May 2011 Archives

A big government two-fer

How is that economy working out? Food stamps? How about 14% of the population. From ABC News:
Congress Mulls Cuts to Food Stamps Program Amid Record Number of Recipients
ABC News' Huma Khan reports: Congress is under pressure to cut the rapidly rising costs of the federal government�s food stamps program at a time when a record number of Americans are relying on it.

The House Appropriations Committee today will review the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill for the Department of Agriculture that includes $71 billion for the agency�s �Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.� That�s $2 billion less than what President Obama requested but a 9 percent increase from 2011, which, critics say, is too large given the sizeable budget deficit.

A record number of Americans -- about 14 percent -- now rely on the federal government�s food stamps program and its rapid expansion in recent years has become a politically explosive topic.

More than 44.5 million Americans received SNAP benefits in March, an 11 percent increase from one year ago and nearly 61 percent higher than the same time four years ago.

Nearly 21 million households are reliant on food stamps.
A big uptick of SNAP at the store but 61% growth in just four years? That is insane... At the other end of the spectrum -- from The Center for Public Integrity:
Limousine liberals? Number of government-owned limos has soared under Obama
Limousines, the very symbol of wealth and excess, are usually the domain of corporate executives and the rich. But the number of limos owned by Uncle Sam increased by 73 percent during the first two years of the Obama administration, according to an analysis of records by iWatch News.

Most of the increase was recorded in Hillary Clinton�s State Department.
According to General Services Administration data , the number of limousines in the federal fleet increased from 238 in fiscal 2008, the last year of the George W. Bush administration, to 412 in 2010. Much of the 73 percent increase�111 of the 174 additional limos�took place in fiscal 2009, more than eight months of which corresponded with Obama�s first year in office. However, some of those purchases could reflect requests made by the Bush administration during an appropriations process that would have begun in the spring of 2008.
When facing such a huge deficit, cutting costs is mandatory. What is wrong with taking a taxi?

Not all bankers

are scum-sucking bas&ards. Meet Robert G. Wilmers. From Joe Nocera writing at the New York Times:
The Good Banker
Not long ago, as I was leaving a business lunch, my luncheon companion handed me a thin manila envelope. He didn�t tell me what was in it or why he had given it to me, but as soon as I opened it up, I immediately understood.

It contained a copy of the 2010 annual report to shareholders by a bank executive I�d never met: Robert G. Wilmers. For nearly 30 years, Wilmers has run the M&T Bank, based in Buffalo. When he took it over, M&T had $2 billion in assets; today, its assets exceed $68 billion, and it�s one of the most highly regarded regional bank holding companies. It has also been one of the best performing stocks in the Standard & Poor�s 500-stock index; indeed, M&T was one of only two banks in the S.& P. 500 that didn�t cut its dividend during the financial crisis.

Wilmers�s report, however, was less about the company�s numbers than about the dismal state of his beloved profession. Wilmers, it turns out, is that rarest of birds: a banker willing to tell harsh truths about banking. That, for instance, much of the money the big banks earn comes from trading profits �rather than the prudent extension of credit that furthers commerce.� That derivatives had helped bring about the crisis and needed to be regulated. That bank executives were wildly overpaid. That the biggest banks � the Too Big to Fail Banks � were operating, as he put it, an �unsafe business model.�

My first thought upon finishing the report was: I need to meet this guy. So, a few weeks ago, I did.
Worth reading the entire article (and clicking on the links). It is difficult to place blame on one President or one Congress -- the corruption has metastasized and both parties need to clean house. Lots of bleach...

To ground for the night

Comfortably ensconced at the Hotel Sierra in downtown Redmond, WA. Very cushy digs and a screamin' deal with my MSFT Alumni card -- this is very much MSFT country around here... First auction tomorrow morning -- a scientific company that did work with hydrogen and energy. Considering that the two principals are both in their 70's, I am betting more a bunch of older geeks blowing through money having fun and getting some really good tax breaks. I like to Google the company names before the auction so I can get a better handle on what will be there. Second auction is Thursday morning - the sign company. There is a big CNC router that might be interesting if the price is right. There is also a small CNC metal engraver that looks really sweet and a laminator. Again, the price has to be really good for me to get them. Surf for a bit, maybe post something if it catches my eye. More tomorrow...

One more on Memorial Day

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Our great friends to the North have their own day -- November 11th. Their sentiments are the same:
From the site:
On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the stores PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the stores leadership role in adopting the Legions two minutes of silence initiative. He felt that the stores contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When eleven oclock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the two minutes of silence to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.

Terrys anger towards the father for trying to engage the stores clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, A Pittance of Time. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream.

Thank You to the Royal Canadian Legion Todmorden Branch #10 and Woodbine Height Branch #2 for their participation in the Video.

IE 9 update

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Installed it along with Windows 7 five days ago. I have heard that you really need to be running Win7 for it to shine. All that aside, I am liking it -- it handles downloading files really well and a few security annoyances that were present with IE8 are gone. F12 is fun if you are coding websites. Some nice options in the Internet Options. Yes, they moved my shit around but it is not difficult to find although there are a few inconsistencies -- my Favorites are now on the right side of the screen -- Mmmm Kay -- but if you pin it, it goes back to the left side of the screen where it was in IE8. I would like an option to display the URL on a separate line from the tabs so I could see the full URL.

Germany circles the drain

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From FOX News:
Germany Will Shut Down All Nuke Plants by 2022
Gremany's governing coalition said Monday it will shut down all the country's nuclear power plants by 2022. The decision, prompted by Japan's nuclear disaster, will make Germany the first major industrialized nation to go nuclear-free in years.

It also completes a remarkable about-face for Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right government, which only late last year had pushed through a plan to extend the life span of the country's 17 reactors -- with the last scheduled to go offline in 2036.

But Merkel now says industrialized, technologically advanced Japan's helplessness in the fact of the Fukushima disaster made her rethink the risks of the technology.

"We want the electricity of the future to be safe, reliable and economically viable," Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters on Monday after overnight negotiations among the governing parties. "We have to follow a new path."

While Germany already was set to abandon nuclear energy eventually, the decision -- which still requires parliamentary approval -- dramatically speeds up that process.
A couple of things -- the drop-dead date is eleven years away so there is plenty of time for the next Chancellor to rescind the decision and this decision refers to only the existing reactors, not to any ones that might be built in the future. The reality:
Merkel's government ordered the country's seven oldest reactors, all built before 1980, shut down four days after problems emerged at Fukushima. The plants accounted for about 40 percent of the country's nuclear power capacity.

Shutting down even more reactors, however, will require billions of euros (dollars) of investment in renewable energies, more natural gas power plants and an overhaul of the country's electricity grid.

Germany, usually a net energy exporter, has at times had to import energy since March, with the seven old reactors shut down and others temporarily taken off the grid for regular maintenance work.

Still, the agency overseeing its electricity grid said Friday that the country will remain self-sufficient.

The government has stressed that Germany must not rely on importing power from its nuclear-reliant neighbors.
And the death knell:
Environmental groups welcomed Berlin's decision.
These enviros are spreading their Malthusian doom and gloom over the world using laptops while they totally fail to recognize that the technological advances that allowed the laptop to happen also apply to other technologies such as nuclear reactors. Today's designs are inherently safe -- they can not melt down and the spent fuel issue is a matter of a few hundred years, not tens of thousands... And yes, the typo: "Gremany's" is from FOX News's own website -- I took a screencap and will see how long it stays up...

A list of ten items

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From John Waters at the UK Telegraph:
John Waters on 10 things every role model needs
1. History. You can�t have a one-night-stand role model. No one can become a role model in 24 hours. It helps a lot if you knew them when you were young, so they sort of grow or fester with you, like Johnny Mathis was for me.

2 Be extreme: all my role models have to be. They have to be braver than I�ve ever been. Even to survive success is hard, no matter if it�s widespread success like Johnny Mathis had, or Bobby Boris Pickett, who his whole life just had to sing one song [The Monster Mash]. Today too many people are trying hard to be extreme. For the people I admire it was natural, and they turned it into art.
Eight more at the site -- I like #'s 9 and 10 and #8 is perfect:
8 Originality. Someone unique like Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of the West, is an easy role model to have. She could fit into any of these categories � her outfit looked like Comme des Gar�ons, and anybody who could scare children like that� The problem was, I wanted to be her. And as I turn 65, that has sort of come true.

Memorial Day

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Where do we find such men? Where we've always found them in this country: In the farms, the shops, the stores and the offices. They just are the product of the freest society the world has ever known.

A look at the crash

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From Hernando de Soto writing at Bloomberg/Businessweek:
The Destruction of Economic Facts
During the second half of the 19th century, the world's biggest economies endured a series of brutal recessions. At the time, most forms of reliable economic knowledge were organized within feudal, patrimonial, and tribal relationships. If you wanted to know who owned land or owed a debt, it was a fact recorded locally�and most likely shielded from outsiders. At the same time, the world was expanding. Travel between cities and countries became more common and global trade increased. The result was a huge rift between the old, fragmented social order and the needs of a rising, globalizing market economy.

To prevent the breakdown of industrial and commercial progress, hundreds of creative reformers concluded that the world needed a shared set of facts. Knowledge had to be gathered, organized, standardized, recorded, continually updated, and easily accessible�so that all players in the world's widening markets could, in the words of France's free-banking champion Charles Coquelin, "pick up the thousands of filaments that businesses are creating between themselves."

The result was the invention of the first massive "public memory systems" to record and classify�in rule-bound, certified, and publicly accessible registries, titles, balance sheets, and statements of account�all the relevant knowledge available, whether intangible (stocks, commercial paper, deeds, ledgers, contracts, patents, companies, and promissory notes), or tangible (land, buildings, boats, machines, etc.). Knowing who owned and owed, and fixing that information in public records, made it possible for investors to infer value, take risks, and track results. The final product was a revolutionary form of knowledge: "economic facts."

Over the past 20 years, Americans and Europeans have quietly gone about destroying these facts. The very systems that could have provided markets and governments with the means to understand the global financial crisis�and to prevent another one�are being eroded. Governments have allowed shadow markets to develop and reach a size beyond comprehension. Mortgages have been granted and recorded with such inattention that homeowners and banks often don't know and can't prove who owns their homes. In a few short decades the West undercut 150 years of legal reforms that made the global economy possible.
Another taste:
When then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson initiated his Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in September 2008, I assumed the objective was to restore trust in the market by identifying and weeding out the "troubled assets" held by the world's financial institutions. Three weeks later, when I asked American friends why Paulson had switched strategies and was injecting hundreds of billions of dollars into struggling financial institutions, I was told that there were so many idiosyncratic types of paper scattered around the world that no one had any clear idea of how many there were, where they were, how to value them, or who was holding the risk. These securities had slipped outside the recorded memory systems and were no longer easy to connect to the assets from which they had originally been derived. Oh, and their notional value was somewhere between $600 trillion and $700 trillion dollars, 10 times the annual production of the entire world.
A long article but a good one -- de Soto gets it...

Bad / Bad

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I am of a mixed mind when it comes to Goldman Sachs. If I had a spare million bucks, they would be on my short-list of places to stash it. When I energize the ethics part of my brain, they come up as far below toxic waste. Still, they do have a good handle on things economical -- from the New York Post:
Comin' this summer... $5 gas
The forecast for the summer driving season: Hit the road early. Not to beat the traffic, but to beat the higher gas prices expected in mid-July.

Goldman Sachs' crystal ball is proclaiming that oil will soon soar to $135 a barrel, and likely have service stations jacking up fuel prices to $5 a gallon in New York just like the summer of 2008 that preceded the recession.

Indeed, analysts say Goldman and the other oil trading giant that also has the might to move prices, JPMorgan Chase, have already placed their energy bets for the summer. JPMorgan predicts oil hitting $130 a barrel in the coming weeks.
And you gotta love the comment from John Halczak � Installer at Local 2287 floor layers
Come on Really 5 dollar's a gallon....HEY OBAMA WHAT THE FU@K Can't you do anything for the hard working american people....NO JOB'S IN SIGHT, GAS 5 DOLLAR'S A GALLON , NEW MILITARY Action's around the world Involving US troop's, Obama's giving away Money to other countries like it's free water..This is a guy who came from middle class income home....WHERE'S THE LOVE OBAMA WERE NOT RICH LIKE YOU MY FRIEND......
John's WHAT THE FU@K moment is the shade falling from his eyes...
Put in a bit of extra time working on a project and a full day with the Ski to Sea race. Posted about Good news on the Global Warming front and got an interesting comment from Tom. It is late and I am tired so I will reply tomorrow. Tom starts off with a classic Ad Hominem and proceeds down the tubes from there. Tom, if you read this and want to rebut, please quote source material. I generally provide links to my sources, please have the same courtesy and don't just parrot the "talking points". Heading out to two auctions on the 1st Both run by James Murphy First: Research Laboratory (and yes, that was the name of the business) Second: Seattle Commercial Sign There is this one on the 8th: CNC Machining and Fabrication with a couple more interesting ones in the next month or two... Auctions are a crap-shoot -- you can either get nice stuff at pennies on the dollar or you are looking at run-down crap bidding for more than what something decent used would cost at retail. They are fun -- 50% theater and 50% great deals.

Good news on the Global Warming front

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From Anthony Watts comes this wonderful bit of news:
It�s All Over: Kyoto Protocol Loses Four Big Nations
France: Russia, Japan and Canada told the G8 they would not join a second round of carbon cuts under the Kyoto Protocol at United Nations talks this year and the US reiterated it would remain outside the treaty, European diplomats have said.

The future of the Kyoto Protocol has become central to efforts to negotiate reductions of carbon emissions under the UN�s Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose annual meeting will take place in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9.

Developed countries signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. They agreed to legally binding commitments on curbing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

Those pledges expire at the end of next year. Developing countries say a second round is essential to secure global agreements.

But the leaders of Russian, Japan and Canada confirmed they would not join a new Kyoto agreement, the diplomats said.
It was never about the climate, it was about money. China is exempt as it is 'developing' but it is the #1 CO2 emitter worldwide. It is interesting to see the shifting talking points. What used to be 100% Anthropogenic Global Warming is now Climate Change and what is now 90% CO2 is now shifting into some nebulous cloud of unspecified 'Pollutants' They know they can not win with their current argument so they shift the goalposts ever so slowly hoping that people do not notice. Activism -- soon to be a whole chapter in DSM

Joy in the Obama household

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In office for less than three years and -- from Ann Althouse:
"Less than three years into the job, first lady Michelle Obama is on her third chief of staff and third social secretary."
"She is on her second communications director, the White House chief usher recently departed, and her press secretary�s last day is Friday."

But why? Politico delves:
Sources familiar with the East Wing, who asked not to be named discussing internal dynamics, described the first lady�s office as a challenging workplace, where grueling hours and the expectations of a formidable boss intensify the demands of managing a popular first lady�s schedule, image and agenda.

�The first lady is a lovely woman, but she�s tough as nails, and that can be hard for some people,� said a source familiar with the office. �She has really high expectations.�...

�For whatever reason,� said one source familiar with the office, the first lady�s staff just hasn�t �gelled.�

�You don�t take these sorts of jobs unless you love the principal [figure],� the source said. �And you can deal with a principal who has high expectations when you�re all gelling as a group, but that just wasn�t happening.�
Read between the lines.

Nothing much to write about

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Lower back is hurting (it goes out couple times/year) and long day at the bakery and in town. Nothing much really catches my eye on the intarwebs so off to the DaveCave(tm) for email and sleep in tomorrow. Took a Mexican Tylenol so the warm fuzzies are starting to creep in. Some friends are camping out on the farm -- there is a major event tomorrow with the 100th annual Ski-to-Sea race and they are entered as a team. Should be fun and the weather is supposed to be pretty sunny.
Just looking at the ramp gives me the blue-blind paralytic willies...

Not just me

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I'm not the only person noticing that this has been a long hard spring. From the Vancouver, BC Sun
Cold, wet spring ruins crops for southwestern B.C. farmers
Expect fewer local vegetables in stores and markets this summer as farmers in southwestern B.C. struggle to recover from a cold, wet and dark spring.

Early field crops such as peas and beans rotted in the ground before they could germinate while small fruits such as strawberries are weeks behind their normal schedule and fruit development has been retarded, said Richmond farmer Bill Zylmans. A shorter growing season will mean lower yields for farmers, a tough blow after heavy rains in September ended last year's growing season a month early and wiped out potato, carrot and beet crops.

"It's been pretty depressing up until today," said Zylmans, who spent a sunny morning Tuesday trying to determine which fields might drain sufficiently to allow planting. "We're three to four weeks behind and these are a crucial three to four weeks."

Corn, cabbages, lettuces and potatoes will all be late arriving on store shelves this summer and the shorter growing season means the harvest will be 20 per cent below normal.

B.C. farm crops are worth about $1.15 billion annually.

"The nugget potatoes would just be arriving in stores about now, that's not going to happen. [Farmers] plant early corn so we see fresh Chilliwack corn in late July, that isn't going to happen," said Zylmans.

Farmers in Richmond and Delta will be rushing to get potatoes in the ground during this week's sunny weather, provided the pools of water covering many of their fields recede in time.

"We're champing at the bit," said Zylmans. "This is on the heels of a disastrous fall and we were really hoping nature would deal us a better spring."
Locavores are going to be hit hard and regular eaters will still enjoy crops grown in other areas but will have to pay more because energy prices have skyrocketed.

CO2 - the definitive rant

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Go and read this, print out multiple copies and hand them to your hippie friends (at least those that still have a working brain). This is one of the best debunkings of the whole CO2 is a pollutant tropes that I have seen. The author -- William Happer -- is a Professor of Physics at Princeton University so although not a climatologist, he knows his way around math, analysis and that whole "science" thing... From First Things:
The Truth About Greenhouse Gases
The dubious science of the climate crusaders.
William Happer
The object of the Author in the following pages has been to collect the most remarkable instances of those moral epidemics which have been excited, sometimes by one cause and sometimes by another, and to show how easily the masses have been led astray, and how imitative and gregarious men are, even in their infatuations and crimes,� wrote Charles Mackay in the preface to the first edition of his Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. I want to discuss a contemporary moral epidemic: the notion that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, will have disastrous consequences for mankind and for the planet. The �climate crusade� is one characterized by true believers, opportunists, cynics, money-hungry governments, manipulators of various types�even children�s crusades�all based on contested science and dubious claims.

I am a strong supporter of a clean environment. We need to be vigilant to keep our land, air, and waters free of real pollution, particulates, heavy metals, and pathogens, but carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is not one of these pollutants. Carbon is the stuff of life. Our bodies are made of carbon. A normal human exhales around 1 kg of CO2 (the simplest chemically stable molecule of carbon in the earth�s atmosphere) per day. Before the industrial period, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 270 ppm. At the present time, the concentration is about 390 ppm, 0.039 percent of all atmospheric molecules and less than 1 percent of that in our breath. About fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.

Now the Environmental Protection Agency wants to regulate atmospheric CO2 as a �pollutant.� According to my Webster�s New Collegiate Dictionary, to pollute is �to make or render unclean, to defile, to desecrate, to profane.� By breathing are we rendering the air unclean, defiling or desecrating it? Efforts are underway to remedy the old-fashioned, restrictive definition of pollution. The current Wikipedia entry on air pollution, for example, now asserts that pollution includes: �carbon dioxide (CO2)�a colorless, odorless, non-toxic greenhouse gas associated with ocean acidification, emitted from sources such as combustion, cement production, and respiration.�

As far as green plants are concerned, CO2 is not a pollutant, but part of their daily bread�like water, sunlight, nitrogen, and other essential elements. Most green plants evolved at CO2 levels of several thousand ppm, many times higher than now. Plants grow better and have better flowers and fruit at higher levels. Commercial greenhouse operators recognize this when they artificially increase the concentrations inside their greenhouses to over 1000 ppm.
Wonderfully said -- print out copies and give them to people. Link to this article. He goes into a lot more detail so the entire article is worth your time, not just this brief excerpt. Read it all here: The Truth About Greenhouse Gases

A good call

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From Breitbart/AFP:
Lech Walesa snubs Obama, fellow Nobel winner
Lech Walesa, Poland's Solidarity-era legend, ex-president and 1983 Nobel Peace Prize winner said Friday he would not accept an invitation to meet with fellow Nobel winner US President Barack Obama.

"It's difficult to tell journalists what you'd like to say to the president of a superpower. This time I won't tell him, I won't meet him, it doesn't suit me," Walesa told Poland's public broadcaster TVP.

Obama is due to arrive in Poland later Friday after the G8 summit in France.

Walesa was originally scheduled to meet Obama Saturday along with other key figures in Poland's post-1989 transition from communism to democracy.
Ironic that Obama is meeting those people who were instrumental in changing from communism to democracy when his domestic policies are doing everything possible to transform the USA into a socialist state.
Nice spring we are having -- from the Associated Press:
Heavy snows spoil weekend holiday plans in West
Ski resorts are bustling with activity. A key highway into Yellowstone is closed because parts of the road have seen more than 25 feet of snow. And campgrounds are feverishly removing snow from campsites to clear the way for visitors.

Welcome to Memorial Day weekend in much of the West.

The traditional kickoff of the summer season will have a decidedly wintry feel in the Rocky Mountains, as well as California's Sierra Nevada, because of a lingering record snowfall.

Epic snowpack in parts of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and California is forcing many tourists to abandon the annual rites of launching their summer holidays with a camping trip. Others plan to take advantage of prolonged skiing and snowshoeing this strange spring.
Our local mountains had a dusting aroun d the 3,000' level. The plants are running about 30 days late in this season. Very cold and wet...

Now this is cool

From Alabama television station Alabama's 13:

Japan donates $120,000 in relief supplies to Alabama
The Japanese Government is helping Alabama tornado victims.

They are donating emergency supplies including 8,000 blankets and 150 tarps worth more than $120,000.

On Thursday, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, had the emergency supplies transported from their warehouse in MIAMI to a FEMA incident base in Montgomery.

Japan Consul General, Takuji Hanatani, says this gift is in appreciation of what the aid United States offered during their earthquake and tsunami.

"We are very much greatful for your strong support. Not only the U.S. governement assisstance, but the American people. The businesses, corporations, and individuals that provided assistance, made a donation and simply offered a prayer. We will never forget this friendship," said Hanatani.

This is wonderful -- how nations should act with each other.

A big Domo Arigato 'yall...

A small request -- desktop publishing

I had a computer business for twelve years and morphed into DTP and being a copy/print business. I quickly learned that the client needs to either bring in the actual artwork they want to use (copyright approved of course!) or they need to have a very clear understanding of what they want and are willing to go through several meetings to proof my implementation of their idea. Here, from Clients from Hell, is a perfect example of the client I would run screaming from:
"Hello. I would like to get my ipad 2 engraved with a custom design. What I would like is for the entire ipad to have intricate designs all over. At the top, catacornered, or wherever you can fit it, I�d like my name �Ayana�. In the middle I would like an eye with the apple logo inside the eye. Around the eye I would like a set of wings engraved and this verse: �Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings� - Psalms 17:8. I would also like the attached picture of me and my four children to be engraved at the bottom. But with a difficult twist I hope you can help me with. You See, My 3 year old was not born at the time of the photo, but this is my favorite picture of us all. Can you add her in somehow? The look can be tattoo-ish or Ed Hardy-like. This is My Mother�s day and anniversary (8 yrs) gift from my husband, but he wanted me to explain it to you, because of all the details. Lol, I hope this email was not confusing�Please contact me if more information is needed."
Please Lord, just kill me now...
From Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler:
Congress won�t officially recess for the weekend, denying Obama another round of recess appointments
Alternate headline � Republicans to Obama: How do you like me now?
U.S. Senate Republicans late Thursday declared victory in their effort to use a procedural maneuver to thwart the president from making any recess appointments during Congress� Memorial Day break.

Congressional aides say the Senate will not go on a formal recess but instead will technically stay in session, making it highly unlikely that the president would use his constitutional power to make appointments while the Senate is on break. The so-called recess appointments are usually reserved for longer congressional vacations that occur after the Senate has officially adjourned.

A group of conservative Republicans had urged the House to block the Senate from adjourning as a way to prevent the president from tapping his consumer advocate adviser Elizabeth Warren to head the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new consumer watchdog agency created by the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul.
With his rampant use of czars and previous recess appointments, and his illegal war in Libya, President Obama has demonstrated a tendency to try and get around Congressional oversight however he can. He seems to have crossed the Rubicon on recess appointments with the elevation of SEIU lawyer Craig Becker to the NLRB, a position Becker has used to attack right to work laws. The Republicans� move probably blocks the possible recess appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head up the new agency created without debate in the massive finance reform bill. She�s the one who jetted from a House hearing this week, rather than answer questions about her job.
That the Dems are in on this too speaks volumes.

Just a sweet widdle snowflake

Don't know if it is too late for this girl to have the snot beaten out of her but this is one for the record books -- from Seattle station KIRO:

Daughter Accused Of Shooting Father With Bow And Arrow
A 15-year-old Mason County girl is accused of shooting her father with a bow and arrow and refusing to let him leave the house.

Mason County sheriff's deputies responded to a call Wednesday around 8 p.m. in the Tee Lake area of Tahuya.

911 dispatchers received a call about a 35-year-old man who said his 15-year-old daughter shot him in the torso area with an arrow.

After shooting her father, police claimed the daughter tried to prevent him from leaving the house.

Officers said she later ran from the scene, and the father crawled to a neighbor's house for help.

The father was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.

Deputies said the daughter shot her dad after he took her cell phone away.

Such a fine upstanding young girl. The mind boggles...

A cautionary tale

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From Depleted Cranium:
The Other Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
Since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the world�s attention has been fixed upon the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The six reactor plant suffered major damage that disabled the primary cooling systems on units one, two, three and four.

Yet there is another Fukushima nuclear plant, which was struck by exactly the same forces but has gone largely unnoticed, primarily because there have been so few problems. Fukushima Daiichi translates directly as �Fukushima Number 1,� and was built starting in 1967. In 1976 it was decided to construct a second nuclear power plant, Fukushima Daini, directly translated as �Fukushima Number 2.� The first units came online at Fukushima Daini in 1982, with a total of four reactors being built, the last coming online in 1986.
Read the entire article -- it is amazing what less than ten years can do to reactor design and its resilience. The units that went through meltdown were brought online in 1973 and 1974. The oldest of the Daini series came online in 1981. The design changes made it essentially impervious to the shock of the earthquake and the same tsunami. Considering what our own personal computers have gone through in terms of design evolution, it is not surprising that every other aspect of technology has gone through the same remarkable disruption and upheaval. Fun time to be alive...

Working for a living

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I have been harping on Texas a lot but Texans are enjoying the high quality of life that a small conservative government awards. From The Washington Examiner:
What Texas can teach us
If you want to see a place where the private sector in America has been booming and generating jobs, you should look at Texas. That�s my take from these absolutely fascinating numbers compiled from Bureau of Labor Statistics figures by The Business Journals, tracking the increase or decrease in private sector jobs in the ten years between April 2001 and April 2011. Any precise ten-year period is somewhat arbitrary, of course, since the two endpoints can fall at different points in the business cycle, and so picking different starting and end points will produce different pictures. But the numbers here look pretty unambiguous.

In those 10 years, Texas gained 732,800 private sector jobs, far ahead of the number two and three states, Arizona (90,200) and Nevada (90,000). The nation overall lost more than 2 million private sector jobs, with the biggest losses coming in California (623,700), Michigan (619,200) and Ohio (460,900).
A lot more at the article including this nugget:
I�ve explored previously this contrast between our two largest states. Here�s another set of numbers about our second and third largest states that tells a story about what has happened over a longer period of time. In 1970 New York had 18 million people. In 2010 New York had 19 million people. In 1970 Texas had 11 million people. In 2010 Texas had 25 million people.
That is a pretty amazing number -- in ten years, Texas gained 732,800 jobs in the public sector and the closest runner up -- Arizona -- gained 90,200 private sector jobs. That is a jump of over 800% (812.41 to be exact). It is the private sector jobs that are the engine of the economy -- they create wealth. The public sector jobs create welfare.

Dang - almost missed it

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Happy Towel Day everyone. Hope you know where your towel is. More here: Today is Towel Day. Don't forget your towel!
Towel Day is an annual celebration on the 25th of May, as a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams (1952-2001). On that day, fans around the universe proudly carry a towel in his honour.
I am doing my small part in the festivities -- the washer has about 40 small kitchen towels from the bakery. Running the weekly load...
Bunch of asshats. From the UK Guardian:
Freedom of information laws are used to harass scientists, says Nobel laureate
Freedom of information laws are being misused to harass scientists and should be re-examined by the government, according to the president of the Royal Society.

Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse told the Guardian that some climate scientists were being targeted by organised campaigns of requests for data and other research materials, aimed at intimidating them and slowing down research. He said the behaviour was turning freedom of information laws into a way to intimidate some scientists.

Nurse's comments follow the launch of a major Royal Society study into how scientists' work can be made more open and better used to inform policy in society. The review � expected to be published next year � will examine ways of improving access to scientific data and research papers and how "digital media offer a powerful means for the public to interrogate, question and re-analyse scientific priorities, evidence and conclusions".

Nurse said that, in principle, scientific information should be made available as widely as possible as a matter of course, a practice common in biological research where gene sequences are routinely published in public databases. But he said freedom of information had "opened a Pandora's box. It's released something that we hadn't imagined ... there have been cases of it being misused in the climate change debate to intimidate scientists.
What a whiny little crybaby. A couple of things about science. First of all, most "big" science is funded at the public trough either through public schools or government agencies and is, defacto in the public domain. If I went to Eli Lilly and asked for their research notes on a new drug they were developing, we would both have a good laugh and I would be shown the door. If I apply to CERN or the National Science Foundation or the University of East Anglia, they would be obligated to comply with a reasonable request for information. Second, the data that is being asked for is the specific scientists bread and butter. If they do not have it at their fingertips, they are not working efficiently. If the request was for some original field notes or data collected via an automated machine (weather stations, oceanographic buoys, satellite records, etc...) that data should have already been transcribed to a data file on a computer and regardless, if the source data was asked for, it should be a simple matter to retrieve it from the storage facility. This is exactly why Graduate Students are here on this planet. Thirdly and finally, Sir Nurse complains that these requests are intimidating. They are only intimidating if there is something to hide. If the data was collected properly (no urban heat bias), analyzed properly and presented accurately, there should be no sense of intimidation. In fact, it should be liberating for the scientist because if someone questions their hypothesis, they can hand over the entire block of data, mathematical models and say here -- my argument can not be broken. Who would not relish an opportunity like that. Instead, these rent-seeking hacks do nothing else but pursue their own gravy train with no consideration of the unintended consequences of their actions. A baby with a loud noise on one end and zero responsibility on the other...

A look at the numbers

Color me surprised -- NOT! From The Washington Times:
House members in the know score �abnormal� stock profits, study says
It�s no secret that members of Congress qualify as political insiders, but a new report strongly suggests that they also may be insiders when it comes to trading stocks.

An extensive study released Wednesday in the journal Business and Politics found that the investments of members of the House of Representatives outperformed those of the average investor by 55 basis points per month, or 6 percent annually, suggesting that lawmakers are taking advantage of inside information to fatten their stock portfolios.

�We find strong evidence that members of the House have some type of non-public information which they use for personal gain,� according to four academics who authored the study, �Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.�

To the frustration of open-government advocates, lawmakers and their staff members largely have immunity from laws barring trading on insider knowledge that have sent many a private corporate chieftain to prison.

The watchdog group said on its blog Wednesday that the findings suggest �that U.S. House members are using their powerful roles for more than just political gain.�

The professors reviewed more than 16,000 common stock transactions carried out by about 300 House members as revealed in the members� financial-disclosure forms from 1985 to 2001.

In a 2004 study, the same professors found that U.S. senators also enjoy a �substantial information advantage� over the average investor � and even corporate bigwigs � when it comes to picking stocks. The latest study shows that members of the Senate outperform their House colleagues by an average of 30 points per month.

Despite the GOP�s reputation as the party of the rich, House Republicans fared worse than their Democratic colleagues when it comes to investing, according to the study. The Democratic subsample of lawmakers beat the market by 73 basis points per month, or 9 percent annually, versus 18 basis points per month, or 2 percent annually, for the Republican sample.
Hell yeah -- you know that you are going to get an earmark that will award a multi-million contract to some company, you would be a fool to not buy a couple hundred shares of that companies stock before the announcement. Ethical? Here is where the line gets drawn -- I would consider this to be very unethical even if nobody gets harmed. Insider trading is insider trading and there is not one variety that is OK for politicians and another variety that is illegal for private businessmen. Just another example of your garden variety fascism at work...

In for a penny, in for a pound IE9

While I was upgrading this laptop to Win7, I figured that I would go along and upgrade to IE9 as well.

They moved a bunch of the shit around.

While poking around and finding where my shit went to, I had this thought... I was an employee of Microsoft at the time they shipped Windows 2000 and although I was very familiar with their earlier products (was running NT for a long long time for my businesses and multi-line bulletin board system) but I really got to know and love Windows 2000 and was a bit dismayed when XP came out and they moved a bunch of shit around.

I came to love XP even more though. Vista and they moved the shit around again.

Now Windows 7 and the shit is moved around yet again.

How many future versions of Microsoft Windows will we have to endure until the shit gets moved back to where it was in Win2K or XP?

Meet Laurel Gordon

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Laurel is 18, a student at Elma High School in Grays County, Washington. She was recently appointed the Washington State Dairy Ambassador. There is a slight problem -- from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Elma, Wash., dairy princess is lactose intolerant
She has to have worked on a dairy farm or shown dairy cows for FFA or 4-H. She must be single. She must be a legal resident of Washington. She must have a neat, professional appearance without any tattoos or piercings.

These are all the requirements of being a Washington State Dairy Ambassador. As strict as some of these requirements are, one requirement that might seem logical is missing � namely, that she be able to consume dairy products.

Laurel Gordon, 18, a senior at Elma High School, was Grays Harbor County's Dairy Ambassador for 2010 to 2011 and is a contestant for the state dairy ambassador title in next month's competition. She is also a lactose intolerant dairy princess.

When people find out that Gordon has been promoting dairy products all over the county and the state for the past year, but can't actually consume dairy without special pills, they often laugh, she said.

"They think it's pretty funny," Gordon said. "I'm kind of a joke around my friends."
She certainly has the dairy experience:
Gordon lives on her parent's dairy farm in Elma that has been in the Gordon family for 150 years. Her parents, Jay and Susan Gordon, took over the farm about 25 years ago. About 5 years ago, the dairy switched to all organic, growing its own organic feed and treating the cows without hormones or antibiotics. The farm sells its milk to Organic Valley, the largest organic milk co-op in the country, according to the company's website.
Heh... I am OK with milk and cream but anything with cheese or sour cream does a number on my gut so I can certainly sympathize...

A pile minus one

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From Dallas, TX radio station KDGE:
Thieves shot while stealing guns
One burglar was killed, another injured while trying to burglarize a home just outside of Ennis TX.

Ellis County officials said the homeowner's father was alerted to two strange men at his son's house.

When the father arrived at his son�s home, the father discovered the burglars in the living room with a pile of guns and other items they had collected.

Authorities said the father shot and killed a 26-year-old from Dallas. His 19-year-old partner was critically injured.
Talk about being terminally stupid. Robing the house of someone with a gun collection -- what could possibly go wrong...
From the Texas Tribune:
Texas Governor Won't Rule Out 2012 Run
Texas Gov. Rick Perry just can�t seem to shut the door on a 2012 presidential run.

With conservatives aching for more choices in the approaching 2012 Republican primary, Perry declined Tuesday to rule out a White House bid during a press conference about a new anti-abortion measure. Also Tuesday, his top strategist told the Tribune that the governor is, naturally, �thinking about it� given the flattering comments made recently by some in the GOP, although he "doesn't see any change in his direction."
He certainly has done good for Texas and is the longest sitting Governor in the US history -- keeps getting reelected with wide margins.

Finally, someone shows some stones

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And it's the Communist Chinese - from Wired Magazine:
China to Pirates: All Your Base Are Belong to Us
Just how hated are the pirates of Somalia? This much: China�s top general is suggesting that the rest of the world put aside their differences, and team up to launch amphibious assaults on the pirates� onshore havens.

In comments at the National Defense University yesterday, General Chen Bingde, the chief of general staff of China�s People�s Liberation Army, called for military action against Somali pirate bosses on land, not just against their minions at sea.

�For counter-piracy campaigns to be effective, we should probably move beyond the ocean and crash their bases on the land,� Reuters quoted Gen Bingde as saying.
Go for it -- appeasing these pirates only encourages them. A blunt show of naked force will shut them up for decades. Worked for General Pershing in the Philippines and it will work now.

Holding to a budget

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A perfect example of cognitive dissonance. From Las Vegas station KTNV:
You Paid for It: CCSD spends $1 million on iPads
More than $1 million in just six months: That's what the Clark County School District has spent buying iPads, all at a time of massive budget cuts that will likely result in more than 1,800 layoffs, crowded classes, and students without enough basic supplies.

So is this technological luxury helping kids or killing budgets? You decide because you paid for it.
One teachers thoughts:
Sharon Lea, who taught for 15 years, says, "I saw a consistent pattern of them spending millions of dollars on the latest gimmick, the latest fad. But yet, they would tell the teachers there wasn't money for paper, there wasn't money for crayons, pencils. And so teachers spent thousands of dollars of their own money buying those things."
And a bit on the school system itself -- answering a request for information:
Though the school district showed Contact 13 one class using iPads at Wynn Elementary, we found many are in the hands of administrators. So we asked the district how many are for administrators, how many are for teachers, and where the funding comes from.

They answered with a mountain of documents.

For the month of time it took them to put it all together and send all the photocopies, they charged us more than $1,100 - or the price of two iPads.

We wondered why the Purchasing Department, with its own two iPads, couldn't pull up the info with a couple of key strokes. After all, there must be an app for that.

Instead, Contact 13 crunched the numbers and found that the district spent nearly $1.1 million on 1,859 iPads over the last six months.

And although there is $136,000 more on school district credit cards for purchases from Apple stores, because the information isn't centralized, the district couldn't tell us exactly what was bought.
The administration needs to have term limits. Don't allow the deadwood to build up like this...

A sense of place

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It can get pretty depressing here what with all the overcast days and the rain. Did I mention that it rains a lot here? But with all that, there are some advantages to living here. From the New York Times:
Where to Live to Avoid a Natural Disaster
Weather disasters and quakes: who�s most at risk? The analysis below, by Sperling�s Best Places, a publisher of city rankings, is an attempt to assess a combination of those risks in 379 American metro areas. Risks for twisters and hurricanes (including storms from hurricane remnants) are based on historical data showing where storms occurred. Earthquake risks are based on United States Geological Survey assessments and take into account the relative infrequency of quakes, compared with weather events and floods. Additional hazards included in this analysis: flooding, drought, hail and other extreme weather.
And the three safest cities:
#1) - Corvalis, Ore
#2) - Mt. Vernon -- Anacortes, Wash.
#3) - Bellingham, Wash.
The three least safe cities:
#1) - Dallas - Plano - Irving, Tex.
#2) - Jonesboro, Ark.
#3) - Corpus Christi, Tex.
I knew that Bellingham was pretty cool but this just makes it cooler. Except for the rain...

So far so good

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Win7 seems to have been a successful install. I have a couple of uncommon photography, math, CNC and music applications running on this system and nothing seems to be broken. My only gripe is that the system (an HP Laptop) came with Vista Home Premium and it would not upgrade with Win7 Professional, it would only upgrade with Win7 Ultimate -- not a big hassle as I have a couple of each but it would be nice to have a matrix somewhere on the box... Kudos to the people who developed the Windows Seven Upgrade Adviser -- this is a separate downloadable application that lets you know what you need to do to upgrade successfully. In my case I had to de-authorize this computer for iTunes during the upgrade.

FSCKing a**hole - Dominique Strauss-Kahn

From the New York Post:
Strauss-Kahn's pals bid to pay off woman's kin
Friends of alleged hotel sex fiend Dominique Strauss-Kahn secretly contacted the accusing maid's impoverished family, offering them money to make the case go away since they can't reach her in protective custody, The Post has learned.

The woman, who says she was sexually assaulted by the disgraced former head of the International Monetary Fund, has an extended family in the former French colony of Guinea in West Africa, well out of reach of the Manhattan DA's Office.

"They already talked with her family," a French businesswoman with close ties to Strauss-Kahn and his family told The Post. "For sure, it's going to end up on a quiet note."

Prosecutors in Manhattan have done their best to keep the cleaning woman out of the reach of Strauss-Kahn's supporters, but the source was already predicting success for the Parisian pol's pals.

"He'll get out of it and will fly back to France. He won't spend time in jail. The woman will get a lot of money," said the source, adding that a seven-figure sum has been bandied about.

While the DA's office has sequestered the maid -- and is even monitoring her phone calls -- her extended family lives in a village that lacks paved roads, electricity and phone lines.
Scum-sucking bastard. I would not blame them for taking the money but I would keep about 30% of it under the mattress to fund a hit team -- not now; in a year or two after things blow over a bit. There is a lot that I do not like about the current iteration of Islam but they hold to family honor and their interpretations of justice can be refreshingly direct and to the point...

Back home again

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Hit a problem with the video stuff -- need a different connector to get the camera attached to the DVR. Different manufacturers and although the units are electronically compatible, they use different connectors. Arrgghhh... Standards are great -- that is why we have so many of them... Just got a bunch of Win7 disks from the MSFT Company Store and will be upgrading this computer from Vista in a few minutes. Wish me luck!

Escape from New York

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No, not Snake Plissken. From the New York Post:
Why New York's future is fleeing
For more than 15 years, New York state has led the country in domestic outmigration: For every American who comes here, roughly two depart for other states. This outmigration slowed briefly following the onset of the Great Recession. But a recent Marist poll suggests that the rate is likely to increase: 36 percent of New Yorkers under 30 plan to leave over the next five years. Why are all these people fleeing?

For one thing, according to a recent survey in Chief Executive, our state has the second-worst business climate in the country. (Only California ranks lower.) People go where the jobs are, so when a state repels businesses, it repels residents, too.

Indeed, the poll also found that 62 percent of New Yorkers planning to leave cited economic factors -- including cost of living (30 percent), taxes (19 percent) and the job environment (10 percent) -- as the main reason.
The article goes on - New York City is actually doing OK, it's the rest of the state that is suffering. Still, even in the city, the fastest growth is at the bottom in hospitality work. Visited there a few times but have no desire to spend any time...
Bob Dylan turns seventy today. From Boogie Woogie Flu:
Bob Dylan is seventy today. Here's seventy versions of his songs. I was hard pressed to narrow it down to seventy, so that's something and I think it's enough. You get the picture, these are the songs that folks will still be interpreting in another seventy years.
Happy Birthday Bob.
Awesome collection of MP3s for your listening enjoyment.

Light posting today

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Have a problem with an employee in the Bakery -- I am led to believe that they are coming in around 5:30AM but marking their timesheet to say that they came in at 4:00AM. This is one of the bakers and works unsupervised through the week. I am installing a video system. I have had the box up in the office for a week or so now so they are familiar with it and think that I will be getting around to installing it in a week or so when I have some time. The cameras are big and silver colored so they think that they will see when they go up. The video unit actually came up in conversation this morning. What they do not know is that I have a bunch of these cameras:
and will be putting two of them into service downstairs. I spent yesterday running the wiring upstairs and after this business day, I will put up the cameras and finish the installation. The cameras are about 3/4" in diameter and if you are not looking for them, they are pretty much invisible. Never piss off a full-blood Scorpio. :)

That's it for today

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Run into town and then a waterboard meeting which was canceled as we did not have a quorum. Off to the DaveCave(tm) to check email. A couple of interesting looking auctions on the near horizon: #1) - RESEARCH LABORATORY #2) - SEATTLE COMMERCIAL SIGN and #3) - CNC MACHINING & FABRICATION A couple more on the distant horizon look interesting as well...

Object of Desire

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Very high geekdom -- the evolution of this design will be fun to follow:
From this article in Wired with a lot of links to resources.

Sour Grapes

On May 8th I posted this entry: Good news from Texas - HB274 HB274 is a bill in the Texas Legislature that allows for Tort Reform. If a frivolous lawsuit is brought and if the case is lost, the loser has to pay the costs. A little bit more can be found at the Southeast Texas Record:
House Bill 274, authored by state Rep. Brandon Creighton, a Republican from Conroe, allows the winning party to recover the costs of litigation in breach of contract suits or cases in which a judge has granted a motion to dismiss if there is no contractual attorneys' fees agreement.

On Friday, Gov. Rick Perry declared tort reform an emergency issue, allowing the measure to go ahead of all other bills in the House on Saturday.

"I applaud the House and Rep. Brandon Creighton's leadership for moving Texas one step closer to implementing a loser pays system that will help expedite legitimate legal claims and crack down on junk lawsuits," Perry said in a prepared statement on Monday.

"This legislation will also protect Texas jobs and stimulate economic opportunity by relieving Texans and employers of the costs and burdens created by frivolous and drawn-out lawsuits. I encourage the Senate to quickly take action on this important legislation."

Supporters say the bill would encourage parties to settle, would make it easier to dismiss frivolous lawsuits and would expedite cases, improve court efficiency and decrease court costs.

"We congratulate the House on passing this important legislation which is critical to establishing a fair, efficient and predictable civil justice system in Texas," said Richard Trabulsi Jr., president of Texans for Lawsuit Reform, in a statement.

"HB 274 will increase the efficiency of our courts by instituting less costly and time consuming court procedures. It also provides incentives for fair and early settlements and imposes risk on those who pursue meritless or abusive lawsuits."

Trabulsi also lauded Gov. Perry's leadership and commitment to tort reform. He called the passing of HB 274 another reason "why Rick Perry remains the most effective tort reform governor in the nation."
Well... Today, I got this comment to that post:
This is the biggest rip off that the republican party has tried to pull off in years. If you want British laws move to England. Don't try to impose that BS on Texans. You self serving politicians have had your way long enough.
To add insult to injury, the moke posted from an an email connected to the William M. Hayner & Associates -- Attorneys at Law. Located in Dallas, Texas natch... From their website:
Texas Medical Malpractice Attorney
For the settlement or award that you deserve
The law in Texas has recently undergone significant change. Medical malpractice cases are more difficult than ever to see to a successful conclusion. At William Hayner & Associates, we are committed to maintaining our medical negligence practice We see the effects of medical errors every day. If you or someone you love has suffered because of a careless doctor or nurse, call William Hayner & Associates to talk to a skillful and effective medical negligence lawyer.
Talk about a case of sour grapes -- to post that dig about British Law and to say that: "This is the biggest rip off that the republican party has tried to pull off in years" just because it was your gravy train that got shut down. If you want to earn money, do it the honest way and don't exploit the system for frivolous cases. You are only driving up the cost of medical insurance for everyone else. Petty widdle asshat...

Heh -- from Associated Press:

Spain's Socialists trounced amid economic woes
Spain's ruling Socialists suffered a crushing defeat to conservatives in local and regional elections Sunday, yielding power even in traditional strongholds against a backdrop of staggering unemployment and unprecedented sit-ins by Spaniards furious with what they see as politicians who don't care about their plight.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the result was due punishment of his government for the state of the economy - the jobless rate is a eurozone high of 21.3 percent. But he said he had no plans to move up general elections, which must be held by March of next year, and pledged to press on with job-creating reforms despite the loud outcry of opposition to his party.

The win for the conservative opposition Popular Party puts it in even a stronger position to win the general elections and return to power after eight years of Socialist rule.

In what Spanish media said was the worst performance on record by the Socialist Party in local and regional elections, the numbers reflecting the loss were stunning: the conservative Popular Party won at the municipal level by about two million votes, compared to 150,000 in its win in 2007, and in 13 regional governments that were up for grabs, Zapatero's party lost in virtually all of them.

One was Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain, where the Socialists have always held power. The Socialists also lost bastions like the town halls in Barcelona and Seville. The conservatives padded their majorities in Madrid and Valencia, in the latter even though the president is under investigation for corruption. Several other Socialist-controlled regional governments also fell. Spain's electoral map turned largely blue - the color of the Popular Party.

People everywhere may be lulled into a false sense of comfort with Socialist entitlement programs and free government cheese but once the true costs of overspending come to bear -- the taxes and the joblessness -- they wise up pretty quick and bite the hand that overfed them.

Forging on a power hammer

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Quite the touch for a piece of metal weighing a couple hundred pounds:
From the Des Moines, Iowa Register:
Herman Cain announces presidential bid
Former pizza CEO and conservative radio host Herman Cain made it official Saturday, joining the small but growing roster of candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

Cain, 65, who lives in suburban Atlanta, made his announcement at Atlanta�s Centennial Park, urging Americans frustrated by the country�s direction to read the Constitution.

�Keep reading,� he said. �Don�t stop at life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.�

He vowed the GOP will retake the U.S. Senate and the presidency, just as it regained control of the House in 2010.

�We will take them back because you and I do not want this nation to become just another mediocre nation,� Cain said. He said the nation needs to refocus on free-market principles.
He would get my vote in a heartbeat. Time to get someone with some business sense into the office.

Gene Simmons in the news again

In March of this year, I wrote about what Gene Simmons is doing now.

He is not a man to mince his words -- from Newsbusters:

Israeli Born Kiss Star Gene Simmons on '67 Borders: 'Obama Has No F--king Idea What World is Like'
Most Americans are probably familiar with outspoken Kiss star Gene Simmons, but likely didn't know that he was born and partially raised in Israel.

With this in mind, when he was asked by CNBC's Jane Wells what he thought about President Obama's suggestion that Israel's borders be redrawn to pre-1967 levels, Simmons replied, "He has no f--king idea what the world is like because he doesn't have to live there" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

JANE WELLS, CNBC: What do you think of President Obama's suggestion that the borders be redrawn pre-67?

GENE SIMMONS, KISS: President Obama, I voted for an idea. What I didn't realize what I was getting was an idealist. If you've never been to the moon, you can't issue policy about the moon. You have no f--king idea what it's like on the moon. For a president to be sitting in Washington, D.C., and saying, "Go back to your 67 borders in Israel," how about you live there and try to defend an indefensible border nine miles wide? On one side you've got hundreds of millions of people who hate your guts, on the other side you've got the Mediterranean. Unless you control, in Israel, unless you control those Golan Heights, it's an indefensible position.

It's a nice idea, when you grow up you find out that life isn't the way you imagined it, and President Obama means well. I think he's actually a good guy. He has no f--king idea what the world is like because he doesn't have to live there.

Nails it. There is a big gulf between community organizing and being an effective executive...

From Reuters:
Pile of debt would stretch beyond stratosphere
President Ronald Reagan once famously said that a stack of $1,000 bills equivalent to the U.S. government's debt would be about 67 miles high.

That was 1981. Since then, the national debt has climbed to $14.3 trillion. In $1,000 bills, it would now be more than 900 miles tall.

In $1 bills, the pile would reach to the moon and back twice.
Spending like there is no tomorrow when in actuality, if they keep it up, there will be no tomorrow...

Done for the day

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Sold 140 hot dogs, 30 chicken burgers (these didn't turn out well -- dry and not that good tasting) and the beer garden was a success. Blew out one keg and the other is 50% done. Music was good and a lot of fun was had despite the crappy weather. Had the presence of mind to bring a full set of old clothes down to the store at 3:00PM and laid them down on the floor as a 'rapture' victim. I will hear more tomorrow but apparently it was well received. Sleeping in 'till noon tomorrow...

Rapture ready

Given the personalities of the people promoting the coming rapture, I do not think that I would like to spend eternity cooped up with them...

There have to be a lot of engineers in the other place and if there is any temperature differential at all, someone will get a refrigeration system going (thank you Sadi Carnot!)

Read one idea on the web -- if I were in a place like Vegas and had a spare $10K to blow: Purchase a couple hundred blow-up sex dolls and a couple tanks of Helium. Put two and two together and at the suposed time of rapture, release them. The idea of people wandering around and seeing hundreds of pink naked bodies floating gently up to 'Heaven' would be wonderful...

Besides, Matthew has a few things to say-- Chapter 24, verses 36:42

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

37 But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

41 Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Like I was going to say, this is all well and good bu(*&IUYGHI*TI76tbI^TiuybI*To87yno*^T76rNO CARRIER

One has to remember that the 'palestinian people' are a construct of the old Soviet Union. Russia took Yasser Arafat under their wing, Arafat studied in Moscow for seven years and came to the Middle East with full KGB backing. Russia wanted to destabilize the area to prevent Israel and the USA from gaining control over the oil resources. The people claiming to be palestinian are Hashimite Jordanians and Jordan is now so fed up with them that it is illegal for a palestinian to purchase land in Jordan. Read your history

Busy day today

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In town getting stuff for tomorrows festival. Need another trip in tomorrow AM -- it was getting late and I need to pack stuff tonight while I still have light. Should be fun -- latest forecast points to cloudy with showers moving in in the evening. It was interesting listening to Bibi Netanyahu v/s President Obama on the radio today. One is a true statesman and one is so far our of his depth that it would be funny if our livelihoods didn't depend on this economy.

Minimal posting today and tomorrow

Getting things ready for the Harvey Haggard Festival tomorrow. I will be in town today buying food for 200 people and will be spending tomorrow morning prepping it at the bakery and serving dinner from 4:00PM to 9:00PM. Should be fun -- we have two bands, there will be a beer garden and it's on a nice grassy lot. Heading home to clean out the back of the truck and then to town. Picking up 40 pounds of dry ice to keep things nice and frozen -- serving a really good hot dog, chicken patties, baked potatos and chips and soda.
First we had the floods in Fargo, next the weather moved south and now we have the floods in the South Central US -- not to mention the horrible fires in Texas. A brief detour regarding those fires. From the Austin, TX Statesman:
More on FEMA�s rejection of Texas fire disaster request
The Federal Emergency Management Agency late Tuesday rejected Gov. Rick Perry�s request to declare Texas a major disaster area eligible for additional federal money to fight and recover from the state�s wildland fires. In an announcement, a FEMA spokeswoman explained the agency had determined Texas had already received enough assistance.
Now if Texas had carried Obama in 2008... Anyway, it looks like we are in for a bit of a ride -- from Bill Gray and Philip J. Klotzbach (PDF):
We continue to foresee well above-average activity for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season. Our seasonal forecast has been reduced slightly from early December, since there is a little uncertainty about ENSO and the maintenance of anomalously warm tropical Atlantic SST conditions. We continue to anticipate an above-average probability of United States and Caribbean major hurricane landfall.
Just what we need -- more fnu...

Nice work if you can get it

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From the Washington Post:
Virginia fines Northrop Grumman nearly $5M for massive computer outage
Northrop Grumman has agreed to pay nearly $5 million for the massive government computer meltdown last summer that left several Virginia agencies unable to handle citizen requests for days.

The defense giant also will implement a series of improvements that address the findings and recommendations of an independent third-party audit.

The outage, which was a result of both technological and human errors, left 26 state agencies, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, scrambling to serve Virginians.

�We are committed to holding all state contractors accountable for the performance of their duties on behalf of the commonwealth and its citizens," Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said in a statement. �This agreement brings closure to this incident, and provides the commonwealth with an improved information technology infrastructure that will reliably support Virginia�s citizens and agencies in the years ahead.�
Good for the citizens of Virginia -- get some of the lost revenues back from the developer. My concern is that when a State or Municipality has a one-off custom piece of software written for them, they are completely beholden to the developer for any future maintenance releases or updates. Case in point:
�I am satisfied that Northrop Grumman has been held accountable and that the Commonwealth has been made whole,� Duffey said. �This compensation package will benefit all agencies impacted by the outage and enhance the state�s information technology infrastructure.�

McDonnell, who had criticized his predecessor, Timothy M. Kaine (D), for failing to properly manage the Northrop Grumman contract, pledged to run such programs as businesses.

McDonnell�s solution was to rework the state�s contract with Northrop Grumman, extending the 10-year agreement by three years and agreeing to pay the company $100 million more than originally envisioned, but adding new penalties for poor service.
Emphasis mine -- must be nice to be Northrop Grumman -- you get a $5M whack to your pee-pee for failing to do your work but you then get a three year extension to your monopoly and an additional $100M income. Stories like this make me wince -- there is nothing unique about the business of a City or a State -- sure there are different sets of operations or procedures but these are not cast in stone. There is a class of software dedicated to Enterprise Management -- the leading company is SAP. If you are spending the millions of dollars to roll out a State's computer system, they will customize that to whatever specs you want. The key thing here is that 99% of the back-end applications are the same across the entire product line so when one application is upgraded, the entire installed base can benefit from the same upgrade. With the Northrop Grumman approach, each installation is basically unique -- if one thing needs to be upgraded, the programmers need to code the upgrade specific for that application and there is no cost benefit for them to put a lot of effort into the task. With SAP, that effort extends through the entire customer base so it behooves them to put their brightest and best on the task. Hiring Northrop Grumman was a typical mid-level management f*ck-up that happens all too often -- the sales team takes you out for a couple nice dinners, they fly you to their office to close the deal and they are in your pockets until eternity. Bad move. Seriously bad bad move...

I want

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Available at Think Geek

Words. Fail.

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A commercial from the Agenda Project against Paul Ryan's proposed Medicare reform:
From Powerline:
Your first impulse is to think that such a hateful lad must be produced by fringe characters who are unrelated to the respectable left. But no: the Agenda Project and its founder, Erica Payne, are entirely mainstream. The group's web site informs us that Ms. Payne was Deputy National Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee during the 1996 presidential re-election campaign and is associated with such respectable institutions as Harvard's Kennedy School. This kind of insanity is the only ammunition liberals have left.
A good rundown of the Ryan proposal can be found here: GOP Medicare Plan Could Share Common Ground With 'Obamacare' Exchanges The sentence that jumps out at me is this one:
Ryan stressed that the changes would not affect those 55 and older, but would keep the program solvent in the long-term.
Worth reading. If attack advertisements like this are all the democrats have, they do not have a leg to stand on. Why all the partisanship anyway -- isn't everybody in Government supposed to be working for the common good of their employers (us taxpayers)?

Dodged a big one

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The Ninth Circuit is well known for being a liberal court -- based in San Francisco after all. There is a vacancy and Obama wanted to appoint Goodwin Liu to the bench. Fortunately, a Senate vote was taken to end debate and it failed leaving a path open to a filibuster. That was all it took and the appointment of Goodwin Liu is not going to happen. From Morgen at Verum Serum:
In Liu of Victory�
Defeat, finally, for Goodwin Liu�s nomination to a seat on the Ninth Circuit. The vote to end debate on Liu�s nomination just failed, 52-43. In somewhat of a surprise, and in what can only be called a resounding rebuke to the White House, Murkowski seems to be the only Republican who voted against the filibuster. And Ben Nelson even crossed over to vote against Liu!

To the pathetic members of the liberal media spinning this as �petty revenge� for Liu�s opposition to Roberts and Alito, or arguing inanely that Liu was a threat only because he was �too qualified��suck it. Liu�s views of the law and the Constitution are radical by any reasonable measure, and just because a few token, quasi- �conservatives� backed Liu, this did not make him the reasonable, mainstream candidate you purported him to be. The days of liberal activists inside and outside the White House installing stealth radicals in key positions throughout the government are thankfully winding down, at least under this Administration.

While it�s gratifying having played some part in the opposition to Liu�s nomination, the real winners are the American people � at least those among us who value freedom and personal responsibility - saved from the consequences of having yet another liberal activist judge installed in our courts. In case the message still hasn�t been received, we�re not going to sit back and take it any more.
For a good briefing on Liu's ideas and decision making, check out this article by Hans A. von Spakovsky and Deborah O'Malley at Pajamas Media(excerpt):
Goodwin Liu: If you think the Ninth Circuit, the most liberal and out-of-control appeals court in the country, couldn�t get any worse, you haven�t met Goodwin Liu, associate dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

For starters, Liu does not even meet the standard for federal judgeships outlined by the American Bar Association, which requires substantial courtroom and trial experience and at least 12 years practicing law. Liu has no experience as a trial lawyer. He hadn�t even been out of law school for 12 years when he was nominated.

In his writings, Liu has shown a disturbing judicial philosophy that fits neatly within the activist mold Obama wants nominees to fill. Liu �envisions the judiciary � as a culturally situated interpreter of social meaning.� Judges are not supposed to be interpreters of �social meaning� who base their decisions on the latest cultural meanderings of academia. They are supposed to be interpreters of the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress. But it is this kind of nebulous culturally situated interpretation that allows judges to ignore the plain and ordinary meaning of the law and to replace it with what they personally think is the �best� outcome based upon their own highly subjective, biased, and often radical interpretation of �social meaning.�

Just how would this interpretation of �social meaning� manifest itself? One way, according to Liu, would be a court-created constitutional right to welfare. Liu desires a �reinvigorated public dialogue� about �our commitments to mutual aid and distributive justice across a broad range of social goods.� He wants the courts to recognize �a fundamental right to education or housing or medical care � as an interpretation and consolidation of the values we have gradually internalized as a society.�
Good riddance to bad rubbish -- there is a reason that it takes such an effort to approve a judge. Add to this that it is a lifetime appointment and Liu, being young, could do 40-50 years of damage.

Good News and Silver Lining

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From the Wall Street Journal:
IMF Director Resigns, Denying Allegations
Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund, ending a leadership crisis at the organization following charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York.

In a letter to the board, Mr. Strauss-Kahn said: "I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me."

The letter said Mr. Strauss-Kahn, being held in a New York jail on sexual-assault charges, would resign with immediate effect.

"I want to protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion, and especially�especially�I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence," the letter said.

The IMF, which released the letter just after midnight Thursday, said it "will communicate in the near future on the Executive Board's process of selecting a new Managing Director." It added that John Lipsky remains as the acting head.

The resignation brings a quick end to the paralysis that has gripped the IMF since Mr. Strauss-Kahn was arrested several days ago. The IMF is in the midst of negotiations about the next steps to take in resolving Greece's financial problems and his absence from the talks has been seen as a major problem.

His resignation will put in high gear the global search for a replacement. By tradition, a European is selected to head the IMF and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is considered the front runner.
#1) - Good riddance. Don't let the door hit 'ya where the Good Lord split 'ya. #2) - Lipsky is a tool. Well meaning but not qualified. #3) - Lagarde is a smokin' hot pistol. Smart. Outspoken. Actually has an interest in the business as well as being competent with a good track record. Europe might actually get relevant again...
Yesterday, we saw that businesses in Nancy Pelosi's district picked up 20% of the latest Obamacare waivers. The businesses in question? High end restaurants, hotels and nightclubs. Not to be outdone, Harry Reid just got the entire State of Nevada. From the Las Vegas Sun:
Nevada secures partial waiver from federal health care law
Nevada got a partial waiver from the health care law � a significant development that Democrats are dismissing as par for the course and Republicans are claiming as a political victory.

The Health and Human Services Department announced late Friday that Nevada had secured a statewide waiver from certain implementation requirements of the Obama administration�s health care law, because forcing them through, the department found, �may lead to the destabilization of the individual market.�
Like Duhhhhhhh... (emphasis mine) Geezzz -- time to drain the swamp and start over again.

Heh - DS-K gets an ankle bracelet

From CBS/New York:

Sources: Strauss-Kahn May Leave Rikers Island Thursday On $1 Million Bail
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund who was arrested in New York for alleged sexual assault, has a court hearing scheduled for Thursday morning to seek his release on bail.

A court administrator says the hearing concerns a special application on behalf of Strauss-Kahn. Citing a source, CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported that the IMF chief could be out of prison by Thursday by posting $1 million bail and subjecting himself to electronic monitoring while remaining in New York City.

A judge had held Strauss-Kahn without bail on Monday. He has been charged with attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching, punishable by five to 25 years in prison.

We be stylin' now.

Good to see a bully taken down a notch or two...


It seems that someone at the US Secret Service was not as secret as they should have been. From Liberty Chick at Breitbart's Big Government:

Oops! Official Secret Service Twitter Account Bashes FOX News
By now, you've all seen it. Gawker has reported on it, as has Huffington Post and Jake Tapper, among others.

It was tweeted this afternoon from the official Secret Service Twitter account and subsequently deleted by its author. But Twitter has no mercy - delete can only delete if no eyes ever saw it in the first place. Unfortunately for one Secret Service employee, eyes saw it.


I called the Secret Service Office of Public Affairs to ask for a comment. I asked the question and almost immediately after identifying myself, was transferred to the voice mail of spokesman Robert Novy. Luckily, Jake Tapper had already reached the office and received an official statement:
"An employee with access to the Secret Service's Twitter account, who mistakenly believed they were on their personal account, posted an unapproved and inappropriate tweet," Special Agent in Charge Edwin M. Donovan said in a statement to ABC News. "The tweet did not reflect the views of the U.S. Secret Service and it was immediately removed. We apologize for this mistake, and the user no longer has access to our official account."
My first question was, "why is the Secret Service monitoring FOX News in the first place"? But then I realized that such agencies monitor news outlets all the time - if they didn't, they wouldn't know which person in Congress just said something stupid that might prompt a foreign entity, or perhaps terrorists, to get really pissed at us. And for other generally harmless reasons, too, of course. It's their public affairs staff doing the monitoring. And besides, it's Twitter. We all know, Twitter is a public sandbox - you get in and play, and anyone can see you, and play with you.

A classic case of: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

A two-fer from Bloomberg. First this:
U.S. Real Estate Delinquencies Top 10% for First Time, Morgan Stanley Says
Delinquencies on commercial mortgages packaged and sold as bonds surpassed 10 percent for the first time last month, according to Morgan Stanley.

Payments more than 30 days late jumped 26 basis points to 10.15 percent in April, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a report yesterday. While the pace of increase has slowed since the middle of last year, that�s partly because delinquencies are being offset as troubled loans are resolved. The rate of borrowers missing payments for the first time has been constant for the past four months, the analysts wrote.

�The bottom line is that loan performance is not yet exhibiting significant improvement,� according to the analysts led by Richard Parkus in New York. �Many market participants have come to believe that credit deterioration is more or less over, and were caught off guard by April�s rise.�
I love the comment: "were caught off guard by April�s rise" I am not an economist but the commercial real estate bubble is pretty damn obvious to me and has been for the last two years. What are these morons smoking to only discover it now... Second this:
Banks Say Simpler Mortgage Form Could �Stifle� New Products
For Elizabeth Warren, the Obama administration adviser setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, simpler mortgage paperwork is a �regulatory sweet spot� that will cut lender costs and borrower confusion.

That view hasn�t stopped battle lines from forming around the prototype �mortgage shopping sheet� the agency is planning to publish today. Industry groups say the revisions may lead to limits on innovation and variety in lending, while consumer advocates are resisting changes that might limit borrowers� right to sue to stop a foreclosure.
Emphasis mine -- if you don't have the income to cover a mortgage, don't buy the property. It is all of these gimmick loans that caused the initial housing bubble in the first place. Are these idiots incapable of learning from history?

Schadenfreude - Ted Rall

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Ted Rall spent the last ten years penning cartoons that excoriated President Bush. Now Obama is in the White House and Ted is having some problems. From Yahoo Opinion:
After they called the presidency for Obama, emails poured in. "You must be relieved now that the Democrats are taking over," an old college buddy told me. "There will be less pressure on you."

That would have been nice.
bla . . . bla . . . bla . . . bla . . . more:
It feels a little weird to write this, like I'm telling tales out of school and ratting out the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy. But it's true: there's less room for a leftie during the Age of Obama than there was under Bush.

I didn't realize how besotted progressives were by Mr. Hopey Changey.

Obama lost me before Inauguration Day, when he announced cabinet appointments that didn't include a single liberal.

It got worse after that: Obama extended and expanded Bush's TARP giveaway to the banks; continued Bush's spying on our phone calls; ignored the foreclosure crisis; refused to investigate, much less prosecute, Bush's torturers; his healthcare plan was a sellout to Big Pharma; he kept Gitmo open; expanded the war against Afghanistan; dispatched more drone bombers; used weasel words to redefine the troops in Iraq as "non-combat"; extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich; claiming the right to assassinate U.S. citizens; most recently, there was the forced nudity torture of PFC Bradley Manning and expanding oil drilling offshore and on national lands.

I was merciless to Obama. I was cruel in my criticisms of Obama's sellouts to the right. In my writings and drawings I tried to tell it as it was, or anyway, as I saw it. I thought--still think--that's my job. I'm a critic, not a suck-up. The Obama Administration doesn't need journalists or pundits to carry its water. That's what press secretaries and PR flacks are for.

Does Obama ever do anything right? Not often, but sure. And when he does, I shut up about it. Cartoonists and columnists who promote government policy are an embarrassment.

But that's what "liberal" media outlets want in the age of Obama.

I can't prove it in every case. (That's how blackballing works.) The Nation and Mother Jones and Harper's, liberal magazines that gave me freelance work under Clinton and Bush, now ignore my queries. Even when I offered them first-person, unembedded war reporting from Afghanistan. Hey, maybe they're too busy to answer email or voicemail. You never know.

Other censors are brazen.

There's been a push among political cartoonists to get our work into the big editorial blogs and online magazines that seem poised to displace traditional print political magazines like The Progressive. In the past, editorial rejections had numerous causes: low budgets, lack of space, an editor who simply preferred another creator's work over yours.

Now there' s a new cause for refusal: Too tough on the president.

I've heard that from enough "liberal" websites and print publications to consider it a significant trend.

A sample of recent rejections, each from editors at different left-of-center media outlets:
  • "I am familiar with and enjoy your cartoons. However the readers of our site would not be comfortable with your (admittedly on point) criticism of Obama."
  • "Don't be such a hater on O and we could use your stuff. Can't you focus more on the GOP?"
  • "Our first African-American president deserves a chance to clean up Bush's mess without being attacked by us."
I have many more like that.
Ted's problem is that #1) - he is a hack who doesn't always get his facts right and #2) - this kind of venomous 'cartooning' had it's day in the limelight and we have moved on.

This in from bizzaro-world - Zimbabwe

From Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge:

Zimbabwe Says Days Of The US Dollar Are Numbered, Pushes For Gold-Backed Local Currency
Topping off a weekend of surreal news is the announcement from the Central Bank of Zimbabwe that the country is now evaluating introducing a gold-backed Zimbabwean dollar, and, in keeping with the Salvador Dali feel to the past 48 hours, that the "days of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency are numbered." Yes. Zimbabwe, the same place that two years ago sported a brand new crisp Z$100 trillion bill. What is just as odd is that this news comes less than a week after Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized US economic policies, saying that the paper currency created by the American government is taking a heavy toll on the global economy. While Zimbabwe, which now transacts almost exclusively in foreign currencies such as the USD and the South African Rand, is actively considering ways to return its own currency into circulation, the man who has up to now served as an inspiration and a role model to Ben Bernanke, Gideon Gono, said the country should consider adopting a gold-backed currency. "There is a need for us to begin thinking seriously and urgently about introducing a Gold-backed Zimbabwe currency which will not only stable but internationally acceptable," he said in an interview with state media... That giant ripping noise you hear is the Chairsatan tearing down each and every 20x10 poster of Gideon Gono, lining the hallways of the Princeton Economics department.

This would be funny if it weren't for all the people that lost everything under Mugabe's rule. Pot meet kettle...

If typefaces were dogs

From an email list:


Heh - could not happen to a nicer guy

From NBC:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Placed on Suicide Watch: Source
The International Monetary Fund chief accused of sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel maid is on suicide watch in his Rikers Island cell, NBC New York has learned.

Bullies are always cowards when presented with something bigger than them...

This Saturday is the fourth annual Harvey Haggard Festival. The local Chamber of Commerce puts this on and as board member and foodie, I run the kitchen and feed about 200 people. The Harvey Haggard story is a fun one -- from the Bellingham Herald:
Foothills festival honors Harvey Haggard, hero of 1911 Mount Baker Marathon
Lynden has Phoebe Judson and Fairhaven has Dirty Dan Harris, two historical figures who have come to exemplify their communities.

One is known for her civic deeds, her piety and her opposition to saloons; the other is known for his civic deeds, his pungent odor and his penchant for smuggling hooch.

With this year's Ski to Sea celebrating the centennial of its inspirational predecessor, the 1911 Mount Baker Marathon, it's a good time for Ski to Sea to latch onto its own legendary figure.

Folks at the Mt. Baker Foothills Chamber of Commerce have a prime candidate with their Fourth Annual Harvey Haggard Festival this Saturday, May 21.

"It's a fun family event," said the chamber's Rebecca Boonstra. "Sit on the lawn and enjoy the performances and eat good food and visit with your neighbors."

The marathon was held three years, 1911-1913. Haggard won the second one, but he's more famous for how he lost the first race.

Runners started in downtown Bellingham and had a choice of routes to the top of Mount Baker: take a train to Glacier, run 14 miles up a steep trail to the summit, then return to Bellingham; or ride in a car to Deming, run 16 miles up a gentle trail, then go back.

The first marathon was a last-minute affair with mostly local runners, including Haggard, a Maple Falls resident about 19 years old who worked for a mining company and a timber outfit. I presume the $100 prize (that's close to $2,500 in today's dollars) tempted many of the runners.

Haggard was the first racer off the mountain, which meant he could ride a special train back to Bellingham while the others had to find another way to the finish line.

Exhausted, Haggard stripped off his clothes for a rubdown during the ride back. But as the train neared Maple Falls, a mammoth bull appeared in its path. The collision killed the bull and derailed the train, leaving the naked Haggard stunned and lamenting his fate.

Still, he got dressed and hitched a ride with a passing horse and buggy. He next had to be lifted out of the buggy and onto a horse, which galloped to a car waiting in Kendall.

When the horse saw the car, it froze with fright, pitching Haggard forward over its head. He landed in a heap, so the driver put him into the car and sped to town. Haggard fainted twice along the way.

He finished second to another local runner, Joe Galbraith, but the crowd was so impressed by Haggard's grit that they passed the hat and gave him $50. The Bellingham chamber tossed in $30 more, and Glacier and Maple Falls threw in $100, so Haggard fared well. He also was crowned King of Glacier.

For a man who captured the community's heart, there's surprisingly little information about Haggard's life after the marathons, other than that he died in Port Angeles in 1953, said Todd Warger of Bellingham, director of the upcoming documentary "The Mountain Runners."

Maybe that's just as well. A little mystery doesn't hurt when picking a namesake for an event.

"This is a neat way to do a community festival and to honor Harvey," Boonstra said, "to put some more legends back into the local area."
Keeping an eye on the weather -- it is gorgeous today but supposed to be showers on Saturday...

Gimme a break

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Talk about being a complete douche-bag -- from the New York Times:
I.M.F. Chief May Claim Consensual Sex as a Defense
As Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, spent his first full day on Rikers Island, the hotel housekeeper who accused him of sexual assault was struggling with what her lawyer said was a life upended by the case.
During a hearing on Monday in Criminal Court in Manhattan, a lawyer for Mr. Strauss-Kahn, Benjamin Brafman, told a judge he believed the �forensic evidence� was �not consistent with forcible encounter.�

Brofman did not disclose what forensic evidence he was referring to, or even if he had been apprised about what forensic evidence the prosecution had collected. Even so, that statement seemed to suggest the defense may acknowledge that a sexual encounter had occurred.

Indeed, on Tuesday, a person briefed on the case said the defense believed that any sex act may have been consensual.
How do liars like Brafman sleep at night. Is he a sociopath?
From Real Clear Politics:
Rick Perry Presidential Push Quietly Gains Steam
As many grass-roots Republicans remain in search of a conservative candidate with the pizazz to go toe-to-toe against President Obama, a man from deep in the heart of Texas who was tea party before the tea party was cool appears to be giving the presidential race some thought.

Gov. Rick Perry has insisted on multiple occasions that he has no interest in the presidency, but RCP has learned that political associates have begun to nose around quietly on Perry's behalf.

A Texas pol who is close to Perry has been telling a few key strategists that the nation's longest-serving governor sees a vacuum and is waiting to be summoned into the race. This source believes that could happen by late summer. Without fellow Southerners Haley Barbour or Mike Huckabee in the race -- and with Newt Gingrich's early troubles raising further doubts about the current lineup -- there could be a glaring niche for Perry to fill.
He has done very well in Texas -- businesses are flocking there, education is good, he succeeded in getting tort reform passed so health insurance is affordable. Employment numbers are among the best in the nation. I think he would make an excellent President -- certainly has a fantastic track record as Governor, something reflected in the polls...
Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker has been picking apart various oddities in the "ofishul" Obama Long Form Birth Certificate as presented by the White House. Differences in type, kerning, color, layers, etc... Some of these can be ascribed to the scanning of the paper and conversion to PDF format but there are some matters that will not go away. Today, Karl links to a letter from Douglas Vogt of Archive Index Systems, Inc. Mr. Vogt's business is document scanning and he has some interesting observations - just an excerpt as it is a long letter:
1. Curved and non-curved type. The image we are looking at was scanned in grayscale and some part in binary which cannot be on the same image. The reason I know this is because of the shadowing along the gutter (left-hand side). It also means that the county employees who did the original scanning of all the forms, did not take the individual pages out of the post binders. The result is that all the pages in that book display a parallax distorted image of the lines and type. They curve and drop down to the left. If you look at line 2 (Figure 3) on the form that says Sex you will notice the letters drop down one pixel but the typed word Male does not. Also notice the line just below Male drops down 3 pixels.
If you open a book and look at the type on a page, you can see how this curvature happens when you get close to the gutter. That curvature is present in some of the words on the Obama certificate but not on others. Curious to know who he really is...

Obamacare wavers

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An interesting look at the makeup of those businesses getting wavers. From The Daily Caller:
Nearly 20 percent of new Obamacare waivers are gourmet restaurants, nightclubs, fancy hotels in Nancy Pelosi�s district
Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama�s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi�s Northern California district.

That�s in addition to the 27 new waivers for health care or drug companies and the 31 new union waivers Obama�s Department of Health and Human Services approved.

Pelosi�s district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of waivers nationwide, and the companies that won them didn�t have much in common with companies throughout the rest of the country that have received Obamacare waivers.

Other common waiver recipients were labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms and local governments. But Pelosi�s district�s waivers are the first major examples of luxurious, gourmet restaurants and hotels getting a year-long pass from Obamacare.

For instance, Boboquivari�s restaurant in Pelosi�s district in San Francisco got a waiver from Obamacare. Boboquivari�s advertises $59 porterhouse steaks, $39 filet mignons and $35 crab dinners.
It was noted in the article that none of these businesses (they list quite a few) returned the Daily Caller's phone calls, neither did Pelosi's office. Color me surprised...

The Food Business

Excellent article in the New York Times:

Foods With Benefits, or So They Say
Start in Aisle 2, third shelf from the bottom: here is grape juice for your heart. Over to Aisle 4: there are frozen carrots for your eyes.

In Aisle 5: vitamin-packed water for your immune system. In the dairy case: probiotic yogurt for your insides and milk for your brain.

Push a cart through the D'Agostino store in Midtown Manhattan, or any supermarket anywhere in America, and you just might start believing in miracles - or at least in miracle foods.

In aisle after aisle, wonders beckon. Foods and drinks to help your heart, lower your cholesterol, trim your tummy, coddle your colon. Toss them into your cart and you might feel better. Heck, you might even live longer.

Or not. Because this, shoppers, is the question: Are all these products really healthy, or are some of them just hyped?

The answer to that question matters to millions of Americans who are wagering their money and their waistlines on hot new products in the grocery aisles called "functional foods."

Food giants like Dannon, Kellogg and General Mills don't claim these products actually prevent or cure diseases. Such declarations would run afoul of federal regulations. Nor do they sell them as medical foods, which are intended to be consumed under a doctor's supervision.

Rather, food companies market functional foods with health-promoting or wellness-maintaining properties. Such claims are perfectly legal, provided that they are backed up by some credible science.

All those heart-healthy red hearts on your box of Quaker Oats cereal or that can of Planters peanuts? That happy-colon yellow arrow on the tub of Activia yogurt? It's all part of the marketing of functional food.

Over the past decade, despite all those sales pitches for natural, organic and whole foods, functional food has turned into a big business for Big Food. And more Americans are buying into the functional story. Sales of these foods and beverages totaled $37.3 billion in the United States in 2009, up from $28.2 billion in 2005, according to estimates from the Nutrition Business Journal, a market research firm.

Reminds me of that wonderful miss-quote from H.L. Mencken:

No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

What he really said is even better:

"No one in this world, so far as I know -- and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me -- has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby."

Apropos for our times...

That is it for the night

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Long day -- ran payroll for the store and the bakery, went into town to get some stuff for the bakery and to see a foot doctor about a bone spur on my right foot (the X-Rays are pretty spectacular). Finishing off dinner, out to the DaveCave(tm) and then to bed. Been sleeping 10-12 hours day with the crud and still feeling tired but there is light at the end of the tunnel...
Meet Dominique Strauss-Kahn - head of the world bank (the IMF) and expected to be elected President of France. Could not keep his dick in his pants and fled like a little boy when discovered. From Yahoo/Associated Press:
IMF chief to remain jailed in NYC sex-assault case
The head of the International Monetary Fund must remain jailed at least until his next court hearing for attempted rape and other charges, a judge said Monday.

A tired and grim-looking Dominique Strauss-Kahn appeared before the Manhattan judge to face charges of attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching. The top count is punishable by five to 25 years in prison.

Strauss-Kahn is accused of attacking a maid who went in to clean his penthouse suite Saturday at a luxury hotel near Times Square. Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman says his client denies any wrongdoing.

The charges stunned the global financial world and upended French presidential politics. A member of France's Socialist party, Strauss-Kahn was widely considered the strongest potential challenger next year to President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose political fortunes have been flagging.

Manhattan prosecutors asked the judge to hold Strauss-Kahn without bail, saying his position as IMF head had taken him out of the country previously and that the IMF leader was wealthy and doesn't live in New York.

"He has almost no incentive to stay in this country and every incentive to leave," Assistant District Attorney John A. McConnell said. "If he went to France, we would have no legal mechanism to guarantee his return to this country."
From FOX News:
IMF Chief Ordered Held Without Bail in Sexual Assault Case
IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was ordered held without bail on Monday as new details emerged about the alleged sexual assault of a maid at a swanky New York City hotel.

Law enforcement sources told that blood found on bed sheets in the luxury suite in Manhattan�s Sofitel Hotel, where Strauss-Kahn stayed Friday night, could support the sexual assault claim of the alleged victim.

A rape kit found DNA evidence on the woman, who sources described as ashamed to report the violent attack. She eventually told law enforcement officials the graphic details.

Crime scene investigators found additional evidence at the scene, removing fibers and DNA and swaths of carpet and fabric from the suite for further forensic testing, sources said.
A bit more:
Back at the hotel, the housekeeper, after allegedly escaping the grip of the IMF chief, rushed downstairs, where she told hotel workers of the alleged attack; they then rushed upstairs to find the alleged assaulter. But by the time they reached Strauss-Kahn�s room, he was gone, already downstairs at the front desk checking out and paying for his $3,000-a-night room with his personal credit card, sources said.

Law enforcement sources said Strauss-Kahn appeared to be in such a rush to get out of the hotel he left his cell phone and other personal effects behind in his room.

While he was in the car heading to the airport, the housekeeper was reluctant to speak with police. When detectives arrived, she was taken to the hospital, where a rape kit was conducted. DNA evidence was found, sources said.

On Sunday afternoon, the housekeeper identified Strauss-Kahn in a line-up. Hours later, attorneys for Strauss-Kahn announced that their client had consented to a physical examination.
The idea that these people consider themselves to be our betters, to be our cultural elites. They are congenital idiots, pompous pustules on the backside of a donkey. This is not an issue with capitalism, this is fascism writ large and we need to reign it in and put an end to it. It didn't work well for Italy and Il Duce and it will not work now. Dustbin of history and all that...

A simple yes or no question

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Allen West asks a question that Obama hack Douglas Gordon is not comfortable answering. Well worth your five minutes:
Hat tip to Bryan Preston at PJ Tatler
Be sure to double and triple check each employees paycheck when running payroll. Between the two businesses there are 23 employees and a couple of the paychecks just rolled over the hours from two weeks ago. Fortunately caught it before they were set loose into the wild...

Crud blogging - update

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Incestuous little bugger. It seems that two of the Bakery employees also have had it or have it now and six people at the grocery store. One of the few downsides to small-town living...

Very cool - WA State vaccinations

From the Bellingham station KGMI:
State Law Makes It Difficult To Opt Out of Vaccinations For Kids
A new law makes it more difficult to keep children from being vaccinated in Washington state.

Starting in July, parents who choose to opt out of immunization requirements in our state, will now need a health care provider to sign a Certificate of Exemption.

Michele Roberts with the Washington State Department of Health says the law, signed by Governor Gregoire this week, requires parents to show they have received information about the benefits and risks of immunizations prior to opting out of school vaccination requirements.

Roberts says vaccines are safe and effective, and the connection between vaccination and autism is nothing more than an urban legend.

Washington has one of the highest immunization exemption rates of any state in the U.S.

More than 6% of children in our schools were exempt from vaccination requirements last school year.

A health care provider does not need to sign the exemption form for parents or guardians who show membership in a church or religious group which does not allow a health care provider to provide medical care to a child.
Good to see some common sense. A large pool of vaccinated children will confer some measure of herd immunity to the non-vaccinated kids but the threshold is right at the 5% to 20% range so WA State's overall 6% is dangerous. The article does not mention but I am suspecting that the 6% rate is not homogeneous and that there are pockets of much larger unvaccinated in the liberal urban as well as the hippie rural areas. The supposed link between the MMR vaccine and Autism is one of the tragic frauds in medical history. It all stemmed from a single Doctor in England who published a paper in The Lancet journal. The publication was revoked, his sample size was only twelve patients and Doctor Wakefield is now just Andy Wakefield -- lost his Medical License. It turns out that Wakefield was in the pay of trial lawyers looking to sue the makers of the MMR vaccine. And yet, useful idiots like Jenny McCarthy still actively promote this false link and cause the next generation of children to be exposed to scourges that should have been wiped off the face of this earth.
Even the Qu�b�cois get it -- drill baby drill. From Myron Ebell at Global Warming:
Obama Administration take note: Quebec decides to develop its natural resources
Quebec, long an economic basket case kept afloat by Canada�s federal government, has decided to open up its northern interior to resource development. Quebec Premier Jean Charest announced on Monday an ambitious 25-year �Plan Nord� to build highways, airports, and other infrastructure so that the area can be developed.

According to Montreal�s Gazette, �Investments in energy development, mining, forestry, transportation, and tourism in the 1.2-million-square-kilometre region � twice the size of France � will create 20,000 jobs a year, generating $162 billion in growth and tax revenues of $14 billion.� Large parts of northern Quebec are heavily forested, and there are major deposits of iron, nickel, gold, platinum, cobalt, zinc, vanadium, and rare earths.

The Obama Administration should follow Quebec�s good example. The Department of the Interior and the U. S. Forest Service (an agency of the U. S. Department of Agriculture) control nearly 30% of the land in the United States, most of it in the West and Alaska, plus the Outer Continental Shelf. Federal lands and offshore areas contain colossal reserves of energy and minerals plus the most productive forests in the world. But the Obama Administration is locking up more and more federal lands and offshore areas in order to prevent oil and gas production, hardrock mining, and timber production. And they�re trying to block coal mining in Appalachia by inventing new pollutants to be regulated.
If you build it, they will come -- no reason why Eco-Tourism cannot go hand in hand with mineral extraction. Because this is a planned development, the mining companies can be required to return the land to an as-new condition, replanted with native species and 30 years later, nobody but a geologist will be able to tell what happened. The Montreal Gazette article goes on to talk about the impact on the Cree Indians:
Matthew Coon Come, grand chief of the northern Quebec Cree, who in the 1990s led the successful battle to stop Hydro-Qu�bec�s Great Whale project, spoke glowingly about the Plan Nord.

�This a new era,� Coon Come said, explaining that when Charest first talked about it in 2007, the Crees invited Deputy Premier Nathalie Normandeau and they exchanged ideas on development.

�The Crees have gone from exclusion to inclusion,� Coon Come said.
To read more about the Great Whale project, here is the Wikipedia article: James Bay Project In the 1990's, it was built without the cooperation of the native peoples. Now, Plan Nord is working with the indigenous population to make sure they get their fair share out of the development. It will be interesting to see if this happens as planned or turns into another government boondoggle. There is some amazing potential for growth for everyone...

Now that didn't take long

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And how do you like your crow Mr. President? From the New York Times:
Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time
The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.
A bit more:
Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.

The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska � nearly 130 million acres � would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies.
So he is throwing a sop to his constituents in San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Boston. Just twenty days ago, the EPA shut down a big Shell Oil operation in the same Beaufort and Chukchi Seas costing them $4 Billion. So is Obama going to approach the Shell board and say: "Oops -- my bad..." Obama is in campaign mode and will do anything to get re-elected. I hope the US voters have a decent long-term memory.

Just wonderful - Cholera in Haiti

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Cholera brought by the UN Peacekeeper forces. From National Public Radio:
Verdict: Haiti's Cholera Outbreak Originated In U.N. Camp
Suspicions that U.N. peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti last fall are so incendiary in that beleagured nation that most health experts fighting the outbreak have refused to discuss it.

But an expert panel appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has concluded those suspicions are correct.

In a 32-page report released quietly on Wednesday, the four-person panel leaves no doubt that cholera spread quickly from a U.N. camp in the upper Artibonite River valley to waters used by tens of thousands of Haitians for bathing, washing and drinking.

So far, Haiti's cholera epidemic has sickened nearly 300,000 people and killed 4,500 of them.
From the report:
"The sanitation conditions at the [U.N. camp] were not sufficient to prevent contamination of the Meye Tributary System with human fecal waste," the report says. The Meye River feeds into the Artibonite, Haiti's longest river.

Sewage from the UN camp could have gotten into the river system in two ways � from a drainage canal running through the camp or from an open septic pit near the Meye River where a private contractor dumped sewage from the camp.

The experts say Hurricane Thomas last November and a flood in the region last summer played no role in spreading cholera.

The report says the U.N. should clean up its facilities around the world to make sure fecal wastes don't contaminate the environment.

Beyond that, the group says all U.N. personnel mobilized for emergencies should be vaccinated against cholera, receive prophylactic antibiotics, or both. Personnel from areas where cholera is endemic should be screened for cholera before they go to countries where it isn't a problem.
And we give these morons how much money per year? They didn't screen or vaccinate their aid workers before sending them into a compromised area? They were unable to keep their sewage from contaminating the major river system from which most citizens get their drinking water? The US contributes a 22% share of the UN operating budget ($597 Million in 2010). Saudi Arabia only contributes 0.713%. (here) In addition, there is the State Department�s Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) which accounts for $2.125 Billion in 2010 (here). That is a lot of our tax dollars for such a poor performance...

A commenter to World's Only Rational Man website had the following to say:

If shutting down those three other reactors causing summer blackouts and heat-related deaths, it's quite likely that the response to Fukushima will kill more people in 2011 than Fukushima radiation will in all history.

The anti-progress and anti-nuclear industry is spinning Fukushima for all its worth. The boots-on-the-ground evidence is proving them to be hyperbolic liars.

Of course they are claiming catastrophe -- the less serious the problems, the more shrill the rhetoric...

Crud blogging - day four

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Feeling measurably better. Slept twelve hours, had breakfast and waiting for the TheraFlu to kick in...

Modernist Cuisine

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I had mentioned earlier that I now have a copy of Nathan Myrhvold's Modernist Cuisine and have been exploring (the best word for it) some of the recipes. Here is a video of their procedure for a double cheese Souffl� with Red Fritatas and infused Chicken and a salad.

And another one bites the dust

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Welcome to the Force David. From The Weekly Standard:
Converting Mamet
Three decades ago David Mamet became known among the culture-consuming public for writing plays with lots of dirty words. �You�re f�ing f�ed� was a typically Mamet-like line, appearing without the prim dashes back in a day when playwrights were still struggling to get anything stronger than a damn on stage. Mamet�s profanity even became a popular joke: So there�s this panhandler who approaches a distinguished looking gentleman and asks for money. The man replies pompously: � �Neither a borrower nor a lender be� �William Shakespeare.� The beggar looks at him. � �F� you� �David Mamet.�

Some critics said his plays were pointlessly brutal. As a consequence he became famous and wealthy. It didn�t hurt when it dawned on people that many of his plays, for all the profanity and brutality, were works of great power and beauty, and often very funny to boot. When people began to say, as they increasingly did by the middle 1980s, that the author of Speed-the-Plow and American Buffalo and Lakeboat had earned a place in the top rank of the century�s dramatists, no one thought that was a joke. He took to writing for the movies (The Verdict, The Untouchables, Wag the Dog), won a Pulitzer Prize for one of his masterpieces (Glengarry Glen Ross), and moved to Holly-wood, where he became a respected and active player in the showbiz hustle.
And to the gist of the article -- he was asked to deliver a speech at Stanford University:
He withdrew from his jacket a sheaf of papers that quickly became disarranged. He lost his place often. He stumbled over his sentences. But the unease that began to ripple through the audience had less to do with the speaker�s delivery than with his speech�s content. Mamet was delivering a frontal assault on American higher education, the provider of the livelihood of nearly everyone in his audience.

Higher ed, he said, was an elaborate scheme to deprive young people of their freedom of thought. He compared four years of college to a lab experiment in which a rat is trained to pull a lever for a pellet of food. A student recites some bit of received and unexamined wisdom��Thomas Jefferson: slave owner, adulterer, pull the lever��and is rewarded with his pellet: a grade, a degree, and ultimately a lifelong membership in a tribe of people educated to see the world in the same way.

�If we identify every interaction as having a victim and an oppressor, and we get a pellet when we find the victims, we�re training ourselves not to see cause and effect,� he said. Wasn�t there, he went on, a �much more interesting .  .  . view of the world in which not everything can be reduced to victim and oppressor?�

This led to a full-throated defense of capitalism, a blast at high taxes and the redistribution of wealth, a denunciation of affirmative action, prolonged hymns to the greatness and wonder of the United States, and accusations of hypocrisy toward students and faculty who reviled business and capital even as they fed off the capital that the hard work and ingenuity of businessmen had made possible. The implicit conclusion was that the students in the audience should stop being lab rats and drop out at once, and the faculty should be ashamed of themselves for participating in a swindle�a �shuck,� as Mamet called it.
A lot more at the post -- wonderful reading and welcome David!

If Obamacare is so wonderful...

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...why are so many corporations getting exemptions? From The Hill:
HHS approves 200 more new healthcare reform waivers
The Obama administration approved 204 new waivers to Democrats' healthcare reform law over the past month, bringing the total to 1,372.

The waivers are temporary and only apply to one provision of the law, which requires health plans to offer at least $750,000 worth of annual medical benefits before leaving patients to fend for themselves. Still, Republicans have assailed the waivers as a sign of both favoritism and of major problems with the law.

"The fact that over 1,000 waivers have been granted is a tacit admission that the healthcare law is fundamentally flawed," Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said in March. Upton is one of three House committee chairmen who has used new oversight powers to investigate the annual limit waivers.

Administration officials say the law allows the Health and Human Services Department to grant the waivers to avoid disrupting the insurance market before the law overhauls the insurance system in 2014. They say the waivers are granted through a transparent process.
Welcome to Corporatism -- the new Fascisim.

Hoopty dooo!!!

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Had a good work party. TheraFlu is amazing stuff except it leaves my brain feeling like 40% of it has been sucked out through my sinus with a soda straw. The benches were in decent shape but about half of the legs were missing. I have a battery powered saw and driver so we remedied that and the hoop house is now a really pleasant place to work.
There is another bench with high sidewalls that is going to be converted into a worm bin and another (a bit ratty) bench that we screwed some plywood on top and is now an outside work table. It actually stopped raining which is nice. When spellchecking this post, it took "TheraFlu" and wanted to make it "Thrall" - about right...

Damned if you do

From Yahoo/Associated Press:

La. readies to open spillway, flood Cajun country
Army engineers prepared Saturday to slowly open the gates of an emergency spillway along the rising Mississippi River, diverting floodwaters from Baton Rouge and New Orleans, yet inundating homes and farms in parts of Louisiana's populated Cajun country.

About 25,000 people and 11,000 structures could be in harm's way when the Morganza spillway is unlocked for the first time in 38 years. Sheriffs and National Guardsmen were warning people in a door-to-door sweep through the area, and shelters were ready to accept up to 4,800 evacuees, Gov. Bobby Jindal said.

Some people living in the threatened stretch of countryside - an area known for small farms, fish camps and a drawling French dialect - have already started fleeing for higher ground.

In Krotz Springs, La., one of the towns in the Atchafalaya River basin bracing for floodwaters, Monita Reed, 56, recalled the last time the Morganza was opened in 1973.

"We could sit in our yard and hear the water," she said as workers constructed a makeshift levee of sandbags and soil-filled mesh boxes in hopes of protecting the 240 homes in her subdivision.

Elsewhere, workers were trying to shore up other levees, and engineers were tediously inspecting other floodwalls to make sure they would hold.

Reed's family packed her furniture, clothing and pictures in a rental truck and a relative's trailer.

"I'm just going to move and store my stuff. I'm going to stay here until they tell us to leave," Reed said. "Hopefully, we won't see much water and then I can move back in."

Opening the spillway will release a torrent that could submerge about 3,000 square miles under as much as 25 feet of water in some areas but take the pressure off the downstream levees protecting New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the numerous oil refineries and chemical plants along the lower reaches of the Mississippi.

A tough call to make but the right one and Jindal will probably have aid trucks ready to move in when the water recedes.

There is a huge cultural gulf between the urban citizens and the rural Cajuns. Urban people in New Orleans are overly reliant on the government to provide for them. Cajuns just pick themselves up and get on with life.

We hear the sob stories about Katrina (Cat3 at landfall) but not a peep about Hurricane Rita which made landfall a month later. Katrina hit urban New Orleans, people did not evacuate as required, Mayor Nagin had no effective plan to evacuate the city, Governor Blanco did not request Federal aid until three days after landfall (States Rights issue -- the US Government cannot come in, they must be asked). Rita was stronger than Katrina but it hit closer to Texas - Cajun country.

FEMA houses? Some but not not many.

Losses? Sure -- some devastating.

Griping about the gubbinment?

. . . . . . crickets . . . . . .

Schadenfreude - cloud computing

Just as Google Inc. was touting the idea (and offering to sell it to you) of Cloud Computing, one of it's Cloud Computing projects crashed and burned horribly. From ZD Net:

Google's Blogger outage makes the case against a cloud-only strategy
The same week that Google made its strongest pitch ever for putting your entire business online, one of its flagship services has failed spectacularly.

Earlier this week, Google rolled out a maintenance release for its Blogger service. Something went terribly wrong, and its Blogger customers have been locked out of their accounts for more than a day. Google's engineers have been frantically working to restore service ever since, although they haven't shared any details about the problem.

A Blogger Service Disruption update contains four updates from the last 24 hours, starting with this one:
We have rolled back the maintenance release from last night and as a result, posts and comments from all users made after 7:37 am PDT on May 11, 2011 have been removed. Again, we apologize that this happened and our engineers are working hard to return Blogger to normal and restore your posts and comments.
That's nearly 48 hours of downtime, and counting. Overnight updates promise "We're making progress" and "We expect everything to be back to normal soon."

My question is, "What if this had happened to another Google service?" Say, Google Docs? What if every document you wrote and saved on Wednesday was suddenly taken offline on Thursday, and you no longer had your presentation or your notes or your research for a client meeting today? How does this promise from Google sound now?
Your apps, documents, and settings are stored safely in the cloud. So even if you lose your computer, you can just log in to another Chromebook and get right back to work.
Google has owned and operated Blogger since 2003. It's not like they're still trying to figure out how to integrate the service into their operation. If it can happen at Blogger, why can't it happen with another Google service?

What makes this outage particularly egregious is that it is being rolled out on a single platform. It isn't as though this was an update for an application that was expected to be running on everything from a 486 on Win95 to an eight core proc running Windows 7. They should have had the horsepower to be able to test it in their lab before deploying it...

Still crud blogging

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Finishing off breakfast and heading out to gather the tools and lumber for today's community garden work party. Feel like crap. And of course, it is 48� and raining, and also, Thursday and Friday were gorgeous and in the 60's. The Joy It hurts...

Your dogma just got run over by my karma

Karma's a bitch at times -- from the Seattle Times:
Donation jar thief hit by bus in Seattle
Seattle police say a man who stole a donation jar from a downtown business ran into the street and was hit by a bus.

Police say no one was chasing the man at the time Thursday and the Metro bus driver attempted to stop but couldn't avoid hitting the man.

He was taken to Harborview Medical Center with critical injuries.
From Reuters:
Exclusive: Pornography found in bin Laden hideout: officials
A stash of pornography was found in the hideout of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. commandos who killed him, current and former U.S. officials said on Friday.

The pornography recovered in bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, consists of modern, electronically recorded video and is fairly extensive, according to the officials, who discussed the discovery with Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The officials said they were not yet sure precisely where in the compound the pornography was discovered or who had been viewing it. Specifically, the officials said they did not know if bin Laden himself had acquired or viewed the materials.
Wonder how long it will take for TMZ or a similar website to get the goods. Wonder just how OBL got his kink on...

Crud blogging

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Had to go into town today so loaded up on Alka Seltzer Plus Nighttime. Fun thing will be tomorrows work party at the Community Garden. We are configuring the potting benches that were donated to us and that will require some mental acuity of which I have precious little at this time.

Ho. Li. Crap...

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Out in the DaveCave(tm) and someone on the Tesla list sent a link to this video:
From the shooters comment:
Uploaded by BrianLuenser on May 11, 2011
This is the aftermath of a pretty brutal thunderstorm in Fort Worth Texas on May 10, 2011. It was taken from my balcony on the 34th floor of a building in Fort Worth. Though I thought we were at war or was terrorism, it was a massive series of power transformers blowing. As I took it with my 70-200 2.8L IS lens, it is farther away than it looks. (it is 5 miles away) That is why there are not explosion sounds. This was a very well documented event. I was on my balcony to take lightning pictures (Yes, not smart) and this started happening in front of me. I turned my camera (Canon 5d MkII) to video mode and let it roll.

That is it for the evening

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There is some kind of crud that has been floating around. A couple employees got it, Jen is just getting over it and it has been nosing around my immune system for the last two days. I have a feeling that the next couple days will see me holed up in bed dosing myself with Theraflu and sleeping a lot. Just wunnerful...

Now this is going over well

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A company in Connecticut is now marketing an Obama action figure dressed as a member of Seal Team Six:
The company is Herobuilders and needless to say, their comments page is a bit heated for this particular piece of merch. A sample:
What an insult to true American people and the Navy Seals. I know you're doing this as a desperate move to conjure business, however, what a disgrace you idiots are!

The Seals deserve better than that...I grew up in inner city don't rise through the political ranks by being a choir boy; in other words, you morons, all politicians are extremely corrupt.

odumba didn't know the minister of the church he went to for over 20 years hated America, Jews, and Israel...and you're idolizing this prick!

You desperate fools!
And they just get better and better. It will be interesting to see if Hero Builders just removes the comments or if they post a public apology and withdraw the product. It is well known that Obama did little or nothing on this action and every single policy that lead to this was put in place by President Bush and the key elements (Gitmo, black rendition sites, waterboarding) were elements that Obama actively tried to eliminate.
Chilling story about an American opening a legal office in Russia and then the mafia comes. From Foreign Policy:
Russia's Crime of the Century
If there remains any pretense that justice and rule of law exist in Moscow today, that notion should now be counted as pure fantasy. The case of Sergei Magnitsky -- a senior partner at my law firm who was imprisoned, tortured, and murdered after his efforts to shed light on a massive governmental fraud by Interior Ministry officials stealing subsidiaries of my client's company, the Hermitage Fund, and the $230 million of taxes they had paid -- has illuminated the cruelty and criminality of Russian legal enforcement. And new evidence released last week on YouTube as part of the broad campaign seeking justice for Sergei, goes even further -- exposing the blatant theft, impunity, and ill-gotten gains of senior Russian tax officials who were complicit in the fraud and subsequent murder of my colleague.

The very bureaucrats -- government tax officials on modest salaries in Moscow Tax Office 28 -- exposed by Sergei three years ago of perpetrating the massive fraud stashed millions of dollars in overseas bank accounts, created offshore companies, and purchased luxury villas in Dubai, Montenegro, and Moscow. Worse still, the Kremlin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in particular, have refused -- out of embarrassment, inability, culpability, or incompetence -- to review and prosecute what is now overwhelming evidence of this clear crime.

When I opened my law firm, Firestone Duncan, in Moscow in 1993, I was aware of the dangers of doing business in Russia. The stories about "mafia" groups of tracksuited thugs extorting businesses were well known to me. What I never expected was that the Russian mafia would merge with the government; its members are now the same officials who are supposed to be protecting the public.
Makes sense in a twisted sort of way. Once the big corporations start to get greedy, they are no longer operating under capitalism, they are operating under corporatism and anything goes including buying out the ruling class. See Imelt/Obama/GE IRS taxes for a domestic example...

Just sit and read - Mike Rowe

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From Discovery:
Mike Rowe's Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
May 11, 2011

Chairman Rockefeller, Ranking Member Hutchison and members of this committee, my name is Mike Rowe, and I want to thank you all very much for the opportunity to testify before you today.

I'm here today because of my grandfather.

His name was Carl Knobel, and he made his living in Baltimore as a master electrician. He was also a plumber, a mechanic, a mason, and a carpenter. Everyone knew him as a jack-of-all-trades. I knew him as a magician.

For most of his life, my grandfather woke up clean and came home dirty. In between, he accomplished things that were nothing short of miraculous. Some days he might re-shingle a roof. Or rebuild a motor. Or maybe run electricity out to our barn. He helped build the church I went to as a kid, and the farmhouse my brothers and I grew up in. He could fix or build anything, but to my knowledge he never once read the directions. He just knew how stuff worked.

I remember one Saturday morning when I was 12. I flushed the toilet in the same way I always had. The toilet however, responded in a way that was completely out of character. There was a rumbling sound, followed by a distant gurgle. Then, everything that had gone down reappeared in a rather violent and spectacular fashion.

Naturally, my grandfather was called in to investigate, and within the hour I was invited to join he and my dad in the front yard with picks and shovels.

By lunch, the lawn was littered with fragments of old pipe and mounds of dirt. There was welding and pipe-fitting, blisters and laughter, and maybe some questionable language. By sunset we were completely filthy. But a new pipe was installed, the dirt was back in the hole, and our toilet was back on its best behavior. It was one of my favorite days ever.

Thirty years later in San Francisco when my toilet blew up again. This time, I didn't participate in the repair process. I just called my landlord, left a check on the kitchen counter, and went to work. When I got home, the mess was cleaned up and the problem was solved. As for the actual plumber who did the work, I never even met him.

It occurred to me that I had become disconnected from a lot of things that used to fascinate me. I no longer thought about where my food came from, or how my electricity worked, or who fixed my pipes, or who made my clothes. There was no reason to. I had become less interested in how things got made, and more interested in how things got bought.

At this point my grandfather was well into his 80s, and after a long visit with him one weekend, I decided to do a TV show in his honor. Today, Dirty Jobs is still on the air, and I am here before this committee, hoping to say something useful. So, here it is.

I believe we need a national PR Campaign for Skilled Labor. A big one. Something that addresses the widening skills gap head on, and reconnects the country with the most important part of our workforce.

Right now, American manufacturing is struggling to fill 200,000 vacant positions. There are 450,000 openings in trades, transportation and utilities. The skills gap is real, and it's getting wider. In Alabama, a third of all skilled tradesmen are over 55. They're retiring fast, and no one is there to replace them.

Alabama's not alone. A few months ago in Atlanta I ran into Tom Vilsack, our Secretary of Agriculture. Tom told me about a governor who was unable to move forward on the construction of a power plant. The reason was telling. It wasn't a lack of funds. It wasn't a lack of support. It was a lack of qualified welders.

In general, we're surprised that high unemployment can exist at the same time as a skilled labor shortage. We shouldn't be. We've pretty much guaranteed it.

In high schools, the vocational arts have all but vanished. We've elevated the importance of "higher education" to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled "alternative." Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities as "vocational consolation prizes," best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. And still, we talk about millions of "shovel ready" jobs for a society that doesn't encourage people to pick up a shovel.

In a hundred different ways, we have slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a "good job" into something that no longer looks like work. A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber if you can find one is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we'll all be in need of both.

I came here today because guys like my grandfather are no less important to civilized life than they were 50 years ago. Maybe they're in short supply because we don't acknowledge them they way we used to. We leave our check on the kitchen counter, and hope the work gets done. That needs to change.

My written testimony includes the details of several initiatives designed to close the skills gap, all of which I've had the privilege to participate in. Go Build Alabama, I Make America, and my own modest efforts through Dirty Jobs and mikeroweWORKS. I'm especially proud to announce "Discover Your Skills," a broad-based initiative from Discovery Communications that I believe can change perceptions in a meaningful way.

I encourage you to support these efforts, because closing the skills gap doesn't just benefit future tradesmen and the companies desperate to hire them. It benefits people like me, and anyone else who shares my addiction to paved roads, reliable bridges, heating, air conditioning, and indoor plumbing.

The skills gap is a reflection of what we value. To close the gap, we need to change the way the country feels about work.
To hell with Newt and the rest of the lot -- Mike Rowe for President... His foundation page is here -- looks interesting.
Excellent essay as usual:
From Declaration Entertainment
If one is going to look for an resource to displace coal or uranium-fueled nukes, Fusion is the place to be putting your efforts. EMC2 is one of the alt.fusion companies working in this field and they recently announced some interesting results. From MS/NBC's Cosmic Log:
Fusion goes forward from the fringe
A Navy-funded effort to harness nuclear fusion power reports that its unconventional plasma device is operating as designed and generating "positive results" more than halfway through the project.

The latest quarterly update from EMC2 Fusion Development Corp. comes amid other signs that seemingly oddball approaches to fusion research may not be all that oddball after all. Just last week, General Fusion announced that's billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos, was part of a $19.5 million investment round to further the company's plan to take advantage of a technology called magnetized target fusion. Another billionaire, Paul Allen, is an investor in Tri Alpha Energy, which is working on its own hush-hush fusion project (and occasionally publishing its research).

EMC2 Fusion doesn't have tens of millions of venture capital to play with � but it does have a $7.9 million Navy contract to test a plasma technology known as inertial electrostatic confinement fusion, also known as Polywell fusion. The idea is to accelerate positively charged ions in an electrical cage to such an extent that they occasionally spark a fusion reaction, releasing energy and neutrons. The concept was pioneered by the late physicist Robert Bussard, and carried forward by the EMC2 Fusion team in Santa Fe, N.M.

Some of the leading team members went on leave from Los Alamos National Laboratory to work on EMC2. Rick Nebel, the Los Alamos engineer who led the company since Bussard's death in 2007, retired from the company last November. Taking his place as acting chief executive officer is Jaeyoung Park. The 41-year-old physicist says he's given up his position at Los Alamos to focus fully on EMC2.

"We had a lot of milestones to meet in the last six months or so," Park told me today. "It's been pretty hectic."
A bit more:
"It's a very nice machine," he said. "I like what we have so far. It's quite well-built, relatively flexible to actually explore a lot of areas and find what's best. Achieving the plasma for fusion is obviously a tall order. ... You don't just push the pedal on a Ferrari and drive the car. Like an F-18 or a stealth bomber, you have to learn how to operate it properly."
The technology works -- tabletop fusion has been around since the 1960's, this is just the first serious attempt to get it to scale up to the point where it yields more energy than it take to run it. Kiss solar and wind (and coal and nuke) goodbye when it does. Oil will be used for vehicles but not for power generation or building heating. And let's not ignore what is happening in Italy either with Rossi and Focardi...
The run-up to a presidential election can be fun. Newt Gingrich just tossed his hat into the ring. From Politico:
Newt Gingrich running for president
Newt Gingrich formally launched his long-expected presidential campaign Wednesday, saying �we can return America to hope and opportunity.�

�I want your help, because no one person in the Oval Office can get this done,� Gingrich said in a YouTube video after announcing his candidacy on Twitter. �We Americans are going to have to talk together, work together, find solutions together and insist on opposing� those forces that don�t want to change.�
Could be interesting -- he was certainly a good speaker of the House and his Contract with America and welfare reform worked out very well. Let's hope the voters have a short memory...

From the New Hampshire Union Leader:

Lynch vetoes "right to work" bill
As promised, Gov. John Lynch has vetoed the right-to-work bill that Republicans in the Legislature have passed by overwhelming margins.

Lynch said the bill wrongly intrudes on the ability of labor and management to negotiate contracts.

"There is no evidence that this legislation will offer any benefits to New Hampshire's economy or workers," Lynch wrote in his veto message, saying out-of-state interests, not New Hampshire businesses, are driving the issue.

The bill, HB 474, would bar contracts that require non-members to pay partial dues to unions that represent their rights in the workplace. The partial payments are meant to cover the costs of reaching and enforcing labor contracts.

The bill would also allow fines to be levied against companies that included the provision in a contract and deducted the payments.

The bill's supporters say non-members can be intimidated into joining a union, and that the partial dues payments creates more pressure. They argue that no one should be required to make payments to a group he or she does not support.

The House plans to take up a challenge of the veto on May 25. The Senate has no schedule in place at this point.

When they say: "overwhelming margins", they mean it. The bill passed 221 to 131. The entire bill (about a page and a half) can be found here: HB474 (2011)(3rd New Title) relative to freedom of choice on whether to join a labor union. The gist is that currently, even if you are not planning to join a union at your workplace, if there is a union at your workplace, you will be obligated to pay some measure of "dues" to that union. Look for Governor Lynch to get a big electoral Veto next year...

Cool news on the LED front

Efficiency of light sources is measured as Lumens (a unit of light) per Watt (a unit of electrical power). An incandescent light bulb is around 12 lumens/watt. A Compact Fluorescent light bulb is around 65 lumens/watt. And then we have this press release at Lighting:
Cree achieves 231 lumens per watt in LED trial
Cree has announced an industry-best efficacy record of 231 lumens per watt for a white power LED in a research and development trial.

The US company reported that the LED efficacy was measured at 231 lumens per watt using a single-die component at a correlated colour temperature of 4500K.

Standard room temperature 350 mA testing was used to achieve the results. The previous record � set by Cree in February 2010 � was 208 lumens per watt.

John Edmond, Cree co-founder and director of advanced optoelectronics said of the results: �It wasn�t long ago when 200 lumens per watt was considered the theoretical maximum efficiency for a lighting-class LED. We broke that barrier in 2010, and have now achieved 231 lumens per watt.�

Cree was keen to point out that this level of performance is not yet available in its production lamps but the company believes such results will enable new LED-based applications and drive down the solution cost of current LED-based designs.
Probably be a couple years before this technology filters down to us mere mortals but still -- that is quite the record. 100% efficiency pencils out to a bit over 330 lumens/watt so there still is some room for improvement...
From FOX News:
Why Don't We Hear About Soros' Ties to Over 30 Major News Organizations?
When liberal investor George Soros gave $1.8 million to National Public Radio , it became part of the firestorm of controversy that jeopardized NPR�s federal funding. But that gift only hints at the widespread influence the controversial billionaire has on the mainstream media. Soros, who spent $27 million trying to defeat President Bush in 2004, has ties to more than 30 mainstream news outlets � including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Associated Press, NBC and ABC.

Prominent journalists like ABC�s Christiane Amanpour and former Washington Post editor and now Vice President Len Downie serve on boards of operations that take Soros cash. This despite the Society of Professional Journalists' ethical code stating: �avoid all conflicts real or perceived.�

This information is part of an upcoming report by the Media Research Centers Business & Media Institute which has been looking into George Soros and his influence on the media.

The investigative reporting start-up ProPublica is a prime example. ProPublica, which recently won its second Pulitzer Prize, initially was given millions of dollars from the Sandler Foundation to �strengthen the progressive infrastructure� � �progressive� being the code word for very liberal. In 2010, it also received a two-year contribution of $125,000 each year from the Open Society Foundations. In case you wonder where that money comes from, the OSF website is It is a network of more than 30 international foundations, mostly funded by Soros, who has contributed more than $8 billion to those efforts.
Lots of links to corroborating data and news articles. Nothing illegal but not very ethical to say the least...

Stupid hippies - blind comment spam

On March 08, 2010, I posted this: Green Jobs

The post referenced this post from James Delingpole and related how:

What Dave and his chum Barack don't want you to know about green jobs and green energy
Green jobs are a waste of space, a waste of money, a lie, a chimera. You know that. I know that. We're familiar with the report by Dr Gabriel Calzada Alvarez of the Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain which shows that for every "green job" that is created another 2.2 jobs are LOST in the real economy.

We also know that alternative energy is a fraud - only viable through enormous government (ie taxpayer subsidy) and utterly incapable of answering anything more than a fraction of our energy needs. As Shannon Love puts it here:
Here's a fact you won't see mentioned in the public policy debate over "alternative" energy:

There exists no alternative energy source, no combination of alternative energy sources, and no system of combinations of alternative energy sources that can fully replace a single, coal fired electric plant built with 1930s era technology.


Well, this evening, I got three different attempts at commenting from some nimrod who tried to post this (edited a bit) advertising their "Green Enrgy News" website:

We have a green related website and are looking for partners, both for content and for backlinking. Our site is: (fluffy_bunny, not fluffybunny for link reference) Please check us out, we are always looking for green content and will post and promote any relevant content mailed to us to our many daily visitors. You will get a backlink from all published content. We also submit all content to numerous social media and social bookmarking sites, helping you to see more traffic. Please link to us if you are able.Feel free to contact me anytime via my site or email as I'm on the computer often. Thanks again

I visited the site out of morbid curiosity.

The stupid.

It hurts sooo much...

Green Energy is idiotic -- it will never happen in a free market and that just happens to be how we shop for energy. Un-subsidized solar? A joke. Un-subsidized wind? More expensive than new-generation nuke.

What really chaps my ass is that these morons never read my post in question or read anything about this blog. They blindly assumed that any post about Green Jobs would follow their pitifully stupid political agenda.

Sorry Charlie -- BZZZZTTT!!!! I do not drink your Kool Aid. Your milkshake; yes. Your Kool Aid; no...

First up from Shelton, Connecticut ctpost:
Shelton High senior has a date, but can't go to the prom
It began as a simple gesture. Shelton High School senior James Tate just wanted to make his good friend, Sonali Rodrigues, feel special.

So instead of the usual way of asking her to the senior prom, Tate and two friends went to the high school campus in the middle of the night and posted 12-inch tall, cardboard letters on the outside of the building -- at the main entrance.

The message that many saw when they arrived to school Friday, read: "Sonali Rodrigues, Will you go to the prom with me? Tate."

She said yes.
Tuesday, after meeting with his headmaster, Tate and his two friends were each given one day, in-house suspensions and banned from the prom. Tate was told the administration felt what they did was a safety risk.
Tate said that, according to school regulations, if you get suspended after April 1, you can't go to the prom.

"I tried to appeal -- tried to just get a detention instead," he said. "I even offered to do community service -- like cleaning up the litter outside the school."

But, he said, nothing worked.

"Now I have a date for the prom, but can't go," he said.
The article mentioned that he didn't trespass -- the wall that he used was accessible from the street and there was no damage to the building -- cardboard letters and double-stick tape. Just another nanny-statist wielding his elite powers. And of course:
Shelton High School headmaster Beth Smith did not return calls for comment Tuesday. Superintendent Freeman Burr declined comment, referring all questions to Smith.
Fscking morons -- both of them. Next up is this little gem from Maryland station WBAL:
2 Students Punished After Bag Search
A lacrosse player at Easton High School in Maryland is crying foul after he was arrested for having a pen knife in his bag, a tool he said is for repairing his lacrosse stick.

Graham Dennis was charged as a juvenile with possession of a deadly weapon and was suspended for 10 days after officials found the knife during a search of bags on a school bus headed for a game.

Dennis' teammate, Casey Edsall, who had a lighter in his bag that he also said is used to repair equipment, was suspended for a day.
And of course, that familiar refrain:
School officials would not comment on the details of the case.
Why don't these in-duh-viduals ever own up to their schmuckitude. They hide behind arbitrary 'rules' and do nothing to contribute to these kids education, only to pound them into the molds that the elites want them to be. Serfs who do not question the soft tyranny of their elites. Isn't progressivism just grand...

Whole lotta shaking going on

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Quite the string of mediium-size quakes in the southern Pacific ring:
Click to embiggen...
From here: Latest Earthquakes M5.0+ in the World - Past 7 days

Zombie Marie Curie

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Now this is cool - our national Jukebox

From the Library of Congress comes the National Jukebox

From their About page:

The Library of Congress presents the National Jukebox, which makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge. The Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives. Recordings in the Jukebox were issued on record labels now owned by Sony Music Entertainment, which has granted the Library of Congress a gratis license to stream acoustical recordings.

At launch, the Jukebox includes more than 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925. Jukebox content will be increased regularly, with additional Victor recordings and acoustically recorded titles made by other Sony-owned U.S. labels, including Columbia, OKeh, and others.

Quite the technology involved -- a slideshow can be found here: The Making of the National Jukebox

Wisconsin cops - PWND

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From MS/NBC:
Cops bust teens' root-beer kegger
WAUSAU, Wis. � Cars lining the street. A house full of young people. A keg and drinking games inside. Police thought they had an underage boozing party on their hands.

But though they made dozens of teens take breath tests, none tested positive for alcohol. That's because the keg contained root beer.

The party was held by a high school student who wanted to show that teens don't always drink alcohol at their parties. It has gained fame on

Dustin Zebro, 18, said he staged the party after friends at D.C. Everest High School got suspended from sports because of pictures showing them drinking from red cups.

The root-beer kegger was "to kind of make fun of the school," he said. "They assumed there was beer in the cups. We just wanted to have some root beer in red cups and just make it look like a party, but there actually wasn't any alcohol."

Zebro purchased a quarter-barrel of 1919 Classic American Draft Root Beer, and by 10 p.m. Saturday, the scene outside his rural Wausau home had all the makings of a teen drinking party � cars, noise and kids.

Kronenwetter Police Chief Daniel Joling said an officer was dispatched to the home March 1 on a complaint of cars blocking the road.
And the cops went into full-on attack mode:
Nearly 90 breath tests were done, and officers even searched locked rooms for hiding teens.

"It was a tremendous waste of time and manpower, but we still had a job to do, and our officers did it," Joling said. "If one kid had come there, even hadn't drank there, but had come there and had been drinking and had left and crashed and burned, then what would the sentiment be? Why didn't the police check everybody out?"
Talk about overuse of manpower. They should have been able to see the joke of the party and not taken everything so litterally...
From Anthony at Watts Up With That:
Greenpeace loses charity status in New Zealand
With the way they operate, can the rest of the world be far behind? From the WUWT tips and notes we have this news.

Will and also John from New Zealand say:

Greenpeace in New Zealand have just lost their court appeal to retain their charitable tax status. It seems that legally they�re now viewed as a political lobby group:
Considering just how "Green" the people and the government of New Zealand are, Greenpeace must have really overstepped the bounds of propriety. A fitting come-uppance for a group that started as a scientific advocacy and veered off the rails into la-la land to the point where one of the two founders quit in disgust...

Well, except for this one

Iowahawk's David Burge managed to get the transcript of what went on in the War Room when Bin Laden was taken out:
One Day in the War Room

Ladies and gentlemen, please take a seat. The operation is scheduled to commence at 0445 local time. Mr. President, the command chair is yours if you would like it. Mr. President?

Who, me? Oh, uh, sorry, I was reading the reviews of my set at the Correspondent's dinner. Check this out everybody, I got three and half stars from the Post!

You slayed 'em boss! Did you see that look on Trump's face? Zing!

Yes sir, it was quite impressive. Would you like the command chair?

No thanks, I'll just sit here in the corner. I might have to bug out for my 4pm tee time. Dammit, how come I'm not getting a single bar on my iPhone?

I'm sorry Mr. President, the war room is scrambled during a Code Delta situation.

How long is this thing going to take? I still haven't read my reviews at the Times and Huffington Post.

Undetermined, sir. SEAL 6 has trained against 16 different strike site defense scenarios. If you recall, I briefed you on those last night.

Yeah, right during my rehearsal. And you almost threw my timing.

I... uh... no excuse, sir.

Quiet everyone, the satellite feed is coming in. This infrared image is from the inside of chopper 1.

Wait a minute... is this SEAL team 6?

Yes ma'am.

Why aren't there any women?


Don't act dumb with me, General. It's been 14 years since "G.I. Jane," and your so-called Special Forces are still engaged in gender discrimination.

Um... I'll have my staff prepare a report for you first thing post-target extraction, ma'am. Mr. President, if you look... Mr. President?

Just a sec... I'm almost winning at Free Cell.

Mr. President, why don't you give me your iPhone and take this.

What's this?

It's an XBox controller. It, uh, controls the SEALs.


Yes sir. We thought by letting you participate in the operation, it might help make it less boring.

Cool! What do the buttons do?

They... uh... just push them, you'll figure it out.

Ooh! Ooh!

Yes, Mr. Vice President. You don't have to raise your hand.

VPOTUS I wanna play too! Can I play with my Wii controller?

Sure, go ahead. And now, if...

I call dibs on SEAL team 6!

How come I always have to be the terrorist?
More at the site. About as close to reality as I care to think about...

That's it for the night

Busy day and working on some stuff in the DaveCave(tm)

Another blow to Keynesianism

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A wonderfully written blow-by-blow takedown of our current Keynesian economic practices and why they are failing. From Louis Woodhill writing at Real Clear Markets:
Another Nail In the Keynesian Coffin
The coffin of Keynesianism has so many nails in it now that it is practically surfaced in steel. The notion that government deficits "stimulate" demand, has been proved wrong so many times, and in so many ways, that you would have to be Paul Krugman to still believe in it. However, in its April 28 news release on 1Q2011 GDP, the BEA drove yet another factual wooden stake into Keynesianism's vampire heart - a stake that no one seems to have noticed. What happened should also serve as a warning to Republicans that are still in the grip of the Keynesian superstition.

The BEA reported that its first estimate of 1Q2011 real GDP growth was 1.8%. This represented a dramatic fall from 4Q2010 growth of 3.1%. What no one seems to have noticed is that the slowdown occurred in the face of another large dose of Keynesian stimulus.

Part of the leverage that Republicans had during the negotiation of the compromise on the Bush tax cuts was that the Democrats (Keynesians all) were concerned that Obama's $814 billion "stimulus" program was winding down. The Republicans ultimately got Obama to agree to extend the tax cuts for high earners for an additional two years in return for additional "stimulus", in the form of a one-year, two percentage point cut in the payroll taxes paid by workers.

In 1Q2011, this stimulus amounted to about $110 billion on an annualized basis, or about 0.73% of GDP. Given the Keynesian belief in "multipliers", the result should have been to increase 1Q2011 real GDP growth significantly over that of 4Q2010. Instead, the real growth rate fell, thus providing one more real-world confirmation that Keynesian stimulus doesn't work.
More at the site. The BEA is the Bureau of Economic Analysis The report referenced is here: Gross Domestic Product, 1st quarter 2011 (advance estimate) Louis closes with this paragraph:
We have a word to describe the combination of falling real growth and rising inflation. That word is "stagflation". This was what Keynesian policies produced in the 1970s, and it is what Keynesian policies are producing now. Let's hope that the Republicans figure this out before the 2012 elections.
That prayer is on my lips as well...

Not far from the tree

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Obama's half-brother seems to be doing well for himself. From the New York Post:
Obama's half-brother runs questionable charity
President Obama's half-brother runs an off-the-books American charity that claims to support poor Kenyans -- but it lies about its federal status and no one knows how it spends its money.

The group, the Barack H. Obama Foundation, was named after the president's father and founded by his sibling Abon'go Malik "Roy" Obama, a 53-year-old polygamist who recently made headlines by adding a third wife -- who's still in her teens.

Its Web site claims to have provided drinking water in Kenya's Siaya District, which includes the Obama clan's ancestral village. The organization also says it has completed a madrassa, or Muslim school, and is building an imam's residence. A photo of the tidy little school building is displayed on the site.

That and other photos on the site are the only purported evidence that the nonprofit has accomplished any of its mission.

A group of Missouri State college students who visited the Obama family village of Kogelo in 2009, and who met the president's half-brother, felt something was amiss. They sensed he was an "operator" and decided to give their donation of 400 pounds of medical supplies directly to a local clinic.

"We didn't know what he was going to do with them," said Ken Rutherford, a former Missouri State professor who led the trip and who shared in the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for his work to ban landmines.

Rutherford said the Obamas' relatives are the only Muslims in a village of 4,000 Christians and that Malik has a private mosque on his property.

Malik started his charity the year his brother ran for president.

The foundation claims to be a tax-exempt, federally recognized nonprofit. It is not.

Nor are there any filings of its expenditures, which the IRS requires of larger charities.

Alton Ray Baysden, a former State Department employee at whose Virginia home the charity was founded in 2008, admitted the organization has not even applied for tax-exempt status.

"We haven't been able to find someone with the expertise to do this," he told The Post. "We are informally scouting for an executive director, someone who knows how to register the charity."

The charity is not even registered in Virginia, a requirement for soliciting donations in that state.

The foundation's Web site includes a donation form that says it has nonprofit status. Charity expert Marcus Owens said knowingly telling donors contributions are tax-deductible if they are not could amount to fraud. "If they haven't applied for exemption, they can't promise their donors that contributions are deductible," said Owens, a lawyer and former IRS official.
There are other irons in the fire as well:
But the foundation seems to be capitalizing on the Obama name. A California-based company is selling T-shirts with the president's image and the phrase "Yes We Cannabis." It promises half of the proceeds will go to the Barack H. Obama Foundation.
We managed to survive Billy Carter and Sam Houston Johnson alright...

Our sun - acting up?

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There needs to be a lot more corroborating data but this is a bit freaky... Solar Cycle 23 ended in 2008 with a solar minimum and Cycle 24 took its ever long sweet time starting up. It is now three years later and we are just now starting to see a decent level of activity. Now, it seems that there are indicators that this is the peak of Cycle 24 and we are headed into another Solar Minimum. Solar cycles generally last 10-12 years and not five or six. This concerns me as sunspots and solar activity in general are a great proxy for solar radiation and it is the solar radiation that drives our climate. The Sun is a variable star and the last times we had extended periods of low output, we suffered through the Dalton and the Maunder minima. The other name these events are known by are the "Little Ice Ages". More on this subject can be found at this post from David Archibald at Watts Up With That. Difficult to excerpt but well written and illustrated. We might be in for a fun decade or two. Fortune favors the prepared -- just sayin'


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Swiped from Maggie's Farm

A fine rant

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The people at The Market Ticker have been on a tear lately -- today brings us this wonderful rant:
How To Destroy An Administration's Credibility
First, refuse to release an actual birth certificate when you're challenged on your bona-fides to be President during the original campaign. Then, when pressed, release one that is heavily compressed and bears no relationship to an actual simple scan of a piece of paper, leaving plenty of doubt about exactly how it came to be. Once you've done this, be extraordinarily "Presidential" and take cheap shots at a potential political opponent during a Press dinner in a scene more reminiscent of South Park than that befitting a President of The United States.

Next, make lots of noise about how you're not going to Washington to pander to banksters. As soon as you're elected, however, make sure you appoint the man who runs the NY Fed to be your Treasury Secretary.

Tell the public you're going to cut the budget deficit in half within your first term during the campaign, fully-aware that we're headed into the worst recession in decades at the time. As soon as you get in office, nearly triple the deficit spending of your predecessor instead.
Much more at the site.

A tale of two states

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Already posted about the new law in Texas putting the kibosh on unfounded lawsuits. Los Angeles has a permissive court system and it is costing them millions annually. From the LA Times:
Flood of lawsuits by LAPD officers costs the city millions
Robert Hill did not join the Los Angeles Police Department to become a millionaire. And yet, that's what happened in September when city officials cut the veteran cop and his lawyer a check for nearly $4 million.

The money was compensation for the snide comments and other abuse Hill suffered at the hands of other LAPD officers after he reported that a supervisor used racial slurs and embezzled department funds.

In the last decade, at least 16 other officers have won million-dollar-plus jury verdicts or settlements from the city in lawsuits in which they leveled accusations of sexual harassment, racial discrimination, retaliation and other workplace injustices. Dozens more officers have won five- or six-figure paydays.
I bet that if there was a chance that Robert and his lawyer would stand to lose several tens of thousands of dollars if they lost their case, this would never have gone to court. Robert should have done what people did up until the 80's -- suck it up and get on with their lives...

Light posting today

Nothing much happening on the intarwebs and busy here at the bakery -- we are now making our own pastrami and I have twenty pounds of brisket in the smoker. Been Sous Vide cooking them to medium rare, the vacuum pouches sealing in the juices. Helped a friend get his house set up for WiFi -- now both he and his wife have broadband after years of dial-up.

Good news from Texas - HB274

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From Bryan Preston at The PJ Tattler:

Texas House passes "loser pays" tort reform
The past couple of weeks, airwaves around the state capital in Austin have been saturated with TV ads decrying an "assault" on liberties. The "assault" was actually a strong tort reform bill that discourages frivolous lawsuits by making plaintiffs pay defendant's expenses if they lose a lawsuit. The ads were paid for by the Mostyn law firm out of Houston. That name might be familiar to PJM readers and has certainly become familiar to everyone who watches Texas politics. Over the past couple of years, trial lawyer Steve Mostyn has reaped millions from lawsuits in the aftermath of hurricanes (and mold lawsuits prior to that), lawsuits that all but emptied the state's windstorm insurance fund. Mostyn has used some of those millions to set himself up as a Texas version of George Soros, funding a "shadow party" on behalf of far left Democrats all over the state. His latest ad campaign defended the status quo, in which there is no early opt out for frivolous lawsuits in Texas, and which allows trial lawyers to sue on contingency knowing that the worst that can happen to them is they won't collect; meanwhile, those they sue will be out expenses for defending themselves. That environment encourages frivolous lawsuits, and has made lawyers like Mostyn and fellow Democrat Jim Dunnam very wealthy men. And, it has made insurance more and more expensive for everyday Texans.

Well, the GOP controlled Texas House handed Mostyn and the trial lawyers a major defeat on Saturday. They moved forward on HB 274, which would create a "loser pays" tort system similar to the one already prevalent in Britain. The purpose is to choke off frivolous lawsuits by making contingency fee trial lawyers themselves subject to expense recovery if they lose a case, improving the legal and employment climate in the state according to Gov. Rick Perry. Given the importance of trial lawyers to the Texas Democratic Party, the House session was every bit as contentious as might be expected, but at least the Democrats didn't run off to Oklahoma this time. Even if they had it wouldn't have mattered much, since the GOP enjoys a massive majority in the House.

The bill will be up for final House passage on Monday. The Senate version, SB 13, is still in committee. Gov. Perry has made tort reform one of his priorities for the 2011 legislative session and specifically supports "loser pays"; if the bill passes the Senate and gets to his desk, he will sign it.
Wonderful -- when the whole Obamacare boondoggle was being proposed, they overlooked one of the biggest factors driving up the cost of medical care -- frivolous lawsuits. Unfortunately, tort reform for this is a States issue and not the domain of the Federal Government but...

That;s it for the night

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Had a full day and heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to check email. A local farmer was planning to build a greenhouse and had his plans shot down by the county "planners". He had already built a bunch of planting benches so he donated them to our community garden. Went to pick them up today -- had another gardener and her father-in-law along to help (he is a cool guy -- does leatherwork). The farmer showed us his projects including a couple of wagons he was building or restoring. He then brought us into another building and introduced us to his eight draft horses. It is funny as I -- the city guy -- went right into the stalls and enjoyed some good horse love -- got slobbered on, hugged a horse head that was just under three feet long (these are not your riding horses, these are the big guys and gals). Gentle and absolutely loving. The funny part is that P. and her father-in-law are both country raised but it took them a good minute or two to enter the stalls and they were stand-offish once they entered. Critters try their best to communicate with us -- it is up to us to learn to read them and see their intentions. These were great and wonderful creatures.

200 channels and nothing good

OBL's home videos are being released:
From the Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler:
Video: Bin Laden watches himself on TV
I eagerly await giggling at whatever After Effects wizards think of CGing on bin Laden�s little TV screen there. Soaps? Pr0n? Another �Hitler discovers�� video? Denny�s Baconalia commercials? Or maybe we�ll discover OBL was a Redskins fan. Or as, a a facebook commenter suggested, MSNBC?

It is worth wondering why OBL had himself videotaped watching himself on TV. He probably was a vain son of a gun, but I doubt vanity explains this. Maybe it was intended to be sent around as a proof of life to his doubting troops? It would be very useful to know when this clip was taped. Could it have been taped near either the capture of Saddam or the demise of Zarqawi?
The ISO PDF Standard hasn't been updated since 2008. So WTF does Adobe Reader have to update every week? More at Geek Reddit:
Ok.. here is a comment from somebory who knows his shit:

the adobe reader you have isnt a simple PDF reader.

Adobe Reader is a huge system and reading PDFs is one of its many functions. If all you care is reading PFDs only then you should ditch it and get Sumatra or Foxit.

Long version:

lets follow the rabbit..

There is a reason its not called "Adobe PDF reader" but "Acrobat reader" or "Adobe reader". It is a monster of a system. reading PDFs is one of many functions. For a project i had to read into adobe acrobat and heck its a real monster: it has

a complete mail server, document lifecycle management system, DRM client, full fledged document tracking system, form capabilities, statistics for your docs (imagine sending a survey and tracking the collected data), video AND audio playing capabilities (yes you can embed audio and video in pdf) as well as capabilites for other formats (such as displaying CAD(!) data in its own 3Dviewer).

all in all the full acrobat SDK is like 500 MB and its manual a couple tousand pages long.

merely displaying PDFs is one function out of like 100. To you as the consumer its the bait... but the full fledged system behind it is what Adobe sells to its corporate consumers.

they basically say: "You want a full fledged content tracking system? we got it... and the best part is all your customers have the clients already installed! in form of the acrobat reader".

Its like a monster sleeping in every computer.

see this link. Its the function comparisson of the acrobat family..

and here comes the scoop: all functions you see are supported by acrobat reader... but you cant use them. They are there so you can provide them to the guys who paid for "pro extended".

Basically the pro extended package can create all that shit and all drones using acrobat reader will support the functionality. wheter they want it or not.

And here is the screamer: being a normal guy you will most likely never need all that crap. You know what does it mean when i say " document tracking system"? its just a fancy word for the dream of every adverstiser: Corporate customers can track how succesful their newsletter, advertising and customer Polls are.

Yup.. they can track how efficient their spam is. And all you sheeples who over the years keep complaining "omg i just want to read pdfs why is the install file soo big" never cared to actually read what is included.

My advice: if all you care for is reading PDFs (and im sure 99% of Acrobat reader users are in this group) install Foxit or Sumatra.
One of the first things I do with a new system is to uninstall Acrobat and install Foxit. Their PDF creator is sweet -- installs like a printer driver. [CTRL]+P, select Foxit PDF Writer and your file is created. Well worth the $30. Their Reader is free. Website for Foxit here Website for Sumatra here


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Hat tip to John D. Cook for the link.
MSNBC's Lawrence O�Donnell and Dr. Condoleezza Rice:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Almost feel sorry for the guy -- talk about bringing a wet noodle to a gun fight. Hat tip to Dana at Big Journalism and be sure to scroll down and read the comments...
Remember the big bailout of Fannie May and Freddy Mac back in 2008. They are back asking for more -- from Yahoo/Reuters:
Fannie Mae seeks $8.5 billion from taxpayers
Mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae on Friday said it would ask for an additional $8.5 billion from taxpayers as it continues to suffer losses on loans made prior to 2009.

The largest U.S. residential mortgage funds provider reported a net loss attributable to common shareholders of $8.7 billion, or $1.52 per diluted share, in the first quarter.

Including the latest request, the firm has taken about $100 billion from the U.S. government since it was seized in 2008, though it has also paid about $12.4 billion to taxpayers in interest.
Sibling firm Freddie Mac said on Wednesday it lost just under a billion dollars in the first three months of the year, though the second-largest provider of mortgage funds did not request any new money from the government.

The two firms together have asked for about $164 billion, though their net payments have been reduced to about $140 billion as a result of the interest payments, including the latest request.
And I wonder where Barney is with all of this going on. From the September 28th, 2008 Boston Globe:
Frank's fingerprints are all over the financial fiasco
'THE PRIVATE SECTOR got us into this mess. The government has to get us out of it."

That's Barney Frank's story, and he's sticking to it. As the Massachusetts Democrat has explained it in recent days, the current financial crisis is the spawn of the free market run amok, with the political class guilty only of failing to rein the capitalists in. The Wall Street meltdown was caused by "bad decisions that were made by people in the private sector," Frank said; the country is in dire straits today "thanks to a conservative philosophy that says the market knows best." And that philosophy goes "back to Ronald Reagan, when at his inauguration he said, 'Government is not the answer to our problems; government is the problem.' "

In fact, that isn't what Reagan said. His actual words were: "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Were he president today, he would be saying much the same thing.

A curious string of events

From the UK Telegraph:
Bali bomber captured down the road of compound
One of the 2002 Bali bombers was captured by Pakistani commandos just a few miles from where Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad by US forces earlier this week.

Umar Patek, the last of the plotters at large, was seized in a raid on the home of a family which had found him and his wife starving and begging for food in the street.

Indonesian officials said they believed he had travelled to Pakistan to meet bin Laden and was the last of the Bali bombers to remain in contact with al Qaeda's leadership.

"Umar Patek ... was in Pakistan with his Filipino wife trying to meet Osama bin Laden," said defence minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro. Another official said he and his wife had travelled to Pakistan under false names to seek bin Laden's "support and protection." According to Abdul Hamid Sohail, who had taken him and his wife in "on humanitarian grounds", he had not made contact with his leader or anyone while he stayed in his guest room, and could barely walk. He said he looked like he was dead when he was carried out over the shoulder of a Pakistani commando on January 25th.
And Pakistan still maintains ignorance of Bin Laden's residence?
Obama has grudgingly let it be known that without the groundwork laid down by President Bush, the execution of Bin Laden would not have happened. Bush allowed for Guantanamo, enhanced interrogation which produced results, "secret" rendition sites in Europe where the CIA interrogated known terrorists. All of that was put in place on Bush's watch and Obama's first actions as president were to shut down Guantanamo but here it is, two plus years later and it is still open for business. And now, Thomas Mcardle writing at Investors Business Journal makes the case that President Regan had a lot of input as well:
Reagan Made Killing Bin Laden Possible
Much was written last week about how much thanks George W. Bush deserves in tracking down Osama bin Laden. The answer is: a great deal.

Information extracted from al-Qaida operatives under Bush's interrogation policies ultimately led us to the compound in Abbottabad. But he did more. As an IBD editorial ("'Dumb' War In Iraq Led Obama To Bin Laden") noted last week, a crucial piece of the puzzle in identifying bin Laden's courier came from an al-Qaida lieutenant who was caught only because of Bush's decision to liberate Iraq.

Someone else also belongs on the list of people to thank, along with the heroic Navy SEALs and the current commander in chief. He is the president we have to applaud for so many other things, like saving the U.S. economy from a government-induced malaise, and winning the Cold War: Ronald Reagan.

With the same visionary perseverance employed in his commitment to replace mutual assured nuclear destruction with missile defense, President Reagan executed a long-term strategy to build an array of elite, high-tech special forces units that could carry out operations like the one that snuffed out bin Laden.
A lot more at the article. Interesting observation and completely true.


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Swiped from Mostly Cajun

Compare and contrast

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We kill Osama bin Laden. The reaction from two major spiritual leaders is classic. From the London Daily Mail:
I'm uneasy about Bin Laden killing, admits Archbishop while Dalai Lama says: Sometimes you have to strike back
The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday declared himself �very uncomfortable� about the killing of unarmed Osama Bin Laden.

But as Americans insisted they had every right to celebrate the death of the 9/11 terror chief, they found an unlikely ally in the Dalai Lama, who seemed to suggest Bin Laden had it coming.

Amid growing international unease at the manner of the Al Qaeda leader�s killing, the Archbishop said justice had not been seen to be done, adding that the White House�s ever-changing story had not helped matters.
A bit more from the Dali Lama:
The Dalai Lama was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying: �Forgiveness doesn�t mean forget what happened. If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures.�
The Rev. Williams is a twit. The Episcopal Church has fallen far from when I was a regular communicant.

Cyclical funding - NPR

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From The Daily Caller:
NPR hires firm to lobby for its taxpayer funding
National Public Radio (NPR) is paying the lobbying firm Bracy, Tucker, Brown & Valanzano to defend its taxpayer funding stream in Congress, according to lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Secretary of the Senate. The taxpayer-funded radio network hired the firm in the second quarter of 2011 to work on issues regarding �funding for NPR and affiliate stations.�

It will remain unclear how much NPR is paying for these lobbying services until second quarter lobbying forms are filed. But before NPR hired the firm to represent it on funding issues, the network spent $131,666 in 2011�s first quarter on an in-house lobbyist.
So money is coming out of my wallet and going to NPR so that NPR can hire a lobbyist to keep the money coming out of my wallet and going to them (and their lobbyist). Anyone remember ex-NPR President Ron Schiller and the video sting from a few months ago? From Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
Undercover video: NPR exec says NPR would be �far better off� without federal funds
Maybe I�m getting inured to this kind of thing, but for me the big screaming headline from the latest James O�Keefe undercover video isn�t that high-ranking NPR executive Ron Schiller bashes conservatives, Republicans, and the Tea Party as �white, gun-toting � xenophobic � seriously racist people.� The big news for me comes when Schiller, who thinks he�s meeting with representatives from the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) to discuss a $5 million donation to NPR to help MEAC �spread Sharia worldwide,� that NPR would do better without federal funding. Just before this, Schiller tells the two undercover reporters that federal funding only accounts for 10% of their direct funding, but a sudden end to subsidies for public broadcasting would close a number of their stations, which gives a little more clearer explanation of their financial dependence on taxpayers. Those moments come at about the six-minute mark:
No more of my tax dollars please -- they solicit enough money from the general public that they could be self supporting.

Light posting today

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Will be working on some stuff in the DaveCave(tm) this evening and it was a busy day today.

A psychological observation.

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The true liberals seem to come from the cities and the true conservatives seem to hail from flyover country. World's Only Rational Man offers this:
There�s a scientific reason for the insanity of �Blue Americans�
This is almost how Democrats and �progressives� see their opponents:


But unlike Lecter, they also feel we�re stupid. How mouth-breathing cousin�-marrying morons can thwart leftist geniuses on a regular basis is never considered. Too damaging to the enormous progressive ego.

Don�t hate them. There are charitable and scientific reasons to conclude that �Blue State� activists are actually insane.

The American Psychological Association has a different view. These shrinks believe they are the standard of mental health and that explains their monolithic political belief. See, being an APA member not only qualifies you to address global warming (psst: you�re against it!); it lets you publish lingo-befogged �brain science�.

(H/T to Dr. Helen for the link, also for being a non-wanky psychologist)

Here�s the last sentence of that abstract: �A psychological analysis is also useful for understanding the political divide between �red states� and �blue states.�"

So who do you trust? The World�s Only Rational Man�or a bunch of politically motivated phrenologists?
Visit his site for the explanation -- it makes a lot of sense. Always thought that Toxoplasmosis would explain a lot too...
From The Times of India:
Zawahiri betrayed Osama bin Laden: Saudi paper
Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden was betrayed by his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri who led US forces to his hideout as the two were involved in an intense power struggle, a Saudi newspaper has reported.

The two top al-Qaida men had differences and the courier who led US forces to bin Laden was working and had more loyalties for Zawahiri, al Watan newspaper reported quoting Arab sources.

"The Egyptian faction of al-Qaida led by Zawahiri was de facto running the militant group, after bin Laden was taken ill in 2004 and they were trying to take full control," the paper said.

The courier was a Pakistani national and not a Kuwaiti as the US suspected and the man knew he was being followed but disguised the fact.

The paper claimed it was Zawahiri's faction which had persuaded Osama to leave tribal areas close to Afghanistan-Pakistan border to take shelter instead in Abbottabad, where he was finally killed by US Seals on Monday.
That bt about falling ill in 2004 reminded me of something I had heard floating around the internet that he needed kidney dialasys on a regular basis and that is why I thought he died around Tora Bora. I guess not... There is no conclusive proof either way.

Color me surprised - NOT

Turns out that Osama's compound was originally built for another purpose. From the Dubai news service Gulf News:
Bin Laden compound in Pakistan was once an ISI safe house
The compound in Abbottabad where Osama Bin Laden was killed was once used as a safe house by Pakistan's premier intelligence agency ISI, Gulf News has learnt.

"This area had been used as ISI's safe house, but it was not under their use any more because they keep on changing their locations," a senior intelligence official confided to Gulf News. However, he did not reveal when and for how long it was used by the ISI operatives. Another official cautiously said "it may not be the same house but the same compound or area used by the ISI".

The official also confirmed that the house was rented out by Afghan nationals and is not owned by the government. The house is located just 800 metres away from the Pakistan Military Academy and some former senior military officials live nearby.
We give Pakistan just over two billion dollars each year (here, here and here) What are we getting for our money?

Here we go - inflation - Part II

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Yesterday, I posted this article from The Market Ticker Today, they have some more numbers and a few questions about our options. Sobering stuff...

An Obama two-fer

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From The Washington Examiner:
Obama won't release bin Laden photos
After days of mixed signals, President Obama has told CBS's '60 Minutes' that he will not release the death photos of Osama bin Laden.
From the UK Telegraph:
Barack Obama to release up to 2,000 photographs of prisoner abuse
President Barack Obama is to release up to 2,000 photographs of alleged abuse at American prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan in a move which will reignite the scandal surrounding Abu Ghraib prison in 2004.
'nuff said...
Talk about asshat -- from PowerLine:
Compare and Contrast
Nancy Pelosi, press conference, September 7, 2006:
[E]ven if [Osama bin Laden] is caught tomorrow, it is five years too late. He has done more damage the longer he has been out there. But, in fact, the damage that he has done ... is done. And even to capture him now I don't think makes us any safer.
Nancy Pelosi, earlier today:
The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaida. ... I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment. ... [T]he death of Osama bin Laden is historic....
Fscking hypocrite. And of course, no mention of President Bush who started us down this path...

Sweet page layout program

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I have been using Serif Page Plus X5 for a couple of weeks now and really like it a lot. It is not a commercial page layout application but it does 90% of the work and is fast and very versatile and sells for $100. User friendly to use an overworked expression. Has all of the imposition and pre-press features for doing separations, crops, etc... It also has a built-in PDF generator. There is also a free starter version with some features disabled. Good stuff!!!

One house at a time

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A few days ago, I was talking to a neighbor about how we were able to get a 3G signal at our house and how Verizon allowed you 15 days to see if their hardware would work at your location. The neighbor came into the Bakery this morning and asked if I could help him hook it up -- he was getting a couple bars so it was just a matter of installing a WiFi adapter to his computer and he went from dial-up to broadband. Rural living is wonderful but there are some limitations. Fortunately, broadband is slowly creeping out to people...


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From the New York Times:
White House Corrects Bin Laden Narrative
White House officials on Tuesday sought to correct the official account of the raid in Pakistan that ended in the killing of Osama bin Laden, saying that the Qaeda leader was not armed and that his wife was not killed.

The new Defense Department narrative released by the White House, and read at a White House news briefing on Tuesday, said that one of Bin Laden�s wives was shot in the leg as she charged members of the commando team on the third floor of the compound.

�In the room with Bin Laden, a woman � Bin Laden�s wife � rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed,� the brief statement said. �Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed.�
That is a pretty big shift in the story. There were enough people watching that there should not have been any misrepresentation in the first place. What are they hiding? Jay Carney (White House press secretary) must be channeling his inner Baghdad Bob.

Heh - Canada goes conservative

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From Hot Air:
Canada Goes Conservative in a Big Way
It�s a big win for Prime Minister Stephen Harper as conservatives rout liberals in Canada�s parliament and take 164 of 308 seats:
The Conservatives have finally captured their elusive majority government in tonight�s federal election with the NDP taking its historic place as official opposition, pushing aside the Liberals to a humiliating third place finish.

It is the first time in Canadian history that the Liberal party did not finish either first or second.
More at the site. Harper campaigned on taxes and is planning to cut the corporate tax rate. We should be listening to our neighbors to the North...

Here we go - inflation

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From The Market Ticker:
Fed "Confidence" Sandbaggers Out Again
Sandbagging up around the doors, of course, as the water continues to rise.

What am I referring to? This:
I remind you that "1" is 0.1%. So 0.1 is 0.01% interest in the 13-week T-bill, and 0.05 is 0.005%.

0.05, incidentally, is the all-time low on that gauge, hit in the middle of the disaster at the end of 2008.

We're back there this morning.

Why is this related to The Fed and the "sandbaggers" around the door?

Because the water is rising rapidly around The Fed; their credibility on being able to control liquidity effectively and manage to "withdraw" from their extraordinary actions is being directly threatened by the market.

Remember folks, just to pull back to the previous 0.25% short-term interest rates - a "hike" of just one quarter of one percent - The Fed would have to sell off somewhere approaching one trillion from their balance sheet.

The problem with such an action is that while the short end of the curve would move to their "target" the long end would almost-certainly skyrocket, instantaneously destroying what is left of the housing market and severely damaging the ability of the government to sell debt.

I know what the retorts will be - "The Fed can pay interest on reserves." Well, they're doing that now. How's that "management" working out when the IRX is in total collapse? If they wanted to "manage" this process why haven't they "managed" to stop it?

There are two possibilities: Either the market is sussing out extremely serious upcoming events that are on the same scale as the collapse of 2008 or The Fed is about to lose control of the interest rate curve.

I believe Bernanke's hand is about to get forced, and when it happens I hope you have your seatbelt fastened securely low across your hips.

You're going to need it.
Just wonderful...

And this news from WTF-istan

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From CBS News:
Muslim event in Oregon canceled due to threats
PORTLAND, Ore. - A Monday evening rally to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden has been cancelled due to security concerns, reports CBS affiliate KOIN.

"Just the reaction of last nights' news has been different, in different communities and we have been getting emails. Some have been supportive - sending best wishes and there are really 'out there' emails," said Salma Ahmad, President of the Islamic Society of Greater Portland.
A bit more:
Ahmed says news of Bin Laden's death has brought a sense of closure.

"He has become such a symbol that has hurt the image of American Muslins. He has hurt lots of different lives around the world," she said.
I find it sad that we are held hostage to a few thousand bullies and do not stand up to them and knock them down. They only fear real power and yet we acquiesce to their every demand.

One wish

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From Irons in the Fire:
I met a fairy today that said she would grant me one wish.
"I want to live forever," I said.

"Sorry," said the fairy, "I'm not allowed to grant wishes like that!"

"Fine," I said, "then I want to die after Congress gets their heads out of their asses!"

"You crafty bastard," said the fairy.

Great 500 page

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If you link to an external website and that website cannot be found, that is an HTML code 500. News aggreagator FARK has a wonderful code 500 page with this image:
Generic server hardware but decent choice of libations...

A Trump two-fer

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I am less enchanted by The Donald as I learn more about his history. He has been a constant contributor to progressive and current Democratic agencies and candidates until his recent turn-around. I view him as a plant to dilute the Conservative vote (re: Pickens). Still... Makes for some fun political humor such as these two from the ever wonderful Miss Cellania:

From Politico:
Osama bin Laden raid yields trove of computer data
The assault force of Navy SEALs snatched a trove of computer drives and disks during their weekend raid on Osama bin Laden�s compound, yielding what a U.S. official called �the mother lode of intelligence.�

The special operations forces grabbed personal computers, thumb drives and electronic equipment during the lightning raid that killed bin Laden, officials told POLITICO

�They cleaned it out,� one official said. �Can you imagine what�s on Osama bin Laden�s hard drive?�

U.S. officials are about to find out. The material is being examined at a secret location in Afghanistan.

�Hundreds of people are going through it now,� an official said, adding that intelligence operatives back in Washington are very excited to find out what they have.

�It�s going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable,� the official said.
If I was in charge of security at the compound, each hard drive would have some xxxxx and an xxx xxx. Have a guard on duty 24/7 because you know they will be coming sometime. First sign of disturbance, hit the xxxxxxxxxxxx and bye-bye data. Just another sign that we are not dealing with intelligent people, just stupid ideologues who worship a barbaric 9th century prophet. UPDATE: Thanks to sharp-eyed reader Geran Imo, Microcephalic Mo was around in the seventh century, not the ninth as I had said.

Now this is just @#$& wonderful

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From the Bellingham Herald:
Endangered frog likely survives in Whatcom County foothills
The Oregon spotted frog is spotted, to be sure, but it also lives in British Columbia and parts of Washington. Now you can add Whatcom County to the list of possible homes for the critter.

The frog is an "endangered" species under state law, and likely would qualify for "threatened" or "endangered" status under federal law, though its review is pending.
Just try to apply for a building permit anywhere near a stream now. Our county 'planning' office is becoming a type-two bureaucracy as noted by Jerry Pournelle:
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
I do love living here and am not planning to move but sometimes, the local and state government make me re-think my decision to move here. And besides, what @#$& frogs? We don't have no steenkin' frogs...
From Yahoo/Associated Press:
Islamic scholars criticize bin Laden's sea burial
Muslim clerics said Monday that Osama bin Laden's burial at sea was a violation of Islamic tradition that may further provoke militant calls for revenge attacks against American targets.

Although there appears to be some room for debate over the burial � as with many issues within the faith � a wide range of senior Islamic scholars interpreted it as a humiliating disregard for the standard Muslim practice of placing the body in a grave with the head pointed toward the holy city of Mecca.

Sea burials can be allowed, they said, but only in special cases where the death occurred aboard a ship.

Bin Laden's burial at sea "runs contrary to the principles of Islamic laws, religious values and humanitarian customs," said Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand Imam of Cairo's al-Azhar mosque, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning.

A radical cleric in Lebanon, Omar Bakri Mohammed, said, "The Americans want to humiliate Muslims through this burial, and I don't think this is in the interest of the U.S. administration."

A U.S. official said the burial decision was made after concluding that it would have been difficult to find a country willing to accept the remains. There was also speculation about worry that a grave site could have become a rallying point for militants.
Word up guys -- we have a lot more than just Obama's Osama's corpse. We have his computers. We have videos and if there is a lot of 'seething' on 'Arab Street', these videos will be released. As for the hard drives, they are being gone over with a fine toothed comb. It was cool that we got him. It was a major intelligence treasure that we got his computers.

No shit...

From Yahoo/Reuters:
Hamas condemns killing of "holy warrior" bin Laden
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Monday condemned the killing by U.S. forces of Osama bin Laden and mourned him as an "Arab holy warrior."

"We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood," Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, told reporters.

Though he noted doctrinal differences between bin Laden's al Qaeda and Hamas, Haniyeh said: "We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs."
Hey Ismail -- the United States is not done yet. You are on the list too buddy, jut not as high a priority...
Got the bastard. Osama Bin Laden is dead and his corpse is in the hands of the United States Military. Betting there is a run on ham sandwiches from that particular commissary. Hope the sniper used this product: Silver Bullet Gun Oil I cannot cite the source but I remember hearing that there are a number of close relatives living in and friendly to the United States so a positive DNA match will be a snap. If the story is not changed in a few days, we got the moke and not the body doubles. This is especially savoury in that the other al Qaeda members now know that they are eminently 'touchable' -- something they believed otherwise until a short while ago. From ABC News who confirms that a positive DNA match has been done:
Osama bin Laden Killed; ID Confirmed by DNA Testing
Osama bin Laden, hunted as the mastermind behind the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, has been killed, President Obama announced tonight.

The president called the killing of bin Laden the "most significant achievement to date" in the effort to defeat al Qaeda.

Bin Laden was located at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which was monitored and when the time was determined to be right, the president said, he authorized a "targeted operation."

"A small team of Americans carried out the operation," Obama said. "After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body."

DNA testing confirmed that it was bin Laden, sources told ABC News.

Sources said the attack was carried out by Joint Special Operations Command forces working with the CIA.
The next two weeks will be interesting to say the least. It is obvious that al Qaeda has resources in the USA -- will they be activated and go out in one last burst to spend the rest of eternity enjoying those 72 white raisins of incredible purity?

Just wow - jello

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High speed photography of jello being dropped onto a hard surface.
Hat tip to Neatorama for the link.
From Miami station WSVN:
2 hearing-impaired patrons stabbed at bar
Two hearing-impaired men are recovering after police say their mode of communication was mistaken for gang signs.

The incident occurred at the Ocean's Eleven Lounge, located at 800 N. Federal Highway, early Saturday morning.

Thirty-one-year-old Alfred Stewart of Miramar went to the lounge to celebrate a friend's birthday. For Stewart, who is deaf and mute, sign language is his only mode of communication. "Only sign language. That's the only way all of them, they do sign language," said Stewart's mother, Brenda Stewart.

According to Hallandale Beach Police, 45-year-old Barbara Lee confronted Stewart and his friends, because she thought they were throwing gang signs at her. Lee threw up gang signs at the victims, who motioned for Lee to leave them alone.

The police report said Lee left the bar, but returned with a juvenile and 19-year-old Marco Ibanez, who allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed the victims. "The suspect obtained two other suspects, they came inside the bar and started fighting with our hearing-impaired victims," said Hallandale Beach Police Officer Sonia Quinones.

"They all were doing hand signs, and it went as if someone thought it was a gang sign," said Brenda Stewart. "He got stabbed, and the other one was cut up. His friend got cut, and he got stabbed. Another one of his friends was talking to the other guy, must have been trying to let the other guy know that it was just talk, and he tried to stop the other people from fighting, and the guy came from behind him and stabbed him, so he doesn't know who it was that stabbed him or nothing. Stabbed him in his back."
That gene pool could use a little clorox. Talk about stupid.

Back in town

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Back in town. Just got done running payroll for the store and the bakery. Between the two, we are one of the top employers in the East county! Got the books up to date and almost ready to tally up the weeks take (bakery closes at 6:00PM) Conference was a lot of fun -- I'll be going through pictures tonight and post some. Fun too starting to get to know the smiths in my area. There is some amazing talent out here.

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