September 2012 Archives

California is in the news (yet) again -- this time its dairies. From Breitbart:
Calif Dairies Going Broke Due to Feed, Milk Prices
In nearly six decades of running a dairy in central California, Mary Cameron made a name for herself in a male-dominated industry: She led several dairy organizations and was honored as Outstanding Dairy Producer of the Year.

But the 82-year-old Cameron -- who still drives a tractor and supervises her Hanford dairy -- is on the brink of losing her life's work. She can no longer pay the bills. Her bank has classified her loan as distressed. And she can't afford enough feed for her 900 milking cows and 1,000 heifers.

"I have been in this business for 57 years and I have never been in financial trouble like I am right now," said Cameron, who runs the Atsma-Cameron Dairy with her two sons. "I'm on the verge of bankruptcy. It's horrible and inexcusable."

Cameron is not alone. Across California, the nation's largest dairy state, dozens of dairy operators large and small have filed for bankruptcy in recent months and many teeter on the edge of insolvency. Others have sold their herds or sent them to slaughter and given up on the business.

Experts say California dairymen face a double whammy: exorbitant feed costs and lower milk prices. The Midwest drought has led to corn and soybean costs increasing by more than 50 percent this summer, stressing dairymen from Wisconsin and Minnesota to Missouri. But in California, milk prices have also lagged behind those in the rest of the nation, exacerbating the crisis.
Price fixing?
California has had its own milk pricing system for dairy since the 1930's, separate from that operated by the federal government in other states. The California Department of Food and Agriculture sets minimum prices that must be paid to farmers in the state for five classes of milk.

In recent years, California's prices tended to be lower than in other states. In 2011 and 2012, California's price for milk used to make cheese was frequently $2 or more lower per hundredweight of milk than in the rest of the nation.
What we are seeing is that the cheese-makers have better lobbyists in Sacramento than the Dairymen. Price fixing destroys markets -- we saw this with Jimmy Carter's gas lines and we are seeing it here with the milk. WA State doesn't do this crap and sure, our milk prices may be higher than California but we have open competition so the price is not exorbitant and the milk I buy comes from a five-generation dairy farm that I have visited and met with the owners. Jersey cattle too so it tastes really really good.

The great diaper shortage of 2012/2013

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No. Really. From the UK Telegraph:
Global nappy shortage fears after factory explosion
The blast, which killed a firefighter and injured 35 other emergency service workers, occurred after a fire caused by a chemical reaction broke out on Saturday afternoon at a plant operated by Nippon Shokubai Co. in the city of Himeji, close to Osaka in central Japan.

Nippon Shokubai controls the largest share of the world market for super-absorbent polymers, which is used in the production of nappies, and has been expanding its international sales network to keep up with demand.
A bit more:
Before it was destroyed, the Himeji plant produced 320,000 tons of the super-absorbent polymer, according to the Sankei newspaper, about 20 per cent of the global share.
Emphasis mine -- 20% loss to market? Price spike. Tip 'o the hat to Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man

Ouch - a bit of sewage with your water?

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Being President of our local Water Board, I have come to learn a lot about public water and sewage systems. Fascinating topic actually! I am glad I am not James Barber. From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
Sewage-dumping Rainier worker pleads guilty
A treatment plant operator accused of dumping 200,000 of raw sewage into a stream at Mount Rainier National Park has pleaded guilty.

Pleading guilty Friday to a misdemeanor charge, James Barber admitted he in August 2011 rerouted minimally treated sewage from a treatment plant near Paradise into the Nisqually River.

According to charging documents, Barber failed to conduct basic maintenance at the treatment plant, which serves an inn and visitors center.
And of course, Barber immediately notified authorities:
Writing the court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Diggs contended Barber�s �gross mismanagement� of the facility created the crisis. Diggs also claimed Barber attempted to hide his misdeed.

�James Barber did not notify anyone that he had bypassed the treatment plant, did not sample the bypassed waste, and did not record the bypass and discharge of the minimally treated sewage in the log books for the treatment plant,� Diggs told the court. �Instead, he left for several days off from work, informing none of his colleagues or supervisors about the bypass of waste.�
Talk about a classic CLM

Best hamburgers in Sacramento, CA

Ford's Real Hamburgers -- voted one of the best hamburgers in the Sacramento area. Closed because of ADA ruling -- it's a 60 year old building:
Landmark Calif. Burger Joint Forced to Shut Down Over ADA Lawsuit
A decades-old Sacramento, Calif. burger joint is shutting its doors for being out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act because the owner says he can�t afford to bring it up to code.

Ford�s Real Hamburgers has been slinging burgers, fries and shakes for years, but was hit hard in the recession. Now, KTXL-TV is reporting that a local attorney who makes his living filing ADA cases � many on his own behalf � is suing the restaurant � and Ford�s can�t keep up.

�We scrimped and saved and cut down the staff. I�m down to six employees,� owner Hank Vereschzagin told KTXL.

As the station noted, Ford�s is indeed out of ADA compliance: There isn�t enough room to roll into the bathroom in a wheelchair. But Vereschzagin said he just doesn�t have the money to fix the more than 60-year-old building.

�I don�t know. I don�t know what I�m going to do next,� he said. �I just know I can�t keep this open.�
The lawyer in question -- Scott Johnson -- is vile scumbag. Sure, I am very sorry that he was hit by a drunk driver in 1981 and landed in a wheelchair. But to do what he is doing now is pathetic -- it is a naked gaming of the system for personal profit with no thought for those poor people whose lives he is impacting. From the Sacramento, CA ABC affiliate news10:
Disabled attorney defends his 1,000+ ADA lawsuits
A quadriplegic attorney who has filed more than 1,000 federal lawsuits claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act says he's an agent of change. But his critics choose different words.

Scott Johnson, 47, was disabled by a hit and run drunk driver in 1981. For the past six years, Johnson has been on an ADA enforcement crusade that has potentially earned him millions of dollars. He operates out of his home in Carmichael with a team of legal assistants.

A News10 analysis of federal court records in the Eastern District of California indicated Johnson has been the plaintiff in at least 1,079 ADA lawsuits since 2003. Johnson said he hadn't kept count, but did not dispute the number. He said his average settlement with business owners has been between $4,000 and $6,000.
From the California Mountain Democrat:
ADA attorney forces out small business in Pollock
It�s not the first time a small business has closed due to pending litigation. In small communities all over California businesses, mostly in older buildings built before the 1990 passage of the Americans with Disability Act, are closing because they aren�t able to completely comply with it.

Pony Espresso at 6401 Pony Express Trail in Pollock Pines, is one of the newest to close its doors, unable to afford an attorney to fight a federal law.

�Our bathroom is not compliant,� said Jo Thurston, who with husband Harry has owned the business for five years. �When people with disabilities come here we accomodate them, but this is closing down a lot of mom-and-pop places, turning historical areas into corporate America. My husband is going to paint houses and I don�t know what I�m going to do yet.�

In December, a number of Pollock Pines businesses received letters from Carmichael-based ADA attorney Scott Johnson indicating a lawsuit filed against them for ADA non-compliance and offering to settle out of court for a sum of money, a practice described by many victims as legal extortion and by critics as unethical.

While the law is designed to give disabled full access to public and private businesses, it has also become a lucrative business for attorneys like Johnson, who has filed more than 1,079 ADA lawsuits since 1996.
And from Northern California's Sierra Sun:
Disabled lawyer Scott Johnson cranks out ADA lawsuits
Scott Johnson calls himself a crusader for the disabled. The hundreds of small businesses he routinely sues call him a legal extortionist.

Welcome to the rough and tumble world of providing access to the disabled. At the heart of the matter is the American with Disabilities Act, the controversial federal law requiring a minimum level of access in all public places.

Disabled advocates say since no government agency enforces the law, that task has fallen to private attorneys who file lawsuits to compel the noncompliant to provide equal access to all. Because of a quirk in California law, the state stands out as a magnet for disabled-access lawsuits and several lawyers have made a name for themselves as frequent filers.

Few, though, are as prolific as Johnson.

Since 2004, Johnson has filed more than 1,000 boiler plate lawsuits in Sacramento federal court, slightly tweaking the documents to fit the target: a restaurant 's service counter is too high or an apartment complex doesn't have enough disabled parking. Just last week, the Carmichael lawyer filed more than two dozen lawsuits, mostly aimed at apartment complexes.
Scott Johnson, I am sorry about your accident. I have known a number of good friends in wheelchairs and I wish I could make every one of them get up and walk again. That being said, you are one of the biggest assholes I have ever read about. You are a grifter -- benefiting from a societal construct while causing widespread grief, pain and harm. You are a worse hustler than Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. You have zero moral high-ground. You are fscking pathetic.

Interesting times ahead for Venezuela

They have an election coming up and there is a strong candidate running against Chavez.
From the UK Telegraph:

Venezuela's marathon man looks to run down Chavez
Soaked by rain and perspiration, Henrique Capriles retreated reluctantly inside his campaign bus as the horn-blowing, flag-waving convoy crept through the pot-holed streets of the slums of Maracaibo, Venezuela's second city.

A late evening tropical thunderstorm had finally forced him from his place atop a pick-up truck after a typical 12-hour day of rapturous rallies and rock-star receptions for the dashing 40-year-old opposition leader.

Undeterred by the downpour, the exuberant crowds outside chanted his name as firecrackers erupted in the pitch-darkness that is graphic testimony to the failure of the country with the world's largest oil reserves to deliver electricity to its own poor.

In Venezuela's presidential elections on Sunday, Mr Capriles faces one of the toughest challenges in global politics - defeating Hugo Chavez.

A bit more:

But despite its energy riches, the country is mired in debt and unemployment as state-imposed price and exchange rate controls shackle the economy. And violent crime is so endemic that Caracas has the unenviable ranking of the murder capital of the world.

Now, with the long-divided opposition united for the first time behind a charismatic state governor who is already a veteran of Venezuela's rough-and-tumble politics despite his youthful years, President Chavez is facing his most serious competition at the ballot box since he came to power in 1998.

Chavez is ruling by ideology, not intelligence. He handed out more and more free stuff to Venezuela's "poor" and didn't realize that this is a never-ending spiral path to bankruptcy -- something this current administration is blissfully unaware of.

A bit more -- Mr. Capriles' campaign promises:

On his first day in office, he said, he would halt the "gifts" of free or heavily-subsidized oil to Mr Chavez's left-wing ideological allies in Cuba and Nicaragua. Nor would there be any more discount deals to sympathetic Western leaders such as Ken Livingstone, a Chavez admirer who as London mayor negotiated cheap oil from Caracas for the capital's buses.

The cosy relationship with Iran would end, Mr Capriles added, and he would also review the land expropriations conducted under Mr Chavez's agrarian reform "fiasco" - including the seizure of estates from Britain's Vestey Group.

"We have so many problems here in Venezuela, but Chavez's priority is to create his own world revolution," he said.

"His land reform programme has been a disaster and he sends billions of dollars of oil abroad each year, but there are hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who have problems putting food on the table.

"For Chavez, that is not important. What matters to him is building what he calls his 21st century socialism."

Hear hear -- hope he wins by a landslide. Send a message.


Water Board meeting is tonight, not last Sunday -- DERP! Back in an hour or so.

The benefits downsides of Organic Farming

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I have apple trees on my farm and this season was a very bad year for scab (two long wet springs in a row). It seems that some organic orchards in Michigan are seeing an old "friend" come back with a vengeance. From the Entomological Society of America:
An Old Pest Reemerges in Organic Orchards
The apple flea weevil, a sporadic insect pest in the early 1900s, has reemerged as a severe pest in organic apple orchards in Michigan, where outbreak population levels have been observed since 2008, and damage has resulted in up to 90% losses for apple growers.

According to the authors of "The Reemergence of an Old Pest, Orchestes pallicornis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)," an open-access article appearing in the latest issue of the Journal of Integrated Pest Management, the weevil can be managed by broad-spectrum insecticides used in conventional agriculture, but there are currently no proven management options for use in organic production. And, as broad-spectrum materials are replaced by reduced-risk compounds, it is possible that the apple flea weevil will increasingly become an important pest in apple production.
90% losses -- that can kill a farm in one year. I made the conscious decision to not be organic just because of stuff like this. Organic farmers are allowed to use Rotenone because it is plant derived but it kills everything in its path -- fish and birds as well as bugs. The orchard chemists have sprays that are completely harmless to everything except for one specific bug -- it will interrupt the breeding cycle of one kind of moth. Much safer to use and better for the environment than most people realize. I appreciate the efforts these people are making for quality food (most organic farms tend to treat their crops a lot better than mechanically tended and harvested 'factory farms') but they are leaving themselves wide open for crap like this. It would be interesting to look at the history of pests for specific crops -- keep a watch for the resurgence of old foes...

A life well lived

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From the Boston Globe:
Troubled Michigan lottery winner found dead
Police say a Detroit-area woman who collected welfare benefits despite winning a $735,000 lottery prize has died of a possible drug overdose.

Ecorse police Sgt. Cornelius Herring confirmed that 25-year-old Amanda Clayton was found dead about 9 a.m. Saturday at a home in the community southwest of Detroit.

Relatives of Clayton did not immediately return a phone message for comment.

Clayton of Lincoln Park pleaded no contest to fraud in June and was sentenced to nine months� probation in July. Her attorney has said Clayton repaid about $5,500 in food aid and medical benefits.

Michigan�s Department of Human Services says Clayton didn�t inform the state about her pre-tax lottery windfall last year.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law in April requiring lottery officials to tell Human Services about new winners.
"troubled" - a leach on the system and totally unable to cope with success. Hell, if I won $735,000 I would certainly take a nice trip or something but I would also put a good 15% back into the local community and invest the rest.
Headed into town and working on a couple of fun projects at the farm. I had purchased a pneumatic ram from a local friend and am building that into a foot controlled punch press. Building a rolling stand and ordered a foot-controlled 4X (proportional control in both directions) air control pedal. Great for detail work. Recovering from Lulu's son's friends visit (an awesome party! -- great people) and spending the next two days mostly off-line. Still processing a dear friends death -- sometimes shit happens and there is not a damn thing you can do about it.
From CNBC:
Fed Virtually Funding the Entire US Deficit: Lindsey
The latest round of extraordinary Federal Reserve stimulus is risky and leaves little room to maneuver should another crisis hit, economist Lawrence Lindsey told CNBC�s �Squawk Box� on Wednesday.

Lindsey said that with the Fed purchasing at least $40 billion a month in mortgage debt through QE3, �they are buying the entire deficit.�

�I have no problem doing extraordinary things in extraordinary times,� said Lindsey, a former White House economic advisor under former president George W. Bush who now runs his own consulting firm.

Lindsay said he agreed with the Fed�s first two rounds of quantitative easing. Now, with the economy now growing closer to its trend rate, �doing something that�s really out of the ordinary is risking things.�

He added, �If this becomes the new ordinary, it�s hard to imagine the Fed�s maneuvering room� should another crisis hit.
I disagree with Lindsay on the necessity of the first two quantitative easings -- should never have done those. It would have been painful for some banksters but the overall banking and investment community would have emerged a lot leaner and smarter and more financially stable. Lindsey was a G.W.B. financial adviser and G.W. had his own share of spending problems. That being said, if the slightest merest hint of a bubble comes along now, we are in for a shitstorm of epic proportions. Bubbles like the second dip of the double-dip recession, even something as trivial as the education bubble could tip us over the edge. We never seem to see them coming so how can we really know what the next one will be...
From The Daily Caller:
Republicans: DHS �attempting to conceal information from the American people� about immigrant welfare policies
Four powerful Republican senators are demanding answers to questions they posited to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in early August regarding the apparent watering down of immigration regulations which prohibit those seeking residency or citizenship from being primarily reliant on welfare, or a public charge.

The Department of Homeland Security missed the Aug. 20 deadline and has yet to respond. Also addressed in the initial letter was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The State Department did respond, claiming that the majority of the inquiry fell under the purview of DHS.

In a letter sent to Napolitano Tuesday, and obtained by The Daily Caller, the ranking members of the Senate Finance, Agriculture, Budget, and Judiciary Committees �- Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions and Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley respectively � requested answers to their initial questions, specifically pertaining to why participation in a majority of welfare programs fails to disqualify immigrants who apply for admission or status adjustments.

�Your failure to respond to our oversight request is deeply troubling, and suggests that your Department is attempting to conceal information from the American people,� the senators wrote.

The four demanded that the Department offer all the data they requested back on Aug. 6 � an explanation about how the watered down approach fits congressional intent, the number of aliens denied admittance due to being a dependency risk, the number that became a public charge once admitted, the number admitted even though they were a dependency risk because the applicant offered an affidavit of support, and if the answers are unavailable, why the agencies do not track the data.

In their most recent letter, the senators also ask for the number of applications received each year.

A GOP senate staffer noted to TheDC that the information should be readily available and easy to provide.
Always amazes me that these people can operate their little scams successfully but as soon as someone asks to see some paperwork, there is great confusion and bad records keeping and the file system isn't in good shape. Call them on it -- bring this to light before November 6th.

Rats fleeing the sinking ship - California

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Shutdowns as companies move their production to less taxed states. From Sacramento television CBS affiliate:
Campbell Soup Shutting Down Sacramento Plant; 700 Jobs Being Cut
The Campbell Soup plant in Sacramento is closing as of July 2013 as the company says it is taking steps to "improve supply chain productivity," according to a company release.

Employees were told of the closure during a 6 a.m. meeting Thursday at the plant.

"We employ about 700 people at the Sacramento plant and unfortunately those jobs will be eliminated," said Campbell Soup Company spokesperson Anthony Sanzio. "This is a tough day for the company, for the employees. No one likes to do this."
A bit more:
Most of Sacramento's production of soup, sauces and beverages will be shifted to Campbell's three remaining thermal plants in North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.
Don't know about Ohio but I know that N. Carolina and Texas are very business friendly states. More:
Campbell does have several other facilities in California that will remain open. There are about 450 full-time and seasonal employees at its tomato processing plants in Dixon and Stockton. They also own Bolthouse Farms in Bakersfield.
Those facilities perforce have to be close to the source of supply. No other way around that. And the story is not over yet -- from the same station comes this report:
Comcast To Close 3 Northern California Call Centers; Shift 1,000 Jobs Out Of State
Comcast announced Tuesday it will close all three of its call centers in Northern California because of the high cost of doing business in the Golden State.

Comcast will close its call centers in Natomas, Livermore and Morgan Hill.

"Comcast arrived at this decision after thoughtfully and methodically studying the market and our potential options. We determined that the high cost of doing business in California makes it difficult to run cost-effective call centers in Northern California," said Andrew C. Johnson, Comcast regional vice president.

According to Comcast, 1,000 Comcast employees, including 300 in Natomas, will see their jobs shifted to the other centers. For employees who don't want to relocate, Comcast says they will be provided with severance benefits and outplacement assistance. They have until Oct. 1 to notify the company of their decision.
And of course, California will just jack up the taxes even more to compensate for the loss of revenue.

Cool tool

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The specs aren't great but for basic fooling around, this is a fantastic deal. Check out The Digilent Analog Discovery� design kit:
A Complete Analog Design Kit for the Price of a Textbook
The Digilent Analog Discovery� design kit, developed in conjunction with Analog Devices Inc., is the first in a new line of all-in-one analog design kits that will enable engineering students to quickly and easily experiment with advanced technologies and build and test real-world, functional analog design circuits anytime, anywhere - right on their PCs. For the price of a textbook, students can purchase a low-cost analog hardware development platform and components, with access to downloadable teaching materials, reference designs and lab projects to design and implement analog circuits as a supplement to their core engineering curriculum.

Engineering schools have traditionally had to build and maintain centralized teaching labs. These labs, with their specialized equipment and trained lab assistants, are expensive and hard to maintain. With the Analog Discovery design kit, we're helping schools build distributed labs - labs that can be found in dorm rooms, cafeterias, libraries - anywhere students want to work.
$199 to us civilians but $159 to schools and $99 to students. Combines Oscilloscope, Voltmeter, Logic Analyzer, Waveform Generator and Power Supply. Comes with free software (Windows).

Schweeet - computer an easy fix

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Bad monitor - screen still works (use a strong flashlight to check). Run home with a replacement and we are back up and running. Check the edge lights on the old unit and see what is bad -- replacements are cheap and the repair is pretty easy. Heading outside to shoot. Got some out-of-date cans of soda which make nice reactive targets.

Late start to the day

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Curtis' friends didn't get here until midnight and we were up until 4AM. As I said, one of them has a birthday today so I'm looking around the kitchen for stuff to make a Devil's Food Cake with Buttercream Frosting. Have to run into the store anyway -- got a call at 7AM that the office computer wasn't turning on. We had a power outage yesterday so thinking it is related to that. The hard drive is backed up with Carbonite and Acronis so everything is cool in that regard. Heading outside to check on the critters and run to the store.

Company at the farm

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Lulu's son is out for a week and two of his friends are coming over tonight for a few days of forging, firearms and feasting. Should be fun -- already met one of them and looking forward to the other.

Heh - Combat Flip Flops

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From their About page:
About Us
Combat Flip Flops was formed by two Army Rangers to grow sustainable, profitable economy in Afghanistan that is not related to war, drugs, or government contracting. Both Lee and Griff served several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq with the 75th Ranger Regiment between 2002 and 2005. During the deployments, they saw slow improvement in the local economy or security as a result of coalition efforts.

In 2009, Griff began traveling back to Afghanistan with Remote Medical International in order to help the Afghan military with medical supplies and training for the growing Afghan National Army. During the visit, it was apparent that business, not bullets make the difference. Within Kabul, there were a staggering amount of small businesses thriving, construction of multiple story office buildings, and enough construction equipment working to make any American contractor envious. The money pumped into the economy got Afghanis to put down their guns, learn a trade, and work to improve their local environment. Business, not bullets.

Combat Flip Flops are built in the same factory that makes boots to withstand the rigors of Afghanistan. We�re confident these flip flops will withstand the rigors your daily life. Combat Flip Flops makes high quality products that puts as many Afghans to work as possible.
We hope you like our flip flops, style, and approach to making a positive difference.
Very cool idea and they look really well made. Most of their product line is sold out through 2013 (nice to have that kind of demand) so it may be a couple months before I get a pair.

Heh - The Anger Room

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From their About page:
About Us
Anger Room LLC is a company started back in 2008, established to provide an alternative to seeing a �head doctor� or talking it out when you�re having a bad day. We believe that sometimes it�s better to just do what you feel and lash out when you need to! And what better place to do that without judgement, consequences or public humiliation than at an Anger Room location.

The Anger Room facility is a place where you can let your hair down, gear up and destroy real-life mocked rooms that simulate an actual workplace, living area or kitchen. Complete with dummies, mannequins, TVs, tables and many, many more breakable items. It might sound crazy at first, but we assure you once you�ve tried this method of stress relief, nothing else will compare! You may enter highly upset but when you leave the rest of your day will be lemonade compared to what could have happened if you didn�t give us a visit:)

So no matter what walk of life you�re from, profession, education level or etc. We all get angry, we�re human, so why not do everything you�ve dreamed of doing when you�re mad without paying the insane cost and severe consequences of your actions. Here you�re not crazy, just angry and we�re here to help;) So sign up and/or do some pre lashing out in our New blog room and prepare to come by and take a load off, you�ll be glad and better off that you did!
Dallas Texas but looking to expand.

Our addiction

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From Daniel Greenfield, writing at Sultan Knish:
Addicts in America
Some nights ago I sat in an emergency room while a 19-year-old heroin addict was brought in. It was after midnight, the witching hour, on a weekend when the zombies and ghosts of the city's party circuit begin drifting in dressed in their best clothes, escorted by police officers, clutching bloodied rags to their faces or lying on stretchers and always at their articulate best.

The girl came from a wealthy background and was articulate enough to hurriedly assemble her story. An addict since her teenage years, she had been clean for a while and never used anything but heroin, except occasionally cocaine. The drug use was just a single slip, one mistake, and then she would be clean again.

Anyone who hasn't worked with addicts doesn't know how charming and persuasive they can be. The addict is the distilled ego focused on a single burning need. All the cleverness and intelligence of the human being, the attributes that we would ordinarily use to work, create, befriend and empathize, become tools for protecting the addiction and the supply.

Addicts are intense because they are among the few people in this world who know exactly what they want. They can be charming, but their routines are mechanical. They retain only enough of their humanity to charm us into giving them more of what they want. It is their only reason for interacting with us. The addict is pure ego and the drug is the only focus of their ego. The addict needs so badly that he or she becomes an incarnation of need. Their humanity is slowly or rapidly burned away leaving behind nothing but the animal need, their outer characteristics consumed by their ego and then their ego consumed by the id.
Daniel then segues into politics:
While I sat there, trying to ignore the noises, the shrieks of pain, the pleas for help and the mumbles, the Republican Convention was beginning to recede. My fingers tapped out the essay on a 3'5 inch screen that would become, "How to Write About the Republican Convention." Ahead of me lay the Democratic Convention, the addicts convention, the festival of that corner of America that was not so slowly losing its soul.

I did not, I could not anticipate the full insane spectacle of it at the time. No one could have. But I sensed that it would sound a lot like the heroin addict in the bed, shrieking at her parents, changing emotional pitches in a moment from hysteria to sweetness, turning on the momentary charm with the nurses, innocently assuring the staff that she was not a user. And it did. It was a lunatic addict festival with designs by LSD and math by cocaine addicts fresh from Wall Street and social programs from potheads.

All that outrage over Mitt Romney's 47 percent hits home because we are all users. Some of that usage is more legitimate. Some of us are using money that we put in there as insurance and some of us are using money that we didn't. But that's not the real story. The real story is that our social safety net was supposed to be like one of those, "Take a Penny, Leave a Penny" tills that depend on the honor and neighborliness of a community. And we don't have that community. What we have is a fragmented mess of givers and takers who are not the same people.
Go and read the whole thing -- excellent stuff...

Our restless sun

Might be laying down for some slumber -- from New Scientist:
Solar maximum? Oh, you just missed it
Waiting for solar fireworks to reach a grand finale next year? Um, sorry, looks like you already missed them. Structures in the sun's corona indicate that the peak in our star's latest cycle of activity has been and gone, at least in its northern hemisphere.

The southern hemisphere, meanwhile, is on a sluggish rise to solar maximum and may not hit its peak until 2014.

This bizarre asymmetry strengthens a theory that has been bubbling among sun watchers for the past few years: our star is headed for hibernation. Having the sun's outbursts turned off for a while would provide a better baseline for studying how they influence Earth's climate.
A bit more:
Such a large asymmetry between hemispheres could be a sign of big changes ahead, says Steven Tobias, a mathematician at the University of Leeds, UK, who models what drives the sun's magnetic field. According to his models, such a situation precedes an extended quiet phase called a grand minimum. "Changes in symmetry are more indicative of going into a grand minimum than the strength of the cycle," he says.

Grand minima can last for decades. The previous one took place between 1645 and 1715, and has been linked to the little ice age in Europe. A new one might also cause localised cold periods. Climate scientists might see a silver lining to being plunged into a deep freeze: a grand minimum offers ideal conditions for testing the effects of solar variability on Earth's climate (see "Our star's subtle influence").
Subtle influence my big fat hairy ass -- the sun drives our climate and the IPCC models do not incorporate this simple fact. 1998 was the warmest year on record and we have been cooling off ever since.

Barry's big day - the Presidential schedule

From the White House:
9:30 am The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
10:15 am The President departs Joint Base Andrews
11:35 am The President arrives Bowling Green, Ohio
1:05 pm The President delivers remarks at a campaign event
2:35 pm The President departs Bowling Green, Ohio
3:15 pm The President arrives Kent, Ohio
5:40 pm The President delivers remarks at a campaign event
7:00 pm The President departs Kent, Ohio
8:10 pm The President arrives Joint Base Andrews
8:25 pm The President arrives the White House
An early start to his day -- briefing at 9:30 instead of the usual 10:30 or so. Long day on the campaign trail. Here is what President Ronald Reagan was doing 30 years ago today:
Sunday, September 26, 1982
A day at home. Camp David is better on a weekend. Our Marines were to have landed in Lebanon but now it will be Tues. It is Yom Kippur so the Israelis won't be out 'till Tues. but they have agreed to withdraw.

Yesterday we lost 2 officers in Lebanon. They were assigned to the U.N. observers. They and an Irish & Finnish officer were in a vehicle on road to Damascus. Hit a land mine, all dead.
Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma) is running for the Senate against Scott Brown (R-Ma). Brown discovered that Warren was practicing Law in Massachusetts without being licensed. She denied it. Now -- from Breitbart:
Elizabeth Warren Admits She Is Not Licensed to Practice Law in Massachusetts
Speaking to Boston's 96.9 FM radio program "Jim and Margery" on Monday, Democratic Senate challenger Elizabeth Warren admitted that she is not licensed to practice law in Massachusetts.

According to reports from listeners, she claimed that she does not maintain a law practice. She also "said that she gave up her New Jersey license because she could not keep up with the Continuing Education requirements," according to one listener who commented on Breitbart's Monday story, "Does Elizabeth Warren Have a Law License Problem?".

Ms. Warren's statement comes as a surprise to the many clients she's provided legal services to over the past decade, including the law firm of Simpson, Thacher, and Bartlett, which listed her as "of counsel" in the 2009 brief they submitted to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of their client, Travelers Insurance.
Fake indian. Fake lawyer. Don't let the door hit ya' where the good Lord split ya' BTW - the New Jersey Continuing Education requirements are trivial:
Since January 1, 2010, all lawyers holding a license to practice law in the State of New Jersey, whether plenary or limited, are required to participate in the mandatory continuing legal education program set forth in Rule 1:42, entitled �Continuing Legal Education.� It requires all attorneys who are licensed to practice in the State to take 24 hours of continuing legal education every two years, including at least four hours on topics related to ethics and/or professionalism.


A great read on an unusual subject -- from Collectors Weekly:
How Collecting Opium Antiques Turned Me Into an Opium Addict
You really have to work hard to get hooked on smoking opium. The Victorian-era form of the drug, known as chandu, is rare, and the people who know how to use it aren�t exactly forthcoming. But leave it to an obsessive antiques collector to figure out how to get to addicted to a 19th-century drug.

Recently, Steven Martin�no relation to the actor�came by the Collectors Weekly office and told me all about his harrowing journey from collecting to substance abuse. He started out collecting innocuous things; at first, it was seashells and stones, then it was currency and Asian antiques like textiles. Eventually the Navy veteran found his way to Bangkok, Thailand, where he worked as a journalist and travel writer, covering Southeast Asia.

There, he also discovered the beauty of antique opium pipes, bowls, and lamps, as well as opium trays and the hundreds of little implements that went with the ritual. Because opium smoking had been so thoroughly eradicated around the globe in the early 20th century, Martin realized very little had been written about these objects. After years of intense research, he produced the first opium-smoking antiques guide, The Art of Opium Antiques, in 2007.
The level of detail on these pieces is exquisite. A bit more:
Pipes are adorned with things like tortoiseshell and shagreen, not only to make them pretty but also to give them texture. All sorts of opium paraphernalia was made to excite the fingertips because it heightens the senses. On opium, touching things that are of a strange texture is actually enjoyable, so they designed paraphernalia with this in mind. When it comes to the decorative aspects, the ornate and intricate little designs would hold your attention so you could just get lost in them.
The Chinese went all out when it came to decorations on the lamps, the Vietnamese, too. In an opium den, your oil lamp is usually your only light source. All paraphernalia was made with lots of little facets and angles to reflect this lamp light. It all seems so magical. In fact, that�s the thing you really miss after you�ve quit smoking�the damn lamp, it�s just so beautiful. When you�re in a dim, quiet room curled up around your lamp, it just makes all your problems go away.
I had hip replacement surgery in 2008 and they gave me opiates for pain relief for the first two days. I remember waking up the second evening with a most amazing dream. The blanket had a very rough texture and I had been fingering it and dreaming a Hieronymus Bosch landscape (in a very good sense) -- a fantastic vision. Glad that I don't have an addictive personality as I would be very much into this stuff...

(cough) 'Scuse me Mr. President

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From Breitbart:
Former Navy SEALs to Obama: 'We Are Not Bumps in the Road'
Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty were providing security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya when it was attacked on 9/11. They were both hailed in the aftermath of the attacks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both had gone into private security after retiring from the Navy after distinguished careers.

Former SEAL and current Montana State Senator Ryan Zinke issued the following statement:
The President refuses to admit that his policy of appeasement and apology has failed. The murder of our Ambassador and two former Navy SEALs is more than a "bump in the road," it is a global catastrophe where America is seen as being weak and vulnerable by our enemies. This President has failed to establish a red line for Iran's nuclear ambitions and has failed to recognize the scale and implications of the attacks against us. Reagan had it right: don't negotiate with terrorists and recognize the clear and present danger of not being willing to act or lead from the front.
Zinke has been a frequent critic of President Obama's foreign policy, and started a super PAC, Special Operations for America, that has released ads to that effect, including an ad highlighting Obama's bows to foreign monarchs.

Beyond the political debate, however, Navy SEALs are also a close-knit brotherhood, and do not take kindly to disrespect when lives are lost. President Obama's "bumps in the road" comment is particularly chafing because of the credit he has taken for the success of the SEALs in the raid against Osama bin Laden.

They are heroes when they return, and heroes when they fall--not just when it is politically convenient for those in power.
Barry's handlers should have given him something else to say...

Yikes - quite the police scandal in Boston

From several sources. First, from Boston station WBZ:
Special Unit Formed To Sort Out State Drug Testing Lab Scandal
Massachusetts announced formation Thursday of a central office to sort through the tens of thousands of criminal cases that may have been compromised by the mishandling of drug evidence at a state lab, while also broadening the investigation to determine whether problems extended beyond a single chemist at the now-shuttered lab.

Gov. Deval Patrick named David Meier, a defense attorney and former prosecutor, to head the office, which will act as a �clearinghouse� for information while attempting to connect specific cases to drug samples tested by the chemist, Annie Dookhan, over a nine-year period at the lab. The state Department of Public Health formerly operated the lab.

Patrick also said he has asked Attorney General Martha Coakley to conduct a separate review to determine if any problems identified at the lab could have affected the reliability of drug testing in cases other than those handled by Dookhan, who resigned in March.
From the Boston Globe:
A forensic chemist might be expected to test about 2,500 samples in a given year, according to Garth Glassburg, a core member of the Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs, a group of international scientists and investigators that recommends minimum standards for forensic examinations. But state officials have indicated that Dookhan handled more than 60,000 cases over the course of her 9-year career, almost three times what might be expected.

�That�s a robust number,�� said Glassburg, who heads the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory. He stressed, however, that statistics depend on context. Testing for heroin and cocaine, for example, is pretty straightforward. Anabolic drugs and those in capsule form, he said, are more labor intensive.

The potential for miscarriages of justice in these cases is enormous. Just how big won�t be known until prosecutors and defense attorneys can sort through all of Dookhan�s cases to determine if the alleged mishandling of drug samples led to wrongful convictions or incarcerations. Governor Patrick has shut down the lab. Its duties have been transferred from the Department of Public Health to the State Police. But the depth of incompetence and malfeasance at the shuttered lab is still unknown.
A bit more:
One of the most disturbing elements of this case is the roughly eight months that passed between June 2011, when a supervisor discovered that Dookhan was likely tampering with evidence and logbooks, and the first indication to the Norfolk district attorney that his drug cases might be tainted. It took even longer for prosecutors in other counties to learn of the problem. Much of the time lag falls on the shoulders of lab directors and supervisors. One has resigned and another has been terminated. But the reputation of John Auerbach, the state commissioner of Public Health, has been badly soiled by this mess, as well. He wasn�t informed of the problem for six months, according to state officials. But he also failed to come forward quickly. It�s hard to imagine that Auerbach will continue on the job much longer. Regardless, he owes the public an explanation.
And from the Dorchester, MA Reporter:
�Rogue� chemist dealt with 1,141 imprisoned felons
The chemist at the center of a massive evidence tainting scandal at a state lab handled drug samples for 1,141 felons currently serving time in a state prison, jail or county house of correction, according the attorney leading the probe.
Lawyers are going to have a field day. I bet that many are already blocking out time on their calenders. This is going to be very expensive for a state that doesn't have much money (being a poster child for the tax and spend economic model).

Back from CERT training

Got a couple hundred page manual to work through in the next nine weeks. Next week we meet at a Bellingham Fire district hall and get to play with fire! Surf for a bit and then to bed.

Oops - a little matter of legal jurisdiction

Elizabeth Warren claimed to be part Indian despite not being registered with any tribe. She did this to get minority status when she applied to teach Law at Harvard University. It seems she has run afoul of the law. From Legal Insurrection:
Elizabeth Warren�s law license problem
The debate last Thursday night between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren covered ground mostly known to voters.

But there was one subject most people watching probably did not know about, Elizabeth Warren�s private legal representation of The Travelers Insurance Company in an asbestos-related case.

Warren attempted to deny her role, and referred to a Boston Globe article, but the Globe article supports Brown�s account. The Globe article indicated the representation was for a period of three years and Warren was paid $212,000. The case resulted in a Supreme Court victory for Travelers arising out of a bankruptcy case in New York.

Whatever the political implications of the exchange, Warren�s representation of Travelers raises another big potential problem for Warren.

Warren represented not just Travelers, but numerous other companies starting in the late 1990s working out of and using her Harvard Law School office in Cambridge, which she listed as her office of record on briefs filed with various courts. Warren, however, never has been licensed to practice law in Massachusetts.

As detailed below, there are at least two provisions of Massachusetts law Warren may have violated. First, on a regular and continuing basis she used her Cambridge office for the practice of law without being licensed in Massachusetts. Second, in addition to operating an office for the practice of law without being licensed in Massachusetts, Warren actually practiced law in Massachusetts without being licensed.
There is a lot more at the post -- she is running for the Senate, trying to upset Republican Scott Brown who won Ted Kennedy's old seat in a surprise election.

An issue of leadership -- Barry's schedule today

From the White House - Obama's schedule for today:
10:10 am The President delivers remarks to the UN General Assembly
12:10 pm The President delivers remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting
1:25 pm The President departs New York City en route Washington, DC
2:20 pm The President arrives Joint Base Andrews
2:35 pm The President arrives the White House
The guy is a lightweight -- he reads two speeches (this is what he is really good at) and then flies home. Here is what President Ronald Reagan did 30 years ago today:
Saturday September 25, 1982
A beautiful day. Did radio 5 min. from oval office then Nancy & I went to St. Dining room for a ceremony of candle lighting as part of big rally in behalf of prayer in school amendment on the Mall tonight.
Lunched on the Truman balcony.
A reception 6P.M. (400) donors to Ford Theater foundation. Then to the theater for a great benefit performance. Liza Minelli, Wayne Newton (sick could not attend) Ben Vareen & a host of others.
And this was a Saturday.

Long day today too

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Working on some stuff at home and then off to my CERT class -- I'll be getting back around 10PM or so. We are an extended community of several thousand households in a ten mile radius and we are served by two roads -- this can be a good thing if the shit hits the fan but a bad flood or landslide can cut us off from civilization. Good to have communication and resources in the community. A bunch of other people are CERT certified -- adding to their number...

An incredible quest with a simple question

A team is heading down to Antarctica to make a 2,000 mile transit in Winter. Never been done before and the team is incredible starting with Sir Ranulph Fiennes (climbed Everest at age 65). They are leaving December 6th. The simple question -- the Northern seasons are reversed from our antipodal friends -- it is fading into Winter up here but it is burgeoning into Spring down there. A minor nit but... Looks like an awesome adventure and it is a worthy challenge -- I will be following these intrepids.

That is going to leave a mark

When the Wall Street Journal tears Obama a new one, that is gonna hurt. From the Wall Street Journal:
The 10% President
A question raised by President Obama's immortal line on CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday�"I think that, you know, as President, I bear responsibility for everything, to some degree"�is what that degree really is. Maybe 70% or 80% of the buck stops with him? Or is it halfsies?

Nope. Now we know: It turns out the figure is 10%. The other 90% is somebody else's fault.

This revelation came when Steve Croft mentioned that the national debt has climbed 60% on the President's watch. "Well, first of all, Steve, I think it's important to understand the context here," Mr. Obama replied. Fair enough, so here's his context in full, with our own annotation and translation below:
"When I came into office, I inherited the biggest deficit in our history.1 And over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90% of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren't paid for,2 as a consequence of tax cuts that weren't paid for,3 a prescription drug plan that was not paid for,4 and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.5

"Now we took some emergency actions, but that accounts for about 10% of this increase in the deficit,6 and we have actually seen the federal government grow at a slower pace than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, substantially lower than the federal government grew under either Ronald Reagan or George Bush.7"
And the footnotes -- line item by line item:
Footnote No. 1: Either Mr. Obama inherited the largest deficit in American history or he won the 1944 election, but both can't be true. The biggest annual deficit the modern government has ever run was in 1943, equal to 30.3% of the economy, to mobilize for World War II. The next biggest years were the following two, at 22.7% and 21.5%, to win it.

The deficit in fiscal 2008 was a mere 3.2% of GDP. The deficit in fiscal 2009, which began on October 1, 2008 and ran through September 2009, soared to 10.1%, the highest since 1945.

Mr. Obama wants to blame all of that on his predecessor, and no doubt the recession that began in December 2007 reduced revenues and increased automatic spending "stabilizers" like jobless insurance. But Mr. Obama conveniently forgets a little event in February 2009 known as the "stimulus" that increased spending by a mere $830 billion above the normal baseline.

The recession ended in June 2009, but spending has still kept rising. The President has presided over four years in a row of deficits in excess of $1 trillion, and the spending baseline going forward into his second term is nearly $1.1 trillion more than in fiscal 2007.

Federal spending as a share of GDP will average 24.1% over his first term including 2013. Even if you throw out fiscal 2009 and blame that entirely on Mr. Bush, the Obama spending average will be 23.8% of GDP. That compares to a post-WWII average of a little under 20%. Spending under Mr. Bush averaged 20.1% including 2009, and 19.6% if that year is left out.
Six more at the site -- Obama is lying through his teeth.

Barry's schedule for today

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From the White House -- here is Barry's schedule for today:
10:45 am The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
12:15 pm The President and the Vice President meet for lunch
1:05 pm The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
1:20 pm The President departs Joint Base Andrews
2:15 pm The President arrives New York City
4:10 pm The President and the First Lady tape an appearance on �The View�
8:20 pm The President and the First Lady attend a reception for visiting Heads of State and Government
A nice leisurely morning, stroll in for the daily briefing and then hop on AF1 to NYC for a television program. He doesn't have time for Bibi Netanyahu but he has time for those morons on The View. A reception and then spend the night in NYC. Talk about grueling schedule. By reflection, here is Ronald Reagan's schedule for September 24th, 1982 -- thirty years ago to the day:
Finally an easy day. An N.S.C. Planning Group meeting. Subject—Latin America. It’s possible the Soviets will ship “Mig” fighter planes into Nicaragua. George S. Monday will let Gromyko know we’ll take very seriously any overt moves by them or their stooge Cuba toward any part of Latin Am. We have contingency plans leading all the way up to troop involvement if Cuba should send troops to stir the pot in Central Am.

Lunched outside the office on the porch in the sun then went over to the State Dining room to address & take Questions from the assembled editors & publishers of all the Trade magazines. Their 1st time in the W.H. since Truman.

Much of the rest of the day was taken up with seeing 5 of our Ambassadors off & receiving 6 incoming.

Then photos with some of our Sen. candidates & John Palmer & his wife Nancy (she’s with child). He’s leaving the W.H. to anchor the Today Show. Chris Wallace comes here.
Finally an easy day indeed. That is leadership -- what we have in the White House today is ideology and narcissism.

What's for lunch - not much

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Talk about meddling where you should not. Here is Ann Romney's first project. From Town Hall:
Complaints Mount Against Michelle Obama�s New Lunch Menu
In Wisconsin, high school athletes are complaining about not getting enough to eat each day, due to the skimpy new school lunch menu mandated by the United States Department of Agriculture and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Some more:
"I know a lot of my friends who are just drinking a jug of milk for their lunch. And they are not getting a proper meal," middle school student Samantha Gortmaker told

Despite the fact that the new regulations have increased the cost of a lunch 20 to 25 cents per plate, it�s not pleasing students.
Let's see -- costs more, kids are going hungry. Talk about win/win. Does Michelle ever go out and talk with real people -- talk about tone deaf.
Did the usual Monday buying run for the store and then went North to Ferndale and picked up a nice mint Yaesu FT-101ZD ham radio. I only have the technician license for now so I am pretty much limited to two meter but studying for my General and plan to take the exam this November. It is going to take me a couple weeks to get an antenna rigged up anyway. Figured out where my "Ham Shack" is going to be -- a small room off the garage that is now used for storage. The guy bought it brand new back in 1980 and is moving into smaller quarters and selling off some stuff. $175 for something that cost $1,700 30 years ago ($4K+ figuring for inflation). The only real difference between this unit and something current is a PC interface and control software and size (and weight -- about 40 pounds)

From The Blaze:

Fake Gold Bars Discovered at Store in Midtown Manhattan
In turbulent economic times, investors often turn to gold as an item of intrinsic value. Regardless of the state of the U.S. dollar, gold has proven to be a valuable commodity. It is a hedge against inflation, and protection in a worst-case scenario.

Which is why the discovery of tungsten-filled gold bars in Midtown Manhattan has troubled many.

MyFoxNY relates:
In jewelry stores on 47th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the important trust between merchants has been violated. A 10-ounce gold bar costing nearly $18,000 turned out to be a counterfeit.

The bar was filled with tungsten, which weighs nearly the same as gold but costs just over a dollar an ounce.

Ibrahim Fadl bought the bar from a merchant who has sold him real gold before. But he heard counterfeit gold bars were going around, so he drilled into several of his gold bars worth $100,000 and saw gray tungsten - not gold.

What makes it so devious is a real gold bar is purchased with the serial numbers and papers, then it is hollowed out, the gold is sold, the tungsten is put in, then the bar is closed up. That is a sophisticated operation.
Back in March, TheBlaze's Becket Adams reported on the discovery of Tungsten-filled gold bars turning up in the United Kingdom.

Contrary to what the news may indicate, it is apparently extremely rare to find Tungsten-filled gold bars being sold from reputable vendors. The recent uptick, MyFoxNY speculates, could indicate the involvement of an international crime ring.

I sincerely doubt that the ingot is being hollowed out -- this is five nines gold (99.999% pure) and it is about as strong as wet cardboard. My guess is more just a complete counterfeiting of the ingot including the serial numbers. Feast your eyes on this website: China Tungsten Online

How to Make Gold-plated Tungsten Alloy Bar?
Start with a tungsten alloy about 1/8-inch smaller in each dimension than the tungsten alloy golden bar you want, then cast a 1/16-inch layer of real pure gold all around it. This product would feel right in the hand, and tungsten alloy golden bar would have a dead ring when knocked as gold should. Gold-plated tungsten alloy bar would test right chemically, weigh exactly the right amount, and also pass an x-ray fluorescence scan, the 1/16" layer of pure gold being enough to stop the x-rays from reaching any tungsten.

The appliances of Chinatungsten gold-plated tungsten alloy bar and tungsten alloy golden bar as gold substitution.

Tungsten alloy golden bar and gold-plated tungsten bar could be regarded as the special present for some fields. If you are a broker in stock, manager in a big bank or insurance company, you can use Chinatungsten gold-plated tungsten alloy bar engraved with your company's name as souvenirs to your VIP customers. It is a very decent present without costing too much, and also could attract more customers for your business.

Gold-plated tungsten alloy bar is the best choice if you are a gold dealer and attend some trade fair or put your gold products in the showcase. In case your real gold being stolen, you can choose gold substitution, gold-plated tungsten alloy bar to reduce any possible loss.

We can offer tungsten alloy golden bar and gold-plated tungsten bar according to the different requirement, and also we can engrave as per your fond, such as your company logo, your name, some words, letters, etc.

Notice: Chinatungsten Online (Xiamen) Manu.&Sales Corp. is a very professional and serious company, specializing in manufacturing and selling tungsten related products for more than two decades. Our gold-plated tungsten alloy bar and tungsten alloy golden bar are only for souvenir and decoration purpose. We can provide all kinds of tungsten alloy golden bar as your requirements. Here we declare: Please do not use our gold-plated tungsten alloy bar and tungsten alloy golden bar for any illegal purpose.

Emphasis mine. Yeah... Riiigggght...

I know what I want for my Birthday

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Got one on Nov. 3rd -- my main present will be the sweet defeat of our pResident Mastermind a few days later. This would be schweet too -- from engaget:
Tarantino XX Blu-ray set brings 20 years of Quentin, eight movies and ten discs home November 20th
If you dig Quentin Tarantino flicks, an eight movie, 10-disc Blu-ray boxed set is on the way that will probably pique your interest. Lionsgate and Miramax are collaborating on the Tarantino XX set, which captures 20 years of the filmmaker's career and includes Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Kill Bill Vol. 2, Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds. Additionally, there's special collectible packaging and artwork, along with the press release and full list of specs) and the two extra discs are filled with five hours of all new bonus interviews, retrospectives and the like. It seems unlikely to answer the mystery of what was in Marcellus Wallace's briefcase, but it will be available November 20th with an MSRP of $119.99, although Amazon is currently listing it at $83.97.
Hell yeah!

Chickens coming home to roost - server farms

I knew it was bad but I did not realize just how bad. From The NY Times:
Power, Pollution and the Internet
Jeff Rothschild�s machines at Facebook had a problem he knew he had to solve immediately. They were about to melt.

The company had been packing a 40-by-60-foot rental space here with racks of computer servers that were needed to store and process information from members� accounts. The electricity pouring into the computers was overheating Ethernet sockets and other crucial components.

Thinking fast, Mr. Rothschild, the company�s engineering chief, took some employees on an expedition to buy every fan they could find � �We cleaned out all of the Walgreens in the area,� he said � to blast cool air at the equipment and prevent the Web site from going down.

That was in early 2006, when Facebook had a quaint 10 million or so users and the one main server site. Today, the information generated by nearly one billion people requires outsize versions of these facilities, called data centers, with rows and rows of servers spread over hundreds of thousands of square feet, and all with industrial cooling systems.

They are a mere fraction of the tens of thousands of data centers that now exist to support the overall explosion of digital information. Stupendous amounts of data are set in motion each day as, with an innocuous click or tap, people download movies on iTunes, check credit card balances through Visa�s Web site, send Yahoo e-mail with files attached, buy products on Amazon, post on Twitter or read newspapers online.
Some numbers:
Online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock, whatever the demand. As a result, data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid, The Times found.

To guard against a power failure, they further rely on banks of generators that emit diesel exhaust. The pollution from data centers has increasingly been cited by the authorities for violating clean air regulations, documents show. In Silicon Valley, many data centers appear on the state government�s Toxic Air Contaminant Inventory, a roster of the area�s top stationary diesel polluters.

Worldwide, the digital warehouses use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants, according to estimates industry experts compiled for The Times. Data centers in the United States account for one-quarter to one-third of that load, the estimates show.
The scope of it:
Nationwide, data centers used about 76 billion kilowatt-hours in 2010, or roughly 2 percent of all electricity used in the country that year, based on an analysis by Jonathan G. Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University who has been studying data center energy use for more than a decade. DatacenterDynamics, a London-based firm, derived similar figures.
Emphasis mine -- two percent is a huge number. That is spent to house our data and power our online world -- this blog is hosted at a DataCenter in Florida. I love the people that work there, awesome service but I have never met them, never seen their facility. And a lot of those servers are just running and not processing -- they are comatose:
A senior official at the data center already suspected that something was amiss. He had previously conducted his own informal survey, putting red stickers on servers he believed to be �comatose� � the term engineers use for servers that are plugged in and using energy even as their processors are doing little if any computational work.

�At the end of that process, what we found was our data center had a case of the measles,� said the official, Martin Stephens, during a Web seminar with Mr. Rowan. �There were so many red tags out there it was unbelievable.�

The Viridity tests backed up Mr. Stephens�s suspicions: in one sample of 333 servers monitored in 2010, more than half were found to be comatose. All told, nearly three-quarters of the servers in the sample were using less than 10 percent of their computational brainpower, on average, to process data.

The data center�s operator was not some seat-of-the-pants app developer or online gambling company, but LexisNexis, the database giant. And it was hardly unique.

In many facilities, servers are loaded with applications and left to run indefinitely, even after nearly all users have vanished or new versions of the same programs are running elsewhere.
My last job before moving up here was with an Engineering company -- 50 engineers and an incredibly fun place to work. I would still be there today if I had not moved up here. I got there and started taking inventory and looking at file duplication. It was a rats nest -- they had a CAD license server running for an older versions of CAD than what they were running now. The file system was rife with duplication and frequently, someone would make a change to a file and someone else would submit another copy of that file (sans change) and there would be confusion over which was the correct version. First six months was pretty busy to say the least... This is an interesting article -- longish (six pages) but a good read and something that all IT people should check out.

A new speed limit - unintended consequences

From Salt Lake City television station KSTU:
Freeway speed limit may increase to 80 mph in Utah
A study by the Utah Department of Transportation suggests raising the freeway speed limit from 75 to 80 miles per hour may be a good thing � at least on some stretches of interstate.

When the speed limit went up on four stretches of road between Nephi and Cedar City, accidents went down by 20 percent, according to the three-year study by UDOT.
And the thinking:
The findings were somewhat unexpected, but it appears drivers tend to comply to higher speed limits.

�Everyone naturally goes 75 to 80 miles an hour anyways. So it�s that comfortable speed limit as most people drive on the freeway,� said driver Kyle Taylor.
Makes perfect sense to me. On the trip to Rapid City this summer, we were routinely doing 80 along with everyone else. The big freeways invite that kind of speed. Of course, this is for daylight, dry pavement and perfect visibility.

Losing Imelda 's Shoes

A sad loss of history to the Philippines. From Huffington Post:
Imelda Marcos Shoe Collection Ruined Because Of Neglect
Termites, storms and neglect have damaged part of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos' legendary collection of shoes and other possessions left behind after she and her dictator husband were driven into U.S. exile by a 1986 popular revolt.

Hundreds of pieces of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos' clothing, including the formal native see-through barong shirts he wore during his two-decade rule, have also begun to gather mold and fray after being stored for years without protection at the presidential palace and later at Manila's National Museum, officials told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The Marcoses fled the Philippines at the climax of an army-backed "people power" revolt which became a harbinger of change in authoritarian regimes worldwide. Ferdinand Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989 and his widow and children returned home years later.

They left staggering amounts of personal belongings, clothes and art objects at the palace, including at least 1,220 pairs of Imelda Marcos' shoes.

More than 150 cartons of clothes, dress accessories and shoes of the Marcoses were transferred to the National Museum for safekeeping two years ago after termites, humidity and mold threatened the apparel at the riverside palace. They deteriorated further at the museum after the fragile boxes were abandoned in a padlocked hall that had no facilities to protect such relics and was inundated by tropical rains last month due to a gushing leak in the ceiling, museum officials said.

Museum staffers, who were not aware the boxes contained precious mementoes from the Marcoses, opened the hall on the fourth floor of the building after noticing water pouring out below the door. They were shocked to see Marcos' shoes and gowns when they opened the wet boxes, officials said.
Moved to the National Museum two years ago and the staffers didn't know what was in the cartons? Marcos was a dictator and a thief but his rule wasn't tyrannical. He was more of a Joe Biden or Harry Reid than a Mao or Che. The revolution let Corazon Aquino become the Democratic Powerhouse that she was.


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The last Sunday of this month is on the 30th, not the 23rd...


Once again, it is the last Sunday of the month and our Water Board meets. Meetings are pretty short -- I am the President for another year and try to stick to Robert's Rules when people start to get longwinded which is not often with the current board. Tossing a steak on the barbie with some grilled asparagus and a pot of rice for dinner.

Holy crap - that is fast!

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From the Science and Core Technology Laboratory Group at Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation. Take a two-hour HDTV movie and transmit it over a 52.4 km (32.5 mile) long 12-core optical fiber. Transmit the whole file in one second. Now transmit 4,999 other movies of the same file-size along with the first one. The article:
World Record One Petabit per Second Fiber Transmission over 50-km:
Equivalent to Sending 5,000 HDTV Videos per Second over a Single Fiber

NTT and three partners- Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, CEO: Hiroo Unoura), Fujikura Ltd. (Fujikura, Koto-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO Yoichi Nagahama), Hokkaido University (Sapporo, Hokkaido, President Hiroshi Saeki), and Technical University of Denmark (DTU, Lyngby, Denmark, President Anders Overgaard Bjarklev)-demonstrated ultra-large capacity transmission of 1 petabit (1000 terabit) per second over a 52.4 km length of 12-core (light paths) optical fiber.

The present achievement indicates that transmission of one petabit per second (Pbps), capacity equivalent to sending 5,000 HDTV videos of two hours in a single second is possible over 50 km, which is approximately the distance between medium-haul telecom offices. This sets a new world record throughput over a single strand of optical fiber.
Thinking about just the technology used to generate the test signal gives me a headache. It will take a year or so to get commercialized and rolled out but wow!

Fracking causes WHAT?¿?¿

From the New York Daily News:
Latest anti-drilling claims are so much laughing gas
In their desperation to block Gov. Cuomo from giving the okay for fracking in New York, die-hard opponents of the natural gas drilling technology are floating laugh-out-loud-funny health and environmental threats.

Most hilariously, the enviro-activists have demanded that state officials explore an alleged link between fracking and -- we kid you not -- syphilis.
How do these twinkies claim to have the high ground when they keep floating drivel like this. This is not science, this is grasping at straws Malthusianism. Their reasoning:
They argue that a drilling boom would draw an influx of male workers from other states who would engage in activities of a kind that would spread sexually transmitted diseases.

They also contend that a boom would trigger a housing crunch, adding to homelessness and the health ailments that go along with it.

And that increased truck traffic would not only lead to more road fatalities, but would also -- again, no kidding -- discourage people from getting the outdoor exercise they need to stay fit.
So there are not enough available workers in NY State already -- the industry would have to import diseased workers. They don't want an economic boom in their state? They want to keep housing builders, plumbers, electricians, etc. poor and unemployed? Truck traffic? One word - pipeline. Useful idiots -- all of them.

Helium in the news

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From the Beeb:
Helium shortage prompts scientist's balloon use warning
It is something guaranteed to catch the eye of most young children on a day out - a huge bunch of floating, brightly-coloured helium balloons for sale.

And for many people, a vital element in arranging a party is sitting down with a cylinder of helium to fill dozens of balloons with the lighter-than-air gas.

But according to one academic, such occasions may soon be a thing of the past.

Tom Welton, a professor of sustainable chemistry at Imperial College, London, believes that a global shortage of helium means it should be used more carefully.

Helium cools the large magnets inside MRI scanners - the medical devices that provide doctors with detailed images of what is happening inside their patients' bodies.

Prof Welton told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We're not going to run out of helium tomorrow - but on the 30 to 50 year timescale we will have serious problems of having to shut things down if we don't do something in the mean time."

He added: "The reason that we can do MRI is we have very large, very cold magnets - and the reason we can have those is we have helium cooling them down.
But a representative from the UK's Balloon Association offered the following:
But John Lee, the association's chairman insisted that the helium its members put into balloons, was not depriving the medical profession of the gas.

"The helium we use is not pure," he said. "It's recycled from the gas which is used in the medical industry, and mixed with air. We call it balloon gas rather than helium for that reason.
Helium comes as a byproduct of Natural Gas extraction. The US is the worlds primary provider. A fascinating element -- very spooky.

Our friends -- the Chinese

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It seems that they have leased some land in Afghanistan to put in a copper mine. Slight problem, that land has a ancient and huge monastery -- from CNN:
Ancient site needs saving not destroying
Please bear with me as I ask you to briefly use your imagination. Close your eyes. Imagine Machu Picchu at dawn cloaked in fog. Now imagine the fog slowly lifting to reveal an enormous ancient city perched on the edge of a mountain.

Picture a sense of mystery being immersed in thousands of years of history as you walk between antiquated hewn stone structures. There is tranquility in the wind-blown stillness of the primeval site. You feel a renewed sense of kinship with the past and with your ancestors and feel a deep reverence for their lives and accomplishments.

Now imagine the menacing sound of bulldozers closing in and men at work. Their heavy machinery rattles the ground. You hear workers rigging dynamite to these massive stone structures. There is a brief lull and then the deafening blow of multiple explosions as Machu Picchu is razed to the ground.

Be at ease, Machu Piccu is a UNESCO protected site. But a very similar 2,600-year-old Buddhist site in Logar province, Afghanistan isn't so lucky.

This site is called Mes Aynak and is nothing short of awe-inspiring: a massive walled-in Buddhist city featuring massive temples, monasteries, and thousands of Buddhist statues that managed to survive looters and the Taliban. Holding a key position on the Silk Road, Mes Aynak was also an international hub for traders and pilgrims from all over Asia.

Hundreds of fragile manuscripts detailing daily life at the site are still yet to be excavated. Beneath the Buddhist dwellings is an even older yet-unearthed Bronze age site indicated by several recent archaeological findings.

Mes Aynak is set for destruction at the end of December 2012. All of the temples, monasteries, statues as well as the Bronze age material will all be destroyed by a Chinese government-owned company called China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC). Six villages and the mountain range will also be destroyed to create a massive open-pit style copper mine.

In 2007, MCC outbid competitors with a $3 billion bid to lease the area for 30 years. MCC plans to extract over $100 billion worth of copper located directly beneath the Buddhist site. Ironically, the Buddhists were also mining for copper albeit in a more primitive fashion.

MCC says they weren't told about the archeology site's existence until after the contract was signed. Following significant international pressure and perhaps sensing an impending PR nightmare, MCC in 2009 gave archaeologists three years to attempt to excavate the site.

Archaeologists say they need at least 30 years to do the job but had no choice but to accept MCCs brief timetable. Specialists on site are working with extremely limited funding and the crudest of tools.
Where is the United Nations on this? Don't want to piss off China so they button up and keep on going. This is a key archaeological site and it should be preserved -- it is part of Afghanistan's link to the rest of the world.

Might be fun to snag a souvenir or two

From the U.S. General Services Administration Auction Site:

Attention GSA Auctions bidders and interested participants. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Space Shuttle Program has retired and NASA has partnered with GSA Auctions to sell the many shuttle related items through a series of auctions in 2012. All who are interested in participating in these sales and other sales of export controlled items are advised that they MUST be U.S. Citizens, any agents working on their behalf (removal after award) must also provide proof of citizenship, and removals must be scheduled at least 48 hours (normal duty days) in advance of pick-up with the NASA point of contact.

I wouldn't mind hanging a Canadarm off the side of my barn. Wave it at the tourons as they drive by...

Dealing with a pay-as-you-go cellphone

Also from Law Dog comes this hilarious way to deal with your pay-as-you-go cellphone when previous owners friends call their old number (your new one):

This isn't my first rodeo
When I first started seeing Herself, I didn't have a cell-phone. This situation became untenable, so I purchased one of those Pay-As-You-Go phones, and have been -- mostly -- happy ever since.

I find the no-contract thing to be a great relief, and for a little over a dollar a day I get unlimited phone calls and unlimited texts for a month.

Plus, I find that walking into a business, setting a couple of anonymous $20 bills on the counter, and receiving a code that I input into the phone for another months service -- no address required, no information exchanged, no credit card number handed over -- to be damned civilized.

Some more:

Say that you are a Purveyor of Recreational Pharmaceuticals. You get one of these phones, the heat gets too close, you dump it in a garbage bin. No muss, no fuss.

Unfortunately, the phone company doesn't know about the black-market side-business, so when you don't re-up the number after a certain amount of time they re-issue the number.

For example, one of the very first texts I received on my brand-new phone -- I wasn't even sure what a text was at the time -- went something like this:

Law Dog's solution?

So, I squinted at the manual until I understood how to call a number which had texted, did so, set the phone on the table, waited until the screen announced that the other party had picked up -- then I lit three Black Cat firecrackers and started begging for my life in tones most piteous.

Of course, after the three fireworks went off, I stopped begging. Out of courtesy, you understand. Might have dropped a chair next to the table, too, come to think. Then I dragged the phone off the table, snarled, "Get his [deleted] phone. We'll find every [deleted] [deleted] the thieving mother[deleted] sold my [deleted] to and take it out of their [deleted] skin!"

Law Dog owes me a new keyboard as I have mouthful of a nice 2009 Meritage sprayed all over mine. Much more at the site.

Quote of the day - police efficiency

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From the Law Dog Files:
The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
-- Sir Robert Peel
This was #9 of the Nine Peelian Principles -- eight more at the site along with some excellent suggestions for our current crop of police and governmental functionaries. Be sure to read the comments -- some good thoughts.

Fun with hippies

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We went to the first annual Whatcom SkillShare Faire. Lots of fun -- lightly attended, only about 100 people there, but lots of stuff to see and do. Planning to demonstrate there next year -- get my portable forge built this winter. Wide range of people from the shoeless hippies to people like Lulu and me.

Heh - the media

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Great numbers in a poll from Gallup:
U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High
Americans' distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004.
Tell me something I don't know...
From Pittsburgh, PA station KDKA:
U.S. Postal Service Hopes To Deliver More Junk Mail
Eighty-four billion pieces of junk mail were delivered to our doors last year � music to the ears of the U.S. Postal Service.

�We certainly have to fill in the void when it comes to revenue,� says the agency�s Tad Kelley.

There�s been a huge recession-related decline in the volume of first class mail. The postal service hasn�t relied directly on taxpayer dollars since the early 80′s.

Cutting costs only goes so far in easing serious budget deficits, so the USPS is looking to junk mail as a rescue remedy to add more revenues.
So we will have to spend more on waste disposal to compensate. If it wasn't for the Private Express Statutes we could privatize the Post Office and make it profitable. These statutes give a monopoly on the delivery of letters -- time for a repeal.
When some mastermind imposes a top-down statist ideology, the capitalists bolt. From Bloomberg:
Argentine Growth Halts as Fernandez Tightens Controls
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner�s efforts to stem capital outflows and extend her control over South America�s second-largest economy has brought growth to a standstill.

Gross domestic product was unchanged in the second quarter from a year earlier and shrank 0.8 percent from the first quarter, the national statistics agency reported today. Economists had forecast year-on-year growth of 0.5 percent, according to the median estimate of 10 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. This was the first time GDP hasn�t grown annually since a 0.3 percent contraction in the third quarter of 2009.

�The government�s policies have halted growth because they led to lack of confidence and of investments,� said Walter Molano, head of sovereign research for emerging markets at BCP Securities in Greenwich, Connecticut, an investment bank that focuses on developing nations. �Argentina could have easily continued growing 7 percent or 8 percent for years.�
Will these morons ever learn?

Nothing today - life sucks

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Frank was a good friend and a good person. Did some stuff today but spent most of it feeling very shell-shocked I had to run into town for a few things and drove past the tire marks where he jammed on the brakes.
RIP Frank Clark - he was over at the farm yesterday to borrow an earth auger. Motorcycle accident The only good news is that today was a glorious day to be riding and he had a 0.1 second WTF moment and then the release into the next world. I'll be calling Barb tomorrow to see if there is anything I can do.

Breitbart wants a tape

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A great offer -- from Breitbart:
Reward: $100,000 for Khalidi Tape
Breitbart News is doubling its reward--to $100,000--for one of the missing pieces of Barack Obama�s past, which may be the key to understanding his collapsing Middle East policy: the �Khalidi tape,� a video kept under wraps by the Los Angeles Times since April 2008.

The Khalidi tape shows Obama at a 2003 farewell party for radical Palestinian academic and activist Rashid Khalidi, and reportedly features vitriolic anti-Israel rhetoric.

Reporter Peter Wallsten--now with the Wall Street Journal--revealed the existence of the tape in an article on Obama�s pro-Palestinian background. Obama�s participation in the Khalidi event, Wallsten wrote, had led Palestinian-Americans to believe "that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say."

The article was not aimed at vetting Obama�s past; rather, the tape was likely shared with the Times as a means of pressuring Obama by reminding him of his past commitment to the Palestinian cause as he courted pro-Israel voters and donors.

Accordingly, Wallsten seems to have revealed only enough of what was on the video to achieve that aim. While noting that some speakers accused the Israeli government of terrorism and likened Jewish settlers to Osama bin Laden, Wallsten added that Obama "adopted a different tone...and called for finding common ground."

Wallsten refused to release the Khalidi tape itself, or a transcript thereof, for readers to examine and judge for themselves.

The ties between Obama and Khalidi are deep, going back to the days when Obama served on the board of the Woods Fund with former terrorist Bill Ayers, and provided funds for Khalidi�s Arab American Action Network.

The Obama and Khalidi families also developed close personal friendships, which--by Obama�s own admission--affected the way he approached the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East as a whole.

Notably, Obama's reluctance to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel could reflect Khalidi's influence.
That tape comes out and Obungler is toast. Silly season is ramping up niceley...
From the Bellingham Herald:
BevMo! Could be moving into Bellingham market
BevMo!, an alcoholic beverage specialty retailer, has applied for a state liquor license to open a store in the Bellingham market.

According to the application, the company wants to operate at 114 Stuart Road, in the retail center near Walmart that has United Furniture as a tenant.

BevMo! has 121 stores in California, Arizona and Washington and typically has a store size of 10,000 square feet. It has been busy opening stores in this state since the passage of Initiative 1183, recently opening in Silverdale and Tacoma, with plans to open in Tukwila on Friday, Sept. 28.
I have shopped at BevMo! (still have my membership card) in California. They got their start when California passed a law similar to WA State's Initiative 1183. They were a second-tier distributor that could not sell to the public. They just opened their warehouses, established a membership system and stood back. Very well run business. The location is right across the street from Wal*Mart and in the same business complex as Costco.

Fun with hippies

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Just found out that the first annual Whatcom Skillshare Faire is this Saturday near where we live. Looks like fun -- they need a blacksmith. I am building a portable forge setup so maybe I'll be there next year.

Some amazing photos

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A couple who spent six years living in a 25 acre wolf reserve in Idaho. He is a filmmaker so the images are gorgeous. Check out Living With Wolves Their Gallery Page I love the Northern breeds -- only problem is that they are basically untrainable. They will not mind. I had a Siberian Husky here when I moved up to the farm and she started killing my chickens. I spent six months working with her to get her to stop and whenever I was in the area, she was perfect but as soon as my attention was directed somewhere else, I would lose another bird. She now lives in five gorgeous chicken-free acres closer into town and is deeply loved by her adopted family.

Hope and Change in Iran

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From Bloomberg:
Iran Cleric Pummeled by �Badly Covered� Woman After Warning
An Iranian cleric said he was beaten by a woman in the northern province of Semnan after giving her a warning for being �badly covered,� the state-run Mehr news agency reported.

Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti said he encountered the woman in the street while on his way to the mosque in the town of Shahmirzad, and asked her to cover herself up, to which she replied �you, cover your eyes,� according to Mehr. The cleric repeated his warning, which he said prompted her to insult and push him.

�I fell on my back on the floor,� Beheshti said in the report. �I don�t know what happened after that, all I could feel was the kicks of this woman who was insulting me and attacking me.�
A bit more:
Beheshti said he was hospitalized for three days. The Iranian cleric said it was his religious duty to apply the principle of �commanding right and forbidding wrong,� and that he would continue to do so even after living through what he called �the worst day of my life.�
Heh -- little prick had it coming to him. When it erupts, it is going to be... shall we say... revolutionary.

Barry's busy day - more campaigning

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From the White House Schedule -- Barry has a very busy day today:
9:30 am The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
10:45 am The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
11:00 am The President departs Joint Base Andrews
1:20 pm The President arrives Miami, Florida
2:20 pm The President participates in a town hall hosted by Univision
5:25 pm The President departs Miami, Florida
6:20 pm The President arrives Tampa, Florida
6:50 pm The President delivers remarks at a campaign event -- Private Residence
9:05 pm The President departs Tampa, Florida
11:10 pm The President arrives Joint Base Andrews
11:25 pm The President arrives the White House
Poor Barry has to get up early today (Briefing is at 9:30 instead of the usual 10:30) and then it's off to Florida for a "town hall" and then off to a private campaign event. Back to the White House at 11:25PM. Grueling schedule...
From YNet News:
Iran atomic chief admits Tehran misled IAEA
Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency Fereydoun Abbasi said Thursday that Tehran "occasionally" gave the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "false information" to protect Iran's nuclear facilities.

In an interview with the London-based al-Hayat newspaper, Abbasi said, "There is no choice but to mislead other intelligence bodies. Sometimes we show weaknesses we don't have. Sometimes we show strengths we don't have. Later this is evident in talks with the IAEA."
A nuclear armed Iran -- that sure sends shivers of joy down my spine... And Israel destroys the facility in 8.. 7.. 6..

I wish they had one near me

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From Atlanta Georgia station WSBTV:
Gun club to allow alcohol sales
Kristina Brown and her husband own Lakeside Guns Shop in Acworth, but they are in the process of building a $3.5 million gun range called The Governor's Club in Powder Springs.

Brown told Channel 2's Dave Huddleston the club will be state of the art and have a lounge that serves alcohol.
And of course, there are the usual gun-fearing ninnies:
"I mean, that's just stupid," Traci Hart, a mother of three young children said.

She said her neighborhood is nice and quiet and they don't want the gun range.

"We don't need drunk people running around in and out of the neighborhood," Hart said.
It is a club that has a range -- you can go shooting and then have a nice meal (and adult beverage) after.
Brown sent Huddleston a statement that said, "Customers will have to order a drink with their identification card and once the card is accepted, and flagged, they cannot be checked back into the range that day." The statement went on to say, "Georgia Law allows persons with gun permits to bring their weapon into a restaurant that serves alcohol, we are taking it even a step further."
Fortunately, clear minds acted:
The Powder Springs City Council approved the alcohol permit Monday, passing 4-1.
Like I said, I wish there was one near me. Most ranges rent guns so I could try out various configurations before buying something. Some ranges even have full-auto "machine" guns -- I would love to fire a couple hundred rounds in one of those.
None of this pussified male crap here. Back in 1956, this was the Republican Party's Platform:
Republican Party Platform of 1956
Declaration of Faith
America's trust is in the merciful providence of God, in whose image every man is created ... the source of every man's dignity and freedom.

In this trust our Republic was founded. We give devoted homage to the Founding Fathers. They not only proclaimed that the freedom and rights of men came from the Creator and not from the State, but they provided safeguards to those freedoms.

Our Government was created by the people for all the people, and it must serve no less a purpose.

The Republican Party was formed 100 years ago to preserve the Nation's devotion to these ideals.

On its Centennial, the Republican Party again calls to the minds of all Americans the great truth first spoken by Abraham Lincoln: "The legitimate object of Government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities. But in all that people can individually do as well for themselves, Government ought not to interfere."

Our great President Dwight D. Eisenhower has counseled us further: "In all those things which deal with people, be liberal, be human. In all those things which deal with people's money, or their economy, or their form of government, be conservative."
The rest is awesome reading -- I could cherry-pick the highlights but go and read the entire thing. This is what politics started out as -- the Democratic Party too. If J.F.K. was running today, I would vote for him in a heartbeat. Our problem today is that the 'interest groups' have chipped away at our core values. It is Pander Bears all the way down... These were sincere and honest people trying to make the world a better place -- on both sides...

Discovery can be a bitch - Michael Mann

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Michael Mann is the Penn State researcher whose political hit piece 'research' came up with the hockey stick of global temperature over time that documents the incredible global warming we are now experiencing while simultaneously leaving out the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age -- historically documented events. Dr. Mann has filed a libel law suit to defend his professional reputation, and he now threatens to launch another. He has engaged as council the same lawyer who defended Joe Camel in a case filed by the Federal Trade Commission. From Forbes:
ClimateGate Star Michael Mann Courts Legal Disaster
The climate crisis parade�s leading drum major may have led his band down a dangerous legal road. Claiming exoneration by previous scientific conduct investigations, Dr. Michael Mann, of ClimateGate fame, subsequently filed a libel law suit to defend his professional reputation, and he now threatens to launch another. Many believe he got a free pass from perfunctory earlier hearings, and they welcome these new opportunities to have him face the music of serious inquiry.

The first law suit was filed against Canadian climate scientist Timothy Ball who humorously commented in an interview published by the Frontier Center for Public Policy, a Winnipeg think tank, that Penn State researcher Mann should, instead, be in the state pen. Then, when Mann threatened to sue National Review editor Rich Lowry for printing a post by Mark Steyn for calling the beleaguered scientist�s infamous �hockey stick� graph �fraudulent�, Lowry�s response was succinct��Get lost!�

Lowry said that he welcomes such a suit, and is willing to go to the mat and use the discovery process to unearth every last jot and tittle of deception by Mann and his partners in fraud. As reported in Investor�s Business Daily, Lowry went on to say that Mann�s �� going to go to great trouble and expense to embark on a losing cause that will expose more of his methods and maneuverings to the world�In short, he risks making an ass of himself. But that hasn�t stopped him before.�
About the hockey stick -- some more:
The hockey stick graph at the center of this dispute was based heavily upon data taken from trees on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. Created by Mann and his colleagues, it supposedly proved that air temperatures had been stable for 900 years until the 20th century, and then suddenly rocketed off the charts (attributing this to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions). That image was featured to support urgency of a cap on carbon dioxide through the Kyoto Protocol which was being pushed at the time by Al Gore and the United Nations. It prominently and repeatedly appeared in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

But there were some problems with that graph and the research behind it. Some very big problems. One was that the Medieval Warm Period which occurred between about AD 800 and 1100 along with the Little Ice Age (not a true Ice Age) which occurred between about AD 1350-1850 somehow turned up missing. And as for those Yamal tree samples, they came from only 12 specimens of 252 in the data set� while a larger data set of 34 trees from the same vicinity that weren�t used showed no dramatic recent warming, and warmer temperatures in the Middle Ages.
The article talks about the ClimateGate email leak and then goes on to talk about the ClimateGate II email leak last Fall:
Then, in November 2011, another raft of ClimateGate e-mails was released which revealed that certain researchers believed well-intentioned ideology trumped objective science. Some scientists candidly criticized Mann�s research competency and objectivity. John Mitchell of the U.K. Hadley Center�s Met Office rhetorically asked: �Is the PCA [principal components analysis] approach robust? Are the results statistically significant? It seems in the case of MBH [one of the key hockey stick articles authored by Mann, Raymond S. Bradley, and Malcolm K. Hughes] the answer in each is no.�

Even Raymond Bradley, Mann�s co-author for his hockey stick paper, took issue with another article jointly published by Mann and Jones, stating: �I�m sure you agree�The Mann/Jones GRL [Geophysical Research Letters] paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don�t want to be associated with that 2000 year reconstruction.� Rutgers University scientist G.H. Cook commented: �I am afraid that Mike [Mann] is defending something that increasingly cannot be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.�
Heh - Dr. Mann is about to discover what discovery really means and it will be wonderful to see -- Mann has not been open to requests for his source data. The research is Federally funded therefore us taxpayers have every right to all the results including raw data. Laying in a few pounds of popcorn for this one...

Obama and the Military

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An excellent observation from Wesley Pruden at The Washington Post:
A grim message for the generals
There�s a reason why Barack Obama is mistrusted in the ranks of the military services. He doesn�t smell of the hive, and it shows. Bees recognize a hostile intruder when they see one, and so do soldiers, sailors and Marines.

Many of these soldiers, sailors and Marines feel betrayed by the senior officers of the services, beginning with the commander in chief. The old customs and traditions that have held the services together through war and peace have been scorned and trashed, replaced with the politically correct attitudes and regulations that gag real men. Even saying so is a sure way for an officer to ruin a career. The men in the ranks understand this, too.

The Army's Center for Army Leadership at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., asked 16,800 commissioned and noncommissioned officers whether they think �the Army is headed in the right direction to prepare for the challenges of the next 10 years.� Their answers, as reported by, ought to be enough to scare a commander in chief straight. His defense chief, too. But it won�t, because they�re exactly the men responsible for the survey results.

Only 26 percent � 1 man in 4 � say they think the Army is on track to continue as the scourge of evildoers who yearn to do the republic ill. Nearly 40 percent say the service is headed in the wrong direction, and 36 percent say they don�t have an opinion (and no doubt if they did, they�re smart enough to keep it to themselves).
And Mr. Pruden is just warming up. A good read. Be sure to scroll through the comments -- a lot of confirmation and corroboration from some Brothers and Sisters in the service...
From FOX News:
Al Qaeda, ex-Gitmo detainee involved in consulate attack, intelligence sources say
Intelligence sources tell Fox News they are convinced the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was directly tied to Al Qaeda -- with a former Guantanamo detainee involved.

That revelation comes on the same day a top Obama administration official called last week's deadly assault a "terrorist attack" -- the first time the attack has been described that way by the administration after claims it had been a "spontaneous" act.
About that 'spontaneous' call:
However, his statement goes beyond White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, saying the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate was spontaneous. He is the first top administration official to call the strike an act of terrorism.
And the Gitmo connection:
Sufyan Ben Qumu is thought to have been involved and even may have led the attack, Fox News' intelligence sources said. Qumu, a Libyan, was released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2007 and transferred into Libyan custody on the condition he be kept in jail. His Guantanamo files also show he has ties to the financiers behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Our masterminds are so out of touch it isn't even funny. Do they even listen to their own intelligence people?
From Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge:
US Totalitarian State Wins After All: Obama Reinstates NDAA Military Detention Provision
Just over a week ago, we wrote of the challenge to Obama's NDAA totalitarian bill. Hope remained that Chris Hedges' view of the indefinite detention as "unforgivable, unconstitutional, and exceedingly dangerous" would bolster judgment. However, as Russia Today reports, a lone appeals judge bowed down to the Obama administration late Monday and reauthorized the White House's ability to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or due process. On Monday, the US Justice Department asked for an emergency stay on the previous Chris Hedges'-driven order, and hours later US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier agreed to intervene and place a hold on the injunction. The stay will remain in effect until at least September 28, when a three-judge appeals court panel is expected to begin addressing the issue. It would appear the total fascist takeover of Amerika is drawing nearer by the day.
Much more at the site including background and the news that the FBI, CIA, DHS, etc. do not like this one little bit...
From the Bellingham Herald:
DC quietly takes from workers' retirement plan
The District of Columbia government is taking a portion of workers' retirement contributions for "administrative expenses" without telling them, and part of the cut goes to the accounting firm of embattled businessman Jeffrey Thompson.

The company that runs the plan, ING, takes a small portion of the balance and returns it to the city - $212,000 in the most recent fiscal year. The money is supposed to cover the cost to the city of overseeing the plan.

Among the expenses paid from that amount is a fee to Washington-based Bazilio Cobb Associates for an annual audit. The accounting firm - formerly known as Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio and Associates, or TCBA - changed its name in July after Thompson, who's at the center of a wide-ranging federal probe of corruption in district government, left the firm and sold his ownership stake. Authorities raided the firm earlier this year in connection with the investigation.

None of that information is provided to workers when they agree to contribute part of their paychecks to the plan.
And now the coverup begins -- more:
Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi declined to comment, referring all questions to his spokesman, who said there was nothing illegal or unusual about the arrangement. Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, said the mayor's office had not been aware of the money taken from the plan before The Associated Press asked about it. He declined any further comment.

Federal prosecutors are investigating Thompson in connection with the suspected use of $650,000 in off-the-books funds to help elect Gray in 2010. Although Thompson has not been charged with a crime and is not identified by name in court documents, two people familiar with the probe said Thompson is the businessman who funded what federal prosecutors called a "shadow campaign" on Gray's behalf. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information.
Time to drain the swamp...
I had written before about the possible transfer of 8,844 acres of land from Washington State Department of Natural Resources to the Whatcom County Parks system. This is a hot topic and a meeting on this was very well attended. One of the key problems with this is that the Parks system is broke. Needed maintenance is being deferred, use passes are now required ($5/day, $30/year) and services are being limited (a nearby park's cafeteria was not opened this season). How can they accept this transfer without funds to administer it. From local radio station KGMI:
County Exec. Weighs In On Plans For New Park
A Whatcom County executive is weighing in on the county council�s plans for a massive park in the mountains above Lake Whatcom.

In a Monday memo, Jack Louws urges the council to develop a plan to manage the park before inking a deal to take control of the 7,800 acres of forest land from the state Department of Natural Resources.

In the memo, Louws says a business would develop a rough plan and create a budget before making a final decision, and he suggests the council do the same.

He says the council needs a clear picture of the true costs of running the park.
Yay!!! A voice of reason.

Heh - PIN analysis

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From DataGenetics:
PIN analysis
A good friend of mine, Ian, recently forwarded me an internet joke. The headline was something like:
�All credit card PIN numbers in the World leaked�

The body of the message simply said 0000 0001 0002 0003 0004
The author got 3.4 million PINs from data that had been hacked and released:
I was able to find almost 3.4 million four digit passwords. Every single one of the of the 10,000 combinations of digits from 0000 through to 9999 were represented in the dataset.

The most popular password is 1234 �
� it�s staggering how popular this password appears to be. Utterly staggering at the lack of imagination �
� nearly 11% of the 3.4 million passwords are 1234 !!!

The next most popular 4-digit PIN in use is 1111 with over 6% of passwords being this.

In third place is 0000 with almost 2%.

A staggering 26.83% of all passwords could be guessed by attempting these 20 combinations!

(Statistically, with 10,000 possible combination, if passwords were uniformly randomly distributed, we would expect the these twenty passwords to account for just 0.2% of the total, not the 26.83% encountered)

Looking more closely at the top few records, all the usual suspects are present 1111 2222 3333 � 9999 as well as 1212 and (snigger) 6969 .

It�s not a surprise to see patterns like 1122 and 1313 occurring high up in the list, nor 4321 or 1010 .

2001 makes an appearance at #19. 1984 follows not far behind in position #26, and James Bond fans may be interested to know 0007 is found between the two of them in position #23 (another variant 0070 follows not much further behind at #28).

The first �puzzling� password I encountered was 2580 in position #22. What is the significance of these digits? Why should so many people select this code to make it appear so high up the list?

Then I realized that 2580 is a straight down the middle of a telephone keypad!
Back when I had my computer store, it was an uphill battle to get people to use strong security for their passwords. Even something as simple as a collection of nonsense words (happyfoxlincoln123# for example) with a couple of numbers is a lot better than a spouses name or their car brand. 1234 is just plain stupid...

Lush life

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Obama's visit to New York city was quite the affair. From the London Daily Mail:
Speaking to the 47%: The $105,000 champagne tower featured at Obama fundraiser hosted by Jay-Z and Beyonce
President Barack Obama attended a fundraiser at Jay-Z's 40/40 Club in Manhattan that featured a champagne tower of 350 bottles worth $105,000 - more than twice the median household income of an American family.

The tower of $300-a-bottle Armand de Brignac Brut Gold, known as 'Ace of Spades' because of its label, is a permanent fixture at the club.

'It�s floor-to-ceiling gold bottles in the entire space,' a 40/40 representative told the New York Post. 'It�s beautiful�breathtaking. It�s the first thing you see when you walk in.'

The median income for an American family was $51,413 in 2011.
Out of touch...

Almost half on the teat

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Romney got flack for pointing out that 47% of Americans receive some form of government "assistance" He was wrong -- it's closer to 49% -- from The Washington Examiner:
It's worse than Romney said: 49% on federal aid, 49% pay no tax
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney underplayed the percentage of Americans receiving some federal aid in that new clandestine fundraising video that is giving liberals, the media and President Obama's team fits.

While Romney suggested that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on government aid of some sort, the number is actually slightly higher. Over 49 percent of Americans live in a household where somebody is dependent on federal assistance, according to federal statistics.

And the percentage of people who don't pay taxes is worse than Romney pegged at 47 percent. According to the Heritage Foundation, it's over 49 percent. This is from a report they just issued: "In 1962, the first year measured in the Index of Dependence on Government, the percentage of people who did not pay federal income taxes themselves and who were not claimed as dependents by someone who did pay federal income taxes stood at 23.7 percent; it fell to 12 percent by 1969 before beginning a ragged and ultimately steady increase. By 2000, the percentage was 34.1 percent; by 2009, it was 49.5 percent. In short, the country is now at a point where roughly one-half of 'taxpayers' do not pay federal income taxes, and where most of that same population receives generous federal benefits."
And the sheeple will keep voting for the politicians who promise them free cheese. Disgusting.

Barry's day today

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Here is Obummer's schedule for today:
12:00 am The President arrives Joint Base Andrews
12:15 am The President arrives the White House
10:30 am The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
11:30 am The President and the Vice President meet with Secretary of State Clinton
12:00 pm The President participates in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony
12:30 pm The President and the Vice President meet for lunch
Yet another grueling day. Fly into DC at midnight, 10:30 Presidential Daily Briefing, meet with Shrillary (who has been everywhere but the Middle East in the last few months), meet with a new ambassador (and we had one murdered just a week ago) lunch and that's it for the day.
From Nature:
'Tantalizing' hints of room-temperature superconductivity
Researchers in Germany have claimed a breakthrough: a material that can act as a superconductor � transmit electricity with zero resistance � at room temperature and above. Superconductors offer huge potential energy savings, but until now have worked only at temperatures of lower than about -110 �C.

Now, Pablo Esquinazi and his colleagues at the University of Leipzig report that flakes of humble graphite soaked in water seem to continue superconducting at temperatures of greater than 100 �C. Even Esquinazi admits that the claim �sounds like science fiction�, but the work has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials, and other physicists contacted by Nature say that the results, although tentative, merit further scrutiny.
Here is the abstract: Can Doping Graphite Trigger Room Temperature Superconductivity? Evidence for Granular High-Temperature Superconductivity in Water-Treated Graphite Powder Very cool (har har har) indeed. There remains a lot of work (and peer review) before this becomes mainstream. As with those people claiming over-unity devices, there may just be some stunningly bad lab work involved. It would be fantastic if this pans out though...
A perfect example of bureaucratic incompetence -- but I was just following the rules... From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Was spruce-up of Point Breeze lot a trespass?
The city-owned lot, neighbors say, was in deplorable shape, thick with weeds and trash. So when a business owner cleaned it up last month, spending more than $20,000 and removing, by his count, more than 40 tons of debris, Point Breeze residents went out of their way to pass 20th and Annin streets to see the changes.

"This was a lot of garbage," Elaine McGrath said as she took in the carefully tended plantings and wooden benches. "Now it's gorgeous. I'm excited."

But not everyone is happy with the alterations - namely, the lot's owner, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.

Paul D. Chrystie, director of communications at the Office of Housing and Community Development, said it's a simple matter of trespassing. In an email, he said: "Like any property owner, [the authority] does not permit unauthorized access to or alteration of its property. This is both on principle (no property owner knowingly allows trespassing) and to limit taxpayer liability."

Ori Feibush, the real-estate developer who cleaned the lot and whose coffee shop backs onto the now-controversial plot, said the authority is making a big deal about this because it doesn't like him or the properties he's developed in the neighborhood.

"They don't like nice things," he said. "For a private developer to create a garden, it's a question of who gets credit. To do it without their blessing, you're basically insulting them."
A bit more:
"They said we need to return it to the condition we found it in immediately," Feibush said.

That shocks McGrath, who has lived in the neighborhood for four years.

"They liked it filled with garbage and broken glass?" she asked. "I can't imagine why the city would be upset."
And the irony:
Here's what Feibush finds funny about the situation: In the past few years, he's received three citations from the city fining him for not removing the snow from the sidewalk in front of this lot. Last August, he received a citation for the trash on the lot.

But he doesn't own the lot. He never did. And now that he's cleaned the lot, he's been threatened with legal action.

"They've been bad stewards for so many years and suddenly it's the most critical lot in the world," he said. "I'm not looking for a thank-you, but I'm not looking for a big F.U."
The PRA's website is here: Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority They do show some properties on the corner of S 20th St & Annin St. that have a sale pending. There is no way to embed a link but if you go to their search page here and enter "1145 S 20Th St" into their Search bar you should bring up the property, note that there are two more adjacent properties and all of them show as Owned - Sale Pending so hopefully there is a happy ending to this story. Forty tons is a lot of crap to have to get rid of and the problem is that when the city let this start to accumulate, it served as a magnet for even more -- people wanting to get rid of their own crap would remember that abandoned city owned lot. A poorly managed bureaucracy, one that has been in existence since 1945 and would be a perfect candidate for outsourcing to a private company. Save Philly a lot of money...

May you live in interesting times

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Sobering news from Prepper Podcast:
More sniper ammunition being ordered by DHS. Who are the targets?
Surprise! The DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement have requested more ammunition.

However, it is the type of ammunition and not necessarily the quantity that is troubling.

First on the agenda is the .223 rifle ammunition. Just a measly 40 million rounds in the first year, and another 160 million rounds in the following four years. 200,00 million rounds in total. You know, just enough to make you cringe thinking that some government office that is not military has more ammunition than you do.

The .223 caliber round is a decent hunting round, but that is not the rounds to be concerned about.

The .308 rounds should have you a bit concerned. Quite a bit concerned.

Why the .308? Because the same folks at DHS think they need two types of .308 caliber rounds. Blank ammunition and 168 grain hollow point boat tail ammunition.

The blank ammunition will be spread to five different locations in the American south east and in Puerto Rico. The regular ammunition will be spread all over the US in a variety of places.

Blank ammunition? Why blank ammunition?

Well, as it turns out blank ammunition is fantastic for putting on a show. Blank ammunition is used in theatrics (hmmm?) but also is used to help teach new shooters to develop trigger and breathing control.

Nevertheless, have no fear; DHS only needs 25,000 rounds to develop good sniper skills.

Because, they have also ordered 176,000 rounds of the .308 caliber hollow point boat tail (HPBT) rounds.

Boat tail ammunition is incredibly accurate ammunition. From the legal opinion from the US Navy JAG in support of using hollow point ammunition:
[?]marksmanship training units have established unequivocally the superior accuracy of the M852 [M852 is the Sierra MatchKing 168-grain match grade boat tail, ogival spitzer tip bullet with an open tip]. Army tests noted a 36% improvement in accuracy with the M852 at 300 meters, and a 32% improvement at 600 yds; Marine Corps figures were twenty-eight percent accuracy improvement at 300 m, and 20% at 600yds. The National Guard determined that the M852 provided better bullet groups at 200 and 600 yards under all conditions than did the M118. [FNa1]
A good chunk of this ammo will be used at the range maintaining proficiency levels but. Do you feel more secure? Thought not...

Heh - I love it

When we were at the Blacksmithing conference in Rapid City, South Dakota this summer, we visited the nearby South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. They are one of the seven colleges in the US to have a full metallurgy program and are well funded both by government grants for pure research and private industry for targeted problem solving. On a tour, we were told that they had a very high employment for graduates. Little did I realize just how high... From Bloomberg:
Harvard Losing Out to South Dakota in Graduate Pay: Commodities
Harvard University�s graduates are earning less than those from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology after a decade-long commodity bull market created shortages of workers as well as minerals.

Those leaving the college of 2,300 students this year got paid a median salary of $56,700, according to PayScale Inc., which tracks employee compensation data from surveys (PDF). At Harvard, where tuition fees are almost four times higher, they got $54,100. Those scheduled to leave the campus in Rapid City, South Dakota, in May are already getting offers, at a time when about one in 10 recent U.S. college graduates is out of work.

�It doesn�t seem to be too hard to get a job in mining,� said Jaymie Trask, a 22-year-old chemical-engineering major who was offered a post paying more than $60,000 a year at Freeport- McMoRan (FCX) Copper & Gold Inc. �If you work hard in school for four or five years, you�re pretty much set.�
Some more:
As many as 78,000 additional U.S. workers will be needed by 2019 to replace retirees, the Society of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration said in a report in January. In Australia, the largest shipper of coal and iron ore, there will be a shortfall of 1,700 mine engineers, 3,000 geoscientists and 36,000 other workers in the five years ending in 2015, the report said.

Demand for mining-school graduates is exceptional in the U.S., where the unemployment rate for 20-to-24 year olds with Bachelor�s degrees was 11.8 percent in July. The jobless rate across the economy held above 8 percent for a 43rd month in August, government data show.

Universities trimmed courses in earth sciences, mineral geology and mine engineering when the industry contracted in the 1980s and 1990s, said Diana Stewart, the marketing director at Hampshire, U.K.-based, a message board that links recruiters and prospective workers worldwide. Shortages in mine engineering and project management are acute, she said.
Suck it up Ivy League -- people who work in real jobs rock this world!!!
From Investors Business Daily:
Regulatory Tsunami To Hit Business If Obama Wins Second Term
Last fall, President Obama decided to cancel a hugely expensive new EPA rule designed to cut smog levels across the country. Obama said he did so out of concern about the rule's impact on jobs.

It was just one of many costly regulations the Obama administration has put on hold or delayed in the run-up to the election, as the president tried to dispel the impression that he's anti-business.

"I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty," Obama said when he put the brakes on the smog standard, "particularly as our economy continues to recover."

But if Obama wins re-election, all these postponed rules, along with a host of other costly regulations, likely will hit the economic shores.

$515 Billion Drag Looms
Using official government sources, the National Federation of Independent Business calculates there are more than 4,000 federal rules in the pipeline, and that just the 13 biggest ones would, if imposed in an Obama second term, cost businesses a total of more than $515 billion over four years.

That tally doesn't include more than 100 still-to-be-written regulations needed to enforce the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, or the mountain of regulations required by ObamaCare. The health law has already resulted in thousands of pages of rules, including 18 pages simply to define what a "full-time employee" is.
This would do more to kill productivity than anything he has done already. Even if the regulation doesn't directly impact my business (a rural grocery store and rental units), it will affect my prices for food and power. It will affect the number of people I can hire and how much I can pay them. Only 48 more days until the election -- time to take our Country back again...

Comrade Che at the EPA

No really -- from John Fund writing at National Review:

Re-branding Guevara: Che the Butcher
The stern photo of revolutionary Che Guevara taken by Alberto Korda in 1960 is one of the most reproduced images on the planet, appearing on posters, flags, postcards, T-shirts, and even bikinis. Sadly, the ubiquitous appearances of Che - hailed today usually by his first name only - demonstrate the near-total failure to educate people about the blood-soaked cruelty he really represented.

But there are, thankfully, some limits to the use of Che's famous image - if people complain. A recent e-mail sent by the Environmental Protection Agency to mark Hispanic Heritage Month included Korda's image of Che along with the slogan "Hasta la victoria siempre," or "On to victory, always." After facing criticism, the EPA said the e-mail had been "drafted and sent by an individual employee, and without official clearance."

Nonetheless, it's unsettling to see Che's image appropriated by a government agency that has a notorious reputation for violating property rights and imposing arbitrary controls on growth. Just last March, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that an Idaho couple seeking to build on their land had their rights violated when the EPA imposed fines of $75,000 a day without giving the couple the ability to challenge its rulings.

Also this year, the EPA regional administrator Al Armendariz was forced to resign after he described his enforcement philosophy in a public speech: "Find people who are not complying with the law and you hit them as hard as you can and make examples of them." He compared the tactic to that used by ancient Roman soldiers: "The Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They'd go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they'd find the first five guys they saw, and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years."

This is a branch of the Government that needs to have its budget cut by 70% or more. Totally off the rails and damaging to the integrity of this Nation.

More stimulus - for China

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From The Washington Times:
Feds ignore rules and use stimulus cash to buy Chinese solar panels
Government officials blame unfair competition from China for the collapse of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, but such concerns didn�t stop the federal government from breaking stimulus program rules to use Chinese solar panels atop a federal building housing the offices of a senator, congressman and several agencies.

Even the contractor questioned whether Chinese-made panels could be used under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus program that mandated use of U.S.-made products. His query in early 2010 was dismissed and the General Services Administration moved forward with using the Chinese panels on the Sen. Paul Simon Federal Building in Carbondale, Ill., records show.
Why am I not surprised...

In bed together

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A perfect couple -- from The Daily Caller:
Emails reveal Justice Dept. regularly enlists Media Matters to spin press
Internal Department of Justice emails obtained by The Daily Caller show Attorney General Eric Holder�s communications staff has collaborated with the left-wing advocacy group Media Matters for America in an attempt to quell news stories about scandals plaguing Holder and America�s top law enforcement agency.
A bit more:
Emails sent in September and November 2010 show Schmaler working with Media Matters staffer Jeremy Holden on attacking news coverage of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation scandal.
At 9:50 a.m. on July 8, 2011, Media Matters� Matt Gertz wrote to Schmaler asking for her help �debunking what I think is a conservative media myth about Operation Fast and Furious.�
Much more at the site -- not surprising...


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From CNS News:
8,786,049: Yet Another Record for Americans Collecting Disability
The Social Security Administration has released new data revealing that 8,786,049 American workers are collecting federal disability insurance payments in September. That sets yet another record for the number of Americans on disability.

The 8,786,049 workers taking federal disability in September is a net increase of 18,108 from the 8,767,941 workers who took federal disability in August.

Over the past 45 years, the number of American workers taking federal disability payments has increased four-fold relative to the number actually working.

In August 1967, 74,767,000 Americans were working (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and 1,152,861 were taking federal disability insurance (according to the Social Security Administration). That means that at that time there were about 65 Americans working for each worker collecting disability.

In August 2012, 142,101,000 Americans were working and 8,767,941 were on disability--meaning there were only 16.2 people working for each person collecting disability.
One in 16 collecting disability. There are a couple of these people in my community. I call them alcoholics or drug users. To think that our tax dollars are supporting this lifestyle is pathetic. I have zero problem with supporting the truly disabled -- there should be a social safety net but it should not be a hammock for everyone who wants to opt out of the work force...

What is Barry doing today

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From the White House -- the President's Schedule:
10:15 am The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
1:10 pm The President welcomes WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx to the White House
1:45 pm The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
2:15 pm The President departs Joint Base Andrews en route New York City
3:10 pm The President arrives New York City
4:40 pm The President sits for an interview on the �Late Show with David Letterman�
7:40 pm The President delivers remarks at a campaign event
9:45 pm The President delivers remarks at a campaign event
11:05 pm The President departs New York City en route Joint Base Andrew
Sleep in a bit, Daily Briefing at 10:15, schmooze with some Basketball players, leisurely lunch, get on a plane to N.Y.C., hang out with Letterman and do two campaign stops. Talk about a brutal schedule -- meanwhile, in the real world, the Middle East is burning. Barry is fiddling.

Jerry Sandusky as written by Malcom Gladwell

A chilling read but a great insight into the mind of a child molester.

At The New Yorker-- Gladwell is a really good journalist:

In Plain View
In a 2001 book, 'Identifying Child Molesters,' the psychologist Carla van Dam tells the story of a young Canadian elementary-school teacher she calls Jeffrey Clay. Clay taught physical education. He was well liked by his students, and often he asked boys in his class to stay after school, to do homework and help him with chores. One day, just before winter break, three of the boys made a confession to their parents. Mr. Clay had touched them under their pants.

The parents went to the principal. He confronted Clay, who denied everything. The principal knew Clay and was convinced by him. In his mind, what it boiled down to, van Dam writes, "is some wild imaginations and the three boys being really close."

The parents were at a loss. Mr. Clay was beloved. He had started a popular gym club at the school. He was married and was a role model to the boys. He would come to their after-school games. Could he really have abused them? Perhaps he was just overly physical in the way that young men often are. He had a habit, for example, of grabbing boys in the hallway and pulling them toward him, placing his arms over their shoulders and chest. At the gym club, he would pick boys up and turn them upside down, holding them by the legs. Lots of people - especially gym teachers - like to engage in a little horseplay with young boys. It wasn't until the allegations about Clay emerged that it occurred to anyone to wonder whether he might have been trying to look down the boys' shorts.

A longish read but the take-away is: Sandusky, Rope, Tree

His appearance of careful management is just a careful management of appearances.

No wonder Paterno died when this crap started to hit the fan -- he knew full well and it killed him.


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A British agency is squatting on some very valuable property. Back when internet addressing was first being kicked around (RFC 791 in 1981), the IPv4 standard was developed -- this is the (in)famous dotted quad: kind of address that identifies each computer with a unique address. This ranges from to with 4.294 Billion unique addresses. In those heady days, we thought that we would never ever run out of IP Addresses. Guess what folks... So we now have the IPv6 which offers a gajillion (technical term here) more unique addresses but the problem is that IPv4 still handles the major majority of internet traffic and that is just not going to change. The interesting news today is that the British agency -- the UK Government Department for Work and Pensions is sitting on a /8 block -- 16.8 Million unique IP addresses just sitting there and not being used. From John Graham-Cumming:
The UK has an entire IPv4 /8 that it isn't using
If you take a look at the list of IPv4 allocated /8 blocks there's one interesting block in there: UK Government Department for Work and Pensions 1994-08 LEGACY
That block of addresses, all 16.8 million of them, is completely unused. A check of the ASN database will show that there are no networks for that block of addresses. Right when IPv4 is running out there's a huge block sitting unused.

That's an extremely valuable asset. One recent article valued an entire /8 at between "$500 million to $1.5 billion".

So, Mr. Cameron, I'll accept a 10% finder's fee if you dispose of this asset :-)
And should Mr. Cameron discover this bit of information by reading this post, my finders fee is only 0.01% -- works for me. The cruft on IPv4 numbering is like the Democratic Party Graveyard Voter Registration. There is a lot that could be cleared out.
Spot on perfect -- I love this woman.

Whoops - a bit of a local ethics problem

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From Northwest Public Radio comes this story:
Solar Power Advocate Likely Violated State Ethics Law
One of the Northwest�s leading solar power advocates likely used his state position to help a company he was working for get an unfair tax designation. That�s the conclusion of a state ethics board investigation released Friday.

In Northwest solar power circles, Mike Nelson is a bit of a celebrity. Now, the Washington Ethics Board has concluded that just before Nelson formally retired from Washington State University, two years ago, he took a job with a company called Silicon Energy. Then, according to a preliminary ethics finding, Nelson used his state position to help the company earn a coveted �made in Washington� designation for its solar inverter system. Last April, Nelson told me he�d recused himself from the process.
Austin Jenkins: �Did you play any role in the certification of this inverter as being made in Washington?�
Mike Nelson: �No.�
Austin Jenkins: �You completely recused yourself?�
Mike Nelson: �Ya.�
But the Ethics Board investigation found evidence to the contrary and could ultimately fine Nelson. He could not immediately be reached for comment. Silicon Energy later lost its �Made in Washington� certification when it was discovered that a key component was actually made in Italy.
Italy? Hell, at least it wasn't China...

Warp factor six Mr. Sulu

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May not be that unlikely -- from NBC News:
Scientists say warp drive may be more feasible than thought
A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel � a concept popularized in television's "Star Trek" � may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say.

A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, however subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.

Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially bringing the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.
A fun time to be alive -- more faster please!

Busy day for the pResident

From his schedule -- daily briefing and then two campaign stops:

9:10 am The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
9:45 am The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
10:00 am The President departs Joint Base Andrews en route Cincinnati, Ohio
11:30 am The President arrives Cincinnati, Ohio
12:25 pm The President delivers remarks at a campaign event
2:25 pm The President departs Cincinnati, Ohio en route Columbus, Ohio
3:00 pm The President arrives Columbus, Ohio
4:20 pm The President delivers remarks at a campaign event
5:10 pm The President attends a campaign event Columbus, Ohio, Schiller Park
6:40 pm The President departs Columbus, Ohio en route Joint Base Andrews
7:50 pm The President arrives Joint Base Andrews
8:05 pm The President arrives the White House

His regular attendance at the Presidential Daily Briefings are fun as he was recently criticized for only attending maybe 30% of these during the runup to the violence in the Middle East. It will be interesting to see how long he sticks to this schedule.

Must be awfully important to do those campaign stops -- the Middle East could really use some leadership right now.

Nothing tonight either

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Doing the buying run for the store tomorrow so an early bedtime. Sleeping close to ten hours/day as we shift into Fall and Winter -- always done this so it is not unusual but still, I miss the extra couple of hours in the day. Getting ready to put the 200 Amp service into the shop -- was planning to do this last year but blew the weather and it got very wet very early. Borrowing a back-hoe this week and have a commercial electrician lined up to install the panel and one outlet. I'll be doing the rest of the wiring in stages over this winter.

And down the rabbit hole we go - France

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Just what a European Nation needs -- a socalist President. Fresh from his 'election' here is what French President Francois Hollande is planning. From France 24/AFP:
France's Hollande outlines 'green' energy policy
President Francois Hollande Friday pledged to close France's oldest operational nuclear plant in 2016 and rejected seven proposals for shale gas exploration on health and environment concerns.

"The Fessenheim plant which is the oldest in our country, will be closed at the end of 2016 in conditions that will guarantee the supply needs of the region... and safeguard all jobs," he said at the start of a two-day energy conference.

France, the world's most nuclear-dependent country, operates 58 reactors and has been a leading international proponent of atomic energy.

But in a deal with the Greens before this year's parliamentary and presidential elections, Hollande's Socialist party promised to cut reliance on nuclear energy from more than 75 percent to 50 percent by shutting 24 reactors by 2025.
A bit more:
Hollande also said seven applications for permission for hydraulic drilling to explore shale gas had rejected by his government, although he did not specify which ones.

"In the current form, no one can say that gas and shale exploration through hydraulic drilling, the only technique known today, is not exempt from posing great health and environment risks," he said.

Hollande affirmed his commitment to developing renewable energy and pledged every year to improve the energy efficiency of one million homes that are badly insulated.

France plans to reach the 10-percent European Union target of renewable energy in fuel by boosting the use of second-generation biofuels, which are made from crop residues, waste, algae or woody material, according to the action plan.

The president also announced the creation of a national biodiversity agency as demanded by several green organisations.
Mr. Hollande is probably a very nice person but as long as he keeps caving in to the demands of the greens, he is not acting in the best interests of France. He needs to reach over into Valerie's purse, retrieve his balls and start saying Non from time to time.

A momentary lapse of reason

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Hell -- I would have been tempted too. From the Duluth, Minnesota News Tribune:
Minnesota sheriff's deputy, police officer under fire after drag racing their squad cars
Members of the Houston County Board are asking why a sheriff's deputy was not disciplined for drag racing his squad car while on the job.

The Winona Daily News reported Saturday that the deputy raced his Dodge Charger down a runway at the Houston County Municipal Airport in Caledonia on July 12. A Caledonia police officer was racing with him in a new Crown Victoria cruiser.

The race apparently stemmed from the purchase of a new squad car for Caledonia, the newspaper reported.

The Caledonia officer, who has not been named by the department, was suspended for a month when superiors learned what happened. Board members in the southeastern Minnesota county say there should have been consequences for the deputy too.
That would have been fun! Title? I am 'channeling' a bunch of music tonight. Pink Floyd -- great album!

Whoops - down the memory hole

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From Irons in the Fire who got it from Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit:
Busted!� State Department Scrubs Damning Memo From Website Following Deadly 9-11 Consulate Attacks
On Wednesday September 12, 2012 blogger Speak With Authority discovered that five days before 9-11, the US State Department sent out a memo announcing no credible security threats against the United States on the anniversary of 9-11.

The Overseas Security Advisory Council, who posted the memo, is part of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security under the U.S. Department of State.
Jim has screencaps -- first it was there and now it is not. No published retraction or other note, just there and then not there. Pathetic... There is also this -- from Powerline:
Chaos at the State Dept?
I spoke with a well-placed journalist last night whose sources describe the situation at the State Department in one word: �Chaos.� The working assumption is that several American embassies may have been penetrated, or are vulnerable to attack, because so many of them rely on local residents for staff needs at the embassy, and as such may be in a position to breach security if they have been recruited by Al Qaida. Moreover, the full story of the attack on the Benghazi consulate is much worse than we have been told (except by the Independent newspaper report John and I linked to here on Thursday).

The consulate in Benghazi was an interim facility, with only a standard door lock for security, and worse, Ambassador Stevens was traveling with only a light security detail, rather than in the heavily armed convoys our diplomats in the region usually employ. The attack on the Benghazi was no mere target of opportunity spurred by reaction to the �Innocence of Muslims� film; the film is just a pretext. The killing of Amb. Stevens was a premeditated hit, planned and carried out as retaliation for the recent drone strike that killed the number two Al Qaida operative in Afghanistan recently. The vulnerability of Stevens at the Benghazi compound was scouted out carefully. All the other embassy protest activity is just covering theater.
What worries me the most is that the 'rioters' got a lot of the paperwork from the embassy -- they will, in a few days or weeks , know who in Libya was working with us and will be able to know our network. What this administration should be doing is exfiltrating those families right now while there is still some measure of confusion on the ground. I hate to think of how many 3:00AM knocks at the door followed by gunfire will be perpetrated on people who trusted us to protect them and who were only looking for a better life and a better Nation.

I got stoned and I missed it

Heh -- from BoingBoing:
Massachusetts medical marijuana opposition forgets to register domain
At election time in Massachusetts every voter gets a copy of the state produced 'Information Guide.' Inside this guide, with the usual pros and cons, are URLs for the folks leading the support or opposition. An interested voter clicked on the website, the listed opposition to a current medical marijuana initiative, only to discover THEY FORGOT TO REGISTER IT.

Now a parody site with a ton of fake "facts" about marijuana lives in its place. Did you know that "No marijuana smoker has ever been successful?"
It�s a well known fact that smoking marijuana can lead to a dependency on Twinkies. If medical marijuana were legalized in Massachusetts, the increase in Twinkie consumption could possibly lead to shortages of Twinkies across the Bay State...
The website is a hoot. The title of the post? Written by Shel Silverstein and performed by the wonderful Dr. Hook @ The Medicine Show.

Oh look - a Pander Bear

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What is in the water there... From Breitbart comes this story:
Dem Rep: Unionize 12 Million Illegals
The Daily Caller: WASHINGTON � California Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman said at a press conference on immigration outside the Capitol Friday afternoon that America needs immigration reform to help those here illegally while also allowing them unionize for better wages.

�We need a regular process by which the 12 million people who are part of our society can be fully part of our society, and they need documents,� the congressman said. �It�s important for the labor market of this country because as long as there are 12 million people without documents, there are 12 million people who can�t stand up for their rights as workers, and that means there are 12 million people who can be used by unscrupulous employers to keep down wages and to prevent unions from organizing.�
Hey Brad -- if your political career is that shaky that you need to pander to the Unions and promise them 12 Million more members, maybe you should get out of Politics and go back to what you did before you were elected. Oh. Wait. From the Wikipedia entry:
He received a B.A. from University of California Summa Cum Laude in 1974 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School Magna Cum Laude in 1979.

Before joining Congress, Sherman was on staff at one of the nations� big-four CPA firms. While at the firm, he audited large businesses and governmental entities, provided tax law counsel on multi-million dollar transactions, advised entrepreneurs and small businesses on tax and investment issues, and helped represent the Government of the Philippines under President Aquino in a successful effort to seize assets of deposed President Marcos. Sherman was also an instructor at Harvard Law School�s International Tax Program.
The guy is smart -- no problems there.
Sherman�s public service career includes serving on the California State Board of Equalization from 1991 to 1996. He was Chairman of the Board from 1991 to 1995.
So he works in the private sector for twelve years and then enters politics at the state level.
U.S. House of Representatives (1997�Present)
He takes two years off and then runs for the House of Representatives in 1997 and has been there for the last fifteen years. Seriously, I will credit him his real-world experience but he has been a public servant for twenty-one years -- he is out of touch with the real world and only knows what his handlers and lobbyists have told him. For him to seriously suggest this amnesty and mandatory conversion to Union labor is totally clueless. Small businesses are what drive this economy and by raising the cost of labor, Unions are hamstringing the economic potential of this nation.

Our President's Schedule

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Must be nice to have a day off. From the White House President's Schedule - September 15, 2012:
No public schedule.
After all, you have to rest up from all of that campaigning and television appearences... Still nothing more than a few words on the Middle East and of course, he refused to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming scheduling conflicts. Yea - got your scheduling conflict right here Mr. President: Obama Announces Letterman Appearance on Day He Snubbed Netanyahu

Ain't got nuttin'

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Spent the day spraying weeds (glyphosphate soap solution) -- did a little local garage sale-ing (picked up a nice juicer and some ball-pein hammers) and then went out for a pint or two. The Middle East is falling apart and Obama spends the last three days campaigning. Heading upstairs soon. Long day.

Our Commander in Chief at work

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Here is President Obama's schedule for today:
9:25 am The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
10:05 am The President and the First Lady welcome the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House
12:30 pm The President and the Vice President meet for lunch
7:00 pm The President attends a campaign event DC, Private Residence, Washington
Hey Barry -- wake me up when you -- 'ya know -- actually have something on your plate besides campaigning and fundraising. The Middle East could us some attention right now...

More on subsidies for wind power

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Amplifying my earlier post on Federal subsidies, here is the real cost of From the Holden, MA newspaper The Landmark:
Electricity rate among highest in state
Residents will receive a letter this week informing them of the financial status of the Princeton Municipal Light Department.

The news isn't good.

PMLD General Manager Brian Allen worked with local resident Jon Fudeman, retired CPA, to produce a financial analysis of the department. The entire report is available on the PMLD website.

�I'm very grateful to Jon Fudeman,� said Allen at the Sept. 12 meeting of the Board of Light Commissioners. �He spent a lot of hours and looked back over 10 years to see where the problems started,� he said. �It's important this information gets out there so people will understand where we're at."

In 2011, Princeton residents� electric rates were 36 percent higher than the average rate in Massachusetts. The average PMLD customer using approximately 800 kilowatts per hour of energy a month paid $516 more for electricity in 2011 than the average Massachusetts customer paid.

In 2011, the wind turbine project lost $628,000. From Jan. 1, 2010 through June 20, 2012, the wind turbine project has lost $1,875,000. That is after credits for renewable energy production.

Original projections for the wind turbine project showed that Princeton residents would receive a financial advantage, wrote Allen. �In fact, Princeton residents have suffered a financial loss. The original projections overstated both the kilowatt hours produced, as well as the price of electricity and understated the expenses associated with the project.

�Before the wind turbine project PMLD was in a more solid financial position than it is today. PMLD had relatively little debt and its customers paid just slightly more than the average Massachusetts customer for electricity,� according to the letter.

Liabilities then were just under $1 million. In 2009 liabilities were $9.5 million. At the end of 2011 total liabilities were just under $8 million. Other financial losses include a $757,000 loss between 2006 and 2011 for providing Internet service. In 2008 the department experienced a $407,000 Internet related expense that should have been recognized in earlier years. PMLD is no longer in the Internet business.

Allen expects the wind turbine losses to continue at the rate of approximately $600,000 a year, assuming current wholesale electricity rates, no need for extraordinary repair and that both wind turbines continue operating. If any major repairs are needed that would mean additional expense. The original warranties on the turbines have expired and extended warranty options are not available.

Initially, the wind turbines were projected to produce roughly 9,000 megawatt hours each year, but based on the past two and a half years of experience, a better estimate is 6,500 megawatts a year with both turbines running, wrote Allen. That is roughly 28 percent less than anticipated. Also, the original projections were made when wholesale electricity rates were higher and assumed the excess wind turbine production would sell for $80 a megawatt hour.

The average wholesale rate during the first six months of 2012 was $31 a megawatt hour, and it is currently $35 a megawatt hour. �The breakeven point for the wind turbine project is a wholesale electricity rate of $125 per megawatt hour,� according to the report.

Because of the wind turbine losses, ratepayers are being charged more to cover the losses, resulting in �Princeton having one of the most expensive rate structures in the Commonwealth.� It also means PMLD must run a lean operation in all other areas, resulting in an inability to build up a reserve in the event of a major storm or other catastrophe, such as the 2008 ice storm, and upgrade of the infrastructure is limited. That increases the risk of future power outages in the case of a major storm.
What a lovely little dystopian paradise -- renewable energy is just so #@%*ing great, everybody should adopt it and we will punish them if they do not. Socialism -- ideas so great they have to be mandatory... The Princeton Municipal Light Department (PMLD) is here

Fun times in Seattle

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They are replacing the old Alaska Way Viaduct with a tunnel and construction is starting next Spring. From Seattle, WA station KOMO:
Tunnel project could push rats, roaches into Seattle buildings
Seattle's Alaskan Way viaduct tunnel project threatens to create an unpleasant spillover effect, and one that just might make your skin crawl.

Millions of rodents and roaches have lived underground long before construction on the tunnel started. As the Puget Sound Business Journal first reported, when the giant boring machine goes to work next year, pest control experts say those critters will scurry in search of quieter lodging.

"What's the next best place? It's in all the buildings in the city," said Shane Hartnett of Sprague Pest Solutions.

Sprague is launching a campaign urging business owners near the waterfront to start protecting themselves now. The company is using bike billboards that say, "Save your building: Ratpocalypse is coming."
Out here, mice are a way of life -- just chased on away that was trying to come into the living room this afternoon. Thought the cats had brought it in, went to pick it up and it scurried away. Only difference is that out here, the population is kept in check by natural predators -- raptors, owls and crows as well as the snakes. In Seattle, there are a lot more opportunities for food and the natural predators aren't present. Should be fun to see -- from a distance. One of the commentors at the KOMO site had this bon mot:
Tunnel project could push rats, roaches into Seattle buildings"
And here I thought the mayor and city council all ready had their own building.
Heh -- a wiseguy...

Obamacare -- checking the numbers

From The Washington Examiner:

Franchisors warn Obamacare will halve profits
The International Franchise Association held a convention in Washington this week where most of the Radio Shack, Dunkin Donuts, Curves and other franchisers were grumbling about new federal regulations, especially the impact of Obamacare.

Most, said Atlanta Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchiser David Barr, presumed that the reports about how hard Obamacare will hit them were overblown. "They had their head in the sand," he told Secrets.

That is until he pulled out his powerpoint showing how funding Obamacare will cut his--and likely their--profits in half overnight. With simple math the small business folks understood, he spelled out that their only choice is to slash employee hours so they aren't eligible for company-paid health care or stop offering insurance and pay the $2,000 per employee fine.

Barr has 23 stores with 421 employees, 109 of whom are full-time. Of those, he provides 30 with health insurance. Barr said he pays 81 percent of their Blue Cross Blue Shield policy, or $4,073 of $5,028 for individuals, more for families, for a total bill of $129,000 a year. Employees pay $995.

Under Obamacare, however, he will have to provide health insurance for all 109 full-time workers, a cost of $444,000, or two and half times more than his current costs. That $315,000 increase is equal to just over half his annual profit, after expenses, or 1.5 percent of sales. As a result, he said, "I'm not paying $444,000."

Providing no insurance would result in a federal fine of $158,000, $29,000 more than he now spends but the lowest cost possible under the Obamacare law. So he now views that as his cap and he'll either cut worker hours or replace them with machines to get his costs down or dump them on the public health exchange and pay the fine. "Every business has a way to eliminate jobs," he said, "but that's not good for them or me."

But that's not all. His experience tells him that most low-wage workers he would have to cover under Obamacare won't take it because their $995 share is too high, meaning those the program was set up for won't see any benefit. And those who do will because they have major health issues, likely resulting in higher premiums to him.

Yeah -- it is that bad...

Obama's Schedule

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Our Commander in Chief hard at work: Here is his schedule for today, Sept. 13th
1:10 pm The President delivers remarks at a campaign event
Local Event Time: 11:10 AM MDT
Colorado, Golden, Lions Park
Open to pre-credentialed media

3:50 pm The President departs Golden, Colorado en route Washington, DC
Local Event Time: 1:50 PM MDT
Buckley Air Force Base
Open Press

6:50 pm The President arrives Joint Base Andrews
Press Information
Out-of-Town Travel Pool Coverage

7:05 pm The President arrives the White House
South Lawn
Open Press
The Middle-East is unraveling, our people are being murdered and Obama is out on the campaign trail giving speeches.

An interesting bit of history

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Did not know this but it makes perfect sense. From The Daily Caller:
With landmark lawsuit, Barack Obama pushed banks to give subprime loans to Chicago�s African-Americans
President Barack Obama was a pioneering contributor to the national subprime real estate bubble, and roughly half of the 186 African-American clients in his landmark 1995 mortgage discrimination lawsuit against Citibank have since gone bankrupt or received foreclosure notices.

As few as 19 of those 186 clients still own homes with clean credit ratings, following a decade in which Obama and other progressives pushed banks to provide mortgages to poor African Americans.

The startling failure rate among Obama�s private sector clients was discovered during The Daily Caller�s review of previously unpublished court information from the lawsuit that a young Obama worked on as an attorney for the lead plaintiff.
A bit more -- Obama does the blame-game:
Obama�s Role
The Chicago Sun-Times reported in 1998 that Obama claimed $23,000 in billable hours for his role in the lawsuit. That role was limited, partly because he was networking his way toward his 1996 election to the Illinois Senate. But he stayed with the firm until 2004, and it was his lawsuit.

Obama also won massive campaign donations from the mortgage industry, including at least $126,349 between 1989 and 2004.

He sought public credit for the lawsuit: His employer submitted a docket to the court that listed him as an attorney for the three named plaintiffs in the case. The docket bound Obama�s name to the lawsuit � and to the 186 clients who would soon follow.

Obama also used his courtroom work to win a keynote speaking slot at an important conference of Chicago housing groups in 1996. Friends said ��he�s really thoughtful, [and] he�s done some work as an attorney in these communities,�� Joel Bookman, director of programs for the influential Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which organized the event, told TheDC.

Obama endorsed the national subprime policy, telling a Wall Street audience in September 2007 that �subprime lending started off as a good idea: Helping Americans buy homes who couldn�t previously afford to.�

But by then, the disastrous impact of the top-down subprime policy was obvious, so Obama so tried to push the blame on the banks. �They began to lower their standards. � Most everyone knew that some of these deals were just too good to be true,� he told his Wall Street audience, �but all that money flowing in made it tempting to look the other way.�
It's a big article -- six pages -- but lots of info and links. Obama was at the heart of this lawsuit and the lawsuit was at the heart of the housing bubble and subsequent recession.

A lesson in irony

From an email list:

The Food Bank Program, administered by Social Welfare Canada, is actually proud of the fact it is distributring the greatest amount of free meals and food vouchers ever.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service, adminstered by the Canada Parks and Natural Resources, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals."

Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.

Charity begins at home

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Sobering article at Bloomberg:
Charities Deceive Donors Unaware Money Goes to a Telemarketer
Carol Patterson was waiting for a call from her doctor. When the phone rang on that afternoon in August 2011 at her home in Cortland, Ohio, it wasn�t a physician on the other end. A woman named Robin said she was representing the American Diabetes Association.

Robin didn�t ask for money. She asked Patterson to stamp and mail pre-printed fundraising letters to 15 neighbors. Both of Patterson�s parents and one grandmother had been diabetic, so she agreed to do it, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its October issue.

�I thought since it does run in the family, it wouldn�t hurt for me to help,� says Patterson, 64, a retired elementary school teacher. She guessed, based on what she knew about charity fundraising, that about 70 to 80 percent of the money she brought in would be used for diabetes research.

The truth was almost the exact opposite. The vast majority of funds Patterson, her neighbors and people like them throughout the country would raise -- almost 80 percent -- would never be made available to the Diabetes Association. Instead, that money collected from letters sent to neighbors would go to the company that employed Robin and an army of other paid telephone solicitors: InfoCision Management Corp.

Just 22 percent of the funds the association raised in 2011 from the nationwide neighbor-to-neighbor program went to the charity, according to a report on its national fundraising that InfoCision filed with North Carolina regulators.
And that was the good news -- some more:
And it gets worse. Many of the biggest-name charities in the U.S. have signed similarly one-sided contracts with telemarketers during the past decade. The American Cancer Society, the largest health charity in the U.S., enlisted InfoCision from 1999 to 2011 to raise money.

In fiscal 2010, InfoCision gathered $5.3 million for the society. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers took part, but none of that money -- not one penny -- went to fund cancer research or help patients, according to the society�s filing with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the state of Maine.

Fees Added
Every bit of it went to InfoCision, the filings say. The society actually lost money on the program that year, according to its filings. InfoCision got to keep 100 percent of the funds it raised, plus $113,006 in fees from the society, government filings show.
Lots more at the site including scans of the script that:
...instructs solicitors to tell the people they call that �overall, about 75% of every dollar received goes directly to serving people with diabetes and their families, through programs and research. The other 25% goes to program management.�
and scans of the contracts. InfoCision is doing nothing illegal -- except lying to the marks -- they are just permeated with an ethical stink that needs to be cleaned up. Taking advantage of people's altruism for commercial gain. Makes me wonder how much money has been spent on lobbyists to keep the legislation favorable. Reader ORChuck nails it with this observation:
The problem here is that charities have become industries unto themselves. They no longer work for the causes they claim, but they work for themselves and their own perpetuation.

In many respects, The Association to Cure X, A2CX, has a conflict of interest. If they do manage to cure X, then they've just stabbed their golden-egg-laying goose. Once the "executives" at A2CX tuck into comfey positions with handsome salaries and generous benefits and big expense accounts, traveling all over the country in first class, attending red-carpet "fund raisers," hob-nobbing with celebrities, etc., and once they have a payroll of hundreds of people working for A2CX, and the A2CX Headquarters Building, and all that, they have little incentive to actually cure X. Quite to the contrary, in fact. A cure for X would, at that point, be a disaster. So, if a scientist had a breakthrough and actually found the cure for X, the executives at A2CX would likely dip into donor funds to hire a hitman. It'd make a fun movie plot... if it didn't raise such serious questions.
Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy writ large:
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

Educational opportunities

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The list would be amusing if it weren't true. From The College Fix:
Outrageous offerings
Perusing class schedules at universities across the nation illustrates that legitimate courses of study can be found among the hallowed halls of higher education, but there�s plenty of fringe, questionable, biased or pointless classes peppered throughout. Here�s a look at some of the more extreme examples of that from this fall�s course catalogs:

Columbia University, UC Berkeley
Apparently hauntings and Satanic possession isn�t just the darling of Hollywood right now. Some colleges� anthropology departments have taken a liking to the subject this fall. Columbia University offers a course called �text, magic, performance.� Its description states the class:
�pursues interconnections linking text and performance in light of magic, ritual, possession, narration, and related articulations of power. � Domains of inquiry include: spirit possession, trance states, s�ance, witchcraft, ritual performance, and related realms of cinematic projection, musical form, shadow theater, performative objects, and (other) things that move on their own, compellingly. � Retraced throughout the course are the uncanny shadows of a fully possessed subject.�
Sure, sounds like it might be a fun class and there are some others that look interesting at the site but is this something that you really want to waste your time and money on when you could be learning something useful for after you graduate? Sheesh!

Without subsidies

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Wind power is not profitable without the Federal Government taking our tax dollars and forking them over to the manufacturers. Case in point -- from Spokane, WA station KXLY:
Neb. wind tower maker to close Ephrata plant, layoff 79
Wind tower maker Katana Summit says it will close its plants in Nebraska and Washington and layoff nearly 300 people.

The company said Wednesday its plants in Columbus, Neb., and Ephrata, Wash., will close around Nov. 1 unless a buyer can be found for the plants. The Nebraska plant employs 214, and 79 people work at the Washington plant.

Katana Summit plans to complete its existing orders for towers that can be up to 330-feet-tall before closing the plants.

CEO Kevin Strudthoff says uncertainty about the future of tax credits for wind power is forcing the closures.

He says orders for the towers Katana Summit makes have nearly stopped for 2013 because wind power developers want to know if the tax credits that expire at the end of this year will be renewed.
And when Romney gets elected, a lot of this stuff -- subsidies and tax credits -- will be retired. I'll say it again, there is no alternative energy -- not without paying at least five times the going rate and when you amortize all costs over the life of the system, it's more like ten or twenty times. Nuclear is our best option and the time to start was yesterday...

An interesting dig

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From the Beeb:
Richard III dig: Have they found their man in Leicester?
Clues at the dig for Richard III, archaeologists suggest, point to a skeleton's discovery being one of the most remarkable find ever made in England.

Ahead of DNA confirmation, those who were there have reflected on what could be their own place in history.

Archaeologist Mathew Morris, told a press conference how they made the first discovery in one end of a 30m-long trench.

"We found one of his legs, sticking out into the trench from the side," he said.

"You expect to find bits of bone in a churchyard because things get mixed up, so you then look for something connected to the leg and once you have that you know you have a burial.

"We weren't entirely sure we were in the church at that point, we could have been in the graveyard outside the church, so we actually waited for a few days to be sure of where it was before we to looked at it."

Curved spine
Work continued though, when the skeleton's location within the building was confirmed.

Mr Morris said: "It was a very simple grave, we don't think there was a coffin he was just wrapped in a shroud but he was laid carefully in the grave, it was done with respect.

"We cleaned all the other parts first but - because it is one of the fiddliest parts - we left the spine to last moment.

"So it was right after we had the rest of him uncovered, and [the spine] was really obviously curved and we looked at each other and said 'Wow, this is a really good candidate'.

"And when we lifted the spine, we found [an] arrowhead!"

Dr Jo Appleby, University of Leicester osteoarchaeologist, said they were still sceptical even as the excavation was being carried out.

'Alarm bells'
"We thought it was pretty unlikely to be Richard III," she said.

"So it was quite a shock when it began to show the characteristics it did.

"We found the damage to the head and that set a few alarm bells ringing - but of course we live in a world where you just don't find dead kings!

"I told myself it was just coincidence, it was some other guy, lots of medieval people were involved in battles.

"But when we got to the spine and we saw that kink in it, it was incredible. If you had a tick list of what you wanted to find, this was it."
Very cool -- last reigning English Monarch to die in battle. A horse! A horse! My Kingdom for a horse! (Act V Scene IV)


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Someone needs to get their priorities in order. From the Houston, TX CBS affiliate:
Endangered Eyeless Spider Indefinitely Delays $15M Texas Highway Project
An endangered eyeless spider is holding up a $15 million Texas highway project.

Construction of the highway underpass project on Texas 151 was indefinitely delayed after a biologist consultant with the Texas Department of Transportation discovered the Braken Bat Cave meshweaver, according to San Antonio Express-News.

The Express-News reports the spider, which is about the size of a dime, was added to the endangered species list 12 years ago.
This is on the par with the Delta Smelt which is causing severe irrigation problems for the central valley California farmers. An insignificant species should not be made the poster child for the environmental movements Malthusian attempt at limiting human productivity. The more we grow, the more we build, the healthier everyone will be. Do we really want to go back to a life of hardship and grinding poverty and a painful death at 40 years old? The rising tide floats all boats. We are discovering new species all the time and other species are going extinct every day from natural causes -- we do not have to play God and micromanage this planet.
Fun news item at Breitbart:
Worse Than Solyndra: Obama Admin Buying Maine Senate Seat with Crony Energy Loans
The Obama administration is famous for its crony capitalism. It�s famous for wasting money on disastrous investments like Solyndra to pay off its political allies. It now appears, however, that they go a step further: they put public funds in bad investment loans, then double down on their bad loans with free cash grants.

Here�s the short story: Angus King, former governor of Maine, Obama supporter, and front-running independent Senate candidate, owned a wind company. Obama�s Department of Energy handed over a deeply questionable $102 million loan to that company. It appears that as that company was coming under investigation, King quickly divested himself of his interests, hoping he was doing so just in time to escape scrutiny, and as he was preparing to announce his candidacy for Senate.

But that's not where the story ends. It seems that before he left the company, King helped apply for a Department of Energy grant worth some $33 million. Which means one of two things: either the company was thriving, in which case King was helping bilk taxpayers for an additional $33 million; or the company was having financial difficulties, in which case the $33 million grant was designed to help cover the cost of the loans, $23 million of which was coming due with a maturity date of April 27, 2012.

Either way, the situation doesn�t look good for King, or the Obama Administration. Either the two were working to ensure that King�s company got paid millions so that King could reap the benefits, or they were working to cover up a troubled company and highly questionable investment subsidized with federal tax money.
Much more at the site. And the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree:
This is not the first time that Angus King has been involved in a Solyndra-like situation. King�s son, Angus III, is vice president of First Wind, another wind boondoggle that received federal stimulus dollars and almost went bankrupt.

Large turnout for local meeting

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I had written yesterday about a very political land swap and noted that there was a meeting that evening. Turns out it was very well attended -- from The Bellingham Herald:
Whatcom County Council postpones lake land transfer vote
The Whatcom County Council will take up the proposed Lake Whatcom watershed land transfer proposal again on Oct. 9, after more than 200 people turned out Tuesday, Sept. 11, for a Whatcom County Council public hearing on it.
I know the room the Council meets in -- 200 is packed.

The Hatch Act in the news

A week ago I wrote how a deputy associate administrator at the Seattle branch office of the FAA may have violated the Hatch Act by telling employees "how to vote if they wanted to keep their job"

Now, from the Washington Free Beacon:

More Accusations in Hatch Act Case
The government watchdog group that last week requested an investigation into two FAA employees for potential Hatch Act violations has discovered more potential violations of election laws by one of the individuals, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

Regarding the new information, Cause of Action's Executive Director Dan Epstein said:
We have reason to believe that an immediate investigation is necessary in this case. It appears that Mr. Hickey may have violated any number of laws on the books protecting individuals from intimidation, interference, or coercion concerning their right to vote. It is the obligation of the election crimes division of the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate those matters. Furthermore, Mr. Hickey may have violated several Prohibited Personnel Practices (5 U.S.C .2302) including discrimination against employees based on political affiliation, as well as potential whistleblower retaliation. Carolyn Lerner of the Office of Special Counsel should investigate those matters as well.

Mr. Scovel, as Inspector General, has authority to investigate all of these allegations as well as make referrals to the OSC or DOJ when appropriate. Cause of Action will be asking Mr. Scovel to provide records concerning just when potential Hatch Act, election misconduct, or prohibited personnel practices issues involved at the FAA first came to his attention in order to determine whether investigations or remedies may have been unreasonably delayed. As far as we can tell, Mr. Hickey is still an officer of the United States Federal Government.

And it's not just that branch of the FAA either -- from the Federal Times:

HHS Secretary Sebelius found in violation of Hatch Act
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act in February when she called for re-electing President Obama during an official department appearance, the Office of Special Counsel said Wednesday.

The finding could possibly cost Sebelius her job.

Although OSC did not recommend any specific punishment, and said Obama will decide how to punish her, Hatch Act violators are usually fired. However, the Merit Systems Protection Board can lower the penalty to a 30-day unpaid suspension if the board unanimously agrees the violation does not warrant removal.

OSC told Federal Times that Obama also could choose not to levy any punishment.

And of course, we all know what Obama will do with a faithful minion. A slap on the wrist and being told to lay low for a while. We will see what happens come November -- not that far away.

Tech schools rock

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Nice to see this news -- Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the top University of the world. From the UK Guardian:
MIT beats Cambridge and Harvard to top spot in world university rankings
Cambridge has lost its place as the number one ranking university in the world, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the US university that specialises in science and technology, taking over the top slot.

MIT came first, while Cambridge, which topped the list in 2011, came second and Harvard third in the QS World University Rankings, published on Tuesday.

The QS table is based on measures of research quality, graduate employability, teaching and how international the faculties and student bodies are.

University College London, Oxford, Imperial College, Yale, the University of Chicago, Princeton and Caltech, in that order, make up the top 10.

The highest ranked institution outside Europe and North America is the University of Hong Kong, at No 23.

MIT, which tops the list for the first time, came first in 11 out of 28 subject tables published by QS in June. A sharp increase in the proportion of foreign academics on its staff � a measure on which MIT has scored relatively poorly in the past � tipped the balance in its favour in the overall league table.
I love that part of the ranking is the employability of the graduates. Considering that blithering idiot and Fauxcahontas Elizabeth Warren is a professor at Harvard, it's no wonder that their stature has dropped. I would be surprised if MIT had any xxxxxx_studies programs. They do have Chomsky and that probably gave them a couple point hit but overall, not too shabby!

Just because you are good at one thing

Does not mean that you are good at something else... Case in point: Stephen Emmott -- from a Financial Times interview:
Is it too late to save the planet?
Stephen Emmott, head of Microsoft�s Computational Science Lab in Cambridge and professor of computational science at Oxford, is one of Britain�s leading scientists. He also emerged this summer as a star on the London stage, with a three-week run at The Royal Court of Ten Billion � a solo show looking at the dire consequences of a human population rising far beyond Earth�s carrying capacity.

Emmott�s compelling pessimism, delivered from a stage replica of his Cambridge office, attracted almost universal praise. Sarah Hemming of the FT and Michael Billington of the Guardian both described Ten Billion as �one of the most disturbing� evenings they had ever spent in a theatre.
Sorry Stephen, you may be excellent as MSFT's head of their Computational Science Lab in Cambridge but you are balls-off stupid when it comes to dealing with other subjects. You are a Malthusian and Malthusians have never ever been proven to be correct in their predictions. Do not shout me down; prove me wrong. If you have the data, it will be simple for you to break my argument. Your nemesis is that I have a lot of data that proves you to be wrong. Limits to Growth? Gag me with a spoon. If this moke is really one of Britain�s leading scientists I pity poor Albion...

A Government Mandate so bad

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That our own IRS is backing away from it. From CNBC:
IRS: Agents Won't Be Enforcers of Obamacare Mandate
The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday assured congressional lawmakers that agents would play no role in enforcing the controversial requirement that Americans buy insurance under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

"IRS revenue agents will not be involved. There will not be audits," IRS Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller told a subcommittee of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The law, passed in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court, will charge individuals a fee, or tax, if they fail to buy insurance starting in 2014.
See: Wall - writing on. מנא ,מנא, תקל, ופרסין 'yall...

Bad times ahead

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Obama is letting his freak flag fly. His Antisemitism is on full view to all. The Muslim world? From USA Today:
Cairo protesters scale U.S. Embassy wall, remove flag
Egyptian demonstrators climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today and pulled down the American flag to protest a film they say is insulting to the prophet Mohammad.

Reuters reports that protesters tried to raise a black flag carrying the slogan: "There is no god but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger."
And we still give Egypt $2 billion dollars every year for 'foreign aid'. From Haaretz:
White House declines Netanyahu request to meet with Obama
The White House declined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request on Tuesday to meet U.S. President Barack Obama during a UN conference in New York at the end of the month.
The full story is behind a #@$% paywall but there is this little gem from Breitbart:
Obama Announces Letterman Appearance on Day He Snubbed Netanyahu
President Barack Obama will be visiting one of his biggest fans soon - late night talker David Letterman.

The president will chat with the "Late Show" host during a trip to New York City next week, according to the National Journal. Letterman's nightly monologues mostly spare the president from satirical ribbing, saving his most cutting remarks for the Romneys ... or even former President George W. Bush.

The news comes on the same day Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he couldn't meet with him due to a scheduling conflict.

The interview will be the second Obama has had with Letterman since the comic made a crude, demeaning joke about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's daughter.
The Palestinians have forgotten their roots. They used to be Hashemite Jordanians until the Russian KGB brought the radicalized son of an Egyptian dentist -- a Mr. Yasser Arafat -- to Moscow, to Patrice Lumumba University (here, here, here, here, here and finally, here), for eight years (with a few well-funded trips back to the "Palestinian Homeland" during the interval). Mr. Arafat was able to create the entire "Palestinian Nation" out of thin air. That and fistfuls of Rubles from his Russian friends -- they were worried that the USA would just move in and take all the oil so they wanted to destabilize the area and the Democratic nation of Israel was the place to start. It is tragic that the majority of what Israel is dealing with is a direct result of policy failure of the US and weakness towards the radicalized states in the middle east. A simple "Stop this Crap or we cut your foreign aid and stop buying your oil" voiced 33 years ago (Jimmy Carter -- I am looking right at you) would have gone a long way to generate true world peace today. A tipping point that will take a long uphill slog to recover from and the current regime has done little to advance our position.

A big Oopsie at the DNC

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Someone should have taken more care when assembling their PowerPoint presentation... From Navy Times:
Russian ships displayed at DNC tribute to vets
On the last night of the Democratic National Convention, a retired Navy four-star took the stage to pay tribute to veterans. Behind him, on a giant screen, the image of four hulking warships reinforced his patriotic message.

But there was a big mistake in the stirring backdrop: those are Russian warships.

While retired Adm. John Nathman, a former commander of Fleet Forces Command, honored vets as America�s best, the ships from the Russian Federation Navy were arrayed like sentinels on the big screen above.

These were the very Soviet-era combatants that Nathman and Cold Warriors like him had once squared off against.

�The ships are definitely Russian,� said noted naval author Norman Polmar after reviewing hi-resolution photos from the event. �There�s no question of that in my mind.�

Naval experts concluded the background was a photo composite of Russian ships that were overflown by what appear to be U.S. trainer jets. It remains unclear how or why the Democratic Party used what�s believed to be images of the Russian Black Sea Fleet at their convention.

A spokesman for the Democratic National Convention Committee was not able to immediately comment Tuesday, saying he had to track down personnel to find out what had happened.
A bit more -- the ease of identification:
The background � featured in the carefully choreographed hour leading up to the president�s Sept. 6 speech accepting the Democratic Party�s nomination � showed four ships with radar designs not used in the U.S. fleet.

For example, the ship in the foreground, on the far right, has a square radar antenna at the top of its masthead. That is the MR-700 Podberezovik 3-D early warning radar, commonly identified as �Flat Screen� for its appearance, a three-dimensional early warning radar mounted on the Kerch, said Eric Wertheim, editor of �Combat Fleets of the World.�

Similarly, the third ship has a MR-310 �Head Net� air search radar, shaped like two off-set bananas, at its masthead and is mostly likely the guided missile destroyer Smetlivyy. The first two ships seem to be Krivak-class frigates, but it�s hard to discern from the silhouette, experts said.

But the fact they are Russian ships is not in doubt. In addition to the ship�s radar arrays and hulls, which are dissimilar from U.S. warships, the photo features one more give-away: a large white flag with a blue �X� at the ships� sterns.

Polmar, who authored �The Naval Institute Guide to the Soviet Navy,� recognized the blue �X�-mark: �The X is the Cross of St. Andrew�s, which is a Russian Navy symbol,� Polmar said. (An anchored U.S. warship, by contrast, flies the American flag on its stern.)
Priceless. Now again, which party are you going to vote for? (but it looked so cool!!!!11eleventy?111)

Local politics

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A fun brew-ha-ha is happening over a land transfer. The State of Washington is proposing to transfer 8,844 acres of forest land to Whatcom County for use as a park. Parcels on this land are currently logged -- this is a renewable extraction, something the hippies will not own up to. Something to note is that proceeds from logging are handed over to the local education boards for school funding -- Washington has a long history of forestry and logging and this has greatly helped fund the community school systems. Something also to note is that the county parks system is essentially broke -- they now require day-use permits ($5/day, $30/year) to visit most parks and services are being severely cut back. From The Bellingham Herald:
Group seeks recall of Mount Baker school board member over county land transfer
A group of citizens upset about the proposed transfer of state lands to Whatcom County for use as parkland is attempting to recall a member of the Mount Baker School Board, which dropped opposition to the land transfer.

The group filed a statement of charges to start the recall process against board member Russ Pfeiffer-Hoyt at the end of August. If a judge decides the charges meet the criteria for a recall, then the group could start a petition for a special recall election.

The paperwork claims that Pfeiffer-Hoyt committed "malfeasance" when he voted with other board members in December 2011 to accept a $500,000 donation from the Whatcom Land Trust to set up a foundation to benefit students in the district. As a condition of the donation, the district would not pursue legal action to oppose the transfer of 8,844 acres in the Lake Whatcom watershed from the Department of Natural Resources to Whatcom County.

The school district receives some money from timber cutting on state lands, so transferring timber lands to the county would end revenue from that property.

Before the trust approached with the offer, district leaders already had decided that the district would be unlikely to recover future losses through legal action, Superintendent Charlie Burleigh said.

Recall organizer John LaMonte said he and others had wanted to recall all five board members for that vote, but a lawyer told him "stupidity wasn't a reason for recall." So they focused on Pfeiffer-Hoyt because he was the only board member whom they might be able to recall. LaMonte claims that Pfeiffer-Hoyt was on the advisory board of the Whatcom Land Trust in 2003-04, and that he is currently a member of the trust. And that, he said, is "a big conflict of interest."
Pfeiffer-Hoyt couldn't be reached for comment.
Gee -- 'ya think? There is a Whatcom County Council meeting tonight in Bellingham (not planning to attend). It will be interesting to see how many people show up and what the mood of the crowd is (rope, tar and feathers). The Council is an elected body and we do have an election coming up soon...

Good news from the automotive front.

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While Government General Motors market share is tanking, Ford is doing very well. From our local newspaper The Bellingham Herald:
Ford to add 1,200 workers at Detroit-area plant
Ford is adding 1,200 workers to a suburban Detroit factory to build the Fusion, a sign of confidence that the revamped sedan will be a big hit when it goes on sale this fall.

The Fusion is already Ford's best-selling vehicle after the F-Series pickup. Ford hopes to grab even more buyers with the 2013 Fusion, which has improved fuel economy and a sharper, more chiseled design.

Ford Americas President Mark Fields told workers at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant Monday that the midsize car segment is growing two times faster than the rest of the U.S. auto industry. The Fusion is one of the top sellers in that segment, behind the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima.

"I can't underestimate how important the Fusion is to Ford," Fields told hundreds of workers gathered on the plant's lawn for a ceremony with U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and others. "It's an all-out battle for the American garage, and Ford is in it to fight to win."
Ford listens to their customers, GM is to big to do that. They are effectively owned by the Unions anyway and are guaranteed sales to the government motor pools. How many new Fords do you see with municipal license plates on them -- none around here...

A busy schedule

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As much as Obama is touting his expertise on Foreign Policy, he is spending very little time participating. From Marc A. Thiessen writing at The Washington Post:
Why is Obama skipping more than half of his daily intelligence meetings?
President Obama is touting his foreign policy experience on the campaign trail, but startling new statistics suggest that national security has not necessarily been the personal priority the president makes it out to be. It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting.

The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama�s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) � the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times � or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent � falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama�s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.
An interesting website to check is the White House's Schedule for the President. Today is full with 9/11 memorials but most days, he is only spending an hour or two actually working. If this is not the case, he is flying off to a campaign or fundraiser. Bookmark the link and see for yourself.

Not too much posting today

Thinking about the events of eleven years ago and still pissed as hell. That nineteen followers of a pedophile false prophet would sneak into the US and murder almost 3,000 of our citizens makes my blood boil. Their souls are certainly burning in Hell but that is little solace to the broken families still here. Spending the day working in the garden and in the shop.

Heading upstairs

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Lulu's massage was a delight (she has been an L.M.P. for 30 years), dinner was fantastic and I am about ready to crash. Heading upstairs...

Heh - just following published law here

When a defense contractor gets a funding cut and has to lay of workers, they are required by law to give said workers 60 days notice. The current regime is gutting the military so a lot of contracts are not being renewed on Wednesday, January 2nd 2013. This puts the notice date at late Saturday, November 3rd or early Sunday, November 4th. Realistically the pink slips are probably going to be distributed on Friday, November 2nd -- four days before the election on the 6th. There was a kerfuffle last July regarding this - the Labor Department issued a Memo! From Federal News Radio:
Labor Dept. says defense layoffs 'speculative,' no need for warning
Defense industry executives have spent the last few weeks warning that across-the-board budgets cuts set to take effect in January could lead them to issue notices in the fall warning of impending mass layoffs.

However, in a new memo issued Monday, the Labor Department said the lack of clarity about how the budget cuts would be applied means it would be "inappropriate" to issue Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notifications.

The impact of the cuts � $1.2 trillion over 10 years � on individual contracts and programs is "speculative and unforeseeable," Assistant Labor Secretary Jane Oates wrote in a memo.
A bit more:
"Although it is currently known that sequestration may occur, it is also known that efforts are being made to avoid sequestration," the memo stated. "Thus, even the occurrence of sequestration is not necessarily foreseeable."
Of course, Obama was for this warning before he was against it -- The Washington Times:
Sen. Obama supported layoff warnings; now sees no need
President Obama's administration doesn�t see the need for defense contractors to warn employees about possible layoffs from across-the-board budget cuts, but in 2007, then-Sen. Barack Obama railed against employers for failing to notify workers who were in danger of losing their jobs.

�The least employers can do when they�re anticipating layoffs is to let workers know they�re going to be out of a job and a paycheck with enough time to plan for their future,� Mr. Obama said in a news release on July 17, 2007, while campaigning for president.
Well today, we have this from Politico
Defense firms confirm layoff warnings
Major defense contractors have confirmed they�ll send tens of thousands of employee layoff warnings shortly before Election Day, according to correspondence released Monday by Arizona Sen. John McCain.

McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, wants to jump-start congressional action to avert automatic, across-the-board budget restrictions set to take effect early next year. Hawks and defense vendors hope the threat of mass layoff warnings in late October will light a fire under a deadlocked Congress. Already, they point out the mere threat of the year-end �sequester� is hurting the defense industry and the broader national economy.
Nothing says Republican like a pink slip four days before the election. That give every recipient the weekend to talk to friends and other family members -- spreading the good news. Now if the economy was growing, that would be another story...

Chicago Teachers Strike

The Union is being euchred out by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Now that he is no longer connected to the White House it is fun to sit back and watch him work. The man is a political shark. The Czar of Muscovy has the analysis at The Gormogons:
The Czar cannot promise that all aspects of Chicago Public School (CPS) politics will be very interesting, but today�s CPS strike is intensely fascinating if largely inside baseball.

Here is our assessment.

Chicago elected Rahm Emanuel its first non-Richard M. Daley mayor since 1989. During Daley�s tenure as mayor, the Chicago Teachers�s Union (CTU) became intensely powerful, allowing Chicago�s teachers to be among the best paid in the nation, with the least amount of time actually spent in a classroom. In many ways, the CTU came to own CPS, and in so doing, felt that the mayor of Chicago worked for them. Not figuratively like a politician fighting for their cause, but pretty much literally like a well-positioned servant.

Rahm Emanuel did not take well to some of the strong arm tactics put before him by the CTU. But Emanuel is a cagey, clever fellow: he knew that CPS was failing, and that the CTU is largely responsible. Heck, they could easily destroy his mayorship; even unintentionally.

So the CTU needed to be reined in. But how to do it without looking like Governor Scott Walker up North? Could there be a way to improve CPS and push down the CTU without looking like a, you know, Republican?

This is the sort of challenge Rahm Emanuel loves. And so he did it: he proposed an increase in the length of the school day to meet national averages, and made teachers accountable for the success or failures of individual students in exchange for another increase in pay.

There. Facetime and accountability would almost certainly improve CPS�s disastrous reputation somewhat. But how to curb the CTU�s out-of-control management?

He announced it in the early summer of an election year. This gave time for the public to hear about the proposal gradually but took the wind out of the sails of the on-vacation teachers. Although horrified emails ricocheted back and forth between CPS teachers, the teachers would not have much of a chance to organize in time. At least not until September.

And what would happen, Rahm Emanuel wondered, if they called for a strike (as they inevitably would, given the hate-filled messages) when they returned to conspire in September?

The public backlash against them would be catastrophic for their PR. One of the old rules of politics, which Mayor Emanuel obviously knows, is that a public sector union never strikes before an election. Public sentiment invariably turns against the strikers.

The CTU was obviously unaware of this political rule; evidence is now coming out that the CTU intended to strike no matter what concessions the city made. And as they are on strike, the teachers are shocked to learn that the city residents are positively appalled. Disgusted. Irate. Some lifelong union Democrats are calling for Rahm Emanuel to fire all striking teachers. The story in Chicago media at the moment is not about the teachers� demands, but about the public outrage. The story is spreading nationally, and the White House has refused to take a side in the cause.

Who is teaching whom the lesson?

Meanwhile, 45,000 kids in Chicago�s thirteen all-above-average charter schools are in class today, learning. And the non-union teachers therein are all at work. Those wishing to show solidarity with the CTU are asked to help out in the picket lines after school hours; the Czar expects less than a dozen will, citywide.

Rahm Emanuel might have put it this way: what if you had a revolution and nobody showed up? Ben Franklin might have put it another way: if the CTU and public don�t hang together, the CTU will surely hang separately.
Swiped in full as it defies excerpting. This is pure political genius. The teachers are told essentially to get their own house in order or they will not see a single dime. The Chicago Teachers are already paid the highest in the nation. From John Fund at The Corner:
Chicago Bled Dry by Striking Teachers� Unions
The smartest parents in Chicago right now are those whose kids attend charter schools, private schools, or parochial schools. Those institutions don�t employ Chicago�s unionized public-school teachers, who went out on strike this morning for the first time in 25 years.

The coverage of the strike has obscured some basic facts. The money has continued to pour into Chicago�s failing public schools in recent years. Chicago teachers have the highest average salary of any city at $76,000 a year before benefits. The average family in the city only earns $47,000 a year. Yet the teachers rejected a 16 percent salary increase over four years at a time when most families are not getting any raises or are looking for work.

The city is being bled dry by the exorbitant benefits packages negotiated by previous elected officials. Teachers pay only 3 percent of their health-care costs and out of every new dollar set aside for public education in Illinois in the last five years, a full 71 cents has gone to teacher retirement costs.
And of course, this money is well spent -- one bit more:
Just 15 percent of fourth graders are proficient in reading and only 56 percent of students who enter their freshman year of high school wind up graduating.
Morlocks and Eloi all happening before our eyes...

Curious news - Mt. Fuji showing signs of life

From Volcano Discovery:
Mt Fuji Volcano (Japan): increase of pressure in the magma chamber as a sign of an impending eruption
Scientists have discovered signs of a possible imminent eruption of Japan's most famous volcano, Mount Fuji on Honshu. At least this is what many headlines in the press read.

According to an article of the Japanese news agency Kyodo the pressure in the magma chamber beneath the volcano Mt Fuji has drastically increased after the tsunami in March 2011 and a magnitude 6.4 quake near the volcano four days later, and is currently higher than it was before the last eruption in 1707 some 300 years ago.

Scientists at the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention have calculated that the tectonic shifts in the past year caused an increase in pressure to 1.6 megapascals. That is sixteen times as much as the threshold of 0.1 megapascals needed for an eruption, they said.

Such statements should be viewed with caution, because the figures are obtained by indirect calculations, which may be subject to very large errors. Secondly, pressure data for magma chambers inside a volcano without an associated depth profile have little significance. Pressure inside a volcano, as everywhere, increases naturally with depth. What matters is the difference between the lithostatic pressure (weight of the volcanic edifice) and the gas pressure of the gases in the magma. If this difference becomes greater than the tensile strength of the rock, it can open cracks and let the magma erupt.
I don't know how built-up the area is surrounding Fuji -- considering its most recent eruption was 1708, the collective consciousness of the people nearby might have forgotten that their neighbor is very very active. Judging from these images it seems to still be very rural.

Long day - shopping for the store

Back home now -- Lulu is prepping dinner and then is going to give me a massage and cook after. Picked up some fresh Ahi tuna in town so it's dinner Hawai'ian style tonight. I'm a bit tired so I don't think I'll be posting much today...

From our neighbors to the North at The Toronto Star:

New Avro Arrow design pitched to feds as alternative for F-35s: report
A consortium of Canadian manufacturers sought to go back in time to help move Canada�s air force into the future.

Documents obtained by Global News indicate the storied CF-105 Avro Arrow was put forward as an alternative to the purchase of F-35 stealth fighter jets.

And among the project�s champions is one of Canada�s top soldiers, retired Maj.Gen. Lewis MacKenzie.

The Arrow was an advanced, all-weather supersonic interceptor jet developed in the 1950s but the project was scrapped before a single plane could be built.

"project was scrapped before a single plane could be built"??? Ruh Roh! Actually the article leads off with a picture of said aircraft in flight with the caption:

The Avro Arrow in flight, circa 1958. A new report says that a group of Canadian manufacturers put forward a plan to the Harper Conservatives to resurrect the storied aircraft as an alternative to the costly F-35

It was an amazing bit of engineering and makes perfect sense to make it today with modern engines and avionics. There were several planes built and five were flown albeit not in final configuration (different engines and avionics). One went to Mach 1.98 but this was not its limit. Around the time it was being developed, the USA formed NORAD and developed the BOMARC missles covering the same tasks as the Arrow (taking out Russian long-range bombers) for a lot less $$$. Canada had been spending a lot of money under a liberal government and the newly elected conservative had to cut funding. I remember seeing a documentary on my favorite airplane (SR-71 Blackbird) and they interviewed several of the project engineers and asked them that if they were tasked to design the same airplane today, almost 50 years later, would they make any changes. The answer to the man was no.

A serious case of scope creep

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From FOX News:
WTC memorial magnificent, but at a steep price
With its huge reflecting pools, ringed by waterfalls and skyscrapers, and a cavernous underground museum still under construction, the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center is an awesome spectacle that moved and inspired some 4.5 million visitors in its first year.

But all that magnificence comes with a jaw-dropping price tag.

The foundation that runs the memorial estimates that once the roughly $700 million project is complete, it will cost $60 million a year to operate.
Some numbers:
By comparison, the National Park Service budgeted $8.4 million this year to operate and maintain Gettysburg National Military Park and $3.6 million for the monument that includes the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Running Arlington National Cemetery, which has more than 14,000 graves and receives 4 million visitors a year, costs $45 million annually.
I would love to audit the foundation. Where do they have their board meetings? What kinds of perks do the board members have? Their $60M annual fee is so over the top for a relatively smallish monument that there has to be some grifting and corruption going on. The idea that these board members would profit over the loss of 3,000 US Citizens is beyond my contempt. Some good news:
So far, Congress has balked. A bill proposed by Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye, that would have had the National Park Service contribute $20 million per year ran into opposition from Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, who noted that the federal government had already spent $300 million on the memorial project.

A National Park Service official, William Shaddox, testified at a hearing that $20 million is more than the agency can afford, and larger than the entire annual appropriation for nearly 99 percent of the parks in its system.
Our National Parks system is in dire financial straits and this group of people wants to impose this kind of burdon on it. Talk about out of touch with reality... Scope creep? It's an engineering thing.

A curious (and wonderful) editorial

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From the Minneapolis Star Tribune -- a bastion of liberal thought:
Too much advocacy? Scientists and public policy
James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, recently wrote in the New York Times that if Canada continues to pump oil from its tar sands, "it will be game over for the climate." This from the same climate scientist who warned three years ago, "We're toast if we don't get on a very different path."

Hansen may be a scientist, but neither statement is scientific. It's not clear what "game over for the climate" means -- either for the climate or for humans. His statement doesn't take into account that Canada's oil sands are a tiny fraction of the world's supply of fossil fuels. And the ramifications of climate on human life and industry lie well outside Hansen's expertise.

Hyperbolic and emotional as they are, these statements are examples of a scientist speaking not as a scientist, but as an advocate. They address policy, not science. And for these kinds of proclamations, Hansen is embraced by environmentalists and excoriated by climate-change deniers.

But what about all the people in the middle? People who may be willing to accept that the globe is warming, that humans are probably responsible, but still wonder what we might do about it?

Most likely, their bullshit detectors just went on high alert.

First, so you know, I am not a climate-change skeptic. Or a science skeptic. I believe most of what James Hansen says and that science offers a uniquely profound way to understand the world.

But by advocating policy positions -- overtly or by stealth -- scientists may be forfeiting their privileged positions as scientists and becoming just ordinary guys with opinions, and in the process, undercutting the credibility of their scientific work.
Thank you Greg Breining. You may still be drinking the Kool Aid but you have just noticed that it tastes a little bit funny. Welcome to the rabbit hole. A bit more:
Erica Fleishman, researcher at John Muir Institute of the Environment, University of California, Davis, had noticed stealth advocacy in the research papers submitted to Conservation Biology after she was hired as editor a bit more than two years ago. It didn't occur often -- in perhaps one paper in 10. But she began asking authors to strike unsubstantiated opinions and policy statements, or at the very least, identify them as opinions.

"In the scientific papers themselves I encouraged authors to use value-neutral language. Stick to the facts rather than emotion," Fleishman says. "I really wanted the journal to be seen as an honest broker of science to anyone who cares to use science regardless of their politics."

This spring, the Society for Conservation Biology gave Fleishman the boot. She was told that some authors and the governing board were, as Fleishman recalls, "unhappy with your insistence that policy preferences and value statements either not be included or be clearly identified as opinion in research papers."
What you are looking at is a naked statist power-grab. These people were able to get their pet projects funded (and very well by the way) by preaching a political agenda and now that other researchers are offering work that discredits this area of study, they are becoming desperate and shrill in their attempt to hold on to their positions of money, status and power. One last little bit:
Michael Shellenberger, founder of the environmental Breakthrough Institute, pointed out a couple of years ago that a Gallup survey showed increasing numbers of Americans believe global warming has been hyped. And not just Republicans, but others, too. "Apocalypse talk is great red meat for the green base," Shellenberger writes, "but as Gallup shows, it is backfiring even among Democrats."
Awwwww -- poor widdle warmists. To steal Rodney Dangerfield's line: Just can't get no respect...

Winter on the way

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I had been noticing sunset creeping in earlier and earlier but it is 20:30 and pitch black outside. The nice news is that we have a soft rain falling with more forecast for the next few days. We have had an unusual stretch of 48 days without it -- be nice to let the garden take care of itself for a while. Not a record though -- that was 51 days without rain. Please Note: Readers in the Pacific Northwest who find themselves affected by this strange meteorological phenomena can find training materials here: Rain is in the Seattle forecast? What do we do again??? One of the comments to the post at this link was the following:
Just got back from Safeway. Bought all the canned pork and beans, distilled water, batteries, Doritos, and Alaska Amber. Thought about more practical items but everybody loves Doritos and Alaskan Amber and I figure I can use those to barter when civilization fails. Right now, I'm going to the gas station to fill all my gas cans. Got the generator running now even though everyone else seems to still have power...well, we'll see who's laughing later when this rain stuff starts to fall.
Heh. Around here, winter is when I hunker down and work on projects inside. Got a couple lined up plus doing a lot more blacksmithing -- getting pretty decent at this...
I had heard about the hantavirus outbreak but didn't realize that it was so widespread. From FOX News:
Yosemite extends hantavirus warning; death toll rises
Yosemite National Park doubled the scope of its hantavirus warning on Thursday to some 22,000 visitors who may have been exposed to the deadly mouse-borne disease as the number of confirmed cases grew to eight and a third death was reported.

U.S. officials recently sounded a worldwide alert, saying that up to 10,000 people were thought to be at risk of contracting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome after staying at the popular Curry Village lodging area between June and August.

As many as 2,500 of those individuals live outside the United States, U.S. health officials said.

Officials are concerned that more Yosemite visitors could develop the lung disease in the next month or so because the virus may incubate for up to six weeks after exposure.

The warning was expanded to roughly 12,000 additional visitors to the park's more remote High Sierra Camps, after an eighth case of the illness was confirmed in a man who had stayed in tent cabins at three of those camps.
The Centers for Disease Control has a good web page up on Hantavirus Washington State has had 46 cases! (link is to a US map with cases listed state by state)

Our masterminds - utterly clueless

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From American Thinker:
Elizabeth Warren and Private Enterprise
Now that the Dem Convention is over, we can reflect on what we heard there. One of the most remarkable things - really startling - that we heard came from Elizabeth Warren, the Native American who is running for the Senate in Massachusetts. She was the warm-up act for Bill Clinton on Wednesday night.

Getting worked up a short way into her speech, Ms. Warren said the most remarkable thing:
"Look around, oil companies guzzle down billions in profits."
The theme of Ms. Warren's speech was that "the system is rigged against them [the middle class]." Apparently, Ms. Warren is unaware that oil companies are among the best - perhaps the best - employers in the country. Oil industry jobs are well-paying, one would even say, high-paying, at all levels, particularly including field work. The fondest hope of any middle-class community is that an oil company will come to town.

Oil companies are among the best, the highest examples of private enterprise. They are in a competitive industry. Exxon Mobil, America's largest oil company only has a 3% share the world market (the truly huge companies in this industry are the state-owned oil companies). Nevertheless, Exxon Mobil and its confr�res operate on a massive scale. They extract oil for our use from arctic wastes and from more than two miles under the ocean. They supply us with cheap, convenient energy on a 24/7 basis. They are temples of technology - computational, metallurgical, engineering, scientific.

They don't "guzzle down profits." That is what a Solyndra does. Oil companies generate profits. They pay for licenses on public lands, they pay severance taxes, they pay income taxes and lastly we pay enormous taxes on fuels when we buy them.

Any oil company that "guzzles down profits" is outta business. What those leave behind are tumbleweeds blowing across empty lots. That is the world that Ms. Warren wants. She is offended by profits.
How can you be an effective leader when you are so totally out of touch with reality. This level of cluelessness is downright scary. Ms. Warren is a professor at Harvard -- what the #$%^ are they teaching our kids?

Potentially great news from Connecticut

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From the Wall Street Journal:
Northeastern Republicans Show (More) Signs of Life
Connecticut might be the last place you'd expect Republicans to pick up a U.S. Senate seat this November, but it may happen. In the race for retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman's seat, Linda McMahon, the co-founder of the highly profitable World Wrestling Entertainment, leads Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy by three points, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.

Those numbers terrify Democrats, so much so that at the party's convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week they frantically shuttled Mr. Murphy around town to meet deep-pocket Democratic donors.

Connecticut hasn't had a Republican senator in modern times�with the exception of Lowell Weicker, who was so liberal that the Democratic Mr. Lieberman unseated him in 1988 by running to his right. Barack Obama carried the state by 23 points in 2008.

But Nutmeg State voters today are cranky, and even Mr. Obama is up only seven points on Mitt Romney in the latest Quinnipiac poll. One reason for their angst is tax-happy Gov. Dannel Malloy, who has raised income, sales and 70 other taxes and fees while insisting that taxpayers would be glad to pay the higher charges. They haven't been�in part because the budget remains steeped in red ink and the unemployment rate remains persistently above the national average. Barron's recently rated Connecticut the worst-run state in the country.
Most people love their bread and circuses but when they are ultimately forced to pay the bill, they rethink. Thank God this seems to be happening here -- it has not in Spain and Greece and they are only a few years ahead of us on their downfall.
From Jammie Wearing Fool:
Obama Bundler and Solyndra Scammer Hits the Red Carpet at DNC as �Finance Guest�, Then Flees News Camera
If we had a functioning Justice Department this guy would probably be cooling his heels in Leavenworth. Instead he�s given the VIP treatment at the DNC.

But remember, Obama is for the middle class or something.
The Obama campaign rolled out the red carpet this week for a former top Energy Department official who was at the center of the ill-fated government loan to Solyndra, a California solar panel firm that wound up in bankruptcy.

Steven J. Spinner joined other top fundraisers for a VIP tour of the Democratic National Convention floor in Charlotte Monday evening, posing and waving for a photographer while standing behind the podium. When he saw ABC News cameras, however, he ran for the exit.
Well, so much for transparency.
Indeed - more at the site. There is a video of the event at the ABC News website. How can these people live with themselves?

A higher power

Gerard knocks it out of the park:
Hallelujah Anyway
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. -- Job 38

So elsewhere I've been drawn into, for the X times infinity time, yet another discussion about God.

Is He this? Is She that? Is God's "morality" thin or fat? Does He wear a halo or a hat? Does He care if you crush a gnat? Can you see Him? Would you be Him? If He tells you to kill your kid would you do what Abraham did?

All the usual suspects have shown up with all their usual suspect notions. Some to sell you a Bible, some to sell you a potion, some to sell you a bottle of Atheist lotion. As we learn in the Holy Book of Dylan, "Everybody wants to get you down in the hole that they're in."

Me? I'm a believer because... well because I've really got Nothing Better to do. That's because measuring myself against even the smallest, most finite, and bounded idea of God I can conceive I'm about gnat size in relation to that. I wish others saw it that way, but among the smart monkeys most of us think of ourselves as some sort of gigantic intellect -- at least in comparison to, say, a clam. Interesting that the "intelligent" who are long on stupidity are always short on humility.

The point is that smart monkeys like us are, deep down, stupid and shallow in anything that even starts to compare us to the Creator. At best we've been granted a small, dim sense of the shadow of the afterimage of Creation and are forever limited to that. We cannot go beyond it. For us there is no outside looking in. We simply don't have the wetware.

For many this vague, haunting sense is such an insult to their monkey mind's ego that they cannot endure the humiliation. And so they deny what little light they have and turn, turn away. It's futile of course but so many now are so afflicted that they find, with each other, small and cold comfort in numbers.

It's a shame that in this brief Grace-granted glimpse of the Immense Light between a sleep and a sleep that so many shut their eyes to the unfolding Miracle of each Moment, and think, poor little monkeys, that since none of it is about them none of it needs to be seen as it is -- glorious, compassionate and indifferent. They actually think ... no "believe"... that the Creator should not be beyond their good and evil; that the moral life of Creation should reflect our dim and limited mind.

Given the Gift they use it to curse the Giver.

Poor little limited smart monkeys. All arms are too short to box with God.

Inch. Time. Foot. Gem.

"Not twice this day
Inch time foot gem.
This day will not come again.
Each minute is worth a priceless gem.
Swiped in full -- impossible to excerpt. I am not a scientist but I was raised by two of them and a lot came in through osmosis. For me, the bigger the Science, the bigger the God. This universe we are in defies explanation. It is a source of daily wonder and joy.

China financials in the news again

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Really curious -- I posted earlier today about their internal debt bubble. Basically, their government is stuck on stupid and spending a lot of money on internal stimulus projects. Now it seems that the high levels of government want to export this strategy. From CNBC:
China Sounds Alarm on Global Economy at APEC Summit
China sounded the alarm about the state of the global economy on Saturday and urged countries gathering at an Asia-Pacific summit to protect themselves by forging deeper regional economic ties.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said his country would play a role in helping deepen cooperation between the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) by rebalancing its economy to improve the chances of a global economic recovery.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had also expressed concern about the world economy on Friday, and particularly about Europe's debt crisis, as he prepared to host the annual APEC summit in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok.

"The world economy today is recovering slowly, and there are still some destabilising factors and uncertainties. The underlying impact of the international financial crisis is far from over," Hu told businessmen in a speech before the summit.
Hu also announced a $157 billion government spending drive to boost infrastructure in agriculture, energy, railways and roads as well as pledging his country's support for greater trade liberalization.

"We should improve and explore new mechanisms for infrastructure investment and financing, and encourage participation in infrastructure development by various actors," he said.
$157 billion is peanuts to Obama's $5 Trillion spending in four years (and remember, one Billion is one thousand Million and one Trillion is one thousand Billion -- that is a lot of simoleons regardless of how you cut it) I thought the last four years were "interesting" -- now we are staring at this. A bit more:
Russia sees the weekend summit as a chance to make a pivotal shift away from Europe, increasing political and economic links with countries in Asia that are showing relatively strong economic growth as Europe struggles with its debt crisis.
But Oceania Has Always Been at War With Eastasia. Twenty eight years late but stunningly on target.

Top gun salesman of the year

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That award once again goes to President Obama -- from CNBC:
Gun Sales Surge: An Obama Bounce?
The gun business is booming. The question is, why?

Smith & Wesson stock Friday was zooming, thanks to a stellar earnings report. The firearms maker also boosted its outlook for the rest of the year. Because of the strong business, its backlog of orders more than doubled from the same quarter last year, the company is concentrating on boosting production and building inventory.

�We are underserving the market at this moment, we all know that, and that's a great opportunity going forward for us,� CEO James Debney said in a conference call with analysts.

And another gun maker, Sturm, Ruger & Co., also hit a milestone of sorts in terms of meeting consumer demand. It produced its one-millionth gun of the year�well ahead of last year�s pace.

"It took us nearly all of 2011 to build one million firearms, but in 2012 we accomplished it on August 15th,� said Ruger President and CEO Mike Fifer in a statement.

What�s driving the demand that has gun makers cranking up production?

Speculation has focused on fears of a coming regulatory crackdown on gun ownership. Liberal administrations tend to be anti-gun and so, the thinking goes, an Obama re-election would set the stage for stricter gun purchasing requirements. Hence, people are buying now in anticipation of difficulty later.
The comments are a fun mix of progressive talking points and clear cold reality. Looking at getting another pistol myself sometime in the next month or so -- something 1911-ish...

Gun grabbing -- a new tool for the Feds

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Say hello to civil-forfeiture -- from The Washington Times:
ATF�s latest gun grab
The Obama administration is making it easier for bureaucrats to take away guns without offering the accused any realistic due process. In a final rule published last week, the Justice Department granted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) authority to �seize and administratively forfeit property involved in controlled-substance abuses.� That means government can grab firearms and other property from someone who has never been convicted or even charged with any crime.

It�s a dangerous extension of the civil-forfeiture doctrine, a surreal legal fiction in which the seized property � not a person � is put on trial. This allows prosecutors to dispense with pesky constitutional rights, which conveniently don�t apply to inanimate objects. In this looking-glass world, the owner is effectively guilty until proved innocent and has the burden of proving otherwise. Anyone falsely accused will never see his property again unless he succeeds in an expensive uphill legal battle.

Such seizures are common in drug cases, which sometimes can ensnare people who have done nothing wrong. James Lieto found out about civil forfeiture the hard way when the FBI seized $392,000 from his business because the money was being carried by an armored-car firm he had hired that had fallen under a federal investigation. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Mr. Lieto was never accused of any crime, yet he spent thousands in legal fees to get his money back.

Law enforcement agencies love civil forfeiture because it�s extremely lucrative. The Department of Justice�s Assets Forfeiture Fund had $2.8 billion in booty in 2011, according to a January audit. Seizing guns from purported criminals is nothing new; Justice destroyed or kept 11,355 guns last year, returning just 396 to innocent owners. The new ATF rule undoubtedly is designed to ramp up the gun-grabbing because, as the rule justification claims, �The nexus between drug trafficking and firearm violence is well established.�
What's to stop them planting a few ounces in someone's house during a raid. I have a tee-shirt that reads Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms -- should be a convenience store, not a government agency
From PhysOrg of all places:
Supreme Court mystery unlocked from BYU's vaults 75 years later
The explanation for a Supreme Court justice's motivations in one of the most mysterious and important decisions in U.S. history has been hiding deep in the vaults of BYU's Special Collections. It's been tucked away for decades, but no one knew it until now. This spring, communications professor Ed Carter unearthed the key to the mystery while digging through materials from the late Merlo J. Pusey, a Mormon Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. "I came upon a notebook marked 'Confidential' and, obviously, I got excited," Carter said. "I wanted to find out what was in that notebook that Pusey didn't want to have publicly known." The unpublished notes of an interview with Justice Owen J. Roberts provide a previously unknown account for a landmark, left-shifting 1937 vote by the conservative Roberts. The vote is credited with subduing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's threat to increase the court to as many as 15 judges in order to move forward his New Deal legislation. It's called "the switch in time that saved nine," and it's a phrase legal scholars, lawyers and judicial junkies have long been familiar with. "It's just a marvelous, enormously important find," said University of Michigan law professor Richard D. Friedman, a Supreme Court history expert. "When Professor Carter sent the notes to me, I had a lot of work I should have been doing, but instead I read through the notes with great interest. It was just fascinating. I'm jealous because I wish I had found them."
The source material can be found at The Green Bag (PDF). A fascinating read.

Curious - the bubble of China

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Bubbles are not unique to the United States. There is evidence that China may be building up one of her own. From The Diplomat:
Are Chinese Banks Hiding �The Mother of All Debt Bombs�?
Financial collapses may have different immediate triggers, but they all originate from the same cause: an explosion of credit. This iron law of financial calamity should make us very worried about the consequences of easy credit in China in recent years. From the beginning of 2009 to the end of June this year, Chinese banks have issued roughly 35 trillion yuan ($5.4 trillion) in new loans, equal to 73 percent of China's GDP in 2011. About two-thirds of these loans were made in 2009 and 2010, as part of Beijing's stimulus package. Unlike deficit-financed stimulus packages in the West, China's colossal stimulus package of 2009 was funded mainly by bank credit (at least 60 percent, to be exact), not government borrowing.

Flooding the economy with trillions of yuan in new loans did accomplish the principal objective of the Chinese government � maintaining high economic growth in the midst of a global recession. While Beijing earned plaudits around the world for its decisiveness and economic success, excessive loose credit was fueling a property bubble, funding the profligacy of state-owned enterprises, and underwriting ill-conceived infrastructure investments by local governments. The result was predictable: years of painstaking efforts to strengthen the Chinese banking system were undone by a spate of careless lending as new bad loans began to build up inside the financial sector.
A bit more -- some numbers:
However, Professor Victor Shih of Northwestern University has estimated that the real amount of local government debt was between 15.4 and 20.1 trillion yuan, or between 40 and 50% of China�s GDP. Of this amount, he further estimated, the local government financing vehicles (LGFVs), which are financial entities established by local governments to invest in infrastructure and other projects, owed between 9.7 and 14.4 trillion yuan at the end of 2010.
Yikes -- China is rotting from the inside. A simple Google search for empty Chinese cities turns up 39 Million hits with links like this and this and this. This is going to be big and I really hope it doesn't suck us into their pain.

Heh - does not surprise me

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From Medical Daily:
California's Unspoken Health Problem: Brain Parasites
Sunnyvale, California is a town 40 miles outside of San Francisco, in the Bay Area. As in most of California, the weather is mild, and the winters are short, even sometimes warm. On December 20, Sara Alvarez took her youngest child for a walk in the park in town. As daylight faded, Alvarez lost feeling in her right leg, then her left foot. Her body became numb, and she became weak. At 10:15 pm, her husband drove her to a hospital in Redwood City, about 20 minutes away from their town. There, over the course of Christmas, doctors batted around diagnoses: tumor, cancer.

Finally, Alvarez received a brain scan that revealed the truth: neurocysticercosis, a calcified tapeworm in her brain.
Add Toxoplasmosis Gondii to the mix and you have a perfect snapshot of why California is... California. And Ms. Alvarez is fine -- surgery and she is back to normal.
Fun interview at watch website HODINKEE:
Interview: Meet Dan Spitz, Anthrax Guitarist Turned Master Watchmaker
​�When it comes to a watch�s quality, the truth is that the movement sucks ass or the movement kicks ass. With me, you are going to get the heavy metal answer from the heavy metal dude.�

Dan Spitz, former lead guitarist for thrash metal band Anthrax, has sold more than 15 million albums, been nominated for 3 Grammy�s, created over 10 studio albums � and now he is recognized as one of the best watchmakers in the world. After leading one of the greatest metal bands of all time, he abruptly departed Anthrax and pursued numerous courses of study to master the art of watchmaking.

John Reardon: You suddenly lost interest in playing guitar in 1995, ripped the stereo equipment from your cars and house, and gave all your guitars to Hard Rock Caf�. Why the sudden lost of interest in music and how sudden was your awakening to the call of watchmaking?

Dan Spitz: It was kind of a long process. I had been living on a tour bus since I was 14 years old and played in bands with others of equal skill set, but they were much older than I was as a young musician. I excelled at what I was doing� and Anthrax soon hit and was playing sold out coliseums for years. By the time �95 rolled around, I was the first one in the band to have children and I missed then while I was on the road. We would do an album and tour for years at a time, and then start the cycle over again � time at home was not there. It�s a story you see everywhere: it became mundane and more like a job. I needed a break. It�s easy to go on stage and play... that�s the anger, the love, the connection with my fans, who are like family. The fans are actually in the band, on stage, slam-dancing. But when it was time to write new music, this came from within, and you need to have an extreme love for it. At the end of the day, I just needed a break. I have extreme OCD, I do things either full-on or full-off, and I like to do things that others have not done before. I need that drive and that ambition. That�s why I decided to commit to learning the higher levels of watchmaking beyond what I did as a kid.

Please share the story how you were introduced to the world of fine mechanical watches?

My Pop-Pop (what I called my grandfather Eddie Spitz) owned one of the largest antique jewelry stores in the Catskills that sold extremely high-end antique jewelry and watches. My grandfather was simply the greatest guy ever and a jeweler and a watchmaker from an early age. At 8 years old I was sitting with him and we were taking apart Patek Philippe watches. That started early on in my life, and both Patek and Vacheron Constantin (now my favorite) were always part of my life. I had the opportunity to go to my grandfather�s store and rip things apart that I really shouldn�t have been inside. My mechanical abilities started at a really young age.

You broke a 53-year-old record in completing the watchmaker�s course at the Bulova school. Can you tell us more about that?

My mechanical ability comes from my non-traditional background. My room looked like a small NASA station growing up � tons of stuff. I was always building and taking stuff apart my whole life. I am a problem solver as far as mechanical and electronic things go� a self-taught problem solver. That comes into play in a large role in watchmaking. When I arrived at Bulova school, I had a background in problem solving that ensured my success. Soon after Bulova, I got a notice from WOSTEP, back when the only place to do the program was in Neuch�tel, and I won a scholarship to go there and continue my focus on complications.
Sounds like a fun person to have a beer or two with. As for the line: "My room looked like a small NASA station growing up � tons of stuff.", that would be my Mom and Dad's basement. Had a full electronics and woodworking shop as well as a darkroom (that room was originally the coal cellar -- major dust issues...) I was also into pipe organs at the time and had a 2 Manual 6 rank organ in one basement room that I had scavenged from local churches. I knew the guy who installed the 'new and better' electronic organs back in the 60's and worked with him and got the pipes and chests for my labor. Dan's website is here: Dan Spitz

A bunch of clueless idiots

From The Miami Herald:

Obama to let Shell drill in Arctic - but not too deep
The Obama administration has decided to allow Shell to drill in Arctic waters off the Alaska coast, saying that for the time being the company must not go so deep as to hit actual oil because its troubled oil spill containment barge isn't ready.

Thursday's decision to allow preparatory drilling represents a huge step in Shell's controversial effort to explore in the Chukchi Sea. It shows the Obama administration, while not yet giving the green light for Shell to drill into oil-bearing geologic formations, is taking steps to help the company do so if possible this summer.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Shell will get a permit allowing it to drill about 1,500 feet into the seafloor.

"We believe that there is no oil in that area. We have confidence in that conclusion, otherwise we would not be allowing this limited exploratory effort to move forward," Salazar said Thursday.

Interior Department officials said the drilling will allow for the later installation of a blowout preventer.

"Although these initial preliminary activities are extremely low risk, we'll still be maintaining a level of vigorous oversight really unmatched in any offshore operation in the world," said James Watson, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

So we will let you move all this material and men into the Arctic and drill just a little bit. We are not allowing you to actually tap the oil. I bet that the only reason Shell is even listening to these buffoons is that they know that when Romney takes office, they will be allowed to go back to work.

A fun online poll

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There is a fun online poll running at the Wall Street Journal:
Vote: Should Solar and Wind Power be Subsidized?
Federal subsidies have spurred the growth of renewable-energy production in recent years, but many of those subsidies are set to expire soon unless Congress acts.
Numbers at the moment are:
35.9% (6,629) Should be increased
5.5% (1,010) They should remain the same
4.8% (886) They should decline
53.9% (9,965) They should be eliminated
Heh... I love seeing stuff like this -- the general public is not an idiot and anthropogenic global warming has been vastly overstated. CO2 is plant food, not a dangerous greenhouse gas.


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Two curious stories -- first from the UK Guardian:
Climate change insight gleaned from Yellowstone wolves
Scientists studying grey wolves in Yellowstone national park have developed a method to predict how animals will respond to climate change.

The discoveries gleaned from the study, published on Thursday in Science, could eventually help scientists discover which animals are more resilient to climate change � and which would be at most immediate risk of extinction.
Risk of extinction? Somebody better tell these people -- from FOX News:
Federal government ending wolf protections in Wyoming
Visitors to Yellowstone National Park on almost any given day can glimpse packs of wolves and hear their iconic howls, thanks to a yearslong effort to revive the species that once neared extinction in the United States.

It's an effort the federal government has determined to be so successful that wolves no longer need special protections to ensure their survival in Wyoming -- the state officials chose in the mid-1990s for reintroducing the predator to the Northern Rocky Mountains.

"The wolf population in Wyoming is recovered, and it is appropriate that the responsibility for wolf management be returned to the state," Gov. Matt Mead said Friday after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will end the protections in most of Wyoming and entrust the state with managing their numbers.
Another example of science done at a desk instead of science being done out in the field. Computer models are all well and good but they need to be fact-checked to insure that they model reality and not a political agenda.

Light posting today too

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Ran into town, now heating up some leftover chicken noodle soup for dinner and loading up the PA system to run for Micheal Impero's talk on the various gold mining operations in this neck of the woods. I heard him talk a couple years ago and he was very entertaining. He has been doing more research so tonight should be a lot of fun.

Not kidnapped by aliens - just busy

Spent the day in town dealing with some legal issues -- looking really good for my side.

Doing PA for a local event tomorrow evening.

No other posting tonight -- working on some music stuff.

Curious - Prince Harry

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From the National Enquirer:
Here�s the jaw-dropping, naked truth about Royal Family fallout from playboy PRINCE HARRY�s eye-popping nude romp in Vegas: His father, future King of England PRINCE CHARLES, was dumbfounded when Palace officials and his own mother, QUEEN ELIZABETH, demanded that Harry must take a DNA test to finally prove whether he�s truly Charles� son � or, as long rumored, the illegitimate spawn of PRINCESS DIANA�s affair with dashing cavalry officer JAMES HEWITT!

Lashing out in right royal fury, Charles roared: �Harry is my son and I refuse to allow his royal heritage to be put to the test!� Reports My Palace Spy: �Prince Charles was livid when he saw photos of his nude son partying with girls at a Las Vegas hotel � but that�s nothing compared to the anger and hurt he felt when his own mother and her royal advisers coldly demanded that he force Harry to agree to a DNA test that would prove, once and for all, whether Harry truly is his son.

"Harry�s latest escapade has triggered the age-old controversy about his true heritage because The Queen�s been disillusioned and embarrassed over the years by his wild partying and bad judgment calls � like the time he played dress-up in a Nazi officer�s uniform � so these shocking photos of his nude Vegas frolic were the straw that broke the camel�s back.
Now this could be interesting -- Diana's affair was widely chronicled and the timeline is accurate. Charles is a moron.

CRAP - RIP Martin Fleischmann

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Your brain may take a few seconds to recover the name and then you will politely chuckle at the Cold Fusion fiasco of the late 1980's but that dog is still very much alive. Martin died August 3rd. From the UK Guardian:
Martin Fleischmann obituary
Accounts of the cold fusion claims of the Czech-born electrochemist Martin Fleischmann, who has died aged 85, and his American-French former student Stanley Pons often assert that their results could not be replicated. This implies that their original experiments, carried out at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, in the 1980s were flawed. Cold fusion has since come to be commonly regarded as a delusion, but the true situation is more complicated.

The Fleischmann-Pons experiments were motivated by the idea that hydrogen fusion, the source of the sun's heat, which goes very slowly at ordinary temperatures, might go significantly faster if the nuclei involved were brought closer together, as when hydrogen is absorbed at high density in a material such as palladium. The project was more successful than anticipated: returning to the laboratory after one weekend, when the apparatus had been turned off, the pair found that so much heat had been produced that a large hole had been melted into the bench and concrete floor. As a precaution they reduced the scale of the experiment and announced their findings at a press conference in 1989.

While the original nuclear claims appear to have been erroneous � it was not their area of expertise � the parallel claim relating to excess heat production is different. Some scientists failed to replicate this, but others were successful, notably Michael McKubre of SRI International, California. At the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, a nuclear product, tritium, was detected, indicating that nuclear processes were indeed occurring.

Fleischmann and Pons continued their efforts in France from 1992 until Fleischmann retired three years later and returned to Britain. In 2004 a US Department of Energy report supported the view that the excess heat claims were valid, but had little influence on general opinion. Though the nuclear difficulties were eventually resolved, the fact that heat had been observed in excess of anything that can be explained on the basis of the usual mechanisms was neglected, or talked away.

The fact that many who tried to reproduce the phenomenon failed should not have been considered conclusive, since phenomena in materials are sometimes difficult to reproduce. Scientists convinced that there was a real effect continued work in the area over the years in several countries, including France, Italy, the US, and Japan, often with government support. Some, hopeful that the process might ultimately become a useful source of energy, concentrated on increasing the power generated.
There are a couple of teams working actively in this field and getting "curious" results. Next couple of years should be interesting -- these people plus LFTR and EMC and someone somewhere will make a lot of money. Makes me sick to my stomach that so much of your and my money is being pissed away on Solyndra and their crony ilk (And I am looking at you: Solar and Wind) when there is a known body of good solid science and engineering out there working on real solutions.

Like shooting fish in a barrel

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Google "Debbie Wasserman Schultz" + Lies About 317,000 results

Road trip

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From FOX News - Monday, August 2nd:
Dems Busing in Crowds to Fill Stadium for Obama Speech
College students from across North Carolina will arrive in Charlotte by the busload. Same with members of predominantly black churches in neighboring South Carolina.

Their goal: help fill a 74,000-seat outdoor stadium to capacity when President Obama accepts the Democratic nomination Thursday night.

Anything short of a full house on the final night of the Democratic Party's national convention will be instant fodder for Republicans eager to use empty seats as symbols of waning voter enthusiasm for Obama.

Democrats have been fretting for months over whether the president can draw a capacity crowd at Bank of America Stadium. Polls show voter enthusiasm is down, as are Obama's crowds for his battleground state campaign rallies.
A bit more:
Elena Botella, a student at Duke University and president of the College Democrats of North Carolina, said her school was busing 100 students to the speech.

Lonnie Randolph, the president of the South Carolina chapter of the NAACP, said several large black churches in his state are planning to send busloads of members on Thursday to watch the president's speech.
How's that hope and change working?

Staying classy in Seattle

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From Cause of Action:
Cause of Action Exposes Potential Hatch Act Violation at the FAA
Cause of Action (CoA) released documents today revealing a potential Hatch Act violation at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) involving John J. Hickey, deputy associate administrator for aviation safety at the FAA, and Raymond Towles, deputy director of flight standards field operations. At a May 23, 2012 staff meeting, Hickey told subordinates that �if the Republicans win office [their] jobs may be effected [sic]�if the Democrats win office then [their] jobs would not be effected [sic].� Additionally, Hickey and Towles held mandatory meetings with employees at other regional FAA offices, where similar comments may have been repeated.

Whistleblowers came forward after the May 23 meeting at the Seattle Flight Standards Division Office (Seattle FSDO), alerting a Deputy Regional Counsel in the FAA�s Northwest Mountain Region Office who is now conducting an investigation into both Hickey and Towles for telling employees �how to vote if they wanted to keep their job,� sources tell Cause of Action.

In light of these allegations, Cause of Action sent a request for investigation to Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Transportation Calvin L. Scovel III, urging �a swift investigation, not only into whether the comments made by Mr. Hickey and Mr. Towles at the Seattle FSDO violated the Hatch Act, but also whether their comments violated any other federal laws, as well as if they engaged in any other activities in violation of the Hatch Act or other applicable law.�

�The egregious abuse of power for political gain is exactly what Cause of Action aims to expose,� said Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action. �These career employees were led to believe their jobs were at risk if their political support did not line up with the agenda of the Administration. The Hatch Act is designed to prevent such politicization and we are demanding that IG Scovel investigate any potential violations of federal law and make appropriate referrals to the Justice Department.�
I hope an example is made of these two bureaucrats. Disgusting.

From 84,000 to 74,000 to 20,000

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From the London Daily Mail:
Democrats WILL move Obama's big speech from 74,000-seater outdoor stadium to smaller indoor arena citing bad weather (but was it really because they couldn't fill it?)
Democrats today announced that President Barack Obama's big speech on Thursday night will move from the vast Bank of America stadium to the much-smaller Time Warner indoor arena.

While organizers blamed weather forecasts of lightning, the switch means that Obama has avoided the possibility of having to accept his party�s nomination before a partially-empty stadium. Just hours earlier, officials had been insisting the speech would go ahead in the stadium 'rain or shine'.

'We have been monitoring weather forecasts closely and several reports predict thunderstorms in the area, therefore we have decided to move Thursday's proceedings to Time Warner Cable Arena to ensure the safety and security of our delegates and convention guests,' said convention chief Steve Kerrigan.

But convention sources exclusively told the MailOnline on Tuesday that the real reason behind the switch was fears within the Obama campaign that there would be large numbers of empty seats in the 74,000-seater stadium. The Time Warner arena has a capacity of just over 20,000.
From the Charlotte, NC CBS affiliate:
Dem Organizers Scrambling Since No Balloon Drop Following Obama Speech
No balloons? What kind of a political convention is that?

With a threat of rain, there will be no downpour of Democratic balloons.

Thursday�s national convention finale was supposed to be at Charlotte�s huge outdoor Bank of America Stadium. Seventy thousand or more supporters cheering President Barack Obama�s acceptance speech. Fireworks soaring into the skies to match the fiery rhetoric. That�s the way it was four years ago as Obama stood before 84,000 exuberant followers in Denver�s Invesco Field at Mile High stadium, an overflow crowd shouting approval.
Denny over at Grouchy Old Cripple linked to this little news item from the Dunwoody Patch: (Denny lives in Dunwoody, GA)
Dems Giving Away Tickets to Obama's Speech
Dunwoody Democrats have a chance to see President Barack Obama's acceptance speech in person at next week's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

The DeKalb Democratic Party sent out this message Thursday night.

In Atlanta: Manuel's Tavern, 602 N Highland Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

In Macon: Bibb County Democratic Party, 835 Forsyth St. Suite A, Macon GA 31201

Here's the rules:
Everyone who is at Manuel's Tavern or the Bibb County Democratic Party by noon is eligible for two tickets. Arrive early if you want, but it won't give you a better chance to win. Just be there by 12 noon!

If less than 50 people arrive, everyone will get a pair! If more than 50 folks arrive, we will do a random drawing to determine our winners.

There is no cost involved. We're not selling the tickets, we're giving them away.

Since we're not selling tickets, you can't sell them either! If you sell your tickets to someone else, they will be deactivated.

For planning purposes, we expect that President Obama will speak at 8pm on Thursday. To insure that you are in your seat for the speech, you should arrive at the stadium that afternoon. There will be strict security at the event.

Your trip to Charlotte to see the President's historic speech begins tomorrow.
Let's see -- Dunwoody, GA is 236 Miles from Charlotte, NC The last article was dated August 31st -- the ticket give-away was scheduled for six days before Obama's speech. If they are casting such a large net, they must be running scared.

Dangerous website

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Looks like a lot of fun but already have too many hobbies. Check out DIY Drones

Life in today's dense cities

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I am really glad that I do not live in a big city. Matt Bracken has an excellent essay at Western Rifle Shooters Association:
Bracken: When The Music Stops � How America�s Cities May Explode In Violence
In response to recent articles in mainstream military journals discussing the use of the U.S. Army to quell insurrections on American soil, I offer an alternate vision of the future. Instead of a small town in the South as the flash point, picture instead a score of U.S. cities in the thrall of riots greater than those experienced in Los Angeles in 1965 (Watts), multiple cities in 1968 (MLK assassination), and Los Angeles again in 1992 (Rodney King). New Yorkers can imagine the 1977 blackout looting or the 1991 Crown Heights disturbance. In fact, the proximate spark of the next round of major riots in America could be any from a long list cribbed from our history.

We have seen them all before, and we shall see them all again as history rhymes along regardless of the century or the generation of humankind nominally in control of events. But the next time we are visited by widespread, large-scale urban riots, a dangerous new escalation may be triggered by a new vulnerability: It�s estimated that the average American home has less than two weeks of food on hand. In poor minority areas, it may be much less. What if a cascading economic crisis, even a temporary one, leads to millions of EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards flashing nothing but zeroes? Or if the government�s refusal to reimburse them causes supermarket chains to stop accepting them for payment? The government can order the supermarkets to honor the cards, but history�s verdict is clear: If suppliers are paid only with worthless scrip or blinking digits, the food will stop.

In my scenario, the initial riots begin spontaneously across affected urban areas, as SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) and other government welfare recipients learn that their EBT cards no longer function. This sudden revelation will cause widespread anger, which will quickly lead to the flash-mob looting of local supermarkets and other businesses. The media will initially portray these �food riots� as at least partly justifiable. Sadly, millions of Americans have been made largely, or even entirely, dependent on government wealth transfer payments to put food on their tables.

A new social contract has been created, where bread and circuses buy a measure of peace in our minority-populated urban zones. In the era of ubiquitous big-screen cable television, the internet and smart phones, the circus part of the equation is never in doubt as long as the electricity flows. But the bread is highly problematic. Food must be delivered the old-fashioned way: physically. Any disruption in the normal functioning of the EBT system will lead to food riots with a speed that is astonishing. This will inevitably happen when our unsustainable, debt-fueled binge party finally stops, and the music is over. Now that the delivery of free or heavily subsidized food is perceived by tens of millions of Americans to be a basic human right, the cutoff of �their� food money will cause an immediate explosion of rage. When the hunger begins to bite, supermarkets, shops and restaurants will be looted, and initially the media will not condemn the looting. Unfortunately, this initial violence will only be the start of a dangerous escalation.

The ransacked supermarkets, convenience stores, ATMs and gas stations will not be restocked during this period due to the precarious security situation. A single truck loaded with food or gasoline would be perceived to be a Fort Knox on wheels and subject to immediate attack unless heavily protected by powerfully armed security forces, but such forces will not be available during this chaotic period. Under those conditions, resupply to the urban areas cannot and will not take place. The downward spiral of social and economic dysfunction will therefore both accelerate and spread from city to city. These delays, in turn, will lead to more riots with the constant underlying demand that hungry people be fed, one way or another.

Catch-22, anyone? When these demands do not bring the desired outcome, the participants will ratchet up the violence, hoping to force action by the feckless state and national governments.

The �food riots� will be a grass-roots movement of the moment born out of hunger and desperation. It will not be dependent upon leaders or an underlying organization, although they could certainly add to the sauce. Existing cell phone technology provides all the organization a flash mob needs. Most of the mobs will consist of minority urban youths, termed MUYs in the rest of this essay. Which minority doesn�t matter; each urban locale will come with its own unique multi-ethnic dynamic.

Some locales will divide upon religious or political lines, but they will not be the dominant factors contributing to conflict. In the American context, the divisions will primarily have an ethnic or racial context, largely because that makes it easy to sort out the sides at a safe distance. No need to check religious or political affiliation at a hundred yards when The Other is of a different color.

We Americans are all about doing things the easy way, so, sadly, visible racial and ethnic features will form the predominant lines of division.

Would that it were not so, but reality is reality, even when it�s is a bitch.

Especially then.
Sobering reading -- a lot more at the site. Hat tip to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the link. Matt's website is here.

Pragmatism in Australia

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Good news from our antipodal friends -- from the Australian Broadcasting Company:
Government scraps plans to shut dirty power stations
The Prime Minister says Australia will still meet its carbon pollution reduction target despite the collapse of talks aimed at closing some of the country's dirtiest power stations.

The Government had been negotiating contracts to close five high-polluting power generators - three of them in Victoria - as part of its plan to cut the nation's carbon emissions.

But the talks have failed to agree on an appropriate level of compensation and negotiations have been abandoned.
Good to hear -- it's all about political power and money, not about science.

Tropical Storm Kirk

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Tropical Storm Kirk is weakening. NOAA's National Hurricane Center had this to say:
Tropical Storm Kirk

Nothing today - long day

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Did the post labor day shopping run for the store today and been working on some music stuff at home.
Nice article at the New Yorker Screenplay by the Wachowskis (Matrix trilogy, V and others) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run and others). Go and read...

Pushing back against the blackness

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Talk about bravery -- from the London Daily Mail:
Woman shoots and DECAPITATES rapist who made her pregnant before dumping his severed head in village square
A pregnant rape victim in Turkey shot and decapitated her attacker then left his severed head in the square of her local village.

The woman, five months pregnant, is demanding authorities let her have an abortion even though she is way beyond the ten week limit allowed for terminations in Turkey.

When police arrested her near to the severed head she said; 'That is the head of one who toyed with my honour.'

Womens' groups in Turkey have praised her as a heroine. It turned out that the woman, aged 26 and a mother-of-two, had been abused by her attacker for months before she took her revenge and was being blackmailed.

The woman has reportedly even said she is prepared to die as long as she is allowed to have the abortion.
I love this woman -- a bit more:
She took a gun and shot him ten times, several times in his private parts, before cutting off his head and hurling it into the village square at Yalvac.

The man was also reportedly stabbed in the abdomen after he was shot.

'He kept saying that he would tell everyone about the rape,' she reportedly said during her testimony. 'My daughter will start school this year.

'Everyone would have insulted my children. Now no one can. I saved my honour,' she added.
The Mohammedan expression of Islam is abject heresy. They are worshiping a false prophet and the sooner they break themselves out of this barbaric lifestyle, the better. I love that her daughter is starting school. These people deserve better.

More cheap imported stuff

Ran into this site from an unrelated forum: Goodluckbuy

Good things were said about them. It seems to be an aggregater for a lot of Chinese manufacturers of tech goods.

Lots of cool illegal stuff - FM Transmitters, Cell Phone Jammers, Car Key duplicators, Garage Door radio hackers. The usual lasers. Some CNC stuff.

Lots of basic electronics tools and test equipment. A bunch of toys (RC helos and quadcopters). Decent prices and the Chinese govt. subsidizes the shipping so no cost there.

There are a couple things that caught my eye so I'll see how they are...

Germany's energy policy

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Does not make sense -- from Forbes:
Germany -- Insane Or Just Plain Stupid?
After the tsunami destroyed the Fukushima plants, Germany moved quickly to shut eight nuclear power plants, and made plans do away completely with their nuclear capability. Despite the best safety record of any industry in the country, and the critical role nuclear plays in fueling German industry, Germany�s past experience with large tsunamis was just too horrific to ignore. And Germany�s strong economy and commitment to protect the environment were small prices to pay for Chancellor Merkel to shore up her weak coalition with the Free Democrats. Maybe she can ask Greece for help later.

But don�t worry. Germany is building about 25 clean coal-fired power plants to offset the loss of nuclear and address Germany�s admittedly �unaffordably expensive and unreliable� renewable portfolio (Der Spiegel). The German Green Party can now celebrate the opening of a 2,200 MW coal-fired power plant near Cologne. It started spewing out its annual, relatively clean, 13 million tons of CO2, and other nasties, so much lower than those older dirty coal plants that would have put out 15 million tons of CO2 for the same power output.
So the plant can be called "green" if it produces 13.34% less CO2? Such a low bar to environmental correctness. Germany had a flawless record regarding reactor safety -- they should be setting the example and developing new technologies -- Thorium. Now they have to deal with all of the pollution and additional deaths from Coal. Time to refresh Seth Godin's blog post from March 22, 2011:
The triumph of coal marketing
Do you have an opinion about nuclear power? About the relative safety of one form of power over another? How did you come to this opinion?

Here are the stats, and here's the image. A non-exaggerated but simple version of his data:
For every person killed by nuclear power generation, 4,000 die due to coal, adjusted for the same amount of power produced... You might very well have excellent reasons to argue for one form over another. Not the point of this post. The question is: did you know about this chart? How does it resonate with you?
I first blogged this back in March 24, 2011. Nuclear is cheap and safe. We have a lot of coal and it too is reasonably safe (we are talking about deaths per TerraWatt Hour -- this is a lot of energy:
1,000 Watt = 1 KiloWatt
1,000 KiloWatts = 1 MegaWatt
1,000 MegaWatt = 1 GigaWatt and
1,000 GigaWatt = 1 TerraWatt
The raw numbers were 161 deaths per TW for coal and 0.04 deaths per TW for nuke - 4025 times more.


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A local friend is a gunsmith (and we have three in this small community of about 200) and he called me out of the blue saying that he had a couple of old rifle barrels and was wondering if I could use them for blacksmithing. I went over today and got all 23 of them. 4140 Chrome Moly steel -- perfect for knife making. He also had a pneumatic press for sale and scarfed that one up too. 6" cylinder and about a 6" throw -- I love my power hammer but sometimes I just need a good squeeze. Had been looking at flypresses but this will be a lot better as I can have complete control over the force. Already have shop air so I just need to get a proportional foot control pedal and build a stand and I'll be ready to go.

Jellyfish and Spin

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Marathon swimmer Diana Nyad attempted to swim from Florida to Cuba but was turned back by jellyfish. From our taxpayer-subsidized Public Broadcasting Service:
Nyad's Cuba-Florida Swim Thwarted by Jellyfish
Diana Nyad had left no corner untucked in preparations for her fourth attempt to swim across the Florida Strait. She assembled a world-class team for the expedition, including a jellyfish expert, shark divers, a navigator and meteorologists, all of whom assisted the 62-year-old long-distance swimmer train for the 103-mile swim.

But Nyad's attempt ended when her team pulled her from the water 41 hours into the endeavor. Stung repeatedly by jellyfish, trailed by sharks and buffeted by storm-tossed waves, the swim ended near midnight on Tuesday after her team decided that the physical risks had become too great.

She voiced considerable disappointment at having the effort end without realizing her lifelong dream as she talked with NewsHour correspondent Margaret Warner, shortly after arriving in Key West, Fla.
A bit more:
The jellyfish have become her main nemesis on each of the recent attempts. According to Nyad, their presence reflects the changing nature of the oceans. Nyad described possible factors for the change as global warming, oil spills and ballast dumping by tankers at sea.
I love Anthony Watts' website: Watts Up With That. He has a link called Tips and Notes that solicits comments from readers with... well... tips and notes to Anthony and his editors about items of potential interest. Reader Daniel H had the following note: Please Note: the Tips and Notes page is cleaned every few weeks -- the above link will only be good for another week or two. I am quoting Daniel's entire note
Daniel H says:
August 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm

According to PBS, marathon swimmer Diana Nyad�s most recent failure to swim unaided from Cuba to Florida was caused by �global warming�. As PBS dutifully reports:
The jellyfish have become her main nemesis on each of the recent attempts. According to Nyad, their presence reflects the changing nature of the oceans. Nyad described possible factors for the change as global warming, oil spills and ballast dumping by tankers at sea.
But that wasn�t enough for PBS. A few days later they released an even more alarmist story on the same topic. This time we are told by the �experts� that in addition to global warming, ocean acidification is also to blame for the recent proliferation of jellyfish:
Before and during the swim, Nyad�s team worked closely with Angel Anne Yanagihara, jellyfish expert and assistant research professor at the University of Hawaii�s Pacific Biosciences Research Center� In the 34 years since Nyad first swam from Cuba to Key West in 1978, the ocean has changed, she said. �The story of how jellyfish have proliferated in the world�s oceans today � it�s going to be the biggest story of the oceans,� she told the NewsHour on Tuesday. �Without a doubt, the ocean�s warmer now,� Finnerty said. �The ocean�s more acidic than it was then. Depending on where you were, there could be more contaminants in the ocean and more algal blooms.�
The only problem with these claims is that anyone can research them in the Google News Archives to see just how much �the ocean has changed� in �the 34 years since Nyad first swam from Cuba to Key West in 1978″. For example, we find this AP news story from August 8, 1978:
Her mouth blistered and tongue swollen from poisonous jellyfish stings, Diana Nyad refused to abandon her 103-mile swim from Cuba and today carved a steady course across the Florida Strait��She�s aware of the medical problem,� said operations manager Ken Gundersen as he monitored ship-to-shore radio reports in Key West. �She wants to keep going. They�re going to let her.� Gundersen admitted he was concerned the stings might make Ms. Nyad�s throat swell shut. He said that would end the swim. He was trying to find a doctor to go to the swimmer by helicopter early today and check her condition.
Or how about this AP news story from August 21, 1979:
Her left eye was swollen shut from salt water and a coating of latex � donned to protect her from Portuguese men-of-war stings � hung from her in shreds. Jellyfish stings ended her first Bahamas-to-Florida swim two weeks ago after 12 hours. About dawn yesterday, divers cleared jellyfish from her path, using �bang� sticks designed to ward off sharks. She was stung Sunday by a small jellyfish and cried out: �Why, why, why?�
So apparently the �story of how jellyfish have proliferated in the world�s oceans today� is in fact a non-story. The jellyfish have always been a problem for Ms. Nyad. In fact, her past encounters with jellyfish were just as bad, if not worse, than her most recent encounter with them. Once again, PBS�s shoddy reporting and highly slanted news coverage does a huge disservice to American taxpayers.
Another sterling example of our tax dollars at work. Let us cut PBS' funding by 30% for the next five years and see what happens. I know for sure that their reaction would be to drop two or three really popular shows citing funding problems. Generate a public outcry all the while they are wasting significant taxpayer dollars on crap like this. Even better -- cut funding by 30% and audit their asses. Gravy? NPR and all of the other Governmental TLAs (three letter acronyms) EPA and DHS to start...

Whose the extremist?

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A new column from Rush Limbaugh's smarter brother David:
Romney's an Extremist, and Obama Isn't? LOL
President Obama's casting of Mitt Romney as extreme is one of the most glaring incidents of political projection in the modern era. Romney doesn't approach extremism in substance, style or disposition. Obama swims in it.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Obama said Romney has locked himself into "extreme positions" on economic and social issues and would implement them if in office.

Accusing Romney of extremism is just another arrow in Obama's fantasy quiver, because reality just doesn't help him. Romney is anything but extreme, and no serious political analyst believes otherwise. He is certainly extremely bullish on America, American business and the free enterprise system, and he doubtlessly wants to move the nation extremely away from the disastrous course on which Obama is taking it, but that's about the extent of his extremism. Romney's policies are right of center, to be sure, but not extreme, except from the perspective of a radical leftist, which brings us to Obama.

Let's use Obama's bill of particulars against Romney as a yardstick to measure his own place on the political spectrum -- as if it weren't painfully obvious.

Obama says Romney is locked into extreme positions on economic issues because Romney favors across-the-board tax cuts that "would mostly help the rich."

Obama discredits himself in the very words of his charge. If the cuts are across-the-board, they don't mostly favor the rich. In fact, Romney -- to my disappointment, by the way -- is suggesting reducing deductions for upper-income earners. Obama, on the other hand, apparently believes that the bottom 49.5 percent of income earners are getting ripped off because they are paying zero income taxes. He must think his actions in expanding the public sector, increasing the food stamp rolls and removing the work requirement for welfare are moderate.

Obama says Romney is extreme for not signing on to his quixotic wind energy hallucinations -- as if anyone who doesn't believe in the government's throwing away billions more at failed and scandalous green energy experiments is the extremist -- as opposed to recklessly implementing such policies when the nation has one foot in the bankruptcy door.

Obama says Romney lacks "serious ideas" and refuses to "own up" to the responsibilities of what it takes to be president. These take the cake.

Romney is proposing serious entitlement, tax and spending reform and reducing the unprecedented regulatory burden strangling the private sector. Nothing remotely extreme here. Sorry, Mr. Obama; that rabid dog will not hunt.
More at the site -- some good observations.

Just wow - Obama and Sin

Talk about narcissism -- from Roger Kimball:
Obamanation of the Day
I admit it, when it comes to Barack Obama, I think pretty low. But not, apparently, quite low enough. This exchange, from an interview with Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times, took even my jaded breath away:
Falsani: Do you believe in sin?

Obama: Yes.

Falsani: What is sin?

Obama: Being out of alignment with my values.
Have you ever found a pithier summary of the narcissistic core of today�s �progressive� Left-liberal ideology? I�m not sure I have.
The comments are a delight. lyn5 said:
Re: �Being out of alignment with my values.� That�s code for �when Empty Chair is wobbly.�
Only a few more weeks until November 6th...

Creators Day

Excellent idea -- from the Chicago Boyz forum:
Creators Day
We should have an annual Creators Day as a national holiday. We have a �Labor Day� to celebrate workers paid salaries and wages. That is fine, and there are historical reasons for it. But it is not enough. We also need a national day celebrating the people who make those jobs possible and bring them into existence in the first place. Otherwise the day appears to be a glorification of �workers� in opposition to a faceless someone or something that signs the paychecks, some unnamed �other� that is not �the people� but nameless bag of money. That is morally and factually wrong and needs to be rectified. It is long past time to celebrate the people who necessarily come first in the economic process, the people who create the jobs, the people who sign the paychecks, the people who risk their effort and time and capital, the people whose ideas and drive and commitment make the paychecks possible. Without risk-takes, innovators, creators, adventurers, entrepreneurs � no jobs, no wages, no salaries, no employees, no workers, no labor, no nothin�.

Americans need to celebrate these unsung people, our fellow citizens and neighbors, with an annual, national holiday recognizing the fundamental importance and greatness of their contribution to our national life.

This is an idea whose time has come.
Two years ago when I was managing the Bakery as well as the Store, I was responsible for the paychecks of 27 people. I have had other businesses with employees in Seattle before moving up here. It's not just cutting paychecks for people though -- I pay out more in business taxes than I do in personal income taxes. This comes out of the company account -- not my personal account but it still hurts to pay and it hurts further to see those funds squandered. I worked hard for those dollars and for some politician to throw them to some bundler who raised campaign money makes my blood boil.

Waffle. Waffle. Punt.

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From the National Journal:
Obama Team Punts Three Times on �Better Off Now� Questions
Speaking on ABC's This Week on Sunday, Senior Obama adviser David Plouffe had few answers for the age-old question, �Are you better off now than you were four years ago?� On three occasions, he declined to answer the question with a definitive yes or no.

�It took us a long time to get into that hole, it�s going to take us a long time to get out of it,� Plouffe said after the first time host George Stephanopoulos asked the question.

After the second variation of the question, he said, �We were this close to a Great Depression, and because of the leadership of this president we staved that off. We're beginning to recover.�

Stephanopoulos pressed a third time -- �You still can't say 'yes?'� -- and again Plouffe punted: �We've clearly improved from the depths of the recession.� He went on to list areas where he said matters had improved: manufacturing, lowering the unemployment rate, and in the auto industry.
And the funny thing is that these three areas: manufacturing, unemployment and the auto industry are much worse off than they were four years ago. Manufacturing is all being shipped overseas, there have been new jobs created but these have failed to keep up with population growth leading to a net loss of jobs and the auto industry is still deep in debt and still owes the Federal Government billions. Chrysler and General Motors have lost significant market share while Ford is going like gangbusters and Imports are increasing their share.

A very interesting two-part article in the HillBuzz regarding where Obama will be in January. From Part One:

The Obamas Already Preparing for Move to Hawaii in January 2013: Hyde Park neighbors talking about Chicago house being sold soon
Barack and Michelle Obama will be moving to Hawaii in January of 2013 and preparations are now being made to purchase an estate in close proximity to land owned by the University of Hawaii, where the Obama presidential library and 'political center' will be located.

Here in Chicago, it's pretty obvious that Michelle does not want to move back to this city and its winters (for any reason) and Michelle's mother, who's been living in the White House with her daughter and her family, will be happily making the move to Hawaii as well.

I have a friend whose family knows Michelle's mother; they have been crystal clear that the elderly Mrs. Robinson regularly says that she'll be in Hawaii next year permanently with her daughter and granddaughters. There is neither talk of returning to Chicago to live nor of living in the White House for another four years - instead, there's a sense of "it was fun while it lasted" coming from Mrs. Robinson in her talks with her Chicago friends.

Democrats are already working to locate an acceptable property in Hawaii for the Obamas to live; this land and its complex of buildings must be ready to move-into in January and must meet all the requirements the Secret Service demands since the Obamas will be granted continued protection, by law, for nine years after Barack leaves office. The Reagans, Clintons, and second Bush family all had their post-presidential homes purchased quietly on the side by friends when their times in office were coming to an end. The Obamas are doing the same thing now.

A bit more:

Just found out that the asking price of the house they are looking at is most likely $35 million. Bobby Titcomb, the Hawaiian native who brings Obama "fish and poi" (that's code for "weed and coke") to the White House is most likely involved in the purchase of the estate on Oahu that the Obamas will most likely be moving into in January. Possibly watching Titcomb's movements will give more clues as to which house, exactly, Obama will move to in January 2013.

Moving to Part Two:

Who Is Funding the Purchase of the $35 million Beachfront Hawaiian Estate for Barack and Michelle Obama to Move into Come January 2013?
I've done some more digging here in Chicago on the story we brought you on Friday about plans currently underway to purchase a $35 million beachfront estate on the island of Oahu in a part of Hawaii called 'Kailua' for the Obama family to move into in January 2013 when they leave the White House.

It's funny, but 'kai' means 'victorious' in Mandarin Chinese and you probably know that 'lua' is close to the Hawaiian word 'luau', which is of course a large party. It's more than ironic that a spot in paradise that conjures a mental image of 'victory party' will be the place the Obama family moves to in just four months or so, after they've been booted from the White House. They surely won't be in a festive mood after being downgraded from 'First Family' to ordinary citizens again, but no doubt the rest of the world will be celebrating.

The woman who is organizing the funding of the Obama's post-presidential estate is Penny Pritzker, who is also in charge of raising the donations for Obama's presidential library and museum. The two are more or less the same project, with the priority being to get the $35 million together to fund the purchase of the Obamas' new home. It appears that Pritzker herself may contribute up to half of the total purchase price, making up the difference from whatever the Obamas could not afford and the fundraising wouldn't cover. Pritzker is a billionaire who in recent years resolved a long-standing family feud over her late father's vast business empire that includes the Hyatt Hotel chain as well as assorted manufacturing operations. The wealthiest families in Chicago are being leaned on heavily to contribute with Penny aggressively guilting them with 'appeals of you don't want the President to be homeless in January, do you?'. That's more or less an exact quote from Penny, if my source within her social group is not paraphrasing.

Curious -- so much of Obama's "brand" is built around his time in Chicago. Then again, he has a constant habit of throwing xyzy under the bus when it becomes politically expedient. The title of this post? Jack Kerouac

From The Montreal Gazette:
Ship's historic crossing signals extent of Arctic melt
With a 9.3-metre fibreglass sailboat, Nicolas Peissel and his crewmates were able to do what seasoned explorers on hulking Arctic ships attempted over centuries but never succeeded.

They crossed the northernmost route of the Northwestern Passages, which connects Baffin Bay to the Arctic Ocean in Canada's far North.

"There's no reason why we should have been able to do that," Peissel, who hails from the Montreal area, said Friday over satellite phone aboard the Belzebub II, three months into its journey.

At any other time in history, the M'Clure Strait, the last stretch of land-bound water before the Beaufort Sea, would have been entirely covered in ice.

But it wasn't. And the boat, which would have easily been ensnared by ice like those of many explorers before it, is now sailing peacefully on the Beaufort as it heads to Alaska.

"This is a clear signal that there's climate change," Peissel said. And this was the point of the whole journey. Thirty-five-year-old Peissel, his cousin Morgan Peissel, and Swede Edvin Buregren are making history to demonstrate how Arctic ice is at an all-time low, and the serious implications for humanity.

"The ice caps contain millions upon millions of litres of fresh water that are melting into our oceans," he said. The melting is responsible for higher water levels and the unpredictable weather the world is seeing, he said.

He described the Arctic as the canary in the coal mine that tells us what's happening to the rest of the world.
Couple of things are dead wrong -- first, the polar ice is floating. The ice can melt and there will be zero change in sea level. If there was a credible threat of sea level changing, the large ocean port cities would be scrambling to compensate. They are not. Second, trips through the Northwest passage are routine -- they are by no means the first to do it. A bit more:
The Belzebub II will sail down to Vancouver via the Bering Strait. Peissel said he will be glad to return to Montreal in October and sit on a terrasse before the cold sets in.
I hope that while they are in Vancouver, they can visit the excellent Maritime Museum and especially the RCMP ship the St. Roch which made the Northwest Passage in one season back in 1944. It is still a feat of navigation and exploration and sounds like a rousing journey. Just not the first. The ships website is here: Belzebub II
This site has to be someone's idea of a joke. Check out Psychology for a Safe Climate From the site:
Contributing psychological understanding within the community to support and facilitate strong and urgent action on climate change

Our Objectives
  • To contribute psychological understanding within the community to support and facilitate strong and urgent action on climate change.
  • A particular focus will be the psychological defense of denial.
  • Throughout our work our intention and hope is that people will become free to act rather than react or withdraw in despair.
Our strategies include:
  • Reflecting on and using our own emotional response to climate change.
  • Conducting action-research, such as the use of sociodrama and interviews.
  • Developing tools, such as games, that will engage people at an emotional level.
  • Contributing to understanding by writing papers and articles about the psychological response to climate change.
  • Drawing on evidence and research on how attitudes and values can change with regard to climate change.
Pure horse-twaddle. Zero understanding of the science. Zero boots-on-the-ground measurement. They just parrot the "consensus"

Holy crap -- 500 LED flashlight

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The Geek-fu is strong with this one:
Check out his site at LED Creations
From Politico:
Villaraigosa calls GOP a party for 1812
Self-deportation for illegal immigrants. No rape or incest exception for abortions.

With stances such as these, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told Chris Wallace of "Fox News Sunday," the Republican Party espouses "a platform from another century, maybe even two."

Added Villaraigosa, who's also serving as chairman of the Democratic National Convention: "It looks like the platform of 1812."
Let' see -- this is the same Antonio Villaraigosa who was born Tony Villar, was a leader of MEChA in college, cheated on his wife, was put on 31 charges of ethics violations, is pro-illegal immigration and is spending more time on the National stage than in Los Angeles. The idea that he can criticize the Republican party like this shows how delusional he is.
Ran into this little gem on an unrelated forum:
Every GOP candidate for any office should arrange to have an empty chair on stage at every event from now until Election Day. They don�t have to say a word about it. Just have it on the stage.
Damn near spewed a mouthful of good Zinfandel over my desk -- spot-on perfect...

Long day -- car show

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Whew -- dead tired, just finished dinner and surfing for a bit. Did the PA and announcing (I'm turning into the Mouth of Maple Falls) for the Car Show -- some gorgeous rides there. First year they had about 90 cars show up (they were expecting 50-60). Last year 140 and this year 190. A key element is that there is another classic car show in the nearby area tomorrow so this draws people in from far away. The weather was drop-dead gorgeous -- cool with a light cloud cover.

Car Show

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Got the truck loaded up with PA and transmitting equipment and heading out to set up at the third annual Maple Falls Car Show. Looking at a gorgeous day -- clear sky with sunny weather forecast. Going to crash for a couple of days after so posting will be a little bit thin on the ground for the next day or three...

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