July 2012 Archives

Home again!

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Got into Bellingham around 3PM -- dropped Lulu off at her house, ran some errands, did some shopping, got a bite to eat in town and headed home. Checked in at the store, went out for a pint and now downloading 3,229 emails (197MB) -- I am on a couple high-traffic email lists :-P Planning to sleep about 12 hours tonight. It is fantastic to be back -- Lulu is decompressing with her son and will be out at the end of the week.

Back home again

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Heading out of Ellensburg and the next post here will be from home. It was an incredibly fun trip and I learned a lot but it will be great to get back to the farm. Day twenty!

Back to 1911 again

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John Moses Browning (peace be upon his name) designed the The Model 1911 .45 Automatic Pistol. The US Military adopted it and used it as the standard issue from 1911 through 1985 when they went with the Baretta M9 poodle-shooter (9mm). More on the history of the 1911 from Browning and Wikipedia. The Army scheduled a test between sample guns from Colt (Brownings 1911 design and the Savage Arms Company.) From the Wikipedia article:
Among the areas of success for the Colt was a test at the end of 1910 attended by its designer, John Browning. 6,000 rounds were fired from a single pistol over the course of two days. When the gun began to grow hot, it was simply immersed in water to cool it. The Colt gun passed with no reported malfunctions, while the Savage designs had 37.
Anyway, from FOX News:
Sticking to their guns: Marines place $22.5M order for the Colt .45 M1911
It�s been called the greatest handgun ever made, and it has barely changed since 1911, when the legendary John Browning designed it especially for the U.S. Military.

And now, the Colt .45 M1911 is making a big comeback, now that the U.S. Marines have placed a $22.5 million order for the Connecticut-made pistols.

The gun, which has been wielded on film by John Wayne and in real life by Sgt. Alvin York and Maj. Audie Murphy, was the standard-issue sidearm in the military for decades, until it was replaced by the Beretta M9 in 1985.
I haven't figured out just which configuration I want but a 1911 is definitely on my wish-list...

Long haul

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640 miles today -- spent a couple hours walking around Mammoth Hot Springs and then hit I-90 and headed West. Just got into Ellensburg, Washington (a favorite small town of mine) and will be home tomorrow late afternoon. While in Ellensburg, I will be picking up a couple cases of Quilter�s Irish Death from the Iron Horse Brewery. They are not in distribution so it is impossible to order it for my store. Day nineteen!

Gardiner Wyoming

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Had an amazing dinner at a new restaurant (six weeks old), the Iron Horse Bar and Grill. An Ahi Tuna steak, seared and presented with fresh wasabi and a wonderful dipping sauce. Was talking with someone who had lived there for 14 years and she mentioned that the town was supposed to be called Gardner but a typo by an illiterate trapper -- a Mr. Johnson Gardner -- caused the town to have the 'I' while the nearby Gardner River does not. Jackson Hole was fun but very much overpriced and the town center is now populated by big-money venues -- Louis Vuitton and such cheap crap. Gardiner will be there in another 20 years but I do love it the way it is now -- this is America, not J.H. Looking forward to getting home and exploring all that I learned at the blacksmithing conference -- I got to learn about a new steel that seems to be incredible for knifemaking, how to anneal and temper metals not by rote but with an understanding of what is exactly going on in the crystalline structure. My relationship with Lulu has gotten deeper and deeper (I will be posting THAT story in about three weeks) and despite the hassles and expenses of the truck malfunction, it has been a wonderful wonderful trip. Seen lots of critters, now we just need to see a bear or two to get the list complete. Up early to go through Mammoth Hot Springs as well as look at the hotel and museum before the tourons wake up. On the road home.
From William Kristol writing at The Weekly Standard:
Pelosi: President Obama's Been to Israel �Over and Over Again�
Daniel Halper has called attention to Nancy Pelosi's remarkable interview with Al Hunt on the topic of Barack Obama and Israel. I'd note one comment in particular: Pelosi's claim that President Obama "has been there [Israel] over and over again."

Wow. I'm involved with the Emergency Committee for Israel. We have an ad up in several states calling attention to the fact that President Obama, who's been quite the world traveler, has never visited Israel as president. Did we make a terrible mistake? Were we unjust to President Obama? Do we have to pull down the ad?

No, no, and no. Contrary to Pelosi's apparent claim, President Obama hasn't been to Israel over and over again. He's never been as president, which is certainly what Pelosi implied. Well, maybe he visited Israel "over and over" before becoming president, and that's what Pelosi meant to say? No. When he was senator, Obama went on two trips to Israel, once with several other freshmen members of Congress, and then as a presidential candidate. And he'd never been interested enough in Israel to visit as a private citizen. So much for the notion that Obama's been "over and over again."
And they are so removed from reality that they fail to realize that we can fact-check their wrinkled little asses and call them out on their lies. Pelosi, as a minority leader of the United States House of Representatives is supposed to be ethical and honest in her dealings. She is supposed to represent her constituents. Epic FAIL! And, I find it disgusting that I have to go to the English Media to find stories like these. Not covered by any mainstream media over on our side of the pond...

Watts Up With That

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Anthony Watts suspended publication of his website a few days ago pending release of some information. This is groundbreaking -- go and read the entire post:
PRESS RELEASE � U.S. Temperature trends show a spurious doubling due to NOAA station siting problems and post measurement adjustments.

Chico, CA July 29th, 2012 � 12 PM PDT � FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A reanalysis of U.S. surface station temperatures has been performed using the recently WMO-approved Siting Classification System devised by METEO-France�s Michel Leroy. The new siting classification more accurately characterizes the quality of the location in terms of monitoring long-term spatially representative surface temperature trends. The new analysis demonstrates that reported 1979-2008 U.S. temperature trends are spuriously doubled, with 92% of that over-estimation resulting from erroneous NOAA adjustments of well-sited stations upward. The paper is the first to use the updated siting system which addresses USHCN siting issues and data adjustments.

The new improved assessment, for the years 1979 to 2008, yields a trend of +0.155C per decade from the high quality sites, a +0.248 C per decade trend for poorly sited locations, and a trend of +0.309 C per decade after NOAA adjusts the data. This issue of station siting quality is expected to be an issue with respect to the monitoring of land surface temperature throughout the Global Historical Climate Network and in the BEST network.
Very groundbreaking -- all of our historical temperature measurement have been skewed in favor of global warming. The AGW proponents sealed in their labs have downloaded this broken data and used it to advance their own agenda. Again, one of the reasons that WUWT is often a several times/day read for me is that Anthony runs a very tight ship and the signal to noise ratio is very high. On either side of the climate debate, Anthony is consistent in being a clear and verifiable resource for the facts, not the hype.

Gardiner, Wyoming

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Arrived in Gardiner about an hour ago -- we saw an eruption of Old Faithful and toured the new visitors center. I showed Lulu the old lodge, we got lunch to go and headed north. We went off the main drag and drove Firehole Lake Drive -- pulled off the road for lunch and let the dogs rumble off-leash for a while. We will be heading out early tomorrow and "do" Mammoth Hot Springs and then, North on 89 to 90 and home. Spend Monday night in Missoula or maybe Spokane, Tuesday home. Day eighteen!

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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The Cody museum was incredible -- their Buffalo Bill exhibit had been totally upgraded and was brand new to me. Lots of great footage from his shows. There were a couple new exhibits in the Plains Indians site and some new acquisitions for the Gun museum. A couple artists of this period are favorites of mine -- Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran and Frederic Remington. The Museum has a good dozen of each of their works and a lot of Remington's smaller sculptures. Lulu is an artist so it was wonderful to just sit and wonder at the paintings. Spent about five hours at the museum. Drove down to Jackson Hole -- it was about 170 miles but the bulk of it was in Yellowstone and Teton parks -- posted speed limit was 45MPH but there were a lot of tourons (definition here, observations from a Bend, OR resident here) driving at 40 and slowing to 20 when they see a bug. Of course, despite the frequent signs advising slow drivers to use the equally frequent turnouts, they go their merry way oblivious to everyone else patiently lined up in back of them... Finally got in around 7:15PM, found a dog-friendly motel and got dinner at the Cowboy Steakhouse -- we split a 22 Ounce Dry Aged Porterhouse with horseradish mashed potatoes, canalized onions and their own steak sauce. Heaven on a plate. Heading out early tomorrow, do the Tetons and central Yellowstone (thermal areas and Old Faithful) and then head up to Gardiner to spend the night. Drop back down Monday morning to do Mammoth Hot Springs -- back up North to Livingston and points West. Projected ETA sometime around Wednesday.

Heading out to the museum

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Getting some breakfast and then a couple hours at the Buffalo Bill museum. A short drive to Jackson Hole this afternoon and the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone tomorrow. After that, heading home. Day seventeen!

Classic fail - jobs program

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This just came across the transom so there may be more to the story but it seems pretty typical so far. From Breitbart:
Jobs Program Spent $76,000 Per Person To Help Youth Find Minimum Wage Jobs
A new jobs training oversight report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) found that a federally-funded Oklahoma Job Corps program spent around $76,000 per person to help youth secure minimum wage jobs.

The report, released Tuesday, comes 18 months after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found that billions of taxpayer dollars are being poured into job training programs that benefit those who run them, not the unemployed workers they are supposed to assist.

"Taxpayers should be appalled Congress has done nothing to reform these programs for more than 18 months," said Sen. Coburn.

Sen. Coburn said he wanted to use his home state of Oklahoma as a case study for job training programs throughout the nation.
More at the site. Pretty damning...

Very curious - Watts Up With That

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One of my daily must-read sites is Anthony Watts' Watts Up With That. Anthony was a former television meteorologist who spent 25 years on the air and who also operates a weather technology and content business, as well as continues daily forecasting on radio, just for fun. Went to his site this evening to see this:
WUWT publishing suspended � major announcement coming
Something�s happened. From now until Sunday July 29th, around Noon PST, WUWT will be suspending publishing. At that time, there will be a major announcement that I�m sure will attract a broad global interest due to its controversial and unprecedented nature.

To give you an idea as to the magnitude of this event, I�m suspending my vacation plans. I weighed the issue, and decided (much to my dismay) this was more important. I can go on vacation trips another time, but this announcement is not something I can miss now and do later.

Media outlets be sure to check in to WUWT on Sunday around 12PM PST and check your emails.
Anthony published an update a few hours later:
UPDATE: I�ve been advised by concerned friends that speculation on the nature of this announcement has gotten out of hand in the blogosphere, and that was not my intent. My intent was to give me time to work on something very important without the distraction of this blog, emails/twitter/facebook, etc.

As many of you know, running WUWT is a monumental task which I could not do without the help of many people. Even so, it still requires my constant attention.

First, I am well. This isn�t a health issue for me or my family.

Second, my announcement has nothing to do with FOIA issues or other sorts of political or social theories being bandied about on other blogs.

It does however have something to do with one of my many projects, it is still a �major announcement� and it has important implications that I�m sure everyone will want to know about.

I greatly appreciate all the concern and interest, and I look forward to being able to share all my work on Sunday. � Anthony
One of the reasons that WUWT is often a several times/day read for me is that Anthony runs a very tight ship and the signal to noise ratio is very high. On either side of the climate debate, Anthony is consistent in being a clear and verifiable resource for the facts, not the hype. For him to go to these lengths makes this a major event indeed! We may just have to stop at an internet caf� this Sunday for lunch -- I brought my netbook as well as my laptop. And now, my curiosity is up. Really really up. Is it Sunday yet? Now? Now?
I had already posted about the sad state of financial affairs at General Motors (recently, here and here) Now it seems they are doing 'funny stuff' with their lending. From Investors Business Daily:
GM Ramps Up Risky Subprime Auto Loans To Drive Sales
President Obama has touted General Motors (GM) as a successful example of his administration's policies. Yet GM's recovery is built, at least in part, on the increasing use of subprime loans.

The Obama administration in 2009 bailed out GM to the tune of $50 billion as it went into a managed bankruptcy.

Near the end of 2010, GM acquired a new captive lending arm, subprime specialist AmeriCredit. Renamed GM Financial, it has played a significant role in GM's growth.

The automaker is relying increasingly on subprime loans, 10-Q financial reports shows.

Potential borrowers of car loans are rated on FICO scores that range from 300 to 850. Anything under 660 is generally deemed subprime.
And the numbers:
The worse the FICO score, the bigger the increase. From Q4 2010 to Q1 2012, GM Financial loans to customers with the worst FICO scores � below 540 � shot up 79% to more than $2.3 billion. The second worst category, 540-599, rose 28% from about $3.4 billion to $4.3 billion.

Prime loans, those above 660, dropped 42% to $676 million.

GM Financial provides just over 8% of GM's financing. Prior to 2006, GM's captive lending arm was GMAC, but GM sold a controlling stake in 2006. GMAC later renamed itself Ally Financial and continues to provide the bulk of GM's financing.
In less than two years, they are writing 79% more loans to people with FICO scores of less than 540 -- this is what blew up in our faces four years ago with the housing bubble. Do these people never learn? The $40K car they write paper for will be worth at the very best only $30K when the buyer defaults -- how are they going to recover their money then? A perfect example of the efficacy of Government Meddling in what they do not understand.

Gone to ground in Cody, Wyoming

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The truck ran like a dream and we sailed over the 400 miles in good time. I have a bit of a leadfoot and managed to avoid the popo so we got here well before dinnertime. Had Mexican and now settled into the motel for some surfing and an early bedtime -- neither of us slept that well yesterday. Spending most of tomorrow at the Buffalo Bill museum and then a quick drive to Jackson Hole (170 miles away) and spend the night. Meander our way up north through the Tetons and Yellowstone and probably spend the night somewhere around Bozeman (again) and hightail it over Route 90 through Ellensburg and then 97 North to Route 2 and home again. Figuring four more days on the road and back Tuesday, July 31st.

Just this for today

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Getting an early start and want to try to make it to Cody, Wyoming by tonight. 400 miles -- about six hours driving. Day sixteen!

Corruption at the top

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Little bits of information dribble out. From Breitbart:
REVEALED: Corzine�s MF Global Was Client of Eric Holder�s Law Firm
Those wondering why the Department of Justice has refused to go after Jon Corzine for the vaporization of $1.6 billion in MF Global client funds need look no further than the documents uncovered by the Government Accountability Institute that reveal that the now-defunct MF Global was a client of Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer�s former law firm, Covington & Burling.

There�s more.

Records also reveal that MF Global�s trustee for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy retained as its general bankruptcy counsel Morrison & Foerester--the very law firm from which Associate Attorney General Tony West came to DOJ.

And more.

As Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer explains in the Washington Times Thursday, the trustee overseeing MF Global�s bankruptcy is former FBI Director Louis Freeh. At Holder�s Senate confirmation hearing Freeh served as a character witness for Holder and revealed that Holder had previously worked for Freeh. �As general counsel,� Freeh said, �I could have engaged any lawyer in America to represent our bank. I chose Eric.�
A bunch of cronies. These are the people who are supposed to manage our finances and represent our interests? Much more at the site...


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Opted for BBQ instead of Mongolian. Lots of people in the motel pool so we ate the Que, enjoyed a couple Shiner Bocks and watched people splash around. Repacking the truck in an hour or so -- let it cool off some.

How's that bailout going?

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From The Detroit News:
GM stock falls to new low on Europe woes
General Motors Co. stock fell 1.2 percent Wednesday, closing at $18.80, down $0.22, on worries about Europe � the first time the Detroit automaker's stock has closed below $19 a share since its initial public offering.

The Detroit automaker has seen its share price tumble by more than 52 percent since it reached a high closing price in January 2011 of $38.90, just after going public in November 2010. The company has shed more than $30 billion in market capitalization over the last 18 months, and now is worth about $29 billion.
GM's low stock price has prevented the Treasury from exiting the automaker. It still holds 500 million shares of stock in the company as part of its $49.5 billion bailout, or a 32 percent stake.

It needs about $53 a share in order to break even on its GM bailout. At current prices, it would lose $17.25 billion on the bailout.
And bit more:
In a report released Wednesday, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program's special inspector general said taxpayers are still owed nearly $27 billion for the GM bailout and $14.7 billion for the $17.2 billion bailout of Detroit lender Ally Financial Inc. The Treasury still holds a 74 percent stake in Ally as part of the bailout of the former GM finance.
And this was supposed to work? Our masterminds really believed this? It was all about consolidating power with the unions.
Give people a lot of free stuff and they start taking it for granted and not motivating themselves to improve their lot in life. Some people just settle for a bare minimum. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Human waste shuts down BART escalators
When work crews pulled open a broken BART escalator at San Francisco's Civic Center Station last month, they found so much human excrement in its works they had to call a hazardous-materials team.

While the sheer volume of human waste was surprising, its presence was not. Once the stations close, the bottom of BART station stairwells in downtown San Francisco are often a prime location for homeless people to camp for the night or find a private place to relieve themselves.

All those biological excretions can gum up the wheels and gears of BART's escalators, shutting them down for long periods of extended repairs, increasing station cleaning costs and creating an unpleasant aroma for morning commuters.

Five of the nine escalators that weren't working at BART stations on Wednesday were in downtown San Francisco, said Jim Allison, a BART spokesman. While there are many reasons a BART escalator can break down, the beating they take at night is among the most acute.
Feral humans. Shades of Lord of the Flies.

On the road again

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Got the truck back from the Ford dealership -- $2,300 (parts were $1,800) and $480 for the rental car (had to get a van for the dogs). Heading out tomorrow -- first scheduled stop is Cody, Wyoming for the museum and then Jackson Hole and points north. Rapid City is a lot of fun and it was nice to have thunderstorms almost every night but it will be good to get back home again. Heading out soon for Mongolian take-out for dinner by the pool and then surfing a bit. Last night here. A nice motel but a small room and after ten days with three dogs it will be good to move on. Day fifteen!
And of course, the people with an agenda jump... JUMP at the chance that some post at some website that fits their internal narrative might be correct -- someone at NPR saw the now discredited NASA release and went to eleventy! From NPR (a sterling example of the Government using our tax dollars wisely):
Greenland Ice Sheet Melts At Abnormal Blazing Speed
In July, the surface of Greenland's ice sheet melted at an unusually fast rate. In the span of four days, an estimated 97 percent of the ice disappeared. Audie Cornish talks to NASA scientist Tom Wagner for more.
Fscking moron -- doesn't fact check their own work.

A matter of perspective - an update

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The New York Times just picked up the hype of the NASA report. From Andrew Revkin:
�Unprecedented� Greenland Surface Melt � Every 150 Years?
The flow of news releases and background science content from NASA is generally excellent, but the space agency badly blew it earlier this week with this headline, which has now reverberated around the Web: �Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt.�

Unprecedented means �never done or known before.� Yet the news release beneath the headline directly undercuts that description of this melting event, saying that it is rare � the last wide surface melt was in 1889, recorded in separate ice cores at the Greenland ice-sheet summit and in the northwestern part of the vast frozen expanse � and has happened roughly every 150 years over a long stretch of centuries, as recorded deeper in the ice. (Here�s a figure from a 1994 Science paper pointing to a series of such melt layers, reflecting summer warmth. Please see the postscript below for the key reference, provided by Lora Koenig of NASA.)

The inaccurate headline and burst of hyperventilating coverage and commentary (with some exceptions, like this new post by Climate Central) have already provided fodder for those whose passion or job is largely aimed at spreading doubt about science pointing to consequential greenhouse-driven warming.
Very good to see this in the mainstream media.

A matter of perspective - Greenland

From NASA:

Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt
For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists.

On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland's ice sheet naturally melts. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically. According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July.

Oh Noes!!!!!! From Watts Up With That:

Greenland Ice Melt every 150 years is 'right on time'
"Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time," says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

Much more at the site... Sure -- unprecedented for 30 years but when you look at the historical data, the NASA pronouncement kind of falls on its little face.

Such wonderful people

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From Mohabat News:
Iran seeks to legalise marriage for girls under 10
According to recently released statistics, in the past few weeks over 75 female children under 10 were forced to marry much older men. In 3929 cases, bride and groom were both under 14.

In a discussion of the issue organised by the Khabar Online news website, conservative law-maker and spokesperson for the Majles committee Mohammad Ali Isfenani said: "Before the revolution girls under 16 were not allowed to marry.

Parents determined to get around the law would often tamper with their daughter's birth certificate. Under the previous constitution, people were legally regarded as adults when they were 18. After the revolution the age at which children were regarded as going through puberty was lowered to 9 for girls and 15 for boys.

"He added: "As some people may not comply with our current Islamic legal system, we must regard 9 as being the appropriate age for a girl to have reached puberty and qualified to get married. To do otherwise would be to contradict and challenge Islamic Sharia law."
Sharia delenda est.


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If you want to run a low-power and therefore unlicensed transmitter, be sure to check your spectrum charts. From Military.com:
Navy Radio Might Be Crippling Conn. Garage Doors
A radio signal being transmitted out of a submarine base is likely behind reports of garage doors failing to open and close in southeastern Connecticut, the U.S. Navy said Monday.

The signal is part of the Enterprise Land Mobile Radio system, which is used by the military to coordinate responses with civil emergency workers, said Chris Zendan, a spokesman for submarine base in Groton.

The problem, first reported by The Day of New London, is that the same frequency is used at very low levels by the manufacturers of garage door openers. The signals from remote controls to open or close the doors are blocked by the signal from the base.

Overhead Door Co. of Norwich Inc. told the newspaper it has been receiving complaints from several towns near the base and has found no problem with its equipment. The Associated Press left messages with the company Monday.

Sondra Tuchman, of Montville, told the newspaper she has to get out of her car, stand in front of the door and press the remote for the opener to work. She said an installation company told her she would have to pay about $300 to change her system to another frequency.

The garage-door companies do not need to be licensed to use the frequency because the remote controls transmit at such low levels, Zendan said. But the homeland security needs for the signal take precedence, he said.

"Because garage door openers are unlicensed devices, they are not offered any protection from interference by licensed users in the same frequency band, and in fact are required by federal law to accept interference from licensed users," Zendan said. "Base commanding officers do not have the authority to change those systems, and unfortunately we cannot offer compensation to the unlicensed users."

Dave Osso, brand manager for The Genie Co., a Mt. Hope, Ohio, manufacturer of garage door opening systems, said the problem dates to the 1990s, when the military began using the same frequency used for door openers. The company sells dual-frequency openers that switch to a different frequency if interference is a factor, he said.
Caveat emptor -- a bit more:
For decades, the military has held a portion of the radio spectrum, from 138 to 450 megahertz, in reserve. But that range came back into use after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when officials discovered they needed a new system to allow civil and military first responders to communicate.
Even if they were not using it, the military owned that spectrum and the garage door manufacturers were just squatting when they built their remotes. Bad news for the end users but there is nothing that can be done. Stupid choice for the manufacturers...

Gun salesman of the year

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Used to be Obama but now it's that a**hole from Colorado. From the New York Post:
Gun sales surging in wake of 'Dark Knight Rises' shooting
Firearms sales are surging in the wake of the Colorado movie massacre as buyers express fears about both personal safety and anti-gun lawmakers who might use the shooting to seek new weapons restrictions.

In Colorado, the site of Friday's shooting that killed 12 and injured dozens of others, gun sales jumped in the three days that followed. The state approved background checks for 2,887 people who wanted to purchase a firearm � 25 percent more than the average Friday to Sunday period in 2012 and 43 percent more than the same interval the week prior.

Dick Rutan, owner of Gunners Den in suburban Arvada, Colo., said requests for concealed-weapon training certification "are off the hook." His four-hour course in gun safety, required for certification for a concealed-weapons permit in Colorado, has drawn double the interest since Friday.

"What they're saying is: They want to have a chance. They want to have the ability to protect themselves and their families if they are in a situation like what happened in the movie theater," Rutan said.

Day-to-day gun sales frequently fluctuate, but the numbers also look strong outside of Colorado, too.

Seattle's home county, King, saw nearly twice as many requests for concealed pistol licenses than the same timeframe a year ago. Florida recorded 2,386 background checks on Friday, up 14 percent from the week before. Oregon checks on Friday and Saturday were up 11 percent over the month prior. Four days of checks in California were up 10 percent month-to-month.

During the past decade, June and July have consistently been the slowest months for gun sales, according to FBI data.
As Robert Anson Heinlein once said:
An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.

Major cool - Christian Bale

Batman visited the wounded victims of the Aurora Colorado shooting. From the London Daily Mail:

Batman star Christian Bale comforts victims of Dark Knight gun massacre in emotional visit to Aurora as city mourns its dead
Batman star Christian Bale has made a personal visit to see seven victims of the Aurora movie theatre shooting to express his condolences to them and their families.

The 38-year-old British actor, spent two-and-a-half hours at the Medical Center of Aurora this afternoon with five patients admitted to the Colorado hospital and two others who had traveled from Denver's Swedish Medical Center to meet Bale.

The Oscar winning star of the 'Dark Knight Rises' made the visit to the hospital to talk to patients injured by James Holmes' massacre last Friday, in which 12 people lost their lives and 58 others were injured.

Always liked him as an actor -- now I like him as a man. That was a very gracious thing to do.

On the road again (almost)

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Talked to the service people -- the replacement radiator will be in today and we should be on the road tomorrow sometime. Planning to spend Thursday night here and get an early start Friday. I was hoping to get to Gillette, WY in time to take the coal mine tour but they don't run on weekends. Then it's off to Cody Wyoming (Buffalo Bill museum) and then down to Jackson Hole, WY and we will nose our way north through the Tetons and Yellowstone. We had another thunderstorm this afternoon -- the heat wave has broken and temps are in the low 80's -- feels great. I took Lulu and the dogs to our favorite dog park and had lunch -- then we went to the School of Mines and Technology to see an art exhibit, the museum of Geology and we walked through the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering. This was where I went during the conference tour so I was able to show Lulu some of the stuff I had seen on my tour. The coolest toy tool was a Friction Stir Welder -- this uses mechanical action to weld metals together that are otherwise unweldable. Very cool technology! Hanging out for an hour or two and then out for Mexican food. Day fourteen!

Did I say we need the rain?

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We got the rain -- a real gully washer. The storm is on top of us and spectacular. If I wasn't so rooted in my area, I would move here just for the weather and the Mining School.

Mt Rushmore and beyond

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Spent the day heading out to tour Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument and drive through the Needles Highway. Turns out that Mt. Rushmore has quite the secret. Not Cibola (although after today, I'm not 100% sure). There is a Hall of Records that is not visible from the public areas and is not open to the public and receives very little mention at the visitors center. Description here and photos here. The Crazy Horse Monument was interesting but very much a machine for separating the touron from their dollars. Nickeled and dimed at every step and charging ten bucks for a quarter pound hamburger didn't get us eating lunch there -- opted for an early dinner instead. I realize that they need the funding to continue but they would get a lot more revenue from giving more to the tourist -- the Laffer Curve applies brilliantly here. Had dinner in Rapid City (Italian) and are watching the fireworks -- several large lightning storms but no rain -- we need the rain... Day thirteen!

Song of the day

Was listening to the radio while driving and this came on:

The songwriter/performer is Freebo who I know from his playing bass for Bonnie Raitt for thirty years. I always liked his bass playing, never knew he was a singer/songwriter too. His website: Freebo Music His Youtube channel: Freebo Video He also (infrequently) posts a blog -- here he has a car for sale:

Truth Comes to Car Advertising: 2000 Range Rover 4 Sale
2000 Range Rover for Sale: $5458 as is, no warranty implied

Huge and gnarly SUV for sale, deep in the Maine woods. This 2000 Range Rover 4.6 HSE is begging for a new home. Only 95k miles on this behemoth. What other car offers the confluence of these three features: Legendary unreliability, extremely costly parts and repairs, and atrocious gas mileage. Yes, with this humongous Land Rover product you get all that and more!
� Hopelessly complex but utterly useless electronic features include a wide variety of buzzers, alarms, laser-triggered motion sensitive security shutdowns, etc. The super lockdown mode that goes on at random times in the dead of winter keeps owner safe from exiting the vehicle until the jaws of life can be summoned.
� Known for its colossal mass and inertia, the Rover trundles down the highway like a garbage scow, while lurching side to side with the nauseating vertiginous rhythms of a conestoga on the Chisholm Trail. But the rich, supple leather seating soothes the buns.
� Enormous V-8 burns no oil, but requires a gasoline tanker in its convoy to resupply it on the road like a B-52 over Greenland. The gas gauge is the fastest moving needle on the instrument cluster that looks like the navigation panel on Apollo 13.
� Every conceivable audio option known to humankind as of 2000, including a sub-woofer that is capable of blowing the front passenger upwards through the retractable moonroof as if Marty McFly just twanged a righteous chord.
� Loaded with every superficial wannabe macho option such as brush bars fore and aft, alloy wheels, tinted windows, memory seats, concealed cup-holders, white gold exterior, sumptuous leather interior, hill-holding super-low range tranny for trail crashing through the boondocks as if in hot pursuit of Daisy Duke, an escape hammer in case of the aforementioned lockdown mode, and way too much redundant power crap to list.

Funny stuff...

From The Washington Times:
Solyndra figures attend swank Obama fundraiser
President Obama rubbed elbows Monday night with two men at the center of the Solyndra loan scandal at an exclusive fundraiser in California.

Steve Westly, a financier whose money-raising prowess helped to snag him a post on the administration�s energy advisory board, and Matt Rogers, a former Energy Department senior adviser who helped to approve the Solyndra loan, were spotted by reporters at the $35,800-per-person fundraiser for the president�s re-election campaign.

Mr. Westly sent warnings to the president not to attend an event at Solyndra's headquarters in the Bay area because of shaky finances at the solar energy company, which had received a fast-tracked $535 million federal loan guarantee in 2010 as part of the administration�s economic stimulus program. Mr. Rogers was partly responsible for overseeing stimulus awards at the Energy Department.

They were among about 60 wealthy donors who attended the fundraiser at the swanky home of progressive activist Quinn Delaney and real estate developer Wayne Jordan, a big Obama bundler, in Piedmont, Calif., near Oakland.
It will be nice to see Obama's 'inner circle' sink into irrelevance after Novembers elections. Good riddance -- they do not represent me or anyone I know.

Good news / Not so good news

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Got the call from the Ford Dealership. It was not the tranny -- the noise I was hearing was the cooling fan for the radiator. It was down over two gallons of coolant! Leak. That accounts for the symptoms a lot better as it would work OK when the engine was cold but would start to manifest after 20 minutes of driving. What threw me off was that the coolant temperature gage was fine -- no symptoms of overtemp... The replacement is about $2,300 - Ford made some design changes so not just the radiator needs to be replaced -- it's all the hoses and some assorted gubbins that need upgrading as well. Going to be in Rapid City for a full week so my return on or before the 29th is just not going to happen. Still stopping at Yellowstone and the Tetons and then onto I-90 for an extended sprint back home. Best laid plans etc. etc. etc.
Read this 'Nuff said...

Well Crap - RIP Sally Ride

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First woman astronaut. From NASA:
NASA Offers Condolences on the Passing of Pioneering Astronaut Sally Ride
In a space agency filled with trailblazers, Sally K. Ride was a pioneer of a different sort. The soft-spoken California physicist broke the gender barrier 29 years ago when she rode to orbit aboard space shuttle Challenger to become America�s first woman in space.

"Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism � and literally changed the face of America�s space program," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "The nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers and explorers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sally's family and the many she inspired. She will be missed, but her star will always shine brightly."

�Sally was a personal and professional role model to me and thousands of women around the world,� said NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver. �Her spirit and determination will continue to be an inspiration for women everywhere.�

Ride�s contribution to America�s space program continued right up until her death at age 61 this week. After two trips to orbit aboard the shuttle, she went on an award-winning academic career at the University of California, San Diego, where her expertise and wisdom were widely sought on matters related to space. She holds the distinction of being the only person to serve as a member of both investigation boards following NASA�s two space shuttle accidents. She also served as a member of the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee, also known as the Augustine Committee, in 2009, which informed many of the decisions about NASA�s current human spaceflight programs.
A true pioneer. She was also the founder of Sally Ride Science. From their About page:
Sally Ride Science� is an innovative science education company dedicated to supporting girls� and boys� interests in science, math and technology. We believe that when children are encouraged to pursue their interests they are inspired to think about their futures, and are better prepared to pursue a wide range of exciting opportunities in high school, college and beyond.

Dr. Sally Ride, best known as America�s first woman in space, founded Sally Ride Science in 2001 to create quality programs and products that educate, entertain, engage and inspire.

A key part of our corporate mission is to make a difference in girls' lives, and in society's perceptions of their roles in technical fields. Our school programs, classroom materials, and teacher trainings bring science to life to show kids that science is creative, collaborative, fascinating, and fun.
She will be missed - 61 is way to young!

The City of London

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Fun Youtube post about the City of London as opposed to the City named London.
You have a City within a City within a Nation within a Nation. C of L, L, England and GB respectively.

Now that was an awesome movie

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Go see The Dark Knight Rises at the theater -- it is worth paying for the large screen. Probably the best Batman ever -- I also love the jabs at the Occupy movement and the references to the French Revolution show trials. Casting was excellent -- Bane was a very believable villain and Gary Oldman continues to get better and better. Had Mongolian for dinner -- ate out by the pool. Heading to Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial tomorrow. No word on the truck. Day twelve!

Crossing my fingers

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Dropped the truck off at the dealership and picked up a rental. See what the butchers bill is tomorrow. Heading out to see The Dark Knight Rises in a few minutes. Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse tomorrow.

Quite the amazing ride

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From the USS Los Angeles CA-135 website comes the story of Cliff Judkins who bailed out at 15,000 feet, his parachute failed to open and he lived:

�Jud, you�re on fire, get out of there!�

Needless to say that startling command got my attention. As you will read in this report, this was just the beginning of my problems!

It had all started in the brilliant sunlight 20,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean as I nudged my F-8 Crusader jet into position behind the lumbering, deep-bellied refueling plane. After a moment of jockeying for position, I made the connection and matched my speed to that of the slowpoke tanker. I made the graceful task of plugging into the trailing fuel conduit so they could pump fuel into my tanks.

This in-flight refueling process was necessary, and routine, because the F-8 could not hold enough fuel to fly from California to Hawaii. This routine mission was labeled �Trans-Pac,� meaning Flying Airplanes across the Pacific. This had been going on for years.

Soon, after plugging-in to the tanker, my fuel gauges stirred, showing that all was well. In my cockpit, I was relaxed and confident. As I was looking around, I was struck for an instant by the eeriness of the scene: here I was, attached, like an unwanted child, by an umbilicus to a gargantuan mother who was fleeing across the sky at 200 knots as though from some unnamed danger. Far below us was a broken layer of clouds that filtered the sun glare over the Pacific.

In my earphones, I heard Major Van Campen, our flight leader, chatting with Major D.K. Tooker who was on a Navy destroyer down below. Major Tooker had ejected from his aircraft, the day before, in this same area, when his Crusader flamed out mysteriously during the same type of refueling exercise.

At that time no one knew why his aircraft had flamed out. We all supposed it had been some freak accident that sometimes happens with no explanation. One thing we knew for sure, it was not pilot error. This accident had to be some kind of mechanical malfunction, but what? Our squadron had a perfect safety record and was very disturbed because of the loss of an airplane the day before.

�Eleven minutes to mandatory disconnect point,� the tanker commander said. I checked my fuel gages again, everything appeared normal.

My thoughts were, �In a few hours I knew we�d all be having dinner at the Kaneohe Officers Club on Oahu, Hawaii. Then after a short rest, we�d continue our 6,000-mile trek to Atsugi, Japan, via Midway and Wake Island.� Our whole outfit - Marine All Weather Fighter Squadron 323 - was being transferred to the Far East for a one-year period of operations.

�Nine minutes to mandatory disconnect.�

My fuel gages indicated that the tanks were almost full. I noticed that my throttle lever was sticking a little. That was unusual, because the friction lock was holding it in place and was loose enough. It grew tighter as I tried to manipulate it gently.

Then - thud! I heard the crack of an explosion.

I could see the rpm gauge unwinding and the tailpipe temperature dropping. The aircraft had lost power � the engine had quit running � this is a flame-out!

I punched the mike button, and said, �This is Jud. I�ve got a flame-out!�

Unfortunately, my radio was already dead; I was neither sending nor receiving anything via my radio.

I quickly disconnected from the tanker and nosed the aircraft over, into a shallow dive, to pick up some flying speed to help re-start the engine. I needed a few seconds to think.

I yanked the handle that extended the air-driven emergency generator, called the Ram Air Turbine (RAT), into the slipstream, hoping to get ignition for an air start. The igniters clicked gamely, and the rpm indicator started to climb slowly, as did the tailpipe temperature. This was a positive indication that a re-start was beginning. For one tantalizing moment I thought everything would be all right. But the rpm indicator hung uncertainly at 30 percent of capacity and refused to go any faster. This is not nearly enough power to maintain flight.

The fire warning light (pilots call it the panic light) blinked on. This is not a good sign. And to make matters worse, jet fuel poured over the canopy like water from a bucket. At the same instant, my radio came back on, powered by the emergency generator, and a great babble of voices burst through my earphones.

�Jud, you�re on fire, get out of there!�
What follows is an amazing story of survival. One incredibly lucky man...

Ebert has morphed into quite the moonbat -- from Breitbart:

Aurora Theatre Gun-Free Zone
In the wake of over a dozen murders at a movie theater in Colorado, film critic Roger Ebert rushed to decry America's "insane" gun laws in a New York Times op-ed. Within the piece, he pooh-poohed concealed carry laws by noting that no one in the theater shot back at the gunman. But Ebert misses an important point. The Cinemark theater chain has a "gun-free zone" policy.

In the NYT, Ebert chided America for allowing gun ownership for the common man.
That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended.
Of course, if Ebert had bothered to check before trying to use this murderous crime for his own anti-Second Amendment purposes, he may have found that no one could have shot back, because the theater chain does not allow its customers to carry guns in its theaters.

I and several others brought up the observation that the tragedy would have been greatly reduced if someone there had been carrying. Ebert should stick with his core competency and skip the pontification.

The War on Poverty

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How's that working out for you? From Yahoo/Associated Press:
US poverty on track to rise to highest since 1960s
The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.

Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections.

The Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965.

Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out. Suburbs are seeing increases in poverty, including in such political battlegrounds as Colorado, Florida and Nevada, where voters are coping with a new norm of living hand to mouth.
And meanwhile, the gas and food prices ratchet higher and higher. Talk about a fundamental transformation -- the guy has no clue.


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A local restaurant sign advertised Roast Turkey on Sunday. I slept in today and then we hung out watching the LA Dodgers cream the NY Mets in the 12th Inning 8-3. Spent a couple hours at the dog park (brought some chairs and hung out by the river) and then stuffed our faces with turkey. Actual honest-to-God turkey from a real bird! With homemade dressing and oddly enough, boxed mashed taters. This always puzzles me -- it is so much easier and better and cheaper per serving to make your own smashed taters than to buy the instant variety. It freezes well so you can make up several hotel pans and freeze them. I can turn out 50 pounds in a couple hours with minimal labor/time on my part. We were planning to see The Dark Knight Rises but we were feeling the effects of the turkey and will catch tomorrow's matin�e showing -- we will have dropped the truck off for service and we can be in the theater during the heat of the day. Spending the evening surfing and watching for thunderstorms -- saw a couple classical anvil clouds coming back to the motel. Reading some of the books I bought. Day eleven!

James O'Keefe does it again

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James was the person behind the ACORN undercover videos. He is back at it again - from the Project Veritas Youtube site:
Project Veritas: Legislators, Union Bosses Seek Funding for Digging Holes and Filling Them Back In
Undercover reporters posing as "Earth Supply and Renewal" -- group dedicated to digging holes and filling them back in, meet with Labor Bosses, NY Legislator, and former NY Assemblyman, who tell them how to secure funding for "Bullshit" Green jobs.

John Hutchings, member of the Broome County legislature, told the undercover reporters posing as "Earth Supply and Renewal" his opinion on taxpayer-funded grant contracts; "You know the Green Jobs -- Green NY, between us, a lot of it is bullsh*t". Anthony Tocci, business manager for Local 601, tells Earth Supply and Renewal "You just wanna(sic) get the money. Then you figure out afterwards" Former NY assemblyman Ron Tocci is also featured laughing about the irony of the company's services: "One thing about it, it's shovel ready."
Our elected officials at work...

Holy Crap

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Was sitting in the motel room surfing and a huge blast of thunder shook the building. We are right in the middle of a gorgeous lightning and thunder display. The motel lights have flickered a couple of times but I still have internet (for now). We are going outside to watch...

Cool news from Canada

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From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:
CRTC ruling favours more choice in TV bundles
Customers frustrated with paying for television channels they don't want can expect more flexible packages in light of a new ruling by Canada's broadcast regulator, though exactly how it will work has not been stated.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has ruled in favour of proposals made by Bell Media and Telus Corp. to adopt a more flexible TV package model.

"In this decision, one of our main criteria was flexibility and innovation in the packaging," said Denis Carmel, a spokesman for the CRTC.

Carmel said that while individual channels may cost more under the new model, consumers' bills may go down because they will be paying for fewer channels.
I would so love for this to be implemented in the USA. I am tired of subsidizing channels I do not watch. I would love to select the 20 channels that I do watch with regularity and just pay for them. I strongly suspect that the cable box is already able to do this (block unsubscribed channels).

Unintended consequences - Venezuela

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From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Chavez's gasoline rationing plan causes uproar
As home to the world's cheapest gasoline, Venezuela has long had to contend with the hemorrhaging of supplies as smugglers haul gas across the border to cash in where the fuel costs far more.

In neighboring Colombia, drivers pay 40 times as much as Venezuelans to tank up � $1.25 a liter ($4.73 a gallon), compared to 3 U.S. cents a liter (11 cents a gallon).

So much gasoline is being taken out of Venezuela illegally that President Hugo Chavez's socialist government imposed rationing on motorists in one state bordering Colombia last year, and now it's touched off a furor in a second border state by announcing it will ration gasoline there, too.
Fix the price and you will have problems. Let the market set the price and everyone is happiest.

That's it for 2012

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Just got back from the closing ceremonies. Dinner wasn't that good -- the chicken breast was way overcooked and the rest of the stuff. They had us all line up outside the building instead of going table by table -- with 700 people in attendance, this was chaos. Add to that a roaring thunderstorm and we had some very wet and cold people standing outside for as long as 30 minutes. The overall conference was fantastic though -- met some really nice people (including two from near my area of WA State) and learned a lot. I don't know if I will attend the 2014 meeting -- it is in Delaware and that is a long way to drive. Concentrate more on the local Guild chapters events. Planning to spend tomorrow sleeping in and reading the books I bought -- maybe dinner and a movie... Day ten!

The Streisand effect

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The Streisand effect? From Wikipedia:
Streisand effect
The Streisand effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely. It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her residence inadvertently generated further publicity.

Mike Masnick of Techdirt coined the term after Streisand, citing privacy violations, unsuccessfully sued photographer Kenneth Adelman and Pictopia.com for US$50 million in an attempt to have an aerial photograph of her mansion removed from the publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastline photographs. Adelman said that he was photographing beachfront property to document coastal erosion as part of the government sanctioned and commissioned California Coastal Records Project. Before Streisand filed her lawsuit, "Image 3850" had been downloaded from Adelman's website only six times; two of those downloads were by Streisand's attorneys. As a result of the case, public knowledge of the picture increased substantially; more than 420,000 people visited the site over the following month.
From Dr. Michael Mann's Facebook page:
I have formally demanded a retraction of, and apology for, this defamatory piece about me by National Review. I have retained counsel to pursue my legal rights.
From Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That:
Dr. Michael Mann invokes the Streisand effect


Now that Dr. Mann has drawn attention to it, even more people will want to read the National Review article �Football and Hockey� to find out what he�s so upset about. I didn�t even know about this article until Mann tweeted this demand announcement today. This announcement on Twitter is probably a bad move on Dr. Mann�s part.

You�d think after his botched attempt to get this video removed, Dr. Mann would learned that lesson. For the record, I don�t agree with the article Steyn cites in the National Review, but I think Dr. Mann�s effort to get it removed will backfire on him.
Heh. Unintended consequences indeed...

Winding up

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Tonight is the last night of the conference. Banquet, closing ceremony and auction. It has been a wonderful week -- well worth the drive out, truck problems and time off. Learned a lot and anxious to get back home and play with some new techniques. Building quite the library too -- picked up a couple more books for my collection. Norwegian Blacksmithing and Bladesmithing techniques, copper working, animal faces. Picked up a couple tools too but my shop is pretty well set up and anything else I might need, I can make. Now I need to get a couple feet of 52100 steel to make some blades.

Another brain dump

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Spent another three hours in seminar with Ed Fowler. He has forgotten more about metal than most people learn in their lifetime. Lunch and back to the conference -- ceremonial banquet tonight.

Major geekdom - the SS Gairsoppa

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From Odyssey Marine Exploration:
Odyssey Announces First Load of Silver Cargo from Three Miles Deep
Odyssey Marine Exploration (NasdaqCM: OMEX), pioneers in the field of deep-ocean exploration, today announced it has successfully recovered approximately 48 tons of silver bullion from a depth of approximately three miles. This initial recovery of bullion from the SS Gairsoppa, a 412-foot steel-hulled British cargo ship that sank in February 1941, totals 1,203 silver bars or approximately 1.4 million troy ounces of silver and has been transported to a secure facility in the United Kingdom. After unloading the cargo, taking on fuel and changing personnel, recovery operations will continue and are expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2012. This record-breaking operation has so far produced the heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metals from a shipwreck.

Odyssey is conducting the Gairsoppa project under contract with the UK Department for Transport. Under the terms of the agreement, which follows standard commercial practices, Odyssey bears the risk of search and recovery and retains 80% of the net salved value of the Gairsoppa silver cargo after recovering its expenses. The contract was awarded to Odyssey following a competitive tender process.

The amount of silver bars recovered so far represents approximately 43% of the insured silver bars, or approximately 20% of the total silver cargo which research has indicated may be on board. In addition, an estimated 600,000 oz. of insured silver is expected to be found on the SS Mantola, a second modern shipwreck recovery project being conducted in conjunction with the Gairsoppa project. Upcoming operational plans include continued recovery of silver on the Gairsoppa from the cargo area that is in the process of being cleared and then the inspection of other cargo holds if the current area does not hold the rest of the expected bullion. Serial numbers and other markings from the silver bars recovered to date all match the contemporary insured silver cargo documentation therefore it is anticipated that the entire insured amount is aboard. However, it is unknown at this point whether there is additional uninsured silver on the site.

The Gairsoppa was a merchant ship torpedoed by a German U-boat during World War II. During the War, the UK Government insured privately owned cargo under their War Risk Insurance program. After making an insurance payment of approximately �325,000 (1941 value) to the owners of the silver cargo lost aboard the Gairsoppa, the UK Government became the owners of the insured cargo. As some sources, including �Lloyd�s War Losses� indicate a total silver cargo worth �600,000 (1941 value) lost aboard the Gairsoppa, there may have been additional government-owned silver cargo aboard that would have been self-insured.
More on the SS Gairsoppa here: Wikipedia

Well crap

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Heard about the Colorado shooting a couple hours ago. This will be used to spin for gun control but if someone at the theater had been armed, we could have had a lot fewer casualties. These people will be in our prayers.

Obama and Islam

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From Politico:
Obama marks Ramadan
In a statement, President Obama commemorated the Muslim holiday of Ramadan � calling it a time to "cherish family, friends, and neighbors, and to help those in need."

"On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world at the start of Ramadan," Obama said.

Obama also took the opportunity to tie in the struggles of people across the Muslim world engaged in ongoing fighting related to the Arab spring uprisings that began in 2011.

"This year, Ramadan holds special meaning for those citizens in the Middle East and North Africa who are courageously achieving democracy and self-determination and for those who are still struggling to achieve their universal rights. The United States continues to stand with those who seek the chance to decide their own destiny, to live free from fear and violence, and to practice their faith freely. Here in the United States, Ramadan reminds us that Islam is part of the fabric of our Nation, and that � from public service to business, from healthcare and science to the arts � Muslim Americans help strengthen our country and enrich our lives," Obama said.
Emphasis mine -- doesn't he realize that those coming into power are all members of the radical Muslim Brotherhood? These governments are about as far from democratic as can be. If it is a democracy, where is their Declaration of Independence? Where are their Patriots? Where is their Constitution? What is the structure of their new Government? How are their Citizens represented?

Long day today

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Went to a morning seminar on metallurgy at the School of Mining and Technology this morning -- it was called Smithbusters and explained some common anecdotal 'facts'. One of these was that the best quench was the urine of a red-headed boy. This actually has some basis in fact as a 10% salt solution will quench about 1.8 times faster than a pure water quench and with some metals, you want the fastest quench possible. Color of the hair is not necessary... The seminar also covered a lot of basic metallurgy and science. It was supposed to be a one hour session and it ran to two and a half hours. A very good time. We had lunch and I dropped Lulu back at the motel -- temps were in the hundreds again today so she hung out there with the dogs. I went back to the conference grounds and sat in on one of the demonstrations. Ed Fowler is one of the top five knife makers in the world. He spent about three hours doing a brain-dump and then, a member of the School spent another hour talking about metallurgy specific to the metal that Ed uses (52100) including martempering with heat treating in a molten salt bath and using specific oils for quenching. Went back to the motel, napped for a while (the heat is getting to me) and we had Chinese food. There was a glorious thunderstorm for an hour -- dropped the temperature down to a comfortable level. Surf for a bit and then up early for a 9AM session with Ed Fowler. Truck goes in the shop Monday. Day nine!

An outstanding debt

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From the Christian Science Monitor:
540-year-old debt. Trillions owed. But will German village get repaid?
The sleepy hamlet of Mittenwalde in eastern Germany could become one of the richest towns in the world if Berlin were to repay it an outstanding debt that dates back to 1562.

A certificate of debt, found in a regional archive, attests that Mittenwalde lent Berlin 400 guilders on May 28 1562, to be repaid with six percent interest per year.

According to Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB), the debt would amount to 11,200 guilders today, which is roughly equivalent to 112 million euros ($136.79 million).

Adjusting for compound interest and inflation, the total debt now lies in the trillions, by RBB's estimates.
From town historian Vera Schmidt:
"In 1893 there was a debate in which the document was examined and the writing was determined to be authentic," Schmidt said.

Schmidt and Mittenwalde's Mayor Uwe Pfeiffer have tried to ask Berlin for their money back. Such requests have been made every 50 years or so since 1820 but always to no avail.

Reclaiming the debt would bring significant riches to Mittenwalde, a seat of power in the middle ages, which now has a population of just 8,800. Red brick fragments of medieval fortifications still dot the leafy town centre.
But of course, in that great workers paradise:
The debt-laden German capital would have difficulty meeting Mittenwalde's demands anyway. According to a report released by the senate finance administration in June 2012, Berlin is already close to 63 million euros in the red.
I know, they can implement another tax on the rich -- there; that solves everything!

What's in a name

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Local weather stations use a four letter designation to identify themselves. The one at the Rapid City Regional Airport is KRAP Planning the return leg of the trip -- it seems that there is quite the tour of a large coal mine in Gillette, Wyoming and it is on our way to Yellowstone.

Bagging the conference for today

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We were planning to spend a few hours there after dinner but it is just too frickin hot out. Spending the night at 'home' -- next morning, the class is at the School of Mining and Technology -- a seminar called "Smithbusters". I went out to the local Mongolian Grill and got a bunch of veggies and noodles and we ate out by the pool -- snuck a couple Shiner Bock beers and enjoyed these with our dinner. Even with the heat and car troubles we are having a lot of fun. Day eight!

Do as I say not as I do - Pelosi

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Scum. From Rollcall:
Nancy Pelosi Downplays Tax Return Demand
Facing questions about why she and other top Congressional officials won�t release their tax returns, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) downplayed her previous demands for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to release his, calling the issue a distraction.

As recently as Wednesday, Pelosi had strongly urged Romney to provide further disclosure of his tax returns. But today, while maintaining Romney should release more documents because of �custom� and �tradition,� Pelosi said the issue was trivial compared with economic issues.

�We spent too much time on that. We should be talking about middle-income tax cuts,� Pelosi said after answering two questions about the issue.
And how much money do you and Paul have overseas? Not that there is anything wrong with that but since you raised the question with Mitt, you should give your own answer...

Forecast shmorecast

It hit 105°F today while I was driving back to the motel. Some fairly gnarly clouds are building so there may be a cooling t-storm but nothing shows on the forecast.

We got up early, got coffee and went directly to the conference -- the Mexican Coppersmiths were starting to make some vessels -- gorgeous work with simple homemade tools. I am taking a bunch of photos and will start to post them in a day or two. Spent some time wandering around, got lunch and went to the nice dog park.

There is a plant that we both noticed and really like but we couldn't get a name for it -- there is a local Thursday Farmer's Market and we saw a booth with it for sale -- turns out it is Russian Sage. Looks perfect for landscaping at the farm. Looks vaguely reminiscent of Lavender but grows to four feet tall and bushy.

Dropped Lulu off at the motel and I went back to the conference, hung out for a bit and went to the South Dakota School of Mining and Technology for a scheduled tour of their Metallurgy department. There are only seven schools in North America that teach the full range of Metallurgy -- all the rest have devolved into 'materials science'. This place covers the gamut from ore fresh out of the ground to the finished product. They are very well funded both by industry and by government for targeted and pure research. This is one of those places where I would love to spend a year just walking the corridors, knocking on doors and asking: "Watcha doing?"

The guy that developed arterial stents was a graduate. They also do a lot of work on biocompatbility of materials for medical applications -- I am sure happy with the couple pounds of titanium in my hip and it was fun to see the place where the basic research was done.

Also went through the museum of Paleontology -- they have a very nice fossil collection. The South Dakota badlands is a rich source of fossils.

Taking a nap, get some dinner and back to the conference -- hope the temperature breaks a bit...

Bringing home the bacon

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A solar energy company in Senator Harry Reid's district has joined the long list of similar companies who have tanked after receiving large Federal (ie: our tax dollars) subsidies. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Amonix closes North Las Vegas solar plant after 14 months, heavy federal subsidies
The Amonix solar manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas, subsidized by more than $20 million in federal tax credits and grants, has closed its 214,000-square-foot facility about a year after it opened.

Officials at Amonix headquarters in Seal Beach, Calif., have not responded to repeated calls for comment this week, but the company began selling equipment, from automated tooling systems to robotic welding cells, in an online auction Wednesday.
Sorry guys. I have said it before and will say it again; there is no green energy. Chasing after that chimera is wasted energy and money. Green energy is a fiscal rat-hole. Want energy? Thorium reactors, fusion (these people not these people), hydro. The technology is out there waiting for us to start using it...

Conference day two

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Heading out to the fairgrounds for the second day of the conference. Weather is going to be hot but the forecast went down from 104�F yesterday to 102�F this morning -- historical average is 86�F so this is a hot spell... Taking the dogs to the conference for the morning session and then drop them off at the motel for the rest of the afternoon. Got the cooler packed with bottled water, Mt. Dew (throwback edition!) and ice.


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Although the majority of the oil production is in North Dakota, there is a lot of evidence of the prosperity and full employment here in S.D. Lots of houses going up, the downtown core is busy. The current regime needs to stand back and let the adults run things. We are not being represented...

Things that make you go Hmmmmm...

We are still driving the truck even though it has tranny problems. I am considering a rental car for the next couple of days.

Nate from Ogden posted this comment on my About those Chevy Volts and saving General Motors post:

But go out right now and buy yourself a Volt- for 45 days, then give it back to GM for a full refund. You can do that even before the first monthly payment comes due. But buying one gives you a $7500 Fed tax credit and perhaps more for your state and no requirements about how long you own the car to claim the credit. I'm seriously considering it.

Brilliant -- I get a free rental (we aren't planning any long trips through the conference anyway) and get $7,500 tax credit for this year. I love it! If there was a way to set up the charger at the motel I would do it in a heartbeat...


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Drove the pups to that nice dog park and let them rumble. Then we went into Downtown Rapid City. The city has done an awesome job of preserving the buildings and making it a very people-friendly place. In the center, there is a large town square with an interactive fountain and a very nice stage. The fountain has maybe thirty jets that are under remote control -- it is open brickwork so people can walk between the jets -- a lot of times they are little low bubbles but every couple of minutes or so they open up and splash everyone. Great fun for the toddlers. It was hot this morning so there were a lot of people enjoying the cooling water. Had lunch at a brewpub in the old firehouse First conference day today. Went a couple hours early and walked around looking at the displays. Bought a couple books and a couple pounds of steel rivets. The convocation was OK but really wordy. They presented a couple awards and some updates on future conferences which was fine. Then, they awarded the ABANA Heritage Award to the Colonial Williamsburg Blacksmith shop for preserving the history of metalworking in America. The guy that accepted the award read a prepared speech that droned on for 45 minutes covering not only blacksmithing but everything else that Williamsburg did as well as the histories of trades from medieval times on to current. It would have been a fascinating if longish magazine article but it was not a good three-minute acceptance speech, especially when everyone was hot and wanting to get on with the ceremonial Lighting of the Forge and the evenings events. Lulu and I left after the Lighting and got a bit to eat. I dropped her off at the motel and went back from some seminars. With over 500 people registered, I did not get to participate in the one I wanted but it worked out really well -- Mark would do a demo of each step in the process and then the classmates would perform that step. He was teaching a project from one of his books (I already have both of them) so I went to each demo and watched and then visited the other tents while the classmates pounded iron. Got to cover a lot more material that way. Supposed to be a couple of really hot days through the weekend. 100 and above. Looking forward to the next couple of days! Day seven!

Heading out for coffee

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Coffee, return to the dog park and then some lunch in Rapid City's downtown. From the guidebooks it looks quite gorgeous with fountains and lots of artwork. Today is forecast to be 94 with T-Storms and the next few days after that are 104. Bringing plenty of water and a cooler in the truck. We will return the dogs to the motel after lunch those days and let them hang out there while we go back to the conference -- it's only a mile away. Convocation at 4PM

Rapid City, South Dakota

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Had a wonderful day today. Earlier this morning, Lulu was reading a local guide book and came upon the entry for the Stave Chapel: Chapel In The Hills. We spent an hour there wandering around and spent some time in prayer in the chapel. A very beautiful and calm spot. The architecture and history are really interesting -- this is a one-of-a-kind chapel. As we were driving to the chapel, we noticed a large park with a lake and we stopped there. To our joy, it was dog friendly. We let our guys rumble around for 90 minutes -- they swam and got good and tired. They have been spending a lot of time in the car for the last couple of days and needed to blow off some steam. We then got checked into the Ford dealership for Monday at 1PM. We will be staying in Rapid City for an extra two-three days while the transmission is being repaired. Finally, went back to the motel -- I did some shopping and brought back some Mongolian stir-fry. There was a bus-load of Taiwanese students ahead of me -- it was cute the way they were photographing everything. Had dinner out by the pool and struck up a conversation with a guy from near Nashville, Tennessee. He was in stage four of an aggressive cancer and was riding his Harley around the USA. He was riding in the thick of the hailstorm that hit south of here -- had the bruises to show for it. We have been meeting some wonderful people on this trip -- real Americans. You look at the posturings of the media types and they are so false and out of touch with what America is really like. It is pathetic. The conference starts at 4PM tomorrow with the convocation. I will get there an hour or two earlier to check out the exhibits and the tailgating section. The fairground is located right across the street from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. They are offering several seminars on metallurgy -- something I am very interested in. Most of the "common knowledge" online has no bearing to what is actually happening to the crystalline structure and I want to bring out every bit of performance that I can. Day six!

Holy Crap

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I was Googling some stuff in Rapid City and a new line popped up on the left menu list. It was a Google Public Alert that directed me to this National Weather Service Severe Thunderstorm Warning:
Severe Thunderstorm Warning





...HAIL <50MPH 1.50IN

These locations are about ten miles south of us but the sky is black and I can hear thunder rolling far away. We are sitting here watching it evolve...
From NewsBusters:
Media Fail: Chevy Volt Makes NO Money, Costs Taxpayers Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Per Car
The Jurassic Press is missing much in their reporting on the $50 billion bailout of General Motors (GM). The Press is open channeling for President Barack Obama - allowing him to frame the bailout exactly as he wishes in the 2012 Presidential election.

The President is running in large part on the bailout�s $30+ billion loss, uber-failed �success.� And the Press is acting as his stenographers. An epitome of this bailout nightmare mess is the electric absurdity that is the Chevrolet Volt. The Press is at every turn covering up - rather than covering - the serial failures of President Obama�s signature vehicle.

The Press has failed to mention at least five Volt fires, myopically focusing on the one the Obama Administration hand-selected for attention.

The Press has failed to mention that the Volt fire problem remains unsolved. Is it the battery? Is it the charging station? Is it the charging cable? All of the above?

GM and the Administration don�t know. And the Press ain�t breaking their necks trying to find out.
Much more at the site -- lots of links to the corroborating data. Happy with my Ford (even with the tranny troubles).
The new French President is not what they need. He is an avowed socialist and is raising taxes on the evil rich to pay for his ever increasing government and gimmies to the poor. And the result of this? From the London Telegraph:
France's proposed tax hikes spark 'exodus' of wealthy
The latest estate agency figures have shown large numbers of France's most well-heeled families selling up and moving to neighbouring countries.

Many are fleeing a proposed new higher tax rate of 75 per cent on all earnings over one million euros. (�780,000)

The previous top tax bracket of 41 per cent on earnings over 72,000 euros is also set to increase to 45 per cent.

Sotheby's Realty, the estate agent arm of the British auction house, said its French offices sold more than 100 properties over 1.7 million euros between April and June this year - a marked increase on the same period in 2011.
A clueless mastermind. Never heard of the Laffer Curve? He gets what he deserves...
And what do the United Arab Emirates do? Route around the damage. From the Christian Science Monitor:
Sorry, Iran: UAE opens pipeline around Strait of Hormuz
The United Arab Emirates on Sunday inaugurated a much-anticipated overland oil pipeline that bypasses the Strait of Hormuz, giving the OPEC member insurance against Iranian threats to block the strategic waterway.

The 380-kilometer (236-mile) Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline snakes across western desert dunes and over the craggy Hajar mountains to the city of Fujairah on the UAE's Indian Ocean coast, south of the strait.

Until now, all Emirati exports were loaded in the Gulf and then sailed out through Hormuz. Once it is running at full capacity, the pipeline could allow the country, OPEC's third biggest exporter, to ship as much as two-thirds of its peak production through the eastern port city.
Heh -- it doesn't handle the full capacity but once it is up and running, they can use the revenues to build a second pipeline along side the first. Iran just lost a major bargaining chip...

Change in plans

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Looks like we are spending a couple days extra in Rapid City. The transmission is definitely having problems and the earliest the dealership can get us in is Monday the 23rd. With all the hot weather, all of the dealerships and independents are booked solid for repairs. Since I want to be back by the end of the month, we will curtail the trip -- do Yellowstone and the Tetons but not Oregon -- save that for another time. Running a bit short on cash too after budgeting for the repairs. Conference opens tomorrow at 4PM -- stoked for that!

Well crap - car troubles

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Seems like everyone is having car problems. Called the Ford dealerships for Rapid City (where we are), Sturgis and Spearfish. Every one of them is about a week out for us to come in for diagnostics, let alone repair. Going to check out the local tranny shops.

Just wonderful - local weather

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Great display of lightning and thunder! The temps are down to the 70's and T-Storms are predicted for the next two days. Temps are up in the 100's after that so the days of the conference will be brutal. The one thing I miss where I live is lightning and thunder -- grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and the storms there were a delight. We were out on the walkway watching, I looked down the length of the motel and about five other rooms had people outside just watching. Had some surprisingly good Chinese food at the Coco Palace Spending tomorrow getting the truck looked at and getting settled into the motel.

Just wonderful - Goldman Sachs

Cheery little story about a couple who got screwed out of their life's work. From the New York Times:
Goldman Sachs and the $580 Million Black Hole
The business deal from hell began to crumble even before the Champagne corks were popped.

The deal, the $580 million sale of a highflying technology company, Dragon Systems, had just been approved by its board and congratulations were being exchanged. But even then, at that moment of celebration, there was a sense that something was amiss.

The chief executive of Dragon had received a congratulatory bottle from the investment bankers representing the acquiring company, a Belgian competitor called Lernout & Hauspie. But he hadn�t heard from Dragon�s own bankers at Goldman Sachs.

�I still have not received anything from Goldman,� the executive wrote in an e-mail to the other bank. �Do they know something I should know?�

More than a decade later, that question is still reverberating in a brutal legal battle between Goldman and the founders of Dragon Systems � along with a host of other questions that go to the heart of how financial giants like Goldman operate and what exactly they owe their clients.
Read the story for a pure "Red Curtain of Blood" moment.

Just wonderful - Our Government

Why does this send cold chills up my spine? From Associated Press:
Consumer bureau to police credit reporting bureaus
The companies that determine Americans' credit scores are about to come under scrutiny by the country's new consumer watchdog.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Monday that it will start supervising the 30 largest firms that make up 94 percent of the industry. That includes the three big credit reporting firms: Equifax Inc., Experian and TransUnion.

This marks the first time that a single government agency will take an active role in policing credit bureaus, according to industry experts. The Fair Credit Reporting Act currently requires them to keep accurate information about consumers.

Richard Cordray, the government agency's director, said in a speech Monday that the CFPB said its oversight may include on-sight examinations, and that it may require credit bureaus to file reports.
And the big howler:
"It's a wonderful thing for the American public," said Pamela Banks, the senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports. "Now there's somebody on their side."
When Federal Government gets involved in financial affairs, the only result is disaster. The bureaucrats who make the decisions -- the masterminds -- have no stake in the results of their decisions and will have moved on or retired by the time the stupidity of their actions bears fruit. The Glass�Steagall Act forced the investment companies and the banks to be two separate entities. The bill was 33 pages long. Clinton repealed it and the financial bubbles of the 2000's started. There is the Dodd-Frank bill supposed to restore the separation. It weighs in at 849 pages and is a convoluted mess of legislation designed to enrich lawyers and to grow the Federal Government even larger and precious little else. If I were King -- I would hire some people to go through each bit of legislation and if it is beneficial to small businesses and doesn't infringe on the constitutional rights of the citizens, then keep it. Otherwise toss it. Do about 10% of the statutes each year and you will have a wonderful Renaissance in about five years.
Translated into 122 languages here. It's an internet thing, son -- just move along...
Steve Mann wears a visual digital prosthesis called the Eye Glass. He developed it at the University of Toronto, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The prosthesis is attached to his skull and requires special tools to remove it. From his website:
Physical assault and willful destruction of customer's property by persons acting as representatives of McDonald's
In June of 2012, my wife, children, and I traveled to Paris, France, for our summer vacation, in order to give our children the opportunity to learn true Parisian French (we have them enrolled in French immersion at school).

On the evening of 2012 July 1st, my wife and children and I went to McDonalds at 140, Avenue Champs Elysees, Paris, France, after a day of sightseeing (8 museums and other landmark sights, as part of a boat cruise package), and while we were standing in line at McDonalds, I was stopped by a person who subsequently stated that he was a McDonalds employee, and he asked about my eyeglass (digital computer vision system, i.e. EyeTap).

Because we'd spent the day going to various museums and historical landmark sites guarded by military and police, I had brought with me the letter from my doctor regarding my computer vision eyeglass, along with documentation, etc., although I'd not needed to present any of this at any of the other places I visited (McDonald's was the only establishment that seemed to have any problem with my eyeglass during our entire 2 week trip).

Since I happened to have it with me, I showed this doctor's letter and the documentation to the purported McDonalds employee who had stopped me in the McDonalds line.

After reviewing the documentation, the purported McDonalds employee accepted me (and my family) as a customer, and left us to place our order. In what follows, I will refer to this person as "Possible Witness 1".

We ordered two Ranch Wraps, one burger, and one mango McFlurry, from a cashier who I will refer to as "Possible Witness 2". My daughter handled the cash to pay Possible Witness 2, as my daughter wanted to practice her French. Possible Witness 2 complimented my daughter on her fluency in French.

Next my family and I seated ourselves in the restaurant right by the entrance, so we could watch people walking along Avenue Champs Elysees while we ate our meal.

Subsequently another person within McDonalds physically assaulted me, while I was in McDonald's, eating my McDonald's Ranch Wrap that I had just purchased at this McDonald's. He angrily grabbed my eyeglass, and tried to pull it off my head. The eyeglass is permanently attached and does not come off my skull without special tools.

I tried to calm him down and I showed him the letter from my doctor and the documentation I had brought with me. He (who I will refer to as Perpetrator 1) then brought me to two other persons. He was standing in the middle, right in front of me, and there was another person to my left seated at a table (who I will refer to as Perpetrator 2), and a third person to my right. The third person (who I will refer to as Perpetrator 3) was holding a broom and dustpan, and wearing a shirt with a McDonald's logo on it. The person in the center (Perpetrator 1) handed the materials I had given him to the person to my left (Perpetrator 2), while the three of them reviewed my doctor's letter and the documentation.

After all three of them reviewed this material, and deliberated on it for some time, Perpetrator 2 angrily crumpled and ripped up the letter from my doctor. My other documentation was also destroyed by Perpetrator 1.

I noticed that Perpetrator 1 was wearing a name tag clipped to his belt. When I looked down at it, he quickly covered it up with his hand, and pulled it off and turned it around so that it was facing inwards, so that only the blank white backside of it was then facing outwards.

Perpetrator 1 pushed me out the door, onto the street.
Talk about utter asshats. Dr. Mann has tried to contact McDonald's Corporate but has been stonewalled. Those three mokes need to be shown the door immediately and Dr. Mann receive a full apology -- this kind of behavior is disgusting.

Rapid City, South Dakota

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We arrived! Spent the day driving from Buffalo to Rapid City. We took a loop detour off I-90 to hit Devil's Tower and Deadwood. I had been in Deadwood with my Mom and Dad fifty years ago as a kid -- they preserved the old town but there are brand new hotels cheek to jowl and casinos everywhere. All of the saloons had slot machines. Not what I remember from before -- not a gambler (gambling is a tax on people who cannot do arithmetic) so would rather have the historical aspect than the noise of the slot machines. Was heading into Sturgis when I got a check engine light and the transmission started making a lot of noise at low speeds -- it was fine when I got above 30MPH but sounded like a hurricane when I was going slower. This would come and go so I'm going to the Ford dealership tomorrow AM. Before I left town, I had JiffyLube do a lot of work including changing the transmission fluid. We will see what transpires. Went to the fairgrounds and picked up our conference packets -- it's going to be brutal as the temperature is in the high 90's and supposed to get hotter. The demonstration tents are set up on an asphalt yard so with all the forges, we will have to be sure to stay hydrated. Looking forward to this -- as I had posted, I have been to every one since 2006. Day five!

The First and Ten line

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I have always wondered how this was done -- excellent article with extra geeky goodness. From the IEEE's Today's Engineer:
The Making of Football's Yellow First-and-Ten Line
What would televised football be without the yellow �First and Ten� line? This graphic enhancement provides the viewer at home with an immediate visual appreciation of where the offense has to take the ball to make another first-down. For the spectators in the football stadium watching the game, there is no yellow line on the field. No matter where it�s placed, for the television audience, the yellow line appears to be an integral part of the playing field like any of the white yardage lines. When players fall on the yellow line their bodies cover it. Today, football fans at home rarely question how this yellow line appears on their television screens. To a whole generation of young television viewers, the yellow �First-and-Ten� line is as natural to the game as the green color of the football field.

In 1997, when ESPN first aired the First-and-Ten Yellow Line, amazement and wonder were the universal reactions to this new broadcasting technology. Sports journalists were baffled. How was this line put on the field? All sorts of fanciful speculation filled the air after the first broadcast of the First-and-Ten Yellow line. �Is there a guy running out there with a vacuum and chalk?� �Could it be done with laser beams?� The actual details of the innovation were as incredible as the speculation. Sophisticated modeling based on precise measurements, ingenious real-time image processing, and a truck load of workstations made the First-and-Ten Yellow Line look as natural to the game as the turf itself. Behind it all was a small start-up company whose technical team was composed of an aeronautical engineer, mathematician, broadcast engineer, software engineer and a couple of electrical engineers. The new company was Sportvision and its president was an IEEE member.
Basically Chroma key on steroids but some interesting problems to deal with -- the early high-range zoom lenses would have a bit of distortion (10% pincushion) and to overlay a perfectly straight CGI yellow line on the distorted image of the chalk lines on the field would be visually jarring. They pre-distort the lines. Needless to say, this has to be calibrated for each camera location. The end result is a visually simple and informative but technologically very complex. A great hack!

Unintended consequences - Greece

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Grow a big government, promise the moon to everyone, get into financial straits? Welcome to Greece. Only problem now is that with people rioting and services being cut, tourism -- a major source of income -- is tanking. From National Public Radio:
Crisis-Struck Athens A Tough Draw For Tourists
The Greek capital of Athens has suffered from an image problem since the debt crisis began more than two years ago. Media reports often show masked gangs throwing petrol bombs at Parliament or riot police dousing demonstrators with tear gas.

Many tourists are staying away as a result. Tourist arrivals to the city are down by between 20 and 40 percent, industry representatives say.
And that is the reported number... More:
Ejersbo, a 22-year-old engineering student from Denmark, and his 53-year-old father, Jakob, were the only tourists standing at a spot better known for now as a site of anti-austerity protests.

"I mean, you can easily be the only people at a restaurant for a whole evening because there are only that many tourists," Ejersbo said. "And Greeks currently don't have that much money to spend on dining out."
The article does mention some great places to go and it is not all doom and gloom but still, the people of Greece are going to have to realize that the Free Stuff doesn't come out of thin air and that there are consequences. We are about five years from being where Greece is now -- time to backpedal away from the abyss...

Obama's Outsourcing

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With Obama's eviscerating of NASA, the United States no longer has the ability to put a man in Space. From Investors Business Daily:
Next American woman heads for space -- on this Russian rocket
Now, here's some real Obama outsourcing.

This morning, Kazakhstan time, the next mission to the International Space Station successfully blasted off carrying the usual trio -- a Russian commander, an astronaut from the international community and an American in a seat rented by NASA since the retirement of the last U.S. space shuttle a year ago this month.

The Soyuz spacecraft, Expedition 32, shown above being moved by rail to the launchpad on Thursday, had Yuri Malenchenko as the commander, Flight Engineer Sunita Williams of NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide. When they dock with the space station Tuesday, they will bring the ISS crew back up to its usual complement of six.
He is killing our Mojo and needs to be soundly booted out of office this November.

Buffalo, Wyoming

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Didn't bother with the museum -- we are starting to drift a bit behind schedule so headed out around 10AM. Stopped for lunch in Billings -- it was like the Zombie Apocalypse had hit. I know it was Sunday but the majority of businesses were closed and nobody was outside walking around. There is a large University and Medical Center complex and we did see a few people there but downtown was a ghost town. Finally found the local hippy co-op and had a deli sandwich there. Sheridan was a bust so we drove another 40 miles to Buffalo, drove through the main street and fell in love. Sheridan has a population of about 70K but there was really no pride in people's homes -- a lot of ratty houses, no really cool places to eat and the downtown core was looking a bit dilapidated. Buffalo has a population of around 4K and it is hopping. Lots of businesses were open and we had dinner at the Occidental Hotel. Staying at the local no-tell motel. Pet friendly so everybody is happy. Buffalo is a gorgeous little town. Turns out there is a smith in Buffalo -- will be giving him a call tomorrow and see if he is still there (maybe he is going to the conference too) -- nice work from the looks of his website. We also stopped by the Little Bighorn battleground and spent 45 minutes walking around and looking at the exhibits. Didn't spend too much time as the Cody museum is a lot better and we will be hitting that on our way back. Heading on our way to Rapid City -- don't know if we will get there tomorrow, may spend the night in Sturgis but we are definitely getting there. Over 1,500 miles so far. Day four!

Bozeman Montana

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Spent the morning driving from Missoula to Butte (about 130 miles), had lunch at a local eatery and then spent the entire afternoon at the World Mining Museum. We spent 90 minutes underground with a mining engineer who showed us the tools used and gave us a lot of information on the culture and life of those times. I was there two years ago and it was the same tour guide -- he was awesome. Also stopped by the Berkeley Pit which with a pH of 2.2 is an Environmental Superfund Site. They are doing a very interesting remediation project -- running a pilot program now but planning to start with the pit water in 2018. Drove another 90 miles to Bozeman, MT and stopped for dinner. The restaurant we chose (Ted's Montana Grill) turns out to be owned by Ted Turner. We just missed him (he was there last evening). The restaurant is located in the old Baxter Hotel -- a gorgeous Art Deco building constructed in 1929 and gorgeously restored. The hotel rooms are now apartments. Downtown Bozeman is a lot of fun so this would be an incredible place to stay. We both love Bozeman. Tired so hunkered down near the freeway and on to Sheridan, WY tomorrow (270 miles) and then on to Rapid City (another 243 miles). There is an excellent museum in Bozeman so we will spend a few hours there and then hit the road -- the conference begins Wednesday with some pre-events on the 17th so the timing is perfect. Taking a bit more time on the way back -- heading through Yellowstone and Oregon. The dogs are having a wonderful time -- I folded down the two back seats and put some carpeting and padding down for them. They snooze while we drive and we stop every couple of hours for them to rumble around for a bit. I have my two and Lulu has Augie -- a 70 pound GoldenDoodle. Day three!

Quote of the Day - J Harlan Bretz

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From the Plaque:
Ideas without precedent are generally looked upon with disfavor and men are shocked if their conceptions of an orderly world are challenged.
--J Harlan Bretz

J Harlan Bretz

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When we were at Dry Falls, a saw a small plaque dedicated to J Harlan Bretz. Googled him and found a fascinating man. From Wikipedia:
J Harlen Bretz (September 2, 1882 � February 3, 1981) was an American geologist, best known for his research that led to the acceptance of the Missoula Floods, and also for his work on caves. He was born to Oliver Joseph Bretz and Rhoda Maria Howlett, farmers in Saranac, Michigan, the oldest of five children. He earned a degree in biology from Albion College in 1905, where he also met his wife Fanny Chalis. Thereafter, he became interested in the geology of Eastern Washington State.
One of the things that make Eastern Washington so interesting is the vast swath of really unusual landscape. Unlike no other place on the planet. Dr. Bretz was the first person to realize that it was carved by a fast gigantic flow of water and not through 'normal' geological evolution. He proposed this in the 1923 and the idea was not well received by other geologists. Sounds like quite the character -- from his entry at HistoryLink:
J Harlen Bretz was a geologist whose ideas about the origins of the "scablands" of Eastern Washington evoked ridicule when he first proposed them, in the 1920s, but eventually revolutionized the science of geology. Bretz argued that the deep canyons and pockmarked buttes of the scablands had been created by a sudden, catastrophic flood -- not, as most of his peers believed, by eons of gradual erosion. It was a bold challenge to the prevailing principle of "uniformitarianism," which held that the earth was shaped by processes that can be observed in the present. Since a flood of the almost Biblical proportions envisioned by Bretz had never been seen, it was dismissed as a throwback to the pre-scientific doctrine of "catastrophism." Not until the 1940s did other geologists begin to present new evidence supporting the flood theory. Satellite imagery in the 1970s provided the final vindication. Bretz had the satisfaction of living long enough to see his once heretical ideas become the new orthodoxy. In 1979, at age 96, he received the Penrose Medal, geology's highest honor. He later reportedly told his son: "All my enemies are dead, so I have no one to gloat over"
A bit more:
He has been described as "an odd mix of polish and roughness" (The Seattle Times, 2003). As a teacher, he pushed his students hard. Those turning in sloppy work could expect stinging rebukes. He had a ribald sense of humor, characterized by what he called "recurrent earthiness." He enjoyed making wine. He liked to challenge students to find the wine cellar hidden behind a bookcase in his basement. A practical joker, he would lock them in the basement after sending them on the quest. To get out, they had to find a secret lock and key. "He was one of the real characters in geology," says Victor R. Baker, a geologist at the University of Arizona. "He liked telling jokes. He liked going on family trips.
Talk about a kindred spirit...

Missoula Montana

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Slept in a bit and then took the Grand Coulee Dam tour. I was expecting that the tour would be in Generator house #3 which was added thirty years after the dam was originally built and features some wonderful architecture. it turns out that that section was shut down for a very deep renovation. Story and Slideshow We went into the pump/generator bay of the Left Powerhouse -- there is a 27 mile long Banks Lake 280 feet above the Dam. Water is pumped up to the lake for irrigation and it is also allowed to flow back down for additional power generation during times of peak load. The size of this is amazing -- it is the largest dam in North America and the fifth largest Dam worldwide. It is the largest Dam that offers tours to the general public. After that, we headed South to Dry Falls -- the site of the worlds largest waterfall. Headed over to Route 90 -- stopped in Kellogg, ID for dinner at a nice little gastropub -- the Carolina style Pulled Pork was excellent and awesome cole slaw. Gone to ground in Missoula, Mt. for the night. Butte tomorrow for the Mining Museum. Didn't spend any time in Coeur D'Alene but spent an hour at Cabela's. Day two!


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Rumors out there that Mitt Romney might be choosing Condoleezza Rice for Vice President. I cannot think of a better choice. Whip smart and zero bullshit.

The dam show

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Hunkered down in Grand Coulee. I was out here a few years ago with Jen and she didn't want to stay for the laser show. I was here two years ago and mis-judged the time to drive from Coeur D'Alene and missed it. Tonight I saw it and it was a lot of fun. The technology was showing its age as the display was 100% pure analog and the galvos were a little slow (lots of overshoot) but the show was fun -- historical vignetes interspaced with a free-form light show with a piece of music. They are dumping a lot of water (snow-pack runoff) so the spillway is entirely covered with white water - perfect projection surface. The force of the water coming over the spillway was so strong the bench we sat on was vibrating lightly. Gorgeous drive out -- had lunch in Winthrop, a sweet little tourist trap of a town. Dinner at an excellent Mexican place in Grand Coulee -- probably the best Mexican food I have had in a long long time. Heading off to Idaho tomorrow and see how far we get -- doing the dam tour tomorrow before heading out. We will be stopping at the Cabela's store in Post Falls and I will be showing Lulu the floating golf green that was designed by a company I used to work for. Day one!

Packed and ready

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Bringing my WiFi 3G hotspot so Lulu will be able to surf as we drive down the highway (depending on Verizon service in the boonies). Truck is packed -- I forgot to bring the programming cables for my ham radio but I already have the outbound leg programmed -- would have been nice to use the laptop to do the inbound leg but... There is a great Ham Radio store in Portland, Oregon (which I plan to visit) but that is the last leg of the journey. Fortunately, programming from the front panel is pretty easy and the frequencies are available on the web. Lulu's son just got home from work so posting will be a bit light for the next hour or so -- got an early day tomorrow.

On the road again!

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Truck is packed up -- taking care of a few last minute items and then heading to town. Hit the road tomorrow AM. Have someone staying here so the critters and the garden will all be taken care of. Looking forward to the conference.

Heh - Eric Holder FAIL!

Wonderful bit of cognitive dissonance from US Attorney General Eric Holder. From American Glob (hat tip Instapundit):
Journalists Required To Show IDs at Eric Holder�s Talk On The Evil of IDs
If you think it�s fine for the government to force you to buy something but you�re insulted by the idea of having to prove your citizenship in order to vote� you might be a liberal.

Obama�s attorney general Eric Holder spoke to the NAACP today and described voter ID laws as racism
Attorney General Eric Holder went off script today to say that voter ID laws like one being implemented in Texas are �poll taxes,� equating the requirement that voters show a state-issued photo ID in order to cast ballots to the Jim Crow laws of the early 1900s.

�Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them,� Holder said in a speech to the NAACP on Tuesday, referring specifically to a law being implemented in Texas. �We call those poll taxes.�
Too bad every single journalist in the room was subjected to such a harsh form of racism.

The media advisory below is from the Joe Pags Show via The Gateway Pundit
And the line in question is this one:
NOTE: All media must present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver�s license) as well as valid media credentials.
Hypocrites. This is about people being bussed in to flood the ballot box with phony votes. This is not about fairness -- they are running scared and feel that their only option is to flood the ballot boxes.

Happy B-Day Nikola Tesla

He is one of my personal great heroes. He has contributed more to our modern life today than most people recognize. Born, July 10th in 1856 -- he celebrates his 156th Birthday today. From Electronic Design News:
Nikola Tesla is born, July 10, 1856
Nikola Tesla, one of history�s most under appreciated and under acknowledged engineers, was born on July 10, 1856, in modern-day Croatia.

Credit for his work is often gray and debated, sometimes due to unscrupulous competitors and sometimes due to timing.

Indeed, Tesla is known to have worked on a radio before Marconi, an X-Ray machine before Roentgen, an induction motor around the same time Ferrari claimed his, and experimented to find �small charged particles� years before Thomson was credited with proving the existence of electrons.
Radio - yes, Marconi did send three dots across the Atlantic Ocean in December 1901. Nikola Tesla stated after being told of Marconi's reported transmission that "Marconi [... was] using seventeen of my patents." Tesla demonstrated a radio-controlled boat in 1898 - three years earlier. Instead of three dots -- the PBS Series on Tesla has the story:
In Madison Square Garden, at the Electrical Exhibition of 1898, Tesla staged a scientific tour de force, a demonstration completely beyond the generally accepted limits of technology. His invention, covered in patent No. 613,809 (1898), took the form of a radio-controlled boat, a heavy, low-lying, steel craft about four feet long. Inasmuch as radio hadn't been officially patented yet (Tesla's basic radio patent was filed in September 1897, but granted in March 1900), examiners from the US Patent Office were reluctant to recognize improbable claims made in the application "Method of and Apparatus for Controlling Mechanism of Moving Vessels or Vehicles." Confronted with a working model, however, examiners quickly issued approval.

In fact, Tesla had been walking around New York City since 1895 picking up radio signals generated in various high-frequency experiments; he had received them as far as thirty miles away, at West Point. With the invention or improvement of several more control elements, he was able in short time to put them to use.
The Supreme Court posthumously awarded Tesla the patent for Radio in 1943. Tesla successfully demonstrated equipment very similar to Marconi (resonant spark-gap transmitter / tuned receiving circuit with a fluorescent Geisler tube as indicator instead of an audio output) in St. Louis, MO in 1893. Moving on here -- radiation. Tesla was working with radiation before Roentgen published his work. He stopped because he was getting burned with the equipment and didn't think of the medical value of being able to see one's own bones. Induction motor? Please. Tesla originated the three-phase system of power generation and distribution that we use today. Period. He didn't just come up with the motor, he invented the generators, he chose the 60Hz frequency that we use today (Europe and Asia used the Tesla system at 50Hz to bypass paying royalties -- the 60 Cycles per Second is the real sweet spot between equipment size and efficiency). He developed the transformers. He developed the phasing systems to allow two separate generating stations to synchronize on one power line. It's not just a motor. Small charged particles -- with his Colorado Springs radio work, he was building detectors of incredible sensitivity. With one series of experiments, he was bouncing radio signals off the moon. Along the way, he also invented fluorescent light, the bladeless Tesla Turbine (not very efficient but able to operate over a huge range of speeds and fluids). His last Patent in 1928 was for a vertical take-off and landing tiltrotor biplane. In 1931, he published a paper on ocean thermal energy conversion system. A list of his Patents can be found here: List of Nikola Tesla patents Like I said, a personal hero. When you measure magnetic fields, you measure them in Teslas. What do you measure in Edisons? Nothing. Measure in Marconis? Nothing.

Light posting today

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Last minute stuff around the house and packing. Spend tomorrow in Bellingham and then it's on the road. Charging camera batteries and downloading the repeater list into my ham radio -- there is a program that maintains a database of all the ham radio repeaters in the USA -- I draw the route on the map and it assembles the list of frequencies, offsets, signaling tones and downloads it to my transceiver. Very cool!

Union political spending

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From Yahoo News:
From hot dogs to slick ads: Unions spent $4.4 billion on politics in past 6 years
A Wall Street Journal analysis of political spending unveiled Tuesday found that organized labor groups dropped a combined $4.4 billion on political activities between 2006 and 2011, about four times more than previously estimated.

The Journal cast a wide net to determine what counted as "political spending," including activities that range from traditional candidate donations to the cost of hot dogs for union demonstrators at political rallies.

To find the additional costs, the newspaper added spending reports filed with the Labor Department to Federal Election Commission spending data. From the report, which is partially behind a paywall at WSJ.com, but is available in full at FoxNews.com:
The usual measure of unions' clout encompasses chiefly what they spend supporting federal candidates through their political-action committees, which are funded with voluntary contributions, and lobbying Washington, which is a cost borne by the unions' own coffers.

These kinds of spending, which unions report to the Federal Election Commission and to Congress, totaled $1.1 billion from 2005 through 2011, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The unions' reports to the Labor Department capture an additional $3.3 billion that unions spent over the same period on political activity.

The costs reported to the Labor Department range from polling fees, to money spent persuading union members to vote a certain way, to bratwursts to feed Wisconsin workers protesting at the state capitol last year. Much of this kind of spending comes not from members' contributions to a PAC but directly from unions' dues-funded coffers. There is no requirement that unions report all of this kind of spending to the Federal Election Commission, or FEC.
Union spending goes overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates and liberal causes. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political spending, 92 percent of the $58.5 million in direct candidate donations from 1990 to 2012 went toward Democratic candidates.
And of course, the Unions' 501C3 status is never questioned. Even through 501C3 non-profits are not allowed to engage in any political activity. The liberals squawk about how the Conservatives have all this money when, if you look at the facts, the left is outspending the right by well over a factor of ten times. The major foundations are all progressive.

Two anniversaries

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Spam celebrates its 75th anniversary this month -- from the Christian Science Monitor:
Happy Birthday, Spam! America's favorite canned meat turns 75
Spam, the legendary canned meat whose very name invokes delight in some and queasiness in many more, turns 75 this month. The product�s parent company, Hormel Foods Corp., is celebrating with what it calls a �Spamtastic� birthday bash at the Spam manufacturing plant in Austin, Minn., complete with a headlining performance by the Temptations.
The other celebration is the 50th anniversary of the Starfish Prime atomic bomb test. From Discover Magazine's Bad Astronomy page:
The 50th anniversary of Starfish Prime: the nuke that shook the world
On July 9, 1962 � 50 years ago today � the United States detonated a nuclear weapon high above the Pacific Ocean. Designated Starfish Prime, it was part of a dangerous series of high-altitude nuclear bomb tests at the height of the Cold War. Its immediate effects were felt for thousands of kilometers, but it would also have a far-reaching aftermath that still touches us today.

In 1958, the Soviet Union called for a ban on atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons, and went so far as to unilaterally stop such testing. Under external political pressure, the US acquiesced. However, in late 1961 political pressures internal to the USSR forced Khrushchev to break the moratorium, and the Soviets began testing once again. So, again under pressure, the US responded with tests of their own.

It was a scary time to live in.

The US, worried that a Soviet nuclear bomb detonated in space could damage or destroy US intercontinental missiles, set up a series of high-altitude weapons tests called Project Fishbowl (itself part of the larger Operation Dominic) to find out for themselves what happens when nuclear weapons are detonated in space. High-altitude tests had been done before, but they were hastily set up and the results inconclusive. Fishbowl was created to take a more rigorous scientific approach.

On July 9, 1962, the US launched a Thor missile from Johnston island, an atoll about 1500 kilometers (900 miles) southwest of Hawaii. The missile arced up to a height of over 1100 km (660 miles), then came back down. At the preprogrammed height of 400 km (240 miles), just seconds after 09:00 UTC, the 1.4 megaton nuclear warhead detonated.

And all hell broke loose.
And just what happened?
But the effects were far more than a simple light show. When the bomb detonated, those electrons underwent incredible acceleration. When that happens they create a brief but extremely powerful magnetic field. This is called an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. The strength of the pulse was so huge that it affected the flow of electricity on the Earth hundreds of kilometers away! In Hawaii it blew out hundreds of streetlights, and caused widespread telephone outages. Other effects included electrical surges on airplanes and radio blackouts.

The EMP had been predicted by scientists, but the Starfish Prime pulse was far larger than expected. And there was another effect that hadn�t been predicted accurately. Many of the electrons from the blast didn�t fall down into the Earth�s atmosphere, but instead lingered in space for months, trapped by Earth�s magnetic field, creating an artificial radiation belt high above our planet�s surface.

When a high-speed electron hits a satellite, it can generate a sort-of miniature EMP. The details are complex, but the net effect is that these electrons can zap satellites and damage their electronics. The pulse of electrons from the Starfish Prime detonation damaged at least six satellites (including one Soviet bird), all of which eventually failed due to the blast. Other satellite failures at the time may be linked to the explosion as well.
Oopsie! Talk about game-changer. And we sit back and let Iran and NorK develop nuclear weapons? Their missles do not have to reach from one continent to another, they just have to reach from a nearby ship and travel a couple hundred miles straight up over the Eastern Seaboard...

Oh crap

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From the Investors Business Daily:
Obama To Sign Anti-Second Amendment U.N. Gun
The United Nations is putting the finishing touches on an Arms Trade Treaty that transcends borders and may even trample our Constitutional right to bear arms. Every indication is that the president will sign it.

Like the New Start and Law of the Sea treaties before it, as well as the Kyoto Protocol and Agenda 21, the Arms Trade Treaty being finalized at the U.N. this month is one of those feel-good, can't-we-all-get-along pieces of parchment whose net effect is to accomplish little except to eat away at American sovereignty and freedom.

Just as the world's worst human rights violators sat on and often chaired the U.N. Human Rights Council, Iran, arms supplier extraordinaire to America's enemies, was elected on Saturday to a top position on the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty being held in New York. It began July 2 and extends through July 27.

This came right after the same U.N. found Iran guilty of illegally transferring guns and bombs to the murderous Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, currently slaughtering thousands of its own citizens as an impotent U.N. joins the U.S. administration in standing around and watching.

The mindset of the one-worlders preaches that guns cause crime and war and if we only get rid of those otherwise inanimate objects the evil that lurks in the hearts and minds of men will suddenly dissipate. Then we can buy the world a soft drink and sing "Kumbaya."

We are assured by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who enthusiastically backs the treaty, that it only deals with international trade and trafficking and does not affect our Second Amendment rights. How the treaty would have dealt with Operation Fast and Furious, the administration program that walked guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, she does not say.
If you thought gun sales spiked three years ago when Obama was elected, you ain't seen nothing yet. Just call me a bitter clinger...

The Kitchn

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Just ran into this website today -- sitting here reading and salivating. Check out The Kitchn A couple of recipes caught my eye: Mardi Gras Recipe: Pepper Weenies with Smoked Bacon & Vidalia Onion Marmalade I am heading out of town for a couple of weeks but this will be showing up at the dinner table on our return. Looks awesome. Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad Recipes from The Kitchn Quick to fix and looks like a perfect condiment for a light summer supper. I eat a lot of pickled foods and this looks downright tasty. And lastly this: Spring Grilling Recipe: Grilled Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette Added this website to my personal bookmarks. Looks tasty and uncomplicated.

Obamacare fallout

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From The Daily Caller:
Report: 83 percent of doctors have considered quitting over Obamacare
Eighty-three percent of American physicians have considered leaving their practices over President Barack Obama�s health care reform law, according to a survey released by the Doctor Patient Medical Association.

The DPMA, a non-partisan association of doctors and patients, surveyed a random selection of 699 doctors nationwide. The survey found that the majority have thought about bailing out of their careers over the legislation, which was upheld last month by the Supreme Court.

Even if doctors do not quit their jobs over the ruling, America will face a shortage of at least 90,000 doctors by 2020. The new health care law increases demand for physicians by expanding insurance coverage. This change will exacerbate the current shortage as more Americans live past 65.
The Canadians talk about how great their health-care system is but in the same breath, squawk about how high prices are for beer, wine and gasoline and how high their taxes are. Welcome to the unintended consequences of big government...

A little ray of sunshine

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Nouriel Roubini is an economist with a habit of making predictions -- accurate predictions. He forecast the 2008 crash as well as a bunch of other troubles and bubbles. From CNBC:
Roubini: My 'Perfect Storm' Scenario Is Unfolding Now
"Dr. Doom" Nouriel Roubini says the "perfect storm" scenario he forecast for the global economy earlier this year is unfolding right now as growth slows in the U.S., Europe as well as China.

In May, Roubini predicted four elements � stalling growth in the U.S., debt troubles in Europe, a slowdown in emerging markets, particularly China, and military conflict in Iran - would come together to create a storm for the global economy in 2013.

�(The) 2013 perfect storm scenario I wrote on months ago is unfolding,� Roubini said on Twitter on Monday.

Chinese inflation data released on Monday, suggested that the economy is cooling faster than expected, while employment data out of the U.S. on Friday indicated that jobs growth was tepid for a fourth straight month in June.

Roubini said that unlike in 2008 when central banks had �policy bullets� to stimulate the global economy, this time around policymakers are �running out of rabbits to pull out of the hat."
Fun times ahead -- time to stock up on food and buy as much silver as you can. People are advising gold but you cannot take a one ounce gold coin to a store and buy a loaf of bread. A pre-1960's dime works great. I am glad that I no longer live in the city although Seattle is pretty mellow. I would hate to be stuck in Chicago or Detroit.
From CNN:
Feds: Georgia banker missing, so is $17 million
A Georgia banker who went missing last month is being sought by federal authorities for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars from a south Georgia bank.

Aubrey "Lee" Price, 46, is charged with wire fraud, and is suspected of defrauding more than 100 investors of at least $17 million over the course of two years, a criminal complaint from the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of New York, said.

In late 2010, Price was celebrated by his peers and written up in newspaper articles after a company he controlled bought a controlling portion of the troubled Montgomery Bank & Trust in Ailey, Georgia. He was supposed to invest the bank's capital. Instead, prosecutors say Price used a New York-based "clearing firm" -- a dummy company set up to hide money -- to cover up fraudulent wire transfers and investments.

Montgomery Bank & Trust in Ailey -- about 170 miles southeast of Atlanta -- had been in operation for nearly 90 years when it was closed Friday by the state of Georgia, with the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation named as receiver. The FDIC said Ameris Bank in Moultrie, Georgia, would take over operations of Montgomery's accounts and its two branches.
As I was reading this I was thinking that he would be stupid to still be in this country -- the article went on to say this:
But federal investigators, including the FBI, believe Price, who owns property in Venezuela and Guatemala, may be on the run. FBI Special Agent Michael Howard said in the complaint that investigators believe Price "may own a boat that would be large enough to travel to Venezuela from Florida."
And this:
Prosecutors say airline records indicate Price had returned to the United States from a trip to Venezuela on June 2.

Bad career move

From the Portland, Maine Portland Press Herald:
Nugent drummer charged with Bangor golf cart theft, DUI
A drummer for classic rocker Ted Nugent faces several charges after police in Bangor, say he was seen driving drunk in a golf cart stolen from a concert venue.

Officers working at Nugent's Sunday night concert were told that 55-year-old Mick Brown was intoxicated, had stolen the cart and was driving it recklessly on a foot path. Police say when officers tried to stop the cart, Brown sped past them and shoved a security officer. Two security officers then removed Brown from the cart, and he was arrested.
Given the Nudge's squeaky clean lifestyle, I bet there is a very deep heart to heart conversation going on right now on the lines of: "Tell me why I should not fire your sorry ass this second".

Word up - eating Escolar

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From The Kitchen:
Use Caution When Eating Escolar
Perhaps you've seen this fish at your local fishmonger or on the menu at restaurants. Sometimes it's under the name "butterfish," "oilfish," or "waloo/walu." Sushi restaurants occasionally serve it as "super white tuna" or "king tuna." Maybe you've heard it's extremely tasty. This is true; escolar is delicious. It's buttery and succulent. But before you eat it, there is something important you need to know.

Escolar has been popping up on restaurant menus and in seafood markets as of late. With some varieties of fish in danger of being overfished and other species becoming undesirable due to their high mercury content, seafood purveyors need a fish that's delicious, cheap, sustainable, and low in mercury. Escolar fits the bill as it is economical and politically correct, but it comes with a side effect that fishmongers and waiters fail to mention.

Escolar is a type of snake mackerel that cannot metabolize the wax esters naturally found in its diet. These esters are called gempylotoxin, and are very similar to castor or mineral oil. This is what gives the flesh of escolar its oily texture. As a result, when full portions of escolar are consumed, these wax esters cause gastrointestinal symptoms.

To be frankly and bluntly specific - and I'm sorry for this - consumption of escolar causes explosive, oily, orange diarrhea. People have reported that the discharges are often difficult to control and accidents can happen while passing gas. I personally know someone who ate an escolar steak one night, unaware of its side effects. The next day he was riding the elevator to his office when out of nowhere his bowels unleashed a surprise attack on his pants. As he said later, "Thank God I had my gym bag with me, which had a clean pair of underwear in it." This explains why escolar is also called the "olestra fish" and the "ex-lax fish."
Keep portion size under six ounces and you should be fine -- still, something to keep in mind...

Stunningly bad science

If it can even be called science. From Rand Simberg at PJ Media:
This Is What Pseudoscience Looks Like
Well, with the twin weather disasters of the wild conflagrations in the west and the unusual �derecho� storm (derecho and El Nino � the storms that will do the jobs that American storms won�t) that left millions powerless and sweltering in the east, it didn�t take long for the propaganda mill of the warming religion to spool up. I first noticed it in a tweet from the so-called �science� guy, Bill Nye:
CNN about fires in Colorado. I was just there. It�s the real (bad) deal. Just the start of things climate change-wise.
The next day, he followed up:
MSNBC with Ed Schultz. We�re talking fires, heat, and climate change. Let�s see if we can convey the seriousness & convince a few citizens.
I posted this on July 5th:
Please re-read that for one moment � yes, over 3,000 records broken. Of which 2,253 is for high temperatures and 936 for low temperatures. That is 70.65% of the records were high and 29.35% were for low. It's summer folks and we are setting records for low temperatures.
The reason this years wildfires are so serious is because the enviros prohibited smaller fires from happening. There was a much higher than normal accumulation of underbrush and areas that historically had 80 trees/acre now have over 1,000 trees/acre. The fire load increased so much that once a spark happened, a conflagration was inevitable. The National Park Service learned this in 1988 when Yellowstone National Park burned but I guess that the various governmental agencies do not talk with each other.Pity... I used to live in Seattle and Bill Nye came into my local tavern every so often -- I wanted to introduce myself as in the 1960's my Dad was often one of the Judges for a television show in Pittsburgh (School Science Countdown) very similar to what Nye was doing at the time. He blew me off and was a complete arrogant prick about it.

Well crap - Ermes Effron Borgnino

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Otherwise known as Ernest Borgnine -- dead at 95. Same age that my Dad died, a good run! From CNN:
Actor Ernest Borgnine dead at 95
Film and television actor Ernest Borgnine, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a lovelorn butcher in 1955's "Marty," has died at age 95, his manager said Sunday.

The thick-set, gap-toothed Borgnine built a reputation for playing heavies in early films like "From Here to Eternity" and "Bad Day at Black Rock." But he turned that reputation on its head as the shy, homely title character in "Marty," taking home the Oscar for best actor -- one of four awards the film claimed.
More at the site.

No free ice cream today

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Long day -- slept in a bit, went to Farmer's Market, quick run into town (having to replace a bunch of my own camping equipment) -- got dinner in town and then back here to hunt slugs. Only found five in the garden and about 30 in the area around the house. The slow nibbling away is having a definite effect -- also helps that the garden grass between the beds is mowed to two inches and the hot weather. The produce is looking really good -- spuds, maters, chard, peas and beans. The lettuces got et by bunnies but I replanted and have sprayed the area with hot pepper water. I replanted the rhubarb and put in some horseradish roots -- these are both pretty invasive to they have their own bed and can duke it out amongst themselves. Doing laundry and packing for the trip. Lulu is out at the farm tomorrow for a few days -- I am over at her house Wednesday evening and we hit the road Thursday AM. First stop is Grand Coulee Dam. I have been there before but Lulu has not (she is a geek) and we both have never seen the Laser Light Show. Next stop is Butte, Montana for the World Mining Museum. I have been there before and it is incredible. We are planning to take a week heading back -- going through Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, Cody, WY and heading back through Oregon (Mt. Hood and the Spruce Goose) and back home. Ice Cream? The master.

A population decline

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Only found 15 slugs within the fenced area of the garden. Found another 30 or so outside near the house so there is still a substantial population. Disturbed four "couples" trying to have a quiet evening of it -- harshed their mellow but good. Slug nookie interruptus... Tomorrow, I am going to weed-wack under the cherry trees and roundup a couple more beds for next year. Chard and lettuces are doing great in the warm weather and the maters seem to be coming around. Peas and beans are off running up the trellis. Had some fun conversations at my local tonight. Back home, surf a bit and then head off to bed. Heading out to the Blacksmithing conference Thursday -- I have attended every one since 2006. They are starting to develop a National Curriculum in preparation for licensing and I need to attend in order to get in on the ground floor. Some amazing work being done and some amazing teachers. I'll be bringing the laptop and will post photos.

Get 'em young

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Sweet story from Changelog:
I introduced my 5-year-old and 2-year-old to startx and xmonad. They�re DELIGHTED!
Two years ago, Jacob (then 3) and I built his first computer together. I installed Debian on it, but never put a GUI on the thing. It�s command-line, and has provided lots of enjoyment off and on over the last couple of years. I�ve written extensively about what our boys like to do, and the delight they have at learning things on the command line.

The looks of shock I get from people when I explain, as if it�s perfectly natural, that my child has been able to log in by himself to a Linux shell since age 3, are amusing and astounding. Especially considering that it is really not that hard. Instead of learning how to run an Xbox, he�s learned how to run bash. I like that.

Lately, Jacob (now 5) hasn�t been spending much time with it. He isn�t really at a stage where he wants to push his limits too far, I think, but yet also gets bored with the familiar. So I thought it was time to introduce a GUI in a limited fashion, perhaps to let him download photos and video from his Vtech toy camera (that takes real low-res photos and videos which can be downloaded over a USB1 link). He�s familiar with the concept, at least somewhat, having seen GUIs on Terah�s computer (Gnome 2) and mine (xfce4 + xmonad).

So last night, Oliver (age 2) and I went down to the basement on a mouse-finding expedition. Sure enough, I had an old PS/2 mouse down there that would work fine. The boys both helped string it through the desk up on our play room, and were tremendously excited to see the red light underneath it when the computer came on. Barely able to contain the excitement, really. A bit like I remember being when I got my first mouse (at a bit of an older age, I suppose.)

I helped him them in as root for the very first time. (Jacob typed �root�, and I typed the password, and provided the explanation for why we were telling the computer we were �root�.) Jacob and Oliver alternated typing bits of some apt-get command lines. Then while we waited for software to download, I had to answer repeated questions of �how soon will the mouse work?� and �what does �install� mean?�

Finally it was there, and I told Jacob to type startx. I intentionally did not install a display manager; more on that later. He pressed Enter, the screen went blank for about 5 seconds, and then X appeared. �Excited� can�t begin to describe how they acted. They took turns playing with the mouse. They loved how the trash can icon (I started with XFCE) showed trash IN the trash can.
Those kids are going to be a force of nature when they grow up. My Dad taught me how to solder when I was six years old and for a long time, we would do one electronics project after another (building a digital multiplier from old telephone relays, various radio transmitters and receivers, a stroboscope, lots of stuff). Put me on the path to a 50+ year love of science and electronics.

EEeyyeeeeeee - my eyes!!!

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From the Gadgetwise blog at the New York Times:
After 14 Years, Furby Has Returned
After 14 years and a lengthy hibernation, Hasbro is reviving one of its most famous toys for this fall, with new technology, a hefty price tag ($60) and an app connection. This Furby is more huggable, with soft fur that hides touch sensors, and more expressive, with rubbery ears that twitch and a pair of backlit LCD eyes with mechanical eyelids that blink, look around or respond to the sounds picked up by Furby�s onboard microphone.

According to Don Cameron, a Hasbro engineer, novelty is an essential part of Furby�s appeal. �You never know what Furby might do or say.� For example, Furby can differentiate between the tone of your spoken language, the sound of another Furby or the rhythm of a song for dancing. Furby can understand high frequency audio codes to �talk� with your iPad or another Furby.
Time to dig my mallet out of the shop. I wonder if these will be as eminently hackable as the originals. Maybe a fun programming project for next winter...

Enforcing the law

Not the way to do it -- from FOX News Radio:

Man Facing Jail For Hosting Home Bible Study
A Phoenix man has been sentenced to 60 days in jail after he refused to stop hosting Bible studies in the privacy of his home - in violation of the city's building code laws.

However, the Phoenix city prosecutor's office said the violations have nothing to do with religious freedom - and everything to do with public safety.

"It came down to zoning and proper permitting," said Vicki Hill, the chief assistant city prosecutor. "Any time you are holding a gathering of people continuously as he does - we have concerns about people being able to exit the facility properly in case there is a fire - and that's really all this comes down to."

According to court documents provided to Fox News Radio, Michael Salman was found guilty in the City of Phoenix Court of 67 code violations. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail along with three years probation and a $12,180 fine. He could be jailed as early as next week unless the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals grants an emergency injunction.

"They're cracking down on religious activities and religious use," Salman told Fox News Radio. "They're attacking what I as a Christian do in the privacy of my home."

"If I had people coming to my home on a regular basis for poker night or Monday Night Football, it would be permitted," he said. "But when someone says to us we are not allowed to gather because of religious purposes - that is when you have discrimination."

It will be interesting to see what the Ninth has to say -- they are very much for people's rights but they are also very liberal progressive and may be put of their feed because this is a religious freedom issue.

There are points to be made for both sides as he built a 2,000 sq. ft. garage and converted it to a meeting room with seating for 40 people and a pulpit. On the other hand, they own 4.5 acres of land so it's not like they are bothering the neighbors. I am siding with Salman.

From The Associated Press:
Forget hot dogs, glut means cheap lobster prices
A glut has driven down lobster prices in Maine � bringing cheer to lobster-loving consumers at the start of the state's tourist season but gloom among lobstermen.

Retailers have been selling small soft-shell lobsters in the Portland area for an unusually low $3.79 to $4.99 a pound. At those prices, lobsters have been selling for less than the per-pound price of bologna at many supermarket deli counters.

Zain Nemazie, of Austin, Texas, was expecting low lobster prices � but not this low � while on vacation in Maine with his family.

"This is as good as it gets," Nemazie said late last week after paying $4.59 a pound for large 1 1/2-pound lobsters at a seafood shop on Portland's waterfront. "We're from Texas, where we'd be paying at least $12 a pound."

At Docks Seafood in South Portland, owner Bob Coppersmith said customers were eating up the low prices, including a deal where he was selling five small live lobsters for $25. He later dropped it to five for $24.
Makes you wonder how the lobster fishermen are doing -- their costs are still going up and now their profits are going down. Supply and demand.

Gorgeous day

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Spent the day working at the farm and then headed into the Hills to Mills show at the Deming Logging Showgrounds. Lots of chainsaw carvers and woodworking exhibits. Got a burger on the grill for dinner and then out for a beer or two.

Feeling a lot better

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Got some propolis spray and that has helped a lot with the sore throat. Another gorgeous day -- working in the yard and mowing.

Heading upstairs soon

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Making an early night of it -- spent a wonderful fifteen minutes strolling through the garden with my salt shaker. Amazing what two days of full sunlight can do to some very wilted 'mater plants. Weather looks great through Monday. Only found about 30 slugs so I'm doing something right. Refill the hummingbird feeder and then heading upstairs...

Weather is not climate

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It is fun to watch all of the pundits cry Global Warming with the record heat. Listen to them when we have record cold (like last winter) and all you hear are the crickets. From AccuWeather comes the facts:
Extreme Heat Breaks More Than 3,000 Records This Week
A scorching heat wave is gripping much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation, setting an astonishing number of temperature records.

More than 3,000 temperature records have been shattered in the U.S. this past week, from June 28-July 4, 2012, according to NOAA. The tally of record high temperatures during the time period is 2,253, and the tally of maximum low temperature records is 936.

From July 1-July 4 alone, more than 1,000 record highs have fallen, while more than 600 maximum low temperature records have been broken.
Please re-read that for one moment -- yes, over 3,000 records broken. Of which 2,253 is for high temperatures and 936 for low temperatures. That is 70.65% of the records were high and 29.35% were for low. It's summer folks and we are setting records for low temperatures. And then, you get braying ninnies like Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. From The Hill:
Napolitano on weird weather and climate change: 'There's a pattern here'
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano this week linked climate change with the wildfires hitting Colorado.

Napolitano said �there�s a pattern here� as she noted the summer wildfires as well as the East Coast heat wave and the high-velocity winds that whipped through the mid-Atlantic late last week. Thousands of people remain without electricity because of the wind storm.

Asked point blank if the wildfires were caused by climate change, Napolitano responded, �It could be a lot of different things.�

But then she explained her view, which seemed to make a connection between climate change and the weather events.

�You have to look at climate change over a period of years, not just one summer,� Napolitano said. �You could always have one abnormal summer. But when you see one after another after another then you can see, yeah, there�s a pattern here.�
Arrrggghhhh!!! We are a nation run by morons who do not realize their own vapidity.
From The Washington Times:
Lights go dim on another energy project
A geothermal energy company with a $98.5 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration for an alternative energy project in Nevada � which received hearty endorsements from Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid � faces financial problems, and the company�s auditors have questioned whether it can stay in business.

Much like Solyndra LLC, a California solar-panel manufacturer with a $535 million federal loan guarantee that went bankrupt, Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP) has incurred $98 million in net losses over the past several years, has substantial debts and does not generate enough cash from its current operations after debt-service costs, an internal audit said.

�The company�s ability to continue as a going concern is dependent on its available cash and its ability to continue to raise funds to support corporate operations and the development of other properties,� NGP auditors said in a financial statement for the period ending March 31.

�Consequently, material uncertainties exist which cast significant doubt upon the company�s ability to continue as a going concern,� the statement said.

Mr. Reid, a Nevada Democrat who led passage of the $814 billion stimulus bill and worked to include the loan guarantee program to help finance clean-energy projects, predicted in 2010 that NGP would �put Nevadans to work� and declared that Nevada was the �Saudi Arabia of geothermal energy.�

Mr. Chu celebrated NGP�s potential in his June 2010 announcement of the loan guarantee, saying the federal government�s support of the company demonstrated its commitment to geothermal power to achieve the nation�s clean-energy goals.
Dr. Chu and Senator Reid are not malevolent. They are just clueless and not really that smart. Reader Hobbs_Wayne offers this short list:
There are NO professionals in the Obama administration, there are only corrupt radical ideologists, crony capitalists who use the tax dollars to stay in power by funding Democrat relatives and Obama supporters and to place their extreme agenda over reality, over people. There were NO risk assessments, NO cost benefit analysis and NO contingency plans. There is only the strangulation of the current energy system and the forced implementation of a bankruptcy "renewable" ideology that has been in use in Europe for over 20 years, that still only provides 10% of it energy requirements.

Here is the short list below:
Solyndra - $535 million- largely owned by Obama fundraiser George Kaiser.
Tonopah - a $737 million loan guarantee tied to Nancy Pelosi's Brother-in-Law.
Fisker - $525 million loan guarantee to Fisker, KARMA Electric Cars, backed by a firm that counts ex-Vice President Al Gore among its partners and Biden supported. Biden said that they would produce over a 1,000 manufacturing jobs. ....In Finland.
NextEra - $2 Billion loan guarantee for Obama Jobs Council cohort, Lewis Hay.
Beacon Power - 43 Million - Bankruptcy

Contributions to the Democratic Party: First Solar, Prologis and Sun Power - $4.75 Billion in Federal Loan Guarantees Sun Power - $1.2 Billion, California Demo Rep George Miller's Son, Sun Powers' Top Lobbyist. (15 Perm Jobs, $80 Million Per Job). .....After loan guarantee, French Firm, Total, bought majority ownership and got $1 Billion credit line. .....Reports $150 Million in losses; debt at 80% of its market value.
That's about it...
just as they were taking a hiatus. The author -- Vivian Krause -- has been digging deep into who funds the Canadian environmentalists, how US Foundation (90% progressive agenda) money is sculpting Canadian environmental policies (hint: in favor of US Corporate interests) and various publications from Canadian Universities which show a strong bias toward the Environmental issues du jure. Dr. David (spit) Suzuki makes a big appearance. From her post of July 3rd:
What Got Me Started: A Complaint of Apparent Scientific Misconduct Regarding The University of Alberta's Sea Lice Research Published in the Journal SCIENCE
In February of 2008, I submitted to the University of Alberta (UofA) a formal complaint of apparent scientific misconduct in the sea lice research published under the auspices of the UofA's Centre for Mathematical Biology. This research is at the heart of one of the longest running and fiercest environmental controversies in the history of British Columbia. More than 500 news stories reported this research.

As the basis for this complaint, I wrote a 267 page document. For the 2 page executive summary, click here.

At the University of Alberta, the senior scientist involved in this research is Dr. Mark Lewis. The graduate student who was the first author on most of the sea lice research papers is Dr. Martin Krkosek. One of the researchers in this group is Alexandra Morton, a biologist who has campaigned actively against salmon farms for years.

This research was partially funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, through the David Suzuki Foundation, and was published (Krkosek et al. (2007) in the journal SCIENCE, one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world. In 2009, the University of Alberta awarded the Gold Medal of the Governor General of Canada for this research.

My complaint and request for investigation was supported by The B.C. Council of Resource Community Mayors, the Aboriginal Aquaculture Association and a scientist with expertise in sea lice. "While this activity has created an economy within academia, it has done nothing to alleviate Third world living conditions in coastal communities. Instead it has denied First Nations and others opportunities for jobs and prosperity," wrote the executive director of the Aboriginal Aquaculture Association.

How did the University of Alberta handle this formal complaint of apparent scientific misconduct? The University dismissed the complaint with no investigation of the information provided. When I appealed to the president of the University, I was told that there was no right of appeal and that all information had to be kept confidential.

By way of background, it is important that I mention that I worked in the salmon farming industry during 2002 and 2003 so I am familiar with the fish farm fuss. During 2007, I also did two short consultancies for the salmon farming industry. I was paid $17,750 for those. I have not worked for the salmon farming industry in any capacity since July of 2007, nearly five years ago.

From my experience working for UNICEF during the 1990s, I am familiar with cases of scientific misconduct because one of the worst cases in the history of Canadian science involved a prominent scientist in my field, Dr. Ranjit Chandra at Memorial University. Without a background in salmon farming and some understanding of issues related to scientific integrity, I wouldn't have noticed that something is fishy about the University of Alberta's sea lice research.
Of course, the revisionists were fast out of the gate:
  • The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation quietly re-wrote four grants for $3.6 million for its "anti-farming campaign" against salmon farming.
  • The University of Alberta removed a key press release in which, as I had pointed out, the headline was a false claim.
  • The University removed another key document in which the Centre for Mathematical Biology reported that it had a "research partnership" with SeaWeb, a Maryland P.R. outfit, paid by Moore to co-ordinate the "antifarming campaign."
  • The entire part of the UofA's web-site about Dr. Martin Krkoksek sea lice is now gone. Parts of it can still be accessed through internet archives. Click here.
  • The David Suzuki Foundation quietly removed 23 press releases and web-pages that I had noted to contain inaccurate, false or misleading information about farmed salmon and salmon farming.
By the time the University of Alberta and the David Suzuki Foundation removed their press releases that contained false and misleading claims, it was years too late. By then, the sea lice research findings had been falsely reported in hundreds of media stories around the world and much of the media and the public had turned against salmon farming - albeit, in part, on the basis of claims that are false.
There is no genetic difference between farmed salmon and wild salmon. What farmer would want to sell an inferior crop? How would that benefit them? Take two infants -- one of them is breast-fed, the other is raised on formula. You are going to sit there with a straight face and tell me that there is a difference between the two and that one is superior and the other inferior? Lots of posts to dig into -- I wish Ms. Krause the best and hope that she feels she has the time to post every so often. I know I will be visiting her site on a regular basis.

Minimal posting today

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Been fighting off a low-grade virus for the last two weeks. Sore throat, headache, temperature. Already took a three hour nap and still feeling tired -- dinner (soup) and early bed...

Off to town for the day

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Meeting with a lawyer and dealing with some crap. The fun never ends...


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Lulu and I had a great time at the fireworks display last night. This is a volunteer effort put on by some people in Glacier -- donations were collected and tribal fireworks stands were visited. Money changed hands. Some of the "bargain" fireworks were a couple years old so the charges would fire but the payload would only get a few yards out of the mortar before detonating -- people were scrambling. Lulu and I were both covered with bits of clay and paper as they drifted earthward. We moved our chairs back 50 feet when she got something in her eye (she is OK). The display lasted for a good 90 minutes -- a lot of fun and a fabulous Independence Day. Now it is time to stop patting ourselves on the back for what happened 236 years ago and get to work to restore our Republic to what it once was.

A not-so-complete change of heart

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There is hope -- British writer George Monbiot has been a raving greenie for a long long time but he is finally starting to see the light. From his column in the UK Guardian:
We were wrong on peak oil. There's enough to fry us all
The facts have changed, now we must change too. For the past 10 years an unlikely coalition of geologists, oil drillers, bankers, military strategists and environmentalists has been warning that peak oil � the decline of global supplies � is just around the corner. We had some strong reasons for doing so: production had slowed, the price had risen sharply, depletion was widespread and appeared to be escalating. The first of the great resource crunches seemed about to strike.

Among environmentalists it was never clear, even to ourselves, whether or not we wanted it to happen. It had the potential both to shock the world into economic transformation, averting future catastrophes, and to generate catastrophes of its own, including a shift into even more damaging technologies, such as biofuels and petrol made from coal. Even so, peak oil was a powerful lever. Governments, businesses and voters who seemed impervious to the moral case for cutting the use of fossil fuels might, we hoped, respond to the economic case.

Some of us made vague predictions, others were more specific. In all cases we were wrong. In 1975 MK Hubbert, a geoscientist working for Shell who had correctly predicted the decline in US oil production, suggested that global supplies could peak in 1995. In 1997 the petroleum geologist Colin Campbell estimated that it would happen before 2010. In 2003 the geophysicist Kenneth Deffeyes said he was "99% confident" that peak oil would occur in 2004. In 2004, the Texas tycoon T Boone Pickens predicted that "never again will we pump more than 82m barrels" per day of liquid fuels. (Average daily supply in May 2012 was 91m.) In 2005 the investment banker Matthew Simmons maintained that "Saudi Arabia � cannot materially grow its oil production". (Since then its output has risen from 9m barrels a day to 10m, and it has another 1.5m in spare capacity.)

Peak oil hasn't happened, and it's unlikely to happen for a very long time.
Oil is a plentiful resource -- our own planet keeps making more for us to use. I ask you -- if oil is derived from plant matter, why is it found several miles under the ocean floor -- places which were never exposed to sunlight. Nice to see some people coming to reason...
Anthropogenic Global Warming and Telegraph Cables -- why didn't anyone warn us. Oh. Wait. Nevermind. From the Museum of Hoaxes:
The Global Warming Hoax of 1874
This tale of global warming and a scientist's unsuccessful effort to stop it might sound like something out of today's headlines, but it isn't. The story appeared in newspapers over one hundred years ago, in 1874. It was presented to readers as a factual account of events, but in reality it was almost entirely fiction. It was a global-warming hoax!

The tale first surfaced in early February 1874, when the Kansas City Times printed the text of a letter it claimed to have received from one J.B. Legendre, who said that the letter had been sent to him, in turn, by an unnamed "American man of science" living in Florence, Italy. The correspondent detailed a discovery "of great and even agonizing importance to the human race" that he had learned of from other scientists in Italy.

The discovery was attributed to the Italian astronomer Giovanni Donati, who for many years, it was said, had been making daily measurements of the distance from the earth to the sun by means of an invention of his own design. In the course of making these measurements, Donati noticed that when the first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid, in 1858, the earth began to move closer to the sun. Initially the shift in orbit was quite gradual, but it quickly grew larger. And when another cable was subsequently laid connecting France to Massachusetts, the movement of the earth toward the sun accelerated rapidly.

Donati realized, to his terror, that the cables were acting like enormous electromagnets, pulling the earth into the sun. He calculated that if the earth's current trajectory continued unchecked, Europe would become tropical in 12 years, and the entire earth would be uninhabitable soon after. Finally the planet would plunge into the sun.

Donati warned the governments of the world, but the politicians were preoccupied with plans for war and paid him no heed. So he convinced several of his colleagues to join him in chartering a boat and breaking one of the cables. But the break was soon repaired, and the earth's descent into the sun continued.

Seeing there was no hope, and that the world was doomed, Donati's health gave way. He died of despair in December 1873.
Compare this to the hue and cry over a trace molecule essential to photosynthesis and start scratching your heads. Just about as plausible...

Not so rare earths

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From the UK Telegraph:
China 'stockpiling rare earths for strategic reserves'
China has already started the purchase - using state funds - and storage of rare earths for strategic reserves, the China Securities Journal said, but did not say exactly when the initiative was launched.

The country produces more than 90pc of the world's rare earths, which are used in hi-tech equipment ranging from iPods to missiles, and it has set production caps and export quotas on them.

Major trading partners last month asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to form a panel to resolve a dispute over China's export limits on rare earths after earlier consultations through the global trade body failed.

The European Union, the US and Japan claim China is unfairly choking off exports of the commodities to benefit domestic industries.
'Scuse me -- the USA is sitting on a butt-load of "rare earths" but our government is not allowing mining to be done. The Chinese are manipulating the market and we are standing by with our thumbs up our sphincters asking if we could please have some more. (here, here, here and here) Why should we stand in thrall of any other nation? Drill and Mine here. Drill and Mine now!
From the UK Telegraph:
Titanic discoverer locates Turkish pilots shot down by Syria
The discovery of the two corpses on the seabed could help to settle an argument over whether the plane was shot down in international airspace or over Syrian territorial waters.

Turkey recruited the services of Robert Ballard, a renowned oceanographer who discovered the wreckage of the Titanic in 1985, to locate the remains of the F-4 Phantom and its two missing crew members.

The bodies of Gokhan Ertan and Hasan Huseyin Aksov were located by the MV Nautilus, an American deep-sea exploration vessel led by Mr Ballard. The boat is now attempting to retrieve the remains of the two men.

The wreckage of the plane itself has yet to be found. Turkey will hope that its retrieval will boost its case that Syria shot the aircraft down deliberately and without warning in international airspace -- although it has acknowledged that the plane probably drifted into Syrian waters when it crashed.
I have had a huge man-crush on Dr. Ballard for a long long time. Turkey is an Islamic state but it is also a fully functioning Democracy and it doesn't mess in other Nations politics(that much). Syria on the other hand... Cool that Dr. Ballard was able to do the work that he is doing -- I do not know but he is probably continuing his work on Noah's Flood in the Black Sea.

Green Jobs

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From Bloomberg:
GE Halts Construction on Solar Plant as Prices Plunge
General Electric Co. (GE) is suspending construction of a Colorado thin-film solar factory, slated to be the biggest in the U.S., as prices for the panels tumble amid a manufacturing-capacity glut.

Work will be halted for at least 18 months, Danielle Merfeld, the general manager of solar technologies, said in a telephone interview.

GE, which draws about 30 percent of sales from energy businesses including wind and solar, will use the delay to modify the plant�s design and focus on boosting the efficiency of its solar modules. The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company announced the $300 million plant in October, with plans to hire 350 workers and begin shipments to customers in 2013.

�Over the past six months, the industry has shifted pretty rapidly,� Merfeld said. �We�ve seen about a 50 percent price drop for modules over this period and there�s a lot of unabated overcapacity out there.�
Labor in China is about $2/hour and they are engaged in an active campaign of dumping -- selling merch to us at lower than their cost to make. This drives our own manufacturers out of business and China will raise the prices once they have cleaned out all that pesky innovation and competition. The way to counteract this is to do what General Electric has already done with their entire Medical Imaging division (here, here and here) -- it is now a Chinese company. As for that line about: GE, which draws about 30 percent of sales from energy businesses including wind and solar, To quote that wild and crazy guy Excuuuuuse Meee!. General Electric's Energy Division generates $37 Billion in annual revenue and employs 82,000 people (numbers are from 2010) This is about 25% of total revenues for all of General Electric (all GE number from 2012) Wind and solar are a fraction of what they do -- the vast majority comes from the manufacture of traditional generating and power distribution equipment as well as a very busy nuclear unit including a 60%(GE)/40%(HIT) partnership with Hitachi. GE is just playing the numbers and seeking the loopholes. Nothing wrong with that -- what they are doing has to have been checked over by an army of lawyers. The fix needs to come from our side -- close the fscking loopholes!

Oopsie - hitting the wrong button

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From the Raleigh, North Carolina News Observer
How a lawmaker's mistaken vote put North Carolina on a path toward fracking
The look on her face said it all.

Charlotte Democrat Becky Carney stood on the House floor Monday night with her mouth agape. She looked horrified. Embarrassed. Sick to her stomach.

Moments earlier, she cast the deciding vote to override Gov. Bev Perdue�s veto on a bill to advance natural gas exploration. The problem? She opposed the bill. Voted against it days earlier. And now she made it law.

Yes, the state of North Carolina approved fracking, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation this year, by accident.

The 10-year veteran lawmaker hit the wrong button on her desk. Carney punched the thumbnail-sized green button that says �AYE� just above the red one that says �NO.�

�Oh, my God,� she said on the floor. �It won�t let me change my vote.�
She tried to get it changed but:
She then asked Tillis if she could change her vote. Tillis said House rules prevented it.

Lawmakers mistakenly vote all the time but they are not permitted to change a vote if it affects the outcome.
Heh... But say hello to all the revenues from the gas companies, not a bad thing when you look at it that way. And it will prove to people just how safe the technology is these days.

Quote of the decade

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The proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming work mostly through computer modeling. This is deeply flawed. They ignore the measurements that are out there to be taken. It is cooling and this has been going on since 1997. Ran into this quote from Roger Bacon (1214-1292) -- it is Bacon who developed the Scientific Method.
Neither the voice of authority nor the weight of reason and argument are as significant as experiments from which come peace to the mind.
--Roger Bacon
About sums it up...

Light posting today

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It is just too nice out to be indoors. Working in the garden.

Amazing battery resource

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Just ran into this website. If you work with Lead Acid car batteries or any other kind of wet rechargeable deep cycle or vehicle battery, check out BatteryFAQ. This puppy is deep!

Happy Independence Day

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Lulu had a cousin of hers (and cousin's boyfriend) visit for the day -- did a tip roast from our cow with very garlicky mashed baby red potatoes and grilled asparagus. A good time was had by all. The cousin and boyfriend had gone steady in high-school and then drifted apart -- they reunited three years ago after 30 years. Very cool story and neat people! Hanging out at home -- sunny day for a change -- thawing out some ground beef for burgers and then heading up the road to Glacier for their fireworks show. The businesses in Glacier put out collection bottles and the people organizing the event go to the Tribal fireworks stands, spend the money and put on quite the nice show. I was there last year and had a fun time. It is staged on the lawn behind a tavern so you can go in and get a pint, come out and watch the show. Lots of families and kids too -- very much a community event.
From Ars Technica:
Top EU court upholds right to resell downloaded software
The European Court of Justice has ruled that customers have a right to resell software they purchase regardless of whether the software was originally distributed on a physical medium or downloaded over the Internet. The ruling is a defeat for Oracle, which had argued that the court should uphold provisions in its license agreement prohibiting such transfers.

Software vendors have long argued that software is "licensed, not sold." This claim is in tension with the doctrine of copyright exhaustion (called the first sale doctrine in the United States), which holds that copyright law does not give rightsholders control over used copies of their work. And the principle has gotten even more murky as software is increasingly distributed directly over digital networks, meaning that there's no physical copy of the work to resell.

Oracle distributes its software online. Once a customer has signed a licensing agreement, they have an unlimited right to download copies of the database software from Oracle's website, and to install as many copies of the software as specified in the licensing agreement. A company called UsedSoft acted as a broker for used Oracle licenses, allowing Oracle customers who no longer need their licenses to resell them to another firm that could put them to better use.

Oracle sued UsedSoft, arguing that UsedSoft was merely facilitating piracy of its software. The database giant noted that its license agreements specifically state that licenses are nontransferable. And it argued that the exhaustion doctrine only applied to physical copies, like CDs or DVDs, not to copies downloaded from a website.

On Wednesday, the European Court of Justice, the EU's highest court, decisively rejected Oracle's arguments.
I can see a very big gray area if I were to purchase a license for Version 1.0 for $500 and then paid a $100 upgrade fee for Version 2.0 -- for that scenario, I should not be able to resell my 1.0 license as the price I paid for Version 2.0 was not a full purchase price, it depended on my already owning the product. If I purchased a license and then stopped using the software altogether and uninstalled it from my computer -- zero problem.
From The Washington Examiner:
AFL-CIO�s Trumka: Right uses �freedom� to dupe the public
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has a 4th of July-themed column in the Huffington Post musing on the word freedom and how it is interpreted by the Republican Party. His conclusion is that they use the word to con people.
Let�s call this right-wing �freedom� catch phrase what it really is: a grossly political strategy to dupe the public, which holds the word �freedom� as something sacred.
According to Trumka, giving people or groups complete discretion in how they conduct their affairs is a bad idea because they might make the wrong decision. That is, they might decide to do something that Trumka thinks is a bad idea, such as opting out of Social Security.
Big difference between wanting FREEDOM instead of FREE STUFF. And of course, Trumka opines on Scott Walker with predictable results:
Scott Walker received the National Rifle Association�s �Defender of Freedom� award recently. I guess they meant Gov. Walker is defending teachers� freedom from joining with coworkers to bargain fairly about things like class size.
That�s actually a fair definition of what Walker did. He gave the public sector workers the right, which they previously did not have, to opt out of paying union dues. Given the subsequent decline in union membership in the state, a lot of those workers apparently liked having that choice.
The link at subsequent decline goes to an article that states that Union membership has declined substantially. There are no verifiable numbers but the amount could be as small as 24% and as big as 50%. Choice is a good thing and the Unions are running scared... (Heh - I use the excellent ieSpell to spell-check my posts. It flagged Trumka and suggested Trauma -- sounds about right!)
A great post from GorTechie writing at The Gormogons:
Many of us here in the DC area are dealing with frustrating power outages. GorT lost power when the "derecho" storm hit late Friday night, regained power late the next evening only to lose it again Sunday afternoon (after partially restocking the refrigerator). We've lived in this general region of the county (2 different homes within 2 miles of each other) since 1997 and have experienced the breadth of power outages: ice storms, hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, and snowstorms/blizzards. The number of homes with generators has risen significantly in a direct response. It is unclear as to what the problems are when you listen to the Pepco (and other) spokespeople. Yes, they have hard working people focused on fixing the outages. Yes, they are bringing in outside help from far away. We, the customers, get all that and by no means do we mean to denigrate all that hard work that those folks are doing. Although, in the end, we're paying for it, so it is expected.

What I'd like to question is where is the state and local governments on this? Pepco (and others) are regulated companies by the Public Service Commission. As stated above, recent performance issues date back over a decade. GorT was without power for six days during the 2003 Hurricane Isabel, several days with various snowstorms over the last few years and we're heading into day 3 for this one with the expectation from Pepco being that we'll get it back on Friday, July 6th. If a severe thunderstorm can wreak this kind of havoc with a major power company serving the citizens around the nation's capital, something is amiss. If a PSC allows that performance to go unchecked for over 10 years, something else is amiss. We'll get back to them in a minute. The Washington Post had a solid report on the problems with Pepco almost two years ago.
Pepco has blamed the region's heavy tree cover for many of its performance problems. And there is no question that during major storms, falling limbs are a primary enemy.

But there is no independent ranking establishing the Washington region's tree cover as the "fourth most dense" in the nation, as the company has told regulators. Forestry experts estimated that the D.C. region's tree canopy is about average.

Further, in the few cities that Pepco says have a denser canopy than the District, the local electric companies have outperformed Pepco in daily reliability, The Post's review found.
So of course, the utility is asking for more money but not spending it wisely. The indented quote is from the above Washington Post article:
"We're going to be spending more money," said William M. Gausman, senior vice president for strategic initiatives for Pepco Holdings. "Ultimately, people will have to pay for these improvements."

So where are those improvements? There is a pending rate increase of about 4% (about $5.50 per month per customer) that would go into effect this month, if approved. This would be the second such rate increase in two years. Where is this money going? To the new "self-service" app? That's great, but given that it is largely a rehash of what they had on their website, they overpaid if they spent more than $50-100K on it. Hardly $50 Million. Now with a looming $68 Million increase pending, one has to wonder what benefits will be delivered. Furthermore, what have they been doing over the last decade that we're served by a company ranking at the bottom of their industry when compared to other public utilities in comparable cities.
At an August hearing, Gausman (Senior VP for Strategic Initiatives of Pepco Holdings, Inc) was asked why Pepco's reliability rated poorly. Gausman responded: "The largest amount of outages from a frequency standpoint are tree-related."

But Pepco's internal records show that in 2009 the company's workers identified equipment failures as the most common cause of outages, accounting for 44 percent. That was a 24-point increase over the previous year.
There were your shovel-ready jobs Obama: Go through and replace every pole transformer over 15 years old. Replace sections of line with more than five splices in it. Buy backup transformers and other equipment for substations and park them on site. Much much more -- the corporations running our power distribution system are loathe to spend money when the equipment is running. The problem here is that when there is the slightest excursion beyond normal operating parameters, there are multiple failures, the majority of which would not happen if the equipment was in a proper state of maintenance. I am glad that we have Puget Sound Electric -- very competent and proactive.

RIP - Andy Griffith

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People know him for his work on The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D but he was quite the accomplished actor and was in almost 70 different stage shows, movies and television shows. There is a nice biographical article (February 2008) from the Virginian-Pilot:
The real Andy Griffith lives among us, quietly
The placid, lapping waters of the Roanoke Sound are the first things Andy Griffith hears most mornings, as he looks toward the tiny peak of the Wright Memorial, across from his waterfront estate on Roanoke Island, N.C.
The Andy Griffith Museum has more:
From the Family of Andy Griffith:
Andy Griffith passed away, after an illness, during the early morning on July 3 at his home in Manteo, N.C., with his wife Cindi at his side. He was 86 years old.

Mr. Griffith has been laid to rest on his beloved Roanoke Island. His favorite causes were Outer Banks Conservationists and the Griffith Scholarship Fund at UNC-Chapel Hill.

From Cindi Griffith:
"Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord. He is the love of my life, my constant companion, my partner, and my best friend. I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take comfort and strength in God's Grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God."
He was always a class act.

Our Cold Civil War

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A wonderful turn of phrase -- from Borepatch:
The rules for the Cold Civil War
They're the same as the rules for the Cold War. Kevin brings a neat turn of phrase:
You see, there are three groups involved in this Cold Civil War: the political Left, which is heavily engaged; the political Right, which hasn't recognized it as a war for the soul of the nation, and (I would hazard to guess) the Tea Party people who finally have. This isn't a blanket statement, there are surely people on the political Left (the useful idiots) who don't understand what "fundamentally transforming" the nation really means. There are those few on the political Right who do understand what it is, and there are Tea Party members who are completely clueless other than understanding that something is very, very wrong.
I think his analogy is perfect. The Cold War - and make no mistake, a war it was; the graveyards a full of the casualties of that strange, twilight conflict - saw a similar mix: true revolutionaries, their fellow travelers, those who recognized the peril (Churchill, and later Reagan) and who were excoriated by all Right Thinking People� and the go-along-to-get-along types.

I first really payed attention to politics with Watergate. I was about the same age as #2 Son is now (16). I remember D�tente, and how the Other Side abused our flexibility. I remember the hysterical reaction to Reagan's we're going to win, and they're going to lose goal. I remember Carl Sagan pushing Nuclear Winter. I remember The Day After Tomorrow. I remember "smart" people making jokes about "Ronald Ray Gun" after the announcement of the Strategic Defense Initiative.
A bit more -- some solutions:
The rules of this new Cold Civil War are exactly the same as the old, unlamented Cold War:

Keep speaking the truth, which is that after taking away the pretty wrappings of the other side, they are about control, not about making anyone better off.

Keep speaking the truth, which is that after taking away the pretty wrappings of the other side, their "Intellectual Elite" is incompetent to a casual viewing and could not implement an actually intelligent policy if it bit them on the hind quarters.

Keep speaking the truth, which is that all these so-called "Smart" types are telling us to do is be more like Europe. Europe is a mess, with a collapsing economy and explicitly fascist political parties winning seats in legislatures.

Keep speaking the truth, which is that each person should be free to choose their own path, to pursue happiness in their own way. That an Ivy League degree doesn't give someone the moral authority to force someone else to obey.

Keep speaking the truth, which is that the other side's vision is hollow, and a disaster every place it has been tried. That they aren't smarter than elites in Europe, that they won't avoid the same mistakes that causes the UK's bumbling National Health Service to kill hundreds of thousands of people a year.

Keep speaking the truth, which is that we will wait them out, just like we did the Commies. The truth is that once the inevitable collapse comes, everyone will have agreed with us that this was inevitable.

Keep speaking the truth, which is that thirty years from now, their ideology which they hold so close will be a whisper of history, forgotten to all but obscure scholars, and interesting only as a footnote. There's nothing profound here.
So true! As for the last item:
Keep speaking the truth, which is that thirty years from now, their ideology which they hold so close will be a whisper of history, forgotten to all but obscure scholars, and interesting only as a footnote.
Thirty years? Hell -- it was evident in 2008. #1) - Here, #2) - Here and #3) - Here Hat tip to the great and terrible Czar of Muscovy writing at The Gormogons.

Driving them down

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Only 30 slugs in the garden and around the house. It is lightly raining so that will affect what I see on the ground but it is a definite (and wonderful) trend and well worth keeping up with -- a nice evening stroll, salt shaker in hand.

Our entitled society

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From CNS News:
8,733,461: Workers on Federal 'Disability' Exceed Population of New York City
A record of 8,733,461 workers took federal disability insurance payments in June 2012, according to the Social Security Administration. That was up from 8,707,185 in May.

It also exceeds the entire population of New York City, which according to the Census Bureau's latest estimate hit 8,244,910 in July 2011.

There has been a dramatic shrinkage in the United States over the past 20 years in the number of workers actually employed and earning paychecks per worker who is not employed and is taking federal disability insurance payments.

In June 1992, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 118,419,000 people employed in the United States, and, according to the Social Security Administration, there were 3,334,333 workers taking federal disability payments. That equaled about 1 person taking disability payments for each 35.5 people actually working.

When President Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, there were 142,187,000 people employed and 7,442,377 workers taking federal disability payments. That equaled about 1 person taking disability payments for each 19.1 people actually working.

In May of this year, there were 142,287,000 people employed, and 8,707,185 workers taking federal disability payments. That equaled 1 worker taking disability payments for each 16.3 people working.

The federal disability payments made to the record 8,733,461 workers in June averaged $1,111.42.
They don't actually come out with the number but we are looking at $9.7 Billion dollars. I do not begrudge support to anyone who is genuinely disabled but, people who are lazy, have no work ethic, etc... need to be dumped from the system. One in 16 is disgusting.

Heh - hoist with his own petard

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From The Volokh Conspiracy:
Group Turns in Broken Guns to �Gun Buyback� Program, Raises Money for NRA Youth Shooting Camp
The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
The city collected 5,500 guns last Saturday in the annual buyback. The city gave out $100 MasterCard gift cards for each gun and $10 cards for BB guns and replicas.

Sixty of the guns and several BB guns were turned in by the Champaign-based Guns Save Life [yielding $6,240]�. Most of the money will go toward buying ammunition for an NRA youth camp in Bloomington. The rest will pay for four bolt-action rifles that will be given away to campers.

�This was rusty, non-firing junk that we turned in,� Boch said. �We are redirecting funds from people who would work against the private ownership of firearms to help introduce the next generation to shooting safely and responsibly.�
A police spokeswoman disapproved: �We host the gun turn-in event on an annual basis to encourage residents to turn in their guns so we can take guns off the street and it�s unfortunate that this group is abusing a program intended to increase the safety of our communities[.]� I should think that using the money for lawful training � including important safety training � is hard to describe as �abuse.� And if the police department�s objection is that it wanted to pay $100 for valuable working weapons that were worth more than $100, rather than for rusty junk that is worth less than $100, I think the department needs a bit of economics training.
This is exactly what I meant yesterday when I wrote about throwing the progressive's tactics back at them. Excellent hack of the system! Post title? Here. (scroll down)

Bye bye bandsaw

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Found a buyer for my big 17" bandsaw. I don't do much woodworking any more and I already have a nice 14" dual-speed wood/metal unit. Get rid of SELL the table saw and I'll be good to go. The guy who bought it got a decent price -- he wants to make skateboards and needed the size to be able to resaw his own veneers. I had a couple blades that will be perfect for the job. Next up, my mixing board and tablesaw.

A rational look at local food

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From Grist Magazine:
Local haterade: Authors say locavores do more harm than good
Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu say they know what�s wrong with the food system: local food purists. In their new book, The Locavore�s Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet, the husband-and-wife team (a University of Toronto geography professor and an economist) argue that the excitement over this movement is misguided to the point of having �utterly disastrous� effects. �If widely adopted,� they write, �either voluntarily or through political mandates, locavorism can only result in higher costs and increased poverty, greater food insecurity, less food safety and much more significant environmental damage than is presently the case� [emphasis theirs].
An interesting observation:
Q. Was there anything that surprised you as you got deeper into the issues?

A. I was surprised by the number of local food movements I discovered in the past, but I was not surprised to see that they all failed. There was a local food movement in the British empire in the 1920s. And it turns out that even the British empire was not big enough to have a successful local food movement. The first world war cut Germany off from the rest of the world, so they had to revert to local food. And of course people starved there, and they had a few bad crops, and all the problems that long-distance trade had solved came back with a vengeance.
A fascinating look at a complex subject. The comments are worth reading too.
Gotta love those rectal probes. From the website: World UFO Day
World UFO day. The what, why, where and when?
It is time for the UFO scene to unite as one! This site is dedicated to the celebration of World UFO Day, which is being held the 2nd of July 2012. Let me start by explaining to you why it is so important that people celebrate World ufoday! Power is in numbers, and during this day we are collectively sending out a message to the world that there is more out there, and we are celebrating it.
What's that weird sound outside and why are the critters acting so spooky?

I want my summer!!!

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Completely overcast and temps in the high 50's. Light sprinkle. And then, there is this:
921 AM PDT MON JUL 2 2012



Looking forward to hitting the road in two weeks -- cross over the Cascade Mountains and get some sunlight... Working in the shop today -- got someone coming over to look at my Bandsaw this afternoon. Selling off a bunch of stuff.
Last night was a massacre -- got at least fifty slugs in the garden and after posting, walked around the house and got another ten or twenty. Didn't do any Slug salting this morning -- wanted to get down to the Farmer's Market. I didn't have a booth but wanted to make sure everyone set up in the area I had planned (best visibility from the highway and better parking) Had six vendors and customers and vendors were having a lot of fun. Just spent another twenty minutes walking through the garden and around the house and only found about 30-40 slugs total. Having an impact! I know there are a butt-load of egg cases just waiting to hatch so I will need to be diligent but still, a few minutes of prevention each evening before bed will go a long way to save my garden. I was talking with a neighbor who has a large produce garden and although they are doing OK, a friend of theirs had their garden totally destroyed -- what the bunnies left, the slugs finished off. A bad year for agriculture when you don't like to spray.

Very Grateful indeed!

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Four years is not a bad turnaround time for something of this scope... From the University of California at Santa Cruz -- April 24, 2008:
Grateful Dead donates archives to UC Santa Cruz
The Grateful Dead announced today that the band will donate its archives to the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Band members Bob Weir and Mickey Hart made the announcement this morning at a press conference held in the poster room of San Francisco's historic Fillmore Auditorium.

Documenting the history of the band from 1965 to the present, The Grateful Dead Archive will reside in the University Library's Special Collections at UC Santa Cruz. The focal point of the collection will be a dedicated room named "Dead Central," where both academic researchers and the general public will have access to the archive.
From the University of California at Santa Cruz -- September 29, 2009:
UC Santa Cruz receives $615,000 grant to digitize Grateful Dead Archive
UC Santa Cruz has received a major grant to help digitize the Grateful Dead Archive at the University Library.

The campus was awarded a National Leadership Grant of $615,175 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)--the primary source of federal funds for the nation's museums and libraries.

The grant will enable the UCSC Library to digitize materials from its Grateful Dead Archive and make them available in a unique and cutting-edge web site titled, "The Virtual Terrapin Station."
From the University of California at Santa Cruz -- last Friday:
Grateful Dead Archive
UC Santa Cruz will celebrate the public opening of the Grateful Dead Archive on Friday, June 29, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at McHenry Library
The Archive is available online at http://www.gdao.org/ Very cool!!!
From the UK Independent:
Protests as Japan restarts nuclear power plant
Dozens of demonstrators in Japan are protesting against the restarting of a nuclear power plant - the first to go back online since all reactors were shut down for safety checks following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Ohi nuclear plant's reactor number three is set to go online today despite a deep divide in public opinion. Protesters shouted and danced outside it.

Last month, prime minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered the restarts of reactors number three and nearby number four, saying living standards can not be maintained without nuclear energy.

All 50 of Japan's working reactors have been turned off. Last year's earthquake and tsunami sent the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant into multiple meltdowns, setting off the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Worries about a power crunch over the hot summer months have been growing.
And from Japan Times:
Temperature climbing in No. 4 reactor's pool after cooling system knocked out
The cooling system of the spent-fuel pool in reactor 4 at the Fukushima No. 1 plant automatically suspended operations Saturday and the water temperature is starting to rise, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

The utility has been unable to activate a backup cooling system for the pool since operations halted at around 6.25 a.m., and is looking into the causes, Tepco officials said later in the day.

The pool's water temperature stood at around 31 degrees Celsius when the cooling system ceased functioning and was increasing by 0.26 degree per hour late Saturday afternoon, according to the officials.

If Tepco remains unable to start up the system or its backup, the temperature could reach 65 degrees by Tuesday morning � the maximum limit specified by safety regulations.
Now you and I know that this is an inconvenience -- an engineering problem that needs to be taken care of. It is not an OMFG disaster. Unfortunately, when a common citizen sees the media narratives from the environmental pundits, this will be spun as a complete meltdown and a justification to dismantle every nuke plant on the island. 31 degrees Celsius is a balmy 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Their "worry point" is 150F and if the heating is linear, they will not reach that point for over ten days DERP! a little over five days (remember Dave, 24 hours in a day, not twelve) -- plenty of they have time to bring in the needed equipment to fix the problem if they do not dawdle. We (the Planet) need Nuclear Energy to power our civilization. I regret that the industry went with Uranium -- Thorium was looked at but because it doesn't go BOOM!, they decided on using Uranium which does. They looked at it as duplicating efforts.

The task ahead of us

Og at Neanderpundit doesn't post every day but when he does, it's excellent.

Todays is required reading for every Constitutional Conservative out there.

Not going to bother excerpting, just sit down and read:

Few things
are more startling when expecting one thing and being given another.

Across the street from the house I mostly grew up in, there was a little summer cottage owned by a lady who lived up in Argo. Her husband had died and left her a few dollars and she bought the house and property, a two bedroom cottage with a fireplace and a window air conditioner. Their name was Profit, she lived with her two almost-adult sons.

It was a bit odd, to have people come spend their summer vacations where we lived every day. It didn't seem- somehow right. But still, they were nice people. So much so that we went and visited them at their "Winter" home, and she made hamburgers.

Now, I loves me a hamburger. I love them fried, grilled, broiled, I love them on seeded buns with cheese or without and with condiments or by themselves. So having homemade burgers at the Profits was an adventure to which I had aspired for a couple weeks. And yes, I was drooling when she brought them to the table.

I took one off the platter and put it on the bun, and put on a generous squirt of Ketchup, and we said grace. And then I took a big bite.

And almost threw up.

It wasn't that it was bad; in fact, in retrospect, I'd probably LOVE to have one now, because of the way it was made. See, it was made like meatloaf.

I love Meatloaf. I love a meatloaf sammich, both hot and cold. And had I been expecting a meatloaf sammich, I probably would not have had so much difficulty eating that one. But i did. It took me a little longer, but I choked it down and never said a word.

See, I was expecting a hamburger. I had my mouth all ready for it. I was expecting a certain flavor, and when that meatloaf flavor hit my tongue it was like being offered sex with Zooey Deschanel and instead Maxine Waters shows up and gives me a handjob wearing a pair of scratchy burned charred oven mitts.

The left has won a lot of battles lately, big and small, and they are grinning like fools, believing themselves superior in every way.

It is our job to make sure they taste the meatloaf. It is our job to make them not get what they expect. And if you are not thinking about this every day, you are not doing your job.

Find a bunch of sick illegals and take them to a hospital, and do so as often as possible so the system becomes overloaded. Make your local bureaucracy a living hell to the people who work there. Don't let a moment of your day go by without thinking of a way to make them taste the sourness and hollowness of their victories. And remember it isn't you you're fighting for, it's for the generations yet to come who have not experienced the freedom you have experienced, a lot of which, as B says, is gone already.

Roll up your sleeves. Let's get it back. If we're not smart enough to annoy them into capitulating, we don't deserve the freedom.

Read Alinsky's Rules for Radicals and throw their tactics right back at them.

The list of 12 rules is here: Saul Alinsky's 12 Rules for Radicals. Why should the progressives have all the shiny toys...

Spanish for Straight -- Wikipedia has a nice entry:
A derecho is a widespread and long-lived, violent convectively induced straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms in the form of a squall line usually taking the form of a bow echo. Derechos blow in the direction of movement of their associated storms, similar to a gust front, except that the wind is sustained and generally increases in strength behind the "gust" front. A warm weather phenomenon, derechos occur mostly in summer, especially June and July in the Northern Hemisphere. They can occur at any time of the year and occur as frequently at night as in the daylight hours.
The usage has been around for a while:
Derecho comes from the Spanish word for "straight". The word was first used in the American Meteorological Journal in 1888 by Gustavus Detlef Hinrichs in a paper describing the phenomenon and based on a significant derecho event that crossed Iowa on 31 July 1877.
The storm that hit Chicago to Washington DC has been classified as a Derecho. It was a 600-mile straight track from Chicago onward. AccuWeather has some images -- that trampoline does not belong there. Hat tip to Firehand at Irons in the Fire for the link.

Happy 145th Canada

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Canada is celebrating its 145th Birthday today. We are about four miles from the Canadian border as the crow flies. Go up there every month or so -- Vancouver is a lot closer to drive than Seattle and the Ikea is only 45 minutes away. Their Costco carries different products than the Costco's in the US so it is fun to shop there. A lot of Canadians maintain vacation cabins down here -- from Vancouver to Abbotsford (directly North of here) is one large conurbation so land prices up there are pretty high. A great nation and I am happy to share a border with them!

Leap Second update

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Danish "time-nut" Poul-Henning Kamp spent some time yesterday capturing tweets and posts from frustrated system administrators dealing with the leap second issue. Check out 2012-06-30 Leap Second Heh -- not a good time to have your kernal unpatched...

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