March 2012 Archives

Cool tool - Cable Labels

When doing either audio or network installations, labeling each cable is always a pain. You want something that is legible, durable and will withstand the jostling of being moved around.

Paper tags are out, tywraps are out. I use a Brother tape-writer with a USB interface and when I apply the label, I overcoat it with a couple inches of clear packing tape. Works OK.

CableLabels are genius -- you get an 8.5*11 sheet of labels with an adhesive clear cover 'tail' attached and they are designed to be run through your laser printer -- nice and durable.

Check out CableLabels. Price varies from $1.99/sheet to $2.49 depending if you have color and on the size of the label.

I have a couple sheets on their way -- moving my electronic music stuff out of the DaveCave(tm) into the house and having to re-do all of the wiring (spending some quality time with my soldering iron)...

Yard sailing

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Picked up a few things -- the blacksmithing tools were pretty grim so I passed on these but did get a nice 10 pound sledge, a couple of rulers, a firebox fan and 30 pounds of high-carbon steel. Harrow disks and tedder springs. Saddened to see that a friend may have passed away -- from the Bellingham Herald:
Missing couple feared dead in Squalicum Harbor boat fire
Search and rescue teams continued working late Friday afternoon, March 30, but investigators said two people missing in a huge fire at Squalicum Harbor likely were trapped aboard a burning boat that sank during the blaze.

The fire that broke out at about 5:30 a.m. Friday destroyed a series of boathouses and 10 yachts moored at Gate 3, G Dock East, near the Bellingham Yacht Club.

Some of the boats were loaded with fuel, creating a series of explosions as tanks erupted into fireballs.

Jim Langei, 43, and Sterling Taylor, 33, were living on a 42-foot recreational trawler in the boathouse, said Bellingham police Sgt. Shawn Aiumu.
Jim had a vacation cabin a few miles away from me for the last twenty years and he was a frequent shopper at the store. I am praying to God that they were somewhere else when the fire broke out. There is going to be some fallout over this as the Port of Bellingham did have a fireboat but they sold it last year due to the expense of maintenence. No other firefighting options were available.

Nothing tonight

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In town today running errands and an early bedtime. A local pillar of the community passed away last year and Ruth's estate sale is tomorrow morning. They had lived on their farm for 67 years and there is an incredible collection being sold. From what I hear, there are some blacksmithing tools so I will be there at 10AM tomorrow with caffeine in my belly and dollars in my fist.
Sunspot AR1429 gave us some wonderful Aurorae about two weeks ago. It is still around and set to show up on our face of the sun in a few days. From Anthony at Watts Up With That:
Potential for large solar flares and CME�s may be with us again soon
Readers may recall my reports on the CME�s from massive sunspot group 1429, seen below.

It seems the sunspot group continues to live, and has unleashed another massive Coronal Mass Ejection. It will rotate into Earth view again soon.

NASA�s Spaceweather writes:
ANOTHER CME FROM SUNSPOT AR1429: Transiting the farside of the sun, never-say-die sunspot AR1429 erupted during the late hours of March 26th, producing its 11th major CME. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) photographed the cloud flying over the sun�s eastern limb.
Variable star indeed!

Whooping Cough again

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The parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are idiots. They need to realize the harm they are doing to their kids and to the community at large. From the Peninsula Daily News:
Number of whooping cough cases levels off on Peninsula
The pertussis outbreak of 2012 has leveled off on the North Olympic Peninsula, with no new cases reported this week in �Clallam or Jefferson counties, health officials said.

Pertussis, known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease that leads to severe coughing and tends to target children.

Dr. Tom Locke, public health officer for Clallam and Jefferson County, said Jefferson County still had 23 cases, and Clallam County had five, as was reported in early March.

Health officials said this year's pertussis outbreak has reached �epidemic levels� in Jefferson and five other counties: Cowlitz, Kittitas, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom.

Locke said the medical community has done a good job of isolating the whooping cough sufferers and vaccinating those around them.

�That's our goal: to find the cases and treat them so they're no longer infectious,� Locke said.

�If you do that, you can stop outbreaks.�

Locke said pertussis is considered an epidemic in Jefferson County because there was a �chain reaction� in its spread.
Once you get below the threshold for herd immunity, you get explosive outbreaks like this. The threshold for Pertussis is very high -- 92% to 94% and the reproduction number is also high compared to other diseases. This stuff is nasty. There is a big difference between real medicine and an ignorant parent thinking that their little snowflake should not be exposed to some nasty 'corporate' vaccine...

Another local drug bust

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From the Bellingham Herald:
Border agents in Blaine find million-dollar drug stash in abandoned car
A car that sped away from Border Patrol agents Sunday night, March 25, was later found abandoned at a rest area, along with the bags of methamphetamine and opium alkaloids inside it.

The agents had stopped the car on the D Street onramp to Interstate 5, but as an agent walked up the car sped off. It was found a short time later at a rest area.

Two large bags inside contained more than 60,000 opium tablets and about 77 pounds of a white, powdery substance that tested positive for meth, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Someone is ticked off somewhere -- that was a big load to lose. The idea that they could just drive it through the border crossing is insane -- shows you what kind of mentality you are dealing with.
Alan Lomax spent the better part of his life traveling around the world recording indigenous musicians. His collection is finally available online with over 17,400 digital audio files available for download. Main page for the collection: Sound Recordings A bit about Alan: Alan Lomax:
In an age that decries romanticism, Alan Lomax stands out as an enormously romantic figure. �I thought of Alan as a Minotaur � half man, half supernatural � who defied life as we know it,� wrote one of his old friends, Bill Ferris. Alan was proudest of his driving � his thousands of miles and days down nameless roads seeking out the jewels of the human spirit. He is most famous for his work in the penitentiaries, plantations, and lonely farms of the Mississippi Delta, where he returned no less than seven times between 1933 and 1985 to listen, observe, fraternize, and record night after night, year after year; but he repeated this feat with astounding results in hundreds of obscure places in the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe, and North Africa. Jelly Roll Morton, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Muddy Waters, and the Reverend Gary Davis were only a few of the many geniuses, famous and obscure, who were in reality telling us the true story of our country over Alan�s microphone. The sympathy, connoisseurship, and technical avant-gardism he poured into his work in every platform � from the interview to the printed page, concert stage, commercial disc, and scholarly article � yielded some of the most passionate and intimate documents of any era, which might have been lost but instead led to the ecumenical vision of the world�s music we have today. But more than this, what Alan Lomax had in mind was the renewal of the forgotten springs of human creativity.
Just wow!

Awww crap - RIP Earl Scruggs


We are saddened to report that legendary Country Music Hall of Famer Earl Scruggs has passed away of natural causes here in Nashville at the age of 88.

Earl Scruggs made his mark in music by perfecting and popularizing a three finger banjo-picking style that became a cornerstone characteristic of Bluegrass. Previously, banjo players utilized a 'clawhammer' finger style. Scruggs' method immediately advanced the banjo from a rhythm to a lead instrument.

All of us at wish to convey our deepest condolences to the Scruggs Family.

Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) wrote a wonderful article in the New Yorker two months ago:

The Master from Flint Hill: Earl Scruggs
Some nights he had the stars of North Carolina shooting from his fingertips. Before him, no one had ever played the banjo like he did. After him, everyone played the banjo like he did, or at least tried. In 1945, when he first stood on the stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and played banjo the way no one had ever heard before, the audience responded with shouts, whoops, and ovations. He performed tunes he wrote as well as songs they knew, with clarity and speed like no one could imagine, except him. When the singer came to the end of a phrase, he filled the theatre with sparkling runs of notes that became a signature for all bluegrass music since. He wore a suit and Stetson hat, and when he played he smiled at the audience like what he was doing was effortless. There aren�t many earthquakes in Tennessee, but that night there was.

As boys in the little community of Flint Hill, near Shelby, North Carolina, Earl and his brother Horace would take their banjo and guitar and start playing on the porch, then split up and meet behind the house. Their goal was to still be on the beat when they rejoined at the back. Momentously, when he was ten years old, after a fight with his brother, he was playing his banjo to calm his mind. He was practicing the standard �Reuben� when found he could incorporate his third finger into the picking of his right hand, instead of his usual two, in an unbroken, rolling, staccato. He ran back to his brother, shouting, �I�ve got it, I�ve got it!� He was on the way to creating an entirely new way of playing the banjo: Scruggs Style.

A wonderful read. Earl will be missed on Earth and the band in Heaven just got significantly better.

Light posting tonight

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Back at the farm and waiting for my energy treatment person to show up. I had used Lulu's bandwidth to download about 30GB of files and major upgrades for the music software and some CAD stuff -- sitting here copying it off SD memory chips and running the install procedures. Got a Costco rotisserie chicken in the smoker finishing off and I'll put some asparagus in there for 10 minutes while I have me salad. Some homemade potato salad with the chicken and that is dinner.

Obama and Putin - a love story

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A long wonderful comparison between the two -- from Daniel Greenfield at the Canada Free Press:
All the Pravda
For a man so in love with the technology of image, the camera, the microphone and the teleprompter, the leader of the increasingly less free world has a natural tendency to put a little too much faith in it. This is the second time that an open microphone has let Obama down, the first time it recorded him stabbing an ally in the back, the second time it recorded him stabbing a few dozen more in the back.

Medvedev, whose bosom buddy just managed to cling to power with a stolen election and brutal suppression of protests, surely understands how O feels. Photo ops with tigers and sunken treasures, not to mention skiing, martial arts, and even rap, did not keep the Big P in smooth with the Russian public when the economy headed south.

Vladimir Putin didn�t have any racial guilt to ladle on the voters that might get them to overlook the mansions, the corruption and the abuses of power. But the average American voter, like the Russian voter, is more interested in the meat and potatoes, not to mention the gasoline, than in mystical allusions to the power of history. If Putin at times seemed bent on passing himself off as a new czar and Obama as a new savior, the crown and halo were shattered by the economy.

Putin�s had tightened control over Russia to an extent that the Obamas and the Warrens could only fondly dream of in their fondest federalist fantasies. And it�s easier to steal elections when you don�t have to kowtow to a bunch of provincial interests and take the complaints of bible and gun owners seriously. But much like Putin and Ahmadinejad, Obama enjoys dim prospects in a straight election. And unlike them, he doesn�t have a military force that will turn up a few million ballots and send the protesters straight to the hospital, if not to the morgue.
A wonderful read. Daniel closes with the following:
It�s the Chicago way. You scratch my back and I won�t look too closely into those shady land deals or the suspicious deaths. Ever since the Caliph of Chicago made it to the White House, the old game has gone from the backlots of Oz park to the world stage, but it hasn�t really changed much, just gotten bigger. Moscow, which is the Chicago of Russia, where payoffs and legbreaking are the only form of law that matters, understands how to play the game. They also know a punk when they see one.

It�s a sad testament to the Republic that these days our political system has converged with the Russian one. Some twenty years after the Soviet Union fell, the American and Russian leaders have a good deal in common. They both oversee mafia states that spend money wildly for their 1 percent who are in power or close to those who are, while playing class warfare games with business titans when they aren�t hitting them up for cash.

Propaganda is the only thing on television. Enemies of the state are forever being denounced in the most vulgar and violent language. Nationalization and federalization are passed off as reform programs, when they are actually payday programs to shove as much money and power to the right people as possible. And the goal of those in power appears to be a perpetual one party state run for their own benefit.

Obama and Putin are both petty tyrants living in a house of mirrors, czars of their own egos, corrupt and corrupting forces that hang around the necks of two great nations. They don�t quite understand each other, though both are lawyers and bag men for their respective syndicates, neither do they respect each other. But they both know how to play the game.
Hat tip to The Blogmocracy for the link.


Prez. Obama made a big international policy gaffe on a live mic. Big media have not seen fit to comment but it has been percolating around the blogosphere. Swiped in full from Velociman -- cannot say it better myself:

High Crimes and Misdemeanors
And blow jobs. Well, scrub that last one. If one is going to put one's hide on the line and attempt to impeach a sitting president, ixnay on the fucking owblay objays. Or however you say it. I eat pig. I act pig. I don't necessarily speak pig.

I remember the heady days of 98, 99. The GOP was going to impeach Bill Clinton over a goddam blow job. I remember thinking boyz, boyz. This guy sold guidance systems for intercontinental ballistic missiles to the Red Chinese for campaign cash, and you're going after the hummer?

Anyway, I'm disappointed that there isn't more outrage over this hot mic Medvedev thing. Obama told the fucking president of our greatest nation-state enemy "Cover my ass, and I'll fold for you when I win."

I'm sure glad Trayvon Martin isn't alive to see this wretched display of Richelieuism. When I was 15 years old, mudding sheetrock on a summer job, a wise old alcoholic told me a contractor was a man who would hold his grandmother down and let a bulldog fuck her.

How you feeling, Gram Gram?

All politicians fold, spindle, and mutilate the truth, and their constituents' wishes. I understand that. If that were not true the two political parties in the United States would be the My Little Ponies and the Hello Kitties. Which, now that I think about it, are basically asses and pussies, which is our current state of affairs.

Now, it wouldn't surprise me if Richard Nixon had sidled up to Chou En-Lai in 1972 Peking with a flute of champagne in hand and said You know, if you leave my little Formosan friends alone I'll look the other way if you decide to invade and punish your Vietnamese enemies to the south. Because, Lord knows, those bastards are giving me hell. That's the way the game is played on the Talleyrand/Metternich scale of things.

What you don't do, because you are a fucking rube, is hot mic that shit. And what you don't do is sell out your own people while selling out your proxies. I feel bad for the Poles and the rest of the eastern Europeans over this sell out, but I feel worse for me.

And here's what really sucks. What truly and decidedly makes Barack Obama the most callow, self-serving, disgusting piece of shit on earth: he didn't proffer this to Medvedev Putin for a likeways geopolitical concession of significance. He gave this up because he was begging his enemy to help re-elect him.

I would have thunk a constitutional scholar, as Obama professes to be, would know a little Latin. Like quid pro quo. You sell out your most loyal allies, you should get something in return. Like Raoul Castro's head in an iced-down Playmate cooler, or a necklace of Sudanese and Chechen warlords' ears, or Sandra Fluke's uterus in a Mason jar of George Dickel sour mash. Something.

Something other than his own damned self-aggrandizement.

I suppose when you're a Chicago machine boy all you covet is the next guy's block. Obama could have demanded ten billion barrels of Priobskoye Crude. It still would have been a horrid, immoral, realpolitik sellout of our closest allies. But all he wants is to keep his block, and perhaps get the Korean greengrocer's pinky finger as a souvenir.

I'd holler to impeach this bastard for high crimes and misdemeanors, but he'll be gone soon enough.

This is just one instance of a three+ year extravaganza. Time to buckle up and vote the Kenyan bastard out.

Fender Guitar Factory - circa 1959

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In 1959, Forrest White shot 7:30 minutes of Super-8 film touring the Fender Guitar Factory:
From the YouTuube page:
Fender Factory Tour 1959
1959 8mm Film by Forrest White. Digital Film Restoration by CinePost Edited by Ross Lenenski. Read the story behind this film in "Fender: The Inside Story," by Forrest White available at Amazon: Music by Russell Eldridge at . Russell's Stratocaster guitar is from the American Deluxe Series made at the Corona Plant (Fender), USA in the Year 2000.

Leo Fender is in the second shot. No CNC machines back then, everything was done by hand. It is amazing to realize that every guitar made that year is now worth a small fortune. Archival High Resolution film transfer by CinePost at If you know the names of the employees, please let us know and we will annotate them. For more info please call 678-238-0800.
Cool bit of history.

James Cameron's first video

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First videos from James Cameron's 35,000 foot descent:
The bottom of the Earth�s deepest ocean is like a desolate lunar landscape, film director James Cameron revealed after making the first solo dive seven miles below the surface.

Mr Cameron became the first person to explore the Mariana Trench, which is larger than the Grand Canyon and as deep as Mount Everest is tall, alone.

�It was very lunar, a very desolate place, very isolated,� he said.

�My feeling was one of complete isolation from all of humanity.

�It�s very different than what you imagine. You have to go through it, you have to really experience it.

Playing whack-a-mole - methamphetamine

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Our "war on drugs" is more public relations than anything else and policing just shifts the production elsewhere -- talk about unintended consequences. From The Economist:
Methed up
Storming a ranch south of the city of Guadalajara, Mexican soldiers last month made one of the biggest drug busts in history. They found 15 tonnes of the banned stimulant methamphetamine, which in America retails for more than $100 per gram, seven tonnes of chemicals used to make it, and a laboratory. The manufacturers had fled.

This was the latest sign that meth, once primarily a home-cooked drug, has become a mass-produced one. Unlike cocaine and heroin, imported from the limited regions where coca and poppy are cultivated, meth can be made anywhere. In most countries the ingredients, principally ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, can be bought as medicine for colds. Cooking them is dangerous. But meth is so addictive that the risk of blowing off your hands is little deterrent: in 2010 the authorities discovered 6,768 makeshift labs in America.

These �kitchens� make kilos of the stuff, not tonnes. Producing big quantities in America has become harder, as the authorities have cracked down on bulk purchases of the ingredients. So production is shifting to big and highly efficient labs in Mexico. The cheap and potent meth they supply now provides some three quarters of the drug consumed in America. Seizures at the border rose from 1.3 tonnes in 2001 to 4.5 tonnes by the end of the decade. In 2008 the Mexican authorities identified 21 labs. In 2009 they found 191.
And of course the corruption in the Mexican Police and Military is so entrenched that they literally can not do anything. They may bust a lab but the chemists will have kept current on their mordida and will have gotten a phone call before the raid.

Heads up - the stuff is everywhere

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What "peak oil" -- from the Beeb:
Kenya oil discovery after Tullow Oil drilling
Oil has been discovered in Kenya after exploratory drilling by Anglo-Irish firm Tullow Oil, President Mwai Kibaki has said.

The discovery was made in the country's north-western Turkana region.

Mr Kibaki said it was "the first time Kenya has made such a discovery" and called it a "major breakthrough".

Kenya is a regional business and tourist hub with the largest economy in East Africa, although its relative wealth is not based on mineral riches.

The Kenyan president said Tullow would drill more wells to establish the commercial viability of the oil.

"It is... the beginning of a long journey to make our country an oil producer, which typically takes in excess of three years. We shall be giving the nation more information as the oil exploration process continues," he said.

Tullow Oil, which also struck oil in neighbouring Uganda, said the Kenyan find had exceeded their expectations.

"This is an excellent start to our major exploration campaign in the East African rift basins of Kenya and Ethiopia," said Angus McCoss, the company's exploration director.

He added: "To make a good oil discovery in our first well is beyond our expectations and bodes well for the material programme ahead of us."
Those who say that we are at the tail end of our oil reserves are either willfull idiots or else, they are prosecuting a political agenda to misinform the general public. The general public deserves better -- much much better. The green movement has done more direct harm to people's welfare than any other movement with the exception of socialism or communism.

Heh - just click on the link

Brilliant -- from BuzzFeed: The 5 Stages Of The Political Death Cycle A quick read and they nail it.

In town tonight

A friend of Lulu's son is a butcher and he brought over about ten pounds of drop-dead gorgeous prime rib roast.

Put it in a low oven for six hours, I did some garlic mashed yukon golds and Lulu did an awesome red sauce (oven roasted tomatoes and good stuff)

A late dinner but a wonderful one -- I am sitting here having my third glass of wine and digesting. Lulu is upstairs sound asleep and the kids just left for another friends house to play D&D.

From the New York Times:
U.S. Inches Toward Goal of Energy Independence
The desolate stretch of West Texas desert known as the Permian Basin is still the lonely domain of scurrying roadrunners by day and howling coyotes by night. But the roar of scores of new oil rigs and the distinctive acrid fumes of drilling equipment are unmistakable signs that crude is gushing again.

And not just here. Across the country, the oil and gas industry is vastly increasing production, reversing two decades of decline. Using new technology and spurred by rising oil prices since the mid-2000s, the industry is extracting millions of barrels more a week, from the deepest waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the prairies of North Dakota.
A bit more:
�There is no question that many national security policy makers will believe they have much more flexibility and will think about the world differently if the United States is importing a lot less oil,� said Michael A. Levi, an energy and environmental senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. �For decades, consumption rose, production fell and imports increased, and now every one of those trends is going the other way.�

How the country made this turnabout is a story of industry-friendly policies started by President Bush and largely continued by President Obama � many over the objections of environmental advocates � as well as technological advances that have allowed the extraction of oil and gas once considered too difficult and too expensive to reach. But mainly it is a story of the complex economics of energy, which sometimes seems to operate by its own rules of supply and demand.
Nice call-out to President Bush but I call bullshit on this: "and largely continued by President Obama" But they switch back to Obama mode soon enough:
More recently, with gasoline prices rising and another election looming, Mr. Obama has struck a different chord. He has opened new federal lands and waters to drilling, trumpeted increases in oil and gas production and de-emphasized the challenges of climate change. On Thursday, he said he supported expedited construction of the southern portion of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.
All lies. More:
But the drillers in Texas had important allies in Washington. President Bush grew up in Midland and spent 11 years as a West Texas oilman, albeit without much success, before entering politics. Vice President Dick Cheney had been chief executive of the oil field contractor Halliburton. The Bush administration worked from the start on finding ways to unlock the nation�s energy reserves and reverse decades of declining output, with Mr. Cheney leading a White House energy task force that met in secret with top oil executives.

�Ramping up production was a high priority,� said Gale Norton, a member of the task force and the secretary of the Interior at the time. �We hated being at the mercy of other countries, and we were determined to change that.�

The task force�s work helped produce the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which set rules that contributed to the current surge. It prohibited the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act, eliminating a potential impediment to wide use of the technique. The legislation also offered the industry billions of dollars in new tax breaks to help independent producers recoup some drilling costs even when a well came up dry.
Drill here, drill now. Get us off foreign oil -- we have over 200 years at current consumption.

Eat some more popcorn - it's good for you

Interesting bit of information -- from Science Daily:

Popcorn: The Snack With Even Higher Antioxidants Levels Than Fruits and Vegetables
Popcorn's reputation as a snack food that's actually good for health popped up a few notches as scientists recently reported that it contains more of the healthful antioxidant substances called "polyphenols" than fruits and vegetables.

They spoke at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), in San Diego on March 25.

Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a pioneer in analyzing healthful components in chocolate, nuts and other common foods, explained that the polyphenols are more concentrated in popcorn, which averages only about 4 percent water, while polyphenols are diluted in the 90 percent water that makes up many fruits and vegetables.

The dilution makes all the difference in the world.

Shh - Stoned Ninjas

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From California's San Gabriel Valley Tribune:
Medical marijuana delivery man reports he was robbed by ninjas in West Covina
Police are looking into a bizarre report of a medical marijuana robbery involving two attackers dressed as ninjas, officials said.

Police received the strange report shortly before 10 p.m. Friday from a medical marijuana delivery man who said he had been robbed in the 800 block of South Sunset Avenue, near Cameron Avenue, after making a delivery to a patient West Covina police Lt. Alan Henley said.

The delivery man, who was in his 40s, told police that, "As he was going back to his vehicle, he was approached by two subjects in ninja costumes who chased him with batons," the lieutenant said.

"The victim said he was scared and he dropped a bag with some marijuana and money. The suspects took it," Henley added.

It was not clear how much cash or pot was taken, police added.

The incident remained under investigation. Police were not aware of any other recent crimes involving suspects dressed as ninjas.
Next up, local 7-11 robbed by Ninjas. Twenty bags of Doritos only items stolen. Heh...

Obamacare and the Supreme Court

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The personal mandate clause of Obamacare is up before the Supreme Court beginning today. A good article on the Democrat Party's other dealings with the Court. From Roll Call:
Supreme Court Ruffles Democrats� Feathers
When the Supreme Court begins to deliberate President Barack Obama�s signature health care law Monday, it will serve as a bitter reminder to Democrats of the blows leveled at their causes by the conservative Roberts court.

Though the outcome of the high-profile case reviewing the constitutionality of the health care law�s marquee feature, the individual mandate, is unknown, plenty of other decisions have given Democrats pause or even rallied them to battle with the court in ways rarely seen before.

Perhaps no moment encapsulated the tension between the Democratic agenda and the court�s decisions more than the first nationally televised spat between a sitting president and a sitting Supreme Court justice.

�With all due deference to separation of powers ... the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections,� Obama said in his 2010 State of the Union address of the controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee�s ruling in front of a joint Congress, a national audience � and most of the Supreme Court.

�Not true,� a stunned Justice Samuel Alito could be seen mouthing to the president on camera.
Cooking up a big bowl of popcorn and sitting back to watch this one. It will be interesting to see if Justices Kagan and Sotomayor recuse themselves as both of them worked on components of Obamacare before being appointed to their Supreme Court positions.

Another brick in the wall

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Found a nice website about the Environmental Protection Agency -- the leviathan that is legislating with rules rather than law (Constitutional violation). Check out EPA Abuse

There was an election in one of Australia's states -- Queensland -- and it caught the entrenched big-government by surprise. They got a good shellacking.

Their Liberal National Party is small-Government conservative, their Australian Labor Party is progressive big-Government nanny state. Labor has had the majority of both houses of the Australian Parliament since 2010.

The Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was surprised.
From The Australian:

Julia Gillard surprised by dimensions of Labor's defeat in Queensland
The Prime Minister today admitted she was surprised at the extent of the Queensland result - which has left Labor with as few as six MPs in the state - but she said the poll was overwhelmingly fought on state issues.

This is the same person that is setting up Internet Censorship through a News Media Council :

Censorship comes to Australia
Reposting from Menzies House email from Timothy Andrews:
Late yesterday afternoon, I read something that sent chills down my spine.

Mr. Ray Finkelstein QC, a left-wing former Federal Court Judge with no media experience, at the request of the Gillard Government, issued a 400 page report which calls for a Big Brother Super-Regulator to 'regulate' political speech and - among other things - impose new laws with the power to stop climate change realists from speaking up.

Its 'recommendations' will sicken every single Australian: They actually call for a Big Brother Super-Regulator to censor not just the newspapers and TV, but websites, personal blogs, and even what you say on Twitter!

This is a proposal that would seem right at home in North Korea or Zimbabwe. I never thought - as dark as things seemed- we could stoop this low here in Australia.

And Justice Finkelstein is a real piece of work -- from Kangaroo Courts of Australia:

Justice Finkelstein and a fist full of dollars. This is the clown running the Australian Media inquiry.
Raymond Finkelstein QC, better known as The Fink will go down in history as one of the greatest fools to ever be appointed a judge, an absolute legend. This is a man who tried to hear his own case which was before the court. It does not get much worse than that.

Justice Finkelstein was eventually forced to stop hearing the case because not only did he have a financial interest in the case but he was in fact one of the parties to the class action against a company called Centro Properties via his own private super fund.

The Fink retired as a Federal Court of Australia judge on June 30, 2011 and has recently been appointed to head up an inquiry into the Australian Media focusing on codes of conduct for both print and online.

Anyway, back to the election -- from the Australian Broadcasting Company:

New era as LNP takes power in Queensland
A new political era is dawning in Queensland, with the Liberal National Party poised to take the biggest parliamentary majority in the state's history.

Labor suffered a crushing defeat at the polls and has been reduced to just a handful of seats in the 89-seat Parliament.

Campbell Newman has achieved the impossible - becoming Premier from outside parliament, and leading the LNP to an unprecedented victory.

Mr Newman thanked Queenslanders for placing their trust in him, and has promised to lead a humble and dignified government.

"I pledge to you that we will conduct ourselves with humility, grace and dignity. We will work for all Queenslanders regardless of their vote," he told supporters in his victory speech last night.

"We're determined that Queenslanders will walk tall."

So right about now, you are thinking -- Gee DaveH, this is cool but this is just one state.

Australia is the sixth largest nation in the world, following Russia, Canada, the USA, China and Brazil.

Australia is 7,741,220 sq km in size.
The USA is 9,826,675 sq km in size.

Australia has a population of 22,015,576
The USA has a population of 313,847,465

Numbers from here: Australia USA

The USA has 57 fifty states, Australia has six. For a nation of this size and scope, with only six states, this is big.

Andrew Bolt has this wonderful observation:

Labor denies the Queensland disaster had anything to do with the Gillard Government. And it must say that publicly to protect itself from damage. But it must admit it privately to protect itself from annihilation.

I suspect this is an issue that will allow you to check which journalists are selling Labor and which describing it.

Good to keep in mind -- like some people say: you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. This time, it is blowing for sanity and clear minds...

Us in a few years

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From the London Daily Mail:
Soldiers stand by to drive petrol tankers as part of contingency plans to stop a strike plunging Britain into chaos
Emergency plans for soldiers to drive petrol tankers to stop a threatened strike plunging Britain into chaos have been drawn up by the Government.

The contingency plans are aimed at preventing a repeat of the turmoil caused by protesting lorry drivers when Tony Blair was Prime Minister.

The results of a strike ballot of Britain�s 2,000 tanker drivers will be announced tomorrow � and both Ministers and well-placed sources in the drivers� union Unite believe they will vote in favour of a walkout starting on April 3.
The article goes on to mention that the drivers are paid �45,000/year and work 37 hour weeks. That pencils out to over $70K US Dollars and this is not counting the medical, benefits and pension. Like I said in the title -- this is us in a few years if we do not radically shift our direction.
Talk about ultimate geekdom. From the Beeb:
James Cameron dives to deepest ocean point
Hollywood director James Cameron has plunged nearly 11km (seven miles) down to deepest place in the ocean, the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific.

He made the descent alone in a prototype submarine called "Deepsea Challenger", taking around two hours to reach the bottom.

Once he reached a depth of 10,898 metres (35,756 ft), his first words up to the surface were: "All systems OK."

His craft is kitted out with cameras and lights so he can film the deep.

This is only the second manned expedition to the ocean's deepest depths - the first took place in 1960.

The earlier descent was made by US Navy Lt Don Walsh and Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard.

They spent about 20 minutes on the ocean floor but their landing kicked up silt, meaning their view was obscured.

Before the dive, the Titanic director told the BBC, that making the descent was "the fulfilment of a dream".

He said: "I grew up on a steady diet of science fiction at a time when people where living a science fiction reality.

"People were going to the Moon, and Cousteau was exploring the ocean. And that's what I grew up with, what I valued from my childhood."
Now that will be a must-see film. A curious note, the Trieste, Piccard and Walsh's ship is sitting under 200 miles from my home at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, WA.

Audio tools

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An excellent list of audio tools -- most are free and open source, some are shareware and a few commercial. All of them are good. Lots of options. Check out KO4BB's Audio Page KO4BB being the amateur radio callsign for Mr. Didier A Juges in Florida. He was born in France.

Pope Benedict on Marxism

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Pope Benedict is going to visit Cuba this week and had the following to say. From the UK Guardian:
Pope Benedict: communism no longer working in Cuba
Pope Benedict XVI, flying to Cuba for a historic visit, has said that Marxism was out of place in the contemporary world and urged Cubans to find "new models".

His remarks on Friday were at least as forthright as any made by his predecessor, John Paul II, on a groundbreaking trip to the country 14 years ago. Answering a question about his visit to Cuba, which has remained a communist bastion for more than 50 years, the pope said: "Today it is evident that Marxist ideology in the way it was conceived no longer corresponds to reality."

He told reporters accompanying him on the papal plane: "In this way we can no longer respond and build a society. New models must be found with patience and in a constructive way."

Benedict also said that his church wanted "to help in the spirit of dialogue to avoid trauma and to help bring about a just and fraternal society". But his comments are likely to cause irritation in Havana.
Good on him -- the Cubans in power deserve to be more than irritated. They have been responsible for turning a gorgeous vibrant culture into a third-world hell-hole. How many hundreds of thousands of people have starved to death under their regime. Their "free medical care" is a tragic joke. Godspeed Pope Benedict!
The enviros are overreaching and you can see their lust in this naked power-grab. From Phoenix, AZ FOX Affiliate KSAZ:
Climate Fund Seeks UN-Style Diplomatic Immunity
The Green Climate Fund, which is supposed to help mobilize as much as $100 billion a year to lower global greenhouse gases, is seeking a broad blanket of UN-style immunity that would shield its operations from any kind of legal process, including civil and criminal prosecution, in the countries where it operates.

There is just one problem: it is not part of the United Nations.
That this is not being immediately shouted down gives me a really strong case of the willies... Our tax dollars at work.

Our masterminds at work

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The Whitehouse has been releasing documents every Friday -- weekends are notoriously slow for news so this gives them less exposure when the content is not as flattering. Really good news is released at the beginning of the week to benefit from the media run-up. From The Hill:
Documents: White House was all-hands-on-deck as Solyndra collapse neared
Several key White House offices were involved with the Obama administration�s messaging plans and other preparations as the collapse of the taxpayer-backed solar company Solyndra was imminent, newly released documents show.

The latest White House documents delivered to House Republicans on Friday again highlight the extent to which senior administration officials braced for the fallout as Solyndra � a company President Obama had personally visited � was about to go under.

A White House memo that noted the danger of �imminent bankruptcy� at the end of August 2011 says, �OMB, DPC and NEC have been working with press and OLA to be prepared for this news to break.�

Acronym translation: OMB is the Office of Management and Budget, DPC is the Domestic Policy Council, NEC is the National Economic Council and OLA is the Office of Legal Affairs.

The document, an update on Solyndra�s $535 million Energy Department (DOE) loan guarantee, notes that $527 million had been disbursed and that DOE believed no more funds should be alloted.

The White House document notes that the Treasury Department, OMB and other White House offices agreed that no more money should be provided because there was a �near-zero chance" that the company could survive.
Talk about clueless. If this were the real world, these morons would be out of work that very afternoon.

The higher Education bubble

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You have to wonder what colleges and universities are thinking when they offer some courses. From the Michigan State University Summer 2012 Catalog:
SW290: Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Catastrophes & Human Behavior
Zombies are a popular metaphor for apocalypse both in popular culture and mainstream academic pursuits, even being used by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for teaching emergency preparedness. This course uses current research and science on Catastrophes and Human Behavior together with the idea of a Zombie Apocalypse to learn about the nature, scope, and impact of catastrophic events on individuals, families, societies, civilizations, and the Earth itself.
It sounds like a fun class but if I was spending my money, I would focus on something a bit more practical in the working world. Just call me a bitter clinger...
This was obvious to me for a long long time. Not the exact mechanism but the outcome. From Nature:
Early exposure to germs has lasting benefits
Exposure to germs in childhood is thought to help strengthen the immune system and protect children from developing allergies and asthma, but the pathways by which this occurs have been unclear. Now, researchers have identified a mechanism in mice that may explain the role of exposure to microbes in the development of asthma and ulcerative colitis, a common form of inflammatory bowel disease.

In a study published online today in Science, the researchers show that in mice, exposure to microbes in early life can reduce the body�s inventory of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, which help to fight infection but can also turn on the body, causing a range of disorders such as asthma or inflammatory bowel disease.

The study supports the 'hygiene hypothesis', which contends that such auto-immune diseases are more common in the developed world where the prevalence of antibiotics and antibacterials reduce children�s exposure to microbes.

�We as a species are not exposed to the same germs that we were exposed to in the past,� says study co-author Dennis Kasper, a microbiologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Science paper is here: Microbial Exposure During Early Life Has Persistent Effects on Natural Killer T Cell Function Curious that it took them so long to find this...

Great resource for Solar activity

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Check out the U.S. Geological Survey's National Geomagnetism Program Here is their Disturbance Summaries page

Mmmmm - Smoked Brisket

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Smoked Beef Brisket is pure θεος βρομος Not the botanical Genus, more the original Greek -- Food of the Gods. Finished my salad and now sitting down to a couple pieces of brisket and some potato salad. Watching the Llamas graze outside...

The LED Museum

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A fun perambulation down the trail of cold light. I present for your enjoyment The LED Museum Fun to realize that these have been around commercially since 1969. 43 years of soft red glow.
My previous post was written at 2:06PM as I was sitting down to a lunch (smoked turkey sandwich and two Mountain Dew Throwbacks (made with real Cane Sugar -- not HFCS -- the difference is very noticeable) when I got a call saying that a neighbor had noticed that one of the Llamas was out in the road. I run out to check and sure enough, Waylon is happily trotting down the highway while Pancho and Lefty were anxiously pacing along the fence-line. Pancho and Lefty are really sweet and I can get them to do pretty much what I want with the occasional treat or two. Waylon is his own Llama and indifferent to treats of any kind. I spent about an hour locating him, getting him out onto the highway and I had him going just where I wanted when an oncoming car stopped, a guy got out and proceeded to stand in the other lane with his arms outstretched just 200 feet from my farm driveway. He was too far away and I didn't want to spook Waylon by yelling but no amount of hand signals got the guy to shift. Waylon saw him, got spooked and jumped into a neighbors field. I was unable to get him under control after that and my pail of grains just made him say Meh? The three of them always stay together so I opened up the fencing panel between the two fields and got Pancho and Lefty through and let them hang out for a while. They were having the greatest of times grazing on all the neighbors new grass. I have grass that is just as succulent but this is grass on the other side of the fence... A dilemma -- they didn't want to move back to my property, they wanted to feed. BUT... If I let them feed for too long, their tummies would get full and the pail of treats would not have as strong an attraction. Needless to say, it took me until now to get them back onto my property. A long day. I was planning to weld up the stand for the new kiln but I will be doing that tomorrow... Have some smoked brisket for dinner and then out for a couple of pints. Head out tomorrow to pick up another spool of barbed wire and find out where Waylon eloped...

Number six antenna bites the dust.

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My little puppy is getting very expensive.

She and Finnegan were outside playing and the Sirius satellite receiver cut out.

The antenna cord was chewed through in two places. At $30 each, this is the sixth antenna she has chewed up... I am planning on mounting it high up on the south-facing all of the house but a couple things have to happen before then.

For now, I am playing it through a couple of computer speakers in the kitchen (north side of the house) and have the antenna resting on the bench on the deck outside. My plan is to locate it with the rest of the stereo and television stuff (living room, south side of the house), run the antenna wire through a hole in the south wall and mount it about ten feet up on the south wall. I will then assemble this Ramsey FM Transmitter and rebroadcast it to the various rooms and outbuildings. Have the transmitter kit, need to spend the couple hours assembling it and getting things set up.

Never a dull moment...

A minor oopsie

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From the Beeb:
Borat anthem stuns Kazakh gold medallist in Kuwait
Kazakhstan's shooting team has been left stunned after a comedy national anthem from the film Borat was played at a medal ceremony at championships in Kuwait instead of the real one.

The team asked for an apology and the medal ceremony was later rerun.

The team's coach told Kazakh media the organisers had downloaded the parody from the internet by mistake.
A bit more:
"Then Maria Dmitrienko's turn came," he said. "She got up on to the pedestal and they played a completely different anthem, offensive to Kazakhstan."

The spoof song praises Kazakhstan for its superior potassium exports and for having the cleanest prostitutes in the region.
The film was a lot of fun. Sad that the people doing the sound didn't check their sources...

Good riddance

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Readers will know that I was raised in the old-school Episcopal Church and am very troubled at where the Church is today. They used to have a moral backbone and now, they have a mindless tropism for acceptance and tolerance. In fact, there are some things out there that should not be accepted or tolerated. It's OK to say NO at times. The head of the Episcopal Church is the Archbishop of Canterbury and this office is currently held by Rowan Williams, a soft-minded twit of epic proportions. (here, here, here, here, here, here and here) Anyway, we have great news from Charles C. W. Cooke writing at National Review:
The Turbulent Priest
Once described as the �Conservative party at prayer,� the Church of England has taken a decidedly leftward turn in the last century, prompting the Earl of Onslow�s immortal observation that �one hundred years ago, the Church was in favor of fox hunting and against buggery. Now it is in favor of buggery and against fox hunting.� In the vanguard of its continuing drift was Rowan Williams, a self-described �bearded lefty� and terminal casuist who has also happened to be the Archbishop of Canterbury for the last nine years, and thus effectively second only to Queen Elizabeth II in the spiritual hierarchy.

Among other things, Williams became infamous for a steadfast refusal to acknowledge the virtues of his own country � and his own church, for that matter. It is thus no loss to either Britain or the Anglican Church that Williams announced on Friday that he will be resigning his office, effective December 2012, and I must respectfully disagree with John O�Sullivan�s more flattering portrayal of Williams, and set the ball rolling on the �great many less flattering things� that O�Sullivan correctly predicted �will be said about him in the next few months.�

The nadir of the archbishop�s dubious work was a remarkable February 2008 interview with the BBC, during which he baldly suggested that the rule of law might not be such a good idea after all. This was neatly coupled with a call for the adoption of certain aspects of sharia law in Britain � an eventuality he claimed was �unavoidable.� �An approach to law which simply said, there�s one law for everybody,� said Williams, �I think that�s a bit of a danger.� This is the symbolic head of a church with 80 million worldwide adherents, publicly stating that the principle that the old-fashioned among us consider to be the bedrock of civilization is outmoded in the 21st century.
Emphasis mine. Thank God! The poor idiot should have stayed in academia although I feel sorry for his future students...

Not much posting today

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Ran into town for some errands, sitting down waiting for the BBQ to heat up. Going to do some local hot dogs and a salad for dinner.

Dr. Willard H. (Bill) Wattenburg

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Was listening to the radio last night and Dr. Bill was a guest host. First time I had heard him and he sounded fascinating. Turns out he has lived quite the life -- everything from being a nuclear bomb designer at Los Alamos to running a gold mine. Home page: Dr. Willard H. (Bill) Wattenburg Gold mine: The Gold Mine Project Fun reading!
There was a loving tongue-bath review of Dr. Michael Mann's new book over at Daily Kos. Mann is the author of the discredited 'hockey stick' chart of temperature indicating a post-industrial spike in the Earth's temperature and is used to advocate for Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. In the first round of ClimateGate emails, Mann was having trouble "hiding the decline" of the Medieval Cooling period. There was a poll associated with the book review and I don't think they were expecting these poll results:
97% against. Heh...

Comment spam

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Heh -- like shooting fish in a barrel. 23 more comments since this morning and none of them were successful.
From Junk Science:
Clearing the air on the EPA
Rep. Joe Barton last week took the first official baby step in exposing the Environmental Protection Agency�s corrupt scientific advisory process.

In his opening statement at last week�s House Energy and Commerce hearing about the EPA�s 2013 budget, Mr. Barton of Texas came as close as any Republican ever has to reading EPA Director Lisa P. Jackson the riot act about the agency�s ever-increasing contempt for science, economics, Congress and even the Constitution.

While much of the aforesaid is widely known but typically left unsaid by timid congressional Republicans, Mr. Barton also raised an issue that should shock the conscience of anyone concerned about ethics in government: financial conflict-of-interest among EPA science advisers.

�I want to discuss the EPA�s science and research funding and support activities such as the quality assurance supervisory budget and the committees that monitor the EPA�s internal activities,� Mr. Barton told Ms. Jackson.

�You fund research with grants to people who also serve on your review committees. Is this a conflict of interest? Almost every single member of your Clean Air Science Advisory Committee has been directly or indirectly funded for research. This hand-and-glove policymaking by those appointed to also do your research and being funded by you at the same time is not appropriate. They are often asked to review other research they themselves were a party to on the original research team.How could one possibly expect them to be objective in any way?� undertook to put some meat on the bones of what Mr. Barton alleged and discovered that of the seven members of CASAC, six have received or still are receiving substantial sums in the form of research grants from the agency.

According to EPA records, CASAC Chairman Jonathan M. Samet is listed as a principal investigator on grants from the agency totaling $9,526,921. The other CASAC board members have received grants from the EPA: George Allen ($3,907,111); Ana Diez-Roux ($31,343,081); H. Christopher Frey ($2,956,432); G. Armistead Russell ($20,130,736); and Helen Suh ($10,962,364).
Lots more at the site. I knew that the EPA was scientifically corrupt and a perfect example of Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy but I did not realize that they were legally corrupt as well. Does not surprise me though -- the best government that money can buy...
Hugo Chavez is on the way out and the power brokers that prop him up are busy. From The American:
The Toxic Transition in Venezuela
Contrary to statements by Venezuelan caudillo Hugo Ch�vez, a cancerous tumor discovered in his colon late last month has not been removed, according to my sources. Heeding the self-serving advice of Cuban doctors, Ch�vez has rejected surgery so that he can return to his public duties as soon as possible and bolster his regime�s ongoing succession strategy. The Castro brothers need him back on the political stage in Venezuela, not in a hospital bed. Meanwhile, back in Caracas, corrupt military leaders are consolidating their power and plotting their political survival as if Ch�vez were already dead.

Non-Cuban medical specialists insist that the larger-than-expected tumor must be removed before resuming last-ditch chemotherapy and radiation. They believe that Ch�vez�s decision to refuse surgery will hasten his death. Members of Ch�vez�s family and some close friends are furious that the Cubans are manipulating his megalomania to convince him that sustaining his �revolution� is more important than extending his life.

Havana�s ruthless leaders are obsessed with trying to manage the transition in Caracas in order to ensure continued oil and aid for Cuba�s comatose economy. There is bad blood between the Castro brothers and the military vanguard that has been taking charge since January. New National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello knows that Fidel Castro convinced Ch�vez to marginalize him years ago. And the new minister of defense, General Henry Rangel Silva, is convinced that Castro will betray him and other narco-military officers in order to inoculate the regime against U.S. scrutiny. Indeed, the Castro regime is appalled that these hyper-corrupt military leaders would emerge as the face of Chavismo, preferring a civilian formula that will placate the international community and answer to Havana.
Life in the worker's paradise. A perfect example of socialism writ large...

Comment spam

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I have written a script that has, so far, caught 100% of the incoming comment spam. Usually I get a couple -- three or four/day. Sat down this morning to find 33 spams from different IP addresses. One spam got through, 32 got put into moderation. I now have a couple new rules to add to my script and have harvested the IP addresses of 33 newly infected systems. Regardless of what they do -- what new strategies they come up with; they may have one day of success but they will fail for the rest of their attempt...


From the Bellingham Herald:
Canadian smuggler arrested at Blaine's Smuggler's Inn pleads guilty to drug charges
It's called the Smuggler's Inn for a reason, and a Canadian woman found out the hard way that the Blaine bed and breakfast's name is no joke to law enforcement.

B.C. resident Jasmin Klair pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle to conspiracy and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute at the end of February, after being arrested at the inn in December in a car with a vanity plead that read SMUGLER.

Smuggler's Inn owner Bob Boule said that nearly 60 people per year are arrested going through the yard of the inn - located about 100 feet from the border.

The area is often monitored by federal agents, so the arrest wasn't exactly a surprise to him. It does, however, lend a bit of charm to the bed and breakfast, he said, adding "we're not encouraging smuggling."

Department of Homeland Security agents were watching the inn in December after receiving a tip from a confidential informant that there was going to be smuggling activity in the vicinity, according to court documents. As they were watching, a black SUV with the license plate SMUGLER - owned by the inn - arrived, driven by the inn's owner.

Klair was in the car along with an unrelated man that had been picked up at the airport. Agents asked Klair if a large box in the car was hers, and though she initially denied it, she later admitted it belonged to her.

Inside the box, agents found nine bricks of cocaine weighing a total of nearly 11 kilograms, or about 24 pounds. Klair told agents that Gurjit Singh Sandhu said he would pay her $4,000 to go to Bellingham and pick up a package containing illicit substances. She would then stay at the Smuggler's Inn and leave the package outside the door to her room to be smuggled into Canada.

That night, agents set up surveillance and saw a car stop along Zero Avenue in front of the inn shortly before midnight. The driver and passenger illegally crossed into the U.S., and when they were near the package of drugs, agents arrested them. The men were identified as Sandhu and Narminder Kaler. Both were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and attempted possession with intent to distribute. They have yet to be sentenced.
Sandhu and Narminder ought to run for political office -- they certainly are smart enough...

More solar fun and games

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From The Washington Examiner:
Firm sells solar panels - to itself, taxpayers pay
A heavily subsidized solar company received a U.S. taxpayer loan guarantee to sell solar panels to itself.

First Solar is the company. The subsidy came from the Export-Import Bank, which President Obama and Harry Reid are currently fighting to extend and expand. The underlying issue is how Obama's insistence on green-energy subsidies and export subsidies manifests itself as rank corporate welfare.

Here's the road of subsidies these solar panels followed from Perrysburg, Ohio, to St. Clair, Ontario.

First Solar is an Arizona-based manufacturer of solar panels. In 2010, the Obama administration awarded the company $16.3 million to expand its factory in Ohio -- a subsidy Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland touted in his failed re-election bid that year.

Five weeks before the 2010 election, Strickland announced more than a million dollars in job training grants to First Solar. The Ohio Department of Development also lent First Solar $5 million, and the state's Air Quality Development Authority gave the company an additional $10 million loan.

After First Solar pocketed this $17.3 million in government grants and $15 million in government loans, Ex-Im entered the scene.

In September 2011, Ex-Im approved $455.7 million in loan guarantees to subsidize the sale of solar panels to two solar farms in Canada. That means if the solar farm ever defaults, the taxpayers pick up the tab, ensuring First Solar gets paid.

But the buyer, in this case, was First Solar.

A small corporation called St. Clair Solar owned the solar farm and was the Canadian company buying First Solar's panels. But St. Clair Solar was a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar. So, basically, First Solar was shipping its own solar panels from Ohio to a solar farm it owned in Canada, and the U.S. taxpayers were subsidizing this "export."
These companies are doing this because they believe they can get away with it. Do they really think that the political masterminds at Central Planning are that stupid? I guess so...

The opening salvo of Trade Wars

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From CNN/Money:
U.S. to impose tariffs on Chinese solar panels
The U.S. Commerce Department announced tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels on Tuesday that it said had benefited from unfair subsidies by Beijing.

The preliminary ruling came in response to a complaint from SolarWorld Industries America, a U.S. manufacturer that is a subsidiary of Germany's SolarWorld. The tariffs were lower than many analysts had predicted, however, boosting shares of Chinese solar-panel makers in Tuesday's trading.

Under the ruling, which still needs to be finalized following a review process, Chinese-made panels would be hit with tariffs ranging from 2.9% to 4.7%.

The issue has divided the U.S. solar industry, with some companies complaining that Chinese trade practices are smothering U.S. manufacturers.

"Today's announcement affirms what U.S. manufacturers have long known: Chinese manufacturers have received unfair and [World Trade Organization]-illegal subsidies," Steve Ostrenga, CEO of Wisconsin's Helios Solar Works, said in a statement.

But many others say the complaint is counter-productive. Jigar Shah, president of the industry group Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, said in a statement that tariffs on Chinese panels would slow the growth of solar and cost the industry jobs in the U.S., for example in installation.
Any kind of price instability or imposing tariffs creates a short-term increase in benefits but it will always come around to bite you in the ass. You will find this at the heart of most bubbles, Jimmah Carter's gas lines, the housing bubble, the list goes on and on. The joke is that the company mentioned in the article:
SolarWorld Industries America, a U.S. manufacturer that is a subsidiary of Germany's SolarWorld
may well be located in the USA and hire American workers, but, as a subsidiary of a German company, the corporate profits head across the Atlantic to our German friends. We have a non-US company requesting and getting a substantial policy change. Of course, the US Solar industries are not going to eat the additional cost of the Chinese panels, the consumer and all taxpayers will see the increase. The consumer as an increased price, all the rest of us as the subsidies increase to make the whole solar boondoggle 'profitable'. Bleagh... Being this stoopid should hurt.

Electronics for Music Syntheses

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The reason this domain name is is that I have been into playing music for the last 50 years and electronic instruments for the last 40. There has been a wonderful resurgence of analog synthesizers in the last ten years as the classic 'old' patents have expired and those circuits can be rebuilt using modern components and engineering practices. The result is the wonderful rich sound of the classic instruments -- but -- they stay in tune when the room temperature fluctuates and the ever-present noise is gone. My system is piecemeal built from several vendors but the core is modules from Synthesis Technology. There has been a nice cottage industry built up around creating additional modules packaged in the same MOTM format for a unified look. Building a system of your own takes some electronics skills and I was just turned onto this website today -- it is a college level class on Electronics for Music Syntheses. Haven't looked through the whole thing but it looks really thorough. He is asking for a donation ($25) if you use the whole course -- the money goes to buying parts for the class. Well worth checking out if you have the interest...
A real shame as they used to be a fantastic magazine but now they are just a pop-culture rag with a scientific twist. They were an early adopter of the whole Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming bullshite and still maintain that stance today. Now, they are going all world-government:
Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe
Almost six years ago, I was the editor of a single-topic issue on energy for Scientific American that included an article by Princeton University�s Robert Socolow that set out a well-reasoned plan for how to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below a planet-livable threshold of 560 ppm. The issue came replete with technical solutions that ranged from a hydrogen economy to space-based solar.

If I had it to do over, I�d approach the issue planning differently, my fellow editors permitting. I would scale back on the nuclear fusion and clean coal, instead devoting at least half of the available space for feature articles on psychology, sociology, economics and political science. Since doing that issue, I�ve come to the conclusion that the technical details are the easy part. It�s the social engineering that�s the killer. Moon shots and Manhattan Projects are child�s play compared to needed changes in the way we behave.

A policy article authored by several dozen scientists appeared online March 15 in Science to acknowledge this point: �Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change. This requires fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions toward more effective Earth system governance and planetary stewardship.�
The author, one Gary Stix, is a perfect example of the larval form of Utopian mastermind who knows what needs to be done albeit in complete disregard to everyone's Rights, the Sovereignty of Nations and their bodies of Law. As with any Marxist/Socialist idea, when it fails, the excuse always given is that it wasn't funded enough or it was never implemented completely enough. There is something in engineering called a 'sniff-test'. A simple test of a larger problem to see if the approach is on the right track. A perfect sniff-test of Mr. Stix's wet dream is the United Nations. How is that working out for you... The comments are a fun read -- both sides of the school of CAGW thinking show their relative strengths and weaknesses very well.

Biding their time

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With the current regime, businesses are in a state of uncertainty. They are not getting a clear picture of what they can expect in the future -- what with from Obama's flailing around on economic issues and blowing our tax dollars chasing the green energy unicorn. Case in point -- from The Hill:
Apple says $60 billion will remain overseas until US tax law changes
Apple made an aggressive pitch for a corporate tax holiday Monday, stressing that it plans to keep more than $60 billion parked offshore until Congress makes it easier for companies to bring those profits home.

The warning from the nation�s most valuable company came as Apple announced it would pay a dividend to shareholders and buy back stock, moves that will cost about $45 billion over three years.

But Apple � which, like several other Silicon Valley titans, has spent months lobbying for more flexibility to repatriate offshore profits � said it will rely exclusively on domestic cash reserves for the transactions and will not touch the billions in profits held abroad.

"Repatriating the cash from offshore would result in significant tax consequences under current U.S. law," Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said on a conference call.

Apple and other backers of a repatriation holiday � including Oracle, Cisco, Microsoft and Google � threw their support last year behind the WIN America Campaign, a lobbying coalition that urged Congress to temporarily reduce the tax rate that U.S. multinationals have to pay on offshore profits.
Here is the website for the WIN America Campaign The House (H.R. 1834) and Senate (Foreign Earnings Reinvestment Act) bills are fully bi-partisan and delightfully short (two and one pages). We are talking about one trillion in cash that is sitting overseas and waiting for a change in the economic climate...

Do as I say, not as I do

From the New York Sun:
Top New York Labor Leader Moves To Long Island, Saves $30,000 in City Income Taxes
One of America�s most powerful labor leaders, teachers union president Randi Weingarten, has quietly moved out of New York City, a decision that saved her from paying more than $30,000 in city income taxes that she would have owed if she had stayed.

Discussion of people fleeing New York City in part because of high income tax rates has mostly focused on high-powered conservative commentators and billionaire hedge-fund managers. Glenn Beck moved to Dallas, and Rush Limbaugh sold his New York apartment and announced he was vacating the city. An article in last week�s New Yorker discussed the case of hedge fund manager Julian Robertson, who went to court to prove he was not in New York City for more than the 183 days that is the threshold for tax purposes.

No one, until now, has mentioned the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Ms. Weingarten, in that group. But sure enough, her biography on the AFT Web site states, �Weingarten now resides on Long Island and in Washington, D.C.�

Such a move would have been well timed for saving on taxes. In 2010 Ms. Weingarten reportedly received a $194,188 payout for unused sick days and vacation days during her time at the United Federation of Teachers, the AFT�s New York City local, where she had been president before being elevated to the national presidency. That brought her total union compensation in 2010 to more than $600,000. Union disclosure forms on file with the Department of Labor show her gross salary for 2011 was $407,323, well above what she had been making when she lived in New York City as the UFT president.

The $600,000 in 2010 would have put Ms. Weingarten in New York City�s top tax bracket, hitting her with a 3.876% marginal rate on top of the top New York State income tax rate of 8.97%. The 2011 pay, because it was below the $500,000 threshold, would have been subject to a 3.648% tax rate on top of the 7.85% state tax. By avoiding a city income tax of more than 3% on about $1 million of income, Ms. Weingarten would, perfectly legally, have saved herself more than $30,000. That�s money that she gets to keep and decide for herself how to use if she lives outside of New York City, but money that, had she stayed in the five boroughs, would have gone to Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council to spend.
Hasn't Bloomberg heard of the Laffer Curve. Sweeten the pot a bit, make taxes less onerous and you will see a big increase in revenues. It has worked every single time it has been tried. No brainer...
Vytautas Mineral Water comes from Lithuania and a group of students made their own commercial. Somewhat not safe for work but really funny:

Jumping Jeffrey

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From Business Insider:
The Head Of Obama's Jobs Council Is Voting For Romney
General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, the head of President Obama's Jobs Board, plans to vote for Mitt Romney, Fox Business' Charles Gasparino reports (via Bloomberg).

If true, the news would represent a major embarrassment to the Obama administration, which had elevated Immelt in their pursuit of private sector employment growth.

Gasparino has not spoken with Immelt, but said sources close to the G.E. chief said he was leaving Obama's side.
One does not get to be the CEO of a company like General Electric by being stupid or impolitic in one's comments. Immelt rode out the four years and is refocusing his priorities. Wonder if GE will start paying Federal taxes now...

David Who???

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From Media Bistro's Fishbowl D.C.:
David Corn Has Showdown in Barnes & Noble
MSNBC Contributor and Mother Jones� Washington Bureau Chief David Corn apparently got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

He was spotted in the Barnes & Noble at Union Station throwing a fit because his new book � his fifth � fitting called Showdown: The Inside Story of How Obama Fought Back Against Boehner, Cantor, and the Tea Party out today didn�t have its own display. He was overheard yelling at the manager that �every paper in America� was going to be talking about his book today and yet nobody could find it there.

The manager explained that corporate tells him what books get displays and that the order did not call for that. Corn maintained that the bookstore wasn�t well run and stormed out in a huff.
Way to ingratiate you to the very people who will be setting up your "display" -- if you ever get one. Amazon rank is #459 -- horrible for a new release. Mark Levin's Ameritopia was pegged at #1 for several weeks. It is now at 91 with three months in the top 100.


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Lulu just started working for a Dementia residence in Bellingham. Today for the Solstice, they had a Hawai'ian-themed Luau -- Lulu dressed up in her finery and danced Hula for the residents. Her son played guitar and I just hung out with the people and ran Lulu's music. The facility is a good one -- the residents are really well taken care of -- lots of love. Their mental faculties may be diminished but they can still read people really well and the caretakers need to be sincere in their love. These people are.

The Port of Long Beach

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Now that is a big ship -- from the Los Angeles Times:
Mammoth cargo ship arrives at Port of Long Beach
The largest cargo container ship to ever dock in the Americas made a fog-shrouded first voyage into the Port of Long Beach on Friday morning, sending a message to competitors that Southern California can handle the giant vessels most others can't welcome for at least two more years.

Out by the breakwater, it looked as though a man-made island had sprung up overnight, but the dark shape was a vessel called the Fabiola, gliding very slowly toward port.

The Fabiola is one of a new generation of vessels that can carry 11,000 or more containers, favored by ocean cargo lines because packing more freight boxes onto each ship lowers costs.

"She's way beyond our previous record for size," said Dick McKenna, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, which logs the arrival and departure of all ships calling at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's largest seaport complex. "This is quite a significant jump for us."
11,000 containers -- that is big. Since the ship only sails in the Pacific Ocean, there is no need for it to fit through the Panama Canal. She is 366 Meters long which is a hair over 1,200 feet. 48 Meters (157 feet) wide. More info and current position here: MSC FABIOLA

A cautionary tale - NASA

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Obama has gutted NASA to the extent that the only way our Astronauts can get to the space station is by hitching a ride on a Russian rocket. As Neil mentions, the NASA budget at its peak was only one half penny for each tax dollar. The current entitlement spending is 43�/tax dollar and therein lies a big part of our problem... Just as with our industrial infrastructure, there is a fixed window of time in which we can rebuild NASA economically. Take too long and we have to start from scratch again, training people, building new infrastructure and establishing new research centers -- the cost would be prohibitive and we would have lost our foothold on the universe.

Why is Eric Holder still around?

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From Breitbart:
Holder 1995: We Must 'Brainwash' People on Guns has uncovered video from 1995 of then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announcing a public campaign to "really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way."

Holder was addressing the Woman's National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to "change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC" about guns.

"What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that's not cool, that it's not acceptable, it's not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes."

Holder added that he had asked advertising agencies in the nation's capital to assist by making anti-gun ads rather than commercials "that make me buy things that I don't really need." He had also approached local newspapers and television stations, he said, asking them to devote prime space and time, respectively, to his anti-gun campaign.
Interesting to note the huge uptick in gun ownership during Obama's regime. Holder needs to be put out to pasture -- his Operation Fast and Furious disgraced the Attorney General's Office and every policy this guy comes up with is hugely shortsighted -- he doesn't think things through before acting...

Just WOW! - the next Henson generation

This little taste looks incredible -- looking forward to the finished film. From Twitch:

Puppet Carnage In Concept Art For Brian Henson's THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS
Somewhere right now somebody is accusing Brian Henson of disrespecting the legacy of his father, Jim. That person is an idiot.

Working from a script by Kung Fu Panda writer Todd Berger, Henson is gearing up to direct a little something known as The Happytime Murders - a crime noir with puppets.
In a world where puppets co-exist with humans as second class citizens, puppet private eye and disgraced ex-cop, Phil Phillips, is hot on the trail of the serial killer who murdered his brother and is now targeting the cast members of the famous 80s television show, "The Happytime Gang." As the killings continue, Phil's former flame, Jenny, is next on the list. It's up to Phil and his ex-partner, Detective Edwards, to find the culprit, but as bad blood and old resentments resurface the clues start pointing to the only viable suspect, Phil himself. Now he's on the run with only his wits and hard headed determination, as he tries to solve, "The Happytime Murders."
The script for this one has been causing a stir for a couple years now, racking up fans within the industry - most of whom will tell you privately that it would be completely unfilmable within the studio system due to its ultra-dark sense of humor. Good thing, then, that they're doing it outside of the studio system.

Like I said, looking forward to this release. I'll be sure to see it on the big screen.

An interesting tidbit -- take it at face value but still... From World Net Daily:

Postman: Ayers family put 'foreigner' Obama through school
Did the parents of former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers help finance Barack Obama's Harvard education?

Did Ayers' mother believe Obama was a foreign student?

And was the young Obama convinced at the time -- long before he even entered politics -- that he was going to become president of the United States?

A retired U.S. Postal Service carrier who delivered mail to Tom and Mary Ayers in a Chicago suburb in the late 1980s and early 1990s and claims to have met Obama in front of the Ayers home emphatically says yes to all three questions.

Allen Hulton, who was commended for 39 years of honorable service with the USPS, has given a sworn affidavit to investigators commissioned by Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio to determine whether Obama is eligible for Arizona's 2012 election ballot. Hulton has recorded about three hours of video interviews with WND.

The above link points to a seven page PDF document -- pretty damning. The entire post has goes into a lot more detail with links to source materials. This will be an interesting election...

Market Forces - Automobiles

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The two reasons that GM and Chevrolet had to be bailed out are: #1) - Obama wanted to keep the Unions in power. If the automakers had filed for bankruptcy, the union contracts would have had to have been renegotiated and there would have been a real "high ground" to keep the wages and benefits in-line with reality. and #2) - the automakers were not making vehicles that people wanted to buy. Case in point re: Hybrid and Electric -- from The Autoblog:
Toyota Prius C outsells monthly totals of Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf in three days
Toyota is pretty sure that its expanded Prius family will drive up sales of the world's best-selling hybrid, and the early sales returns indicate that the company is right, right, right.

After the Prius V sold about 8,400 units in the U.S. in the first ten weeks, the smaller, cheaper and more efficient 2012 Toyota Prius C is also getting a lot of attention. Toyota announced today that the C sold 1,201 units in just the first three days it was on sale. That's enough to make it "one of Toyota's fastest-selling vehicles," according to the automaker, which also pointed out that those three days of sales is more than either the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt sold all last month.

If anything, those 1,201 sales are not as impressive as the C managed in Japan (where it is badged 'Aqua') � Toyota obtained 120,000 orders in the first five days it was on sale, though it isn't immediately clear how many units have actually been sold. So far, the newly expanded Prius family has sold almost 10,000 units in the U.S. through the first half of March. This certainly points to the Prius franchise doing well in 2012. Last year in the U.S., Toyota sold 136,463 examples of its Prius Liftback (it sold 140,928 in 2010) and expects to sell 220,000 Prius models of all types here this year.
The market speaks. No government subsidies (your tax dollars) are needed -- build something that people want and they will buy it. Why would anyone think differently?

Just wonderful - Greece

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Well crap -- from Georgia Tech University's News Room:
Santorini: The Ground is Moving Again in Paradise
Do a Google image search for �Greece.� Before you find pictures of the Parthenon or Acropolis, you�ll see several beautiful photos of Santorini, the picturesque island in the Aegean Sea. The British Broadcasting Company named it the world�s best island in 2011. Santorini is a tourist magnet, famous for its breathtaking, cliff side views and sunsets.

It�s also a volcanic island that has been relatively calm since its last eruption in 1950. Until now. The Santorini caldera is awake again and rapidly deforming at levels never seen before. Georgia Tech Associate Professor Andrew Newman has studied Santorini since setting up more than 20 GPS stations on the island in 2006.

�After decades of little activity, a series of earthquakes and deformation began within the Santorini caldera in January of 2011,� said Newman, whose research is published by Geophysical Research Letters. �Since then, our instruments on the northern part of the island have moved laterally between five and nine centimeters. The volcano�s magma chamber is filling, and we are keeping a close eye on its activity.�
The Geophysical Research Letters Abstract is here: Recent Geodetic Unrest at Santorini Caldera, Greece A tip 'o the Stetson to Maggie's Farm

Cap and Trade jumps the shark

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From Anthony at Watts Up With That:
�Cap and Trade� fails for lack of incentives
From the DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

New research suggests cap and trade programs do not provide sufficient incentives for innovation

Cap and trade programs to reduce emissions do not inherently provide incentives to induce the private sector to develop innovative technologies to address climate change, according to a new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In fact, said author Margaret Taylor, a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) who conducted the study while an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley�s Goldman School of Public Policy, the success of some cap and trade programs in achieving predetermined pollution reduction targets at low cost seems to have reduced incentives for research and development that could help develop more appropriate pollution control targets. Taylor is a scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Berkeley Lab.

�Policymakers rarely see with perfect foresight what the appropriate emissions targets are to protect the public health and environment�the history is that these targets usually need to get stricter,� said Taylor. �Yet policymakers also seldom set targets they don�t have evidence that industry can meet. This is where R&D that can lead to the development of innovative technologies over the longer term is essential.�
Heh -- you can set all the "policy" you want but businesses will follow the market forces. A quote misattributed to Hermann G�ring but a good one still:
When I hear the word Policy, I reach for my revolver.
When I hear the word Planning, I reach for my revolver.

More on those oil leases

From The Heartland Institute:
Study: Feds Approving Fewer Oil and Gas Leases
The number of oil and gas leases granted by the federal government in the western United States declined by 44 during the first two years of the Obama administration versus the last two years of the Bush presidency, according to a new study prepared for the American Petroleum Institute (API) by EIS Solutions.

The study also raises questions about the accuracy of federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) claims the federal government increased the granting of oil and gas leases on public lands in 2011. According to the study, more than 58 percent of the leases cited by the BLM were not new at all, but rather leases sold in prior years and tied up in administrative or legal challenges.
Here is a link to the 51 page PDF report from the American Petroleum Institute Don't forget that Dr. Steven Chu, Obama's Energy Secretary told reporters at the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Chu has called for gradually ramping up gasoline taxes over 15 years to coax consumers into buying more-efficient cars and living in neighborhoods closer to work.

"Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," Mr. Chu, who directs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in September.
Of course, that was then and this is now:
Chu Backtracks on High Gas Prices
Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday retracted his now-infamous quote from 2008: �Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.�

�I no longer share that view,� Chu said in response to questioning from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on another topic related to DOE�s loan-guarantee program.
But still, the damage is done. Business have had to raise their prices to accommodate increased fuel costs, business have suffered as people are not driving as much, people have suffered as more of their money goes into the tank for their job commute, etc. How can these masterminds ever repay us for their failed ideas.

I am dumbfounded that Obama thinks that he can get away with this. He spends three years making oil prices spike and then he turns around and says that we are producing more oil than ever. What he fails to say is that it takes about six years for an oil well to start producing from the time the lease is signed until the last length of pipeline is put in. All of today's production was signed into being during the Bush administration. From US News and World Report:

Obama Administration Exaggerates Success in Oil and Gas Leases
This week, the Department of Interior lauded the administration's efforts to increase oil and gas leases on federal lands. Somehow they failed to mention that last year they set records for hardly issuing any leases at all. The omission wasn't lost on careful observers.

The Obama administration now claims that leasing on public lands has increased 20 percent in the year 2011, and Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes heralded the news by saying, "We intend to continue to build on that success [from 2011] this year."

Of course, the facts paint a much different picture than the administration's propaganda. In 2010, the Obama administration issued a historically low number of leases. While a 20 percent increase from a lower-than-average number is a good thing in any event, the idea that the Obama administration expects praise for hamstringing American energy less last year should receive a lukewarm response.

Some other numbers are telling:

However, a closer examination of the issue shows that lease sales in offshore areas�which currently produce one-third of U.S. oil production and hold enormous resource potential - have in fact plummeted more than $9.4 billion since the Obama administration took office. To put this in perspective, the American taxpayer collected 258 times less revenue from offshore lease sales than they did during the last year of the Bush administration:
2008: $9,480,806,620
2009: $1,181,075,491
2010: $979,569,294
2011: $36,751,111

The above link points to a report from the US Office of Natural Resources Revenue; a division of the US Government that is new to me and promises to provide some hours of fun digging as they track revenues from as well as commercial oil. How much money are we getting from that windmill over there...


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We have been getting a series of rolling snowstorms for the last two weeks -- a couple of inches, it warms up a bit, it cools off, another couple inches, lather, rinse, repeat... National Weather Service is looking at two more days of snow for this area. Mt. Baker ski area has 304 inches of base. This is 25 feet. The chair lifts are 30 feet above ground hence this warning at the end of the snow report:
We don't mean to sound like a broken record here, but it looks like this should be another great day for skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Baker! We?re expecting a bit of a weather break today, with some light snowfall and possible sun breaks. Mt. Baker is in the thick of an incredible storm cycle, having received over 130 inches of snowfall in the past 8 days and 179 inches for the month of March so far! And initial forecasts for next week are looking stellar, with more big storms forecasted to roll in around Monday night with continued low freezing levels. Looks like you might want to start planning a midweek escape to the mountains!

All instruction programs and standard rentals are available at the upper, Heather Meadows lodge today.

DO NOT JUMP FROM CHAIR LIFTS; this could cause the chair lift to de-rope and cause serious injury to other people. Unloading a chairlift in non-designated unloading zones is a class 3 felony. If caught, you WILL BE arrested in accordance with Washington State Laws.
That would be tempting -- just a couple foot drop and you don't have to deal with the confusion in the unloading area. Not a good idea. They are serious about safety...

It's a Gas

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Natural Gas is good. The NatGas bill is bad -- very very very bad. Congressional business as usual with an extra dose of Crony Capitalism. Featuring George Soros. From The Washington Examiner:
Pelosi's conflict of interest in natural gas bill
There aren't many things in the fields of energy and environment on which Democrats and Republicans agree, but manipulating the U.S. tax code to make money apparently is one of them. How else to explain the unlikely partnership between oilman T. Boone Pickens, former Reagan cabinet officials James C. Miller III and John S. Herrington, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi? Pickens, Miller and Herrington are on the board of directors of the Clean Energy Fuels Corp., while Pelosi owns stock in the company worth $50,000 to $100,000. Clean Energy Fuels Corp. stands to be the biggest beneficiary of passage of the Nat Gas Act now before Congress.

The Nat Gas Act provides tax credits to manufacturers and owners of trucks and other vehicles if they use natural gas as their principal fuel. The bill also provides hefty tax credits for service station owners to buy and install natural gas fueling equipment and extends for five years the current 50-cents-per-gallon tax credit at the pump for buyers of natural gas. Proponents of the Nat Gas Act claim its provisions would cost taxpayers no more than $5 billion, but, as the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, the actual total could easily be nearer $100 billion. Either way, Clean Energy Fuels Corp. would be enriched immensely by the cash flow generated merely by changing the federal tax code to encourage more widespread use of natural gas as a transportation fuel.
From the Heritage Foundation:
Soros May Benefit From White House�s Natural Gas Proposal
George Soros, a billionaire investor and major backer of President Obama, stands to reap a windfall from legislation promoting natural gas-powered vehicles. The White House unveiled a proposal on Thursday that would do just that.
More (talking about another company that would receive massive subsidies):
If Westport reaps the predicted windfall, one of the chief beneficiaries will be George Soros, a major Obama donor and supporter. Soros�s hedge fund holds 3,160,063 company shares (as of its last SEC filing).
The Westport that was mentioned is a Canadian company. We will be massively subsidizing a Canadian company. Jazz Shaw writing at Hot Air says it best in his closing paragraph of this post: Let�s put the brakes on the NAT GAS act:
So why would I not be embracing H.R. 1380? Because if natural gas is to continue to succeed as a viable, mass market energy source � which I fully believe it shall � it needs to be able to do it on its own and prove that it�s viable. If the demand is there, the market will respond. If it isn�t, then it wasn�t meant to be. Washington has repeatedly proven that it has zero clue when it comes to picking winners and losers in the free market. Let�s not allow them to stick their noses even further into the energy industry.
Here is a PDF of the text of H.R. 1380. Right now, nobody will vote on it by itself so they are trying to add it as a rider to the Transportation Bill which has major political pressure to pass.

Peace and quiet

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All of the little crap is now pretty much taken care of so looking forward to a couple days of peace and quiet. Got all of the wiring stuff needed to set up the new kiln, got another load of hay for the critters, got the stuff to build the brooder box for the chicks I'll be getting next week. Doing some computer stuff while fixing dinner and out for a pint or two tonight. Looking at tying a leather thong around a rock and wearing it when I go out. Everyone is wearing a shamrock. Why settle for a fake rock -- I'll be wearing a REAL Rock.

Long day today

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Going up to a nearby town to look at an arts center that a neighbor is working with. They are interested in setting up a forge and having classes. Coordinating them with some local smiths -- see if we can work something out... After then, I am headed over to pick up a large pottery kiln which will be perfect for the fused glass. Then heading over to Lulu's place for lunch -- she works tonight though. Back home and a local band is playing so off to that. Things should quiet down a bit on Friday so blogging will resume then.

Bad blogger - no biscuit

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Been busy and long day ahead tomorrow. Posting will be a bit thin on the ground for the next day or three. Doesn't help that the internet is down most of the time -- heavy precip and bad rain-fade. Good news is that I am actually getting real-world stuff done...

Two local icons on the block

James G. Murphy & Sons. are auctioning off two local icons that have fallen on hard times. #1) -- The Italian Spaghetti House Old-skool Eye-Talian Restaurant -- I used to eat there a lot when I first moved to Seattle 30 years ago. The place had been owned by the same family since 1957. The place "changed hands" last year and closed for remodeling. Never re-opened. Last time I ate there was over 12 years ago -- the quality had gone downhill -- we are probably looking at an excellent example of the old Scottish adage: Shirtsleves to shirtsleeves in three generations. #2) -- A production facility of The Former Marie Callender's Crap -- this is an old (1948) business. Story at the Wikipedia article. Build the business and then sell out. The new owners are CDSMs (Clueless Dipshit Managers) and are making it auger into the ground through their... well... cluelessness... The one hope is that there are a lot of businesses failing while there are a lot of businesses struggling but making things work. The current regime will weed out the poorly run businesses and let the well run businesses thrive and excel when the new President actually takes the time to lead this Nation into prosperity.

Great Alan Parsons interview

Legendary studio engineer and musician Alan Parsons interviewed at Premier Guitar:
Studio Legends: Alan Parsons on "Dark Side of the Moon"
Imagine, you're 19 years old, and you've landed a job as an assistant engineer at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London. Among your first sessions? The Beatles' last two albums, Let It Be and Abbey Road. Then, after being promoted to full engineer, you are assigned to work with a band called Pink Floyd on a project called Atom Heart Mother, followed by Dark Side of the Moon -- the latter of which earns you the first of nearly a dozen Grammy nominations. Not a bad way to start out, is it?

For Alan Parsons, it was a launching pad for a stellar career engineering and producing a who's who of recording artists, including the Hollies (He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, The Air That I Breathe), Paul McCartney (Red Rose Speedway, Wild Life), Al Stewart (Year of the Cat, Time Passages), Ambrosia (Ambrosia), and many more. But Parsons wasn't content to stay behind the console. He also stepped out front with his Alan Parsons Project, earning hit records (including I Robot, Eye in the Sky, Stereotomy), and touring the world to soldout crowds along the way. He is an accomplished vocalist, keyboardist, saxophonist, flautist, bassist, guitarist, and songwriter.

These days, Parsons maintains a busy schedule as a producer, and performs around the world with his Project. His latest venture is educating a new generation of engineers and producers with his Art and Science of Sound Recording series of DVDs, web videos, and master classes.

Needless to say, after working with axe slingers ranging from George Harrison to David Gilmour, Alan Parsons knows a thing or two about tracking great guitar tones. Premier Guitar recently sat down with Parsons to discuss his guitar-recording secrets, as well as how he captured the seminal sounds on Dark Side of the Moon.
Nice in-depth (three pages) interview. Alan's own website is here: Alan Parsons Music And here is the website for The Art and Science of Sound Recording -- looks really comprehensive and not that high a price - $150 for a three DVD set -- ten hours of instruction.
My little puppy is going into her first heat. A neighbor's dog is uncut with no schedule for the procedure -- cute little pit bull. The neighbors are a really young couple renting an apartment across the street. Next two weeks are going to be fun as Grace loves to run and roam the farm.

Fisking Sandra Fluke

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Ms. Sandra Fluke got her fifteen minutes of the media spotlight the other week for enrolling at Georgetown University (a Jesuit institution) and then demanding free contraception. A bit more digging shows that she has had quite the career of progressive activism. Fisking refers to "journalist" Robert Fisk whose florid prose and hyperbolic interpretation of reality prompted bloggers to do point-by-point rebuttals. From Wikipedia:

The term fisking is blogosphere slang describing a point-by-point criticism that highlights perceived errors, or disputes the analysis in a statement, article, or essay.

Eric S. Raymond, in the Jargon File, defined the term as:
A point-by-point refutation of a blog entry or (especially) news story. A really stylish fisking is witty, logical, sarcastic and ruthlessly factual; flaming or handwaving is considered poor form.

That being said -- here is an epic fisking from Teresa writing at Koch's Tour:

Fisking Fluke's Fables
Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed a very disturbing trend among law school students recently?

I mean, it seems like every time some young advocate gets some face time in front of a camera, he/she is telling the most outrageous stories, and the press just eats it up.

The latest case in point is Ms. Sandra Fluke (rhymes with 'luck'), a 3rd-year Law Student at Georgetown University. Ms. Fluke recently testified in front of Nancy Pelosi's one-woman dog and pony show about why Congress should mandate that all insurance companies provide birth control free of charge.

Setting aside the sheer audacity of such a naked grab for the American taxpayer's wallet, let's take a look at the context of Ms. Fluke's testimony:
I attend a Jesuit law school that does not provide contraception coverage in student health plans. Just as we students have faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a result.
Now, it would be one thing if Ms. Fluke had discovered this AFTER she started attending this school, but the fact is that she specifically CHOSE to attend Georgetown Law precisely BECAUSE of their policy. It seems that Ms. Fluke imagines herself as a modern-day Joan of Arc, and she picked her law school for the dragons that she could slay. She didn't attend Georgetown Law for the education they could give her - nope, she was a gal on a mission.
On a daily basis, I hear from yet another woman who has suffered financial, emotional, and medical burdens because of this lack of contraceptive coverage.
Just how many women attend Georgetown Law that you are able to hear a different story every single day? I mean, the typical collegiate school year is, what -- 150 days? If you are in your third year of Law School, that would mean that 450 different women have approached you personally and related their contraceptive tale of woe, right?

I'm amazed that you are able to find time to study.
Without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that's practically an entire summer�s salary.
First of all, I'd like to know how you arrived at that number, because folks have done some checking, and you can get a pack of generic birth control pills for $9 at a Target store just 3 blocks from the Georgetown Campus. That only adds up to $108. What does the other $892 pay for? Lingerie? "Toys"? Batteries? XXX-Rated DVDs? Chocolate? Wine? Dinner and a show?

Heh -- much more at the site. A righteous fisking indeed!!!

Captain LeFon was an active blogger writing at Neptunus Lex:
Whisper: Open Thread
When Lex �left the keys in it� for me to be a guest blogger here about a year ago, we didn�t discuss what to do in this occasion. I am at a loss. I did feel the need to provide one place for your tributes and condolences to collect. So here it is.
Over 1,400 comments follow. From the Navy Times:
Crash kills pilot who blogged as Neptunus Lex
Retired naval aviator Carroll LeFon, perhaps better known by the nom de plume Neptunus Lex, was killed in a plane crash Tuesday morning when his F-21 Kfir crashed at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev., his blog confirmed.

LeFon, 51, retired as a captain in June 2008 after serving as an instructor at Top Gun and in various positions at several strike fighter squadrons.

In his civilian life, LeFon worked for Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., a contractor that operates simulated enemy aircraft with which student aviators train. But as a prominent military blogger, he was part analyst, part cheerleader, part critic and part poet who wrote about the Navy, his family, the military and global affairs with the casual tone, frankness and familiarity that flows through ready rooms. His sea stories were personal memoirs as well as parables.

ATAC and Fallon did not return calls for comment. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

LeFon began blogging in 2003 during the early months of the invasion of Iraq. Like many other military bloggers, he initially wrote anonymously � it was and still can be problematic for service members to openly publish opinions.

Besides writing for his personal fulfillment, he tried to counter media reports that would tax the military�s will to fight, said Cmdr. Chap Godbey, a blogger, foreign area officer and the author of one of the dozens of tributes to LeFon to hit the web as news of his death spread.

�He was a guy who was able to put out the truth, put out first-hand reporting from folks and put out things that would not have gotten out any other way,� Godbey said.

LeFon�s blog chronicled his own experiences in the Navy, his transition into retirement and his second career in the civilian workforce.

He was thrilled to fly Kfirs as opposition forces because it meant that he would continue to operate one of the world�s most advanced jets, Godbey said.

�The joy of having a second chance, not being over, that�s a big thing for fighter pilots, because once you�re done, you�re done. And that change hits people pretty hard,� he said.
Crap. He was one of the great ones.

A modest proposal

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From Marc Fisher writing at The Washington Post:
It's Time For Double Daylight Saving Time
Tonight, the clock shifts forward. Tomorrow, sunset moves from 6:07 p.m. to 7:08 p.m. But our work here is not done. If we really wanted to fill our lives with joy and save energy and money, if we really wanted to move beyond the fiction of our agrarian conception of time and into the modern world, we'd shift to year-round Daylight Saving Time--or, if we really wanted to embrace reality and maximize life, go to Double DST, a big, two-hour push forward of the clocks that would turn our summers into a marathon of gorgeous, endless evenings.

Here, adapted from my piece from this moment two years ago, is the argument for Double DST:

President Warren G. Harding didn't like daylight saving time. If people want more daylight, he said, they should just wake up earlier.

So in 1922, when the District had no law requiring shifting of the clock, Harding issued an executive order mandating that all federal employees start work at 8 a.m. rather than at 9. Private employers could do as they pleased.

The result was a holy mess, as some trains, buses, theaters and retailers shifted their hours of operation and some didn't. Washingtonians rebelled, deriding Harding's policy as "rag time." After one summer of confusion, Harding backed down and repealed his order.

Sunday morning, by federal mandate, the sun will rise at 7:30; today, Saturday, it came up at 6:32. Sunday night, the sun will set at 7:08; tonight, at 6:07.

This shift, moving to lighter evenings three weeks earlier than in past years, is the latest in a long struggle to expand daylight saving time -- a fight that should continue until we hit year-round daylight time (in essence, a shift in our time zones).

Since 1966, the feds have ordained when and how clocks will change throughout the country, except for Arizona and Hawaii. But for most of a century, lawmakers have periodically played around with the clock, trying to make light last longer each day, even as farmers fought the changes.

Now, the farmers are in retreat. Modern equipment has made them less dependent on the sun, says David Prerau, a former Transportation Department researcher who wrote "Seize the Daylight," a book on the nation's time wars, and consulted with members of Congress on the time-shift law that took effect in 2007.
A bit more:
Ever since, changes in time laws have been driven primarily by war and energy crises. FDR called daylight time "war time." (Woodrow Wilson caved to farmers and reverted to what the farmers called "God's time.") During the 1970s energy crisis, and again in 1986, the prospect of fuel savings won expansions of daylight time. This time, Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, teamed up with Republican Fred Upton of Michigan to get daylight time started yet another few weeks earlier, again with the expectation that the move would save oil.

Of course, if we were really serious about conserving energy, dozens of other moves would do so far more efficiently, but if that's the excuse politicians need to improve life in a single stroke, so be it. In Britain, Parliament is considering a move to adopt daylight time in the winter and double daylight time in summer. In Washington, that would mean a 9:40 p.m. sunset in late June. Ahhhhh.
Actually makes sense in a sick twisted way -- if the masterminds in Washington are going to extend their meddling to include time-keeping, what difference is an extra hour here or there? It's just one more hassle from Our Planners at the Central Politburo. Obligatory Beatles chorus:
Been away so long I 'ardly knew the place
Gee, it's good to be back home
Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case
Honey disconnect the phone
I'm back in the USSR
You don't know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the US
Back in the US
Back in the USSR

We (boomers) are screwed

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From GK writing at The Futurist:
Why Baby Boomers Will Have a Troubled Retirement
Amongst people under the age of 35 in America, a predominant view that I see emerging is how the Baby Boom generation in the US (born 1946-64) is consuming the future of the younger generation in an attempt to finance an opulent retirement. While this may indeed be the political goal of at least some Boomers and the core mission of many retiree organizations, the fiscal situation in the US is far worse for the Boomers than they realize, no matter how much they attempt to extract from younger people.

Boomers and Entitlements: While the first Baby Boomer turned 65 in 2011, the median Boomer (born in 1955) turns 65 in 2020, and the last ones turn 65 in 2029, which indicates that their big harvesting of Social Security and Medicare from the government has not even begun yet. Given rising life expectancies, the peak years of Boomer harvesting will be 2015-2035 or so, which means that a huge level of withdrawals are anticipated for this 20-year window.

But alas, someone got to the goodies first. This chart from Carpe Diem shows how US Federal Debt went from 65% of GDP in 2008 to almost 100% today. That 35-point rise was supposed to be consumed by Boomers seeking to finance their retirement, but now, with debt already so high well before Boomers can get their, the future payouts to Boomers have been crowded out. There is certainly no room for another 35-point rise in Federal Debt as a percentage of GDP (credit downgrades and a capital exodus would happen long before debt could ever reach 135% of GDP), and given that the big debt spike began in 2009, it appears that President Obama and the Democrat Senate have already expended the funds that were supposed to sustain the Boomers.

As debt thresholds that were not meant to be reached until many Boomers were well into their retirement have been pierced ahead of schedule, the squeeze will cause some very ugly intra-Boomer conflicts as each group seeks to secure a portion of the diminished pie, which we will examine later in the article.

Boomers and Home Equity: But it gets worse for the Boomers, even for those who have resources that makes them less dependent on Social Security. The housing market has been in a slump (which I predicted at the very height of the boom in April 2006), and this will, at best, tread water for the next several years. Ultra-low mortgage rates have merely arrested a further decline, and even that deep well has been fully consumed (chart from Calculated Risk, click to enlarge).

While some Baby Boomers believe they still may have enough time to recoup substantial home equity with which they may seek to finance a portion of their retirement, in order to retain their equity, they need a steady flow of first-time buyers to enter the housing market,in numbers greater than the rate at which retiring Boomers want to sell.

Who are these new first-time buyers? Why, the endless supply of young people starting their careers and forming families, of course. But alas; the many members of this generation, born after 1990, will not be in any position to buy the houses that Boomers are seeking to sell.

To cultivate a new generation of home buyers who can take on a mortgage, it is imperative that they do not already have a mortgage-sized debt before that. But the higher education industry got to this generation before the mortgage industry could, and many members of this generation have already signed away the first several years of their earnings to servicing their student loans in a rapidly inflating bubble (chart from The Atlantic, click to enlarge), amounting to some $867 Billion in indebtedness that is yet to abate. It may be unfortunate that this upcoming generation was unavoidably destined to take on debt, and that it was only a question of whether the student loan industry or the mortgage industry yoked them in first. But it appears that student loans won the race to reach their prey, which is bad news for Boomers seeking to sell their homes in 2015-20.
Lots more at the site. Like I said, us boomers are screwed and the next couple generations aren't going to think kindly of us either. The comments are excellent -- they "get it"...

Your daily moment of Awwwww

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From the Erie, PA Times-News:
The gorilla and the rabbit: a tale of friendship at the Erie Zoo
They're an odd pair.

The female half is quiet and aloof, imposing even as she approaches a half-century of life.

The other is just a boy still, tiny with a twitchy nose and a propensity to hop around like young boys do.

Samantha and Panda.

The gorilla and the Dutch rabbit.

Erie Zoo officials introduced the two in mid-February after deciding that Samantha, a 47-year-old western lowland gorilla, ought to have a companion.

She's been without any other presence in her exhibit since Rudy, a male gorilla, died in 2005 at the age of 49. Those two never did interact much; Sam was hand-raised and relates more to humans than to other gorillas.

She's too old and fragile to be paired with another gorilla now, zoo officials said. But she needs the same thing any human does: a friend.

Panda is safe and small, no threat to the gorilla. He's something for her to watch and touch.

"To have something sharing their space that they can observe and interact with is always going to be beneficial," zoo Director Cindy Kreider said.

Zookeepers started slowly. Panda was moved to an area close to Samantha's night quarters. Then keepers held her up to Samantha for inspection. Panda was let into the exhibit by herself to get the lay of the land. Finally, he was let in while Sam was in there, too -- with an escape hatch for the rabbit, just in case.

"Right off the bat, they hit it off," Kreider said.

Scott Mitchell, the zoo's chief executive, recalled a time shortly after the two were introduced when Panda hopped up to Samantha's beloved Baby, a stuffed toy gorilla. Know this: No one messes with Baby.

Samantha "pushed the baby out of the way so Panda could go by," Mitchell said.

Another time, she scratched underneath Panda's chin. She shares her food. She reaches down to touch Panda, gently.

"It was amazing to see," Mitchell said. "And the reaction from the public has been amazing, too. People are intrigued by it. They like the fact that she has a companion."
Sweet story. The first critter at the farm was Gohan the Goat. He was fine for a few days but he really needed a buddy and that was us. We wised up and got another goat (Oreo -- sadly passed four years ago from bloat). The Llamas are the same way -- a single llama is a lonely llama and is generally trouble as it will try to come into the house to join its two-legged buddies.

Say goodbye to the USS Enterprise

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From Yahoo/Associated Press:
Storied carrier, 'the Big E,' makes final voyage
When the makers of "Top Gun" were filming on board the USS Enterprise, they donated a set of black fuzzy dice to liven up the ship's otherwise drab interior.

A quarter-century later, the dice will still be dangling inside the tower of "the Big E" as the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sets sail on its final voyage Sunday.

The trinket is a reminder of the ship's storied 50-year history that includes action in several wars, a prominent role in the Cuban missile crisis and serving as a spotter ship for John Glenn's historic orbit of the earth.

"To serve on this ship, certainly in this capacity, you certainly have to be a student of the ship's history," said Rear Adm. Walter Carter, commander of the Enterprise strike group. "Fifty years of service, in our nation's history, we've never had a warship in service that long."
It was a one-off design -- they broke the mold when they made her and this causes some problems but makes some awesome people:
Hamilton acknowledged all aircraft carriers have problems they're supposed to anticipate, but he said the Enterprise is more likely to have "unknown unknowns" than newer ships.

Machinists in charge of fixing unexpected problems say the things that can break down range from critical air conditioner units to elevators that lift fighter jets from the hangar bay to the flight deck. Moreover, the Enterprise has eight nuclear reactors to maintain � six more than any other U.S. carrier.

The problems are so notorious that sailors reporting to work aboard the Enterprise are often given joking condolences by their colleagues on shore and on other ships.

The ship regularly has to make its own parts from scratch when something breaks down. Spare parts for much of the ship, which is the only one of its class, simply don't exist.

"Life is hard on Enterprise," Hamilton said. "But when they leave here, they leave knowing if they can do this, they can do anything."
She is 50 years old which means that the basic designs were being put to paper over 60 years ago. Amazing technology. Her website is here: USS Enterprise

Heh - remember Joe the Plumber?

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He was the guy who in 2008 was pilloried by the media because he challenged Senator Obama's comment about needing to "spread the wealth around".
Obama's redistributive design is straight out of the Communist Manifesto's Ten Planks:
1.Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2.A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3.Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4.Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5.Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
Anyway, it seems that instead of being beaten down, he has only gotten stronger and is running for Congress! From Joe for Congress 2012:
A Message from Joe
I�m Samuel J Wurzelbacher, also known as Joe the Plumber, and I want to be your next Congressman. I am proud to call Ohio my home, and I want to show Ohians that a regular, working class guy can run for Congress and win without compromising his integrity. I want to represent the People, not special interests, lobbyists, or political parties.

I will work to earn your trust, and I will answer your questions directly. We may not always agree, but you will never have to guess where I stand.

I will encourage you to show up to town halls, to make phone calls, and to participate regardless of your political party, because I believe we all want America to succeed.
Very cool! Get another 100 people like Joe and we can make a significant change. Get this nation turned around...

Now this will be fun to follow

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From FOX News:
Utah on verge of passing bill demanding Feds relinquish public land
Lawmakers who want to seize control of federal lands are pushing a legal battle they insist is winnable despite multiple warnings their effort is highly unconstitutional and almost sure to fail in court.

Utah is poised to become the first state to pass a package of bills that demand the federal government relinquish claims to huge sections of public land. A proposal that advanced Wednesday demands that by 2014 the federal government cede control of nearly 30 million acres -- nearly 50 percent of the entire state.

A bill setting an identical deadline is also moving in the Arizona Legislature.

Rep. Ken Ivory, who is leading the effort in Utah and helped draft model legislation for use in other states, said the federal government doesn't treat states like equal partners in land management.

"If sovereignty means anything, it means not having to say pretty please, or mother may I," Ivory said.

Driving the legislative frustration is an ongoing anger over missed opportunities to develop and mine lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service.

There is also concern that access to state-owned or private lands will be increasingly restricted by Congress or even with the stroke of a president's pen, which happened in 1996 when President Bill Clinton created the 1.9-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

"In our area, we feel that we have federal land management policies that ignore the needs of state, county or local residents," said Dirk Clayson, a commissioner in rural Kane County, Utah, which has less than 10 percent privately-owned land. "Even well-meant efforts from federal officials seem to get tied up with policy decisions ... that are not responsive to local needs."
Go Tenth Amendment!!! Heh... States are looking at success stories like North Dakota and wanting a tranche of their own resource pie.

Not your average Timex

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Quite the clock in Australia -- from the University of New South Wales:
Nuclear clock may keep time with the Universe
A proposed new time-keeping system tied to the orbiting of a neutron around an atomic nucleus could have such unprecedented accuracy that it neither gains nor loses 1/20th of a second in 14 billion years - the age of the Universe.

�This is nearly 100 times more accurate than the best atomic clocks we have now,� says one of the researchers, Scientia Professor Victor Flambaum, who is Head of Theoretical Physics in the UNSW School of Physics.

�It would allow scientists to test fundamental physical theories at unprecedented levels of precision and provide an unmatched tool for applied physics research.�

In a paper to be published in the journal Physical Review Letters - with US researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Nevada - Flambaum and UNSW colleague Dr Vladimir Dzuba report that their proposed single-ion clock would be accurate to 19 decimal places.
Holy crap -- that blows everything else out of the water. -19 when most else is around -13 for lab grade to -17. This neutrino walks into a bar...

Fire the blogger!!!

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Nothing much today either -- long day. Got the store computer back on its feet with a new 1TB hard disk. Three sectors had gone bad right at the beginning of the drive where the OS was. Cloned the disk, copied it over to the new drive while expanding the partition and then repaired the OS from another install of Vista. Took about six hours of my direct time plus a couple hours overnight for automated cloning... Nice to be doing some "real work" again -- haven't lost the Geek-Fu. Got hay, looked at some chickens and will be getting two dozen next week -- miss having them around. Talked with someone who owns a largish kiln and it sounds perfect for the glass fusing so heading into town Tuesday to look at it.

No posting tonight

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Heavy rain fade and the internet is bouncing around like a five year old who got a shot of espresso and a new puppy. Ran into town to get another adapter so I can finish cloning the old store computer hard disk to a new one (from 300GB to One Terabyte!!!) Button this puppy up tomorrow hopefully...

Busy day today

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Ran into town to pick up some glass stuff and to check on a loan application. Working on the store computer -- the hard disk checked out fine as a second drive but it makes a really ominous clicking noise when I returned it to the original machine. I am using Acronis Migrate Easy to clone it over to a new drive. See what happens... Fix dinner and out for a beer or two.

Counting down to November

Just after Andrew Breitbart's untimely death, I had posted:

The voice from beyond the grave
Andrew Breitbart may tragically be dead and gone but his organization is still strong.

As someone else said, that in his memory, we need to all be Andrew!

and linked to Andrew's first posthumous post regarding Obama's participation in the production of: The Love Song of Saul Alinsky. There was another post on the fifth and then this one today at Breitbart's Big Government:

OBAMA: 'Open up your hearts and your minds' to racialist prof
Below is footage of Barack Obama praising and hugging Professor Derrick Bell. It was spliced and diced by the media to avoid showing just how close Obama was to Bell. More than that, a close associate of the Obama campaign, Harvard Law School's Professor Charles Ogletree, admitted on our exclusive tape, "We hid this throughout the 2008 campaign. I don't care if they find it now."

Well, we found it. And it is damaging, because Barack Obama was as close or closer to Derrick Bell than he ever was to Jeremiah Wright. Obama didn't merely sit in the pews - or not -- for Derrick Bell. He didn't just hang out with Derrick Bell for prayers. He said:
"Open up your hearts and your minds to the words of Professor Derrick Bell."

There is no real explanation of who Derrick Bell is. What is really funny is the comments -- three excerpts:

This is NOT what Andrew Breitbart died for. This is NOT the bombshell tape that would expose his communist party connections!





II was so looking forward to some concrete.connection, and you post a video of Obama introducing Bell the day he announced he was resigning his tenured professorship until Harvard hires a minority female professor. If this all you have, Andrew is spinning in his grave. This report kid worthless!

These are just from the newest 20 of over 2,400 comments. These poor people fail to remember Andrew's strategy. It is now 244 days until the Presidential Election. Andrew never released the "goods" up front. You got a teaser, a dribble, something curious and then another teaser... If I had a programmable popcorn maker, I would set it to start sometime around August and to do a bowl every night following. This is going to be a fun ride. Andrew -- I never met you, never emailed you, never talked with you but you are in my pantheon of heroes. Good luck and God Speed!

Back home at the farm

Got some hay for the critters.

While I was there, one of the clerks (who knew that I had a motley crew of pasture pets) asked me if I wanted some sheep. I got that Deer-in-the-Headlights look and backed away from the counter while saying Noooooooooooo under my breath. I am going to let the herd die off naturally.

I love them and am keeping them healthy and well fed and skritched and loved but, except for the Llamas, I do not need any more. I do love the Llamas and will always have a couple. I am thinking about a riding mule or two.

I love mules and they are a lot hardier than horses.

Fixed dinner for Lulu and myself -- I had marinated and smoked a beef brisket a few days ago so served that, baked spud with beef gravy and sauteed baby kale greens (Costco). Pleasantly stuffed.

Had an energy treatment tonight so feeling especially mellow -- not too much posting tonight. Gorgeous full moon -- perfect for obscuring any of the aurora we are supposed to be getting tonight and I will not be awake for moon-set.

Back to the farm

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Heading back to the farm for a while. Got to get the computer for the store fixed and working on two other computer projects. Picking up some hay for the critters. Lulu had a really nice birthday yesterday -- I was online for a while because she was napping but we ran some errands, got the dogs groomed and fixed seared Ahi for dinner. Her son fixed us breakfast.
From the UK Daily Mail:
'It's okay because I'm not working: Woman, 24, who just won $1MILLION lottery and bought a new home all cash is STILL collecting welfare
A young woman who won $1m on a state lottery has sparked outrage after she admitted to still claiming benefits.

Amanda Clayton of Lincoln Park, Michigan still claims $200 a month in food stamps and despite paying cash for a new home and car said, 'I'm still struggling.'

The 24-year-old added that she is entitled to the welfare handout as she has two homes to run.
Oh to be on the dole in liberal-land... More:
She posed proudly with a giant check for the six figure sum and told friends the jackpot would change her life.

But after a tip off that she was still claiming benefits a local TV station followed her around and filmed her with a secret camera.

Clayton was filmed going into a store and paying for goods using her Bridge card to pay for her items.

When confronted about continuing to claim welfare Clayton said she wasn't doing anything wrong.

'I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn't, I thought maybe it was okay because I'm not working,' she told WDIV in Detroit.
What she is doing is legal according to the current laws:
Local politicians are pushing for a change in the law that prevents lottery winners from still being able to claim state benefits.

Republican Dale Zorn, who is sponsoring a bill to ban lottery winners from getting food stamps, said: 'Public assistance should be given to those in need of public assistance, not those that have found riches.

The bill has already passed the House, and Zorn is hoping it will pass the Senate soon.
People, I present the Obama Voter...

Ahhh crap -- Willard wins

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Looks like it is Mittens for President. From the Vodka Pundit writing at PJ Media:
Game Over, Man � Game Over!
I don�t like Mitt Romney. Given the choice between Romney and nothing, to turn the old adage upside-down, I�d take nothing. But in politics �nothing� isn�t one of the choices.

Correction: You can vote for nothing, but then worse-than-nothing wins by default.

So keep that in mind when I call on Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to surrender gracefully tonight, and to pledge their delegates to� this isn�t easy for me to say� to pledge their delegates to Romney.

Santorum has proven he can win � just barely � in states the GOP is likely to take in November regardless. Newt has proven that he can win his home state, and the one state that hates Mitt Romney almost as much as it hates Barack Obama. And I�ll miss Newt � I really will. I want to see his Old Media Crusade go on and on.

I don�t call on Ron Paul to pull out because he won�t. And even though I�m a small-l libertarian who thinks that Paul mostly hurts the libertarian cause, I�d like to see him win enough delegates to have some influence on the 2012 party platform.

But mostly, I want the bloodshed to stop.

Before Super Tuesday, Romney had more delegates than Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum combined. So, not only does �Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum� sound like the world�s worst folk group, together they can�t even beat Mitt Effing Romney. After Super Tuesday, that math will not have changed very much.

And the bloodshed has got to stop. This vicious campaign � and spare me the pointing fingers, please � is driving up everyone�s negatives. Everyone�s, that is, except for President Obama�s.

Eventually, the GOP is going to have to settle � and I do mean �settle� � on someone. Best to settle sooner rather than later, so that the real campaign, the campaign to unseat a sitting and powerful incumbent, can begin.

I never wanted Mitt. But Mitt it is. And the sooner Newt and Rick can ad-Mitt it to themselves, the better.
It has been a vicious campaign -- I wanted either Santorum or Gingrich to win -- Romney is to much of a known flip-flopper but even a rusty tin can is better than Obama and our first order of business is to get that bumbling fustercluck out of office and get our nation back on track. It will be interesting to see Willard's choice of VP -- while attacking Santorum and Gingrich daily, he has been silent on Ron Paul and vice versa. What is going on with that dynamic?
A two-fer. First: from Russian Times:
Leaked: Bin Laden not buried at sea, body moved on CIA plane to US
The body of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was not buried at sea, according to leaked emails of intelligence firm Stratfor, as revealed by WikiLeaks.

Stratfor�s vice-president for intelligence, Fred Burton, believes the body was �bound for Dover, [Delaware] on [a] CIA plane� and then �onward to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda [Maryland],� an email says.

The official version is that the body of Al-Qaeda�s top man, who was killed by a US raid in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, was buried at an undisclosed location at sea in a proper Muslim ceremony.

"If body dumped at sea, which I doubt, the touch is very Adolph Eichman like. The Tribe did the same thing with the Nazi's ashes," Burton commented in another email. Eichman was one of the masterminds of the Holocaust by Nazi Germany. He was captured by Mossad agents in Argentina and, tried in Israel, found guilty and executed in 1962. His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea over the Mediterranean.
The burial at sea struck me as a bit odd. Still... Second: from the National Iraqi News Agency:
MOI: arresting red mercury smuggling gang
Baghdad (NINA) � Karkh police command arrested a gang smuggling red mercury between Baghdad and Dohuk.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Interior mentioned that forces from the Karkh police command and in cooperation with the inspector general�s office of the MOI managed to arrest the gang.

It added that the gang had 500grams of the red mercury prepared for smuggling.
Red Mercury is one of those stupid urban myths that refuse to die. B.T.W. -- I have several kilograms hidden near to my farm if anyone is interested in purchasing it. Sight unseen. Price is a mere $2,000,000 in small unmarked bills. Guaranteed the real stuff...

Trailer for Powering America

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Looks good -- no mention on the website about Thorium but still, a start...
Film website here: Powering America Being shown on the Discovery Channel starting March 11th -- schedule at website.
From Gizmodo:
IBM�s Watson Supercomputer Is Cashing In on Wall Street
A year ago, IBM's Watson supercomputer bludgeoned human supernerds Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in Jeopardy. Since then, Watson's been putting its natural language interpretation skills to work for health care organizations, but now it's coming for the money: As of yesterday, Watson works for Citigroup, one of the biggest financial corporations in the world.

Apparently, Watson will "help analyze customer needs and process financial, economic and client data to advance and personalize digital banking." What that means, probably, is that Watson will be digging through millions of pages' worth of information for its new masters, much like it did with its closed database during Jeopardy. To help, Citigroup's already at work teaching Watson about regulatory practices and Wall Street jargon, like golden parachutes and BSDs.

Watson's analysis will be delivered as a cloud-based service, so there won't be whole floor dedicated to its servers at the Citigroup headquarters. And before the doomsday scenarios set in, it's mainly going to be doing risk management�IBM doesn't plan to have Watson pick stocks (yet, I guess).
The intersection of this with Dodd-Frank will be chaotic to say the least. Clinton should never have signed the repeal of the Glass�Steagall Act. We live in interesting times -- at least IBM and CRAY will do well...

Fun video

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Done by a friend of Lulu's son:
From FOX News:
EXCLUSIVE: Infamous international hacking group LulzSec brought down by own leader
Law enforcement agents on two continents swooped in on top members of the infamous computer hacking group LulzSec early this morning, and acting largely on evidence gathered by the organization�s brazen leader -- who sources say has been secretly working for the government for months -- arrested three and charged two more with conspiracy.

Charges against four of the five were based on a conspiracy case filed in New York federal court, has learned. An indictment charging the suspects, who include two men from Great Britain, two from Ireland and an American in Chicago, is expected to be unsealed Tuesday morning in the Southern District of New York.

�This is devastating to the organization,� said an FBI official involved with the investigation. �We�re chopping off the head of LulzSec.�
The article lists the people taken into custody including Jeremy Hammond aka �Anarchaos,� of Chicago:
Hammond was arrested on access device fraud and hacking charges and is believed to have been the main person behind the devastating December hack on U.S. security company Stratfor. Millions of emails were stolen and then published on Wikileaks; credit card numbers and other confidential information were also stolen, law enforcement sources told

The sources said Hammond will be charged in a separate indictment, and they described him as a member of Anonymous.
Hacking music or software is one thing -- stealing credit cards and publishing private emails is another. Lock them up for a long long time. Or hire them...

White stuff

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Woke up to find two inches of snow on the ground in Bellingham. Lulu's house has a very steep driveway so we will walk down to where I park my truck and use that for the days errands -- supposed to stay cold today and tonight warming to the 40's tomorrow. Checked a couple of daily websites and saw that there was a moderate quake in San Francisco. Mag 4.0 but shallow (5.5 miles).

Maybe too much activism?

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From Chicago's CBS affiliate:
White House Moves G8 Summit From Chicago To Camp David
In a surprise move, the White House has announced the upcoming G8 summit will be moved from Chicago to Camp David. The NATO summit scheduled for the same weekend will stay in Chicago.

As CBS 2′s Dana Kozlov reports, the G8 and NATO summits had both originally been planned to be held at McCormick Place over the weekend of May 19-21, with the G8 summit running from May 18-19, followed by the NATO summit on May 20-21.

But Monday afternoon, the White House announced the G8 summit would be held at Camp David instead.

�To facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G8 partners, the President is inviting his fellow G8 leaders to Camp David on May 18-19 for the G8 Summit, which will address a broad range of economic, political and security issues,� the White House said in a prepared statement.
Fun to see that Obama is not above throwing Rahm under the bus:
The decision came as a surprise to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was praising city�s plans to host the G8 summit as recently as Monday morning, when asked about downtown businesses preparing for the possibility of having to board up windows if expected G8 protests were to turn violent.

�I think this is a unique opportunity for Chicago to showcase itself to the world, and the world to see the city of Chicago. I think our police department is highly trained, very professional, with the right leadership,� he said.
Talk about a classic example of: "Mene, Mene, Tekel u-Pharsin" More: Daniel 5:25-28 Why is it so warm in here and what am I doing in this handbasket...

The voice from beyond the grave

Andrew Breitbart may tragically be dead and gone but his organization is still strong. As someone else said, that in his memory, we need to all be Andrew! From

The Vetting, Part I: Barack's Love Song To Alinsky

The introduction:

Prior to his passing, Andrew Breitbart said that the mission of the Breitbart empire was to exemplify the free and fearless press that our Constitution protects--but which, increasingly, the mainstream media denies us.

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" "Who guards the guardians?" Andrew saw himself in that role - as a guardian protecting Americans from the left's "objective" loyal scribes.

Andrew wanted to do what the mainstream media would not. First and foremost: Andrew pledged to vet President Barack H. Obama.

Andrew did not want to re-litigate the 2008 election. Nor did he want to let Republicans off the hook. Instead, he wanted to show that the media had failed in its most basic duty: to uncover the truth, and hold those in power accountable, regardless of party.

From today through Election Day, November 6, 2012, we will vet this president--and his rivals.

We begin with a column Andrew wrote last week in preparation for today's Big relaunch--a story that should swing the first hammer against the glass wall the mainstream media has built around Barack Obama.

Andrew's post:

In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama claims that he worried after 9/11 that his name, so similar to that of Osama bin Laden, might harm his political career.

But Obama was not always so worried about misspellings and radical resemblances. He may even have cultivated them as he cast himself as Chicago's radical champion.

In 1998, a small Chicago theater company staged a play titled The Love Song of Saul Alinsky, dedicated to the life and politics of the radical community organizer whose methods Obama had practiced and taught on Chicago's South Side.

Obama was not only in the audience, but also took the stage after one performance, participating in a panel discussion that was advertised in the poster for the play.

There is a lot more including an image of the poster for the play replete with Marxist symbolism and a list of the panelists -- Breitbart then lists their Curriculum Vitae (just an excerpt):

Leon Despres: Despres knew Saul Alinsky for nearly 50 years, and together they established the modern concept of "community organizing." Despres worked with secret Communist and Soviet spy Lee Pressman to support strikers at Republic Steel in Chicago in 1937; the strike ended in tragedy when 14 rioting strikers were killed and many wounded in a hail of police bullets. Despres worked with another Communist Party front, the Chicago Civil Liberties Committee, but eventually left because of the Stalinism of its leaders.
Also in 1937, Despres and his wife delivered a suitcase of clothing to Leon Trotsky, then hiding out from Stalin's assassins in Mexico City. Despres and his wife not only met with the exiled Russian Communist, but Despres's wife sat for a portrait with Trotsky pal and Marxist muralist Diego Rivera while Leon took Rivera's wife Frida Kahlo to the movies.

Quentin Young: From 1970 until at least 1992, Quentin Young was active in the Communist Party front organization, the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights - a group dedicated to outlawing government surveillance of radical organizations. He was also a member of the Young Communist League. Young, a confidante and physician to Barack Obama, is credited with having heavily influenced the President's views on healthcare policy.

Timuel Black: An icon of the Chicago left, Black was originally denied officer training because military intelligence claimed he had secretly joined the Communist Party. Black also worked closely with the Socialist Party in the 1950s, becoming president of the local chapter of the Negro American Labor Council, a organization founded by Socialist Party leader A. Phillip Randolph.

These are the people who guided and mentored our sitting President. 550+ comments so far... A long read but an excellent one for getting into the head of our President and understanding why this nation is falling apart, why energy is so expensive. Want to do something about it -- VOTE and work for the senators and representatives up for election this November. We do have the chance to turn things around but it has to start now -- no more kicking the can down the road.

In Bellingham tonight

Lulu has a birthday tomorrow so am in town for tonight -- we head out to the farm tomorrow as I need to get a computer set up for the store. The hard drive failed and seems to be partially recoverable so will be working on that tomorrow. It had cloud backup so there is no data loss, just the time and hassle-factor.

Lulu's new job is emotionally hard but it is a great fit for her -- she is doing activities at a 50-bed dementia facility. She is a very giving person and this sort of work is something that she has done before in Hawai'i. She has Monday through Thursday off so we will be spending time at the farm this week. Son is coming out too so we will do some forging, shooting and music.

Another hectic day in the country

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Yawwwnnn... Spent the day working in the shop and installing Win7 on a computer to be used at the store. Also helped a friend get his website up and running. Heading out for a bit to get some hay and then home for dinner. Nothing major but getting a lot of small stuff accomplished...

Paper ballots please

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Been voting absentee mail-in ballots for the last 30 years. The idea of electronic or web-based voting gives me a clear case of the blue--blind paralytic willies. Here is one reason why -- say hello to the new Washington D.C. School Board member Bender Bending Rodr�guez -- from PC World:
Hackers Elect Futurama�s Bender to the Washington DC School Board
Electronic voting has earned a pretty bad reputation for being insecure and completely unreliable. Well, get ready to add another entry to e-voting's list of woes.

One Bender Bending Rodr�guez was elected to the 2010 school board in Washington DC. A team of hackers from the University of Michigan got Bender elected as a write-in candidate who stole every vote from the real candidates. Bender, of course, is a cartoon character from the TV series Futurama.

This was not some nefarious attack from a group of rogue hackers: The DC school board actually dared hackers to crack its new Web-based absentee voting system four days ahead of the real election. University of Michigan professor Alexander Halderman, along with two graduate students, did the deed within a few hours.

After looking over the e-voting system's Ruby on Rails software framework, Halderman�s team discovered that they could use a shell injection vulnerability to get into the system. This allowed them to retrieve the �public key," which is used to encrypt the ballots. With the public key in hand, the hackers were able to change every ballot already in the system and replace any subsequent real ballots with fakes.

While the hackers were mucking about the system�s server, they discovered other files that were not ballot-related in the /tmp/ directory. Among them was a 937-page PDF containing instructions to individual voters as well as authentication codes for every voter. If someone with malicious intent got their hands on these codes, they could use them to cast ballots as a real voter.
Yeah -- it just is that easy. One place I worked for, I put a README.TXT file in the root directory of one of their "secure" servers at the outset of the hiring process. I had not even visited their physical plant except to drop off a resume. When I mentioned this during the first interview, the IT guy who left the room to check returned ten minutes later with a chalk-white face. Was hired that day.

Ohhh the Irony of it all

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From Denny:
Irony Of The Day
From Dave in Mexifornia. Liberalism totally explained.
The food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to "please do not feed the animals" because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.

Something odd is happening up there

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From Alan Boyle writing at MS/NBC's Cosmic Blog:
Dark matter blob confounds experts
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope are mystified by a merging galaxy cluster known as Abell 520 in which concentrations of visible matter and dark matter have apparently come unglued.

A report on the Hubble observations, published in the Astrophysical Journal, raises more questions than answers about a cosmic pile-up that's occurring 2.4 billion light-years away.

"We were not expecting this," the study team's senior theorist, Arif Babul of the University of Victoria, said in a news release. "According to our current theory, galaxies and dark matter are expected to stay together, even through a collision. But that's not what's happening in Abell 520. Here, the dark matter appears to have pooled to form the dark core, but most of the associated galaxies seem to have moved on."
Lots more (with links) at Allan's blog post. Dark Matter is one of the primary "big mysteries" in Science if not the greatest. We simply do not have a clue.

The case of the curious typewriter

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John Farrier writes at Neatorama:
A Transparent Typewriter
Swintec�s 2600CC typewriter is a completely modern tool with impressive features such as an 80,000-word dictionary and correction memory.

Here�s your puzzle for today: why is it transparent?
From Swintec's website for the product:
2600CC Clear Cabinet Electronic office Typewriter - With Spellproof
Especially designed for Inmate use in education departments, law libraries, administrative areas and in personal living quarters.
Transparent cabinet facilitates searching
And it's for sale to the gubbinment so of course:
Quantity 1 $584.00
Sitting here chortling -- from Slashdot:
Anonymous Supporters Tricked Into Installing Trojan
dsinc sends this quote from a Symantec report:
"In 2011, dozens of Anonymous members who participated in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in support of Anonymous hacktivism causes were arrested. In these DDoS attacks, supporters using the Low Orbit Ion Cannon denial-of-service (DoS) tool would voluntarily include their computer in a botnet for attacks in support of Anonymous. In the wake Anonymous member arrests this week, it is worth highlighting how Anonymous supporters have been deceived into installing Zeus botnet clients purportedly for the purpose of DoS attacks. The Zeus client does perform DoS attacks, but it doesn�t stop there. It also steals the users' online banking credentials, webmail credentials, and cookies. The deception of Anonymous supporters began on January 20, 2012, the day of the FBI Megaupload raid."
Emphasis mine -- brings to mind that classic line from the first Dirty Harry:�ve got to ask yourself one question: �Do I feel lucky?� Well do ya, punk?
A good one for the PWNIE Awards

Another busy day today

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Had the 44th annual general public water board meeting this morning and then went out to a local gun and knife show. All the knives were commercial -- most cheap chinese crap. Some really interesting guns though -- bunch of antiques and some AK's and AR's that looked like fun. Picked up a decent targeting laser for $50. Got the parts in yesterday to upgrade my Saiga-12 Zombie Killah so will work on that in a few days. Getting some hay and salt blocks out to the critters and putting up my 10*20 tent in the yard for them to hang out under -- for some reason, they are avoiding the barn; instead, they huddle up next to the house. Been raining a lot lately with more on the way. Conditions at Mt. Baker are spectacular -- I got home from the gun show a few minutes ago and there was a continuous line of happy and tired skiers driving off the mountain.

A bit of oddness in the aether

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Prior to GPS, there was LORAN (LOng RAnge Navigation) Developed in the 1940's by the MIT Radiation Lab (my Dad worked there on RADAR) it went through several iterations and became the navigation standard for airplanes and ships. The plug was pulled recently as it was considered to be redundant to GPS. From the Wikipedia article:
In November 2009, the USCG announced that LORAN-C is not needed by the U.S. for maritime navigation. This decision left the fate of LORAN and eLORAN in the U.S. to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Per a subsequent announcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, in accordance with the DHS Appropriations Act, terminated the transmission of all U.S. LORAN-C signals on February 8, 2010. On August 1, 2010 the U.S. transmission of the Russian American signal was terminated, and on August 3, 2010 all Canadian signals were shut down by the USCG and the CCG.
A bit more:
On 7 May 2009, President Barack Obama proposed cutting funding (approx. $35 million/year) for LORAN, citing its redundancy alongside GPS. In regard to the pending Congressional bill, H.R. 2892, it was subsequently announced that "[t]he Administration supports the Committee's aim to achieve an orderly termination through a phased decommissioning beginning in January 2010, and the requirement that certifications be provided to document that the LORAN-C termination will not impair maritime safety or the development of possible GPS backup capabilities or needs."
Some members of an email list I subscribe to have noticed that some of the stations are back on the air and broadcasting stable and accurate signals. Not all of them but about a half-dozen. Whomever knows the what and the why are not making this public... The stations themselves are fascinating and have quite a history and high geek content as accurate clocks were essential to their operation. Here is the website for the station at Point Clarence, Alaska (demolished in 2010) from the wonderful LORAN History website. These signals could be picked up by a short-wave receiver and as a kid, I spent much time listening to their distinctive pulsing hum and imagining all the airplanes and ships using the same signal to find their way home to port...

No posting today

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Busy day today. Woke up to hear that Andrew Breitbart died unexpectedly early this morning. He was 43 with a wife and four children -- he did have a history of heart problems but this is way to young to go. He is someone who spoke truth to power and did it brilliantly -- it is curious to hear the comments from the liberals. Shows them to be the amoral power-hungry a**holes that they are. Obits here, here and here.

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