s one thing that can�t be denied: it knows which way the wind is blowing.

At its June meeting in Sitges, Spain (unreported and held in camera, as is Bilderberg�s way), some of the world�s most powerful CEOs rubbed shoulders with notable academics and leading politicians. They included: the chairman of Fiat, the Irish Attorney General Paul Gallagher, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, Henry Kissinger, Bill Gates, Dick Perle, the Queen of the Netherlands, the editor of the Economist�. Definitely not Z-list, in other words.

Which is what makes one particular item on the group�s discussion agenda so tremendously significant. See if you can spot the one I mean:
The 58th Bilderberg Meeting will be held in Sitges, Spain 3 � 6 June 2010. The Conference will deal mainly with Financial Reform, Security, Cyber Technology, Energy, Pakistan, Afghanistan, World Food Problem, Global Cooling, Social Networking, Medical Science, EU-US relations.

Yep, that�s right. Global Cooling.

Which means one of two things.

Either it was a printing error.

Or the global elite is perfectly well aware that global cooling represents a far more serious and imminent threat to the world than global warming, but is so far unwilling to admit it except behind closed doors.

Let me explain briefly why this is a bombshell waiting to explode.
Heh... Told 'ya Just one taste more:
Our fuel bills have risen inexorably; our countryside, our views and our property values have been ravaged by hideous wind farms; our holidays have been made more expensive; our cost of living has been driven up by green taxes; our freedoms have been curtailed in any number of pettily irritating ways from what kind of light bulbs we are permitted to use to how we dispose of our rubbish. And to what end? If man-made global warming was really happening and really a problem we might possibly have carried on putting up with all these constraints on our liberty and assaults on our income. But if it turns out to have been a myth��

Well then, all bets are off.
Well worth reading the entire article

Lost hope

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Heh... From the National Journal:
Even Shepard Fairey's Losing Hope
The artist whose poster of Barack Obama became a rallying image during the hope-and-change election of 2008 says he understands why so many people have lost faith.

In an exclusive interview with National Journal on Thursday, Shepard Fairey expressed his disappointment with the president -- a malaise that seems representative of many Democrats who had great expectations for Obama.
Gee -- you elect someone who has never managed anything, whose educational stats are kept behind a firewall (and given Obama's ego, had he done well in school, he would be trumpeting them to show how smart he was), whose place of birth is up for grabs and who has no proven political track record (voted 'present' during his term in the Senate) and you wonder why he is Presidency is failing? Really? A bit more -- this wonderful clueless paragraph just jumped out at me:
"There's a lot of stuff completely out of Obama's control or any of the Democrats' control," Fairey allowed. "But I think there's something a little deeper in terms of the optimism of the younger voter that's happening. They wanted somebody who was going to fight against the status quo, and I don't think that Obama has done that."
Excuuuuuuuse me... The Democrats control the House. The Democrats control the Senate. The President is a Democrat. What part of "out of Obama's control" are you referring to.
From the Boston Herald:
John Kerry: Democrats� woes stem from uninformed voters
A testy U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry yesterday blamed clueless voters with short attention spans for the uphill battle beleaguered Democrats are facing against Republicans across the nation.

�We have an electorate that doesn�t always pay that much attention to what�s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what�s happening,� Kerry told reporters after touring the Boston Medical Center yesterday.
I will give Senator Kerry this little word of advise -- the sleeping public has been awakened by your corruption and purblind ignorance and, at this stage of the game, we probably know more about the key issues than you do. We will not go away, we will not stand down. Your job is to represent US and if you do not do your job, you will be fired.

A bit of fun in town - update

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Well that didn't take long now did it...
I do hope they take this to heart -- the restaurant in question does have a place in the community and if someone came in that knew how to run a business, it could be turned around quickly.

That is it for the night

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Long day today and working at home in the shop tomorrow. A friend is using our shop and barn to work on her truck and now I have to move a bunch of crap to make room for her (and find the gear puller that I told her I had). An hour or two in the DaveCave(tm) and then to bed...

A bit of fun in town

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A local restaurant is having some troubles -- the owners have never run a business before and they simply do not posses a business mindset. Someone sent me a link to this post at the Bellingham Craigslist Rants and Raves. This about sums things up...

Staring down the barrel of a gun

We are a couple hours away from being royally dumped on. The air is abnormally warm and the humidity is palpable. Perfect conditions for the first...

I'll let Cliff Mass tell the story:

The First Atmospheric River of the Season

Some of the most important wintertime weather features of our region are the plumes of moisture that stream northeastward out of the tropics and subtropics. In the discipline these plumes are often called "atmospheric rivers" and the atmospheric river that is often discussed in the media is the "pineapple express." This weekend the first major atmospheric river of the season will strike our region, specifically central and northern Vancouver Island and adjacent portions of British Columbia.

Here is a recent computer forecast of the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere (the fancy name is "column-integrated water vapor"--throw that around and you will impress your friends!) for 11 AM on Saturday. The blues are high values-see the atmospheric river?

The plumes of atmospheric moisture associated with these rivers is usually associated with warm temperatures--in fact it HAS to be that way, because only warm air can hold large amounts of water vapor. When this warm juicy air strikes our mountains it is forced to rise--the result being large amounts of precipitation. Want to see what the models are going for? Here is the forecast 24-h rainfall ending 5 PM on Sunday. The reds are FIVE TO TEN INCHES OF RAIN! There is even a white area, where more than 10 inches is predicted.

The really heavy stuff is going to pass to the north but this is just the forecast and anything goes -- the house is four miles from the Canadian border so it is not that far from the center of excitement.

Where's Waldo Malik

A very good question from Andrew Breitbart:
Which Malik Shabazz Visited White House in July 2009, Mr. President?
In May 2009, the Obama/Holder Justice Department dropped charges in a voter intimidation case against Malik Shabazz, a leader of the New Black Panther Party, despite having already won a summary judgment against him, and his New Black Panther Party colleagues King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson who were video-taped outside polling place in Philadelphia intimidating voters as they arrived on election day, 2008. In July 2009, when Congress began looking into the matter, someone named Malik Shabazz visited the private residence at the White House.

When news of the visit was released under the auspices of transparency, the White House denied that the Malik Shabazz on the visitor�s log was the same Malik Shabazz involved in the New Black Panther voter intimidation case. According to Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, the records contained �a few �false positives� � names that make you think of a well-known person, but are actually someone else.� He specifically cited Malik Shabazz as an example of one of these �false positives�.
One of Andrew's commentors hit the nail squarely on the head:
The gathering in the photo above should test their leadership skills, let them run Haiti and see how they do? �whoops my bad - we already have Detroit as an example. Scratch that they make better race pimps.
Nothing like filling the minds of our children with Watermelon Environmentalist crap while they have not yet developed powers of discrimination and logic. From CNS News:
U.S. Education Secretary Vows to Make American Children 'Good Environmental Citizens'
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan vowed on Tuesday that his department would work to make American children into "good environmental citizens" through federally subsidized school programs beginning as early as kindergarten that teach children about climate change and prepare them "to contribute to the workforce through green jobs."

�Right now, in the second decade of the ST century, preparing our children to be good environmental citizens is some of the most important work any of us can do. It�s work that will serve future generations--and quite literally sustain our world,� Duncan said at the Education Department�s "Sustainability Education Summit: Citizenship and Pathways for a Green Economy."

�This week�s sustainability summit represents the first time that the Department is taking a taking a leadership role in the work of educating the next generation of green citizens and preparing them to contribute to the workforce through green jobs,� said Duncan. �President Obama has made clean, renewable energy a priority because, as he says, it�s the best way to 'truly transform our economy, to protect our security, and save our planet.'
What Green Jobs -- there are no Green Jobs. Haven't they read this 53 page PDF report: Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources Written by Gabriel Calzada �lvarez PhD. of the University Rey Juan Carlos and published in March of 2009 it outlines Spain's attempts to build an infrastructure with government backing starting in 1991 and continuing through 2009. In 2004, at the height of this craziness, Spain was generating 49% of its electricity from Oil, 18% from Gas, 15% from Solid Fuels (Coal), 12% Nuke, and 6% from renewables. And this is at the peak of the campaign to adopt alternative energy sources. Some of the facts from the report (there are 23 bullet points at the beginning -- I am cherry picking a few of them. The rest of the report is the data with links to back up their facts.):
3. Therefore, while it is not possible to directly translate Spain's experience with exactitude to claim that the U.S. would lose at least 6.6 million to 11 million jobs, as a direct consequence were it to actually create 3 to 5 million �green jobs� as promised (in addition to the jobs lost due to the opportunity cost of private capital employed in renewable energy), the study clearly reveals the tendency that the U.S. should expect such an outcome.
A wonderful thing to be looking forward to isn't that. Here is another:
10. Each �green� megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photoelectric, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.
Take money away from small business (taxes) and piss it away on a feel-good project like PV and you are certainly going to have a major effect on the economy. The small business will not be able to grow or to hire more people so there is an overall job loss for each "unit" of deployed. Thank you! May I have another:
16. The high cost of electricity due to the green job policy tends to drive the relatively most electricity-intensive companies and industries away, seeking areas where costs are lower. The example of Acetonic is just such a case.
And one more:
18. These schemes create serious �bubble� potential, as Spain is now discovering. The most paradigmatic bubble case can be found in the photo voltaic industry. Even with subsidy schemes leaving the mean sale price of electricity generated from solar photo voltaic power 7 times higher than the mean price of the pool, solar failed even to reach 1% of Spain�s total electricity production in 2008.
And don't get me started on the Department of Education. It only began operation in 1980. Another thing to thank Jimmy Carter for -- the moron. It now has 5,000 people with the 2010 budget projected to be $56B (the 2009 budget under Bush was $32B and 2011 projected is $71B). And where is it enumerated in the United States Constitution that Education is a Federal responsibility? I thought this was a State's Right -- if Delaware wants to try some radical new educational program and it flops, the other states can look at the results and add that to their do not try list. If it succeeds amazingly, they can ring up the Delaware Department of Education and inquire about course materials. It is that simple. Oh yes: Watermelon Environmentalist = Green on the outside, Marxist Red on the inside...

Awwwww RIP Toxie

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From National Public Radio:
Toxie's Dead
Toxie, Planet Money's pet toxic asset, died this week. She was killed by one of the worst housing busts in U.S. history.

Toxic assets � bundles of mortgages that Wall Street sliced up and sold to investors � were at the center of the financial crisis. When the housing market tanked, no one wanted to own them. That's when we bought one.

When we bought Toxie, in January of this year, she seemed like a great deal. We paid $1,000. That was 99 percent less than she cost dring the housing boom.

Every month, when homeowners paid their mortgages, we got a check. We thought we'd make back our investment before she died. But in the end, we collected only $449.

It was never really about the money, though. And now that Toxie's gone, we'd like to take a few moments to remember her, and hear from those she�s touched.
You know the recession is bad when the liberal media starts publicizing the flaws behind Barny Frank and Chris Dodd's financial shenanigans. Time for Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac to get uncoupled from the government teat.

California's new governor - Meg Whitman

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That has a very nice ring to it. From Breitbart/Associated Press:
Whitman: New Jersey approach is model for Calif.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman says the budget-cutting and union-fighting tactics employed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie provide a perfect "roadmap" for her plans in California.

Christie, a rising star in the GOP, appeared with Whitman in Hollywood on Wednesday for a rally and fundraiser.

Christie defeated the Democratic incumbent, Jon Corzine, last November. He has won praise among Republicans for eliminating a deficit, taking on New Jersey's powerful teachers unions and shaking up the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Whitman says if she is elected in November, she will pursue a similar agenda. Like California, New Jersey is a Democratic-leaning state mired in financial trouble.

Christie told Whitman it won't be easy, but he says voters are ready for the truth.
A couple more people like these two in office and this Nation might stand a chance at being great again...

The recession is over

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NOT! A bunch of economists are even forecasting a double-dip with a second turndown sometime next spring. The numbers look right to me for that to happen. Now the 'big wigs' are weighing in -- from Emily Kaiser at Reuters:
Luminaries say recession not over
The private-sector National Bureau of Economic Research, considered the arbiter of recessions, announced on Monday it had pegged June 2009 as the end of the slump. That was no surprise to Wall Street economists, most of whom had long ago concluded the recession ended in the summer of last year.

But it put the Obama administration in an awkward position. How can policymakers declare the recession is over when nearly 15 million people are still out of work?

"I'm not an economist, and I'm not an academic," Geithner said on Wednesday when a Republican lawmaker tried to pin him down on whether he thought the recession was over. "And I would just say the following: This is still a very tough economy."

That answer didn't satisfy Representative Bill Posey, who at one point told Geithner to "man up" and give a clear yes or no answer.
Read on:
For Buffett, it's a matter of semantics rather than politics. The NBER considers a recession over when the economy gets back on the recovery path, while Buffett contends it isn't over until the damage is repaired.

"On any common sense definition, the average American is below where he was before, or his family, in terms of real income, GDP," Buffett said in a CNBC interview. "We're still in a recession. And we're not going to be out of it for a while, but we will get out of it."
And the sectors that are growing are not lifting up those sectors that are still falling. Housing. Automotive sales (the cash for clunkers really put the hurt on car sales). Construction. New business formation. All of these sectors are still in decline. Read Nouriel Roubini for more information about the double-dip heading our way...

Work done

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A friend of ours is spending some time at the farm organizing the Garage and then the Shop. Spent four hours today and the Garage is about half done but it looks amazing. We had been storing a bunch of my Mom and Dad's things there so I could sort through them at my leisure but they were starting to pick up some mold so I will take them to their Bellingham condo and crank the heat up to 80 for a few weeks. Heading back to the store, grab some lunch, fill the dumpster with about ten garbage bags and hang out there for a while and back home. A definite Fall crispness in the air -- my favorite season of the year and Winter is great for the local business -- the Mt. Baker ski resort is just 30 miles up the road. By Spring, I'm about ready to murder someone but then, Summer is just around the corner...

Ouroboros in Detroit

It seems that Government Motors (just over 60% ownership by the Federal Government) is now trying to sway things their way by 'contributing' money to politicians. From the Wall Street Journal:
GM Resumes Political Giving
General Motors Co. has begun to once again contribute to political campaigns, lifting a self-imposed ban on political spending put in place during the auto maker's U.S.-financed bankruptcy restructuring last year.

The Detroit company gave $90,500 to candidates running in the current election cycle, Federal Election Commission records show.

The beneficiaries include Midwestern lawmakers, mostly Democrats, who have traditionally supported the industry's legislative agenda on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) and Rep. John Dingell (D., Mich.).
I do not know if this is illegal -- I suspect it is as there is a very strong conflict of interest. And not a peep from the New York Times...

Giving Obama the BRS

Not a good thing (BRS = Big Red Switch) From Reuters:

EXCLUSIVE-Cyber bill would give U.S. emergency powers
Proposed cybersecurity legislation circulating on Capitol Hill would give the president the power to declare an emergency in the case of big online attacks and force some businesses to beef up their cyber defenses and submit to scrutiny.

The draft bill, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, allows the president to declare an emergency if there is an imminent threat to the U.S. electrical grid or other critical infrastructure such as the water supply or financial network because of a cyber attack.

Industries, companies or portions of companies could be temporarily shut down, or be required to take other steps to address threats.

The emergency declaration would last for 30 days, unless the president renews it. It cannot last more than 90 days without action from Congress.

The draft is a combination of two cybersecurity bills which were merged into one at the urging of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "It (the draft bill) is something that we hope to be able to pass before the end of the year, if we can," Reid spokeswoman Regan Lachapelle told Reuters.

Emphasis mine -- this sounds like a much belated reaction to the whole SCADA Scare. Back in 2007, Kelly Jackson Higgins wrote an excellent overview of the problem at Dark Reading:

SCADA State of Denial
Utilities and other process-oriented companies that run supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems are starting to feel the heat of security vulnerabilities -- and hackers.

Some of these risks -- and bugs -- are unique to their environments, which historically weren't secured because they were built to be isolated, closed systems, but they also share the same Microsoft vulnerabilities as a typical enterprise does. These once-cloistered systems and networks are increasingly using off-the-shelf products such as Microsoft-based operating systems and IP-based networking equipment, and require interconnection via the Internet as well, which also opens the door to attackers from the outside in addition to the inside.

Researchers recently disclosed new vulnerabilities in the OLE for Process Control (OPC) protocols, open source interfaces for process-control apps. And meanwhile, some security vendors are forging partnerships to beef up their security offerings for the SCADA market.

With critical infrastructures at risk when it comes to power (nuclear and otherwise), water, and transportation companies running these systems, the stakes are obviously much higher. Trouble is, these companies aren't necessarily approaching security properly, security experts say.

"It's an industry in denial," says Robert Graham, CEO of Errata Security. "They don't believe they have the security problems they have. It's not a technical issue, but a political issue."

One of the biggest missing links is authentication: Many don't even bother using authentication because they consider their systems closed and therefore safe, he says. "They put in Windows with no intention of ever patching it, and then they are surprised when they get hit by a worm," Graham says. Or they avoid patching and vulnerability testing because these processes pose risks of their own for SCADA systems -- introducing other bugs to their highly sensitive and uptime-demanding systems, for instance. And rebooting isn't an attractive option for these systems that absolutely must be available, either.

Many of these companies assess risk based on past experience with major security events. "They are managed by a Pearl Harbor-type mentality," Graham says. "Until there's a Pearl Harbor, there is no risk as far as they are concerned."

There are some current-day attacks that target SCADA systems - Stuxnet comes to mind but if you keep your system isolated from the network, forbid the use of thumb drives/optical media/etc... and have the single-point-of-contact in your IT department handle all system and software upgrades, you will be fine. 99% of all successful attacks result from stupid corporate culture, clueless users and bad systems administration. Practice safe HEX and you will be fine...

Well someone has a pair

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From Sun Tzu writing at Breitbart's Big Peace:
US Walks Out of Ahmadinejad UN Speech
The U.S. delegation walked out of the U.N. speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday after he said some in the world have speculated that Americans were actually behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks, staged in an attempt to assure Israel�s survival.

He did not explain the logic of that statement that was made as he attacked the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Our recent arms sale to Saudi Arabia is interesting -- the Kingdom does not like Iran either.

Obama's TelePrompTer template for stump speeches

Blogger Iowahawk found this template used by President Barack Obama when he is out giving fundraising speeches for a Democratic candidate. Here is a brief excerpt from the beginning. Caution: Major Drink Alert

The Car, the Ditch, and the Slurpee
from Barack Obama's Big Book of Stump Speech Parables

Thank you for that kind introduction, _EMCEE______, and let me say how good it is to be back here in the __th district of _STATE___ which was so vital in helping us take back Washington in November of 2008. And let me also say that we've made a lot of progress thanks to __DEMOCRATIC_CANDIDATE__. Neither I nor the __th district has had a more loyal and hard-working ally in Congress.

As we all know, __DEMOCRATIC_CANDIDATE__ is facing a tough re-election campaign this November. S/he is facing an unprecedented barrage of attacks from outside special interest groups and Wall Street fat cats who want to make this election more about alleged __CANDIDATE_INCIDENT__ than the bread and butter issues that concern everyday voters in the ___th District. Well, we're not going to let them get away with it. Because the voters here know that when it comes to health care, the environment, and economic development __DEMOCRATIC_CANDIDATE__ is on their side.

Have we made all the progress we wanted to? Of course not. But we're working hard every day and moving in the right direction. And make no mistake, this is pretty darn hard work. Now, you see, I like to use a little analogy. The Republicans drove the car into the ditch. [pause for applause]

So now and me and __DEMOCRATIC_CANDIDATE__ are down there, behind the bumper, sweatin' and pushin', trying to get it out. [applause]

It's all hot, and there's flies and bugs and so on, and we're in our flipflops down there in the mud. [applause] Meanwhile __REPUBLICAN_CANDIDATE__ and his Republican friends are up on the blacktop, sipping on their Slurpees, laughing and telling us to work harder. [laughs, applause]

The rest is spot on. Wonderful stuff... Obama has used the Car/Ditch/Slurpee metaphor recently in four speeches so far (check the link at the top).

Not outside with a camera tonight

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Was looking forward to this but it is clouded over. Rain is expected to move in. I can see patches of the moon but nothing photo-worthy. More oscuro than chiaroscuro
Barney Frank has done a lot of damage during his almost 30 years in Congress and it seems that there is a Republican candidate who stands a good chance of sending Mr. Frank into a much needed retirement. From Hot Air:
Poll surprise of the day: Barney Frank in trouble?
The Sean Bielat campaign has declared themselves within reach of unseating Barney Frank in Massachusetts� 4th CD, one of the presumed safest districts for Democrats in the nation. The poll, conducted for the campaign by OnMessage, shows Frank falling below the 50% mark despite the D+14 composition of his constituency. Bielat comes within nine points, even though the poll shows that he still badly trails in name recognition.

The memo from the pollster explains that Bielat could shock the world on November 2nd:
The ballot is very encouraging and shows Bielat at 38%, Frank at 48% and 13% undecided.

This is very encouraging because Barney Frank is an incumbent congressman who has served in Congress since 1981, has a favorable opinion slightly above 50% in a strongly Democratic district, but is now below 50% on the ballot. Frank has fallen 5 points on the ballot since July and shows that the national wave of frustration amongst the voters is even reaching the Democrat stronghold of Massachusetts 4th Congressional District.

We find more erosion of Frank�s support when we look at independent voters. In July, Frank led this critical demographic 44% to Bielat�s 37%, now, in September Frank has plunged 10 points with independents and trails with just 34% to Bielat�s 51%.

Sean Bielat has a promising chance of creating a major upset in this race. With proper funding and the ability to compete with Frank for the last four weeks of the election, Massachusetts 4 could provide the upset story of the 2010 midterm elections.
Any time an incumbent falls below 50%, it�s a sign of trouble. In this case, Frank can�t even blame Barack Obama, who gets mildly positive approval ratings in the district, 52/42, as does Frank himself, 53/40. In a generic ballot question, the Democrat leads here by eleven points, 44/33. Bielat gets a 24/9 approval rating, with 67% either having no opinion of him or not knowing his name at all.

Yet Frank only gets 45.2% of the likely voters polled in this survey to commit to voting for him, well below the 50% needed to secure the seat. Beilat gets 36.5% of the vote, well above his name recognition value. With leaners, it becomes 48.2/38.4 Frank, closer to 50% but still short � and with only 0.4% of the voters having never heard of Frank, Bielat has a lot more upside over the next six weeks.
Very cool - Beliat has quite the history too -- from the Meet Sean part of his website:
Sean�s career highlights include�
�Major, U.S Marine Corps Reserve
�Independent Consultant. Helped client companies build market strategies
�Program Manager, iRobot Corporation. Led $100 million, 100 person business line providing life-saving defense robots used to destroy roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan
�Chairman, NATO Industrial Armaments Group. Led an international team studying the potential for use of advanced reconnaissance technology in urban warfare
�Management Consultant, Mckinsey & Company
�Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps (active duty)
So the guy is not only a Marine, he also builds Military Robots. MBA from Wharton doesn't hurt either. Like I said, this will be an interesting one...

Eb and Flo - Progressive Insurance

An interesting insight into Progressive Auto Insurance from Sean Linnane:
This is a heads up regarding Progressive Auto Insurance. You know who they are - they�re the ones with the clever television ads featuring the perky redhead actress all dressed in white.

What you might not know is that the chairman of Progressive is Peter Lewis, one of the largest funders of the left in America . He�s your typical rich spoiled kid who took over the company from his father and apparently feels �guilty� for his success and now dedicates himself to making it impossible for anyone else to become wealthy.

Between 2001 and 2003, Lewis funneled $15 million to the ACLU, the group most responsible for destroying what�s left of America�s Judeo-Christian heritage. Indeed, Lewis is himself a ACLU member. One of the ACLU projects he earmarked his funds for was an effort to sue school districts who have drug testing policies. In other words, this idiot wants teachers to be able to use drugs without fear of exposure. I wonder what he would think if all his own employees came to work drugged out every day.

Lewis also gave $12.5 million to and American Coming Together, two key components of the socialist left. The former group is perhaps the main group used by the Obama forces to organize their activists; the latter group is a 527 political action group that essentially served as a front for the SEIU union thugs who ran ACORN. His funding for these groups was conditional on matching contributions from George Soros, the international socialist who finances much of the Obama political network.

It�s disturbing that Lewis made a fortune as a result of capitalism but now finances a progressive movement that threatens to destroy the free enterprise system. He reminds me somewhat of Armand Hammer, the former head of Occidental Petroleum who did business with Joseph Stalin and become his good friend, around the same time Stalin was executing businessmen all over the USSR.
The name 'Progressive' says it all...

Tonight's Moonrise is special

From NASA:
Watch out for the Super Harvest Moon
Sept. 22, 2010: For the first time in almost 20 years, northern autumn is beginning on the night of a full Moon. The coincidence sets the stage for a "Super Harvest Moon" and a must-see sky show to mark the change of seasons.

The action begins at sunset on Sept 22nd, the last day of northern summer. As the sun sinks in the west, bringing the season to a close, the full Harvest Moon will rise in the east, heralding the start of fall. The two sources of light will mix together to create a kind of 360-degree, summer-autumn twilight glow that is only seen on rare occasions.
I'll be outside with a camera...

Construction in New Jersey

New Jersey is a politically corrupt state that recently elected a wonderful new Governor. Here is a video of Governor Chris Christie before showing what I am talking about: How to be a leader

Well, there is a union highway construction project that is running a little bit over budget.

From the North Jersey website:

ARC tunnel project hurt by poor planning
NJ Transit did not have a complete plan for "combating fraud, waste and abuse" or safeguards for keeping its Hudson River tunnel project from spilling over its $8.7 billion budget, a federal audit shows.

Now, the project, which has been put on hold by Governor Christie, could go as much as $5 billion over budget if a plan to mitigate risks is not put in place, according to a source close to the project.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Christie is a force to be reckoned with.

A bit more:

Auditors also noted that disagreements were affecting the project. NJ Transit was delayed in submitting one document because the two parties could not agree on "what constitutes compliance with the overarching project execution plan."

Other issues cited include the following:
  • NJ Transit chose not to use an independent private-sector inspector general, despite evidence that doing so "can help identify problems such as internal control weaknesses, contractor integrity and ethics lapses, and infiltration of organized crime."
  • NJ Transit needed to specify who would be responsible for cost overruns - NJ Transit, the Port Authority or New Jersey Turnpike Authority - before getting full funding for the project.
  • NJ Transit last year estimated project delays could range from nine months to 22 months, but those estimates were based on January 2008 data that auditors found to be too outdated to gauge whether delays were eliminated or had grown.
NJ Transit officials, meanwhile, told auditors that delays in completing the plans were due to a lack of clear FTA guidance. When NJ Transit sought help, "FTA suggested that NJT follow the general criteria found on FTA's website and contact the New York MTA for guidance," according to the report.

FTA officials, in response, said it had provided appropriate guidance in letters, e-mails and meetings, but that delays were caused by a combination of "project complexity, [NJ Transit's] inexperience; and, at times, NJ Transit's unwillingness to develop policies and procedures consistent" with what the FTA required.

Emphasis mine -- somehow, I don't think that there is very much infiltration of organized crime. I think that organized crime owns the unions. They certainly act like it.

There once was a time when unions served the worker. Now they just exist to take the workers money, negotiate untenable contracts for the workers -- generous pension plans that are horribly underfunded, etc... By the time the average worker realizes that his pension plan in bankrupt, the union "leaders" are long gone. The fact that Obama is so much in bed with today's unions really shows what a clueless ninny he is -- sure, they delivered the votes but now that their nose is under the tent flap, they are going to keep asking for more and more until the whole house of cards collapses...

Protesters - union organized

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A delightful eight minutes of Andrew Breitbart asking some inconvenient questions at an anti-Tea Party demonstration. He would walk up to an individual carrying a sign and ask why they had the sign. If it was someone saying that Glen Beck lies, he would ask for a specific example. After a few minutes, the demonstration handlers herded the people away and they got back onto their union busses and drove off. There was one demonstrator out of the 300 or so who did not arrive by bus and who was very firm and articulate in her beliefs. It is funny that all of this is available on video but the major media outlets are not touching it...

That is it for the night

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DaveCave(tm) and then bed. Long day tomorrow as well.

RIP - Leonard Skinner

From the UK Guardian

Lynyrd Skynyrd teacher who inspired name dies
Leonard Skinner, the PE teacher whose name was immortalised in rock'n'roll history by his students, has died in Florida, aged 77.

The teacher's distaste for the long hair of pupils at Robert E Lee high school in Jacksonville in the 1960s led to many a shaggy-fringed student being sent to the headteacher's office -- among them the founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The band adopted, then adapted, the sports tutor's name -- its spelling purported to be a homage to the vagaries of southern American pronunciation -- before achieving worldwide fame with rock anthems such as Sweet Home Alabama and Freebird. The group later befriended their former nemesis.

"I just went along with the flow," Skinner said of the backhanded tribute during a 1996 interview. "There was not much I could do about it."

One of the band members, believed to be Gary Rossington, was so irked by the suspension notices he received from the headteacher that he returned with his father, who protested that his son needed to have long hair so that he could support the family with his band earnings. The headteacher was unmoved, suggesting that the youngster get a crew cut and a wig instead.


Pure tripe masquerading as science

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From that reputable source in the UK, The Sun:
2013 - Solar flare could turn sky red, wipe internet and paralyse earth
A giant explosion of energy from the Sun could paralyse Earth in just three years' time, scientists warned yesterday.

They fear a huge solar flare is due to erupt in 2013 - causing blackouts and global chaos.

The once-in-a-century disaster could see power grids crash, communication systems collapse, planes grounded, food supplies hit and the internet shut down.

Everything from home freezers to car sat navs would be affected.
The booger eating moron who is promoting this scary story is England's Defence Secretary Liam Fox. From Dr. Fox:
The talks, organised by the Electric Infrastructure Security Council, heard that the Sun will reach a critical stage of its cycle in 2013.
Totally unfounded and if you look at the fscking Science, you will see that the latest solar cycle was three years overdue and it is very slow to ramp up. The solar flux (the energy it emits) should be in the hundreds and just checking now, I see it is 81. (the little graphic to the right in the blogroll) Yes, there have been two significant flares -- one in 1859 and one in 1989. The timing of these events is 100% coincidental. There is no known 100-year solar cycle that spawns huge events. If there was, we would have historical record of blood-red skies every hundred years. We do have record of these events but they are very far and few between.
A surge of magnetic energy in its atmosphere is likely to trigger radiation storms which cause massive power surges.
This wonderfully shows Dr. Fox's total blithering incompetence.
"radiation storms???"
I mean seriously, WTF. The charged plasma from the Coronal Mass Ejection will hit the ionized gasses in the outer reaches of our atmosphere and they will cause them to fluoresce (aurora). There will also be an induced charge in any conducting material. Similar to an EMP but ongoing and not just an instantaneous pulse.
Such a phenomenon occurs only once about every 100 years.
Bullshit -- see a few lines above.
The last big flare, in 1859, smothered two thirds of the Earth's skies in a blood-red aurora. Such scenes could occur again, causing cloud storms in major modern cities such as London, Paris and New York.
Again, see above -- if these happen every hundred years, where is the historical record of the blood-red aurora. We have several hundred years of very reliable scientific record and two thousand years of decent anecdotal record. If you look and correlate between the different cultures (Middle East, Scandinavia, China, etc...) you will only find two or three events where the aurora are mentioned in all of these cultures.
In 1989, a more common smaller solar flare took out power stations in Quebec, Canada.
Boy Howdy it sure did. That was an industry-wide wakeup call and our equipment today is shielded a lot better. Materials science has come a long way too and the transmission equipment is built out of stronger stuff. I find it amazing that a paper the size of the Sun didn't have a competent Science Editor who could have reviewed this stupid bit of bad journalism. If we do not give these idiots a voice, they will eventually go away.

Back from the auction

Back from the auction today.

A big place -- they had two primary PCB lines with relatively new equipment. A screen printer for applying the solder paste, three pick and place stations (fun robots to watch work -- the individual components come on reels of tape and are fed through a cassette -- a robotic arm picks a given component off the tape, places it on the appropriate location on the board and moves on) and finally, a convection oven that melts the solder and fuses everything together.

They were doing work for a very high end audio company as well as a well known telecommunications manufacturer. From what I heard, they simply powered down everything and walked away in last April. Competition with China I would guess...

I won a few bids -- a very nice binocular reflective microscope (Leica no less!) for $100, a toolbox with some miscellaneous hand tools including two that I really wanted for $65 and a decent bench meter.

Got up at 6AM today so it will be an early bedtime. Next up on the calender is this one: Lloyd Controls

Hugo wants a nice shiny boomy thing

Venezuelan leader asshat extrordinaire Hugo Chavez is a moron.

He believes that socialism works and is stealing Venezuela's future to prove it. Now, this power grab -- from Frank Munger's excellent blog:

Ex-Los Alamos pair indicted in nuke sting
A scientist and his wife who both once worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory were arrested Friday after an FBI sting operation and charged with conspiring to help develop a nuclear weapon for Venezuela.

After their arrest, the two appeared in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M.

They were accused of dealing with an FBI undercover agent posing as a Venezuelan agent. The government did not allege that Venezuela or anyone working for it sought U.S. secrets.

The pair were indicted for allegedly communicating classified nuclear weapons data to a person they believed to be a Venezuelan government official.

And a bit more:

According to the indictment, Pedro Mascheroni told an undercover agent he could help Venezuela develop a nuclear bomb within 10 years and that under his program, Venezuela would use a secret, underground nuclear reactor to produce and enrich plutonium, and an open, above-ground reactor to produce nuclear energy.

These idiots think that if they believe long enough and hard enough and sincerely enough, that their socialist utopia will actually stand a chance of working. Re-balance the power, destabilize the capitalists, pull the rug out from under everything great that people have done in the last 1,000 years and start anew with some twaddle from some academics that have never held positions of responsibility. Morons.

Last Call

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Was driving by a local major roadhouse and saw a lot of cars parked there. Unusual as this place has fallen onto hard times and the current people who are running it are losing their shirts. Our neighbors and very good people. A combination of current economics and an A**hole landlord. The guy who inherited the property is charging way to much for the rent and is in for a world of hurt in a few years anyway as the properties septic system is marginal at best and the building is to close to the highway so anyone who buys it is looking at jacking up and moving a 4K Sq. Ft. building plus a new septic system. $300K at the very minimum.

Well I had a post already yesterday...

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The dang computer ate it... Been taking some down-time after the adventures of the last weekend. Jen is off on the Olympic Peninsula with her dog and I am holding down the fort here with mine. Last weekend was a blur and the week following was bidness as usual so finally taking a few days off to hang out and relax -- working in the forge, culling some crap to take to the dump, that kind of stuff... I will be attending another auction on Tuesday so that should be fun. A local company that used to manufacture printed circuit boards. The big iron will be snarfed up for a penny on the dollar as it is dirt cheap to get PC boards made in China these days. I am looking at the engineers stash and whatever is interesting in the office. Murphy does a good honest auction and the big iron is always a great people watching moment when you get two or three guys bidding on a $200K piece of equipment. The emotions are palpable and I can see why there is not a 'reality TV' show about this because bringing cameras into the mix would ruin it. Anyway, had a big late lunch, a nice small dinner at a local Italian place and heading out to the DaveCave(tm) for email.

All that Global Warming?

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It is being re-branded and is now known as: "Global Climate Disruption" From FOX News:
White House: Global Warming Out, 'Global Climate Disruption' In
From the administration that brought you "man-caused disaster" and "overseas contingency operation," another terminology change is in the pipeline.

The White House wants the public to start using the term "global climate disruption" in place of "global warming" -- fearing the latter term oversimplifies the problem and makes it sound less dangerous than it really is.

White House science adviser John Holdren urged people to start using the phrase during a speech last week in Oslo, echoing a plea he made three years earlier. Holdren said global warming is a "dangerous misnomer" for a problem far more complicated than a rise in temperature.
John Holdren... Hmmmm... He co-authored a book: ECOSCIENCE: POPULATION, RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT the text of which can be found here. Use the online reader to search for "Malthus" and you will get the following page hits: 379, 731, 741, 742, 743, 791, 792, 797, 800, 801, 878, 889, 898, 950, 1017. Regular readers will know just how stupid I think Malthusian thinking is. It has never been proven right and one of the key proponents lost a ten year wager to one of the key thinkers and skeptics. There has never been a Malthusian prediction that has come true. That includes the "peak oil" scare of a few years ago. And the guy that lost the wager? He was one of the co-authors on Holdren's book... Back to Holdren -- I'll let Zombie bring up a few points:
John Holdren, Obama's Science Czar, says: Forced abortions and mass sterilization needed to save the planet
Forced abortions. Mass sterilization. A "Planetary Regime" with the power of life and death over American citizens.

The tyrannical fantasies of a madman? Or merely the opinions of the person now in control of science policy in the United States? Or both?

These ideas (among many other equally horrifying recommendations) were put forth by John Holdren, whom Barack Obama has recently appointed Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology -- informally known as the United States' Science Czar. In a book Holdren co-authored in 1977, the man now firmly in control of science policy in this country wrote that:
� Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;
� The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation's drinking water or in food;
� Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
� People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" -- in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
� A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives -- using an armed international police force.
Impossible, you say? That must be an exaggeration or a hoax. No one in their right mind would say such things.

Well, I hate to break the news to you, but it is no hoax, no exaggeration. John Holdren really did say those things, and this report contains the proof. Below you will find photographs, scans, and transcriptions of pages in the book Ecoscience, co-authored in 1977 by John Holdren and his close colleagues Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich. The scans and photos are provided to supply conclusive evidence that the words attributed to Holdren are unaltered and accurately transcribed.
So when you listen to Obama's Science Adviser, remember that he is carrying around a large quantity of political baggage, the majority of which has no basis in Scientific Fact.

Suppose you were an idiot.

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And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. Mark Twain of course (here). From Talking Points Memo:
Dodd Unaware Of Interim Appointment Power For Warren?
News reports yesterday generated speculation that the Obama administration will offer Elizabeth Warren a so-called "interim appointment" to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The authority for the Treasury Department to grant an interim appointment -- distinct from a "recess appointment" -- comes from the financial reform law itself.

In dismissing the rumor last night, though, Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd -- who authored the law -- claimed he'd never heard of the interim appointment power.

"I don't know what it is. I never heard of it before," said a flabbergasted Dodd to TPMDC. "It's kind of unique isn't it?"

In the past, aides had dismissed the interim-director possibility, suggesting that Warren would either be nominated the old-fashioned way, or given a recess appointment -- if she got the nod at all.
Unnnhhhhh -- that is the Dodd/Frank Financial Reform Act and this is not a matter of just reading it. Dodd was the co-author. He was responsible for its creation and passage. I know that these bills are written by committees working for these politicians but the guy in charge should have some shadow of recognition of the contents...

Panic in the swamp

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Here are a couple of quotes: From a September 4th email:
In this election we�ll focus on a handful of progressive heroes facing tough races, where we can make a real difference together. Which progressive heroes would you nominate to be our top priorities this fall?

It can be a long-time member of Congress or someone running for the House or Senate for the first time. He or she should be a proven progressive fighter, especially in standing up to corporate influence in Washington. And since we have limited resources, please nominate folks who are in truly close races where MoveOn members could swing the balance.
A few days later, this email:
Election Day is less than two months away, and we need to decide today whether we�ll have enough resources for a major campaign to help stop the Republicans and their corporate allies from taking over Congress.

In a survey over the weekend, 92% of MoveOn members said that we should work broadly to help Democratic candidates�especially now that corporate front groups are spending $400 million to boost Republicans� chances.
A day after that:
It�s a perfect storm.

Polls show record levels of voter anger at Washington. Corporate interests are spending $400 million to try and buy Congress for the Republican Party. And Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are whipping up a frenzy of right-wing hatred and coded racism.

In short, we�re on the verge of losing this election. And if that happens, right-wing Republicans and their corporate benefactors will do everything they can to kill any progressive legislation for the rest of the Obama presidency.

The good news is that we�ve still got a chance to turn the tide. We�ve seen before how a massive outpouring of support from grassroots progressives can swing an election�remember what happened in 2008?

It�s time to do it again. We�ve got the pieces in place for an all-hands-on-deck effort over the next two months: We�ll mobilize MoveOn�s 5 million members to get out the vote and stop the takeover of Congress.
A little bit of panic over at MoveOn H.Q. perhaps? Could not be happening to a nicer organization. Hat tip to Kyle Olson at Breitbart's Big Government for the link.

Reaching for the Doritos bag

From the Montreal, CA Globe and Mail:

In massive bust, Mounties seize seven tonnes of hash
The Mounties have seized a container packed with enough hashish to intoxicate the entire country.

Police in Montreal discovered seven tonnes of hashish -- or about seven million grams.

The dark, laptop-sized hash bricks were discovered in an abandoned trailer Sunday in the city's west end.

"It's a big one," RCMP spokesman Corporal Luc Thibault said of the seizure Wednesday.

Someone somwhere is a little more than ticked off...

From the Bellingham Herald:
Blaine man gets 3 DUIs after crashing 2 cars, trying to tow them away
Tommy Ryser could have been arrested on one count of DUI had he stayed with the truck he allegedly crashed into a utility pole Monday night, Sept. 13, in the 3300 block of Sweet Road.

He could have been arrested on a second count had he stayed in his wife's car, which he allegedly crashed into a guardrail a short distance away soon afterward.

But Ryser, 54, of Blaine compounded his problems when he retrieved his tow truck and returned to the second crash scene, with his forehead bloodied, to tow his wrecked cars back to his house. That gave deputies evidence to arrest him on a third count of DUI, said Sgt. Larry Flynn of the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office.

What a wonderful idea

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From Dr. Vino comes this story of how things are done in France:
Fill �er up: self-serve tanks bring wine to French supermarkets
Keg wine and wine vending machines just got supersized: 500 and one-thousand liter tanks have landed in French supermarkets.

Bring your own resealable bottles, Poland Spring containers, jerrycans, whatever. Or you can get one at the store. Select your grade (red, white, or ros�). Pump. Print receipt.

Astrid Terzian introduced this concept that hearkens back to a bygone era when wine would arrive in Paris shops in tonneaux and consumers would bring their own flagons to fill. But today, Terzian says, she started this scheme in fall 2008 to fill a niche, tapping into two key themes, environmental awareness and the economy. (She actually wanted to buy a wine property and run a B&B but it was too expensive. So she turned to what she says she knew how to do: sales.) The elimination of packaging mass means that the wine can be shipped much more efficiently from a cost and carbon perspective.
Makes perfect sense - hardware costs are minimal -- maybe $10K max for each machine -- and this allows you to sell a quality product for a reasonable price. I hope this catches on in the US. On another note, I was in New Zealand fifteen years ago and they had these wonderful little two-wheel trailers with a 200 gallon tank filled with beer, refrigeration unit, CO2 system and you would rent these for your party. Park it outside your kitchen window, have the party and then get charged for what was consumed.

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

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Remember this:
Well, it seems that this a**hole got his widdle turban into a bunch and issued a Fatwa. From the New York Daily News:
Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki puts 'Everybody Draw Mohammed' cartoonist Molly Norris on execution hitlist
A CHARISMATIC terror leader linked to the botched Times Square car bomb has placed the Seattle cartoonist who launched "Everybody Draw Muhammed Day" on an execution hit list.

Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki - the radical who has also been cited as inspiring the Fort Hood, Tex., massacre and the plot by two New Jersey men to kill U.S. soldiers - singled out artist Molly Norris as a "prime target," saying her "proper abode is hellfire."
So (from the Seattle Weekly):
On the Advice of the FBI, Cartoonist Molly Norris Disappears From View
You may have noticed that Molly Norris' comic is not in the paper this week. That's because there is no more Molly.

The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, "going ghost": moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program�except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It's all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" cartoon.
I remember back when Salman Rushdie published his Satanic Verses and had a Fatwa put out on him. A lot of people in Seattle wore buttons that said: "I am Salman Rushdie" -- we need a bunch of buttons saying: "I am Molly Norris" The comments at both sites are a good read. The Seattle Weekly ones have a lot of depressingly clueless Kumbayah singers while the Citizens of New York have some righteous fire in their belly and do not suffer kindly to fools (especially those who behind that idiot who tried to blow up Times Square).

City of Subdued Excitement

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That is it for the evening

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An employee and good friend moved to Portland, OR about a year ago. He is up for a visit and we went out to a local Pizza place. Nice to see that he is doing well -- Portland always sounded like a nice place; Robert really loves it. Off to the DaveCave(tm) to check email. Finally starting to feel normal after Sunday's standing for five hours in 40 degree rain and then packing everything up into two trucks and a flatbed trailer and then packing up the portable kitchen down in Glacier. That was a haul...

Not just Delaware

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From the Washington Post:
Paladino wins GOP nomination for NY governor
Political novice and tea party ally Carl Paladino has beaten the Republican designee in the race for the party's nomination for New York governor.
There are a couple other primaries today and it is too early for final results.

Some cool election news

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From FOX News:
Tea Party-Backed O'Donnell Upsets GOP With Senate Primary Win in Delaware
Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell, a perennial candidate with no government experience, soundly defeated veteran politician Mike Castle for the Republican Senate nomination in Delaware Tuesday -- posing a major upset to the political establishment on the last big day of primaries.

With all precincts reporting, O'Donnell beat Castle 53-47 percent.

O'Donnell's win stands as the latest sign of Tea Party strength but also the latest test of whether that movement helps or hinders the Republican Party, with an open seat and perhaps a GOP Senate majority at stake.

Party fractures on full display, Republican aides told Fox News Tuesday that O'Donnell would not be getting national fundraising support. State party leaders had warned that O'Donnell cannot compete against Democrat Chris Coons and vigorously backed Castle, a nine-term congressman and former governor.

But O'Donnell stood her ground as she closed out the race by accusing Castle of selling out to the moderate wing of the party. Hailing her win Tuesday as a victory for "citizen politicians," she urged Republicans to "bury the hatchet" and work with her over the next two months to defeat Coons.
That is what the entrenched politicians on both sides fail to grasp. The TEA Party movement is not about partisan politics -- it is about government spending and our elected officials actually representing us. It is just that simple...

Just wonderful - food safety and politics

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From the Los Angeles Times:
Government food safety scientists report political, corporate interference
Scientists and inspectors at the federal agencies responsible for food safety say they face political and corporate interference with their work, according to a survey released Monday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonpartisan advocate for unbiased science in government.

The survey suggests a continuation of problems that government scientists had complained about during the George W. Bush administration, despite Obama administration pledges not to let politics intrude on scientific conclusions. And it comes more than a year after the administration promised to issue new rules to protect scientific integrity.

More than 1,700 scientists and inspectors at the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture responded to the survey, which was conducted by the Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology at Iowa State University.

The survey found only a slight improvement in perception of the agencies' approach to science under the Obama administration.

"What we found is that action is needed to curtail interference in science, both political and that driven by the private sector," said Francesca Grifo, director of the Scientific Integrity Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "We have two very different agencies giving very identical responses, and this suggests the need for broad reform."
Emphasis mine -- and do not hold your breath waiting for this so called "reform" as it will never happen under the current administration. This administration is about building a bigger government and accumulation of power. It is not about us, the taxpayers. The people in Washington are not our representatives, they view themselves as elite, above the little people. 2010. 2012. Vote the suckers out!

Happy seventh

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Jen and I just got back from dinner -- eating out to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary. Seems like only yesterday...

Very cool discovery

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Another lost expedition has been found. From Physorg:
Russia finds last-days log of famed 1912 Arctic expedition
Russian explorers Monday said they had found a sailor's log from aboard a legendary Arctic expedition that vanished as it sought to forge through the ice-choked Northeast Passage in 1912.

For decades mystery clouded the fate of the adventurer Georgy Brusilov -- captain of the first Russian crew to seek the elusive Arctic trade route from Asia to the West -- inspiring a generation of books and films.

But the famed voyagers' remains and a journal -- dated to May 1913 from aboard their vessel, the Saint Anna -- were found this summer on the icy shores of Franz Josef Land, Europe's northernmost land mass.

"There is no doubt that the skeletons and notebook pages we found at the end of July on Franz Josef Land are the remains of Georgy Brusilov's expedition -- which were thought forever lost," Oleg Prodan, who led the mission in the expedition's footsteps, said.

Midway into its epic journey along the Siberian coast, after navigating the perilous Vilkitsky Strait into the Kara Sea, the expedition ran aground on thick ice floes.

One of its only two survivors, navigator Valerian Albanov, described in his memoirs two gruelling winters clinging to the doomed ship and floating ever closer to the North Pole.

Albanov was one of 11 of the 24-member crew who abandoned the ice-locked vessel and set out across the snow drifts seeking firm land in a desperate trek romanced in Soviet author Veniamin Kaverin's popular novel "Two Captains."

Until now, the Saint Anna and the rest of its crew had vanished without a trace.
A major discovery -- the hardships of these explorers are epic. They were poorly equipped (materials science has come a long long way) and the medicines and diet were downright primitive. It will be wonderful to read a translation of the logbook when it comes out.
Sounds like a great idea -- get a good-sized chunk of people off the Government payroll and make things conducive to those people who want to start a small business. This would kick-start the economy and cut the size of the Government; therefore cutting down the amount of taxes needed to sustain it. Too bad it is not being done here. Cuba is doing it. From the BBC:
Cuba to cut one million public sector jobs
The Cuban labour federation said more than a million workers would lose their jobs - half of them by March next year.

Those laid off will be encouraged to become self-employed or join new private enterprises, on which some of the current restrictions will be eased.

Analysts say it is biggest private sector shift since the 1959 revolution.

Cuba's communist government currently controls almost all aspects of the country's economy and employs about 85% of the official workforce, which is put at 5.1 million people.

As many as one-in-five of all workers could lose their jobs.

"Our state cannot and should not continue maintaining companies, productive entities, services and budgeted sectors with bloated payrolls and losses that hurt the economy," the labour federation said in a statement.

"Job options will be increased and broadened with new forms of non-state employment, among them leasing land, co-operatives, and self-employment, absorbing hundreds of thousands of workers in the coming years," the statement added.
Emphasis mine - boy howdy! We could learn from this. More:
To create jobs for the redundant workers, strict rules limiting private enterprise will be relaxed and many more licenses will be issued for people to become self-employed.

Private businesses will be allowed to employ staff for the first time.

The self-employed will have access to social security and will be able to open bank accounts and even borrow money to expand their businesses.

They will also have to pay tax on their profits and for each person they employ, something which could dramatically boost the government's income.
Emphasis mine again. If you cut taxes, the revenue to the government will increase because people will be more productive. What kind of bizarro world are we living in where the current administration is sliding toward pan-global socialism and the rest of the world is pulling back. Cuba is seeing the nature and virtues of Capitalism and adopting it. Evolution not revolution.

Local politics - a letter to the editor

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Tom Tangen sums it up perfectly in this letter to the Everett, WA Herald:
We can no longer afford Murray
Patty Murray's television ads are great. But after listening to the people in the ads, I realized that she has bought their votes with my tax money.

Patty entered Congress 18 years ago, when the federal debt was $4.2 trillion. After 18 years the federal debt is $13.4 trillion. I wonder what percentage of the debt Sen. Murray feels responsible for?

So, while I will continue to enjoy her slick and expensive ads, I will vote for someone else. Because frankly, Patty, I can't afford you.
Heh -- what he said. The politics are influenced by voters in Seattle and Olympia and do not really represent the rest of WA State.

What the future sounded like

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Excellent three-part documentary on early electronic music in England:
Never 'got into' the EMS machines -- always more of a Moog person but their contribution to music is certainly a major one.

Nice work if you can get it

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First the government outright buys over 60% of General Motors. Then GM flat out lies about paying off its "loan" (they have several loans and used money from one to publicly pay off the other). Now, the new GM President gets a nice chunk of change -- from Yahoo News/Associated Press:
New GM CEO's pay package worth $9 million
New General Motors Co. CEO Daniel Akerson will get the same $9 million pay package as the man he replaced, Ed Whitacre.

Akerson, a former telecommunications industry and private equity executive, will receive $1.7 million in annual salary, $5.3 million in short-term stock payable over the next three years, and another $2 million in stock that's part of the company's long-term executive compensation plan.

The automaker, which is 60.8 percent owned by the U.S. government, disclosed the pay package in a filing on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is identical to what the company disclosed for Whitacre in February.

Akerson also is on GM's board of directors, but will receive no compensation for his duties there, the filing said.

Akerson, GM's fourth CEO in less than two years, took over leadership of the company on Sept. 1.
Four CEOs in less than two years -- a well functioning company might change CEOs every ten years or so. Another indicator of how poorly GM is being run. They should have gone through bankruptcy proceedings and emerged as a lean and mean competitive business. By keeping the status quo, they are lurching along as yet another top-heavy governmental failure

Not young any more

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Woke up after sleeping for about twelve hours. Stiff as a board. I think I must have done some physical activity yesterday or something...
Fun story from Not Always Right:
No Pancakes? How Waffle!
Me: �Hi, thanks for choosing [name of restaurant]. What can I get for you today?�

Customer: �You guys serve breakfast all day?�

Me: �Yes sir.�

Customer: �Do you serve pancakes?�

Me: �No, sir. Just waffles.�

Customer: �Well, I don�t like waffles. Can you just make this one exception?�

Me: �Well, sir I can�t go against code and grill you up a regular pancake but I�ll tell you what: I can make you a pancake with these awesome little holes used to trap syrup on top so it cant escape off the side.�

Customer: �Really!? You would do that for me? I�ll take two!�

Harpo's Place

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A website by Bill Marx -- son of the late great Harpo Mark. Not that much there as yet but fun to check out: Harpo's Place The Marx Brothers were classic comedy.

A day at the races

Whew -- I am busy preparing dinner because once I stop moving, I will be useless for the next 48 hours. Last night, we served about 200 grilled chicken dinners and hosted the beer garden. This morning, the alarm went off at 5:30 and our primary focus was to get our sorry butts up to Artist Point before the highway was closed for the bicyclists. We were expecting about 600 racers but the weather was very cold windy and raining so about half of them bailed. So we spend the next five hours making PB&J sandwiches, cutting up fruit, opening box after box of various energy bars and goo and thrusting them into riders gaping maws. So, at about 2PM, we get down the hill -- I drop off the flatbed trailer that I had borrowed and Jen and I rendezvous at the store to inventory the remaining food -- Charlie will pay us for what we dispensed up there but not for anything left over. We are blowing out the pineapple and oranges (these have a long shelf-life) but the bananas and grapes are being handed out for free. Anything remaining tomorrow will be given to a nearby Native American food bank. I make my way back to Glacier and the festivities there are underway -- prizes and swag is handed out to the participants. The Beer Garden is in full swing and the kitchen is doing both chicken and hot dogs (different prices). We had run out of baked potatoes so that was close to 200 meals today! Went to gather some stuff and then returned around 3:30 when everything was breaking down. Loaded up the beer garden (three kegs, CO2 bottle, regulator and cooler with two taps) into the trailer and then broke down the kitchen and loaded that -- I had six people from the Chamber of Commerce there to help me so that part went pretty fast. Came back to the store and unloaded the unsold chicken and hot dogs - these will come back home and live in one of our chest freezers in the garage along with our quarter cow and half hog. Sitting down to a dinner of microwaved left-over pasta and a couple glasses of wine, waiting for the Ibuprofen to kick in... Logged in to find 23 comment spam attempts. A lot of them look like this:
Paragraph after paragraph of semi-intelligible tech speak all advertising the same web hosting company. Maybe it is just me but if I was looking for a web hosting company, I would not choose one that used idiotic comment spam to make themselves known.

The calm before the storm

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Festival 542 starts in a few hours. Got a quick run into town to pick up the remaining food items -- I was pressed for time yesterday and was not able to get to one wholesaler. Set up the kitchen and beer garden at 2PM and start slinging food at five. Work until 10PM or so (food ends at nine but there is still beer -- mmmmmm Beer!). Get up the next morning at 0-dark-30, load the store van and my truck and be up at Artist's Point (50 miles away) at 7AM with food for the racers. Also, today is the ninth anniversary of the cowardly terrorist attack on the people of America. Never forget. Never forgive. I first heard about it while riding the bus into work and spent the rest of the day watching things unfold on the internet. The start of my conversion from an academic liberal to a Constitutional Conservative and it pains me that I was so blind for so long...

That is it for the next couple of days

Festival 542 starts Saturday. Tomorrow will be spent running final errands -- spent today putting up the tents and making final arrangements for food and such.

Got the beer dispensers ready to roll. The next three days will be a blur so don't expect too much posting. Check out the link for Festival 542.

The organizer -- Charlie -- has a great vision but is a major control freak and very... horribly disorganized. Wants to change food orders two days before the event -- things like that (said food order being placed with our wholesaler two weeks ago). A bunch of us are working to provide the food and to staff the aid stations along the route and we are proposing a new event -- the 5K Chase Charlie Fun Run.

Charlie will get a five second head start and we will run after him with hammers, pieces of water pipe, tree limbs, etc...

Overly strong lasers and eye damage

About two weeks ago, I posted about how hand-held lasers are now strong enough to be quite dangerous to someone's eyesight. Now, the New England Journal of Medicine has exactly such a case:
Retinal Injuries from a Handheld Laser Pointer
Handheld laser pointers are commonly used in lecture halls and are considered to be harmless and safe. However, laser pointers can cause severe eye injury, as demonstrated by the case of a 15-year-old boy. The boy had ordered a handheld laser pointer with green light on the Internet to use as a toy for popping balloons from a distance and burning holes into paper cards and his sister's sneakers. The boy's life changed when he was playing with his laser pointer in front of a mirror to create a �laser show,� during which the laser beam hit his eyes several times. He noticed immediate blurred vision in both of his eyes. Hoping that the visual loss would be transient and afraid of telling his parents, he waited 2 weeks before seeking an ophthalmic assessment, when he could no longer disguise his bad vision. His visual acuity was so poor in his left eye that he was only able to count fingers at a distance of 3 ft, and it was 20/50 in his right eye. A funduscopic examination revealed a dense subretinal hemorrhage in his left macula and several tiny round scars in the pigment epithelium of the foveolar region of his right eye. The clinical findings were consistent with severe bilateral retinal laser injury. After 4 months, the boy's visual function remained impaired but improved to 20/32 in the right eye spontaneously and to 20/25 with a remaining scar just beside the center of the fovea in the left eye after one intravitreal injection of ranibizumab.
Like I said in my earlier post:
In a secured laboratory situation, I would feel perfectly comfortable working with this but in its role as a geek toy, the chance for accident is too high for me to feel comfortable owning it.

From the Washington Examiner:
Virginia congressman admits: �If you don�t tie our hands, we will keep stealing.�
Here�s what a major mid-term correction looks like:

On March 16, when confronted by members of the Jefferson Area Tea Party, Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va., made a startling confession:

�If there�s one thing I�ve learned up here (in Washington) and I didn�t really need to come up here to learn it, is the only way to get Congress to balance the budget is to give them no choice, and the only way to keep them out of the cookie jar is to give them no choice, which is why � whether it�s balanced budget acts or pay as you go legislation or any of that � is the only thing. If you don�t tie our hands, we will keep stealing�

Incumbents running for reelection are expected to posture, inflate their accomplishments and embellish the truth. But the Yale-educated Democrat�s attempt to placate angry Tea Partiers by telling them that �If you don�t tie our hands, we will keep stealing� is shockingly, even brutally honest.
Talk about candor -- that guy should get re-elected just on the strength of that...

Interesting news from Florida

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Remember that Minister who was going to burn a copy of the Koran this Saturday in remembrance of 9/11? From Breitbart/Associated Press:
Fla. minister cancels burning of Qurans on 9/11
The minister of a Florida church said he has canceled plans to burn copies of the Quran because the leader of a much-opposed plan to build an Islamic Center near ground zero has agreed to move its location. The agreement couldn't be immediately confirmed.

The Rev. Terry Jones said Thursday that Americans oppose the mosque being built at the location and that Muslims do not want the Quran burned. He said instead of his plan to burn the books on Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of 9/11, he will be flying to New York to speak to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf about moving the mosque.

"We are, of course, now against any other group burning Qurans," Jones said during a news conference. We would right now ask no one to burn Qurans. We are absolutely strong on that. It is not the time to do it."
And this from a guy whose church has about 50 members. Talk about wanting to be a big player. Again, isn't Pride one of the Seven Deadly?

An odd thought

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Been getting a lot of comment spam recently revolving around teen pop star Justin Bieber. I have seen him on YouTube -- the guy can sing, production values are good. He deserves his fame. What struck me today is that here is this healthy 16 year old guy surrounded by groupies and 99% of said groupies are under legal age. Talk about a frustrating situation...

Fidel in the news

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A really interesting interview of Fidel Castro by Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic:
Fidel to Ahmadinejad: 'Stop Slandering the Jews'

(This is Part I of a report on my recent visit to Havana. I hope to post Part II tomorrow. And I also hope to be publishing a more comprehensive article about this subject in a forthcoming print edition of The Atlantic.)

A couple of weeks ago, while I was on vacation, my cell phone rang; it was Jorge Bolanos, the head of the Cuban Interest Section (we of course don't have diplomatic relations with Cuba) in Washington. "I have a message for you from Fidel," he said. This made me sit up straight. "He has read your Atlantic article about Iran and Israel. He invites you to Havana on Sunday to discuss the article." I am always eager, of course, to interact with readers of The Atlantic, so I called a friend at the Council on Foreign Relations, Julia Sweig, who is a preeminent expert on Cuba and Latin America: "Road trip," I said.

I quickly departed the People's Republic of Martha's Vineyard for Fidel's more tropical socialist island paradise. Despite the self-defeating American ban on travel to Cuba, both Julia and I, as journalists and researchers, qualified for a State Department exemption. The charter flight from Miami was bursting with Cuban-Americans carrying flat-screen televisions and computers for their technologically-bereft families. Fifty minutes after take-off, we arrived at the mostly-empty Jose Marti International Airport. Fidel's people met us on the tarmac (despite giving up his formal role as commandante en jefe after falling ill several years ago, Fidel still has many people). We were soon deposited at a "protocol house" in a government compound whose architecture reminded me of the gated communities of Boca Raton. The only other guest in this vast enclosure was the president of Guinea-Bissau.
A bit more:
Castro's message to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, was not so abstract, however. Over the course of this first, five-hour discussion, Castro repeatedly returned to his excoriation of anti-Semitism. He criticized Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust and explained why the Iranian government would better serve the cause of peace by acknowledging the "unique" history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence.
Some more:
I was surprised to hear Castro express such doubts about his own behavior in the missile crisis - and I was, I admit, also surprised to hear him express such sympathy for Jews, and for Israel's right to exist (which he endorsed unequivocally).
And on to part two -- Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic:
But during the generally lighthearted conversation (we had just spent three hours talking about Iran and the Middle East), I asked him if he believed the Cuban model was still something worth exporting.

"The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," he said.

This struck me as the mother of all Emily Litella moments. Did the leader of the Revolution just say, in essence, "Never mind"?

I asked Julia to interpret this stunning statement for me. She said, "He wasn't rejecting the ideas of the Revolution. I took it to be an acknowledgment that under 'the Cuban model' the state has much too big a role in the economic life of the country."
Emphasis mine -- something Obama needs to hear... A long and fascinating read. In the first part, Julia mentions that Castro may be trying to reinvent himself as a senior statesman on the world stage. I am looking forward to part three. The last time I was in Mexico was about ten years ago with my Mom and Dad. We were staying a few days in Merida (gorgeous old town BTW) before renting a car and driving the 70 miles out to Chichen Itza and getting a hotel room there. The airport had flight information to Cuba -- it was so tempting to go over to Havana for a few days and flying through Mexico, I could have done it with minimal problems. I would love to see Cuba opened to Americans again.

An interesting thought

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Came up in conversation today with my Acupuncturist. The Islamists and Progressives want to build a large Mosque a few blocks away from the site of the World Trade Center. They are calling it the C�rdoba Initiative and blathering about how -- well, I'll let the website speak for itself:
Improving Muslim-West Relations
C�rdoba Initiative seeks to actively promote engagement through a myriad of programs, by reinforcing similarities and addressing differences.
What is really interesting is that if you know your history; C�rdoba is a city in Spain that spent about 100 years under Muslim rule. The progressives paint this as a glorious time in history but for non-Muslims, life was miserable. The Muslims conquered that part of Spain, they tore down the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption and built their Mosque as an assertion of their triumph and dominion. At the end of the 100 years (from this Wikipedia article):
The Caliphate was practically disintegrated due to civil war (fitna) between descendants of the last legitimate Caliph Hisham II and the successors of his prime minister (hayib) Al-Mansur. The shell of the Caliphate existed until 1031 when, after years of infighting, it fractured into a number of independent Taifa kingdoms.
So anyway, planting a great Mosque nearly on top of the ruins of the greatest recent terrorist attack by Muslims neatly fits in to this C�rdoba mythos -- Muslims are a nostalgic people. They had their heyday and they want to return to it, even though they could only keep it together for 100+ years. And that was 1,000 years ago. Jump to today. There is a big outcry against building this Mosque and "Cultural Center". Recent polls show 70% opposed. The progressives are saying that people need to be more culturally aware and accepting. The key word is "tolerance". Segue to Florida. The moke down there, Rev. Jones who plans to burn a copy of the Koran this Saturday. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth down in Progressive-ville. The conversation today -- Gee... Why aren't these people a bit more tolerant. (rim shot)

A couple of long days ahead

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We have been partnering with this event starting last year: Festival 542 Each year it keeps getting bigger -- I am working with the local Chamber of Commerce to provide the Saturday dinner and the Sunday lunch and then the store is providing the refreshments at the top of the primary race. This race (Ride 542) is a 25 mile slog with 4,300 elevation gain and then you get to coast the 25 miles back down to the bucolic little hamlet of Glacier, WA The organizers are expecting about 500 to 700 people. Last year it was about 300. Wowza! Needless to say, posting will be a bit thin on the ground with spew returning sometime next week...

People unclear on the concept

Not how to fight crime -- from New York CBS channel 2:

Long Island Man Arrested For Defending Home With AK-47
He was arrested for protecting his property and family.

But it's how the Long Island man did it that police say crossed the line.

He got an AK-47 assault rifle, pulled the trigger and he ended up in jail, reports CBS 2's Pablo Guzman.

George Grier said he had to use his rifle on Sunday night to stop what he thought was going to be an invasion of his Uniondale home by a gang he thought might have been the vicious 'MS-13'. He said the whole deal happened as he was about to drive his cousin home.

"I went around and went into the house, ran upstairs and told my wife to call the police. I get the gun and I go outside and I come into the doorway and now, by this time, they are in the driveway, back here near the house". I tell them, you know, "Can you please leave?" Grier said.

Grier said the five men dared him to use the gun; and that their shouts brought another larger group of gang members in front of his house.

He starts threatening my family, my life. "Oh you're dead. I'm gonna kill your family and your babies. You're dead." So when he says that, 20 others guys come rushing around the corner. And so I fired four warning shots into the grass, Grier said.

Grier was later arrested. John Lewis is Grier's attorney.

Holy Crap - talk about the Police sending the wrong message. If those mokes were on my property -- not sidewalk or road or anything but on my own property; a substantial number of them would be seriously wounded right now. 20 people rushing around from the back of your house is not a peaceful visit... What idiots. The 500+ comments are worth checking out - this one caught my eye:

The State of NY and the city are proud of their Sullivan Law. The fact that it was written by a gangster leader of the F Points Irish gang so he could issue a license to carry to his gang and deny a license to the rival gangs might explain why crime in NYC is higher than in upstate NY and far higher in places like Wichita, KS, Texas, Wyoming where a citizen can get a license to carry. The law also provides that when threatened any person may use force, up to and including lethal force per KSA 21-3211,3212 and 3213. We can even own real machine guns. BTW, our crime rate is going down.

Self-defense is a natural right, the NY, CA,MA, and MD laws make self-defense illegal for many people, maybe that is why it isn't safe for mothers and children.
A minister in Florida announced several weeks ago that he was planning to burn a copy of the Koran on Saturday 9/11. General David Petraeus at the Wall Street Journal:
Petraeus Condemns U.S. Church's Plan to Burn Qurans
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said the planned burning of Qurans on Sept. 11 by a small Florida church could put the lives of American troops in danger and damage the war effort.

Gen. David Petraeus said the Taliban would exploit the demonstration for propaganda purposes, drumming up anger toward the U.S. and making it harder for allied troops to carry out their mission of protecting Afghan civilians.

"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort," Gen. Petraeus said in an interview. "It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."

Hundreds of Afghans attended a demonstration in Kabul on Monday to protest the plans of Florida pastor Terry Jones, who has said he will burn copies of Islam's holy book to mark the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Afghan protesters chanted "death to America," and speakers called on the U.S. to withdraw its troops. Some protesters threw rocks at a passing military convoy.
From FOX News:
State Department Calls Plan to Burn Korans 'Un-American'
The State Department described as "un-American" plans by a controversial church to burn Korans in memory of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks -- though the head of that church says he is not deterred.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called the plan "inflammatory" at a briefing Tuesday and said it would put U.S. troops and interest around the world at risk, echoing a concern expressed by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

"It doesn't represent the vast majority of American views," Crowley said.
What an idiot -- my guess as to why he announced the burning several weeks ago was that he wanted to bask in the light of publicity. The Deadly Sin of Pride. Wrath enters into the picture too as this is a hating move. Had Rev. Jones announced that he was also burning a Bible and a Torah, that would be one thing but just a Koran and to blat it out to the media, this is the work of an idiot. The Taliban is our enemy. They have said so repeatedly and they are waging asymmetrical warfare against Western culture. Our soldiers are bound by the Geneva conventions and dress like soldiers and act with honor. The Taliban soldiers dress like civilians, use human shields and take refuge in Mosques and Hospitals. What a lot of people fail to really grok is that these sons of pigs and monkeys are not stupid. They have studied our culture very well and know how to slant a news item to derive the most effect from the Progressives and the Conservatives -- to help separate them from each other to destabilize our Nation. What this minister is doing, with his prideful wrath, is throwing gasoline onto the fire that is now, finally being put out throughout the Middle East. I can only imagine the special reception waiting for him when he passes over. Not quite what he expected... The contact page for the church in question can be found here.

The Chicago way

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Seems like the Mayor is getting a little bit unpopular these days. From Associated Press:
Chicago Mayor Daley won't run for re-election
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he's not running for re-election after decades in office.

Daley said Tuesday he's been thinking about not running for several months and has become comfortable with his decision over the last several weeks. Daley says "it just feels right." Daley says the time to move on "is now."

The 68-year-old Democrat has been Chicago's mayor since 1989.
And of course, from The Hill:
Chicago mayor retires, spurring talk of a bid by Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley�s (D) surprise announcement Tuesday that he will not seek another term spurred widespread speculation that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will run for the job.

Even though he has a plum position as President Obama�s senior staffer, Emanuel has spoken openly about his desire to run for mayor.

He released a statement Tuesday that didn�t answer the question.

�While Mayor Daley surprised me today with his decision to not run for reelection, I have never been surprised by his leadership, dedication and tireless work on behalf of the city and the people of Chicago,� he said.

He won�t have much time to decide � the election is Feb. 22, 2011, and candidates need to file by Nov. 22.
So we are looking at a tearful resignation from Emanuel and the announcement that he is running for Mayor. Daley gets some appointment from Obama and will live off the government teat through his retirement. A big hat tip to Publius at Breitbart's Big Government

That's it for the night

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Heading off to the DaveCave(tm) to check email and work on some stuff.

A look at Obama's favorite philosopher

Interesting bit of history about Saul Alinski's past. From The New Criterion:
�Organized� crime
It is a matter of no small amusement for the journalist and agitator Nicholas von Hoffman that his beloved mentor, Saul Alinsky, learned the craft of �organizing� at the feet of Chicago�s most notorious mobsters. This was nearly eighty years before the self-proclaimed radical became a household name, having posthumously inspired an up-and-coming organizer who went on to become the forty-fourth president of the United States. Alinsky�s entr�e to the Al Capone gang (which, tellingly, he called a �public utility�) was neither his ruthlessness nor his penchant for rabble-rousing, though a surfeit of both qualities surely impressed his friend Frank (�the Enforcer�) Nitti. It was, instead, his academic credentials.

A freshly minted doctor of criminology from the University of Chicago, Alinsky sought out, bonded with, and closely studied anti-social types. His experience proved invaluable in his lifelong pursuit of �social justice,� the organizer�s panacea. Alinsky even found a Depression-era job at Joliet�s hard-knocks penitentiary, assessing the suitability of inmates for parole. Not every crook had the panache of the Enforcer, and the work soon bored Alinsky, whose promiscuous mind was easily given to boredom. Yet there was an oasis in this desert: the evaluation of an occasional con man. In an unintentionally hilarious vignette, von Hoffman relates that �one of the flim-flam men initiated Alinsky into the secrets of his trade.� We�re never told to which �his� the trade-secrets in question belonged�the flim-flammer or the organizer. It turns out not to matter. They�re both frauds.

Fraud is, in fact, the leitmotif of Radical, von Hoffman�s adoring portrait of Alinsky. This oughtn�t be taken the wrong way: Radical is an enjoyable, sometimes even an endearing, read. Von Hoffman is an engaging writer, especially during the stretches when he manages to rein in his seething disdain for �teabaggers,� �the rich,� and other Americans who actually like America. There was a self-conscious coldness about Alinsky, who urged disciples to nurture what von Hoffman describes as the �cold anger that fosters calculated and measured action.� This �Alinsky aesthetic� held social workers and other idealistic progressives in nearly as low esteem as smug capitalists. It lauded the good sense of Saint Paul (a model organizer in the agnostic Alinsky�s eyes), for leaving �the poor to Jesus while he went after people with at least a little substance.� It�s a stripe of bloodless cynicism that will ring a bell for those who�ve closely watched the first two years of Barack Obama�s presidency. Yet von Hoffman�s admiration for his subject illuminates the fire that burned within this �picador in the political corrida,� whose �irreverence was his banderilla.�
A longish read but a good one as Alinski is at the heart of today's political regime. His Rules for Radicals have been the tool-box of every progressive and enviro political campaign. What I find delightful is that these simple rules are now being employed by the Conservatives to great effect and consternation. What goes around comes around...

Quite the find

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From the Boston Globe:
Worcester auction has historians and collectors abuzz
An extraordinary collection of items belonging to Worcester native Andrew Haswell Green � a visionary who helped remake New York City in the 19th century � will be sold this week in an unprecedented four-day auction at the DCU Center in Worcester. Among the thousands of documents, artworks, china, clothing, and toys being sold are handwritten correspondence to and from four presidents and a rare, printed copy of George Washington�s will.

From Green�s death in 1903 until 2009, virtually none of the items had ever been uncrated and examined. Packing boxes sealed more than a century ago were opened only after the death last summer of Julia Green, his great-great-grandniece and distant heiress.

What was discovered has collectors and historians buzzing: an 1810 letter from President James Madison to James Monroe containing the first reference to a White House gardener, a rare 1850 daguerreotype of Green, and an 1875 George Inness oil painting of Mount Washington, among other treasures.

It was a time capsule buried in plain sight for a hundred years.
Just Wow! I can only imagine what was going through the minds of the first people to open the box. What a treasure.
I had posted this a few days ago in connection with the enviro-idiot who took hostages at the Discovery building:
What I find amusing is that if you study the rise and FALL of each of these power hungry idiots is that the first action they take when they are in their ultimate position of power is to liquidate all of the people who helped them gain that power. Considering that those who are ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it � if the Obama regime ever does try to establish a tyranny, the first people to go will be their supporters � the liberals, the academics, the Labor Unions� They are so blind that they cannot see.
Here is a perfect example of exactly what I was talking about. It is the 1960's in China. From the UK Literary Review:
Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62
In 1936 Mao Tse-Tung, then a cave-dwelling revolutionary, told Edgar Snow his life story. Snow recorded Mao's self-serving autobiography in Red Star Over China, which for decades made the American's name as the leading reporter in China.

Back in China twenty-four years later, Snow was pestered by news agencies enquiring about mass starvation. The Snow of the 1930s had gone into the field to see for himself a prolonged drought in the north-west, where people were rumoured to be selling their children. But this time he relied on his access to top officials such as Premier Zhou Enlai, and foreigners who flacked for China such as the New Zealander Rewi Alley. In the book he wrote about that trip, The Other Side of the River, Snow stated, 'I saw no starving people in China ... Considerable malnutrition undoubtedly existed. Mass starvation? No.' And most positively: 'Whatever he was eating, the average Chinese maintained himself in good health, as far as anyone could see.'
A bit more:
Now Frank Dik�tter, a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and at Hong Kong University, has laid out the vast horror in detail, drawing on local and provincial archives that have only recently become available to approved foreign scholars. In terms of Mao's reputation this book leaves the Chairman for dead, as a monster in the same league as Hitler and Stalin - and that is without considering the years of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), when hundreds of thousands more Chinese died. One of Dik�tter's observations is that Mao instigated the Cultural Revolution to wreak revenge on close colleagues who had dared to show him up. It is a mark of the historical darkness that still envelops China that many Chinese blame the famine on the Soviet Union, which, they maintain, snatched food from the mouths of starving Chinese by insisting that Beijing export grain to repay Moscow's loans.
Emphasis mine. And there are those who deny this -- we have people in our own administration who view Mao as a great leader and someone to take inspiration from. (Ron Bloom -- Manufacturing Czar and Anita Dunn -- White House Communications Director) A big hat tip to the �cumenical Volgi who writes at The Gormogons.

Restoring Honor

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An insiders look at the two rallies held that day. From The Central Texas 9-12 Project:
Restoring Honor Rally Changes Hearts and Minds
Saturday, August 28, 2010, my husband, two daughters, and I attended the Restoring Honor rally in Washington D.C. It was a wonderful experience for us all. The crowd was huge (500,000 + people), very peaceful, and individuals were kind and patient. You might think that the important part of the weekend was the three and a half hours (or more) that we spent together during the rally. When I was sitting under the bright, hot sun with my friends from Texas, I thought so too. But I was wrong�

During the first leg of our trip from D.C. to Chicago, our two daughters, ages 22 and 16, sat next to an African-American gentleman wearing an Obama inauguration t-shirt. After take-off, he mentioned to them that he had travelled to D.C. to attend Al Sharpton�s Reclaim the Dream rally. Our older daughter told him that they were in D.C. for the Glenn Beck Restoring Honor rally, and the conversation took off from there.

The gentlemen told my daughters that he went to the Restoring Honor rally with several friends because Al Sharpton told them that we were holding a negative protest that was against MLK�s message and against those who had gathered for Rev. Sharpton�s rally. He said that when he and his friends arrived that they didn�t see anything that they expected, so they stayed a bit to listen. They realized that Restoring Honor was not anything like what Rev. Sharpton told them to expect. They then returned to the Sharpton rally to try to tell several people that what Rev. Sharpton was saying about our rally was not true. He saw that our rally was not a political or hateful rally, and that it was not meant to divide Americans. He tried to get a message to Rev. Sharpton prior to his speech, but either he didn�t get the message or he ignored the message. Rev. Sharpton went forward with his original speech as planned.

This kind gentleman then told my daughter some things that amazed us. He told them multiple times that he was a Democrat, and that the tide had turned since MLK�s day, and that the civil rights movement had not changed with it. He asked the girls to watch Al Sharpton on CNN. He thought that Sharpton looked ridiculous on CNN because it was the perfect opportunity to say that he was sorry for his criticism of the Restoring Honor rally. Then they discussed the media. He and the girls agreed that the lack of truth in the media and the lack of individuals� willingness to do their own research would be our country�s downfall. He followed up by saying that Glenn was something special and possibly the modern day MLK. He said that from now on when Glenn spoke he would take the time to listen, and that Glenn or someone like him would be the next great President. The girls told him that they felt sure that Glenn would never run.
Nice to see when people "wake up". Once they see the light, it is impossible to go back. Certainly was for me -- I was raised by academic liberals and drank the kool aid. After 9/11, I started asking questions and the veil fell from my eyes.

Day by Day asks some questions

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Some excellent questions raised by an excellent cartoon.
Click to embiggen...
Chris Muir's Day by Day is a daily read for me.

Who should face the music - Alan Greenspan

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Looking at the causes of the financial meltdown, one name keeps popping up. Gonzalo Lira has this to say:
The Prosecution�s Case Against Alan Greenspan
Should Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board (1987�2006), be tried for Crimes Against the Economy, put up against a concrete wall, handed a cigarette, offered a red blindfold, and then executed by firing squad?

Yes�absolutely. No question. (And this coming from an anti-death penalty, anti-abortion Catholic.) Herewith, the case for the prosecution.

There are four main charges against the so-called �Maestro�:

OneIrresponsible Market Liquidity, Which Created Rampant Moral Hazard:
The Accused was instrumental in creating the pernicious policy mentality of �providing markets with necessary liquidity��essentially, throwing money at every problem.

This first started within days of Greenspan�s assuming the role of American central banker: The frenzy that caused the stock market crash of October 1987 was doused by Greenspan�s pledge to provide �all necessary liquidity, should the need arise�. This instantly soothed the markets as surely as a hit soothes a heroin junkie�within a few months, it was as if the panic had never happened.

After that, and throughout his tenure and that of his successor, Greenspan applied the same remedy, time after time, to every single problem. He became the living embodiment of that old saw: �If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail�. Or maybe Curtis Mayfield�s famous refrain would be more apropos: �I'm your pusher-man�.

This addiction to market liquidity reached a peak with the Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) fiasco of the Fall of �98. LTCM made a series of bad bets that went sour due to the Russian Crisis�therefore, to pay off its losses, LTCM would have to stage a fire-sale to come up with the cash. To avoid this disorderly unwind and subsequent fire-sale�which would have led to an across-the-board run on LTCM�s counterparties, and eventually a wholesale market panic�the Fed under Greenspan organized LTCM�s counterparties, and effectively underwrote the firm�s break-up, providing essentially a bridge loan to finance the whole mess.

Whether LTCM should have been bailed out by the Fed in order to effect an orderly unwind is debatable. Some believe that LTCM had to be bailed out, others believe it should have been allowed to fail, and let the chips fall where they may.

What is not debatable, however, is that, as a direct result of LTCM, two things happened: One, every Wall Street firm realized that, if they were ever hard-up for cash, Easy Al would come through with liquidity�which meant effectively that firms could begin figuring out ways to leverage themselves even more, in the pursuit of profits. They were one and all confident that Uncle Al would bail them out with liquidity, if they ever got into any real trouble.

The other thing that happened was what didn�t happen. Once the bail-out and liquidation of LTCM was carried out, Greenspan failed to learn the obvious lesson from the experience: Sophisticated financial products created under his chairmanship had directly led to the collapse of the firm, and put at risk the entire U.S. financial markets.

If brainiacs like Merton and Scholes, with killer-traders like John Meriwether at the wheel, could drive LTCM off a cliff, what about the hoi polloi of Wall Street, strapping the same financial weapons of mass destruction as Merton, Scholes & Meriwether had been wielding? What kind of trouble could they get themselves into, with all of these fabulous �innovations�?

Did Greenspan put a stop to such suicidally risky practices after LTCM?

In a word: No. Which leads directly to the second charge�
Three more well documented cases at the site. Well worth reading.

Not much happening tonight

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Slow on the internet tonight so nothing really to post -- it was a long day today -- there was the car show in town. The organizer was planning for about 30 vehicles max and just under 100 showed up. There was overflow parking in two of the restaurants and one coffee bar and the main stretch of highway was lined on each side. Some gorgeous iron out there. That finished at 3PM and I then walked over to the store and helped out until around 6:00 Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to check email.

Talk about divine retribution - Jesse Jackson

From The Detroit News:

The irony of Jesse Jackson's stripped SUV
Add Jesse Jackson's ride to prominent vehicles being stripped in Detroit.

Following the embarrassing news that Mayor Dave Bing's GMC Yukon was hijacked by criminals this week, Detroit's Channel 7 reports that the Reverend's Caddy Escalade SUV was stolen and stripped of its wheels while he was in town last weekend with the UAW's militant President Bob King leading the "Jobs, Justice, and Peace" march promoting government-funded green jobs.

Read that again: Jackson's Caddy SUV was stripped while he was in town promoting green jobs.

It's not what you say, it's what you do...

Circling the drain - Venezuela rations food

Just when they couldn't sink further. From the Miami Herald:

Venezuela introduces Cuba-like food card
Presented by President Hugo Chavez as an instrument to make shopping for groceries easier, the "Good Life Card" is making various segments of the population wary because they see it as a furtive attempt to introduce a rationing card similar to the one in Cuba.

The measure could easily become a mechanism to control the population, according to civil society groups.

"We see that in short-term this could become a rationing card probably similar to the one used in Cuba," Roberto Leon Parilli, president of the National Association of Users and Consumers, told El Nuevo Herald. "It would use more advanced technological means [than those used in Cuba], but when they tell you where to buy and what the limits of what you can buy are, they are conditioning your purchases."

Chavez said Tuesday that the card could be used to buy groceries at the government chain of markets and supplies.

A bit of history about Cuba:

Jaime Suchlicki, director of the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, said that Venezuela's current problems of scarce supplies are very similar to those Cuba faced when Fidel Castro introduced the rationing card.

"The card emerged when goods began to become scarce," Suchlicki said. "The government had seized many companies that did not work because the government managed them poorly. Then they decided to distribute groceries through those cards."

And although the cards were introduced as a mechanism to deal with scarcities, Suchlicki said, they later became an instrument of control.

"People depended on the government to eat, and nothing gives you more power than having people depend on you to get their food quota," he said.

And of course by not investing in Venezuela's physical infrastructure, the citizens will be in a world of hurt when Chavez finally does get booted out of office. Sad...

Long day - probably no posting tonight

Labor Day weekend is the last big huzzah of summer and the store is a blur. It is a Canadian holiday as well and since we are only a few miles from the border, we get a lot of people from there. Just got home -- had dinner out at Chair 9. We both had the excellent Buffalo Burger. Long day tomorrow too as there is a vintage car show (the 1st Annual Mt. Baker Foothills Car Show) in our little mountain hamlet and I volunteered to set up and run the PA system. That finishes off at 3PM -- just as the store starts to get busy so I will finish my day off there. The fresh pasta is turning out to be a huge success -- last week I placed an order that I thought would get us through two weeks and we sold out in four days. Organic Honeycrisp apples will be coming in tomorrow. I love this time of year...
Heh -- David Suzuki is a geneticist who is doing very well by playing along with the Environmental game. August 2009 - from Vancouver, BC Straight
David Suzuki: Uncovering the mystery of B.C.�s disappearing sockeye
The Fraser River�s sockeye salmon are in trouble. And when the salmon are in trouble, we�re all in trouble.

The number of sockeye returning from the ocean to the Fraser River this year is one of the lowest in the past 50 and follows two years of dangerously low returns. In fact, we have witnessed decades of decline for diverse sockeye populations from the Fraser Watershed, some of which are now on the brink of extinction.
Ooooo -- I love the scare quote: "we�re all in trouble" Then, from the April 2010 Fraser Riverkeeper:
Fraser Riverkeeper Granted Standing to Participate in Judicial Inquiry into Decline of Sockeye Salmon
Fraser Riverkeeper has been granted formal standing to participate in the federal judicial inquiry into the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River.

The Cohen Commission granted standing to 20 groups and individuals on April 16th, inviting them to provide evidence to the commission, giving the organizations the ability to propose witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, and make oral submissions to the commission.
One of the 20 groups is -- wait for it -- the David Suzuki Foundation And this will cost Taxpayers how much? (gotta host those conferences at someplace nice after all) From the June 2010 Fish Info & Services Co. Ltd:
BC sockeye decline investigation launched
A CAD 14 million (USD 13.6 million) official investigation into the precipitous decline of sockeye salmon stocks in British Columbia's (BC) Fraser River begun on Tuesday in Vancouver.

The Cohen Commission of Inquiry starts off the first three days of what may be a prolonged technical exploration into the disappearance of nearly 10 million sockeye salmon from last year�s Fraser River run.
And of course, does Nature give a flying fsck? Nope. From the August 2010 Vancouver Sun:
B.C. sockeye salmon returns best in nearly a century
B.C. is reaping the biggest sockeye salmon return in nearly a century, just a year after one of the smallest returns on record.

Fishery officials estimated Tuesday that more than 25 million sockeye salmon will return to the Fraser River this year, the largest number since 1913. Last year�s return was 1.7 million � the lowest in more than 50 years.

And the estimate could yet go higher as Tuesday�s test catch was the largest all year, said Barry Rosenberger, area director for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The department has approved another set of openings for commercial fishing and expanded the fishery based on the record returns.
Hat tip to The Daily Bayonet for the links.

Daniel Hannan on the environment

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Quite the wonderful rant from Daniel Hannan:
Greenland to Greenpeace: your hunger for publicity is putting our lives at risk
Those ingrate Inuit! They just don�t appreciate all the efforts that middle class Greenies are making on their behalf!

The prime minister of Greenland � a socialist, no less � has attacked Greenpeace for sabotaging an Arctic exploration rig. Kuupik Kleist is plainly not a politician given to circumlocution:
The cabinet regards Greenpeace�s action as very serious and an illegal attack on the country�s constitutional rights. It is worrying that Greenpeace, in their hunt for media exposure, violate security rules made to protect human lives and the environment.
My Leftie friends often take such rejection badly. Aboriginal peoples in poor countries are meant to be on their side. I remember how disconsolate Green and Socialist MEPs were when the main opposition to the EU�s ban on seal imports came, not from wicked multinational corporations, but from indigenous tribes in Canada.

Lefties have always liked the idea that they are speaking for those who would otherwise have no voice � which is, of course, a very creditable motive. The trouble is that, when the previously voiceless do find their tongues, they often say things that their erstwhile protectors find awkward. A hundred years ago, socialists presumed to speak for the proletariat. When the proletariat turned out to have some uncomfortably conservative views, they shifted their attention to the oppressed peasantry of the Third World. When these, too, turned out not to have the correct opinions, they moved on to more recherch� communities: hunter-gatherers in rainforests and the like.

Now even these groups have rejected the patronage of bien pensant whites. But there is one constituency left, one that can be guaranteed never to disown its self-appointed champions, namely dumb beasts. Hence the terrifying fervour of some animal rights activists: they have nowhere else to go.
Copied the whole thing as it is short and I could not excerpt it well. Hannan is a wonderful writer and speaker. Here are three clips: here, here and here

Well duuuuhhhhhh

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From Breitbart/AFP:
BBC had "massive bias to left:" director general
The director general of the BBC admitted Thursday that his organisation had been guilty of a "massive bias to the left" but said "a completely different generation" of journalists now works at the broadcaster.

Mark Thompson told the right-of-centre Spectator magazine that there was an institutional bias when he joined the organisation, reinforcing the findings of a 2007 internal report which concluded that greater efforts were required to avoid liberal bias.

"In the BBC I joined 30 years ago, there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people's personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left," Thompson said.

"The organisation did struggle then with impartiality. And journalistically, staff were quite mystified by the early years of Thatcher."Now it is a completely different generation. There is much less overt tribalism among the young journalists who work for the BBC," he added.
Of course, there was "a massive bias to the left" but now there is "a completely different generation of journalists"

The United Nations IPCC gets just deserts

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From the New York Post:
Meltdown of the climate 'consensus'
If this keeps up, no one's going to trust any scientists.

The global-warming establishment took a body blow this week, as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received a stunning rebuke from a top-notch independent investigation.

For two decades, the IPCC has spearheaded efforts to convince the world's governments that man-made carbon emissions pose a threat to the global temperature equilibrium -- and to civilization itself. IPCC reports, collated from the work of hundreds of climate scientists and bureaucrats, are widely cited as evidence for the urgent need for drastic action to "save the planet."

But the prestigious InterAcademy Council, an independent association of "the best scientists and engineers worldwide" (as the group's own Web site puts it) formed in 2000 to give "high-quality advice to international bodies," has finished a thorough review of IPCC practices -- and found them badly wanting.

For example, the IPCC's much-vaunted Fourth Assessment Report claimed in 2007 that Himalayan glaciers were rapidly melting, and would possibly be gone by the year 2035. The claim was actually false -- yet the IPCC cited it as proof of man-made global warming.

Then there's the IPCC's earlier prediction in 2007 -- which it claimed to have "high confidence" in -- that global warming could lead to a 50 percent reduction in the rain-fed agricultural capacity of Africa.

Such a dramatic decrease in food production in an already poor continent would be a terrifying prospect, and undoubtedly lead to the starvation of millions. But the InterAcademy Council investigation found that this IPCC claim was also based on weak evidence.

Overall, the IAC slammed the IPCC for reporting "high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence. Furthermore, by making vague statements that were difficult to refute, authors were able to attach 'high confidence' to the statements." The critics note "many such statements that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective or not expressed clearly.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? A bunch of hack scientists saw a chance for a good ride and they took it. Scientific Principals be damned. Politicians figured out that this would be a good "cause" to hitch their wagon to and the whole thing became politicized. The Green Marxists chimed in and spawned off people like that idiot who was shot at the Discovery building. The whole thing stinks -- it is morally repugnant to me.

Crap - here we go again

From Louisiana station WAFB:
Oil rig platform catches fire in Gulf of Mexico
The Coast Guard is on the scene of another oil rig fire in the Gulf of Mexico. Officials are now reporting a mile-long oil sheen spreading from the site.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Coklough said the sheen, about 100 feet wide, was spotted near the burning platform. He said Mariner Energy, Inc., the Houston company that owns the rig, had deployed three firefighting vessels to the site and one already was in place fighting the blaze.

According to the Coast Guard, 13 people were on the platform when it caught fire Thursday morning. All 13 are accounted for and one injury was reported.
Thank God there was no loss of life. This unit is in 340 feet of water and relatively close to shore so plugging any leaks should be a matter of taking care of the fire and then a few days. 340 feet is a little bit outside the range of diving but very easy to operate in with equipment. Yahoo/Associated Press has a bit more:
Oil sheen spreading from Gulf platform explosion
A mile-long oil sheen spread Thursday from an offshore petroleum platform burning in the Gulf of Mexico off Lousiana, west of the site of BP's massive spill.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Coklough said the sheen, about 100 feet wide, was spotted near the platform owned by Houston-based Mariner Energy Inc.

He said Mariner had deployed three firefighting vessels to the site and one already was in place fighting the blaze.
And of course, this is all Bush's fault...

This does not surprise me

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Hey Al Gore -- do you want to step up to the plate and assume responsibility for this mokes actions? From MS/NBC:
Lee said at the time that he experienced an ��awakening� when he watched former Vice President Al Gore�s environmental documentary ��An Inconvenient Truth.�
So that stinking pile of cherry-picked twaddle caused Lee to slip off the deep end and nobody has anything to say about it? Al? Mr. Gore? Bueller? ...

Truckin' right along

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Hurricane Earl is scheduled to hit North Carolina sometime late Thursday evening and then slide right up the Eastern Seaboard hitting Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and the St. Lawrence by Saturday.

Suicide by L.E.O.

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The idiot is dead and the environmentalists just got a new martyr. They should all assume room temperature as fast as possible. From FOX News:
Gunman Shot and Killed After Hostage Standoff at Discovery Channel Building
A man known for protesting the Discovery Channel's environmental programming stormed the network's Maryland headquarters carrying a handgun on Wednesday, holding three people hostage for hours until he was shot and killed by police, according to authorities.

The hostages -- two Discovery Communications employees and a security guard -- were unhurt after the four-hour standoff. Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said tactical officers moved in after officers monitoring the man on building security cameras saw him pull out a handgun and point it at a hostage.
Obviously the guy was mentally ill but the onus is also on the environmentalists for painting such a perilous picture of environmental tipping points and upcoming catastrophes. The very fact that Lee was talking about Malthusian Science speaks volumes to his delusional state and willful ignorance. The Reverend Malthus is one of those people I would dearly love to have a time machine and a hand gun for. Karl Marx, Ernesto Guevara, Castro Brothers, Vladimir L., Mao, Hitler, Chomsky, Cloward and Piven, Alinsky. These people have all at the bare minimum, set the human development back a thousand years and at the very worst had the blood of hundreds of millions of Innocent people on their hands. What I find amusing is that if you study the rise and FALL of each of these power hungry idiots is that the first action they take when they are in their ultimate position of power is to liquidate all of the people who helped them gain that power. Considering that those who are ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it -- if the Obama regime ever does try to establish a tyranny, the first people to go will be their supporters -- the liberals, the academics, the Labor Unions... They are so blind that they cannot see.

Politics: Chicago Style

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We consider Obama to be a 'Chicago Style' politician. Nick Schulz at USA Today says we do not know Chicago Politics:
Is Obama a Chicago-style pol? If only.
President Obama has been accused by his critics of practicing a kind of "Chicago-style" politics. By this they mean winning political fights with calculated deal-cutting, ruthless backroom maneuvering, manipulation of ethnic sensibilities and thuggish machine politics. The gripe has never been totally fair to the president and his team (despite his Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel's now-famous line about never letting a crisis go to waste).

Throughout history, Chicago-style politics certainly had its ugly and seamy side. But it also has had some practical virtues � namely, the ability to squash intractable political problems before they corrode public spirit.

If any evidence were ever needed that the president doesn't practice Chicago-style politics, it's with the Ground Zero mosque controversy. Here's how a real Chicago pol might have dealt with it.
The rest of the article has an excellent analysis of Chicago Style v/s Obama Style and highlights how one works and how the other is dysfunctional. Comments are worth reading too -- almost all agreeing with Obama's incompetence in handling the Mosque.

Standoff at Discovery Network building

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Word is that the Discovery Network Building has been evacuated because of an armed idiot who is possibly carrying some explosives. He is suspected of being James Jay Lee and from several online sources seems to be a total barking nutcase. From Eyeblast.TV:
Discovery Channel Hostage Taker�s Crazed Online Ramblings
Right now there is a man who has taken hostages at the Discovery Channel�s building in Silver Spring, Maryland. I�m watching Fox News for the latest updates on what is unfolding. Here is their story on

His name is being reported as James Jay Lee and he has a long history of hating the Discovery channel that is well documented online. For starters there is this DCist post from January 2008 about this guy�s protest against the Discovery channel. They basically mock him for being a nut because of this insane manifesto he posted online around the same time.
The Manifesto is worse than the Time-Cube A small taste:
Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show format contest would be in order. Perhaps also forums of leading scientists who understand and agree with the Malthus-Darwin science and the problem of human overpopulation.
Anyone who takes Malthusian thought seriously is a fscking idiot. To call it a "science" beggars belief. A bit more:
For every human born, ACRES of wildlife forests must be turned into farmland in order to feed that new addition over the course of 60 to 100 YEARS of that new human's lifespan! THIS IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FOREST CREATURES!!!! All human procreation and farming must cease!
Pssst... There are more trees in the USA now than when Columbus visited in 1492. Fscking idiot.

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