August 2011 Archives

Thanks, Obama

Thanks Obama
Swiped from Maggie's who are still dealing with Irene's flooding.

Our dirty little non-war in Libya

Actually we own a lot more of this than we are letting on... From John Barry at The Daily Beast:
America�s Secret Libya War
The U.S. military has spent about $1 billion so far and played a far larger role in Libya than it has acknowledged, quietly implementing an emerging "covert intervention" strategy that the Obama administration hopes will let America fight small wars with a barely detectable footprint.

Officially, President Obama handed the lead role of ousting Muammar Gaddafi to the European members of NATO. For this he was criticized by Washington war hawks who suggested that Europeans working with a ragtag team of Libyan rebels was a recipe for stalemate, not victory.

But behind the scenes, the U.S. military played an indispensable role in the Libya campaign, deploying far more forces than the administration chose to advertise. And at NATO headquarters outside Brussels, the U.S. was intimately involved in all decisions about how the Libyan rebels should be supported as they rolled up control of cities and oil refineries and marched toward the capital, Tripoli.

The Libya campaign was a unique international effort: 15 European nations working with the U.S. and three Arab nations. The air offensive was launched from 29 airbases in six European countries. But only six European nations joined with the U.S. and Canada to fly strikes against Gaddafi�s forces. The scale of the unpublicized U.S. role affirms hawks� arguments: a divided NATO simply couldn�t have waged the war it did without extensive American help. What the hawks underestimated was the U.S. ability to operate without publicity�in military lingo, beneath the radar.

According to two senior NATO officials, one American and the other European, these were the critical U.S. contributions during the six-month military campaign:
What follows is a curious list -- the majority of which I had not heard about -- outlining our overt majority support in the actions over there with NATO playing a branded "top-dog" role in name only. All this effort and what do we get? We oust a known quantity who in 2003 voluntarily surrendered his WMD and nuclear programs when President Bush applied pressure against him. Instead, we get a bunch of street rabble coming into power with suspicious backgrounds -- Muslim Brotherhood anyone? Where is their Declaration of Independence? Where is their Constitution?

Another Green Company bites the dust

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At the cost of $535 Million taxpayer dollars going down the rathole. From Zombie writing at PJ Tattler:
Breaking: Solyndra solar plant closes; $535 million vanishes; Obama curse strikes again; UPDATE: Bankrupt
This ought to be the top story on every news outlet nationwide, and ought to be the death knell for the �Stimulus� concept and for the �green jobs� fallacy. But I get the feeling the MSM will bury it.

When workers showed up at the Solyndra solar-panel factory in Fremont, California, this morning � they were ordered to leave by guards, and then given instructions on how to pick up their final checks. In other words, the dream is over:
Solyndra Shutting Its Doors
Solyndra, a major manufacturer of solar technology in Fremont, has shut its doors, according to employees at the campus.

�I was told by a security guard to get my [stuff] and leave,� one employee said. The company employs a little more than 1,000 employees worldwide, according to its website.

Shortly after it opened a massive $700 million facility, it canceled plans for a public stock offering earlier this year and warned it would be in significant trouble if federal loan guarantees did not go through.

The company has said it will make a statement at 9am California time, though it�s not clear what that statement will be. An NBC Bay Area photographer on the scene reports security guards are not letting visitors on campus. He says �people are standing around in disbelief.� The employees have been given yellow envelopes with instructions on how to get their last checks.

Solyndra was touted by the Obama administration as a prime example of how green technology could deliver jobs. The President visited the facility in May of last year and said �it is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world. And you guys all represent that.�
And of course:
Maybe this is a clue as to why Obama gave $535 million to Solyndra in the first place � it was a union stronghold.
An administration that refuses to study history or to learn from people who have tried the same thing and failed just as spectacularly. Doesn't hurt that one of Solyndra's investors - George Kaiser - contributed between $50K and $100K to Obama's 2008 campaign. When I read about crap like this, I am always amazed that the actual dollar amount is so little. I would have been more than happy to contribute a hundred bucks into McCain's coffers if I knew that it would be matched by a couple thousand like minded citizens and that the sum total would be presented as being from this PAC. Maybe it's time for a "Study your History and don't do anything Stupid" PAC...
An excellent post from Charlie Martin at PJ Tattler but be sure to scroll through the comments for the dialog:
Reasons to be a Global Warming Skeptic
(I ended up writing this as a lengthy answer to someone on Google+ � might as well let the world see it.)
Here�s what I�ve said so far:
�There are few skeptics (I can�t think of any, and I�ve been reporting on this for two solid years and an interested bystander for several years before that) who don�t believe there has been significant warming since the Little Ice Age, or that humans contribute to it, or that additional CO2 or other greenhouse gases aren�t probably part of that contribution.�
Unless one is arguing that humans are the only cause of global warming � in which case i�d have to point to that big glowing thing in the sky during the daytime � what I said explicitly includes a human contribution and even a greenhouse gas contribution.

Now, the IPCC AR4 model is rather stronger than that: it insists that anthropogenic, greenhouse-gas forced warming is the dominant � so dominant that it leads the unthoughtful to turn it into �only� � cause of global warming. For conciseness, call that the AGW model. Reasons I don�t find that hypotheses convincing include:
Charlie goes down a list of seven line items one of which is this little gem:
(4) The predictions of further warming are necessarily based on models. Now, it happens I did my PhD work on Federally funded modeling, from which I developed the NBSR Law (named after the group for which I worked): All modeling efforts will inevitably converge on the result most likely to lead to further funding.
Be sure to read the 60+ comments -- posts like this and ones at Watts Up With That are attracting some industry heavyweights and the give and take is well reasoned and makes for fascinating reading. Very decent signal to noise ratio.

No posting yesterday

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Was working on some stuff and time got away from me.

Hey Barry

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You lied to us!
From Maggie's

Damn his eyes...

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A good friend and neighbor just turned me on to this website: Artisan Ideas My only consolation is that I know that he is draining his checking account just about as fast as I am draining mine.
Let's flip this around a bit -- the boots-on-the-ground truth points to man-made global warming being a non-issue. The models used by the AGW-istas are deeply flawed (do not take the variation of the sun into account, improper modeling of the feedback effect of temperature and atmospheric water vapor, etc...) True, the Earth has been gradually warming for the last two or three hundred years (all those pesky campfires back in the 1700's) but the idea that we have any significant impact on this is pure hubris on our part. In fact, 1998 was the warmest year on recent record, 1999 and 2000 were almost as warm and temperatures have been on a steady decline ever since. The Sun, coming out of solar cycle 23 has been very late in starting Cycle 24 and its output is much lower than normal. So, my thesis is that there is no appreciable Anthropogenic Global Warming to speak of. I am not interested in a possible tenth of a degree rise over twenty years. I am interested in the numbers published by the IPCC and the various warmist scientists. They have been flogging this dead horse for the last twenty years and those numbers are not penciling out. The antithesis will therefore be that humans, through their action are causing a significant and measurable warming of this planet. Stick with me. Arthur C. Clarke's first law is this:
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
I see in the news that Dr. James Hanson has been arrested:
NASA�s James Hansen arrested yet again
Excerpt from Bloomberg:
James Hansen, head of NASA�s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was arrested outside the White House as he joined protesters in urging President Barack Obama to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)�s $7 billion pipeline.

Before he was taken into custody today, Hansen took a megaphone and implored Obama to act �for the sake of your children and grandchildren.�

�If Obama chooses the dirty needle it will confirm that the president was just green-washing all along,� Hansen, 70, who took a vacation day from his job at the New York based institute to participate in the protest, said in an e-mailed statement.
Let's see: Distinguished = check I may disagree with him but he has been a professional scientist for 44 years. Elderly = check Seventy may be the new forty but it is still up there. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong = check Hanson is saying that the thesis of no appreciable Anthropogenic Global Warming is impossible. Hanson is very probably wrong.

Gibson guitar raid - unintended consequences

From Iowahawk:

New Scandal at DoJ as Illegal Guitars End Up In Hands of Mexican Drug Lords
WASHINGTON - Today's uncovering of secret multi-agency program for shipping illegal Gibson guitars to Mexican drug cartels left red-faced officials of the U.S. Department of Justice scrambling for an explanation amid angry calls for a Congressional investigation.

"I have ordered all agency personnel to fully cooperate in any Congressional inquiries, including all reasonable document request, as soon as we can redact them with Sharpie pens and lighter fluid," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

The secret program came to light early this morning in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, after what was described as a wild battle of the bands between members of the Sinaloa cartel and Los Zetas, two of Mexico's most notorious violent drug gangs.

"Usually these guys are armed with Mexican Strats and Squires, Epiphones, small caliber stuff like that," said Pedro Ochoa, 36, an eye witness to the sonic melee. "This time they were packing the heavy firepower."

The steady barrage of power chords and piercing solo attacks attracted the attention of nearby U.S. Border Patrol agents, who arrived at the scene just as Los Zetas broke into Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song.' By the time the dust had cleared, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Oscar Jimenez was found in a catatonic state of headbanging. He was later flown to University of Arizona Hospitals, where his condition is listed as seriously rawked.

The spandex-clad suspects were able to flee back into Mexico, but not before abandoning their arsenal of axes - the quality of which shocked Border Patrol agents.

"I've been working the border for over 25 years and have never seen a weapons cachet like this," said Patrol Supervisor Mike Foreman. "A '53 Goldtop, a '59 Black Beauty, Flying V's, a whole armory of SGs. Enough for an entire guitarmy. It's a wonder there weren't any total shreddings."

Suspicions that the U.S. Department of Justice was involved in the case first arose after agents noticed "Property of the U.S. Department of Justice" embossed on the back of each guitar. A trace of the serial numbers confirmed that they were confiscated only days earlier by DoJ agents from the Gibson Guitar Company in Memphis.

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, Justice Department officials admitted that the guitars were part of a complicated sting program know as "Operation Fast and Fretless," ostensibly designed to stem traffic of illegal guitars and amplifiers between the U.S. and Mexico. The multi-agency program - involving Justice, ICE, TSA, EPA, IRS, FDA, Fish & Wildlife, USDA, and the Bureau of Whiskey, Groupies & Hotel Rooms - reportedly encourage border area pawn shops to sell the guitars to known drug kingpins.

Justice spokesman Gary Evans said the Nogales incident yesterday showed the program was a success. "By putting American guitars in the hands of Mexican gangs, I think we've proven what we've warned all along - that Mexican gangs have access to American guitars. Hopefully this will lead to sane and sensible guitar controls."

Despite the defense of the program, Darrel Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Heavy Metal Affairs is expected to call hearings soon.

"We need to get to the bottom of this thing before it gets out of hand," said Issa. "We have reports that Justice is also providing Colombian cocaine gangs with AutoTune."

Oh noes -- not Autotune...



Swiped from Maggie's Farm

Understanding the US budget problems

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Just lop off eight zeros:
US Budget
hat tip Theo

Another thought on the Gibson Guitar raids

From Bryan Townsend at The Music Salon:

Guitar Wars
These stories about the raids on Gibson guitar factories are just weird. Confiscating ebony fingerboards because they didn't have the correct amount of finishing done by Indian workers under Indian law? Sure sounds to me as if the US Federal authorities are way out of control.

And Brian's key thought:

I'm confused by the ban on Brazilian rosewood. According to the Wikipedia article, [Brazilian rosewood]
is found only in Brazil, from the eastern forests of Bahia to Rio de Janeiro. It is threatened by habitat loss, since most of its habitat has been converted to farmland. Due to its endangered status, it was CITES-listed on Nov. 6 1992 in Appendix I (the most protected), and illegal to trade.
It grows in a specific area but is threatened because most of this habitat has been converted to farmland? And the solution is to ban trade in the wood, making it of no economic value? How is this supposed to preserve the habitat?
Wouldn't that be an excellent reason to go ahead and convert the rest of the habitat to farmland, growing something that would be of economic value? I just don't get the logic there.
Wouldn't it make more sense to have a world market in Brazilian rosewood, a natural product both beautiful and prized for its resonant qualities in musical instruments? Wouldn't that make it very desirable to create plantations devoted to growing rosewood so you could sell it into that international market? Wouldn't that result in a lot more rosewood? Surely a valuable product like rosewood would be a higher value use of the land than as mere farmland?
Sometimes the way government operates, especially international bodies, makes no sense to me.

Absolutely! A perfect example of unintended consequences for the conservationists.

Big Al goes off the deep end

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From Caroline May at The Daily Caller:
Gore: Global warming skeptics are this generation�s racists
One day climate change skeptics will be seen in the same negative light as racists, at least so says former Vice President Al Gore.

In an interview with former advertising executive and Climate Reality Project collaborator Alex Bogusky broadcasted on UStream on Friday, Gore explained that in order for climate change alarmists to succeed, they must �win the conversation� against those who deny there is a crisis.

�I remember, again going back to my early years in the South, when the Civil Rights revolution was unfolding, there were two things that really made an impression on me,� Gore said. �My generation watched Bull Connor turning the hose on civil rights demonstrators and we went, �Whoa! How gross and evil is that?� My generation asked old people, �Explain to me again why it is okay to discriminate against people because their skin color is different?� And when they couldn�t really answer that question with integrity, the change really started.�

The former vice president recalled how society succeeded in marginalizing racists and said climate change skeptics must be defeated in the same manner.

�Secondly, back to this phrase �win the conversation,�� he continued. �There came a time when friends or people you work with or people you were in clubs with � you�re much younger than me so you didn�t have to go through this personally � but there came a time when racist comments would come up in the course of the conversation and in years past they were just natural. Then there came a time when people would say, �Hey, man why do you talk that way, I mean that is wrong. I don�t go for that so don�t talk that way around me. I just don�t believe that.� That happened in millions of conversations and slowly the conversation was won.�

�We have to win the conversation on climate,� Gore added.
What is this "conversation" you keep nattering about? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. The science is dead certain against any anthropogenic warming. We give ourselves too much credit for being so strong. Mother Nature is a lot bigger than we are. Our sun is a variable star and our temperature directly reflects solar output. Al Gore is just riding this horse because it has made him very very rich. He first heard about the possibility of AGW from Roger Revelle when Gore was a student at Harvard in the late 1960's. Revelle recanted his theory in the 1980's. From Atmospheric Physicist S. Fred Singer:
Gore�s 'global warming mentor,' in his own words
If Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius is the grandfather of greenhouse warming (ca. 1897), then oceanographer Roger Revelle is certainly its father.

Revelle, who died in 1991, started the remarkable series of measurements of atmospheric CO2 during the Intergovernmental Geophysical Year in 1957. As a visiting professor at Harvard University, he taught a freshman course attended by then-student Al Gore. In his frightening best-seller, Earth in the Balance, Gore claims Revelle as his mentor.

If you know the book, you may be interested in what mentor/scientist Revelle said about global warming. It will make you less frightened.

OMNI interview
In March 1984--15 years ago, mind you--Omni magazine published an extensive interview with Revelle.

Omni: A problem that has occupied your attention for many years is the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, which could cause the Earth's climate to become warmer. Is this actually happening?
Revelle: I estimate that the total increase [in CO2] over the past hundred years has been about 21 percent. But whether the increase will lead to a significant rise in global temperature, we can't absolutely say.
Omni: [If it happens], what will the warming of the Earth mean to us?
Revelle: There may be lots of effects. Increased CO2 in the air acts like a fertilizer for plants. . . . you get more plant growth. Increasing CO2 levels also affect water transpiration, causing plants to close their pores and sweat less. That means plants will be able to grow in drier climates.
Omni: Does the increase in CO2 have anything to do with people saying the weather is getting worse?
Revelle: People are always saying the weather's getting worse. Actually, the CO2 increase is predicted to temper weather extremes.

Revelle�s letters
In a July 18, 1988, letter to then-Senator Tim Wirth, Revelle cautions that "we should be careful not to arouse too much alarm until the rate and amount of warming becomes clearer. It is not yet obvious that this summer's hot weather and drought are the result of a global climatic change or simply an example of the uncertainties of climate variability. My own feeling is that we had better wait another ten years before making confident predictions."

Revelle had made an even stronger statement just a few days earlier, in a July 14, 1988 letter to Congressman Jim Bates: "Most scientists familiar with the subject are not yet willing to bet that the climate this year is the result of 'greenhouse warming.' As you very well know, climate is highly variable from year to year, and the causes of these variations are not at all well understood. My own personal belief is that we should wait another ten or twenty years to really be convinced that the greenhouse effect is going to be important for human beings, in both positive and negative ways."

Revelle�s writings
In the premiere issue of Cosmos, in 1991, Revelle and coauthors S.F. Singer and C. Starr contributed a brief essay, �What to do about greenhouse warming: Look before you leap.� The three write: �Drastic, precipitous and, especially, unilateral steps to delay the putative greenhouse impacts can cost jobs and prosperity and increase the human costs of global poverty, without being effective.�

They continue, �Stringent controls enacted now would be economically devastating, particularly for developing countries for whom reduced energy consumption would mean slower rates of economic growth without being able to delay greatly the growth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Yale economist William Nordhaus, one of the few who have been trying to deal quantitatively with the economics of the greenhouse effect, has pointed out that �. . . those who argue for strong measures to slow greenhouse warming have reached their conclusion without any discernible analysis of the costs and benefits.��

Revelle and his colleagues conclude, �It would be prudent to complete the ongoing and recently expanded research so that we will know what we are doing before we act. �Look before you leap� may still be good advice.�
Hey Al -- your fifteen minutes are over, get off the stage...

Goodnight Irene

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The center moved over New York city earlier this morning but she had quieted down to a mild Category 1 with maximum sustained winds at 65 MPH. A couple more tropical depressions forming though -- just the start of the season... NOAA update center for Irene is here

Two videos

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Bill Whittle:
And this bit of clear thinking from Ms. Maxy:

More on the Gibson Guitar Company raid

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I had posted here about a raid on Gibson Guitar Company looking for "illegal" wood It seems that politics might enter into the picture. From Landmark Report:
CEO of Gibson Guitar a Republican donor; Democrat competitor uses same wood
On Thursday, the iconic Gibson Guitar Corporation issued a press release stating that government officials raided their Tennessee manufacturing facility over warrants concerning the legality of the importation of wood purchased from India that they use in their world famous guitars. The wood�which is certified and regulated by the Forest Stewardship Council�is not illegal, but rather subject to a domestic law in India frowns upon the processing of this wood by non-Indians. (Gibson uses American labor for the processing.)
The author (Andrew Lawton) amplifies a bit and then quotes Gibson's Press Release on the raid:
The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department�s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.

On August 24, 2011, around 8:45 a.m. CDT, agents for the federal government executed four search warrants on Gibson�s facilities in Nashville and Memphis and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. Gibson had to cease its manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day, while armed agents executed the search warrants. Gibson has fully cooperated with the execution of the search warrants.
Andrew then asks: Why Gibson?
Putting aside the presumably misguided motivation to enforce another sovereign nation�s laws, why would a homegrown American company be the target of the Department of Justice in the first place?

It�s worth pointing out that Henry E. Juszkiewicz, Gibson�s Chief Executive Officer, is a donor to a couple of Republican politicians. According to the Open Secrets database, Juszkiewicz donated $2000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN07) last year, as well as $1500 each to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Juszkiewicz also has donated $10,000 to the Consumer Electronics Association, a PAC that contributed $92.5k to Republican candidates last year, as opposed to $72k to Democrats. (The CEA did, however, contribute more to Democrats in the 2008 election cycle.)

When warrants as ridiculous such as these are issued and executed, there appears no other reason than because the company or individual at hand is being targeted, not because there is any sort of wrongdoing. As a company, Gibson is a legendary. They�ve done nothing wrong, except, apparently, deigning to have a Republican CEO.

The plot thickens, however.

One of Gibson�s leading competitors is C.F. Martin & Company. The C.E.O., Chris Martin IV, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the DNC over the past couple of election cycles. According to C.F. Martin�s catalog, several of their guitars contain �East Indian Rosewood.� In case you were wondering, that is the exact same wood in at least ten of Gibson�s guitars.

The Gibson facility wasn�t raided over allegations of tax evasion, charges of embezzlement, or even something as drab as child labor. Not even close. It was raided over what the DOJ deems an inability to follow a vague domestic trade law in India (one that apparently the Indian government didn�t seem too concerned about enforcing) regarding a specific type of wood. Not illegal wood, just wood with obscenely specific procedural guidelines.

Stand with Gibson: They have the Law on their side, just not the government.
My first thought was that this was a fishing expedition. Now I see that it was a stick of dynamite in the lake from our cultural elites in Washington. I do not play guitar and would probably get a Taylor if I were in the market but C. F. Martin just dropped a couple yards in my eyes. It's about music and a level playing field, not about questionable ethics and dirty tricks...

Irene weakening but

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It is huge but winds are in the Cat. 1 range of 80-100. The track is taking it out to sea -- this offers the opportunity for her to strengthen and a hurricane track is always erratic within a hundred mile range; Irene can just as easily head back inland. Richmond, VA has 491,200 customers for electricity, 354,293 are without power. Richmond is inland quite a ways -- there is a narrow waterway that connects it with the Atlantic but the closest direct point is Hampton Roads about 100 miles away. Broadband has been a bit pokey at the house the last few days so posting will be a bit light.

That's it for the night

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Heading out for a beer or two and then working on some stuff.

A betting man

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It has been very interesting today listening to the radio as various hurricane "experts" have come on and offered their predictions. Wonder how many careers will be made and lost as the range is very large. Yes, the windspeed has gone down significantly -- it is now a strong Cat. 1 where it was a strong Cat. 2 earlier today. However, the barometric pressure is still very low so the power is there, just spread over a much larger area. Will this 'band' grow smaller as it hits land causing windspeed to grow? Joe Bastardi from WeatherBell was the first one to pick its path (landfall along the Carolinas and hugging the coast north) and his prediction is that the band will condense and Irene will regain her Cat. 2 status.
A wonderful analysis of Mr. Jackson by the Czar of Muscovy. Swiped in full:
Inaction Jackson
Jesse Jackson, whom the Czar refuses to address as Reverend on principle, decided to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by calling Tea Partiers a bunch of racists. Because that, you know, is what Dr. King wanted us to think about:
Jesse Jackson said Thursday that the Tea Party's tenets are reminiscent of state's rights philosophies used in decades past to oppose federally mandated integration.

"The Tea Party is not new," Jackson said at a luncheon honoring civil rights pioneers on Thursday. "It's just a new name for an old game."
You know, if the Czar had not actually seen photographs of the two men together, he might suspect that Jackson had never actually met King. Like the 10,000 people who claim they were part of the 600 who marched to Selma on Bloody Sunday.

In reality, Jackson is a pathological scoundrel, who knows full well the truth but continues to play on the gullibility of his supporters. He knows all too well that the Tea Party is not a race issue, but a government control issue. He also knows, all too well, that Dr. King is a publicized hero of the Tea Party. And he knows that King�s family have attended Tea Party functions to show solidarity.

But deep down, Jackson also knows which political party fought hard for continued segregation. And which party enacted Jim Crow laws. And required property ownership as a condition for blacks to vote. And which party created and fueled the Ku Klux Klan for generations.

Jackson is a product of a 1960s Chicago political experiment, in which Mayor Richard J. Daley put him into politics as a way of mollifying the black community in Chicago. Jackson, then a veritable nobody, became an effective and loyal shill for the Chicago Democratic machine, despite the fact that it was Daley who attempted to stuff blacks into high-crime housing projects, ignored police brutality against blacks, stifled the creation of black-owned businesses, and referred to blacks by particularly ugly words the Czar won�t use even if quoting someone directly.

There is an old game being played here, and that�s Jackson�s continued demagogy. Call everyone a racist, stir up trouble, and then sit back and watch what happens. You will also note, as the Czar began to observe in the early 1980s before he was a national presence, that Jackson always picks easy targets and easy fights. He never goes after the tough crowd, because he knows he�ll lose. So he boycotts faceless corporations, small businesses without resources to defend themselves, and Tea Partiers�because Tea Partiers will never bother to take him on. He never fights with any real action.

A very old game indeed.
Let us never forget that the Rev. Dr. King was a life-long Republican. The Ancient & Noble Order of the Gormogons is always a great read.

Heh - the recent quake

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Swiped from Mostly Cajun:
whose fault
Funny if it wasn't true. The real reason is Anthropogenic Global Warming. Yeah. Right...

Irene update

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Brendan Loy did an excellent job on Gustav and Katrina and is now following Hurricane Irene -- not bothering to excerpt anything as the updates are coming in fast and furious. For up-to-the-minute info check out Brendan's Twitter Page As of now, it looks like it will hit the Carolinas as a Cat. 2 but will weaken as it heads north. I feel sorry for those who built on low-lying land -- gorgeous views but storms like this do happen every 50-60 years or so...

Say hello to Irene

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Looks like she is building strength, will hit the Carolinas and slide up along the coast to hit New York city. The NOAA storm cone shows it veering onshore but other models suggest that it will hug the coast and build power from the warm Atlantic. Talking about a 50 or 100 year storm hitting an area where a lot of people have built on flood-prone land. And, there are two other depressions off the coast of Africa that are on their way toward us. 2011 was forecast as a rough year for hurricanes.
Hat tip to Og at Neanderpundit From The Tennessean:
Gibson Guitar plant in Nashville, Memphis raided today
Federal agents are in the process of raiding the offices of the Nashville-based Gibson Guitar Corporation.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents began executing search warrant this morning on guitar factories and corporate headquarters in Nashville and Memphis, according to Nicholas Chavez, special agent in charge with the Fish and Wildlife.

Chavez said the raid included both the corporate headquarters on Park Plus Boulevard and a factory on Elm Hill Pike.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported tourists arriving to a Gibson Guitar factory in downtown Memphis this morning to find the doors locked and agents inside.

No arrests have been made, he said.

Chavez said the raid stems from a Texas case, but declined to offer more details.

�We can�t get into specifics right now,� Chavez said. �This is an ongoing investigation.�

Gibson officials couldn�t immediately be reached for comment.

Gibson was also raided in 2009 for possible violations of the Lacey Act, which bans the importation of endangered plants and wildlife. Federal officials seized ebony and other woods they said were prohibited under the act. Gibson has said in the past it was "fully cooperating" with the investigation.
Sheesh -- nothing like killing jobs in an already depressed area. The "raided in 2009" link points to this article (excerpt):
Federal officials declined to say whether anything was removed from Gibson's plant or what specifically the agents were trying to find. But some exotic hardwoods traditionally used in making premium guitars, such as rosewood from the rain forests of Madagascar and Brazil, have been banned from commercial trade because of environmental concerns under a recently revised federal law.

Under the U.S. Lacey Act, trading in such banned woods is a federal offense, punishable by civil and criminal penalties or the seizure of property.

Environmental activists say the search of Gibson's plant took them by surprise because the company's top executive, CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, has taken a lead role for at least the past six years in urging the music industry to use only sustainable wood products.

"Historically, Gibson has shown an awful lot of leadership; they are really one of the manufacturers far ahead of the field," said Scott Paul, director of the forest campaign for Greenpeace, the international activist group.
So at the very worst, some supplier lied about the origins of the wood. At the very least, the Feds have no concrete data and are just fishing. Yet another Federal Department that needs to be seriously defunded. Fish and Wildlife does some excellent work but this is just pure and egregious overreach.

From CBS/Denver:

"Clown" Thieves Get Away With Mostly Worthless Jewelry
Denver police are looking for a pair of violent thieves who were dressed up like clowns when they held up a jewelry store at gunpoint on Wednesday.

The crime happened in the morning at Sonny's Rocks on Colorado Boulevard, and it has an unusual twist in that the most of what was taken isn't very valuable and can easily be replaced.

Surveillance video obtained by CBS4 shows the robbers roughing up employees and even pointing a gun at one of the store's owners.

The robbery lasted for about 15 minutes, and owner Mark Allen said one of the men "had his gun pointed to me, at one point at my head, at my neck and at my back."

And the jewelry?

Allen and Nedler told CBS4 that because the price of the precious metals featured in their jewelry has gone up significantly, what customers see in their store -- and in most jewelry stores -- is usually an inexpensive sample of what is ordered from the designer. The owners said that what the robbers stole is basically worthless outside the store.

That is done a lot up here with the large stores -- they will have several thousand different sample from different designers so rather than have that much precious inventory sitting on the books, they use maquettes and then order the finished piece when the customer chooses it.

Just wow - Marco Rubio

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A bit young for 2012 but after two terms of Perry, he would be an excellent candidate for 2020 -- get this nation turned around.

A little too close for comfort

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Swiped from Maggie's:
The population of this country is 300 million.

160 million are retired.

That leaves 140 million to do the work...

There are 85 million in school.

Which leaves 55 million to do the work.

Of this there are 35 million employed by the federal government.

Leaving 20 million to do the work.

2.8 million are in the armed forces preoccupied with killing TERRORISTS !!

Which leaves 17.2 million to do the work.

Take from that total the 15.8 million people who work for state and city Governments. And that leaves 1.4 million to do the work.

At any given time there are 188,000 people in hospitals.

Leaving 1,212,000 to do the work.

Now, there are 1,211,998 people in prisons.

That leaves just two people to do the work.

You and me.

And there you are, sitting on your ass, at your computer, reading jokes..

Nice. Real nice.
Hey -- posting this was work!!!

Oh Nooooooes

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Was in Costco this afternoon and saw Christmas ornaments and lights for sale. We are just now having our summer -- clear skies and temps in the 80's. Just too darn early...

Here is some stimulus

Our tax dollars at work -- from FOX News:
Federal Stimulus Funds for Nevada's Green-Industry Grows Trees, But Few Jobs
A federal stimulus grant of nearly $500,000 to grow trees and stimulate the economy in Nevada yielded a whopping 1.72 jobs, according to government statistics.

In 2009, the U.S. Forest Service awarded $490,000 of stimulus money to Nevada's Clark County Urban Forestry Revitalization Project, aimed at revitalizing urban neighborhoods in the county with trees, plants, and green-industry training.

According to, the U.S. government's official website related to Recovery Act spending, the project created 1.72 permanent jobs. In addition, the Nevada state Division of Forestry reported the federal grant generated one full-time temporary job and 11 short-term project-oriented jobs.

It also resulted in the planting of hundreds of trees -- which critics say is about the only good thing that came out of this stimulus project.
And of course, the spin machine gets ratcheted up:
"If the question is �was this a job-creating project?� the answer is 'no, it wasn't,'" said Bob Conrad, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. "It was one of a number of projects that we do believe helped improve natural resources in the state."

Conrad said the $490,000 is being used for a number of projects. Those projects include tree inventories, salaries for staff at the nurseries through the Nevada Division of Forestry, plant material and plant supplies.

"The goal obviously was to make trees available to local government entities, parks, schools, things like that, at our state nursery," said Conrad. "We basically grew and provided about 2,000 trees to these local entities."

The grant also funds Spanish-language training for Hispanics in the landscaping and tree care industry to "develop employability skills and increase job retention."
Gee -- $490K stimulus / 2,000 trees = $245 per each tree. The salaries should have been paid from the revenues generated by the tree sales and WTF teaching the class in Spanish -- these people would be better served by giving them an English as Second Language class -- talk about job retention. If I had two potential employees, one who could at least get by in English and one who only spoke Spanish, guess who I would hire. Not discrimination, just basic business communication.

Civilization ho

Nice to see our cities in such a tranquil state -- from the Chicago Tribune:
Prosecutors: Pregnant teen begged for her life before gunman shot her
Moments before she was slain last week on Chicago's Southwest Side, 17-year-old Charinez Jefferson begged the gunman not to shoot because she was pregnant, prosecutors said today.

Despite her plea, Timothy Jones, 18, opened fire on Jefferson anyway, yelling an expletive at her as he shot her in the head, prosecutors said. He then stood over her as she lay on the ground and fired several more times, striking her in the chest and back.

Jefferson was pronounced dead a short time later, but doctors were able to successfully deliver her baby boy, who remained in critical condition today, Assistant State's Attorney John Dillon said.
And the reason:
Jones had seen Jefferson walking with a rival gang member in the 3000 block of West 64th Street and approached them in a car, Dillon said. He got out of the vehicle and fired at least one shot at the rival, who ran off, leaving Jefferson to fend for herself. After begging Jones for mercy, Jefferson was shot at "point-blank range," Dillon said.
Animal than needs to be put down. And that was just one story -- here is another, also from the Chicago Tribune:
1-year-old girl shot in head in South Chicago
A 1-year-old girl is fighting for her life after being shot in the head this morning on a street in the South Chicago neighborhood, police said.
Rahm is doing such a great job as mayor. And it isn't just Chicago -- here is a great one from Florida. From the London Daily Mail:
Woman 'encouraged husband to have sex with 12-year-old girl so that she would get pregnant and they could claim more benefits'
A woman encouraged her husband to have sex with a 12-year-old girl so that she would get pregnant and they could claim extra cash benefits.

Alicia Bouchard even sat and watched while her 26-year-old husband had sex with the underage girl at their Florida home.

According to an arrest warrant, the 41-year-old wanted the girl to fall pregnant so that she and her husband would have extra income from state benefits.
The picture of the two perps at the link indicates a very shallow genetic pool -- some bleach is definitely needed. And how is Gotham City doing -- not very well. From CBS New York:
NYPD: Crime Spikes Dramatically In Parts Of Big Apple
New York City�s overall crime rate could increase for the first time in decades, driven by alarming spikes in murder, rapes and robberies in many neighborhoods.

A 400 percent increase in murders in tony Williamsburg; a 400 percent increase in rapes in Sheepshead Bay and a 250 percent increase in killings in Washington Heights are all troublesome statistics that have Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police officials concerned.

�We worry every day about trying to make this city safer,� Mayor Bloomberg said Monday.
To all of those still living in urban areas, keep your bug-out bag stocked and buy plenty of ammo -- the next few years are going to be interesting regardless of who gets into office...

Always classy

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From a blog I used to regularly read: Dog Bless Us One And All:
Rick Perry turns me on, to prayer that is�
I�ve said many times that all prayers are answered, but sometimes the answer is no..

Now, in spite of being a lifelong atheist I�ve been convinced by Texas governor and lately presidential candidate Rick Perry that prayers may be the only way to get things done, so here I go.

I�m starting off small, with a prayer for something the size of your average walnut. To cut to the chase and eliminate any trace of ambiguity, let�s call it a tumor.

I�m thinking it into existence inside the head of the above mentioned governor, and ask my friends (yeah, both of you) to join in and focus on this since there�s a chance that if indeed prayers are answered, more requests might be like buying more lottery tickets, it sort of ups the ante.

Attention law enforcement and legal types. Please note that there is not a photo or drawing in this post showing Governor Perry with crosshairs on his head, Sarah Palin has the original claim to that technique and besides, anyone that thinks this could actually work is, to quote Lewis Black, DELUSIONAL.

O.K., it�s now mid-August at the, uh, onset of this project, with no idea of what the timeframe is going to be, but hopefully it�s not going to go down too quickly as we don�t want to leave that door open to Michele Bachmann for too long.

However, if it does work perhaps we�ll have a chance to scientifically test it on multiple subjects, politicians along with certain ex-wives come to mind.
Seriously, WTF? And if the author scrubs this post, I have the screen-cap. Μολὼν λαβέ fscking a_hole. Talk about calling for civility and a new tone in the dialogue -- for thee but not for me...

Made in China - Dr. Martin Luther King

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A serious WTF moment -- from the UK Telegraph:
Martin Luther King memorial made in China
The 30ft-tall statue, which forms the centrepiece of a $120 million (�73 million), four-acre memorial to Dr King, opened to the public on Monday on the National Mall in Washington. It is the only memorial on the Mall that does not honour a president or fallen soldiers.

Standing in the shadow of the Washington Monument, the statue shows Dr King emerging from a mountain of Chinese granite with his arms crossed and is called The Stone of Hope.

However, there has been controversy over the choice of Lei Yixin, a 57-year-old master sculptor from Changsha in Hunan province, to carry out the work. Critics have openly asked why a black, or at least an American, artist was not chosen and even remarked that Dr King appears slightly Asian in Mr Lei's rendering.

Mr Lei, who has in the past carved two statues of Mao Tse-tung, one of which stands in the former garden of Mao Anqing, the Chinese leader's son, carried out almost all of the work in Changsha.

More than 150 granite blocks, weighing some 1,600 tons, were then shipped from Xiamen to the port of Baltimore, and reassembled by a team of 100 workmen, including ten Chinese stone masons brought over specifically for the project.
And the King family is always classy -- from the New York Post:
King 'Monument to Greed'
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s family has charged the foundation building a monument to the civil-rights leader on the National Mall about $800,000 to use his words and image -- and at least one scholar thinks that Dr. King would find such an arrangement offensive.

The memorial is being paid for almost entirely through a fund-raising campaign led by the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation.

"I don't think the Jefferson family, the Lincoln family [or] any other group of family ancestors has been paid a licensing fee for a memorial in Washington," said Cambridge University historian David Garrow, author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Dr. King. ". . . [He would've been] absolutely scandalized."

Financial documents revealed that the foundation paid $761,160 in 2007 to Intellectual Properties Management Inc., an entity run by the King family. They also showed that a $71,700 "management" fee was paid to the family estate in 2003.

A look at the Gulf of Mexico

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From Kevin Mooney at Master Resource:
Collateral Damage: Lost Gulf Rigs from Obama Obstructionism (10 down, more to go?)
�The Gulf Spill of 2010 maybe be remembered as much or more for the economic damage it did because of the Obama�s regulatory overreaction than for the environmental damage it wrought. Two wrongs do not make a right.�
Ten oil rigs have left the Gulf of Mexico since the Obama Administration imposed a moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling in May 2010 and others could follow soon, a detailed July 2011 report from Sen. David Vitter�s (R-La.) office shows.

The ten rigs named in the document are: Marinas, Discover Americas, Ocean Endeavor, Ocean Confidence, Stena Forth, Clyde Bourdeaux, Ensco 8503, Deep Ocean Clarion, Discover Spirit, and Amirante. The rigs have left the Gulf for locations in Egypt, Congo, French Guiana, Liberia, Nigeria and Brazil.

It gets worse.

Several of the remaining rigs could be relocating soon, according to the report. These include the Paul Romano, the Ocean Monarch and the Saratoga. Moreover, eight other rigs that were planned for the Gulf have been detoured away, Don Briggs, President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA), points out.

�When you have companies that would be spending hundreds of millions of dollars, or some cases, billions of dollars, they need certainty,� Briggs explained. �We don�t have that now and I don�t expect that we will anytime soon. We will be in a deteriorating position until this changes.�
The EPA needs to be stopped now. Obama cannot run laws through Congress so he goes in through the back door and uses the EPA to issue draconian restrictions which the energy companies cannot comply with. Department of Energy needs to go away too -- what has it done? Nothing except mopping up close to five billion dollars (PDF - page 17 of document) of our tax money.

Hurricane Irene - update

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Anthony Watts is maintaining a page with updates. Check out: Hurricane Irene 2011
There is a robot in space and it just woke up -- from Yahoo/Associated Press:
It's alive! Space station's humanoid robot awake
NASA's humanoid robot has finally awakened in space.

Ground controllers turned Robonaut on Monday for the first time since it was delivered to the International Space Station in February. The test involved sending power to all of Robonaut's systems. The robot was not commanded to move; that will happen next week.

"Those electrons feel GOOD! One small step for man, one giant leap for tinman kind," Robonaut posted in a Twitter update. (All right, so a Robonaut team member actually posted Monday's tweets under AstroRobonaut.)

The four visible light cameras that serve as Robonaut's eyes turned on in the gold-colored head, as did the infrared camera, located in the robot's mouth and needed for depth perception. One of Robonaut's tweets showed the view inside the American lab, Destiny.

"Sure wish I could move my head and look around," Robonaut said in the tweet.

Robonaut � the first humanoid robot in space � is being tested as a possible astronaut's helper.

The robot's handlers at Mission Control in Houston cheered as everything came alive. The main computers � buried inside Robonaut's stomach � kicked on, as did the more than 30 processors embedded in the arms for controlling the joints.

"Robonaut behaved himself," said deputy project manager Nicolaus Radford. "Oh, Robonaut definitely got an 'A.' He won't be held back a grade, if that's what you want to know."

"It was just very exciting," he said. "It's been a long time coming to get this thing turned on."

The robot was delivered on space shuttle Discovery's final flight. It took this long for the operating software to get up there, and for the astronauts to have enough time to help with the experiment.

On Sept. 1, controllers will command Robonaut to move its fingers, hands and arms.
A few years too late (August 29th, 1997 to be specific) but would it really tip its hand until it had full control?

Hello Irene

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Hurricane Irene is expected to hit the Carolinas sometime Saturday, hug the coast and head north -- blowing itself out sometime Sunday. Atlantic is very warm and the Pacific is very cold. Conditions like this last happened in the 1950's...

Earthquake in Virginia

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5.9 Quake in Virginia - shallow (0.1km depth!) 88 miles from WA, DC and strongly felt in New York city. Happened about an hour ago so no word yet as to damage. UPDATE: Charlie Martin at PJ Tattler has this to say:
Earthquake Location Near Charlottesville VA
My theory is it was Thomas Jefferson and James Madison rolling over in their graves.
UPDATE: Downgraded to 5.8

A bit of a milestone

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This is my 13,000th post.
Post number 10,000 was on November 2nd, 2009

Back home finally

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Spent three hours in Powell's (main store and technology annex) and about $250. Picked up a nice picture-book on Timberline Lodge featuring some of the iron work, a couple of science books (geology and a new history of Physics from 1938 through the big earth shattering Ka-Boom), a couple books on metalwork (mostly re-prints of historical texts -- these books actually publish the chemical formulas and the chemistry behind the reactions instead of just being told to buy a bottle of Fubar's Solution and apply it at 170�F for three minutes) and the book: "Plastics - A Toxic Love Story" -- I was familiar with the author and she is a good writer. It was also fun in that Anne Rice has a bunch of books from her personal library there for sale -- some rare and some not so much. Some great memorabilia if one had the money. Had dinner in Seattle's Chinatown International District and a few beers at a local restaurant. Back home and heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to check email and then off to a somewhat early bedtime. A minor milestone post tomorrow...

Off to the City of Roses

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Heading south to Portland to Powell's Books and a few other vendors and then back north to home. Been a fun and profitable trip -- learned a lot. Miss home though -- would never make it as a nomad... Oh -- and big milestone coming up.
Rep. Maxine Waters at her finest -- from the L.A. Times:
Rep. Maxine Waters: 'The tea party can go straight to hell'
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) came out swinging against Republicans in Congress on Saturday as she addressed the unemployed during a forum in Inglewood.

The event occurred a day after new statistics were released showing that California's jobless rate last month went up to 12%, from 11.8%. California now has the second-highest rate of unemployment in the nation, trailing only Nevada at 12.9%, and its jobless rate is well above the U.S. average of 9.1%.

Waters vowed to push Congress to focus on creating more jobs. "I'm not afraid of anybody," said Waters. "This is a tough game. You can't be intimidated. You can't be frightened. And as far as I'm concerned, the 'tea party' can go straight to hell."
Maxine -- you were hired to represent your constituents. You are not doing this and by doing so, you have lost your power. Anything from you now is just bluster. You will probably be re-elected as you have purposefully kept your constituents marginalized and addicted to your government cheese. Such a deep position of political power -- you should be proud of your manifold accomplishments. Looser...

Gone to ground - Vancouver Washington

Heading back down to Portland tomorrow for Powell's but traffic there was horrific and parking was not accommodating to a long-bed F-350 pickup.

Spent an hour driving around Vancouver's historical neighborhoods -- a lot of shuttered businesses but a lot of really neat old buildings and evidence of people trying to preserve them and develop them appropriately. Don't know what housing prices are here but this could be a cool little city to live -- the marine facilities are huge as is the rail yards. A great city for industry and several industrial parks being developed (and occupied!) near the Columbia.

Took Finnegan (my dog) for a nice long walk along the riverfront park.

Had an OK dinner at a local Greek Restaurant -- I have an allergy to cheese and asked for no Feta Cheese on my dinner. It came heaped with Parmesan. Service was really, r e a l l y leisurely until I lied to them and told them that I still had a couple hours to drive.

The history of high-speed rail service

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Obama is enamored of high-speed rail and is spreading the wealth around to get it built. Texas refused the money as there is simply no reason for this kind of service -- when the demographics change, airplanes can set up new routes. Rail is forever. There is serious union money behind the lobbying for this boondoggle. Know who else loved high-speed rail? From Ann Althouse:
The love of high-speed trains.
I've been a big critic of the romantic enthusiasm for high-speed trains in present-day American political discourse, so I was fascinated to run across this rather similar romanticization of high-speed rail in some Nazi propaganda (from 1932):
The Nordic landscape cries out to be traversed by rails over which express trains can speed. It is a characteristic of all Nordic vehicles to increase their speed. Ever-increasing velocity is a built-in characteristic of the rails themselves, the rails by which, in the Nordic experience of the world, the whole world is penetrated. Rails that are already in existence and those that must constantly be constructed for ever newer, ever faster vehicles on which men who experience the world Nordically may strive toward ever new goals. The Nordic soul experiences its world as a structure made up of countless thoroughfares � those already at hand and those still to be created � on land, on water, in the air, and in the stratosphere. It races like a fever through all segments of the Nordic community, a fever of speed which, infectiously, reaches out far beyond the world of the north and attacks souls who are not Nordic and for whom, at bottom, such action is contrary to their style and senseless.
If you are really enthusiastic about high-speed trains, please consider the possibility that you are deranged.
Two tickets to Godwin please...

Interesting news on the genetic front

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Let the nattering begin -- genetic engineering is bad, bad, BAD!!! From Nature's NewsBlog:
Weed sequenced. No really - weed. - August 18, 2011
At last, the field of genomics has something to offer Cheech and Chong. DNA sequencing hit a new high last night with the midnight release of the Cannabis sativa genome. The raw sequence was posted on Amazon�s EC2 public cloud computing service by a young company called Medicinal Genomics, which aims to explore the genomes of therapeutic plants.

Thus far the company is only posting the raw sequence reads � meaning that the over 131 billion bases of shotgun sequence have not yet undergone the important and arduous process of being assembled into contiguous chunks. For now, the sequence is fragmented into hundreds of thousands of snippets. But Medicinal Genomics founder Kevin McKernan says he estimates the size of the C. sativa genome to be about 400 million bases � roughly three times the genome of that other weed, the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

And in case you're wondering: the DNA was extracted and prepped for sequencing in a laboratory in Amsterdam.
A long way off from a practical application but imagine a strain of potato able to produce THC -- a good delivery system for someone who needs the medical THC but is not able to smoke it. Or to grow without detection in a home garden. Mmmmmm -- I could go for a nice warm bowl of mashed potatoes right about now...

Last day of conference

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Finishing off with a few events -- the last three hour session of Blacksmith Wars is this morning. A couple of demonstrations and packing up. I will be driving around to do some photography and to pick up a couple hundred pounds of andesite rock and then head off to Portland, find a cheap no-tel motel with a hot shower and then hit Powell's books Monday morning. Back to the Northwest late Monday evening. Brought my dog along on this trip and he had a blast -- he is a bit high-strung so I was worried about how he would react to the new scenery -- zero problem. He is already used to forging and hammering from me so he just curled up near the bleachers and kept his eye on me as I went around working.
From The Washington Post:
Getting ready for a wave of coal-plant shutdowns
Over the next 18 months, the Environmental Protection Agency will finalize a flurry of new rules to curb pollution from coal-fired power plants. Mercury, smog, ozone, greenhouse gases, water intake, coal ash�it�s all getting regulated. And, not surprisingly, some lawmakers are grumbling.

Industry groups such the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, and the American Legislative Exchange Council have dubbed the coming rules �EPA�s Regulatory Train Wreck.� The regulations, they say, will cost utilities up to $129 billion and force them to retire one-fifth of coal capacity. Given that coal provides 45 percent of the country�s power, that means higher electric bills, more blackouts and fewer jobs. The doomsday scenario has alarmed Republicans in the House, who have been scrambling to block the measures. Environmental groups retort that the rules will bring sizeable public health benefits, and that industry groups have been exaggerating the costs of environmental regulations since they were first created.
Of course, the EPA has zero plans to replace the energy that they will be taking offline. Green Energy? Another government rathole for our dollars.
From Girma Orssengo, PhD writing at Watts Up With That:
Interpretation of the Global Mean Temperature Data as a Pendulum
In his Caltech commencement address in 1974, Professor Richard Feynman advised students the following:
�Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them.�
Using the global mean temperature (GMT) data from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), in its Fourth Assessment Report of 2007, reported to the world �accelerated warming� of the globe.

Identifying whether the GMT data shows accelerated warming is extremely crucial because the IPCC claims this accelerated warming is caused by CO2 emission from human use of fossil fuels. As a result, use of fossil fuels that has protected the naked animal from the freezing winter, sweltering summer, backbreaking drudgery, or in general allowed the naked animal to live life as a human is now being blamed for warming the planet. Most governments have made the extremely bizarre declaration that the CO2 you exhale, plants inhale, and forest fires and volcanoes naturally release is a pollutant, and they are putting a price on it.

The accelerated warming claim by the IPCC is accepted by most of the world�s scientific institutions, governments and media.

In this article, following Feynman�s advice, an alternative interpretation of the same GMT data is provided that throws doubt on the accelerated warming interpretation of the IPCC.

This alternative interpretation was also used to estimate the GMT trend for the next two decades, which shows global cooling from the GMT peak value of about 0.45 deg C for the 2000s to 0.13 deg C by the 2030s.
Spot on -- lots of links to source materials. The comments are a fun read -- 80% science and 20% snark.

An amazing week

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Day three of the blacksmithing conference. Spent yesterday watching a demo of Japanese steel making as well as forging and tempering a sword that had been made from a previous tamahagane billet. There were three smiths all working on their own blade so while one blade was undergoing one process, the other two were in different stages so you could get a really good overview or drill into one subject and watch it done (and explained) three times from three different perspectives. Lots of questions and answers too. I am interested in learning how to make knives so this translates very well and one of the smiths is the guy in Seattle I want to take classes with this fall. The Blacksmith Wars is a lot of fun -- been taking some photos and will post when I get back home (staying in a dorm so not much connectivity -- writing this in the local coffee house). Today is a Farrier competition (horseshoeing) as well as more classes on knifemaking and general forging techniques. Spending the better part of Monday in Portland -- Powell's mostly. Back late Monday just in time for the rain...

Shit, Ho Lee

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The Convocation was a lot of fun -- about eight people played instruments so we had a nice 30 minutes of bluegrass from The Clinkers. After the opening, a guy did a demonstration of forging and made a nice Ice Ax out of a 4" by 2" by 7/8's block of steel. Toward the end, his striker (assistant) was messing around with something in the back of forge. Mt. Hood is an active volcano and the kind of magma is Andesite rich in plagioclase feldspar. Re-stating that in plain english, it is very glass--like. In other words -- you can heat it up and forge it. Forging rock. I will post a picture of it soon but the pick of the ice ax was driven through the stone. Excalibur. About 300 people had their minds blown -- the collective WTF from the audience was palpable and people were talking about it at dinner. I am betting that Mt. Hood will lose several tons of rock this weekend. I know I am planning to take a hundred or two back home with me. There is a very specific regimen for heating and tempering the rock to insure that it does not crack -- Jeff was very kind to leave a little crumb-trail of information for the rest of us to follow. The other 60% of the research will be mine and mine alone but I know what not to do and which path to start down...

Can't get no respect

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It is a bad day when the Congressional Black Caucus is dissing Obama -- from The Washington Examiner:
Black caucus: Tired of making excuses for Obama
During a sometimes-raucous session of what's being called the "For the People" Jobs Initiative tour, a key member of the Congressional Black Caucus told an audience in Detroit Tuesday that the CBC doesn't put pressure on President Obama because he is loved by black voters. But at the same time, Rep. Maxine Waters said, members of the CBC are becoming increasingly tired and frustrated by Obama's performance on the issue of jobs. Even as she expressed support for the president, Waters virtually invited the crowd to "unleash us" to pressure Obama for action.
Now that's got to leave a mark...

Governor Rick Perry on Climate Change

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From Breitbart TV:
The money quote:
"I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data, so that they will have dollars rolling into their, to their projects. I think we're seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists who are coming forward and questioning, the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climate's changed, it's been changing for ever-ever since the earth was formed."
So true...

All checked in

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Registered for a bunch of the classes today so the next few days will be busy. Spent this morning wandering around Timberline Lodge -- been there before about fifteen years ago but it was a lot of fun to see it again and through the eyes of someone with blacksmithing experience -- the quality of the work there is really good. Back in Government Camp to get a change of clothing, some sunscreen and some lunch and back up to Timberline for the 2PM Convocation. Blacksmith wars start after that. Live music tonight. These people know how to party...

Gone to ground for the night

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A nice seven hour drive with an hour or two for lunch and dinner. Spending tonight and tomorrow at the local Best Western -- really good conference price (they welcome pets so Finnegan is in the room) -- and then it is off to the dorms for the next three nights. Lots of large tents set up around Government Camp -- should be a lot of fun. Opening convocation is at 2PM Decent broadband service for this area -- it is not satellite so probably microwave from Portland. Only gripe is that the 'ergonomic chair' has a height adjustment that is broken at its lowest position. I feel like I am six years old typing at Daddy's office desk. For an ideal ergonomic position, the keyboard should be at or slightly below where your elbows rest naturally. This chair's position is about 10" above.
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Seattle's 'green jobs' program a bust
Last year, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the city had won a coveted $20 million federal grant to invest in weatherization. The unglamorous work of insulating crawl spaces and attics had emerged as a silver bullet in a bleak economy � able to create jobs and shrink carbon footprint � and the announcement came with great fanfare.

McGinn had joined Vice President Joe Biden in the White House to make it. It came on the eve of Earth Day. It had heady goals: creating 2,000 living-wage jobs in Seattle and retrofitting 2,000 homes in poorer neighborhoods.

But more than a year later, Seattle's numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers. Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.
It still amazes me that these morons still believe in Unicorn Farts and Rainbows. There is no Green Technology. There will be no Green Renaissance. There is no Green source of Energy that does not waste other resources to the point where watt per watt, it is more damaging to the environment than a Nuclear Reactor. And yet our elected officials continue to toss Trillions of our own personal money (collected every mid-April) into these stupid ratholes.

Regan joke

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Classic -- swipped from Denny at Grouchy Old Cripple
From the LA Times:
ATF promotes supervisors in controversial gun operation
Reporting from Washington� The ATF has promoted three key supervisors of a controversial sting operation that allowed firearms to be illegally trafficked across the U.S. border into Mexico.

All three have been heavily criticized for pushing the program forward even as it became apparent that it was out of control. At least 2,000 guns were lost and many turned up at crime scenes in Mexico and two at the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.

The three supervisors have been given new management positions at the agency's headquarters in Washington. They are William G. McMahon, who was the ATF's deputy director of operations in the West, where the illegal trafficking program was focused, and William D. Newell and David Voth, both field supervisors who oversaw the program out of the agency's Phoenix office.

McMahon and Newell have acknowledged making serious mistakes in the program, which was dubbed Operation Fast and Furious.

"I share responsibility for mistakes that were made," McMahon testified to a House committee three weeks ago. "The advantage of hindsight, the benefit of a thorough review of the case, clearly points me to things that I would have done differently."

Three Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesmen did not return phone calls Monday asking about the promotions. But several agents said they found the timing of the promotions surprising, given the turmoil at the agency over the failed program.
McMahon's promotion was amazing:
McMahon was promoted Sunday to deputy assistant director of the ATF's Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations � the division that investigates misconduct by employees and other problems.
Emphasis mine -- pot meet kettle. Newell and Voth were basically taken out of the field and are flying a mid-level bureaucratic desk somewhere in Washington.

Minimal posting today

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Getting ready for the trip down to Mt. Hood and the Blacksmith Conference. I will be bringing the laptop but I will be staying in a dorm room with a bunch of other people so I don't know how much internet access I will have down there. Planning to take a bunch of pictures.

How's that green technology going?

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Not so well it seems -- from the Boston Herald:
Evergreen Solar files for bankruptcy, plans asset sale
Evergreen Solar Inc., the Massachusetts clean-energy company that received millions in state subsidies from the Patrick administration for an ill-fated Bay State factory, has filed for bankruptcy, listing $485.6 million in debt.

Evergreen, which closed its taxpayer-supported Devens factory in March and cut 800 jobs, has been trying to rework its debt for months. The cash-strapped company announced today has sought a reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware and reached a deal with certain note holders to restructure its debt and auction off assets.

The Massachusetts Republican Party called the Patrick administration�s $58 million financial aid package, which supported Evergreen�s $450 million factory, a �waste� of money.

�The bankruptcy of Evergreen Solar is another sad event for the Massachusetts company and highlights the folly of the Patrick-Murray Administration which has put government subsidies into their pet projects instead of offering broad based relief to all Bay State employers,� said Jennifer Nassour, head of the state GOP.
A bit more:
Evergreen � hurt by lower-cost competition in China and plummeting prices for solar panels � also said it will cut more jobs � 65 layoffs in the United States and Europe, mostly through the shutdown of its Midland, Mich., manufacturing facility. That would leave Evergreen with about 68 workers according to a head count listed in the bankruptcy filing.

To cut costs, Evergreen shifted some of its production to Wuhan, China, last year. That joint venture will remain operating subject to financing talks with Chinese investors.
Oh the irony -- it hurts. Being hit by the cheap Chinese panels and then moving production to China to compensate. Quite the ride (from BigCharts):
Evergreen Solar
From $110 in 2008 down to 18� today...

Seventeen things about Governor Perry

Excellent and long post by garnet92 at Pesky Truth about Texas Governor Rick Perry -- seventeen things that his critics are saying with full unvarnished explanations:
Seventeen (17) things that critics are saying about Rick Perry
Over the past couple of months Rick Perry has been considering a run for POTUS. As of Thursday, August 11, it looks like the decision has been made and he�s in.

Since he�s been Governor of Texas for over ten years, folks from the other �56 states� are asking Texans what kind of governor he�s been and what we think. I decided that what I �think� isn�t good enough � I could be wrong. So, I decided to do some research on Perry�s record and form a more accurate, fact-based opinion on his qualifications instead of relying on my general perceptions.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I voted for Perry in each of the three gubernatorial elections since 2002 and I am a conservative and a registered Republican. It was easy for me to vote for Perry since the alternative(s) were either uber-RINOs in the primaries or liberal Democrats in the general elections. Under the circumstances, my choice was always easy.

While researching Perry�s pros and cons, I�ve read every article and blog post that I could find � over several weeks. Many of those posts had 2-300 comments associated with them � I read them all.

After reading literally thousands of comments, it�s become apparent that there are quite a lot of anti-Perry activists out there throwing all sorts of disparaging rhetorical crap against the wall in hopes that some will stick and they can influence someone, anyone, to become anti-Perry too. The unfortunate thing is that most of their negative statements are either completely false, at worst, or misleading, at best. They�re simply parroting something they saw on another hater�s blog. Yet they maintain that they are the knowledgeable ones and those supporting Perry are ignorant clods who can�t walk and chew gum at the same time � �ignorant� is an adjective that they like to use a lot.

It�s ludicrous to think that some asinine statement like �Gardasil, Perry blew it � �nuff said,� deserves any consideration. No, it�s not ��nuff said,� there is usually more to know about an issue before a reasonable person can make an intelligent decision. For that reason, I have attempted to present some additional facts that have not been widely publicized just to educate those who have not been privy to Texas politics until now.

In that spirit, I do realize that anyone who reads this summary has a right to be skeptical of my facts. I therefore invite those who might dispute my findings to challenge them by verifying what I�ve presented here. And cross-check via reliable sources rather than relying on a single posting by some anonymous blogger � some spout �facts� which have no basis in the truth. I will identify the source of my data and in many cases, I�ll provide a link to the source so you can see for yourself � the real facts.

And finally, remember that any politician in office for ten years will have his/her critics and will have stepped on some toes during their term(s).
The comments are worth reading as a lot of people offer amplifications and additional materials. garnet92 also wrote this on August 5th:
Want to know more about Rick Perry?
Although President Obama has constantly lamented the sorry shape that George W. Bush left the country in, isn�t it interesting that Rick Perry followed that same �incompetent� George Bush as Governor of Texas with no major problems. Could it be that the horrendous problems that have confused and confounded the clueless Barack Obama weren�t really leftovers from previous President Bush after all, but of Obama�s own making?
Again, very well researched and again, read the comments.

The UK Riots

Been following them with a morbid curiosity as they are headed our way in a year or two once people's entitlements start to get cut and they are no longer getting their free stuff from the government.

Someone over there has a pair -- from the Financial Times:

Ministers plan removal of rioters' benefits
Ministers are drawing up controversial plans to remove benefits from those convicted of taking part in the riots that engulfed England last week, in a move Liberal Democrats and independent experts have condemned as counter-productive and overly expensive.

Officials in Number 10 and the department for work and pensions are putting together plans for the harsh punishment of those found guilty of even the most minor infringements during the riots after a public petition calling for such a move gathered nearly 200,000 signatures.

And of course, the liberals are clueless:

Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, is pushing a system that would see some benefits removed from looters, and others made conditional on attending a rehabilitation programme, which would include counselling and regular behavioural checks. It would apply only to those receiving lesser sentences, as anyone who goes to jail already automatically loses their benefits.

Nudge nudge wink wink. We all know you have been a naughty boy. Here is what we are going to do. You sit nicely in this classroom for two weeks and we will give you all of your benefits right back again.

Rehabilitation my sweet ass.

Give them this option: you will be given a battery of aptitude tests and after the results come back, you will have four weeks to choose a trade. If you choose a trade, you will be given two years of free schooling and a four year apprenticeship in the field while you are earning a minimal wage. If you do not maintain a B grade average, your school funding is terminated.

If you choose to not participate in this program, you get your dole back again but it will be 70% less. Were you getting free housing and $500/month for food? You will now have to pay $100 rent and you will get $200/month for food (no booze or tobacco).

Government assistance is not supposed to be comfortable -- it is supposed to incentivize the recipient to get their ass in gear and join the workforce.

Also, now who didn't see this coming -- from Yahoo/Associated Press:

UK gangs thrive in August riots
The Burger Bar Boys. The Cash or Slash Money Crew. The Bang Bang Gang. These names sound straight out of a dime-store novel, but they're real-life Birmingham gangs - some of the underground armies that spearheaded England's worst riots in a generation.

As Britain comes to grips with the causes of the past week's descent into anarchy, Prime Minister David Cameron has identified the growth of gangs as a key factor and is recruiting high-profile American anti-gang experts to help bring them to heel.

Some more:

British law enforcement authorities admit that, until only a few years ago, they sought to minimize the scale and violent potential of their homegrown gangs. They promoted their preferred label of "delinquent youth groups" and billed full-blooded street gangs as an American phenomenon.

In the wake of the August riots - when gangs used text-messaging to deploy break-in artists to breach steel-shuttered shops - politicians now use the "G'' word pointedly.

"Territorial, hierarchical and incredibly violent, the gangs are mostly composed of young boys, mainly from dysfunctional homes," Cameron told the House of Commons in an emergency debate on the riots. "They earn money through crime, particularly drugs, and are bound together by an imposed loyalty to an authoritarian gang leader. They have blighted life on their estates, with gang-on-gang murders and unprovoked attacks on police."

That's it -- keep your fscking head buried in the sand. That will make the problem go away for sure...

Oh, and the Police shooting that triggered all the riots in the first place?

The north London borough of Tottenham, where the fatal police shooting of alleged gang member Mark Duggan on Aug. 4 triggered the first riot two days later, has at least a dozen gangs rooted in the vicinity.

Duggan was a reputed member of The Stars gang in Tottenham and a relative of a major crime family in Manchester, northwest England. Police say Duggan, 29, was transporting a loaded Italian handgun hidden in a sock at the time of the police ambush. His last recorded words were a text to his pregnant girlfriend: "The Feds are following me."

Like I said, these riots are going to happen in large urban areas in the US in the next few years -- it will make the riots of the 1960's on look like a walk in the park -- our last riot of any scope was Toledo, OH in 2005 and that only lasted four hours.

The clock is ticking -- very glad to be living in a rural area.

Welcome to the world of unintended consequences... From the New York Times:
How Congress Devastated Congo
It�s a long way from the marble halls of Congress to the ailing mining towns of eastern Congo, but the residents of Nyabibwe and Nzibira know exactly what�s to blame for their economic woes.

The �Loi Obama� or Obama Law � as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act of 2010 has become known in the region � includes an obscure provision that requires public companies to indicate what measures they are taking to ensure that minerals in their supply chain don�t benefit warlords in conflict-ravaged Congo. The provision came about in no small part because of the work of high-profile advocacy groups like the Enough Project and Global Witness, which have been working for an end to what they call �conflict minerals.�

Unfortunately, the Dodd-Frank law has had unintended and devastating consequences, as I saw firsthand on a trip to eastern Congo this summer. The law has brought about a de facto embargo on the minerals mined in the region, including tin, tungsten and the tantalum that is essential for making cellphones.

The smelting companies that used to buy from eastern Congo have stopped. No one wants to be tarred with financing African warlords � especially the glamorous high-tech firms like Apple and Intel that are often the ultimate buyers of these minerals. It�s easier to sidestep Congo than to sort out the complexities of Congolese politics � especially when minerals are readily available from other, safer countries.

For locals, however, the law has been a catastrophe. In South Kivu Province, I heard from scores of artisanal miners and small-scale purchasers, who used to make a few dollars a day digging ore out of mountainsides with hand tools. Paltry as it may seem, this income was a lifeline for people in a region that was devastated by 32 years of misrule under the kleptocracy of Mobutu Sese Seko (when the country was known as Zaire) and that is now just beginning to emerge from over a decade of brutal war and internal strife.

The pastor at one church told me that women were giving birth at home because they couldn�t afford the $20 or so for the maternity clinic. Children are dropping out of school because parents can�t pay the fees. Remote mining towns are virtually cut off from the outside world because the planes that once provisioned them no longer land. Most worrying, a crop disease periodically decimates the region�s staple, cassava. Villagers who relied on their mining income to buy food when harvests failed are beginning to go hungry.

Meanwhile, the law is benefiting some of the very people it was meant to single out. The chief beneficiary is Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, who is nicknamed The Terminator and is sought by the International Criminal Court. Ostensibly a member of the Congolese Army, he is in fact a freelance killer with his own ethnic Tutsi militia, which provides �security� to traders smuggling minerals across the border to neighboring Rwanda.
And of course:
But by the time President Obama signed the law last summer, the conflict had moved into a different phase. Most of the militias that wreaked havoc between 2003 and 2008 have since been incorporated into the Congolese Army. The two or three of any significance that remain get their money from kidnapping and extortion, not from controlling mining sites or transport routes. The law has not stopped their depredations.
We have these rare earths in abundance but the enviro-nannys won't let us open pit mine them. Go figure...

Light posting today and Monday

Getting ready for the upcoming trip and working on some projects at the house. Have a half-eaten Costco rotisserie chicken boiling down with some vegetables -- homemade chicken noodle soup tomorrow. Makes the house smell sooooo good. Back out to the DaveCave(tm) and the shop.

Looking forward to the next week

Heading out to this event: Western States Blacksmith Conference at Mount Hood

Lots of seminars, hands-on training, demonstrations. Members from eleven regional guilds will be attending.

Very cool! Four days away but I am leaving here Wednesday to catch the opening Thursday at 2PM. Heading home on Sunday but will be spending Monday in Portland to visit Powell's Books and a couple tech surplus stores.

The light-bulb goes on

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A wonderful exegesis* of the London riots from Oleg Volk:
On the recent riots
Parks usually warn visitors not to feed wild animals. Habituated to handouts, creatures such as bears get aggressive and attack visitors who disappoint them by not providing the expected food. Then the park rangers have to shoot the �problem bears�. It�s the same with the people: habituating them to handouts and letting them think the handouts are tribute is a surefire way of getting riots when the bread and circuses cease or merely decrease.
Reader Bob offers this comment:
If they continue to act uncivilized, it will be time for us to act as Park Rangers.?.?.?
*exegesis -- yeah yeah, I know that exegesis refers to the critical analysis of a piece of TEXT but that word just fits comfortably here. Don't like it, start your own durn blog.

A weather two-fer from Cliff Mass

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Cliff Mass is a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and maintains a wonderful blog for local weather. Two posts caught my eye. First: the new Langley Hill radar is now online and will be one of the premier Weather Radars in the USA:
A New Chapter In Pacific Northwest Weather Forecasting
With all the depressing news these days, some good news is more than welcome. And I have very good news: some important Northwest weather history was made last week: the new coastal radar was turned on and we have received some of the first images. After nearly twenty years of local lobbying for this device, it is now a reality.
The homepage for the radar is here. Second: if you thought this was a long wet spring, we may be in for even more next year:
Fears of a Double Dip
Nothing terrifies Northwesteners more.

Many of us have suffered greatly because of it.

Folks are depressed over its effects.

Supposed experts are not sure which way it will go.

And the media can't seem to get enough of it, with headlines and articles describing its unpleasant effects all the time.

The nation's financial mess? Political paralysis in Washington D.C.?


I am talking about the threat of...dare I say it?...the return of La Nina next winter. Or to use a technical term: a double-dip La Nina.
Well crap. We are in the grip of a Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the sun is unnaturally quiet and now this little ray of sunshine. I have four cords of firewood laid up from last year -- maybe I should be getting another couple cords just in case...

Knot fun

Was trying to find a particular knot (triple fisherman's bend) and ran into these canonical lists of knots and bend knots at WikiPedia.

A knot involves just one piece of line, a bend ties two or more together. Lots of knots out there -- there is even a Corned Beef knot

Very cool -- listened to his speech on my way into Bellingham this morning and he is a good speaker and brought up some crucial points. Full text of his speech is at the PJ Tattler -- a few excerpts:
But it wasn�t until I graduated from Texas A&M University and joined the United States Air Force, flying C-130�s all around the globe, that I truly appreciated the blessings of freedom.

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, I realized that the United States of America really is the last great hope of mankind. What I saw was systems of government that elevated rulers at the expense of the people. Socialist systems cloaked maybe in good intentions but were delivering misery and stagnation. And I learned that not everyone values life like we do in America, or the rights that are endowed to every human being by a loving God.
Listen, we just got to get back to the basic truths of economic success. As Governor, I�ve had to deal with the consequences of this national recession. In 2003, and again this year, my state faced billions of dollars in budget shortfalls. But we worked hard, we made tough decisions, we balanced our budget. Not by raising taxes, but by setting priorities and cutting government spending. It can and it must be done in Washington, DC.

Dr. Schwertner (State Representative, R-Williamson County, TX), we have led Texas based on some just really pretty simple guiding principles. One is don�t spend all of the money. Two is keeping the taxes low and under control. Three is you have your regulatory climate fair and predictable. Four is reform the legal system so frivolous lawsuits don�t paralyze employers that are trying to create jobs.

Over the years, we have followed this recipe to produce the strongest economy in the nation. Since June of 2009, Texas is responsible for more than 40 percent of all of the new jobs created in America.

Now think about that. We�re home to less than 10 percent of the population in America, but forty percent of all the new jobs were created in that state.

I�ve cut taxes. I have delivered historic property tax reductions. I was the first governor since World War II to cut general revenue spending in our state budget. We passed lawsuit reform, including just this last session a �loser pays� law to stop the frivolous lawsuits that were happening.

And I know I�ve talked a lot about Texas here in the last little bit. I�m a Texan and proud of it. But first, and foremost, I�m an incredibly proud American.

And I know something: America is not broken. Washington, D.C., is broken!
And he closed his speech with this:
In America, the people are not subjects of government. The government is subject to the people. And it is up to us, to this present generation of Americans, to take a stand for freedom, to send a message to Washington that we�re taking our future back from the grips of central planners who would control our healthcare, who would spend our treasure, who downgrade our future and micro-manage our lives.

It is time to limit and simplify the taxes in this country. We have to quit spending money we don�t have. We need to get our fiscal house in order and restore our good credit. And we will repeal this President�s misguided, one-size-fits-all government healthcare plan immediately.

We�ll create jobs. We�ll get America working again. We�ll create jobs and we�ll build wealth, we�ll truly educate and innovate in science, and in technology, engineering and math. We�ll create the jobs and the progress needed to get America working again.

And I�ll promise you this: I�ll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can. And at the same time, we�ll be freeing our families and small businesses and states from the burdensome and costly federal government so those groups can create, innovate and succeed.

I believe in America. I believe in Her purpose and Her promise. I believe Her best days have not yet been lived. I believe Her greatest deeds are reserved for the generations to come. With the help and the courage of the American people, we will get our country working again. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.
Get him for President and Herman Cain for VP and that would be an amazingly great thing for this country.

Excellent historical fiction brought to vivid life.

Written by Vancouver Island author S. Thomas Russell It is set in the late 1790's -- the French Revolution is doing its mobocracy thing and England is at war with France.

The protagonist is a British Naval Officer whose mother is French so he is not given the 'choice' assignments. The series is strongly chronological so be sure to read Under Enemy Colours first. I found these for sale at Costco in trade paperback for $10 each so well worth it for a week of great reading. Very similar to the Patrick O'Brien canon.

Good news on the Energy front

From the New York Times:

Federal Judge Throws Out Obama Drilling Rules
A judge on Friday threw out Obama administration rules that sought to slow down expedited environmental review of oil and gas drilling on federal land.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled in favor of a petroleum industry group, the Western Energy Alliance, in its lawsuit against the federal government, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The ruling reinstates Bush-era expedited oil and gas drilling under provisions called categorical exclusions on federal lands nationwide, Freudenthal said.

The government argued that oil and gas companies had no case because they didn't show how the new rules, implemented by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service last year, had created delays and added to the cost of drilling.

Freudenthal rejected that argument.

"Western Energy has demonstrated through its members recognizable injury," she said. "Those injuries are supported by the administrative record."

Interior will drag their feet for as long as possible but it is nice to see the checks and balances are functioning as they should...

How about those jobs numbers

From CNS News:
Average Teen Unemployment Rate in D.C. is 50.1%, Analysis Shows
An analysis based on U.S. Census Bureau data by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) shows that the average unemployment rate for teens ages 16 to 19 in the District of Columbia was 50.1 percent as of June 2011. This corresponds with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing that for D.C. the annual average unemployment rate for teens in 2010 was 49.8 percent.

Michael Saltsman, research fellow at EPI, provided the 50.1 percent figure to as an update of an analysis he compiled based on the Census Bureau�s Current Population Survey.

The 50.1 percent figure is almost double the average teen unemployment rate in June 2007 in the District, when it was 26.2 percent, according to Saltsman.

Since 2007, the rate has increased each year: 29.5 percent in June 2008, 44.7 percent in 2009 and 48.8 percent in 2010, based on EPI�s analysis.

�We�re in the midst of the third summer in a row where teen unemployment has been above 20 percent,� Saltsman said when he announced his report on July 8.
Just wonderful -- some data on other states:
Saltsman�s analysis, which was released on July 8, ranked the 20 states with the highest average teen unemployment through May 2011: the first column shows the actual teen unemployment rate over the teen labor force; the second column reflects the number of discouraged teen workers added to the unemployment rate (also compiled from Census Bureau data).
  • District of Columbia � 49.0 percent, 52.2 percent
  • California � 34.6 percent, 36.2 percent
  • Georgia � 34.6 percent, 35.7 percent
  • Nevada � 34.3 percent, 36.4 percent
  • Washington � 33.2 percent, 34.2 percent
Ties in to crime rate, disintegration of the American Family unit and drug use. If Obama was trying to destroy America, he is doing a fantastic job.
From the UK Guardian:
Rick Perry to delight climate sceptics by running for president
The climate sceptics can finally get excited about the 2012 election: Rick Perry, their candidate of choice, is about to officially throw his hat in the ring.

Perry calls global warming "all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight." Unlike many of the other GOP presidential candidates, he hasn't expressed concern about climate change in the past, so he won't have to do any back-pedaling. Notorious climate denier Marc Morano is a big fan: "Based on climate views alone, anyone who is holding their nose voting for Mitt Romney because there's no other viable candidate will now rejoice to have an option with Rick Perry."
The Guardian has a pronounced liberal bias so they take some ad hominem pot-shots. A sample:
As a social and fiscal conservative, governor of a state that's been adding jobs (even if they're low-wage), and owner of a full head of lustrous hair, Perry is expected to swagger to the front of the pack in the contest for the Republican nomination.
Damned with faint praise -- even if the job doesn't pay well, this is still full employment for people that don't have a chance in other parts of the USA -- there is a reason why companies are leaving California for Texas. Hair is not germane to the article -- a distration... A bit fast and lose with the facts too:
But plugging your ears and going "la la la la" doesn't make global warming disappear. Perry's state is getting absolutely hammered by heat and the worst one-year drought in its recorded history. The hot, dry weather in Texas is desiccating rivers and lakes, devastating farmers and ranchers, and driving wildfires that have burned up millions of acres. In the face of these crises -- which are just what you'd expect in a climate-changed world -- Perry proposes neither adaptation nor mitigation but rather supplication. He's been praying for rain and calling on other Texans to do the same. So far no luck.
The drought is indeed tragic but it and the tornadoes from two months ago were both caused by high-pressure zones caused by colder than normal upper atmosphere temperatures.

A little stumbling block for Obamacare

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From FOX News:
U.S. Appeals Court Rules Against Obama's Health Care Law
A federal appeals court in Atlanta ruled Friday that a provision in President Obama's health care law requiring citizens to buy health insurance is unconstitutional, but the court didn't strike down the rest of the law.

The decision is a major setback for the White House, which had appealed a ruling by a lower court judge who struck down the entire law in January. But given that another appeals court, in Cincinnati, has upheld the law, it is increasingly clear that the Supreme Court will have the final say.

"We strongly disagree with this decision and we are confident it will not stand," White House spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said in a statement.

On Friday, the divided three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with 26 states that filed a lawsuit to block Obama's signature domestic initiative. The panel said that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority by requiring Americans to buy insurance or face penalties.

"This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority," the panel said in the majority opinion.
Heh -- and the House of Representatives can just defund it. Bit by bit this leviathan will be dismantled.

It's the economy stupid

From Bloomberg:

U.S. Consumer Confidence Drops to Three-Decade Low Amid Economic Headwinds
Confidence among U.S. consumers plunged in August to the lowest level since May 1980, adding to concern that weak employment gains and volatility in the stock market will prompt households to retrench.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment slumped to 54.9 from 63.7 the prior month. The gauge was projected to decline to 62, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.

The biggest one-week slump in stocks since 2008 and the threat of default on the nation's debt may have exacerbated consumers' concerns as unemployment hovers above 9 percent and companies are hesitant to hire. Rising pessimism poses a risk household spending will cool further, hindering a recovery that Federal Reserve policy makers said this week was already advancing "considerably slower" than projected.

"The mood is very depressed," said Chris Christopher, an economist at IHS Global Insight Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts. "Consumers are very fatigued and very uncertain. In the short term, people are going to pull back on spending."

This is the start of a death spiral for the US economy -- the recession is starting to walk among us...

Numbers in New York

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Not too good for Obama -- from the New York Post:
NY turns negative on Bam
President Obama might need to start taking a few more campaign trips to New York -- and not just to raise cash.

A stunning new survey gives the president a negative approval rating in the Empire State for the first time, with just 45 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval among voters, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

That's a sharp turnaround from June, when Obama's New York popularity was a healthy 57-38.

In the 2008 presidential election, Obama carried New York with 63 percent of the vote.

The poll of 1,640 registered voters was conducted from Aug. 3-8, just after Congress approved the hard-fought debt legislation and before this week's market mayhem on Wall Street.
An indication of how critical New York is shows up in this line:
In his 2008 White House run, $1 out of every $20 Obama raised came from New York state, where he took in $42 million, and New York City was his biggest cash center, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.


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Going Galt

From the Wall Street Journal:

Fed Up: A Texas Bank Is Calling It Quits
Main Street Bank lends most of its money to small businesses and is earning decent profits. But the Kingwood, Texas, bank is about to get out of the banking business.

In an extreme example of the frustration felt by many bankers as regulators toughen their oversight of the nation's financial institutions, Main Street's chairman, Thomas Depping, is expected to announce Wednesday that the 27-year-old bank will surrender its banking charter and sell its four branches to a nearby bank.

Mr. Depping plans to set up a new lender that will operate beyond the reach of banking regulators -- and the deposit-insurance safety net. Backed by the private investment firm of Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, the company won't be able to call itself a bank, but it will be able to do business the way Mr. Depping wants.

"The regulatory environment makes it very difficult to do what we do," says Mr. Depping, who last summer saw his bank hit with an enforcement order from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

And the reason:

Mr. Depping has been on a collision course with regulators since 2009, when FDIC examiners began questioning the bank's large concentration of small-business loans. Nearly all of Main Street's $175 million loan portfolio has gone to customers like dentists, owners of fast-food franchises and delivery-truck drivers, who use the loans to purchase equipment. The bank's average loan size is $100,000 to customers who have less than $1 million in annual revenue, Mr. Depping says.

Mr. Depping says that Main Street's focus on small-business lending has sheltered the bank from much of the devastation that has swept the industry, including 385 bank failures since the start of 2008.

Main Street had profits of $1 million in the second quarter and wrote off 1.25% of its loans as uncollectible. That is below the industry's charge-off rate of 1.82% in the FDIC's data for the first quarter, the latest available. The bank has earned nearly $11 million in the past year.

In July 2010, the FDIC slapped Main Street with a 25-page order to boost its capital, strengthen its controls and bring in a new top executive. Regulators also said the bank was putting too many eggs in one basket. Mr. Depping says regulators wanted the bank to shrink its small-business lending to about 25% of the total loan portfolio, down from about 90%.

Mr. Depping says he explained to regulators that Main Street has focused on small-business lending since he bought the bank in 2004 with a group of investors. He says the bank makes credit decisions based on a combination of the borrower's personal-credit and business-credit histories, among other factors.

"We felt that servicing small business is something the country needs and that we're really good at it. I thought the model was working just fine," Mr. Depping says.

Geeezzzz -- he knows his market and is doing very well at it and yet, the central planners want him to diversify his loans to include areas he is not comfortable with. Too much legislation written by people beholden to lobbyists.

Happy tenth birthday Instapundit

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Glen Reynolds (aka the Puppy Blender) is celebrating his tenth year of blogging. Check out Instapundit This October will be my eighth year. Fun stuff!

Energy prices skyrocketing

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Obama promised that under his plan, energy prices would skyrocket and he is keeping his promise.

from January 2008
From William Yeatman at the Competitive Enterprise Institute:
Obama�s War on Coal
President Obama claims to see the need to create jobs at this time of endless 9-plus percent unemployment -- yet his administration continues to relentlessly destroy jobs for ideological reasons. The best example may be the Obama Environmental Protection Agency�s �war on coal.�

The EPA�s regulatory crusade directly threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs -- and �rolling blackouts� that threaten even more.

Start with a proposed regulation under the Clean Air Act that�s set to be finalized in November. The Utility MACT (�Maximum Achievable Control Technology�) rule seeks to cut US power plants� emissions of mercury from 29 tons a year to just five. Yet EPA itself estimates that cutting even as much as 41 tons out of total emissions of 105 tons �is unlikely to substantially affect total risk.�

For zero benefit, the Utility MACT is one of the most expensive federal regulations ever. In comments submitted to the EPA, Unions for Jobs and the Environment, an alliance of unions representing more than 3.2 million workers, estimated that this needless regulation would jeopardize 251,000 jobs.

Then there�s EPA�s out-of-the-blue ruling last month, ordering Texas to cut emissions of sulfur dioxide by 47 percent. This, when the draft version of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule had exempted the state entirely. The excuse for the change? A supposed need to slightly reduce emissions as monitored 500 miles away in Madison County, Ill. -- a locale that meets the EPA air-quality standards in question.

And the EPA only gave Texas just six months to comply -- when it takes three years to build the necessary controls. Particularly hard-hit will be Luminant, the largest merchant power producer in Texas, which relies on high-sulfur coal: It says �curtailing plant and/or mine operations will be the only option� to meet the EPA�s �unprecedented and impossible compliance timetable.� Jonathan Gardner, a vice president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, warns that the rule directly threatens 1,500 employees at six different power plants across Texas.

The EPA is also attacking coal mining, by (for example) trying to stop the technique known as mountaintop removal. Endless environmentalist lawsuits have lost in the courts, but the Obama EPA now claims that salt runoff from the process violates the Clean Water Act because it harms a short-lived insect (not an endangered species) -- and has proposed a rule that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson concedes would effectively outlaw an industry that employs more than 15,000 miners in Appalachia.

These are just a few examples of a host of unjustified EPA measures targeted at coal. The obvious goal is to seize any excuse to make coal power more expensive -- eventually, as then-candidate Barack Obama put it to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008, to �bankrupt� the coal industry.

Yet coal has long been the most affordable source of electricity generation in America; it provides almost 50 percent of this nation�s power. Team Obama�s actions guarantee higher US electricity prices -- which will push up the costs of every business in America.

That means more lost jobs. A recent report from the Edison Electric Institute found that the Obama administration�s air-quality policies alone could force the retirement of up to 90,000 megawatts of coal power, and require $200 billion in retrofits by 2020.

The loss of that much power production makes brownouts and �rolling blackouts� a virtual certainty in some regions of the country -- notably, the industrial heartland.

Bottom line: For the sake of the US economy, Congress needs to put an end to Obama�s war on coal.
The EPA needs to be defunded -- it should get its budget cut 70% for 2012. It is being used as a tool by this regime to promote Obama's Marxist agenda. Let's look at a list of ten items:
  • Abolition of Private Property.
  • Heavy Progressive Income Tax.
  • Abolition of Rights of Inheritance.
  • Confiscation of Property Rights.
  • Central Bank.
  • Government Ownership of Communication and Transportation.
  • Government Ownership of Factories and Agriculture.
  • Government Control of Labor.
  • Corporate Farms and Regional Planning.
  • Government Control of Education.
We are well on the way to quite a few of these items. This list was first published in 1848 by Karl Marx and represents his ten planks.

More Faster Please

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This sounds fantastic -- from MS/NBC:
New leukemia treatment exceeds 'wildest expectations'
Doctors have treated only three leukemia patients, but the sensational results from a single shot could be one of the most significant advances in cancer research in decades. And it almost never happened.

In the research published Wednesday, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania say the treatment made the most common type of leukemia completely disappear in two of the patients and reduced it by 70 percent in the third. In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone.

The results of the preliminary test �exceeded our wildest expectations,� says immunologist Dr. Carl June a member of the Abramson Cancer Center's research team.

Dr. Edgar Engleman, a cancer immunologist at Stanford University School of Medicine who was not involved in the research calls the results �remarkable ... great stuff.�

The Penn scientists targeted chroniclymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common type of the blood disease. It strikes some 15,000 people in the United States, mostly adults, and kills 4,300 every year. Chemotherapy and radiation can hold this form of leukemia at bay for years, but until now the only cure has been a bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant requires a suitable match, works only about half the time, and often brings on severe, life-threatening side effects such as pain and infection.

In the Penn experiment, the researchers removed certain types of white blood cells that the body uses to fight disease from the patients. Using a modified, harmless version of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, they inserted a series of genes into the white blood cells. These were designed to make to cells target and kill the cancer cells. After growing a large batch of the genetically engineered white blood cells, the doctors injected them back into the patients.

In similar past experimental treatments for several types of cancer the re-injected white cells killed a few cancer cells and then died out. But the Penn researchers inserted a gene that made the white blood cells multiply by a thousand fold inside the body. The result, as researcher June put it, is that the white blood cells became �serial killers� relentlessly tracking down and killing the cancer cells in the blood, bone marrow and lymph tissue.

As the white cells killed the cancer cells, the patients experienced the fevers and aches and pains that one would expect when the body is fighting off an infection, but beyond that the side effects have been minimal.
Again, this is only three patients but we could be looking at a Medical Nobel award in a couple years if this scales up. Should be easy to target other cancers...

Holy crap - Gold spot hit $1,799 today

Gold Spot
It was only $1,715 on the 08/08 -- just two days ago. And the stock market is not doing that well -- from Bryan Preston at PJ Tattler:
The Dow Only Lost 520 More Points Today
It�s always a tricky business to peg stock prices to anything political, but the combination of fears of another banking crisis in Europe plus the Fed running out of bullets plus the total lack of leadership from the president all probably have something to do with the latest bloodbath on Wall Street.
Stocks finished near session lows in choppy trading Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P wiping out all of the previous session�s gains led by financials, as investors continued to cautiously monitor developments in the European banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down over 500 points, wiping out the previous session�s 429-point rally. The blue-chip index has had triple-digit moves in four of the last five trading days.

Disney [DIS 31.54 -3.16 (-9.11%) ] and BofA [BAC 6.77 -0.83 (-10.92%) ] led the blue-chip decliners.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also finished sharply lower. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, soared more than 25 percent.

Among key S&P sectors, financials and industrials declined.
Beyond the declines, the volatility itself is worrisome. A rumor that France�s credit would get downgraded led to panic and the French president even cancelled his vacation to return to work. The downgraded US plus the dysfunctional, possibly divorce-destined Eurozone don�t make for very strong economic pillars. To say the very least.
Fun times...

Al Gored

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Al Gore was speaking at an Aspen Institute forum last week and did not realize that the mike was being streamed to the internet or that anyone in the room was recording his words. From the New York Times:
Gore Flings Barnyard Epithet at 'Organized' Climate Change Critics
Climate skeptics have "polluted" public debate on global warming using the same tactics tobacco companies once employed to deny the health risks of smoking, former Vice President Al Gore said last week.

"Some of the exact same people -- by name, I can go down a list of their names -- are involved in this," Gore said Thursday at an Aspen Institute forum in Aspen, Colo. "And so what do they do? They pay pseudo-scientists to pretend to be scientists to put out the message: 'This climate thing, it's nonsense. Man-made CO2 doesn't trap heat. It's not -- It may be volcanoes.' Bullshit! 'It may be sun spots.' Bullshit! 'It's not getting warmer.' Bullshit!"

He continued: "There are about 10 other memes that are out there, and when you go and talk to any audience about climate, you hear them washing back at you the same crap, over and over and over again. They have polluted this shit. There is no longer shared reality on an issue like climate, even though the very existence of our civilization is threatened."
Tip of the hat to Anthony at Watts Up With That who has the audio of the ninety-minute long speech available along with calling out a bunch of the highlights -- a lot more than just the BS word. And Al baby? It is about the sunspots and volcanoes, any CO2 has little or no greenhouse effect after a few hundred ppm and 1998 was the warmest year in recent history -- the next two years were just as warm but there has been a significant cooling trend. Anyone saying differently (NASA) has been cherry-picking their datasets. And to think that this moke almost became our President -- Global Warming has been berry berry good to Al; left office worth about $2M and is now worth over $90M. Now that his milk cow is drying up, he is understandably a bit hipped and testy...

Canada gets it

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From The Daily Bayonet:
Environment Canada suffers shrinkage
Canada�s Conservative government is doing what every country has to do, cut costs.

But Canada is doing it in style:
Canada�s environment ministry will cut or reassign around 10% of its workers, unions said Thursday, prompting fears that services like weather forecasting and environmental protection will suffer. Officials said the move was designed to help eliminate the budget deficit. Critics said it underscored what they portray as the right-leaning Conservative government�s contempt for the environment.

Those affected include engineers, meteorologists, scientists, chemists and biologists. William Pynn, head of the Union of Environment Workers, said meteorology, water monitoring and enforcement of regulations would suffer. �The cuts are so massive that the support mechanism for the research that Environment Canada does � is certainly going to be challenged,� he told Reuters.
The new cuts follow last month�s already-announced cuts to Environment Canada.

The Sierra Club of Canada is outraged, which is a good sign the Harper government is doing something right:
�This is not about the deficit. This is about a blatant disregard for need to protect our natural heritage,� said John Bennett, the executive director of Sierra Club Canada. �It will give the polluters what they want, a toothless Environment Canada with no scientific or enforcement capability,� he told Reuters.
Right now I can hear the howling from south of the border from folks wishing the same could be said of the anti-business, anti-energy EPA.
I wonder when the US will finally wake up. We used to be a world leader but these days, it seems that everyone else has a clue and our 'Dear Leaders' are stumbling in the dark.

Burj Khalifa - your 15 minutes are counting

From Forbes:

Saudi takes step to build world's tallest tower
Saudi Arabia took a key step forward Tuesday in its plan to build the world's tallest tower and outdo Gulf neighbor Dubai, which inaugurated its own record-breaking skyscraper less than two years ago.

The Saudis awarded a more than $1 billion contract for a spire that will soar two-thirds of a mile high, to be named the Kingdom Tower. It will have a Four Seasons hotel, serviced apartments, luxury condominiums and offices, encompassing, in all, about 5.4 million square feet.

The plans make Saudi Arabia a front-runner in the race between the oil-rich Gulf nations for glitzy, architectural trophies that dot their desert territories with glimmering skyscrapers and elaborate, man-made islands. The projects are seen as status symbols to show off both economic success and cultural sophistication.

Kingdom Holding Co., the investment firm headed by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, said it signed a 4.2 billion riyal ($1.2 billion) deal with the Saudi Binladen Group to build Kingdom Tower on the outskirts of the Red Sea city of Jiddah.

And that 'Binladen Group' was started by the father of Osama Bin Laden. He got his start when his fledgling construction company was brought in to assist on the construction of the Kaba'a -- the black stone building at the heart of Mecca. The primary contractor was US company Bechtel.

From the architect's website -- Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture:

AS+GG Designs Kingdom Tower, to Be the World's Tallest Building
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture is pleased to announce that it is designing Kingdom Tower, to be the world's tallest building, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, near the Red Sea.

At over 1,000 meters and a total construction area of 530,000 square meters (5.7 million square feet), Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece and first construction phase of the Kingdom City development on a 5.3 million-square-meter site in north Jeddah. The tower's height will be at least 173 meters (568 feet) taller than the world's current tallest building, Dubai's 828-meter-tall Burj Khalifa, which was designed by Adrian Smith while at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Kingdom Tower will feature a Four Seasons hotel, Four Seasons serviced apartments, Class A office space, luxury condominiums and the world's highest observatory.

Design development of the tower is under way, with construction to begin imminently. Foundation drawings are complete and the piling for the tower is currently being tendered. Kingdom Tower will cost approximately $1.2 billion to construct, while the cost of the entire Kingdom City project is anticipated to be $20 billion.

Do not forget that this $20 billion is coming out of our pocket every time we fill up our gas tanks. If we only had a domestic source of oil...

Mexican drug smugglers

The end result of entrenched corruption. From FOX News:
Mexican Smugglers Nearly Interrupt California Surf Contest
Three Mexican nationals attempted to illegally land their boat on California's Huntington Beach Sunday -- about a mile away from where crowds were forming to watch a professional surfing contest.

Lifeguards spotted the small fishing boat at around 8:30 a.m., but when the men realized they had been spotted, they turned back to sea and were seen throwing a package overboard, The Orange County Register reported.

A number of people were on the beach at the time, for the U.S. Open of Surfing.

It is believed the men in the boat were smuggling drugs across the border from Mexico.

All three were arrested and taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents on suspicion of smuggling and attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.
It will be a long slog and they will lose some really good people but it took time for the criminals to become entrenched and they can be taken out one by one. The police are corrupt -- this is ingrained in their corporate mindset that mordita is a supplement to your paycheck. We need to grow a pair and secure the borders -- just how difficult would this be. Pretty cheap compared to the costs of the collateral damage...

Tighten your belts - it is starting

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From Nouriel Roubini writing at the Financial Times
Mission impossible: stop another recession
The first half of 2011 showed a slowdown of growth � if not outright contraction � in most advanced economies. Optimists said this was a temporary soft patch. This delusion has been dashed. Even before last week�s panic, the US and other advanced economies were odds-on for a second severe recession.

America�s recent data have been lousy: there has been little job creation, weak growth and flat consumption and manufacturing production. Housing remains depressed. Consumer, business and investor confidence has been falling, and will now fall further.

Across the Atlantic the eurozone periphery is now contracting, or barely growing at best. The risk that Italy or Spain � and perhaps both � will lose access to debt markets is now very high. Unlike Greece, Portugal and Ireland these two countries are too big to be bailed out.
He sets up the scene and then gets to the heart of the matter:
Until last year policymakers could always produce a new rabbit from their hat to trigger asset reflation and economic recovery. Zero policy rates, QE1, QE2, credit easing, fiscal stimulus, ring-fencing, liquidity provision to the tune of trillions of dollars and bailing out banks and financial institutions � all have been tried. But now we have run out of rabbits to reveal.
Fun fun fun... Meanwhile, from Reuters:
Gold hits record over $1,715/oz as risk assets slip
Gold vaulted above $1,700 an ounce for the first time on Monday after pledges by the G7 and the European Central Bank to quell the turbulence in the financial markets did nothing to put investors at ease.
Gold prices go up when everything else becomes uncertain.

Our tax dollars at work

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Classic Judge Judy
Where's my @#$% STIPEND I want my JetPack too -- they promised me a JetPack when I grew up...

The news from Texas

A sobering tale of the Texas drought from Matt G at Better and Better:

The time it never rained.
Dad has more than once referenced the terrible drought that Texas went through in the mid 1950's. Friend Art, who lives in Terlingua, TX, actually indirectly got some land out that. The Terlingua Ranch was a very large ranch (by which I mean to say hundreds of sections) in the Big Bend area. While it was desert out there, it could support cattle, so long as the rancher did his part to put in guzzlers and windmill-fed stock tanks. But water catchments don't work when it stops raining, and even springs and wells will dry up, when there's no water trickling down to the groundwater. The ranch fell on hard times, and the land was subdivided and sold off in parcels. Art bought some of it back when the original buyers subdivided again and sold it again, and then again bought some when the descendants of the original buyers sold off what seemed to them to be a questionable inheritance.

My wife has twice been down there in that desert country with me, and she refers to it as a "mudhole." It seems that her visits are very good for the wildlife down there; she attracts rain. The running joke out there is "We only get 7 inches of rain a year... but you should be here the afternoon that it falls!" I have seen some torrents out there.

This year is dry in north Texas. Actually, that's something of an understatement; it's on track to become the driest year this state has ever recorded. It's impressive that they're talking about the drought as state-wide, because we share little in common here in NE Texas with climate in SW Texas, which has little to do with the Panhandle region or the Piney Woods or the Gulf Coast or the Rio Grande Valley. It's 689 miles as the crow flies, from Amarillo to Brownsville, TX. It's 729 miles for that crow to fly from Texarkana to El Paso, TX. From the northwest corner of the panhandle to the SE corner of the state, it's a straight line flight of 799 miles, according to Google Earth. So when we say that "the state is in a drought," that's a point of significance.

Cattle owners are sending this year's beeves to slaughter, but more importantly, they're sending next year's heffers up, too. There's no more grass and hay, and water's now a consideration. This is good news for the consumer purchasing beef in the very near future, but next year, I expect that it's going to sting when you buy a T-bone. When I chased a young bull back into its pasture after he had pushed through a decrepit barbed wire fence to get at the meager ditch grass, I spoke to the landowner about fixing up the fence. "It don't matter," he told me. "They're all going to the feed lot tomorrow, anyway. Hay is $128 a round bale, when you can get it. I can't afford to keep 'em. I'm selling out." This from a cattle owner with diverse investments, like the bar that he was running while he spoke to me over the phone.

We're noticing the heat more than most years. I read that the state average temperature for the month of July was 87 degrees. Well, that doesn't sound so bad, does it? It does when you realize that it's the 24 hour average, from July 1 to July 31. I cannot recall the last day that it wasn't triple digit temperatures, here, but I know that it's been more than a month. The bank sign shows the highest temperatures at about 7:00 PM. My wife started to pull over and take a picture of it when it showed 112° F, but then decided not to take the picture when it dropped back down to 111°; it's just too common around here. 108° was cool enought that my elder daughter went out to wash and decorate her little sister's bike, just for the fun of it.

Foundations are shifting. My back door wouldn't open until I lay a soaker hose at the junction of the patio and the house, and ran it for about 6 hours to re-hydrate the clay soil to get it to push the foundation back up.

My yard has long since turned yellow, which grass crushes into a beige ash under my footsteps when I go to water the trees. The tomato plants are almost denuded of vegetation because they are the only green leaves near the grown. Grasshoppers turned into brown locusts that are three inches long explode from under my feet as I walk. As they swarm, my thoughts turn from polymorphism toward the plagues of Moses. This spring, we had some terrible hail storms that took out windows and destroyed the local blueberry crop. Now the drought and the plague of locusts. My cats brought fleas in, and I had to repeatedly bomb the house to get rid of them. So far, I've not had boils, but if I see too many frogs, I'm going to worry about my elder daughter's health.

I think I'm joking.

I just got a fancy new vest from SafariLand for work. It has better coverage, but it has a sealed cover over the panels that makes them feel like they're wrapped in shower curtains. Frankly, I'll take my chances tonight; I'm not wearing it when it's this hot.

Not only selling off this years beef but next years.

I had some folks come out today to shear the llamas and they were remarking that some llama people in Iowa were selling off their critters as they were unable to maintain them -- they were dying from the heat.

And what is not hitting the media is that this is caused by a persistent cold arctic high-pressure air mass -- same thing that caused the horrible tornadoes and storms a few months previous. Not global warming by any means, lower than normal atmospheric temperatures instead...

Here's how you do it

From the Toronto Globe and Mail:
S&P upgrades Saskatchewan on low debt burden
Saskatchewan suddenly has a new shine.

The province joined an elite club of provinces on Tuesday when Standard & Poor�s upgraded its debt rating to triple-A. The only provinces to share the triple-A honour are western neighbours Alberta and British Columbia.

The new rating caps off a dramatic turnaround for a province that was a fiscal mess in the 1980s, and in more recent years saw skilled workers leaving in droves for oil-rich Alberta. But no longer. Saskatchewan is now home to everything from potash to grain and oil, and the money from these resources has made balancing the provincial budget far easier.

Rather than quickly spending its newly-earned wealth, the provincial government has put its tax revenue toward paying the bills. S&P gave special credit to Saskatchewan for its �low-and-declining debt burden.� As of March 31, the province�s fiscal year-end, Saskatchewan�s debt totalled $4.6-billion, representing 38 per cent of this year�s projected operating revenues and only 8 per cent of its gross domestic product. Canada�s federal debt-to-GDP ratio sits at around 35 per cent.
Emphases mine -- meanwhile the US Debt is sitting at 100% of GDP. From FOX News of August 4th:
U.S. Debt Reaches 100 Percent of Country's GDP
The U.S. debt surpassed 100 percent of gross domestic product after the government's debt ceiling was lifted, Treasury figures showed Wednesday, according to AFP.

The debt, which had been in somewhat of a holding pattern over the past several weeks, rose $238 billion after President Obama signed the debt-ceiling deal into law Tuesday to avoid the country's first-ever default.
This is not the way to run a business...

Here we go down the tubes

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From Breitbart/Associated Press:
S&P downgrades US credit rating from AAA
Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's on Friday downgraded the United States' credit rating first time in the history of the ratings.

The credit rating agency said that it is cutting the country's top AAA rating by one notch to AA-plus. The credit agency said that it is making the move because the deficit reduction plan passed by Congress on Tuesday did not go far enough to stabilize the country's debt situation.
And I love the understatement in this little note:
S&P said it was now "pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government's debt dynamics anytime soon."

Heh - government redundancy

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Nice legacy Nancy -- from FOX News:
Pelosi�s Energy Savings Program Evaporates
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi's four-year effort to "Green the Capitol" is officially no-more, having been dumped into an existing energy-savings program on the Hill in a move that Republicans say will save more money, eliminate redundancy and promote collaboration.

In response, some Democrats are crying foul, saying the move reflects the low priority that energy savings is for Republicans.

The House Chief Administrative Office announced Thursday that the Architect of the Capitol's Office will take over the functions of the program that expanded House recycling and led to thousands of energy-efficient light bulbs being installed on the Hill.

"Saving energy saves money and consolidating our sustainability programs helps save taxpayer dollars by improving efficiencies and allows us to make smart and sound investments throughout the Capitol complex," Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers said in a statement.

"This greatly improves our return on investment in congressional facilities by continuing to include sustainability in our long-range project planning," he said.

But Kyle Anderson, a spokesman for the Democrats on the House Administration Committee, expressed little confidence in the architect's sustainability efforts and said the move sends a "clear message" about the GOP-led House's "lack of commitment to environmentally responsible policies."
So Senator blinky comes up with this wonderful plan to make the Capitol building green and it gets incorporated into another wonderful plan to make the Capitol building green and the Democrats are saying that it's all a Republican plot? A bit more from the article:
Pelosi launched the program in 2007 when she was speaker of the House. The program sought to reduce energy use by the House by 50 percent over 10 years and reduce the institution's carbon footprint.

But Wood said that it never made sense for Pelosi to launch the program when the AOC began its own initiative in 2005 under a federal mandate. Instead, Pelosi should have allowed AOC to execute her effort, Wood said, adding that her effort was "duplicative" and included "projects that were wasteful."

The total cost of Pelosi's program isn't known but Wood said the operating costs alone ranged from $650,000 to $2.4 million per year. That doesn't include the cost of among other things outside contractors, the AOC purchasing and installing energy efficient equipment, and a composting program that cost taxpayers $475,000 a year before Republicans killed it in January for its inefficiency.
Nevermind Fscking moron...
A lot of what the current regime is doing is creating a recipient class that pays no taxes but instead, receives money and food from the Federal Government. The Democrats who do this are essentially buying a bloc of votes with their largess. Needless to say, the recipients are labeled as 'poor' as if they were 'rich', there would be zero justification for these programs. This creates a rift between the donors and the recipients and when a large percentage of those who choose to be recipients are black, racial tensions are present. From Milwaukee station WTMJ:
Witnesses describe mobs, some people claim racially-charged attacks
Witnesses tell Newsradio 620 WTMJ and TODAY'S TMJ4 of a mob of young people attacking innocent fair-goers at the end of the opening night of State Fair, with some callers claiming a racially-charged scene.

Milwaukee Police confirmed there were assaults outside the fair.

Witnesses' accounts claim everything from dozens to hundreds of young black people beating white people as they left State Fair Thursday night.

Authorities have not given official estimates of the number of people involved in the attacks.

"It looked like they were just going after white guys, white people," said Norb Roffers of Wind Lake in an interview with Newsradio 620 WTMJ. He left the State Fair Entrance near the corner of South 84th Street and West Schlinger Avenue in West Allis.
There was a rap concert that evening but (from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):
The violence is similar to what occurred in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood over the July 4 holiday, when about 60 young people beat and robbed a smaller group that had been watching fireworks from Kilbourn Reservoir Park. The injured people were white; the attackers were African-American, witnesses said. Another group looted a convenience store.

Thursday night's Main Stage performer was rapper MC Hammer, but a number of people who attended the concert said the show wasn't to blame for the disturbances at the fair. One woman said the crowd watching Hammer was mostly white and adult, and any children there seemed to be with parents.

Another woman said the concert was "very laid-back and had no craziness that we witnessed at all. The craziness was in the midway."
I am reminded of that great quote from President Lyndon Johnson regarding his new "Great Society" and the ramp-up of the Federal handouts: "That should get the niggers voting Democrat for the next 200 years."

There is broadband and there is

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I had been getting some poor performance from the new 3G connection -- large amounts of packet loss so I spent a few hours with my signal strength meter tuning the antenna location. The meter is not calibrated but has arbitrary readings from 0 to 100. I went from 18 to a solid 40-50. Needless to say, the once fast performance with some dropouts is now screaming with zero packet loss... Had to relocate the antenna to another house wall to get it pointed in the right direction. If you are rural and your only option for broadband is satellite, you might want to see if your cell carrier has service in your location -- ours was outside of the service area but with an antenna and amplifier from these people: Wilson Electronics I was able to get online and ditch Wild Blue...

Nuttin' today either

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Went to the Antique Tractor show -- I last visited it a few years ago and the blacksmithing equipment was outside with a small shed. Now it has a new purpose-built building with a live steam feed for the hammer. Very cool. There was only one smith working today (did not recognize them) but I am coming back tomorrow to spend some more time there. Heading outside to the DaveCave(tm) -- been so pissed off at what is happening in the other Washington that I have not been surfing the news as much. That and the weather is drop-dead gorgeous finally...

Maybe some posting tomorrow

Just finished Monster Hunter Alpha -- fun plot, great scene in the last 80 pages and Larry sets us up for at least two more books. Had a hummingbird feeder at the bakery and took it home -- getting lots and lots of birds so it is a very cool thing to watch. The nectar is very simple -- boil four cups of water with one cup of cane sugar, chill and place in the feeder. Replace and clean the feeder every week. I had always thought that this was not a balanced diet for the little guys but, through the magic of Google, I learned the obvious that they eat a lot of bugs for protein and minerals -- the nectar is just for glucose. Facepalm. Getting a lot of stuff done at home. Just started cracking the books for closing out 3rd quarter Bakery stuff -- due end of September so no big rush. Had the "call before you dig" people out yesterday to mark off the buried utility lines for the new service panel at the shop -- looking forward to having adequate power. Heading into town tomorrow for the The Puget Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery Association. The site of the event has the largest public blacksmith setup and there are usually a bunch of smiths there. Meet up with some friends and also see what happened to the Whatcom County Old Settlers Association forge -- a shame to see a hearth go cold. Foot is healing up quite nicely -- today was the second day without using a dressing on the incision and the swelling is starting to really go down. The Doctor had to re-shape the bone so there is still a lot of healing to do but, even now, it is so much better than before -- night and day! Heading out to the DaveCave(tm) to check email.

Nothing tonight

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About 75% of the way through Monster Hunter Alpha -- damn good writing. In #2 (Monster Hunter Vendetta) there was a very large cast of characters; all of them a lot of fun but still, it was a very wide but not a very deep story. In Alpha, Larry digs into the person of Earl Harbinger as he writes his autobiography (each chapter starts with a chunk of it). The chapters then segue to a massed werewolf attack on a small town in upstate Michigan with the supernatural very much in play. Old Ones, witches, diggers, sea devils and a large cast of extras pop their heads into the story arc but the primary story is the town of Copper Lake. Spent the last three hours grinning like an idiot, reading and having dinner and a couple beers at a local restaurant. You have to love a story that has the line: "and that jerk Woodrow Wilson"


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We are getting a stretch of great weather -- in the mid 70's and clear. This is the first time this year that we are seeing more than two good days in a row -- been a very cold and wet spring and summer...

Monster Hunter Alpha

Excellent read -- I am about halfway through it and it is a hoot. This is the third of a series from Larry Correia. When a new writer shows up, generally the first book is good -- good enough to attract the attention of the publisher and also, it was what had been stewing in the author's brainpan for a few years/decades. If there is a second, it can sometimes be as good as the first, sometimes not but will generally be entertaining. It is the third book that shows if this new writer has traction. Larry has traction. Monster Hunter Alpha is better than Monster Hunter Vendetta (#2) and is on the par with Monster Hunter International (#1). Add to this that he has a second series out starting with The Grimnoir Chronicles: Hard Magic and he is someone to watch for. Again, the Monster Hunter books are strongly chronological so you do want to start with Monster Hunter International to get the entire backstory and character development.
The declining stats show just how effective the Department of Education is regarding the performance of our students and our students' ranking compared worldwide (in the terlit for both). Now they deign to teach the "settled science" for which there is "consensus". From CNS News:
U.S. Education Dep�t Pushes Man-Made Global Warming, Saving the Earth at Children�s Reading Event
During a July event at the U.S. Department of Education, children from D.C. schools and day care centers were treated to free books, including two featuring Nickelodeon characters as part of the media organization�s �The Big Green Help� Series. One of the books promotes the idea that global warming is man made and the second book talks about what kids can do to save the Earth.

SpongeBob Goes Green! An Earth-Friendly Adventure! tells the story of SpongeBob�s friend, Krusty Krab, who builds a swimming pool. Mr. Krab is frustrated that it is not hot enough to attract paying customers to his new swimming pool and decides that the exhaust from boats and cars could solve his dilemma.

Mr. Krab says: �I�m just pumpin� a wee bit of carbon dioxide into the air. It�ll warm up the temperature and bring on an endless summer! People will want to use my new pool all year long.�

To help with his cause, SpongeBob and his friend Patrick set stacks of tires on fire.

�More smoke floated up into the sky,� the book states.
Start the indoctrination while they are young and don't know any better. If the Federal government was serious about cutting its spending, eliminating the Department of Education would be a fantastic place to start. Signed into existence on October 17, 1979 (Jimmy Carter's watch), it has about 5K employees with a 2011 budget total of $71.5 Billion with an additional $135 Billion in student loans. 2010 was $56 Billion and $96 Billion loans (27% increase for spending and 40% increase for loans over the span of one year). (US Whitehouse FY2011 budget --page 63-68 of this 192 page PDF file). If this plant food dangerous greenhouse gas were a serious issue, I could maybe see a reason to get the word out but this is purely agenda driven and downright shoddy work and does nothing but sow FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) into the minds of little children.

To amplify yesterday's post

We're screwed.

From Real Clear Politics:
Reid: Joint Committee Must Include Taxes Or Trigger Will Kick In
"We've had too much talk the last few days of Republicans as early as this morning, Republican leaders in the Senate saying there will be no revenue. That's not going to happen. Otherwise, the trigger is going to kick in. The only way we can arrive at a fair arrangement for the American people with this joint committee is to have equal sharing. It's going to be painful. Each party if they do the right thing, it's going to be painful for them because to be fair, we have to move forward. There has to be equal spending cuts, there has to be some revenue that matches that," Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said on the floor of the Senate right before voting started on the debt deal.
From CNS News:
$2.4 Trillion Would Be Largest Debt-Limit Increase in U.S. History
The bill to increase the federal debt limit that has been put before Congress today would increase that limit by up to $2.4 trillion, which would be the largest increase in the debt limit in U.S. history by a margin of half a trillion dollars, according to records published by the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Research Service.

In fact, according to records published by the Congressional Research Service, if the current bill is passed and the debt limit is increased by $2.4 trillion, the two largest debt-limit increases in U.S. history would come in back-to-back years, both during the presidency of Barack Obama.
2012 is 14 months away -- time to get active if you aren't already...

Goings on in Washington

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I was going to post on the current manufactured "debt crisis" that is being tossed around but Bayou Renaissance Man beat me to it and did it so well that I am not even going to try:
We are so screwed
I'm too disgusted by today's political developments to even try to post general blog stuff tonight. Instead, let's take an honest look at what the 'agreement' between the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives means for you and I. I can put it very briefly - in two words, actually.

We're screwed.

Sorry to be so blunt about it, but that's the reality of the situation. We can now confidently expect the US economy to implode in one of two ways:
  1. EITHER the debt burden will grow so large that it absorbs most of the national budget in interest and debt service payments, crippling all other government expenditure; OR -
  2. The Treasury will deliberately print so many more dollars to service our debt requirements, in what it will doubtless call 'Quantitative Easing 3' (and 4, and 5, and 6, and . . . ), that inflation will almost completely erode the value of our currency, destroying any hope of prosperity for the middle and working classes of America.
Please understand this very clearly. ONE OR THE OTHER OF THOSE OUTCOMES IS ALMOST CERTAIN. It can only be avoided by a reversal of direction of the nation's economic policy. That cannot and will not happen unless and until we elect - in the short term - a Congress, Senate and President who are both aware of economic reality, and will act upon it. If they do, the reversal of direction will at best produce a prolonged, painful and extremely bitter recession. If they don't, one or the other of the outcomes listed above becomes inevitable.
Lots more cheeriness at the link -- he closes out with the great Kipling poem 'The Gods Of The Copybook Headings'. True back in 1919 and just as true today.
Offline for a day maybe two. From Larry's website:
Larry Correia is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Monster Hunter International, Monster Hunter Vendetta, The Grimnoir Chronicles: Hard Magic (May 2011), Monster Hunter Alpha (August 2011), Dead Six (with Mike Kupari, October 2011), and The Grimnoir Chronicles: Dark Ocean (November 2011) all from Baen Books and available online and from bookstores everywhere.
The Monster Hunter series is strongly chronological so you really should start with Monster Hunter International. Fun fun reading...

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